In 1990, bridge enthusiast Laurie Champniss was looking for suitable premises to convert into a full time Bridge Centre. He received details of a property known as "The House of Prayer” which had originally been a farm but for the past 70 years had been a convent. The possibilities became apparent as soon as he entered the barn, and the property was purchased by the Champniss family Company, Panstar Properties Ltd.
The barn was built in about 1505 and some of the farmhouse is probably older. The buildings were extensively renovated to high modern standards and the Bridge Club is now located in the original barn. A derelict building adjoining the barn was rebuilt in similar style; it is now known as the Garden Room and is used as a restaurant, for teaching bridge and as a second playing room.
The care put into the restoration to keep the buildings with as much of the original character as possible, but with modern standards of comfort, convenience and ease of access resulted in a conservation award from the Burnham Society.
The new Bridge centre was opened in 1994 by Peter Stocken, Chairman of the English Bridge Union. Eminent bridge visitors since then have included Zia Mahmood, Ron Klinger, Andrew Robson, Tony Forrester and Brian Senior. All agree that this must be one of the world’s outstandingly attractive bridge venues.
The Centre has 6 acres of attractive grounds. Large car parks have been constructed at the side of and behind Brightwell Grange, the former farm house . An old brick wall has been retained to conceal these from the road. Behind the car parks are wooded areas with flowers and shrubs, lawns and a small graveyard for the nuns, surrounded by a tall yew hedge.
Bridge at the Centre has been run for many years under a licence from the Company which runs weddings and social activities, mainly at weekends and which has had the head lease from Laurie. As from June 2016 this head lease has been held by Tudor Barn Weddings Ltd.
Sadly, Laurie died in 2017. Bridge at the Centre is now managed by South Bucks Bridge Club, a new company limited by guarantee formed in 2016 with Laurie's support, to which the licence has been awarded and which has been affiliated to the EBU. The new management is continuing to build on Laurie's original vision of encouraging the playing and enjoyment of bridge at all levels.The Centre is used for bridge from Monday to Friday, usually both daytime and evening. and on some Sundays.
An extensive bridge teaching programme for beginners onward, plus supervised practice sessions for less experience players are run throughout the year.
There is a great demand for the use of this very attractive venue for Weddings and other social activities at weekends. Contact Tudor Barn Weddings for details