On 26th October Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake entertained the Rotary Club of Great Missenden with a talk on 'The Drakes of Amersham'. The Tyrwhitt Drake family and Shardeloes are intermingled as far back as the 1500s. In 1595 William Tothill bought two small properties, Shardeloes and Woodrow. Their son William was made a baronet and purchased the Manor of Agmodesham (Amersham) in 1665 from the Earl of Bedford. A descendant, William Drake, who was MP for Amersham for 50 years, ordered the demolition of the original house. It was replaced during 1758 – 1767 by neoclassical mansion which still dominates the Misbourne Valley west of Amersham. The initial builder of Shardeloes was Stiff Leadbetter and when he died Robert Adam was asked to improve the plans for the building. The Tyrwhitt Drakes tombs and monuments are in the Drake Chapel in St Mary’s Church, Amersham, The family took the name of Tyrwhitt Drake in the eighteenth century in order to inherit land in Lincolnshire. The last member of the family to live at Shardeloes was Thomas Tyrwhitt Drake (1893 – 1956).The House was requisitioned as a maternity hospital in 1939. After the War Shardeloes was threatened with demolition local campaigners ensured that it was converted into flats in 1958. The Drakes owned many houses, inns and buildings in Amersham Town. They provided the almshouses in the High Street, and. Sir William Drake provided the Market Hall in 1682. Thomas (1817-1888), was heavily involved in foxhunting. The estate passed from Thomas William to his brother, William Wykeham Tyrwhitt Drake (1851-1919), who was Master of both the Old Berkeley and Bicester Hunt prior to WW1. His eldest son Herbert “Jack”, a keen amateur jockey, died in 1915.  

Jack Tyrwhitt-Drake was born on 10 October 1885 and was almost the black sheep of the family. He was first introduced to horses and riding at Shardeloes. By the age of 19 Jack was an amateur jockey and  in 1913 he was third the Grand National. In August 1914, Jack signed up as a trooper with the 19th (Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal ) Hussars. 

In 1915 he sailed for France where the weather was bad.The squadron was not in action at the front line. While there, Jack was taken ill with a heavy cold and transferred to the General Hospital in Boulogne, though this is not recorded in the War Diaries. Herbert William (Jack) Tyrwhitt-Drake died of pneumonia on 11 March 1915, aged 29. He was awarded The Allied Victory Medal, The British War Medal, 1914-18 and The 1914-15 Star

Capt Thomas Tyrwhitt-Drake (1893-1956), who had won the Military Cross twice in WWI, but after being injured in a hunting Capt Thomas Tyrwhitt-Drake (1893-1956), who had won the Military Cross twice in WWI, but after being injured in a hunting accident in Iraq in 1924, was confined to a wheelchair. He lived at Shardeloes until 1939 and is still remembered locally as ‘The Squire’. He was succeeded by his brother Francis in 1956 and today his son William, who lives in Hampshire, is still Lord of the Manor of Amersham.



Return to Home Page