Stokenchurch

Stokenchurch

Stokenchurch is a village and civil parish within Wycombe district in the English county of Buckinghamshire (prior to 1896 in Oxfordshire). It is located in the Chiltern Hills, about three miles south of Chinnor in Oxfordshire, six miles west of High Wycombe.

The village name is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'church made of logs'. In manorial records of 1200 the village was referred to as Stockenechurch. Today the village is a popular place to live, due to its rural location and ease of access to London and Birmingham. Stokenchurch has its own junction of the M40 (junction 5).

The location of the village, (being on the main London to Oxford Road) proved a good resting and changing place for Horse and carts. The original road is now a bridle way, the current road having been constructed in 1824. It was the use of the village as a stopping point that led to many of the pubs and inns being established. It was once a centre for chair making with much of the wood used being felled locally. By the 1930s there were seven or eight firms making chairs for sale to major furniture makers. Despite this, the village was not overly rich, being largely based on a farming community.

The main landmark in Stokenchurch is The King's Hotel (formerly The King's Arms Hotel), where King Charles II is reputed to have stayed with his mistress in the 17th century. There is a parish Anglican Church, the church of St Peter and St Paul, and a Methodist Church. A few shops, several village pubs, a library, and slowly growing residential areas, along with surrounding farmland, complete this village bisected by the main A40 road.

Stokenchurch is one of the main places in Great Britain where one can regularly see the Red Kite, a formerly endangered species whose numbers are now recovering well, though still in isolated pockets such as the Chilterns and West Wales. They were reintroduced to the area by the RSPB and English Nature with assistance from Paul Getty, the American millionaire and philanthropist, who allowed use of the Wormsley estate. In clear weather more than 20 may be seen at one time, in Stokenchurch particularly as many residents put food out for them. The best place to view the Red Kites is from the nature reserve at Aston Rowant, just west of Stokenchurch off the A40. (Unfortunately most of it is not accessible for those in wheelchairs or with prams).

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