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Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

 

 

CHALFONT ST GILES, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, ENGLAND
The Cook Monument

Description:
Full address is the Vache, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, HP8 4SD.
The memorial stands on a hillock, about 300 yards from the house, surrounded by a ditch or moat,  and reached by small wooden bridge, and up a flight of steps.  It is in the form of a globe on a large rectangular plinth.   Housed in a 2 storey tower of flint rubble and with red brick dressings.   Each side has an open arcade, the parapet is battlemented.   A staircase leads to the flat roof. 

History:
In 1777 Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser bought the house for his retirement.  He was an MP and Comptroller of the Navy, Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty, and Governor of Newfoundland when Cook was surveying the coast there.  He was a patron of James Cook.
Erected by Palliser in 1781 in the grounds of his Manor House.
In 1825 the estate was purchased by Thomas Allen Esq., it then passed to his son Thomas Newland Allen Esq. (1811-1899) and he was born there, and it was there he died in 1899.
The 1901 Census shows Edmund Stevens, retired timber merchant living there, and by 1911 the house was occupied by Margaret Edith Robinson, the daughter of James Shaw Robertson.
The Vache was bought by the National Coal Board as a training college from 1955-1991.
In 1956 it was suggested that the memorial be dismantled and re-erected in Australia, but the Parish Council opposed the proposal.
The Vache was then developed by the Company ‘Vache Estates Ltd’, by this time it the house was listed, and 13 dwellings were built in the grounds.  
In 1998 the house was sold with some of the land and the Cook Monument, however Vache Estates Ltd retained the footpath to the monument, which runs along the edge of the property and with access from Vache Lane.
In the late 1990’s viewing had been restricted, by lack of public access.
The Chiltern Society solicitors then led a campaign on behalf of Vache Estates Ltd – the monument had suffered a lot of vandalism, and they wished to restrict access, but in 1995 a Public Inquiry had undertaken to maintain and clear the path, with unimpeded access during daylight hours for pedestrians from Vache Lane to the Captain Cook memorial plinth and monument.  The Chiltern Society subsequently cleared the path to enable the monument to be accessed by pedestrians.
In 2004 a survey of the monument was carried out by C Wallis, C.Eng, MICE, MIOC.  Subsequently much work was undertaken to refurbish it.
In 2005 it was reported that the monument was surrounded by overgrown vegetation, and not easy to find from the path.

Inscription:

On the front:
To the memory of Captain James Cook
The ablest and most renowned Navigator this or any country hath produced.
He raised himself solely by his merit from a very obscure birth to the rank of Post Captain in the royal navy and was unfortunately killed by the Savages of the island Owhyhee on the 14th of February 1779 which island he had not long before discovered when prosecuting his third voyage round the globe.
He possessed in an eminent degree all the qualifications requisite for his profession and great undertakings together with the amiable and worthy qualities of the best men. Cool and deliberate in judging, sagacious in determining, active in executing, steady and persevering in enterprising from vigilance and unremitting caution, unsubdued by labour, difficulties, and disappointments, fertile in expedience never wanting presence of mind: always possessing himself and the full use of a sound understanding.

On the side
Mild, just, but exact in discipline he was a father to his people who were attached to him from affection and obedient from confidence.
He explored the Southern Hemisphere to a much higher latitude than had ever been reached, and with fewer accidents than frequently befall those who navigate the coasts of this island.
By his benevolent and unabating attention to the welfare of his ship's company, he discovered and introduced a system for the preservation of the health of seamen in long voyages, which has proved wonderfully efficacious for in his second voyage round the world, which continued upwards of three years, he lost only one man by distemper of one hundred and eighteen of which his company consisted. The object of his last mission was to discover and ascertain the boundaries of Asia and America, and to penetrate into the Northern Ocean by the North East Cape of Asia.
Traveller contemplate admire revere and emulate this great master in his profession, whose skill and labours have enlarged natural philosophy have extended nautical science and have disclosed the long.

On the back
concealed and admirable arrangements of the Almighty in the formation of this globe, and at the same time the arrogance of mortals, in presuming to account by their speculations for the laws by which he was pleased to create it. It is now discovered beyond all doubt that the same Great Being who created the universe by his fiat, by the same ordained our earth to keep a just poise without a corresponding Southern continent and it does so! He stretcheth out the North over the empty place and hangeth the earth upon nothing. Job XXVI7
If the arduous but exact researches of this extraordinary man have not discovered a new world they have discovered seas unnavigated and unknown before. They have made us acquainted with islands, people and productions of which we had no conception. And if he has not been so fortunate as Americus to give his name to a continent his pretensions to such a distinction remain unrivalled and he will be revered while there remains a page of his own modest account of his voyages and as long as mariners and geographers shall be

On the side
instructed, by his new map of the Southern hemisphere to trace the various courses and discoveries he has made. If public services merit public acknowledgements, if the man who adorned and raised the fame of his country is deserving of honours, then Captain COOK deserves to have a monument raised to his memory by a generous and grateful nation.
Virtutis uberrrimum alimentum est honos VAL. MAXIMUS. Lib 2. Cap 6.

GPS Coordinates: 499637, 194495
OS Grid Reference: SU99637, 94495
Latitude/Longitude: 51.6404, -0.5615

References:
Website: www.chalfontstgiles.org.uk/CookMonument.htm
Bucks Herald, Saturday 24th November 1877, p.5.
Bucks Herald, Saturday 30th July 1887,  p.6.
Bucks Herald, Saturday 18th March 1899,  p.7.
Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, Thursday 5th January 1956, p.2.
Cook’s Log, page 554, vol 10, no 4 (1987)
Cook’s Log, page 634, vol 12, no 1 (1989)
Cook’s Log, page 877, vol.15, no.4 (1992)
Cook’s Log, page 1152, vol 21, no 4 (1998)
Cook’s Log, page 12, vol 26, no.4 (2003)
Cook’s Log, Report and Survey of the Monument, page 17, vol 28, no 4 (2005)
Cook’s Log, page 22, vol 29, no 1 (2006)
Cook’s Log, page 36, vol 38, no 4 (2015)

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