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Downley - in an apparent contradiction of its name - is a village situated high on the Chiltern Hills, just outside of High Wycombe, and almost exactly midway between London and Oxford. The original village comprised just a handful of houses on the edge of the common where villagers were granted grazing rights for their animals. There were two other hamlets nearby - Littleworth and Plummer's (or Plomer's) Green - linked to Downley by Littleworth Road and Plomer Green Lane (what else would they be called?). These two lanes, barely more than footpaths, met at a pond. Although the pond is sadly no longer there, older village residents still refer to this area as 'The Pond'. It is now officially known as ‘Jubilee Green’ and is a pleasant place to sit and watch the world go by. A third lane, Commonside ran along the side of the common - names were so logical in those days - and formed the third side of an almost equilateral triangle which exists today.

Arial view of Downley

The three hamlets have, over the years, grown and merged, with Littleworth and Plomer's Green losing their individual identities. From around the 1930's many new houses were built. In the 1960's Downley was extended considerably and much of it now sits outside the original village boundary.

Every year on Rogation Sunday the villagers 'beat the bounds', that is to say they walk around the boundary of the parish so that all may be reminded of exactly where it is. To ensure that the information sticks in the heads of the younger generation it is not unusual to see a child turned upside-down and his or her head banged (gently) on the ground.