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Amersham; an English Market Town

Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England

(unpublished), Nicholas Salmon 1991.


Prior to the mid-eighteenth Century brewing was largely a household occupation, with individual families, farmers and publicans brewing primarily for their own private consumption. Monastic foundations also brewed beer and it has been suggested that the first large-scale brewing enterprise was undertaken by monks affiliated to St. Mary's Church. According to T. A. Goss writing in the 1930s, "Tradition has handed down that the Brewery building, with the Old Malt House, in the Broadway, were used by the monks from about 1425 onwards for the making of malt from which the beer was brewed" (A History of Amersham, by T. A. Goss, (unpublished, c.1935), p.24). Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support the existence of such a brewery, or, for that matter, a monastic foundation, and it is probable that most of the town's beer was brewed by Brewing Victuallers of which 48,421 were recorded nationwide in 1750 (The Transformation of England, by Peter Mathias, (Methuen, 1979), p.231).

The first authentic reference to the Amersham Brewery occurs in an entry for the 17 April 1735 in the Court Baron Rolls for the Manor of Amersham Rectory. In this entry Sir William Drake is recorded as having been fined 5s for having illegally erected a brewhouse "on ye Lord's waste over ye River" from St. Mary's Church. The site of this illegal brewery was on that of the present building, and the brewhouse was probably nothing more than the reconstruction of an existing sixteenth-century building - possibly the Malt Mill recorded in 1504 - already in existence on the site. This is partly confirmed by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments report on the building undertaken in 1912 (Royal Commission on historical Monuments: Buckinghamshire, Volume I, (HMSO, 1912), p.3). In this report a number of sixteenth century features are identified which could easily have been adapted from an earlier building. These included an early brick chimney stack at the south end, and the remains of some interesting arched panels on the joists in both the east and west sides. In addition an early sixteenth century stone fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels located On the first floor also looked as though it might have been incorporated from an earlier structure.

[Map of Amersham]

Other related content: The Weller brewery (1771-1791), The Weller brewery (1783-1929),

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