A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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'Parishes: Great Missenden', in A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 2, (London, 1908) pp. 347-353. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/bucks/vol2/pp347-353 [accessed 1 March 2024]
Missedene (xi cent.) Messenden, Mussenden.
The parish of Great Missenden has an area of 5,819 acres. It attains an elevation of considerably over 600 ft. along the centre of the parish, to which an offshoot of the Chiltern Hills penetrates; the highest point, just north of Springfield Farm, being a little over 650 ft. To the east the ground slopes down slightly, but remains for the most part considerably over 500 ft. To the west it falls away more, but rises again to above 650 ft. on the western boundary of the parish, where the village of Prestwood is situated.
Three thousand one hundred and ninety-two acres of the parish are arable land, 1,710½ acres permanent grass, and 513 acres wood. (fn. 1)
The River Misbourne flows through Great Missenden from north to south, the Metropolitan Extension Railway and the main road from London to Wendover running parallel to it a little to the west. The large village of Great Missenden is situated on this road, Missenden Abbey and Park with its fine sycamore trees lying at the south end. The village comprises a number of modern houses of the better sort with a few half-timbered, and others of brick of the Georgian period. The railway station, on the Metropolitan Extension Railway, is near the village. The road leading past the church of St. Peter and St. Paul to Chesham turns eastwards from the main road about the centre of the village. Four roads branch off to the west, leading to Prestwood and Hampden.
In the north-east of the parish is Lee Common and the greater part of the hamlet of Lee Clump; in the north-west Woodlands Park, with Grim's Ditch. Ballinger Common and hamlet lie about half-a-mile south of Lee Common, with Potter Row to the east. At South Heath, about a mile east from the village of Great Missenden, is a camp and moat. Part of Hyde Heath is included in this parish in the south-east, and Heath End is situated in the extreme south-west. Peterley Manor lies north of the latter, with the straggling village of Prestwood to the west and north of it. The soil is alluvial, with a chalk base, abounding in the deposit of flint and shells. The subsoil is chalk. There are disused chalk-pits to the east of Prestwood and near Potter Row, and another east of Hyde Heath, near which there is an old gravel-pit. There are extensive brickworks also near Hyde Heath.
The Inclosure Award was made in 1855 and is in the custody of the Clerk of the Peace. (fn. 2)
In the time of Edward the Confessor the manor of GREAT MISSENDEN was held by a thegn of the king, Sired, the son of Alveva. In 1086 it formed part of the lands of Walter Giffard, and was then assessed at ten hides. (fn. 3) This Walter was the son of Walter Giffard de Longueville, who is said to have come to England with William the Conqueror and died before 1085. The son Walter was probably created Earl of Buckingham by William II, and died in 1102, leaving an only son, also named Walter, who died without issue in 1164. (fn. 4) The family of Giffard thus became extinct, but their estates were known as the honour of Giffard until about 1300. Great Missenden was held of this honour by the service of one knight's fee. (fn. 5)
After the death of Walter Giffard his lands remained for some time in the king's hands, but in 1191 they were restored by Richard I to his two nearest heirs, who were descended from Rohais, sister of Walter Giffard, first Earl of Buckingham. Rohais had married Richard Fitz Gilbert, from whose elder grandson Richard was descended the first claimant in 1191, Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford. From the younger grandson, Gilbert de Clare first Earl of Pembroke, was descended Isabella de Clare, whose husband William Marshal was the second claimant in 1191, on his wife's behalf. (fn. 6) The Giffard estates in England seem to have been assigned to William's Marshal, for the honour is later found in the possession of his son Walter, Earl of Pembroke, (fn. 7) one of the five brothers who in turn succeeded to the earldom. At the death of the last of the five without issue in 1245 the Marshal estates were divided between his sisters, (fn. 8) the honour of Giffard or part of it apparently being apportioned to Isabella the wife of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Hertford and Gloucester, and son of the Richard de Clare who claimed the honour in 1191. The honour, including the overlordship of Great Missenden, descended with the Earldom of Gloucester, (fn. 9) and passed upon the death of Gilbert de Clare in 1314 to his daughter Margaret, who married firstly Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, and secondly Hugh Audley, who became Earl of Gloucester. (fn. 10) Upon the death of Hugh Audley in 1347 the overlordship of Great Missenden passed to his daughter Margaret, who was the wife of Ralph Earl of Stafford, (fn. 11) and descended with that earldom (fn. 12) until its forfeiture in 1521, when it came into the possession of the Crown.
