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High Wycombe Shambles and Butter Market (now the Little Market Hall), Buckinghamshire: 1761, executed (3)

Signed and dated

  • 1761


The town of High Wycombe was populated by the eleventh century, but it only began to flourish in the eighteenth century with the turnpiking of the Oxford to London road (1718-24). High Wycombe was an important half-way stopping point along this road, affording the town the capacity to rebuild their Guildhall and Shambles. The High Wycombe Shambles and Butter Market had been established in the seventeenth century. It is located across the High Street from the Guildhall, and was rebuilt at public expense for the use of local butchers. Adam's design was approved by the Mayor and Council of High Wycombe on 11 August 1761. He may have acquired this commission having been working in the local area, only five miles away, at Shardeloes, from 1759. It probably incorporated the older brick structure, which may have influenced the octagonal shape of Adam's design. A plan, elevation and map can be seen in Bolton, Volume I, p. 46.

The dome and gable pitch was raised three feet; the present lantern added; a new stairwell extension added to the rear; and new fenestration provided to light this expanded upper register in c1900. According to Yarwood, 'due to this unfortunate alteration, it has since been known by the popular name of the 'Pepperpot' ' It now provides council offices.

A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume I, pp. 46, 56, Volume II, Index p. 17; D. Yarwood, Robert Adam, 1970, p. 186; G. Beard, The work of Robert Adam, 1978, p. 40; N. Pevsner, and E. Williamson, The buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, 1994, pp. 382, 390; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume I, p. 37

Frances Sands, 2011



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation

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Contents of High Wycombe Shambles and Butter Market (now the Little Market Hall), Buckinghamshire: 1761, executed (3)