Retired or thinking about retiring?  Think Probus

PROBUS is a local, national, and international association of retired people. Members come together in non-political, non-sectarian, non-profit, autonomous clubs which provide regular opportunities to meet others in similar circumstances, and   with similar levels of interest.  People value the ability to make new friends, and to maintain and expand their interests. The first association was founded in 1965 and there are now clubs throughout the country and abroad.

About our club

Our luncheon meetings take place on the second Thursday of each month in the congenial surroundings of the Weston Turville Golf Club, and frequently feature a guest speaker.  Recent guest speakers have included Bill Giles OBE, BBC weatherman and meteorologist, local crime fiction author Dave Sivers and London Blue Badge Guide Colin Oakes.  Talks have covered everything from life in Singapore to the foundation of the National Lottery.

Many people whose workplace has been away from where they live, or have moved from another part of the country and have not had much social contact in their neighbourhood, will understand how important it is to develop relationships with like-minded people in retirement. A ready welcome awaits – and especially for those anxious to play an active part in our friendly local group.

We recognise that our members like to be accompanied occasionally by partners and guests who can be included in outings to chosen destinations of both cultural and technical interest and to lunches for special occasions.  Recently, we have been on a fascinating visit to the nearby Arla Dairy – the largest in Europe – and the Greatmoor Electricity-from-Waste site, a subject of considerable current interest.

Who was John Hampden?

Known as the “Buckinghamshire patriot”, he was born at Great Hampden (between Princes Risborough and Great Missenden) in 1594. His mother was an aunt to Oliver Cromwell.

Educated at Lord Williams’ Grammar School at Thame (Oxon) and Magdalen College Oxford, he went on to study law at the Inner Temple in 1613. At the age of three years he had inherited a significant estate on the early death of his father.

His fame rests in part from the position he took in opposing what he regarded as the high-handed use of the “royal prerogative” in the reigns of both James I and Charles I. His statue, in addition to the one at the top of Aylesbury Market Square, stands at the entrance to the Central Lobby in the Palace of Westminster.

In 1619 he married and also became a follower of the Puritans, who were very active in Buckinghamshire at that time. He established a reputation for sobriety and strictness, tempered with the courtesy he showed to his fellows, both supporters and opponents.

He was elected as MP for Grampound in Cornwall in 1621, and after the accession of Charles I in 1625 he became MP for Wendover. In 1629 the king dismissed parliament and attempted to govern the country on his own until 1640. It was during those years that the dispute over the payment of “ship money” arose. The king was also in dispute with the Scottish Presbyterians (Charles was also King of Scotland) about the episcopacy and the use of a Book of Common Prayer, among other things.

From the Middle Ages the Royal Navy had been the responsibility of the monarch, who levied a tax on the coastal counties to pay for it. The Army on the other hand, was raised when needed by the nobility and gentry in all the counties. When Charles found himself short of funds, he attempted to levy the ship tax also on the inland counties, but had to recall parliament to obtain approval. He also needed money to pay for a war with the Scots.

That led to the election of Hampden as MP for Buckinghamshire in 1640 to what became known as the Short Parliament. It lasted for only a few days because the Commons considered the king’s wishes to be “unconstitutional”.  Hampden’s demand was “no taxation without representation”. The king then attempted to arrest five of the members, of whom Hampden was the leader. From the time of William III and Mary of course, it has been accepted that the reigning monarch is not admitted to the House of Commons.

Later in 1640, the “Long Parliament” was convened, and sat until 1653 when Cromwell dismissed the “Rump”. The remaining Royalists had withdrawn in 1642 at the outbreak of the Civil War. Hampden had raised his own regiment, of which he was Colonel, and was present at the battle of Edgehill. It was during a skirmish with Prince Rupert’s troops at Chalgrove Field (Oxon) in 1643 that Hampden was mortally wounded by a faulty weapon and died at Thame a few days later.

The above notes have been compiled from several reference books and Wikipedia.

The preacher, theologian and hymn-writer Richard Baxter (1615-1691) thought highly of John Hampden and eulogised him in words which are quoted on the plinth of the statue in  the Market Square in Aylesbury.

“MR. JOHN HAMPDEN was one that friends and enemies acknowledged to be most eminent for prudence, piety and peaceable counsels, having the most universal praise of any gentleman that I remember of that age”.

The inscription on the Hampden Jewel, which was worn by Hampden at Chalgrove Field  and is now in the Bodleian Library, reads: “Against my king I do not fight, but for my king and country’s right”.