The sub-tenant of Great Missenden in 1086 was Turstin, son of Rolf, (fn. 13) of whose descendants nothing is known. The manor seems to have been granted early in the 12th century to William de Missenden, who founded the abbey of Missenden in 1133. (fn. 14) He had a son Hugh, who took the surname of de Noers, which had perhaps been assumed by his father also. (fn. 15) Hugh de Noers became lord of the manor before 1141 (fn. 16) and was still living in 1166, (fn. 17) but was succeeded soon after by his son William de Noers, (fn. 18) who died before 1185, for in that year his son William was a minor in the custody of Henry de Pinkeni. (fn. 19) William de Noers the younger died, however, about 1189, and his lands passed to his brother Hugh, (fn. 20) whose daughter and heir Joan married Hugh de Sanford, (fn. 21) and was holding Missenden together with her husband in 1233. (fn. 22) Hugh seems to have died in 1233 or 1234, (fn. 23) and Joan about 1252. She left two daughters, Christiana, who married first William de Sideham, (fn. 24) and secondly John de Plessy, afterwards Earl of Warwick, (fn. 25) and Agnes, the wife of Matthew Husee. (fn. 26) The manor of Great Missenden was divided between these two heiresses, the moieties being known at a later date as Overbury and Netherbury.
The moiety of the manor of Great Missenden subsequently known as OVERBURY was assigned to Agnes and Matthew Husee. Matthew died before 1254, at which time the wardship of his son Henry was purchased by John Maunsell, whose niece, Joan Fleming, Henry was to marry. (fn. 27) Henry Husee lived until 1290, (fn. 28) when his lands passed to his son Henry, who was succeeded about 1332 by a third Henry, to whose mother Isabella one-third of the manor was assigned in dower. (fn. 29) In 1348 the manor was conveyed to Thomas de Mussenden, (fn. 30) the king's groom, who seems to have settled it on himself in that year, although Henry Husee did not finally quitclaim his right in the manor until 1356. (fn. 31) Certainly Thomas de Mussenden was in occupation before that date. He was still living in 1367, and his wife Isabella, widow of Sir John Golafre, survived until after 1383. (fn. 32) Edmund de Missenden, son and heir of Thomas, died in 1394, (fn. 33) the manor having been settled on his wife Juliana for the term of her life and one year beyond. She married secondly Thomas Shelle, who died about 1400, (fn. 34) and died herself in 1407, when the manor passed to her son Bernard de Missenden. (fn. 35)
Bernard died in 1420, leaving two daughters, Katherine and Alice, (fn. 36) the manor being apportioned to the elder, who married John Iwardby. (fn. 37) Nicholas Iwardby, son of John, (fn. 38) became lord of the manor upon the death of his father, (fn. 39) and was succeeded by his son John in 1462, (fn. 40) who being under age was placed under the custody of Richard Fowler. (fn. 41) He died in 1485, leaving three daughters, Elizabeth wife of William Elmes and afterwards of Thomas Pigot, Margery wife of Ralf Verney, and Helen who married first William Cutland (fn. 42) and secondly Thomas Clifford. (fn. 43) This manor was apparently assigned to Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, as it afterwards descended in the family of Elmes. John, son of William Elmes, succeeded his father, (fn. 44) and in 1557–8 the manor was held by Edward or Edmund Elmes, son of John. (fn. 45) Edmund's son, John Elmes, (fn. 46) was lord of the manor previous to 1624, in which year he died, and was succeeded by his brother Thomas. (fn. 47) The latter died in 1632, (fn. 48) and Overbury passed to his son William, (fn. 49) who was succeeded in 1641 by his son Arthur. (fn. 50) Arthur Elmes and his wife Jane were still holding it in 1660, (fn. 51) but later there must have been a sale, for in 1684 Overbury appears in the possession of William Fleetwood, owner of Netherbury. (fn. 52) The two manors being thus again united descended together (fn. 53) and formed once more the single manor of Great Missenden.
