Princes Risborough is a very old
town, that may have been occupied as far back as the Romans.
When their dominance in Britain ended in 410AD the Danes and
the Saxons moved in around 871 AD when the Danish army came
along the historic Upper Icknield Way. The earliest recorded
reference to the ancient Whiteleaf Cross dates back to 1738,
but a drawing in 1742 described it as "Crux Saxonica"
perhaps referring to a history stretching back to the Saxon
the Norman Conquest the Domesday Book refers to the town as
"Riseburg". It belonged to Earl Harold, then William
the Conqueror, and in 1343 passed to Edward the Black Prince,
where a pub there is now named after him. What used to be his
palace was called Court Close, then The Mount and finally Stratton
Road car park near to the church. Evidence suggests that Henry
VI owned the manor in the 15th century during the time of the
war between his army and Joan of Arc and the site was likely
to have been occupied until the early 18th century.
1523 Henry VIII allowed for there to be a weekly market and
two annual fairs which are still held in the spring and in the
Elizabeth stayed at what is now known as the Manor House situated
next to the church but was once Brooke House in the mid 17th
century. A man named John Grubb bought the manor in 1766 and
it was eventually sold to the Rothschild family and then given
to the National Trust in 1925. One of the most striking things
about the Manor House is its beautiful Jacobean oak staircase
which can still be seen today.
It was John Grubb's grand -nephew
who developed and improved the Market House in 1824. It was
initially timber-framed but this was altered after 1766.
The ancient church tower which
had been built in 1552 collapsed at the beginning of the 19th
century. It destroyed the tower as well as the church roof.
Other changes during this century included the enclosure of
the the fields in 1823 which really seemed to begin to transform
Princes Risborough and to shape it into the town it is today.
Industry developed when in 1862
the railway and the gasworks were built. Schools were also built
in line with the increasing awareness for the need for education.
Both Monks Risborough, once known as East Risborough, and Princes
Risborough were announced as one civil parish in 1934.
Princes Risborough's population
has grown in size, from 2418 in 1883 to almost 9000 today and
many of the changes to the town have been to accommodate this
rise in housing development.