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Princes Risborough

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 times.

During 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.

In 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 autumn.

Queen 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.

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