Hambden (xiii cent.); Parva Hamdene (xiv cent.).
Little Hampden parish lies to the north-east of
Great Hampden parish, on the Chiltern Hills, the
greatest height being 778 ft. above the Ordnance
datum. (fn. 1)
The parish contains 115½ acres of wood, and the
chief occupation of the inhabitants is farming, 285 acres
being arable land and 84 acres permanent pasture. (fn. 2)
The subsoil is chalk, (fn. 3) and the surface clay and gravel.
The nearest station is at Great Missenden, on the
Metropolitan Extension Railway. The village lies on
a cross road running south from Ellesborough, the few
houses of which it is composed being built on the
western slope of a valley in the chalk hills, with the
church at the south, looking out eastward over the
Missenden valley. The lower slopes are covered with
copses, but where the village stands is grass land, the
road rising to the north and running across Little
Hampden Common. Near the church is the Manor
House, an old building, but with little to which a
definite date can be given.
The greater part of the parish now forms part of
Great and Little Hampden civil parish, which was
formed by a Local Government Board Order dated
25 March 1885.
LITTLE HAMPDEN appears to have
been originally included in the parish of
Hartwell. In Domesday Book there is no
distinction made between Great and Little Hampden.
'Hampden' was part of the land of William son of
Ansculf, and later was united to the honour of Dudley,
to which Great Hampden alone belonged. (fn. 4) It seems
probable, therefore, that this entry in Domesday Book
did not include Little Hampden, which was either
omitted entirely, or else formed part of William
Peverel's lands in Hartwell.
The latter supposition seems probable, because at the
end of the 12th century Walter de Hertwell and his
son Barnabas were said to hold one knight's fee in
Hartwell; (fn. 5) when they granted their land to William
de Luton, the manors of Hartwell and Hampden were
specified, (fn. 6) but in 1302–3 Thomas de Luton still only
held one knight's fee in Hartwell with Little Hampden. (fn. 7) In 1316 they are also described as forming one
township. (fn. 8) Little Hampden is first mentioned separately in the grant referred to above, (fn. 9) and from that
time its descent followed that of the manor of Hartwell (q.v.) until the 17th century. (fn. 10)
Sir Thomas Lee, bart., of Hartwell, is said to have
sold the manor of Little Hampden to Samuel Dodd
in 1685. (fn. 11) Another account gives 1710 as the date of
the sale. (fn. 12) In 1763 John Dodd held the manor of
Little Hampden, (fn. 13) and two years later, together with
his son, he sold it to Robert Trevor, Viscount Hampden, (fn. 14) who had taken the name of Hampden on
inheriting the Hampden estates in 1753. (fn. 15)
On the death of John, third and last Viscount
Hampden, in 1824, Little Hampden was left to
Robert Trevor, the son of his cousin Mary Cock, who
had married Robert Trevor of Tingrith. (fn. 16)
Robert Trevor died in 1834, leaving three daughters, none of whom married. On the death of the
youngest, Catherine, in 1871, the manor, under the
will of Viscount Hampden, passed to the descendants
of Matthew Cock, brother of Mary Cock. (fn. 17)
His granddaughter, Jane Letitia Crispin, married
Charles Battye, but on inheriting the Trevor estates
she took the name of Trevor-Battye. Her grandson,
Mr. Charles Edmund Augustine Trevor TrevorBattye, is the present lord of the manor.
Battye. Sable a cheveron argent between three goats argent, each having two roundels sable upon him, and a chief invecked or with a demiman holding a club and cut off at the waist between two cinque foils gules therein.
Trevor, Party bend sinisterwise erminois and pean a lion counter coloured.
The church (dedication unknown)
stands on a somewhat contracted site, the
ground falling rapidly from east to west,
and consists of a chancel 15 ft. 6 in. by 13 ft. 10 in.,
a nave 20 ft. by 13 ft. 3 in., and a wooden north
porch with an upper floor serving as a bell turret.
Externally the nave and chancel are of equal width.
