21 July 2013

Taking the Chiltern Hundreds

Watlington lies close to the ancient Icknield Way, and was likely in settlement from the sixth century. The little town was famous in the nineteenth century for the large number of its inns. Methodist George Wilkinson alone bought up and closed six, in a religiously-inspired effort to limit human enjoyment.

The Watlington and Princes Risborough Railway opened in 1872, but closed to passengers in 1957. The Chinnor and Princes Risborough Railway preserves that section of the line between those two places, which ran until 1989 to carry cement.

Historical note: MPs are not allowed to resign from the House of Commons. Persons appointed to Crown offices of profit may not be MPs. Thus, a legal fiction provides a get-out, in that MPs wishing to resign are appointed to such a post, for as little as part of a day. The two offices currently employed for this purpose are the Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds of Stoke, Desborough and Burnham, and the same of the Manor of Northstead.

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