A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Chenebelle (xi cent.); Parva Kynbelle (xiv cent.); Little Kymbell (xv cent.).
The parish of Little Kimble lies on the northwestern face of the Chiltern Hills. The hills are well wooded. There is a small lake in the grounds of Ladymede House, out of which runs a stream called Bonny Brook. It flows to the north through Little Kimble village to the hamlet of Marsh.
The height of the land varies between 300 ft. and 500 ft. above the ordnance datum. (fn. 1) The subsoil in the hills is Chalk, and in the lower lands Upper Greensand. The occupation of the people is entirely agricultural; arable and pasture farming is carried on, 234 acres being arable land and 311 acres permanent grass. (fn. 2) The village lies on the road from High Wycombe to Aylesbury, and there is a railway station to the south of the village on the Great Western Railway. The parish was inclosed under an Act of Parliament for inclosing the common fields of Great and Little Kimble and Ellesborough. The award was given on 2 May 1805. (fn. 3)
Little Kimble has now been amalgamated with Great Kimble parish, by a Local Government Order of 25 March 1885.
In the time of King Edward the Confessor one of his thegns named Brictric held the manor of LITTLE KIMBLE. (fn. 4) After the Norman Conquest, however, it was granted to Turstin son of Rolf, who held it at the time of the Domesday Survey. (fn. 5) For more than a century the name of the lord of the manor is completely lost, but presumably in the 12th century it was held by James de Newmarket, who died before 1215, leaving two daughters and heiresses, Isabel and Hawisia. (fn. 6) Of these, Isabel was married to Ralph Russel, whose father, John Russel, had custody of her father's lands, (fn. 7) and Hawisia, first to John de Botreaux (fn. 8) and secondly to Nicholas de Moels. (fn. 9) Both the Russels and the de Moels claimed the overlordship of Little Kimble, and it is impossible to disentangle their respective shares of the inheritance. Early in the 13th century Ralph Russel was overlord of half a knight's fee in Little Kimble, held of the heir and fee of [Hard]wyk,' and another half fee there also belonged to Hardwick. (fn. 10) In 1284–6 James Russel held the overlordship of part of Little Kimble jointly with Roger de Moels, and, together with the townships of Hardwick and Wedon, it formed one fee. (fn. 11)
On his death, Robert Russel, the son of the Ralph Russel already mentioned, was found to have held the overlordship of the manor of Little Kimble, which was reckoned as one fee, apart from Hardwick. (fn. 12) In 1302–3 William, brother and heir of Robert Russel, with John de Moels, held the three townships as one fee, Little Kimble being held in demesne by a subtenant, according to the inquisition made for Cotteslow Hundred, (fn. 13) but under the hundred of Stone he appears to have been the overlord of one fee in Little Kimble alone. (fn. 14) In 1346 Edmund Russel held this fee; (fn. 15) he was the son of a Robert Russel, and died In 1708 the Sub-dean of Lincoln presented. leaving no direct heirs. (fn. 16) The descendants of his sister Sybil claimed some of his lands in Nottinghamshire, but neither they nor the descendants of William Russel seem to have laid any claim to Little Kimble. (fn. 17) In 1486, however, a manor in Little Kimble was said to be held of the heirs of Edmund Russel. (fn. 18)
The Moels rarely claimed the whole of Little Kimble. In 1284–6 (fn. 19) and 1302–3 Roger de Moels and John de Moels (fn. 20) were joint overlords with the Russels. John de Moels died seised before 1310 of half the hamlet of Kimble; (fn. 21) his grandson, however, another John, held the overlordship of one knight's fee in Kimble at the time of his death. (fn. 22) He left two daughters, the elder of whom inherited Little Kimble in 1338. (fn. 23) She was the wife of Sir Thomas Courtenay, (fn. 24) and their daughter and heiress Muriel married John Dinham. (fn. 25) Shortly after this the sub-tenancy of part of Little Kimble appears to have lapsed, and thus the Dinhams, who succeeded the Moels, became the tenants in demesne of their manor.
Sir John Dinham died in 1457–8 seised of the manors of Eythorpe, Crendwell, and Little Kimble, held of Edward, Prince of Wales, as of the honour of Wallingford, by right of inheritance of Joan his wife, who survived him. (fn. 26) His wife was the heiress of the Darches family, (fn. 27) who had held the two first-named manors, and probably part of Little Kimble, (fn. 28) as subtenants, but presumably Sir John's right in the manor came also through his great-grandmother, Muriel de Moels.
