Like many people getting older and approaching retirement I became interested in my family history and worked away at this for some time. This taste of researching into the past soon led me into the broader history of where I live. Published histories of Chalfont Giles tend to concentrate upon the Church, Milton's cottage, and maybe Jordans and the Vache. For many people this is absolutely right as these are the really important local sites and monuments. However there are also many other aspects of Chalfont St Giles which figure in its history and which are of interest to local people and there seemed to be a number of questions about its history for which there were no obvious answers
Being in the parish, although not in the village of Chalfont St Giles, I set about trying to answer some of these questions. It turned out to be like a detective investigation and I found my business and technical background in problem solving was a real help, unfortunately offset by my being an amateur rather than a professional historian. My interest is in the more distant past rather than recent 20th century history so most of my investigations have primarily used documentary sources. (After some 50 years I have at last found a use for Latin. Pity I didn't learn it at school when I had the chance)!
The wealth of material in the libraries, record offices and archives around the country is amazing and although it may not be everyone's cup of tea, the opportunity to hold and read documents 100, 200, or even 500 years old about local places and people is wonderful. By piecing together little bits of information gained from this deed here, that Will there, the comment read in an old book, and of course the research that other people have done, it is possible to develop a coherent and consistent answer to some questions. It has to be said though that you can never be sure and there may always be something else that turns up to improve the story.Back to Home