A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.
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This parish covers 728 acres, of which 143 are arable, 392 permanent grass and 130 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is mixed and the subsoil is Great Oolite. The ground rises from an average of 200 ft. above the ordnance datum in the south to 300 ft. in the north, the highest point, 332 ft., being found on the south-western edge of Linford Wood. The River Ouse forms the southern and eastern boundary of the parish. Between 1320 and 1340 an indulgence was granted for the construction and repair of a bridge at Little Linford. (fn. 2) There are now two bridges of three arches each over the river and several footbridges over the streams which run into the river.
To the south-east of the road from Gayhurst to Haversham lies Little Linford Hall, the seat of Mr. John Matthew Knapp, J.P. The house is a threestoried building of stone with a tiled roof and now consists of a principal block with two wings. The building began to assume its present form about 1680, when large additions were made to an earlier manorhouse by John Knapp. Considerable alterations were undertaken in the 18th century, and within the last forty years the only remaining portion of the original house was replaced by a modern wing. Some of the 17th-century fittings remain, including a fine fireplace of marble, in the overmantel of which is a large trophy of arms. The house stands at the northeast corner of Little Linford Park, which is wellwooded; the fish-ponds formerly in the park are now included in the gardens recently laid out by Mr. J. M. Knapp in a formal style. Outside the park is a quarry.
In the north-west of the parish is Linford Wood, mentioned in the 17th century. (fn. 3)
Little Linford, which had been held by Eddeva wife of Wulfward White, (fn. 4) was given to the Bishop of Coutances at the Conquest, Eddeva occupying the 4 hides as tenant in 1086. (fn. 5) After the death of the Bishop of Coutances in 1093 (fn. 6) his nephew Robert de Mowbray inherited, but forfeited his estates for rebellion, (fn. 7) and Little Linford was obtained by the Paynels, (fn. 8) who already held 1 virgate here as descendants of William Fitz Ansculf, the Domesday holder. (fn. 9) They had also inherited his lands in Newport Pagnell, the head in this county of their honour of Dudley, to which Little Linford Manor was thenceforward attached. It was held in free socage at a rent of 6s. and 4s. for view of frankpledge. (fn. 10) After the assumption of the manorial rights by the overlords in the 14th century Little Linford was held in chief, and was constituted part of the honour of Grafton or that of Ampthill in 1542. (fn. 11)
Eddeva and Robert, the tenants of the two holdings in 1086, (fn. 12) had been succeeded by 1205 (fn. 13) by Henry son of Peter de Northampton, who in 1220 (fn. 14) conveyed Little Linford to Henry and Ellen de Hauville in trust for their second son Henry, a minor. (fn. 15) It does not appear that the grantee was ever in possession of the manor. Henry, the trustee, was sued by the Prior of Newport or Tickford concerning this land in 1224, (fn. 16) but held the manor until his death in 253. (fn. 17) His heir was Henry, a minor, son of his eldest son Ralph, who had predeceased him. (fn. 18) In 1258 Thomas de Hauville, youngest son of Henry and Ellen, claimed the custody of the manor until his nephew Henry's majority, (fn. 19) and died seised of it about 1267, (fn. 20) when Henry came of age. (fn. 21) In 1277 Henry conveyed the manor to Thomas de Hauville, (fn. 22) probably his cousin, who died about 1302. (fn. 23) His son and heir Thomas (fn. 24) was engaged in a prolonged lawsuit with John de Olney, who in 1314 claimed the manor on behalf of his wife Maud, daughter of Nicholas, described as the son and heir of Hugh de Haversham, who was said to have held it in John's reign. (fn. 25) Thomas de Hauville finally mortgaged Little Linford to John de Olney, was unable to redeem it, (fn. 26) and was outlawed at Olney's suit in 1316. (fn. 27) Thereupon John de Somery, the overlord, seized the manor