The Vache

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The Vache

The Vache is an estate near Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Located within the estate is a monument dedicated to the memory of Captain James Cook (1728–1779) the explorer.


The Vache was the family seat of the Fleetwood family. In 1660 George Fleetwood was found guilty of the regicide of King Charles I in January 1649, and although his life was spared, his estate of The Vache was confiscated and given to the then Duke of York, the future King James II.[1] The site was acquired by Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser in 1771.[2] Following Palliser’s death in 1796, the building passed to his son and was then sold to a Mr Thomas Allen in 1826; the house passed down the Allen family until it was sold to James Robertson in 1902.[3]

After the Second World War homelessness and overcrowding sparked a nationwide movement of squatting. One of the first of these occurred at The Vache in September 1946. The leader was an ex-Commando, John Mann, of Chalfont St. Giles, who had been sharing a small cottage with his wife, his five-year-old son, and ten strangers. At the local pub one night, Mann heard a Polish captain say that a deserted army camp at nearby Vache Park was being readied for Polish soldiers of General Władysław Anders' army in exile. Mann decided to get there first.[4] At dawn, he and a handful of homeless veterans bloodlessly routed three Polish guards and seized Vache Park. Next day, 120 families had moved into the spacious army huts. After a flurry of resistance, local authorities capitulated.[4]

Captain James Cook monument[edit]

Captain James Cook monument

The Vache is the site of monument to Captain James Cook erected by Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser.[5]

Cook frequently visited the estate and named a South Sea island Vache Island.[6]


  1. ^ Firth, C.H. (1889). "Fleetwood, George (fl.1650?)" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 19. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 265–266.
  2. ^ "The Cook Monument". Captain Cook Society. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Parishes: Chalfont St. Giles, in A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3, ed. William Page". London. 1925. pp. 184–193. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Squatters Camp at The Vache in 1946". Chalfont St Giles village website. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b Memorial M1775, public memorials to seafarers and victims of maritime disaster, National Maritime Museum
  6. ^ BMC County Road Map and Gazetteer No.16 Berkshire Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire p. 94

Coordinates: 51°38′24″N 0°33′42″W / 51.6401°N 0.5618°W / 51.6401; -0.5618