Hambleden is an attractive Buckinghamshire village in the Chiltern Hills, three miles north-east of Henley-on-Thames and a short distance from the River Thames. It is one of the prettiest villages in the Chilterns, with brick and flint cottages in the centre. There is a village pump in the Square which is surrounded by Georgian houses, including the Rectory, which was built in 1794. The village Post Office is also the local shop and cafe. The Stag and Huntsman Inn is long established and very dog friendly.
The Elizabethan Manor House, built in 1603 of flint and stone, is opposite the church. It is the former home of Lord Cardigan who led the ill fated Charge of the Light Brigade. He was born in the Manor House in 1797. Charles I stayed there overnight in 1646, when fleeing Oxford during the English Civil War.
William Henry Smith, founder of the bookshop chain W.H. Smith in 1821, lived in the village. He died in 1891 and is buried in the new cemetery. Hambleden was a village base for US soldiers during the build-up to the Normandy D-Day invasion in 1944. St. Mary the Virgin Church dates from the 14th century. The tower was built in 1721. The ceiling is intricately decorated in parts.
One mile south of Hambleden is Mill End, a small hamlet which includes the historic white timbered Hambleden Mill, a watermill on the River Thames. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book and has a weathervane on its turret. It has been converted into private flats. From here, the river can be crossed at Hambleden Lock by a narrow bridge across the Weir to the Berkshire bank of the River Thames. The Mill and Lock are featured in Jerome K. Jerome’s novel, “Three Men in a Boat”.
The village of Hambleden has appeared in numerous feature films and television programmes, including, “Chitty Chitty Bang”, “101 Dalmations”, Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow”, starring Johnny Depp, “Band of Brothers”, the TV series and “Dance with a Stranger”, which tells the story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain. Hambledon has also frequently appeared in episodes of the television detective series, “Midsomer Murders”.