Book reveals great and good from the Chilterns

John Hampden
John Hampden
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From world famous authors like Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton to prime ministers, royalty, business tycoons, pop stars, actors and flamboyant hell-raisers, the Chilterns has been and still is home to a huge number of famous, powerful and talented people.

Now you can read about some of them, in a new publication from the Chilterns Conservation Board.

Famous People of the Chilterns takes a brief look at many fascinating lives and highlights where and what you can still visit today that is connected with them.

Perhaps because of our proximity to London, our area of the country has so many political connections, and many are documented in the booklet.

They include the county’s greatest parliamentarian John Hampden, first cousin to Oliver Cromwell and descended from an ancient Buckinghamshire family who owned Hampden House, which is still clearly visible from the Chiltern Way today.

Britain’s first female MP Nancy Astor, and Queen Victoria’s favourite prime minister Benjamin Disraeli are also noted. Few may be aware that Charles De Gaulle, one of France’s most powerful presidents, lived in wartime exile on the Ashridge Estate.

Other highlights include William Penn the founder of Pennsylvania who had close connections with the peaceful Quaker village of Jordans near Chalfont St Giles, thus giving it a very special place in British and American history.

John Milton is recalled dictating Paradise Lost in his Chalfont St Giles cottage, and the glittering parties held by the Rothschilds in their fabulous Chilterns mansions.

Then there is Elizabeth I travelling to High Wycombe with a large entourage to protect her against thieves in Bradenham Woods and Frankenstein author Mary Shelley completing her epic work in a Thame-side town.

There are 32 profiles of famous local residents in the full colour booklet which is illustrated with images of the Chilterns countryside, attractions and features.

Costing £4.99 plus postage it can be ordered from www.chilternsaonb.org/shop or phone 01844 355500.