The Finmere Record

The Finmere Record


Millennium History of Finmere 
Published at Last!

We decided to write a Millennium History in the autumn of 1996 in a memorable meeting on the lawn of The King’s Head (now with planning permission to be converted to housing and more appropriately named The King is Dead). None of us had written a local history before and some of us, myself especially, knew little about Finmere.

Research for the history took me to the intellectual heart of Oxford, the concrete jungle of Aylesbury and, most memorably, the freeways of Los Angeles where I worked in the beautiful setting of the Huntington Library.

Local contributions have been just as important and our thanks are extended to all those who provided photographs and memories.

The text of the History was complete by Christmas 2000 but we were not prepared for the length of time needed for editing, designing and printing. This could have become a full-time job but inevitably had to take second place to earning a living.

We decided some time ago that we would produce a legacy for future villagers, as well as a Millennium celebration. We hope that you are enjoying reading the book and think it has been worth the wait.

Andy Boddington, August 2001

What Next?: AGM 13 September 2001

Finmere and Little Tingewick Historical Society was established in 1996 with the following purpose:

To research the history of Finmere and Little Tingewick with the aim of producing a new history for the Millennium.

We set out four specific aims

1. The Society is principally a researching organisation, dedicated to exploring the history of Finmere.

2. The Society wishes to encourage as many people as possible to research all aspects of Finmere history and to communicate the results to villagers and others.

3. The Society is also a social organisation that believes that history is a common interest that increases the sense of community in the village.

4. The Society takes responsibility for ensuring that all new data it collects and collates is lodged with the appropriate public archives for the benefit of future generations.

The focus on research, however, meant that the active membership of our Society got smaller and smaller. and that meetings became private and irregular. Now we have completed the Millennium History, it is time to review what the Society should do in the future. One option is to become a “conventional” history society, with a membership and open talks from visiting speakers. We will be discussing this over wine and cheese at our AGM on 13 September; 7.30 pm at the Village Hall. Please come along and join us.

The Book Launch

The Millennium History was quietly launched at FOFSA Fayre at the end of June. Fred Tew, one of our oldest residents, received the first copy.

A photographer from the Buckingham Advertiser records accepting the first copy from Ian Hudson, Chairman of FHS.

Our thanks to Anita Bilbo and others who helped deliver the book to villagers after the Fayre.

Would You Like to Buy More Copies?

Copies are available at a price of £12; add £3 if you would like it to be posted outside Finmere, Tingewick or Buckingham. To buy copies, telephone Anita Bilbo: 01280 848382 or email:

Coming Soon

We may have published a history book but we haven’t run out of history. I will be taking a year away from history research to concentrate on expanding my company but there is enough material in hand for half-a-dozen newsletters. In the coming months, we will be featuring stories of King John, the Symes-Thompsons of Finmere House and Aintree racecourse.

And Now the Apologies

We wish to correct any errors, omissions or follies in the Millennium History through notices in this Newsletter, our website and in any new edition of the book. Let us know if you spot any errors. It is time to make a start with the corrections…

Minor Error

We were consistently inaccurate in describing Falcons Hethe House as Falcon Hethe.

Medium Error

Thanks to everyone who has spotted that the 13.15 pm departure for Marylebone Station should have been departing from page 42, not page 43. Transpose the photographs on these pages and it all makes sense.

Rather Larger Error

“Responsibility for any remaining errors lies with the editor, Andy Boddington.” Thus it is written on page 6 of the Millennium History and dutifully I fall on my beer glass and take the blame. We forgot to mention our sponsors. To publish the book, we needed just over £2,200. The funds came from:

Parish Council: £975
Private Donors: £500
Pre-publication Sales: £500
History Society: £300

We wish to record our particular thanks to the Parish Council and the private donors, without whom publication and distribution of free copies would have been impossible. And we should have recorded this in the book…

You Only Live Twice (in Finmere)… 
Or So It Seems

During a US space mission, a manned American rocket mysteriously disappears while in orbit. A British tracking station records that the space craft came down near the Sea of Japan and James Bond is sent to investigate. But when the Soviets lose one of their space craft in similar circumstances, Secret Agent 007, played by Sean Connery, has only a few days to locate the launch site and prevent the outbreak of World War III.

This preposterous but popular Bond movie was repeated on television a couple of months ago and, despite the story being set in Japan, there was something rather familiar about one film sequence.

Helga Brandt, played by Karin Dor, works for SPECTRE, James Bond’s traditional enemy. Bond is captured by SPECTRE and, after the usual seduction, Brandt offers to fly him to safety in her Cessna plane. She double-crosses him and parachutes from the plane, leaving him to die when the plane crashes. Unfortunately for her, Bond survives and she is eventually fed to piranhas by the head of SPECTRE, Blofeld, played by Donald Pleasence.

Bond crash lands Brandt’s Cessna in Japan. Filmed at Finmere Airfield in 1967

Now look more closely at that parachute and crash sequence. The fields below look curiously English and are certainly not Japanese. The makers of this $9.5 million dollar movie were clearly cutting costs and the crash sequence was filmed in England. Brandt is shown bailing out over Finmere and the Cessna circles over Tingewick and Finmere before crash landing on Finmere Airfield. Did any cinema-goers notice this? I doubt it.

This is the fifth in an occasional series of the Finmere Record.