The Bull and Butcher
The Bull and Butcher
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historyturville

History of Turville

History of the Bull and Butcher >>

The village lies in one of the many valleys which lead down to the Thames river, a valley which has witnessed many events in history but has itself changed little in a thousand years.

There is little evidence of settlement in the Chiterns in pre-Roman times apart from that on the northern escarpment and in the Thames Valley. The Romans occupies the fertile valley sites and settled no nearer to Turville than Wycombe to the east and Hambleden to the south. It is in the Anglo-Saxon period that we find the first evidence of settlement, and it is not until the year 796 AD that the first definite fact emerges. In that year, Egfrid, son of Offa who was king of Mercia, which the county was then named, gave lands in Turville to St Albans Abbey, so it is certain that some land was by then farmed here.

Village History

Professor Ekwall in the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names interprets then name of the village as Therfield, two Anglo-Saxon words meaning dry open field. Like so many village names, Turville has had several spelling variations – Thyrefeld in 1240, Turfeld in 1445, and as late as 1766 Turfield; not until 1826 is it recorded as Turville. The second syllable is derived from the same word – veldt – that the Dutch took with them to South Africa.

It is impossible to say exactly when the first church was built. We can be certain that there was a church in the 12th century, but whether or not there was an earlier church on this site will never be known. Offa was the king of Mercia from 757. In 779 he finally defeated the West Saxons at Benson about 6 miles from Turville. In 793 he founded the Monastry at St. Albans for 100 Benedictine Monks. He died in 796 in which year his son Ecgfrith was anointed King of the Mercians, the first recorded consecration of an English King. In 796, he granted the lands at Turville to the Monks at St. Albans. The first vicar of Turville recorded on the roll in the Church porch was a Benedictine Monk from St. Albans called Elias in 1228.

Much of the present day architecture dates back to the 16th century, with St Mary the Virgin church being the main feature at the head of the village.  Just up on the ridge is Cobstone Windmill – famous for its feature in the popular movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  The windmill was restored to guest accommodation in the late 70’s, a much needed overhaul since its active use as a provider of flour for the village.  Only 32 households live in Turville which adds to the quaintness, and untouched feeling of real rural England. Pace of life is slow, with an abundance of wildlife and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turville is a perfect day out to experience real English cottages, rolling green hills, real English pub and traditional English pub food and real ale.

History of Bull & Butcher

Built in 1550 the Bull and Butcher is a listed grade 2 building in a conservation area of outstanding natural beauty set deep in a beautiful valley of Chilterns Hills. The name 'The Bull and Butcher' or 'Bullen Butcher' stems from Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn. The 'Bull and' or 'Bullen' coming from Ann Bullen as she was known before going to the French court and the 'Butcher', well that speaks for itself!

Despite being built in 1550, it wasn't until 1617 after workmen on the church threatened to lay down tools if no refreshments were provided, and thus the license was issued to sell liquor. The owner supplied ale and food for the workmen and the pub was born. It subsequently became known as the 'Bullen Butcher'.
Although the pub has had many landlords over the centuries, little is known in the local area about the history of the landlords, but one landlord stands out from the rest, Lacey Beckett, once landlord of the Bull and Butcher, back in 1942, he shot his wife and dog in the upstairs bedroom of the pub then took himself off into the orchard, which is now the car park, and shot himself.
There are 2 theories for why a 'normal man' in a respected position in the community would commit the double murder and suicide. One is that Mrs Beckett was having an affair with the local blacksmith. The second - the one the locals believed was a more likely explanation is that Mr Beckett became depressed. During the war, the pub was used as a shop which the Becketts ran, villagers were struggling to make ends meet, and rations were low, and there was an active black market in the nearby woods with farmers breeding more animals than 
they let on to the local authorities, then selling the extra livestock on the sly. The pressure of rationing food coupons had sent Beckett over the edge.
A photo of Beckett in a Napoleon style pose on horseback in the Bull and Butcher is 
the only reminder of Lacey Beckett in Turville, apart from his spirit which has been 
felt on more than one occasion in the Bull and Butcher.
A 50 foot well features as a table in The Well Bar, discovered during the extension in 
1999, the well was restored allowing the amazing skill of craftsmanship for all to see.  
During the 2nd World war, there was evidence of it’s use as a water supply for the village.
History of Turville
The village lies in one of the many valleys which lead down to the Thames river, a valley which has witnessed many events in history but has itself changed little in a thousand years.
There is little evidence of settlement in the Chiterns in pre-Roman times apart from that on the northern escarpment and in the Thames Valley. The Romans occupies the fertile valley sites and settled no nearer to Turville than Wycombe to the east and Hambleden to the south. It is in the Anglo-Saxon period that we find the first evidence of settlement, and it is not until 
the year 796 AD that the first definite fact emerges. In that year, Egfrid, son of Offa who was king of Mercia, which the county was then named, gave lands in Turville to St Albans Abbey, so it is certain that some land was by then farmed here.
Professor Ekwall in the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names interprets then name of the village as Therfield, two Anglo-Saxon words meaning dry open field. Like so many village names, Turville has had several spelling variations – Thyrefeld in 1240, Turfeld in 1445, and as late as 1766 Turfield; not until 1826 is it recorded as Turville. The second syllable is derived from the same word – veldt – that the Dutch took with them to South Africa.
It is impossible to say exactly when the first church was built. We can be certain that there was a church in the 12th century, but whether or not there was an earlier church on this site will never be known. Offa was the king of Mercia from 757. In 779 he finally defeated the West Saxons at Benson about 6 miles from Turville. In 793 he founded the Monastry at St. Albans for 100 Benedictine Monks. He died in 796 in which year his son Ecgfrith was anointed King of the Mercians, the first recorded consecration of an English King. In 796, he granted the lands at Turville to the Monks at St. Albans. The first vicar of Turville recorded on the roll in the Church porch was a Benedictine Monk from St. Albans called Elias in 1228.
Much of the present day architecture dates back to the 16th century, with St Mary the Virgin church being the main feature at the head of the village.  Just up on the ridge is Cobstone Windmill – famous for its feature in the popular movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  The windmill was restored to guest accommodation in the late 70’s, a much needed overhaul since its active use as a provider of flour for the village.  Only 32 households live in Turville which adds to the quaintness, and untouched feeling of real rural England. Pace of life is slow, 
with an abundance of wildlife and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turville is a perfect day out to experience real English cottages, rolling green hills, real English pub and traditional English pub food and real ale.
“ First and foremost, big thanks to the staff the way they coped with an exceptional number of diners. We were made to feel welcome and nothing was too much trouble. I will most definitely visit again!  ”
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