Ellesborough cottages
Ellesborough is located in Buckinghamshire
Location within Buckinghamshire
Population820 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceSP8306
Civil parish
  • Ellesborough
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtHP17
Dialling code01296
PoliceThames Valley
AmbulanceSouth Central
UK Parliament
WebsiteEllesborough Parish Council
List of places
51°45′16″N 0°47′17″W / 51.75444°N 0.78806°W / 51.75444; -0.78806

Ellesborough is a village and civil parish in Buckinghamshire, England. The village is at the foot of the Chiltern Hills just to the south of the Vale of Aylesbury, two miles (three kilometres) from Wendover and five miles (eight kilometres) from Aylesbury. It lies between Wendover and the village of Little Kimble.

The civil parish includes the hamlets of Butlers Cross, Chalkshire, Dunsmore, North Lee and Terrick,[2] and had a population of 820 at the 2011 Census,[1] an increase from 811 at the 2001 Census.[3]

Close to Ellesborough is the Prime Minister's country residence Chequers.


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The village's name is probably derived from the Old English for "hill where asses are pastured".[4] This denotes its importance to the nearby settlements known today as The Kimbles and collectively they comprise a typical Chiltern strip parish with Ellesborough containing valuable hill pasture.

In the Domesday Book of 1086 it was recorded as Esenberge.[5] The road from Wendover to Princes Risborough, which makes a very clearly defined detour around the hill on which Ellesborough Church stands, follows the route of the Icknield Way, an ancient trackway used in the neolithic age (3000 to 1800 BC) which ran from Norfolk to Avebury in Wiltshire.

Beacon Hill

Towering over the village is the dominating Beacon Hill, with its grassy mound and lone tree, iconic amongst the Chiltern Hills when viewed from within the Aylesbury Vale.[6] It is also the site of Cymbeline's Mount, also known as Cymbeline's Castle, referred to in the Shakespeare play Cymbeline. In reality, the name refers to the British King Cunobelinus who, alongside his sons, is said to have battled at this site against the Roman Invasion of the British Isles. It is the site of a medieval motte and bailey castle.

Parish church

The parish church of St Peter and St Paul

The Church of England parish church of Saints Peter and Paul stands apart from the village, high on the hill overlooking it. The central part of the building dates from the 15th century, with extensions and restoration between 1854 and 1871. It contains 17th century memorials to Sir Robert Croke MP, his son Robert, and their family.[7]

Prime Ministers have often attended this church for Sunday morning worship when in residence at Chequers. Tony Blair, however, followed his wife and children to their Roman Catholic church in Great Missenden.[8] Margaret Thatcher was famously known to have prayed at Ellesborough church during the Falklands War.[9]

Notable people

Lady Isabella Dodd, widow of Sir Samuel Dodd, endowed workhouses in the village in her will in 1722. The Dame Isabella Dodds charity continued until 2004 and gave its name to Dame Isabella Dodds Court in Aylesbury.

Notable people who live in the village include former Formula One world champion racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart and the actor Sir David Jason.


  1. ^ a b "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Fact File 49: Ellesborough Parish" (PDF). Wycombe District Council. December 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  3. ^ "Civil Parish population 2001". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  4. ^ Mills, A. D. (2011). A Dictionary of British Place Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 173. ISBN 9780199609086. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Ellesborough | Domesday Book". opendomesday.org. Retrieved 3 October 2023.
  6. ^ Gaukroger, Claudia (1987). The Buckinghamshire village book. Newbury: Countryside Books. p. 51. ISBN 0905392809.
  7. ^ "Ellesborough Pages 137-142 An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912". British History Online.
  8. ^ "After 30 years as a closet Catholic, Blair finally puts faith before politics". The Guardian. 22 June 2007.
  9. ^ Hatts, Leigh (30 March 1997). "When the PM goes to the country..." The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2023.