The moiety of the manor of Great Missenden assigned to Christiana and John de Plessy was subsequently known as NETHERBURY. After the death of Christiana John married Margaret, Countess of Warwick, in whose right he became Earl of Warwick. (fn. 54) Upon his death in 1263 this manor passed to his son Hugh de Plessy, (fn. 55) who lived until about 1292. (fn. 56) He was succeeded by his son Hugh in that year, (fn. 57) and in 1301 by his grandson of the same name, who was then a minor in wardship of John de Segrave. (fn. 58) A fourth Hugh, son of the last, became lord of the manor in 1337, (fn. 59) his mother Millicent retaining half of it in dower. (fn. 60) He died between 1351 and 1357, half of his lands passing to his sister Eleanor, who was the wife of John Lenneysey, (fn. 61) or Lenveysey, and the other half remaining for life to his widow Elizabeth, who married secondly Roger Elmerugge, and reverting upon her death in 1378 to John son of John Lenneysey, (fn. 62) who had succeeded his father before 1374. (fn. 63) John Lenneysey the younger died in 1379, and his lands passed to his kinsman John Cheyne of Isenhampstead (fn. 64) (now Chenies), who in 1381 conveyed Netherbury to trustees for the purpose of a gift to Missenden Abbey. (fn. 65) They leased it for life to Isabella de Missenden, widow of John Golafre and lady of the manor of Overbury, and in 1383 conveyed the reversion in mortmain to the monastery of Missenden. (fn. 66) Netherbury presumably remained in the possession of that house until its dissolution, and afterwards in the hands of the king until 1614, when it was granted to Sir Marmaduke Darrell. (fn. 67) He was still holding the manor in 1623, and had a son and heir Sampson, (fn. 68) who perhaps succeeded him. Sir Marmaduke died some time before 1638, by which date his widow Anne had married Gilbert Neville. (fn. 69) By 1655 another Marmaduke Darrell (fn. 70) had succeeded to the manor, (fn. 71) and soon after, apparently later than 1663, conveyed it to Sir William Bowyer, for in 1668 he sold it to William Fleetwood, (fn. 72) who died in 1691. He was succeeded by John Fleetwood, (fn. 73) said to have been his son, and said to have been succeeded in 1745 by his sister Mary, (fn. 74) who had married Thomas Ansell in 1715. (fn. 75) Thomas and Mary Ansell had two sons, Thomas and John, who both died unmarried, whereupon the manor came to their daughter Mary, wife of Thomas Goostrey. (fn. 76) Mary died in 1780, and after the death of her husband the manor passed to their eldest daughter Mary, the wife of William Lowndes, who died in 1786. (fn. 77) Great Missenden is said to have been sold in 1787 to James Oldham Oldham, who died in 1822, (fn. 78) after which the manor came into the possession of George Carrington, (fn. 79) in whose family it has since remained. Mrs. Carrington was lady of the manor until after 1899; Mr. George Carrington is the present lord.
The privilege of holding a fair on the eve and day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin (14 and 15 August) was granted by Henry III to Joan de Sandsford, (fn. 80) and confirmed in 1367 to Thomas de Missenden. (fn. 81) A fair is vaguely mentioned in the grant of Netherbury to Sir Marmaduke Darrell. (fn. 82) Later, fairs were held on Easter Tuesday and the Monday after Michaelmas, but have been abolished since 1883.
