The_Vache Latitude and Longitude:

51°38′24″N 0°33′42″W / 51.6401°N 0.5618°W / 51.6401; -0.5618
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The Vache

The Vache is an estate near Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, England. Located within the estate is a monument dedicated to the memory of Captain James Cook (1728–1779), the explorer. It has been owned or occupied by, among others, Hester and George Fleetwood, regicide of Charles I. [1]


The Vache was the family seat of the Fleetwoods. Thomas Fleetwood , the younger son of a provincial family, made his fortune by serving in the London Mints (as comptroller, assayer, commissioner for new coinage, under treasurer, etc.) He was granted the family's arms on 4 July 1548 [2] The profits from the appointments enabled him to buy the Vache in 1564. [2] He was a Member (MP) of the Parliament of England for Buckinghamshire in 1563 and was pricked High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire for 1564–65. [3] The Vache estate passed to the second of his sons, George Fleetwood (1564-1620), also an MP. [4]

The estate descended via George's son Charles (died 1628) to another George Fleetwood (1623–1672), a major-general and one of the regicides of King Charles. [5] [nb 1] In 1660 George Fleetwood was found guilty of killing the king, and although his life was spared, his estate of The Vache was confiscated and given to the then Duke of York, the future King James II. [6] His wife, Hester Fleetwood and their children would have been homeless, but they were allowed to remain until George's mother, Anne Fleetwood, died in 1673. [7]

North Side of The Vache in 1905

The Vache (then spelled Vatche) was part of the dowry of Mary Margaret Alston, who married Rev Dr Francis Hare at St Paul's Cathedral in 1728. The couple lived there, bringing up their seven children while the bishop wrote the books that made his name. He died in 1740 and was buried in a mausoleum in the local church. Their eldest son, Robert (named after Robert Walpole), had the Vache settled on him when he came of age; it is mentioned in his 1752 marriage settlement with Sarah Selman. [8] He became a Prebendary Canon of Winchester Cathedral, and, as he also owned Herstmonceux Castle, nearer to the city, he decided to sell the Vache in the 1770s. [9] The estate was acquired by Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser. [10] Following Palliser's death in 1796, the building passed to his son and was then sold to Thomas Allen in 1826; the house passed down the Allen family until it was sold to James Robertson in 1902. [11]

After the Second World War, homelessness and overcrowding sparked a nationwide movement of squatting. One of the first of these occurred at The Vache in September 1946. The leader was an ex-Commando, John Mann, of Chalfont St. Giles, who had been sharing a small cottage with his wife, his five-year-old son, and ten strangers. At the local pub one night, Mann heard a Polish captain say that a deserted army camp at nearby Vache Park was being readied for Polish soldiers of General Władysław Anders's army in exile. Mann decided to get there first. [12] At dawn, he and a handful of homeless veterans bloodlessly routed three Polish guards and seized Vache Park. Next day, 120 families had moved into the spacious army huts. After a flurry of resistance, local authorities capitulated. [12]

Captain James Cook monument

Captain James Cook monument

The Vache is the site of a monument to Captain James Cook, erected by Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser. [13]

'To the memory of Captain James Cook/the ablest and most renowned Navigator this or any country hath produced', 'He raised himself solely by his merit/from a very obscure birth, to the rank/of a Post Captain in the Royal Navy, and/was unfortunately killed by the Savages/of the island Owhyee on the 14th of/February 1779 ... [13]


  1. ^ Some older sources such as Dictionary of National Biography (1889) "Fleetwood, George, Volume xix" pp. 265,266 state that George Fleetwood was the son of Sir Georg Fleetwood, knt., of the Vache, near Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, and Catherine, daughter of Henry Benny of Waltham, Essex; and that in the will of Sir George Fleetwood, who died December 1620, George Fleetwood is described as his third son, but Edward and Charles, his elder brothers, appear to have died without issue. While John Bernard Burke publishing in the 1830s lists George Fleetwood (regicide) as a brother of Charles Fleetwood (parliamentary general), and George Fleetwood (Swedish general) as their uncle, brother of Sir William who is listed as their father (John Burke, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions Or High Official Rank: But Uninvested with Heritable Honours, Volume 4, Colburn, 1838. p. 522)—This is unlikely as Burk's family tree does not explain how George the regicide came to inherit (and lose) the Vache when there were others closer in line to inherit the estate, but several other old sources also include this relationship, for example Mark Noble (1798) in The Lives of the English Regicides: And Other Commissioners of the Pretended High Court of Justice, Appointed to Sit in Judgement Upon Their Sovereign, King Charles the First, Volume I, p. 243.


  1. ^ David Plant, George Fleetwood, Regicide, bap.1623, the British Civil Wars and Commonwealth website
  2. ^ a b Burke, John (1838). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank, but uninvested with heritable honours. Vol. 4. London: Henry Colburn. p. 522.
  3. ^ Davidson, Alan (1982), "Fleetwood, Thomas (1517/18-70), of London, The Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks. and Rossall, Lancs.", in Bindoff, S.T. (ed.), Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, Boydell and Brewer
  4. ^ "FLEETWOOD, George (c.1564-1620), of The Vache, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks. | History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  5. ^ Christopher Durston, "Fleetwood, George, appointed Lord Fleetwood under the protectorate (bap. 1623, d. in or after 1664)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 16 November 2009
  6. ^ Firth, C.H. (1889). "Fleetwood, George (fl.1650?)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 19. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 265–266.
  7. ^ Lewin, C. G. (23 September 2004). "Fleetwood [née Smyth], Hester (d. 1714), compiler of recipes". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 1 (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/ref:odnb/56073. ISBN  978-0-19-861412-8. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  8. ^ "Release and Settlement on the marriage of Robert Hare with Sarah Selman". The National Archives. 18 November 1752. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  9. ^ Hare, Augustus John Cuthbert (1877). Memorials of a Quiet Life (14th ed.). pp. 77–84.
  10. ^ "The Cook Monument". Captain Cook Society. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Parishes: Chalfont St. Giles, in A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3, ed. William Page". London. 1925. pp. 184–193. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Squatters Camp at The Vache in 1946". Chalfont St Giles village website. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  13. ^ a b Memorial M1775, public memorials to seafarers and victims of maritime disaster, National Maritime Museum

51°38′24″N 0°33′42″W / 51.6401°N 0.5618°W / 51.6401; -0.5618