He was succeeded by his son John, Lord Dinham, who died leaving his four sisters and their children as his heirs. (fn. 29) In the inquisition on his lands, however, he was said to be seised only of tenements in Little Kimble, (fn. 30) but his heirs afterwards appear to have held portions of the manor. These heirs were his sisters, Lady Elizabeth Fitzwarren, a widow, who afterwards married Sir Thomas Brandon, and Lady Joan Zouche, and his nephews, Sir Edmund Carew and Sir John Arundel, sons of his sisters Margaret and Katherine respectively. (fn. 31) Elizabeth died seised of a fourth part of the manor in 1516, leaving John Bouchier as her son and heir. (fn. 32) Lord Zouche and his wife Anne also held a fourth part in 1531, (fn. 33) and one of the coparceners apparently sold a share to Sir William Compton. (fn. 34) His grandson Henry, Lord Compton, conveyed this to Ralph Redman, William Hawtrey, and Richard Hollyman, (fn. 35) who very shortly afterwards acquired the share of the Arundels as well. (fn. 36)
Nothing more is known of the manor for the next hundred years, but at the close of the 17th century it was apparently held by the family of Gibson. In 1692 there was a lawsuit between Thomas Gibson, sen., and others v. Richard Croke concerning rights of free warren in Little Kimble. It was asserted on this occasion that Croke was lord of the manor, and that it had belonged to his father before him. (fn. 37) The manor here referred to is probably Bulbecks (q.v.), but the suit would seem to show that the Gibsons already had some interest in the parish, and in 1696 Thomas Gibson, sen., and his wife Mary, and Thomas Gibson, jun., and his wife Frances, appear in a deed concerning tenements in Little Kimble and a court-leet and view of frankpledge to be held within the manor of Little Kimble. (fn. 38) Thomas Gibson, jun., apparently left no male heirs, and the manor passed to Mary and Elizabeth Gibson, who held it in 1739. (fn. 39) Elizabeth apparently married Thomas Hill and held a moiety of the manor in 1767, (fn. 40) and Mary married Robert Smith. (fn. 41) They held the manor jointly in 1771, (fn. 42) but after their death their property was divided. In 1817 a moiety of the manor was held by Sir James Fellowes and his wife Elizabeth in her right. (fn. 43)
In 1086 a sub-tenant named Albert held Little Kimble of Turstin son of Rolf. (fn. 44) Very shortly after its acquisition by the Russels and the de Moels, Humphrey le Dun appears as the sub-tenant of a knight's fee in Little Kimble. Half of this he held in demesne and half as a mesne lord. (fn. 45) He paid scutage, however, for the whole fee in 1235. (fn. 46) He died before 1246, (fn. 47) and left an only daughter Margaret, who was a minor in the king's wardship. (fn. 48) In 1254 John le Waleys held Little Kimble, having probably acquired it by marriage with the heiress of Humphrey le Dun. (fn. 49) John died between 1283 and 1289, (fn. 50) leaving four heiresses by his wife Margery and a son John by another wife. (fn. 51) Little Kimble was divided among the daughters, (fn. 52) so that it seems certain that it was the inheritance of their mother, who may thus be identified as the daughter of Humphrey le Dun. Of her daughters, Isabel married Simon de St. Lys, Adam de married John de Middleton, Lucy married Adam de Kyngesham (or Kyngesmede), and the fourth daughter married John du Park. (fn. 53) Adam de Kyngesham appears to have answered for the whole manor in matters of feudal incidence. (fn. 54) His wife Lucy, after his death, probably married Walter de Shobintone, (fn. 55) who also answered for the whole fee in 1316. (fn. 56) In 1346 the tenants of the half fee that Humphrey le Dun and John de Waleys had held in demesne were Simon de St. Lys, a minor in the king's wardship, Richard du Park, and John de Middleton, the descendants of the four heiresses of John le Waleys. (fn. 57) Some years later, however, Nicholas Darches claimed a third of the manor of Little Kimble from John atte Morhalle and John de St. Lys, the latter being apparently the heir of Simon de St. Lys. (fn. 58) The exact claim of Nicholas is not given in the pleadings, but he recovered seisin of the tenements in question. (fn. 59) The history of the sub-tenants of Little Kimble cannot be traced from this time, owing probably to the subdivision of land among the descendants of the co-heiresses of John le Waleys.