The walling of the nave may be of the 12th century,
and a carved fragment of that date is set in the chancel
wall, but there is nothing in the architectural features
to prove that any part of the structure is earlier than
the 13th century. The chancel has been almost
completely rebuilt in modern times, and its greater
internal width as compared with the width of the
nave is probably due to a thinning of the walls rather
than to any process of rebuilding round a former
chancel. The chancel arch has also been widened in
modern times, the new crown being formed of brick.
The south porch and bell-turret are apparently of 16thcentury date, while about the end of the 18th century
new windows were inserted in the nave and all the
old ones destroyed.
The east window of the chancel is modern, of two
trefoiled lights with 14th-century detail, and on
either side of the chancel is a single trefoiled light,
also modern. A third window at the west end of the
north wall is a small lancet of 13th-century date, the
sill of which forms the head of a small low side
window, rebated for a frame, the hinges of which are
still in its jamb. At the east end of the south wall is
a 13th-century piscina with a chamfered pointed head
and a label; on the face between the label and the
chamfer is a band of running foliage ornament. In
the same wall, a little to the west, is the 12th-century
fragment already mentioned, a carving of a bishop or
abbot in mass vestments, with his right hand raised in
benediction, and holding a crozier in his left. There
seem to be traces of an inscription above his head.
The pointed chancel arch is plain, of a single square
order, and much mutilated.
The nave is lit by three plain pointed 18th-century
two-light windows, two on the south and one on the
west, the latter taking the place of an earlier window,
of which a few traces remain, though not enough to
show its character. Of the windows in the south
wall, the westernmost is built in the place of the old
south doorway, the lower part of the opening of which
remains, blocked with brickwork. The only opening
in the north wall is the north doorway, a plain arched
opening with chamfered jambs and head, which may
be of the 14th century.
The north porch is a picturesque half-timber
structure of two stories, with a red-tiled gabled roof,
and small louvred openings to the second stage, which
contains the single bell. The arched entrance is
formed of two naturally-curved pieces of timber,
which are chamfered, and form a rough two-centred
The font is of 18th-century date, with a small round
basin upon a slim baluster stem, and there are no
fittings of any interest except the altar slab, now
placed under the altar table. It has the five consecration crosses, but no detail from which it might
The roof of the nave also, though undoubtedly old,
is so plain as to give no clue to its date.
The great interest of the church lies in the wall
paintings in the nave, which are of various dates from
the 13th century onwards. On either side of the
chancel arch are figures under trefoiled canopies, of
late 13th-century style, and on the south wall
remains of a 14th-century Weighing of Souls. The
figure of St. Michael is almost destroyed, but the
scales are clearly visible, and also the figure of the
devil pulling down the balance on the one side, while
our Lady on the other seeks to counteract him. On
the north wall is a mass of painting of various dates.
There are two particularly finely drawn lions to a
large scale and of 14th-century workmanship, and
part of a large 15th-century figure of St. Christopher,
while to the west of the north doorway is a very
interesting figure, also representing St. Christopher,
but of early 14th or late 13th-century style.
Little Hampden Church: The North Porch
There is only one bell, which was cast by Thomas
Mears in 1791.
The church plate consists of a chalice of 1771, a
paten of 1861, and a pewter flagon and almsdish.
There are only two old books of registers, the first
containing baptisms and burials from 1672, and
marriages from 1701 to 1768, while the second book
has the baptisms and burials from 1770 to 1812.
The marriage register for this period is missing.
The church of Little Hampden
was appendant to the church of
Hartwell. (fn. 18) How closely the connexion was maintained is not certain, but presentations were made to the two churches together. (fn. 19) In
1754 there were, however, separate churchwardens
for Little Hampden. (fn. 20)
The ecclesiastical parishes were separated by an
Order in Council dated 28 June 1892, and Little
Hampden was then united with Great Hampden.
The advowson was held by the lords of the manor
until the latter was sold to the family of Dodd. Sir
Thomas Lee retained the advowson, and his descendants presented to the rectories of Hartwell and Little
Hampden (fn. 21) until the separation of the parishes. The
Earl of Buckinghamshire now holds the advowson of
the united living of Great and Little Hampden.