History of Long Crendon Courthouse
Long Crendon Courthouse was built in the 15th century. The upper room was used as a Manor Court, and from the 18th century the lower rooms were often used to house the local poor.
Long Crendon Courthouse is constructed from an oak timber frame of five bays with brick infill on a stone base. The jettied upper story was a common feature of buildings from this period and provides extra space.
Decorative features include the curved-braces in the east bay in the ‘Wealden’ manner and alternating queen-strut and collar trusses in the large upper room. The roof is made of old tiles and, apart from the north side, the building has been lime-washed.
Situated on the High Street and adjacent to the Parish Church, the Courthouse was likely constructed in the late 15th as shown by dendrochronology (the dating of timbers).
The upper room was used as a Manor Court and these historically took place annually at Long Crendon on the Thursday of Whit week. The day would be rounded off with a dinner served from the kitchen below.
The Manor Courts continued to be held by successive owners until the 1900s. It is also possible that the building was used as a wool store as it has previously been known as the ‘Staple Hall’.
Following the Poor Law Act of 1601, and from as early as 1603, the ground floor was often used to house the parish poor people. This floor contained five rooms and a kitchen.
The Courthouse has also been used by the local Sunday School, society meetings, and as the Church storehouse.
By the mid-19th century, the ground floor was in a state of disrepair and despite attempts by the local Reverend to have the building repaired, by the 1890s the whole building had fallen into decay.
Following a fundraising campaign that achieved more than £400, the National Trust purchased the Courthouse in 1900, and saved it from being demolished. Long Crendon Courthouse was only the second property to be acquired by the National Trust. The building was restored and repaired in 1901.
The upper floor is open to the public on selected dates throughout the year. The ground floor is tenanted.
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