Half a knight's fee called BULBECKS MANOR in Little Kimble was held by the Bolebec family, under the mesne lords of the whole fee. (fn. 60) Herbert de Bolebec granted land in the parish to the abbey of Missenden in the 12th century, (fn. 61) and after his death his widow Alice succeeded him as the tenant of the half fee. (fn. 62) In a charter Gilbert is named as her son and heir, (fn. 63) but in 1254 another Herbert held the land. (fn. 64) At his death, which took place before 1266, he held the manor of Kimble and one carucate of land there, which passed to Gilbert his brother and heir. (fn. 65) The latter died before 1298, (fn. 66) leaving a son named Henry. (fn. 67)
In 1346 John de Bolebec and his tenants (fn. 68) held the manor, and he also confirmed the grants to Missenden made by his ancestors. (fn. 69) During the 15th century the Hampdens obtained possession of the manor. Edmund Hampden, the second son of Edmund Hampden of Great Hampden, (fn. 70) forfeited his lands to Edward IV, amongst them being a messuage, 60 acres of land, 6 acres of wood, and 8 acres of meadow in Little Kimble, but the manor was probably held by the elder branch of the family, and so was not forfeited to the Yorkist king. (fn. 71)
Thomas Hampden of Great Hampden died seised of the manor at the close of the 15th century. He was succeeded by his son (fn. 72) and grandson, both named John; the latter left two daughters, and Little Kimble passed to Barbara the second. (fn. 73) She married first Edmund Smith, by whom she had a daughter Anne, (fn. 74) the wife of William Paulet. (fn. 75) Philippa, the widow of the second John Hampden, married, as her second husband, Sir Thomas Smyth, and in 1554 they quit-claimed the manor of Little Kimble to William Paulet and his wife. (fn. 76) Elizabeth Paulet, their only daughter and heiress, married Oliver St. John. (fn. 77) The manor was sold by St. John in 1609 to Robert Waller, (fn. 78) who again sold it to Edward Serjeant for £1,850. (fn. 79) The manor changed hands again in 1626, when Richard Serjeant is said to have sold it, under the name of 'Bulbecks Manor,' to Richard Brasey of Thame, co. Oxon. (fn. 80) The latter in his will, proved in 1647, left the yearly revenue from lands and wood and tenements in Little Kimble to his wife for her life. After her death they were to pass to Richard Croke, the son of Anne, the daughter of the testator, for life, and to descend to his children. (fn. 81) Richard Croke and his son, another Richard, both held the manor, (fn. 82) which descended on the death of the latter to his daughter Charlotte. She married William Ledwell, (fn. 83) and they held the manor of Little Kimble in 1758. (fn. 84) The property passed on his death to his heir-at-law,—Ledwell of Cowley, co. Oxon. (fn. 85) In 1792 William Bridges Ledwell, his son, held the manor, (fn. 86) and sold it to Scrope Bernard, afterwards Sir Scrope Bernard Morland, bart. (fn. 87) The manor was presumably bought at the same time as Great Kimble by Sir George Russell, bart., and is now in the hands of the trustees of Mr. Henry Frankland-Russell-Astley, a minor. (fn. 88)
In 1254 John le Waleys and Herbert de Bolebec held the view of frankpledge in their manors. (fn. 89) In 1617 James I granted to Edward Brudenell the right to hold a view of frankpledge twice a year in Stoke Mandeville, Ellesborough, and Little Kimble, (fn. 90) but in the 18th century a court leet and view were claimed by the Gibsons. (fn. 91)
The church of ALL SAINTS is a small structure consisting of a chancel 18 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft., a nave 38 ft. 9 in. by 15 ft. 4 in., and north and south porches, the latter of which is used as a vestry. Until the middle of the 13th century the church consisted of a chancel narrower than the present one, and a nave of the same size as that now existing, but at this date the present chancel arch was inserted unsymmetrically and the chancel widened by rebuilding the south wall. It is thus probable that the nave walls and the western half at least of the north wall of the chancel are of 13th-century date or earlier.
The chancel has also been lengthened, but this may have been done at a later date than the 13th century. At the beginning and middle of the 14th century windows were inserted in the walls of nave and chancel, and the porches were added, while in modern times the south and east walls of the chancel have been either rebuilt or modernized and the stone bell-cot on the west gable of the nave has been added.
The east window of the chancel is modern, of three lights and early 14th-century detail. In the north wall of the chancel are two windows. The first, of two lights and early 14th-century date, is curiously crude in worl manship. The lights are trefoiled and have a rough cusped circle over them, while the whole head of the window including the label, a very flat roll, is worked out of one thin stone or flag. The second window, probably of the same date as the first, is a plain uncusped chamfered lancet set low in the wall without an external rebate, the lower part of which has been fitted with a shutter, the hinges remaining. The only window on the south of the chancel is a single-light modern window of 14th-century detail. The chancel arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with half-octagonal responds and moulded capitals and bases, and is set to the south of the axis of the nave.
