Haddenham, Buckinghamshire

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For the other village named Haddenham, see Haddenham, Cambridgeshire.
Haddenham duck pond and cottages-geograph-3576303-by-Roger-Davies.jpg
Duck pond and cottages, Haddenham
Haddenham is located in Buckinghamshire
 Haddenham shown within Buckinghamshire
Population 4,502 [1]
OS grid reference SP739086
Civil parish Haddenham
District Aylesbury Vale
Shire county Buckinghamshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HP17
Dialling code 01844
Police Thames Valley
Fire Buckinghamshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Buckingham
List of places

Coordinates: 51°46′16″N 0°55′41″W / 51.771°N 0.928°W / 51.771; -0.928

Haddenham is a large village and is also a civil parish within Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England. Its estimated population in 2011 was 8,385.[2] It is about 5 miles (8 km) south-west of Aylesbury and 2 miles (3 km) north-east of Thame.


The village name is Anglo-Saxon Hǣdanhām, "Hǣda's Homestead" or, perhaps Hǣdingahām, "the home of the Hadding tribe". There is an intriguing possibility that the first villagers were members of the Hadding tribe from Haddenham in Cambridgeshire. It is known that the first Anglo-Saxons to settle in the Vale of Aylesbury were followers of Cuthwulf, from Cottenham in Cambridgeshire, who marched south-west to the Thames after routing the British at the Battle of Bedcanford in 571. It was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Hedreham, but by 1142 had taken on its more modern form and was called Hedenham.

From the Norman conquest to the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries the village was in the possession of the Convent of St Andrew in Rochester. King Henry VIII gained possession of the village after the dissolution and held it until his death, after which it passed to his daughter Elizabeth I.

The village had a Royal charter as a market town between 1294 and 1301. The market was short-lived because the influential manor of Thame objected due to a significant loss in trade because of the rival market held so close by.

Astronomer William Rutter Dawes had his home and private observatory in the village from 1857 to 1868.

Haddenham was long a stronghold of radicalism and in particular of the Buckinghamshire Farm Labourers Union established in 1872 by Edward Richardson of Dinton.

Present day[edit]

Haddenham has an industrial area adjoining the small grass-strip airfield, a commercial district and a station on the Chiltern Main Line which connects Birmingham to London Marylebone. Haddenham was without a railway station from 1963 to 1987.

Fallow meadow in Haddenham with poppies

Haddenham is known nationally as one of only three wychert (or whitchet) villages. Wychert describes a method of construction using a white clay mixed with straw to make walls and buildings, which are then thatched or topped with red clay tiles. Haddenham is also renowned for its ponds which were used to breed Aylesbury ducks. Breeding has been revived recently on the pond in front of the parish church. The church, of Norman origin, is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. It was occupied by Benedictine Monks and parts of may still remain from its first building, which was Saxon. There is also a Roman Catholic church, and Baptist and Methodist Chapels. The chapels are both of whitchet construction and the latter houses the village museum in a former schoolroom to the rear of the building.

Another possibly spurious claim[by whom?] is that the Methodist Chapel dated 1822 is the largest building in the world made of whitchet (wychert). Although it (and the similarly-sized Baptist Chapel) is a sizeable Grade II listed building the most remarkable fact is the unsupported height rather than length of the walls—one of which collapsed in July 2001 but was rebuilt.[3]Haddenham Museum, which opened in 1998 is housed in the Methodist Chapel schoolroom.

Haddenham is served by Haddenham community Infant School,[4] Haddenham Junior School[5] and the voluntary aided Haddenham St Mary's Church of England School.[6] Haddenham is in the catchment area for Prince Risborough upper school and grammar schools: Aylesbury Grammar School, Aylesbury High School and Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in Aylesbury. There are four pubs: Kings Head, Rose and Thistle, Rising Sun and the Green Dragon. Two former pubs are now restaurants – the Crown is now the House of Spice (Indian) and the Wagon and Horses a Chinese (Peking Rendezvous). The former pub the Red Lion closed in 2013, alongside the peking Rendezvous (Chinese)

The Village has a butcher, a baker, a greengrocer, a barber shop, a hairdresser's and some smaller retailers. There are also a number of cafe's: Little Italy (at the station), Little Italy (Fort End) and also Tickerty Brew on the Parade. It is also home to a garden centre and a farm shop.

Haddenham is also the home of Tiggywinkles, the animal welfare charity and veterinary hospital,[7] and hosts a biannual beer festival.

Several photographers and artists are based in the village and use the beautiful surroundings as a backdrop.

Haddenham NAG[edit]

Sheerstock – a Haddenham street in 2000.

Haddenham is policed by the Haddenham and District Neighbourhood Policing team based at the police station in Waddesdon. They work co-operatively with the community via the Haddenham Neighbourhood action group. Representatives from the various villages in the area meet every six weeks to discuss neighbourhood priorities and to put forward plans to reduce crime.[8]

Media and famous personalities[edit]

The village has been used as the backdrop for a number of television programmes including Jeeves and Wooster and eight episodes of Midsomer Murders.

The village also appears in the second Muppet film, The Great Muppet Caper. Having been forced to fly in the airplane's baggage hold, Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo are thrown out of the plane and land in Haddenham's Church End pond.

Haddenham was the birthplace of British composer Doreen Carwithen.

Haddenham in transition[edit]

The village has an active transition group, part of the Transition network and organises various activities to improve the community's resilience and awareness of the changes to living standards, energy and resource security. The group was origninally called Transition Thame and District but in autumn 2010 refocussed on Haddenham and in February 2011 became officially recognised as a transition initiative.

The group runs and attends a number of events each year including apple pressing, Homemade in Haddenham, free thermal imaging surveys, a local food group and bulk purchase of solar photovoltaic panels. In November 2011 the group hosted the Transition Training course with the generous support of Midcounties Co-operative. Monthly meetings are held at the Rose and Thistle pub, just around the corner from the village green.


External links[edit]