Saturday, 1 April 2017

Great Little Bus Routes: The 353

The 353 bus scooped me up from Gerrards Cross and on a warm Spring morning, carrying me home to Beaconsfield.

We trundled down through Chalfont St Peter village with its take-aways, a community centre and a co-op and various shops. Since the building of Gerrards Cross railway station in the late 1800’s century, the population of Chalfont St Peter increased dramatically, making it now one of the largest villages in the UK.

Then on to Chalfont St Giles, the parish church of St Giles, rises up from behind the village green: Norman architecture, a pretty lychgate, and iron cannon balls embedded in the stone, believed to have been fired by Oliver Cromwell's troops when they camped in the neighbouring field, kicking back after the Battle of Aylesbury.

During the Great Plague in 1665, John Milton withdrew to Chalfont St Giles, to finish off Paradise Lost. We passed Milton's cottage; it is open to the public if you fancy it.

Seer Green is the next village.  The "Seer" is derived from the Norman French for "dry or arid place". Since those times several private swimming pools have been built in grounds ofthe larger houses in the village.

In manorial rolls of 1223 it was called La Sere, (much grander) although local legend has it that the ‘Seer’ refers to King Arthur's Court visiting the area and locals consulting his seer. Believe what you choose. More importantly Val Doonican, Frederick Forsyth, and Jon Anderson, musician and lead singer of Yes all have made homes in Seer Green. Again, it is a handy place for the train to London.