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A brief history of Chichley Hall
In 1525 Cardinal Wolsey annexed the 'superfluous monastic house' of Tickford, at Newport Pagnell and endowed the Oxford college of his foundation, Christ Church, with it's possessions. These included Chicheley but at Wolsey's fall from Royal grace the interests then reverted to the Crown. Having earlier purchased local lands from a fellow merchant, Anthony Cave then petitioned for the Chicheley grant and on December 5th., 1545, he acquired - for a suitable payment - a conditional award of the Chicheley rectory
and manors. At Chicheley he then made his home, constructing a family mansion said, by tradition, to have been in the form of 'a hollow square'. Several memorials to Anthony and his family may be seen in the village church and by his descendants Chicheley Hall next passed to the Chester family. During the Civil War, since Anthony Chester was an ardent Royalist the Parliamentary garrison at Newport Pagnall sacked and plundered the mansion and left it in ruinous condition. Therefore the present mansion dates from 1719, built for Sir John Chester. Several features are of note including a 'secret library'' in which - in a seemingly ordinary panelled room - the panels open to reveal cupboards for book shelves. In due course, by marital descent, Chicheley Hall came to Sir Charles Bagot Chester and - amidst much litigation - all of his interests in Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, by his will of 1755, were alienated to Charles Bagot, on the condition that he assumed the name and arms of Chester. This he did and coming to live at Chicheley Hall, there the poet William Cowper would often visit him. In 1952, Chicheley Hall passed from the Chester descendants to the second Earl Beatty, the son of the World War One naval hero David Beatty and appropriate memorabilia, commemmorating his career, came to placed in the Hall. In recent years Chicheley Hall has played host to several famous visitors, from Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to the Queen Mother.
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