as an escheat, (fn. 28) and made a settlement of it in 1317 on himself for life with remainder to Thomas and Joan de Hauville and their issue. (fn. 29) After the death of John de Somery in 1322 (fn. 30) his widow Lucy claimed her dower in Little Linford, (fn. 31) and judgement was given in her favour in 1324. (fn. 32) In the meantime John de Olney laid claim to the manor as mortgagee, and it was counted among his possessions at his death in 1325. (fn. 33) His son John (fn. 34) seems to have made little resistance to the encroachment of the overlords, for Little Linford was included in 1338 among the manors held in demesne by Joan Botetourt, (fn. 35) younger sister and co-heir of John de Somery, (fn. 36) and was settled in 1347 by her son John Botetourt on himself and his wife Joyce in tail, (fn. 37) a further settlement being made in 1358 on their son John and his wife Maud, daughter of John Grey of Rotherfield. (fn. 38) In 1366 the younger John Botetourt and his wife were completely successful in wresting it from their tenant William, son of the aforesaid John de Olney, (fn. 39) and John Botetourt died seised of Little Linford in 1369, when it was held by his widow Maud. (fn. 40) In 1386 a settlement on her and her second husband, Sir Thomas Harcourt, was made of Newport Pagnell Manor (fn. 41) (q.v.), with which Little Linford henceforward descends, and with which it escheated to the Crown in 1461. In 1463 it was granted to George Duke of Clarence, (fn. 42) who in 1472 received Newport Pagnell Manor also. (fn. 43) The two manors descended together until 1560, (fn. 44) when Little Linford continued with Great Linford, but was retained by the Thompsons when they alienated the latter in 1640. (fn. 45)
In 1655 Little Linford Manor was settled by Sir John Thompson, kt., on St. John Thompson, (fn. 46) his son and heir. (fn. 47) In 1659 it was leased by William White, agent for St. John Thompson, to Thomas Hackett and Thomas Kilpin, the former of whom subsequently conveyed his share of the manor to Kilpin, (fn. 48) who afterward acquired the freehold rights. This Kilpin, by his will of 4 January 1675–6, bequeathed the manor to his youngest son John, (fn. 49) to whom it had passed by 1677, when Thomas and Richard Kilpin, the elder brothers of John, settled it upon him. (fn. 50) In 1700 he conveyed it to John Knapp, who was already living in the manor-house. (fn. 51)
By his will, dated 13 December 1709 and proved in February 1710–11, John Knapp left the furniture in the Little Linford house to his widow Katherine, with reversion to his son and heir John, to whom the manor was bequeathed. (fn. 52) This John made settlements of the manor in 1713 (fn. 53) and 1729, (fn. 54) and died without issue in 1746. (fn. 55) He directed that all his real estate after the death of his widow Elizabeth, daughter of Josiah Nicolson, should pass in tail-male to the sons of his brother Matthew Knapp, rector of Shenley. (fn. 56) Matthew, the eldest nephew, left daughters only at his death in 1782, (fn. 57) and Little Linford was inherited by his brother Primatt Knapp, rector of Shenley. (fn. 58) He died in December 1793, and his eldest son Nathaniel Matthew, (fn. 59) who had suffered a recovery of the manor in 1787, (fn. 60) made a further settlement in 1794, (fn. 61) probably to the use of his brother and heir Primatt Knapp, rector of Shenley, who inherited Linford the following year. (fn. 62) In 1829 he settled the manor on his son and heir Matthew, (fn. 63) who succeeded to the remainder of the family estates in 1838. (fn. 64) In 1867 they passed to his son Matthew Grenville Samwell, (fn. 65) and were inherited in 1896 by his son and heir Mr. John Matthew Knapp, the present lord of the manor.
In 1205 Henry son of Peter de Northampton received a charter granting him leave to inclose his wood at Little Linford and to make a park. (fn. 66) In 1278–9 Thoms de Hauville had a free park in Little Linford, (fn. 67) described in 1302 as 40 acres in extent and stocked with deer. (fn. 68)
In 1334 free warren here was granted to Joan Botetourt and her heirs, (fn. 69) and was appurtenant to the manor in the 18th century.
