Tylers Green is in Chepping Wycombe Parish (CWPC) and despite being in a different parish, shares a combined Conservation Area with Penn which is large and very varied, encompassing an area of about 85 acres (34 hectares) with some 329 properties of which 50 are Listed Buildings. There are also Locally Listed and many unlisted buildings, particularly vernacular cottages, which contribute to the special character of the Conservation Area.
This pond is arguably the focal point for the village. It is one of a series of ponds marking the parish, district and deanery boundaries and has done so, unchanged, since the ponds marked the divide between the Saxon Hundreds of Burnham and Desborough, well over 1,000 years ago. Widmer probably means ‘wide pond’ in Old English and nearby fields took the same name. The pond was used for washing clothes, but not for drinking-water, which came either from roof water collected in underground tanks in every cottage garden, from a spring at Stumpwell off Beacon Hill, or in times of drought, from a 350 foot deep well at Rayners. The concern used to be to keep the water clean, and vociferous complaint was made if ducks were allowed on the pond. The Victorian pump was installed in 1989 in memory of Ken Stevens a long time chairman of CWPC.
The Rayners Estate
Sir Philip Rose (1816-83) built his manor house, Rayners, in 1847. He was the squire of Tylers Green, employed many of the inhabitants, built St Margaret’s Church and owned or built many other buildings. He was a remarkable man, a solicitor who came from a successful Wycombe family, many of them Mayors. In 1841, when he was still only 25 years old, one of his clerks got TB and he could find no London hospital to take him because ‘consumption’ was thought to be so contagious. He thereupon organised and inspired his elders to set up the Brompton Hospital, now world famous, with Queen Victoria as the patron, Prince Albert laying the foundation stone, a dozen peers and bishops on the committee and Charles Dickens speaking on his behalf.
He then earned a fortune having persuaded his firm to act for the Great Northern Railway as they expanded their line. He also organised a branch line from Maidenhead to Wycombe with a convenient stop at Loudwater, down to which he constructed a driveway. He was a devoted friend and admirer of Disraeli and managed his legal and financial affairs as well as acting as national agent for the Conservative Party. Both he and Disraeli bought their estates at the same time – Disraeli at Hughenden manor and Rose at Rayners, and often exchanged visits. Within weeks of becoming Prime Minister in 1874, Disraeli offered him a baronetcy and he was later High Sheriff of the county, as was his son.
In 1854, it was his enormous energy and drive and largely his own money, which succeeded in building St Margaret’s Church and setting up a separate parish.
Tylers Green Common - Encroachment & settlement by Snatch-
Until the middle of the 19th-century, Tyler End Green was part of a 4,000 acre common of heath and woodland stretching over seven parishes, its perimeter or ‘ends’ marked by small settlements such as Widmer End, Heath End, Spurlings End, Mop End, Beamond End and, of course, Tyler End. Before the 14th-century tilers arrived, it was called Colmorham perhaps meaning 'hill hamlet by the pond or boundary'. The pond and the common are divided by the parish border with the majority of the common on the Wycombe side, which for many centuries was owned by Bassetsbury Manor, named after its first early 13th century lord, Alan Basset. Penn Manor held the other side.
Piecemeal illegal encroachments on the edge of the common on the Penn side grew during the 18th century as a result of increasing population pressure, but it was not until c.1800 that the sudden growth of the chair industry in Wycombe led first to enclosure and then building on the Tylers Green side of the common. If no action was taken, in due course a possessory title could be claimed by the ‘snatch-holder’. Counsel in court cases in 1796 and 1829 maintained that 12 years quiet possession of land without any check or acknowledgement by the lord of the manor gave a good title to the land, although a case law precedent of 20 years was also quoted.
The 50 acre common was then owned by absentee landlords, the Deans and Canons of Windsor, who were Lords of the Manor of Bassetsbury. During the following seventy or so years, Illegal enclosure of about 25 acres took place, mainly by artisans and agricultural labourers. Many small brick and flint cottages, mostly 2 up and 2 down with an outside privy, and often in pairs or terraced, were built for as little as £40. They had no mains water or bathroom. The present, apparently random, layout of small tracks and plots on both Front and Back Commons was largely dictated by the clay pits. It is only on the edges of the common that more substantial houses are found.
‘Within living memory Tyler’s Green was an open common without any house or building on it’, wrote Philip Rose to the Deans & Canons of Windsor in May 1854, ‘but small encroachments were from time to time made upon the Waste at the skirt of the great Wood (St Johns Wood) on which mud houses were afterwards built which have gradually given place to buildings of a more substantial character, until within 40 or 50 years a population has grown upon the Waste of several hundred souls with houses built closely together wherever a spot of ground could be safely enclosed…a population now of nearly 600 is comprised within the space of quarter a mile.'
St Margaret’s Church
It is a Grade II listed building. Although the church is prominent in the immediate locality, it was a late arrival and the village did not grow up around it. It was built in 1854, thanks to the energy and money of Sir Philip Rose, and was named after his wife. It was designed by David Brandon, a young Jewish architect, who had just been awarded a medal for his work on the Great Exhibition of 1851, went on to be vice-President of the RIBA. It was built by Zachariah Wheeler, whose descendants still live in the village, from chalk flints from Common Wood, black flints from Clay Street and sand dug from Tylers Green Common. John Betjeman described the interior as ‘rather striking’. The Rose family, Sir Arthur Whitten Brown, the first man to fly the Atlantic (with Sir John Alcock), Elizabeth Russell, a well-known novelist, her brother Sir Sydney Beauchamp and Walter de la Mare’s wife, are buried there.
There are two well-known pubs in Tylers Green - The Queens Head and the Horse & Jockey, both near St Margaret's Church with the Red Lion by Widmer Pond just across the parish border.
Beaconsfield railway station
The opening of the Marylebone railway in 1906 encouraged London for the first time and rapidly altered the whole nature of what had been a relatively isolated rural community.