A market to be held weekly on Tuesdays was granted to Joan de Sandford together with the fair, and follows the same descent. It does not now survive.
View of frankpledge is mentioned in Great Missenden as early as 1254. (fn. 83) It remained with the courts leet in the possession of the overlords until the 15th century, (fn. 84) and was leased by them to the sub-tenants. In the reign of Edward I the sub-tenants of both moieties of Great Missenden claimed to hold the view together, paying 10s. for it to the Earl of Gloucester. They also held tourn twice a year 'without any servant of the king,' and had the right of gallows, pillory, and tumbril. (fn. 85)
A water-mill called Deep Mill, which is still in existence, in the south of the parish, on the River Misbourne, seems to have belonged, until the Dissolution, to Missenden Abbey. (fn. 88) It was granted in 1545 to Richard and Robert Taverner, (fn. 89) after which it came into the possession of Anthony Nyxe, miller, who sold it in 1584 to William Fleetwood, who died seised of it in 1594. (fn. 90) In 1610 it was granted to David Fowles, who married a Fleetwood, (fn. 91) but had returned to William's grandson John Fleetwood before 1639, (fn. 92) after which it descended in that family with the manor of Great Missenden. (fn. 93) A windmill is mentioned in 1773, (fn. 94) and is perhaps that now situated at Prestwood.
The reputed manor of PETERLEY or PETERLEYSTONE (Peterlaia, xii cent.) belonged at an early date to Missenden Abbey, and seems to have been given to that monastery by Hugh de Noers and his son William in 1141. (fn. 95) It remained in the possession of the abbey until its dissolution, (fn. 96) when it seems to have been granted to Geoffrey Dormer. (fn. 97) It was held of the king as of his manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 98) In 1551 Geoffrey conveyed it to Robert Woodliffe, (fn. 99) but possibly for a term of years only, or in mortgage, for Robert Dormer, Geoffrey's grandson, (fn. 100) appears as lord of the manor in 1580. In 1557 Robert Woodliffe settled Peterley upon himself and Anne Drury, whom he was about to marry. He died in 1593 and was succeeded by his son Drew Woodliffe, (fn. 101) who in 1596 joined with his mother in conveying the manor back to Sir Robert Dormer. (fn. 102) Sir Robert was created by James I Baron Dormer of Wyng, and hereditary Chief Avenor and keeper of the king's hawks. (fn. 103) He died in 1616, having settled his newly-built manor house of Peterley on his wife Elizabeth for her life, with reversion to his third son Robert, (fn. 104) who is referred to as Robert Dormer of Peterley. (fn. 105) The latter died in 1656 and was succeeded by his son Charles, (fn. 106) and by his grandson Charles in 1677. (fn. 107) The last-named Charles became Baron Dormer of Wyng upon the death of his cousin Rowland Dormer in 1712, (fn. 108) and the manor of Peterley has since descended with that barony, and is now the residence of the thirteenth baron. (fn. 109)
The Abbot of Missenden obtained a grant of free warren in Peterley in 1302, which was confirmed in 1426. (fn. 110)
The 17th-century house having been allowed to fall into decay was completely destroyed and replaced by a small building of no particular interest in the first half of the 19th-century.
The ABBEY OF GREAT MISSENDEN for Arroasian Canons was founded in 1133 by William de Missenden, lord of that manor, who endowed it with lands in the parish, including Potter Row (Potterewe), Ballinger (Balenger), Kingshill (Kyngeshull), Peterley, Prestwood, and Moretensend. (fn. 111) The advowson of the monastery remained in the hands of his successors.
