What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Chalfont St. Giles
HOME OF MILTON
=How to get there.=–Train from Baker Street. Metropolitan Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Chalfont Road (2-1/2 miles from Chalfont St. Giles). An omnibus runs between the village and the station during the summer months. =Distance from London.=–23-3/4 miles. =Average Time.=–51 minutes. (Convenient trains, 10.27 A.M., 12.17 and 2.27 P.M.)
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 3s. 2d. 2s. 4d. 1s. 7d. Return 4s. 9d. 3s. 5d. 2s. 5d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The Merlin’s Cave Inn,” etc.
This pretty little Buckinghamshire village has become almost as celebrated as its neighbour Stoke Poges, on account of having been the home of John Milton. The poet’s cottage is the last on the left side at the top of the village street. As one may see from the illustration, it is a very picturesque, half-timbered house, whose leaded windows look into a typical country garden. In 1887 a public subscription was raised and the cottage was purchased. Visitors are therefore able to see the interior as well as the exterior of Milton’s home, which, it should be mentioned, is the only one existing to-day of the various houses he occupied. For those who are not residents in the parish a charge of sixpence is made for admission. The poet’s room, which is on the right on entering, is rather dark, and has a low ceiling. One notices the wide, open fireplace where the white-bearded old man would sit in winter days, and the lattice-paned windows through which in summer-time came the humming of bees and the scent of the flowers growing in the old-fashioned garden. The pleasant indications of his surroundings must have been a great solace to the blind old man. In these simple surroundings one must picture Milton dictating his stately verse, with his thoughts concentrated on the serried ranks of the hosts of heaven.
Milton came to Chalfont in 1665, in order to escape from the plague. His eldest daughter was at that time about seventeen years of age, and as she and her sisters are supposed to have remained with their father until about 1670, it is probable that they came to Chalfont with him.
The church of Chalfont St. Giles has a Norman font, and there are other traces of Norman work in the bases of the pillars and elsewhere. The south wall of the nave and the north chapel are specially interesting on account of their frescoes.
[Illustration: MILTON’S COTTAGE, CHALFONT ST. GILES.
Milton moved here from London in 1665, to avoid the Plague.]