Timeline

Early 12th century The Sifrewast family held the Bury manor land, which encompassed the site of the current park. This could have been passed down from as early as the Norman occupation, but the first record of it comes in the early 12th century.

1490 The Earl of Oxford acquired the Bury manor.

1579 Thomas Ashfield, a bailiff of the Earl of Oxford, acquired the manor.

1656 The Whichcotes held what had been the Ashfield's Chesham land.

Early 18th century The pond was excavated

c.1730 Purchase of Bury Hill House (located in the area of the modern day Guide's Hall) and land by John Ware (High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire).

1750 Coulson Skottowe, John Ware's grandson, was given Bury Hill House and the land upon his marriage. The house had been the upper parsonage and was the principal residence of the rectorial manor of Chesham Leicester.

c.1760 An Avenue was planted by the last Whichcote. It was formed by a double row of elm trees. (See also Appendix 10)

1784 Coulson Skottowe died. Bury Hill House passed to his brother John, Governor of St. Helena.

1802 Purchase of the estate, for £8,810 and including Chapman's Farm, from John Skottowe and his mortgagee by William Lowndes (1734-1808). The Skottowe's mansion (Bury Hill House) was demolished. The grounds were added to those of the Lowndes' house, The Bury.

The 19th Century

The park was let for agricultural use in turn to Moses Hearn, William Weedon, Joseph Field,

C. Archer and George Marshall.

1836 Several trees were blown down during a hurricane in November 1836 and many others were damaged so badly that they had to be removed for public safety.

1842 The enlarged section of the Tithe Map, covering the town centre, shows that the park did not then stretch right up to Park Road at the northern end of the pond. The small scale main map shows the Lower and Upper Park as two separate fields, but they must have been closely linked since they are recorded in the Schedule as a single unit of 55 acres.

1845 The Elm Avenue was felled and replanted with single rows of elms by William Lowndes (1807-1864). At this time the park was still essentially an area of grazing. There were rushes at the margins of the pond and, on the east boundary, small fields separating it from the rear of properties in the High Street.

1890s The avenue was gravelled by William Lowndes (1834-1905).

The 20th Century

1919 Two Victory Oaks were planted as part of Chesham's Peace Celebrations.

1920 The year that the park is first mentioned in its own right, when part of the Lower Park (7.4 acres + 1.5 acres of the pond) were leased from William Frith-Lowndes, as a public recreation ground, known as Chesham Park by Chesham Urban District Council. Any rent was probably nominal.

1920s The Chesham UDC prohibited fishing in the pond and put a concrete edge around it. The island was created and planted. Two boats were placed on the pond.

1925-1930 The Avenue trees were cut back drastically.

1928 A sand area was provided for children. Swings had already been provided.

1930s The first Guide Hut was built. It was rebuilt in the early 1990s in its current form.

1932 Elm boards were put around the island to shore it up.

1934 & 1935 The water level in the pond fell significantly.

1935 An additional 20.9 acres, the rest of the Lower Park, was given by William Frith-Lowndes to Chesham UDC to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V.

1935-7 The surplus from the Silver Jubilee celebrations was used to build the Shelter (located next to the Rue de Houilles) in time for Coronation Day. Children's play equipment was provided in memory of King George V.

1947 The rose arbour was renewed.

1949 Purchase of part of the Upper Park from William Frith-Lowndes by Chesham UDC (the rest being bought by the County Council for what is now Chesham Park Community College).

1950 The Avenue was felled as it was thought to be unsafe, but after felling most of the trees were found to be healthy.

1953 William Frith-Lowndes made a gift of the reversion of the lease of the Lower Park to Chesham UDC. This included the former Lowndes' estate workers cottages which backed onto Bury Lane.

1956 A further one acre was bought and the various titles of the Chesham UDC park ownership were united.

1956 The Scented Garden was provided by Chesham Rotary, including a shelter.

1959 Catling's Farm buildings on Park Road were demolished and the grazing of cattle in the Upper Park came to an end.

1960s A paddling pool was provided by The Round Table. In later years in line with national concerns of health and safety, the pool was filled in.

1970 The ownership of the park transferred to Chesham UDC (replaced by Chesham Town Council, in 1974). Skottowes Pond was refurbished and the island rebuilt. The fountain and basin on the paved area was built in time for the town's Millenary Festival. The steps of the former rose arbour were converted to a water staircase.

1972 The park was dedicated a Public Open Space, known as Lowndes Park, entirely within the designated Greenbelt.

1972-3 The toilet block was built as a replacement of an earlier facility.

1980 The Chesham Society moved semi-mature maple trees from Chorleywood, some of which were planted along the Chartridge Lane Boundary. The Society also advised on the planting of beech trees on either side of The Avenue.

1980s The adventure playground structure was provided by The Round Table.

1983 Family Tree Planting Scheme began in the park. Over 120 trees were planted in the park to celebrate or commemorate family events between 1983 and 1993.

1986 Chesham twinned with Houilles, near Paris. The main route (The Avenue) through the park was renamed the Rue de Houilles in honour of the twinning of the two towns.

Late 1980s A skateboard ramp was installed.

1992 A Town Tree Warden was appointed. The 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession was marked by planting a Sovereign's coppice in the Upper Park.

1993 The Scented Garden was renovated by the Chesham Society and the disintegrating shelter was removed.

1996 The island in Skottowes Pond was rebuilt by Chesham Rotary.

1998 The multi-use games area was installed on the initiative of the Chesham Youth Council.

The 21st Century

2001 The Skateboard Park was installed.

2005 The toilets were replaced and upgraded.

2006 Chesham Town Council vote to submit an application to the HLF for funding major improvements to the park.

2006 Consultants were appointed to construct the elements of an application.

2007 The Friends of Lowndes Park were formed as a result of preliminary feedback from the HLF suggesting that a successful application would include the work of an active community group

2007 A steering group was formed by the town council to put together the application to the HLF.
2007 The council made an unsuccessful application to the Civic Trust for Green Flag status.
2008 Management of self‐sown oaks in the Upper Park was initiated by the Friends of Lowndes Park.
2008 The Sovereign Coppice was registered as part of the Special Trees and Woods of the
Chilterns scheme.
2008 The Council discovered that it has been unsuccessful in its application to the HLF.
2008 Following a spate of unexplained fish deaths, Tring Anglers ceased management of Skottowes Pond’s fish stocks.
2008 Lowndes Park was awarded Green Flag status by the Civic Trust and a flagpole bearing the Green Flag was erected near Skottowes Pond.
2009 The town council decided not to submit a revised bid to the HLF.
2009 The park was unsuccessful in its bid to retain Green Flag status.

News & Events

May 14, 2017
Category: News
Posted by: andrew

The next Friends of Lowndes Park working party will be on Sunday 10 December. We meet at 10am in the Archena Garden which is next to the Temperance Hall in Church Street.

Apr 17, 2014
Category: News
Posted by: andrew

The Friends have set up their own Facebook page. Please click here or go to www.facebook.com/groups/friendsoflowndespark You will need to sign in.

Apr 12, 2014
Category: News
Posted by: andrew
The Friends of Lowndes Park are quite often approached about who to contact to hire the Guide Hut. We suggest you call Kate Webber  on 01494 773359

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website: Robert Craig