The 19th Century

By the start of the 19th century a manor estate, together with the associated farming community, was well established at Lee.  

The government census of 1801, recorded 150 people living in 30 houses in Lee. In 1798 the ‘Posse Comitatus’ also listed 34 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in the village.

In 1806 Lee was described as: 

“LEE, in the hundred of Aylesbury and deanery of Windsor, lies about three miles to the south-west of Wendover. The manor is the property of Henry Deering esq. in right of his wife, heiress of the family of Plaistowe, for whom there are some memorials in the parish church, formerly a chapel of ease to Weston-Turville.” 

Magna Britannia

By the mid 1800’s, the population of the village had risen to nearly two hundred and, in 1847: 

“LEE or LEE CHAPEL, is a small hamlet, situated on very much elevated ground, between Great Missenden and Weston Turville. It was and continues to be a hamlet, chiefly consisting of detached houses and cottages, here and there interspersed with some of a superior description, chiefly of modern erection, and one of which is called Lee Cottage, and is the residence of the principal landed proprietor and near the site of which is a farm called the Manor Farm.” 

George Lipscomb in ‘The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham’

With a growing population in Lee, and in the other nearby hamlets, a new village church dedicated to St. John the Baptist was built in the late 1860’s. It was built adjacent to the ancient chapel, which was also retained and remains consecrated to this day. The chapel is nowadays referred to as The Lee Old Church.

Also to serve this growing community, in 1873 the ‘new’ Lee Common National School was opened. It co-existed for a time with the older British School at Lee Clump, until this school closed in 1883, prompting an extension to the Lee Common school. 

Part of the British School was then converted to a Baptist chapel led by local man, James Pearce. James had a ‘vision’ in 1870 and devoted the remainer of his life to the church, becoming known as ‘Holy Jim Pearce’.

Finally, towards the end of the 19th Century, as mechanisation began to become more widespread in farming, there was the start of a population movement from the country into nearby towns and cities. This population movement also affected Lee – by now a parish – and the population fell back again to less than 120.

It wasn’t until the turn of the century that the population of The Lee (as it was now beginning to be known) starting to rise again. This coincided with the arrival in the village of Arthur Liberty.