Built in 1550, The Bull And Butcher is a listed grade 2 building in a conservation area of outstanding natural beauty. The building is set deep in the beautiful Chilterns Hills, and our name stems from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. As well as 'The Bull And Butcher', we’ve also been known as the Bullen Butcher. The 'Bullen’ comes from Ann Bullen, which is what Anne Boleyn was known as before going to the French court. The 'Butcher' part speaks for itself!
The village lies in the Hambeldon valley that leads down to the Thames River. While this valley has witnessed many events in history, it hasn’t changed much in over a thousand years.
There is little evidence of settlement in the Chilterns in pre-Roman times apart from that on the northern escarpment and in the Thames Valley. The Romans occupied the fertile valley sites and settled no nearer to Turville than Wycombe to the east and Hambleden to the south. It is in the Anglo-Saxon period that we find the first evidence of settlement, and it is not until the year 796 AD that the first definite fact emerges. In that year, Egfrid, son of Offa who was king of Mercia, which the county was then named, gave lands in Turville to St Albans Abbey, so it is certain that some land was by then farmed here.
Professor Ekwall in the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names interprets then name of the village as Therfield, two Anglo-Saxon words meaning dry open field. Like so many village names, Turville has had several spelling variations – Thyrefeld in 1240, Turfeld in 1445, and as late as 1766 Turfield; not until 1826 is it recorded as Turville. The second syllable is derived from the word “veldt”, taken by the Dutch to South Africa.
It is impossible to say exactly when the first church was built. We can be certain that there was a church in the 12th century, but whether or not there was an earlier church on this site will never be known. Offa was the king of Mercia from 757. In 779 he finally defeated the West Saxons at Benson about 6 miles from Turville. In 793 he founded the Monastery at St. Albans for 100 Benedictine Monks. He died in 796 in which year his son Ecgfrith was anointed King of the Mercians, the first recorded consecration of an English King. In 796, he granted the lands at Turville to the Monks at St. Albans. The first vicar of Turville recorded on the roll in the Church porch was a Benedictine Monk from St. Albans called Elias in 1228.
Much of the present day architecture dates back to the 16th century, with St Mary the Virgin church being the main feature at the head of the village. Just up on the ridge is Cobstone Windmill – famous for its feature in the popular movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The windmill was restored to guest accommodation in the late 70s, a much needed overhaul since its active use as a provider of flour for the village. Only 32 households live in Turville which adds to the quaintness, and untouched feeling of real rural England.
Pace of life is slow, with an abundance of wildlife and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turville is a perfect day out to experience real English cottages, rolling green hills, cosy pubs, and traditional real ales.