Glory Farm, Winchmore Hill
This page is based on an article written by Robert Bennett in the September 2005 Amersham Society/Amersham Museum newsletter and an account in 2006 about an evening visit to Glory Farm.
On a lovely summer evening some seventy members gathered to enjoy the delightful surroundings at Glory Farm, with a glass of wine and selection of refreshments. It was a lovely change to get together in this wonderful garden, with views over the Chilterns on all sides – even if the seating was straw bales and the shelter from the evening breezes was Robert and Roz Bennett’s wood-framed barn!
It was special to hear of Robert’s research into the history of the farm in the actual setting of so many historic events. He began by explaining that the name ‘Glory’ (or the Glorie) derived from the owner of Glory Mill in Wooburn, who settled there in 1235.
Robert explained that the farm had been owned for some five hundred years by the Bovingdon family, who had been awarded land in Amersham, Coleshill and Penn in return for the military aid they had provided to King Henry II.
During the Civil War, the Bovingdons took the side of the Parliamentarians, and usurped land in Coleshill which had been abandoned by those who supported the King. However, at the Restoration, the Bovingdons were ordered to return the land to the rightful owners, William Child and John Tyler.
Robert Bennett has found a record of an inventory of the contents of the house and farm which was made in the year 1700, describing the house as being a wood-framed hall house, with an open hall reaching up to the first floor rafters. It is thought to be very late to have such a primitive layout – indeed the Amersham Museum which was once a hall house, considerably predates this.
Records then show that, as so often seems to have happened, a good marriage was made in 1723 by one of the Bovingdon sons, who married Mary Arundell, changing the family fortunes. This young lady brought land in Northolt, Denham and Ruislip as a dowry, which helped to finance a style of life previously beyond the income of the Bovingdon family.
In 1797 the then head of the family, Thomas Bowler Bovingdon, lived a hectic bachelor’s life, with fine horses and carriages, and a keen interest in hunting hares riding on a donkey. At the same time the farmer – Allan, tenant of Bury Farm in Amersham – met an untimely death, leaving a widow, Mary, whose family owned Baylins Farm at Knotty Green. Mary Allan caught the attention of Thomas Bovingdon, and he began courting the widow, including a meeting at the parlour of the Red Lion in High Wycombe. An onlooker described how she wore a high black beaver hat with veil and riding habit for the rendezvous.
Thomas’ proposal of marriage was met with the retort that Mary would not ‘think of living in an old house propped up by a cherry tree’. At that time the Glorie was most likely to be a wood-framed hall house. To secure his bride, Thomas pulled down the hall house and built the house that stands on the site today. Satisfied for her future comfort, Mary became Mrs Bovingdon on 4th November, 1799. She thereafter presented her second husband with six children.
In the agricultural depression of the 1880s, the Bovingdons finally ran out of money and sold the freehold to the Groves of Penn. Later it was sold on to the Penn House estate, who leased it to a series of tenants, all of whom seem to have had trouble in finding the rent.
It is fortunate that in 1968 when the property came onto the market Robert and Roz seized the opportunity to acquire this charming house, barn and land and over the ensuing years it has been transformed into the delightful home and setting we see today. The setting and the historic barn provide the finishing touches to an idyllic picture.