Victorian Tour

Willen Vicarage

The vicarage occupied by the Rev. John Benthall in 1881 was built by the Busby Trust in 1720. The picture, which was painted by John Benthall's sister (probably Louisa) in 1856, shows it to be a handsome Georgian building set in pretty gardens. It also had a fine view across the Ouzel valley, which Louisa also painted. There were a number of outbuildings including: stables, coach house, cowhouse, wash house, privvy, piggery, and brewhouse, where beer could be made.
John Benthall lived here with quite a few of his relatives as well as several servants. The picture shows his mother Mary and aunt, Margaret Eleanora Admonition Benthall, picking flowers in the garden. In 1881, the census tells us that the household comprised: John aged 75, his (second) wife Frances (68), Ann Harding (43) the parlourmaid, Mary Packwood (29) the cook and Louisa West (24) the housemaid. The vicarage was destroyed by a fire in 1946.
Watercolour from Willen Parish File, CRO Aylesbury