The Vache

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The Vache is an estate near Chalfont St. Giles in Buckinghamshire. Located within the estate is a monument dedicated to the memory of Captain James Cook (1728–1779) the explorer.


Fleetwood family and King James II[edit]

The Vache was the family seat of the Fleetwood family. In 1660 George Fleetwood was found guilty of the regicide of King Charles I in January 1649, and although his life was spared, his estate of The Vache was confiscated and given to the then Duke of York, the future King James II.[1]

1946 Squatters' Camp[edit]

Post-war homelessness and overcrowding after the War sparked a nationwide movement of squatting. One of the first of these occurred at The Vache in September 1946. The leader was an ex-Commando, John Mann, of Chalfont St. Giles, who had been sharing a small cottage with his wife, his five-year-old son, and ten strangers. At the local pub one night, Mann heard a Polish captain say that a deserted army camp at nearby Vache Park was being readied for Polish soldiers of General Anders' army in exile. Mann decided to get there first.[2]

At dawn, he and a handful of homeless veterans bloodlessly routed three Polish guards and seized Vache Park. Next day, 120 families had moved into the spacious army huts. After a flurry of resistance, local authorities capitulated.[2]

Captain James Cook monument[edit]

The Vache is the site of monument to Captain James Cook erected by Admiral Hugh Palliser, a one time owner of the estate.[3] The monument consists of a globe on a plinth. Encribed on the plinth

Cook frequently visited the estate and named a South Sea island Vache Island.[4]


  1. ^  Firth, C.H. (1889). "Fleetwood, George (fl.1650?)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 19. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 265–266. 
  2. ^ a b "Squatters Camp at The Vache in 1946". Chalfont St Giles village website. 1 January 2015. Retrieved March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Memorial M1775, public memorials to seafarers and victims of maritime disaster, National Maritime Museum
  4. ^ BMC County Road Map and Gazetteer No.16 Berkshire Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire p. 94

Coordinates: 51°38′24″N 0°33′42″W / 51.6401°N 0.5618°W / 51.6401; -0.5618