Hall Barn, Beaconsfield
Beaconsfield was first mentioned in the Pope Rolls of 1185, but was spelt Bekensfeld, which is thought to mean "a clearing in the beeches"; a beech tree figures on the town's crest. Beaconsfield Manor, originally part of the manor of Burnham, was subdivided at the time into 3 estates: Hall Barn, Gregories and Whiltones, now known as Wilton Park.
In 1624, Anne Waller and her son, Edmund, acquired the lands of Hall Barn. Edmund became a famous poet and politician of the Commonwealth, but his later involvement in the Civil War and subsequent conviction for treason earned him a death sentence. This was subsequently commuted to exile abroad. Eventually, Edmund was allowed back home and is thought to have had Hall Barn built upon his return.
The house later passed into the hands of Sir Edward Levy-Lawson, who became Lord Burnham, and it remains in the family to this day.
The Chiltern Shakespeare Company is blessed with permission to turn Hall Barn's magnificent grounds into a theatre for its productions for which a covered raked seating auditorium is constructed each time.
Whilst the actors perform on an open grass stage against the backcloth of a 300 year old sculpted yew hedge, the audience sits comfortably under a tented awning, protected from any rain.
Spread across several acres of parkland leading down to the lake, this event has become a popular Chilterns institution, providing the opportunity for an enjoyable outing with family and friends, with a picnic preceding the play.