High Street, Old Amersham, 1955
Records date back to pre-Anglo-Saxon times, when it was known as Agmodesham, and by the time that the Domesday Book was written around 1086 it had become known as Elmodesham. The Domesday entry is as follows:
- Geoffrey de Mandeville holds Amersham. It answers for 7 1⁄2 hides. Land for 16 ploughs; in lordship 2 hides; 3 ploughs there. 14 villagers with 4 smallholders have 9 ploughs; a further 4 possible. 7 slaves; meadow for 16 ploughs; woodland 400 pigs. The total value is and was £9; before 1066 £16. Queen Edith held this manor.
Queen Edith was the wife of Edward the Confessor and sister of king Harold, and after her death in 1075, the land passed to William the Conqueror, who granted it to Geoffrey de Mandeville (died c. 1100).
In 1200, his descendent Geoffrey de Mandeville (who became the Earl of Essex in 1213) obtained a charter for Amersham allowing him to hold a Friday market and a fair on 7 and 8 September. In 1613, another charter was granted to Edward, Earl of Bedford, changing the market day to Tuesday, and establishing a statute fair on 19 September.
In 1521, seven Lollard dissenters (William Tylsworth, John Scrivener, Thomas Barnard, James Morden, Robert Rave, Thomas Holmes and Joan Norman) were burned at the stake in Amersham. A memorial to them was built in 1931 and is inscribed as follows: "In the shallow of depression at a spot 100 yards left of this monument seven Protestants, six men and one woman were burned to death at the stake. They died for the principles of religious liberty, for the right to read and interpret the Holy Scriptures and to worship God according to their consciences as revealed through God's Holy Word". The Universal Magazine for September 1749 (p. 139) quotes that 'William Tylesworth' was in fact burnt in 1506, and that Thomas Bernard and James Morden (a labourer), were burnt about two years later.
Amersham Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1897. The club continued until the onset of the First World War.
The area of the town now known as Amersham-on-the-Hill was referred to as Amersham Common until after the arrival of the Metropolitan Railway in 1892. After this date the growth of the new area of the town gradually accelerated, with much work being done by the architect John Kennard. It is now known locally as "Amersham-on-the-Hill", "Amersham town" or the "New Town". Locals often refer to it as "Top Amersham".
In 1931, the architect Amyas Connell completed the Grade II-listed art deco house, "High & Over" in Amersham. It has been used as a film location.