The north wall of the nave contains two windows east of the north porch of the same date and detail as the two-light window on the north of the chancel, but their heads are not worked in single stones. The north door is either quite modern or completely restored, and is of two continuous moulded orders with a label of 14th-century detail. West of the door is a small plain lancet of doubtful date. In the south wall are two-light windows in corresponding positions to those on the north, but of late 14th-century date, with square heads and cinquefoiled lights with curious cusped flowing tracery. Below the sill of the easternmost of these windows is a small piscina with an uncusped two-centred head moulded with a filleted bowtell and hollows. The south door is of the same detail as the north and of 14th-century date. To the west is a window of two uncusped lights under a square head of simple and late detail. The west window of the nave is of early 14th-century date and has three cinquefoiled lights with quatrefoils over. The font has a large round tub-shaped bowl probably of 12th-century date.
The porches are both of the 14th century, though considerably restored, and have outer archways continuously moulded in two orders with a hollow between.
The seating of the church is modern, but a pulpit and reading desk have been worked up out of 17thcentury carved panels. On the walls of the nave are the remains of a series of interesting 14th-century paintings. On the west wall are traces of figure subjects, now quite defaced. On the north wall, beginning from the west, is a figure of Christ, some 4 ft. high, remarkably well drawn in a dull red line. Above and to the right of this is part of a judgement scene with souls in torment. Near the north door is a life-size figure much defaced and partly obscured by a wall tablet. Between the two easternmost of the windows on this side is a large figure of St. George, with the remains of a scroll bearing his name below, represented in mail, with shield, sword, and lance. The splays of these two windows are also decorated with paintings. In the east splay of the easternmost window is a drawing of St. Francis preaching to the birds, while the remains of various male and female figures are visible in the other splays. On the south wall is a cowled figure holding a book (about three-quarters life-size) and a smaller painting of two angels laying a saint, perhaps St. Katherine, in a tomb. In the chancel floor are set some very fine late 13th-century tiles, with subjects from the mediaeval romances: a king on his throne, a man giving a book to a woman, a knight charging, a knight cleaving the helm of his adversary, and a lady holding a squirrel.
There are a few fragments of old glass in the windows, the quartered arms of France and England being in the north-east window of the nave.
The modern stone gable bell-cot contains two bells re-cast from older ones by James Warner and Sons in 1875.
The church plate consists of a covered cup of 1570 of the usual Elizabethan pattern, a salver hall-marked for 1827, and a pewter flagon.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms from 1675 to 1735, burials from 1658 to 1712, and marriages from 1657 to 1702. The second book contains baptisms from 1726 to 1782, burials from 1726 to 1780, and marriages from 1727 to 1775, with further notes of banns to 1783. A third book has baptisms between 1783 and 1812 and burials between 1784 and 1811, while a fourth book contains marriages from 1786 to 1812.
The church of All Saints (fn. 92) in Little Kimble was given to the abbey of St. Albans by Humphrey de Kimble early in the 13th century. (fn. 93) His charter was confirmed by Alice de Bolebec, (fn. 94) who died before 1254. (fn. 95) No vicarage seems ever to have been ordained, and in the valuation of churches made in 1535 Henry Champyn appears as rector of Little Kimble. (fn. 96) Henry VIII granted the advowson of the rectory to John Cokk and Sir Michael Dormer, (fn. 97) the latter of whom already held the lands in the parish that had belonged to St. Albans. (fn. 98) Afterwards the advowson appears to have been recovered by the lord of the manor. Lipscomb (fn. 99) mentions a presentation by Edward Serjeant in 1620, but the advowson is not mentioned in the numerous sales of the manor in the 17th century. The Crokes, however, presented twice to the rectory, Richard in 1661 and Martha Croke (widow) in 1665. (fn. 100) In 1689 Elizabeth Chapman presented (fn. 101) and the advowson was held by the family of Chapman for many years. (fn. 102) William Chapman in 1788 (fn. 103) and Samuel Chapman in 1810 held the living on their own presentation. (fn. 104) The rectory of Little Kimble is now consolidated with the vicarage of Great Kimble and the right of presentation has since the consolidation been held by the Earl of Buckinghamshire.
In 1327 Walter de Shobinton and his wife Lucy alienated a messuage, mill, and pond, together with land and rent in Little Kimble and Aston Ivinghoe, to a chaplain to celebrate divine service in the church of Little Kimble for the souls of Walter and Lucy, their ancestors and successors. (fn. 105)
A chantry in Little Kimble is mentioned in a grant by Queen Elizabeth, but there is no certificate of its dissolution under Edward VI. (fn. 106) There is in the parish a dissenting chapel, which serves for all denominations.
Under the Inclosure Act, 1803, an allotment containing 1 a. 2 r. 26 p. was awarded for the use of the poor in respect of a right of cutting firewood on certain hills. The land produces about £3 a year, which is applied in the distribution of two to three hundred weights of coal to about twenty recipients.