The mill on the estate in 1086 (fn. 70) was probably identical with the water-mill attached to the manor in the 14th century, (fn. 71) when mention occurs of a fishpond. (fn. 72) Free fishing in the Ouse was also among the rights at that date (fn. 73) and in the 18th century, when courts leet and baron were mentioned. (fn. 74)
The church of ST. LEONARD AND ST. ANDREW consists of a chancel measuring internally 19 ft. by 14 ft., nave 35 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in., north and south aisles, north porch, and stone bellcote over the west gable. It is built of rubble and the roofs are covered with tiles.
The building dates from the early 13th century, and originally consisted of a chancel, the present nave with its bellcote and a north aisle. The south aisle was added about 1320, but, having probably fallen into decay, was subsequently rebuilt with the original stonework. The north aisle, which had long been destroyed, and the chancel have been rebuilt within recent years, a porch, which had been erected on the north of the nave, (fn. 75) being then removed; the present porch is modern.
In the east wall of the chancel is a 13th-century window of two lights with a quatrefoil in a pointed head, and there are two original lancets in the south wall. All have been reset, but a portion of the east wall itself is original. The pointed chancel arch is mostly modern.
The nave opens to the north aisle by an early 13thcentury arcade of two pointed arches, which until the rebuilding of the aisle had been walled up for a long period. It has a circular pillar with a moulded capital and base, and moulded corbels at the responds. On the south is an early 14th-century arcade of three bays with pointed arches supported by octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases and corbel responds, and in the west wall is a 15th-century window of three lights in a four-centred head. The timber roof over the nave probably dates from the 15th century. The stone bellcote over the west gable, built in the 13th century, is now much weatherworn; it has twin pointed arches for the bells under a high-pitched gable, and is enriched by angle shafts at the responds of the arches and at the external angles.
When the north aisle was rebuilt a pointed doorway and trefoiled stoup, both probably of the 15th century, were reset in the north wall, and an early 14th-century traceried window of two lights was reset in the east wall. A small pointed light has also been rebuilt in the west wall of the porch. The south aisle has an early 14th-century two-light window at the east end, and in the south wall are a 16th-century window of three plain lights in a square head, a pointed doorway of early 13th-century date, enriched with nail-head ornament, which has been reset in a square-headed opening, and further west a cinquefoiled piscina with a quatrefoil bowl, probably of the 15th century, also reset.
The font has a circular bowl, which is probably old, but its detail is obscured by cement. The communion table in the chancel is made up of some late 15th-century tracery, and the altar rails are probably of the 17th century. There is another communion table in the north aisle, which dates from the 17th century, and some panelling in the nave is of the same period. On the wall at the south-west corner of the north aisle are several incised crosses, and there are other crosses at the north-east corner of the nave externally.
The bellcote contains two bells, inscribed 'Ave Maria Gracia Plena' and 'Johannes Vylleby Me Fieri Fecit,' the first probably dating from the 14th century, (fn. 76) and the tenor, which has a shield of Kebyll, from the late 15th century.
The church, which was a chapel to Newport Pagnell, (fn. 77) was given by Fulk Paynel to Tickford Priory early in the 12th century, the grant being confirmed by his son Ralph and by his grandson Gervase in 1187. (fn. 78) Upon the dissolution of Tickford Priory in 1524 the Crown granted its revenues to Wolsey for the support of his new college at Oxford. (fn. 79) Wolsey was attainted in 1529, (fn. 80) when Little Linford Chapel reverted to the Crown, who in 1532 refounded Wolsey's College under the name of Henry the Eighth's College. (fn. 81) Thirteen years later the college was once more surrendered to the king. (fn. 82) In 1590 the queen granted the rectory and church of Little Linford to John Thompson, (fn. 83) and from that date to the present time the rectory and advowson have descended with the manor. (fn. 84) The living is a vicarage.