Upon the dissolution of the monastery of Great Missenden the site and lands belonging were granted early in 1541 to Richard Greenway, a gentleman usher of the king's household, for twenty-one years. (fn. 112) Richard lived until 1552, but he seems to have surrendered the grant shortly before, as in 1550 and 1551 Edward VI gave the site of the abbey to his sister Princess Elizabeth for life. (fn. 113) At the end of the same reign it was granted to the Duke of Northumberland, (fn. 114) who was, however, executed in the same year for his support of Lady Jane Grey, and his lands forfeited. (fn. 115) Missenden Abbey then remained in the possession of the Crown until 1560, when it was granted for thirty years to Richard Hampden. (fn. 116) In 1574 the reversion of the abbey lands was granted to Robert Earl of Leicester, (fn. 117) who sold it in the same year to William Fleetwood. The latter died in 1594 and was succeeded by his son Sir William, (fn. 118) to whom the abbey was confirmed in 1612. John Fleetwood, son of Sir William Fleetwood, inherited his father's estates in 1631, (fn. 119) and died in 1639 leaving a son William who was only aged 4½ years at his father's death. In 1672 he became lord of the manor of Great Missenden, in which the site of the monastery presumably became absorbed.
The house now called Missenden Abbey stands on the site of the cloister of the monastic buildings, and contains a good deal of old masonry. The church, which stood to the north of the cloister, is completely destroyed, and a kitchen garden now covers its site, but the walls of the eastern range of claustral buildings are in large measure preserved, and the open 15th-century roof which covered the dorter of the canons is still in existence, and parts of it may be seen in various bedrooms now occupying the upper story of the east wing of the present house. Unfortunately no mediaeval masonry details are visible, and though the present kitchen must approximately occupy the site of the chapter house, no trace of the ancient arrangement remains. The walls of the southern range, which must have contained the frater, still stand in part, as do probably those of the western range, and the area of the cloister with its walks is almost entirely filled in with additional buildings, the corridors on the ground floor evidently following very nearly the lines of the former south and west walks of the mediaeval cloister. These corridors, with most of the architectural features of the house, are in the imitation gothic of the early 19th century, and have a vaulted plaster ceiling, and the whole building has evidently undergone many alterations, a 17th-century picture of it which is preserved being now hardly recognizable. To the east the ground rises steeply towards the parish church, and at the foot of the slope is the bed of the intermittent 'bourne,' which supplied the monastic buildings. The boundary wall of the garden on the north is in part old, and may be part of the mediaeval precinct wall, the stream being carried under it through a low arch. In a summer-house are preserved some very pretty pieces of 13th-century detail, doubtless from the monastic church, and a green glazed tile with raised patterns, also of the 13th century, has been dug up on the site of the church.
The church of ST. PETER AND ST. PAUL has a chancel 31 ft. 3 in. by 19 ft., a nave 58 ft. 8 in. by 19 ft.; north and south transept 21 ft. by 15 ft.; a north aisle 17 ft. 8 in. wide, a south aisle 8 ft. wide, a western tower, north and south porches, an organ chamber and a vestry. The church was largely rebuilt in the first half of the 14th century, the chancel being widened to its present lines, the chancel arch inserted, the aisles and transepts added, and the tower begun but perhaps not finished. In the 15th century the clearstory and roof were added and a number of windows inserted. About the middle of the 16th century the tower was enlarged on the south side, evidently to make more room for bells. The lower part of the addition contains a stair, and it seems that the parish must have obtained the bells of the suppressed abbey which stood close by on the west. Of the four belfry lights three are of this date, but the fourth, that to the west, is a mutilated early 14th-century window which it is quite probable formed part of the abbey buildings. The south porch is a late addition. In recent years the north aisle has been rebuilt and greatly widened, the old material being re-used and the door and windows reset, while a new north porch was added. The organ chamber is also modern.
