Situated between Amersham and Gerrards Cross and to the south of the Chilterns AONB – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Chalfont St Peter expanded rapidly in the 20th century to its now circa 14,000 inhabitants.
Historically Chalfont was first mentioned in AD 949 in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles but there was no distinction made between the three separate Chalfont villages: Chalfont St Peter, Chalfont St Giles and Little Chalfont. The whole area was known as Ceadeles funtan.
Chalfont St Peter seems to have been a small common edge settlement manor with a mill situated with in the woodland landscape of the Chilterns.
The founding of a market and fair in 1229 is a key point in Chalfont’s history.
For most of the medieval period the manor of Chalfont St Peter was held by Missenden Abbey until its dissolution when it passed to a succession of families including the Drurys, the Bulstrodes and the Whitchurch family who held it from 1650 to 1809.
In the post medieval period (1536 -1800) documentary sources indicate that Chalfont did not expand, retaining its village character, although by the late 18th century it possessed a substantial non agricultural population with an unusual number of trades; these included: blacksmiths, butchers, bakers, cordwainers, glaziers and victuallers.
In the twentieth century Chalfont St Peter was transformed into town, based upon a large suburban settlement, the catalyst being the arrival of the railway at Gerrards Cross which connected this part of Buckinghamshire to London and Birmingham.
The first major development occurred to the south around Austenwood Common with the Arts and Crafts styled villa at North Park, and Latchmoor Grove. Much larger developments came in the late 1920s.
Shops of this period that run along the main street towards Gold Hill common now comprise most of the village centre.
Residential development continued apace; houses were built in the 1950s and 1960s to the east of Gravel Hill.
This widespread growth saw Chalfont St Peter’s population rise from c. 6,000 in 1931 to over 12,000 by 1961.
Modernisation and urbanisation continued up until 1960s when many historic shops in the High Street were demolished in favour of a concrete development of flats, offices and shops fronts surrounding a central car park.