The east window of the chancel has in a 14thcentury opening modern tracery of 15th-century detail in five cinquefoiled lights with tracery over. Externally the window is almost entirely modern, but the internal jambs and rear arch are rich 14th-century work, elaborately moulded with deep hollows, double wave moulds, and ogees in two orders. The inner order rests on mask-corbels, the outer upon slender circular shafts with richly carved foliate capitals, and circular moulded bases upon octagonal plinths, while some of the hollow members of the rear arch are enriched with carving in a running floral design and with four-leaved flowers. On either side are two highly decorated image niches of 14th-century date with moulded and shafted jambs and internal heads carved into ribbed vaulting, while traces remain of spire-like canopies. At the east end of the south wall is a series of modern canopied niches, seven in number and of 14th-century detail, which are said to have been designed from fragments uncovered at this point during the last restoration. Below is the cinquefoiled head of a single late 14th-century window, forming a niche now used as a single late as a credence, and west of this is the blocked opening of what was once a squint from a vestry. The vestry door, a little west of the altar rails, is of 14th-century date, but was much repaired and reset a little west of its old position at the recent restoration. The arched opening to the organ chamber is quite modern. At the east end of the south wall is a large 14th-century window, with moulded jambs and rear arch and with an internal label, now filled with 18th-century tracery in five uncusped lights. There is also a very gracefully designed 14th-century piscina with a sharp trefoiled head with curiously slight cusping and a cinquefoiled ogee sub-head. The sill of the window beforementioned is carried down to form sedilia, the backs of which had slightly sunk panels with sub-cusped cinquefoiled heads, now much defaced. In the western jamb is a small filled-in niche. West of the sedilia is a small priest's door also of 14th-century date, richly moulded on both faces and now blocked. There are two further 14th-century windows with tracery, somewhat restored, in two trefoiled lights with trefoils and a quatrefoil over. The jambs and rear arches are continuously moulded and there are both internal and external labels. Below the westernmost of these windows is a low window of the same date with a moulded rear arch and two trefoiled lights, the heads of which are modern or of very late insertion, and through its west jamb is pierced a squint from the south transept. The chancel arch is of similar detail to the nave arcades, the capitals ranging, but the arch itself is higher and of steeper pitch and has perhaps been rebuilt and widened in the 15th century, when the rood-stair was inserted. It is of two plain chamfered orders, and the responds have engaged quarter and half-round shafts with square fillets between and moulded circular capitals and bases. In its original state the chancel must have been a splendid example of the style of its time, and even in its defaced and 'restored' condition is extremely interesting.
The nave arcades, as already stated, are similar in design to the chancel arch, but have labels with grotesque dripstones, and the chamfer on the outer order of the arches is carefully stopped, while the details of the capitals and bases are slightly different. In the two eastern responds are the rood-loft doors, and there is a clearstory with five windows on each side, each of two trefoiled lights with trefoils in the spandrels. They are of early 15th-century date and have moulded internal jambs and rear arches with a square main head. The roof is of the same date, of flat pitch with six deep moulded principals and a moulded ridge, purlins, and wall plates. Beneath the principals are brackets, with cusped tracery in the spandrels, resting upon corbels in the form of angels holding shields. The tower arch is rather low and of three chamfered orders, the two innermost dying into the jambs and the outer being continuous.
The north transept has a three-light north window of early 15th-century date of three trefoiled lights, the middle one slightly higher than the side lights and sub-cusped, while the main head is square with trefoils in the spandrels. In the middle of the east wall is a 14th-century window of cinquefoiled lights with flamboyant tracery over and double wave-moulded jambs and rear arch now opening to the organ chamber. North of this is a wide niche or recess with a slightly ogee-shaped head. The back has been elaborately painted to represent hangings of crimson brocade worked in a flowing floral design. In this niche is a fragment carved with a shield bearing three bulls passant, two and one. There is a smaller niche to the south of the window, and below it a plain pointed piscina with a modern drain. At the south end of the wall is a low door, largely if not entirely modern, opening into the organ chamber; it replaces the lower door of the roodstairs, the upper door of which, with a portion of the curved wall of the turret, is still visible.
On the west are two bays of arcading opening to the widened south aisle, one arch of which, with one respond and the pier, are modern and of 14th-century detail. The roof is modern.
The north wall of the north aisle is quite modern and has two reset three-light 15th-century windows. Between these is the reset 14th-century north door with wave-moulded jambs and two-centred head. Internally and a little to the east of it a plain holywater stone has been inserted in the wall. The porch is quite modern and of 14th-century detail with a small two-light window on either side.
The south transept has a three-light window of early 15th-century date at the north end of its east wall with a four-centred main head and a double wave-moulded rear arch, the same mouldings occurring in two uncusped image niches, on either side of this window. South of these is a two-light 14thcentury window similar in detail to but much smaller than the two windows at the west end of the south wall of the chancel. In the south wall is a small door either modern or completely restored and in the centre of the wall an early 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights. On the west is a single light of late 14th-century date, and a plain arch of two chamfered orders without responds opens to the south aisle.
The windows of the south aisle are identical with those on the north and the south door is opposite the north door and is similar in detail. At the west end of the aisle is the door to the added tower stair and just west of the south door is a small niche with a cinquefoiled head. The south porch, a late addition, appears originally to have been of two stories. The floor, however, has been removed, though a dormer window remains.
The tower is of three stages with an embattled parapet. The west door of 14th-century date is continuously moulded with double sunk chamfers and hollow moulds, but has been much restored. Above this the head and parts of the jambs of a late 15thcentury window have been inserted, probably at a late date. The north, south, and east belfry openings are of two lights under a square label, but the west opening is filled with part of a fine early 14th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights, and enough remains to suggest elaborate tracery, though it has been cut off square a little above the lower heads. Internally the jambs are shafted, with rich floral capitals and circular bases, and there is an internal label.
The font is of the type so common in this neighbourhood, the finest example of which is perhaps that at Aylesbury. It is of late 12th-century date and has an octagonal bowl on a short circular moulded stem worked into a square base shaped like an inverted cushion capital. The seats, &c. are modern, but some old carved tracery has been worked in. In the south transept are the remains of several brasses, the only figure remaining being that of a woman of c. 1510. There is also a beautifully designed helm and mantling, part of a 15th-century achievement of arms, with the crest of a maidenhead. Below is an inscription in Roman lettering to Zacheus Metcalfe 1595, and Margaret Metcalfe 1596. There is also the inscription of a brass to John Iwardby and his wife Katherine the daughter of Bernard de Missenden; she died 1436, but the date of his death is left blank. The brass was evidently in the Abbey Church. In the south aisle is a monument to William Bois, 1631. It has a broken pediment surmounted by a figure of Time with his scythe over an arch fantastically constructed of books. In the north aisle is a monument to Dame Jane Walker, 1635, some time the wife of Daniel Bonde of London and later of Sir John Boys of Canterbury.
The tower contains a sanctus in a small opening, dated 1782, and six bells: the treble dated 1692; the second cast by Joseph Carter in 1603, and bearing his mark; the third dated 1640; the fourth cast by Thomas Mears in 1824; the fifth by Ellis Knight in 1623; and the sixth by Thomas Mears in 1840.
The plate is modern and consists of two chalices, a flagon, two standing patens, and a perforated spoon.
The first book of the registers contains all entries from 1694, baptisms and burials running to 1782 and marriages to 1753. A second book contains burial in woollen with notes of the affidavits from 1678 to 1784 and a further continuation of burials to 1812. The third book contains baptisms from 1783 to 1809, and a fourth the same from 1809 to 1812, and there is the first banns book of marriages from 1754 to 1786.
The patronage of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Great Missenden belonged to the lord of that manor until it was given with its tithes by William de Missenden to the abbey, which he founded there in 1133. (fn. 120) The living was appropriated by the monastery, a vicar being appointed by the abbot. (fn. 121)
At the Dissolution the advowson fell to the Crown, and the vicarage was granted to Thomas Barnerdes, one of the former monks, in lieu of a pension. (fn. 122) The right of presentation was kept by the Crown until about 1607, soon after which it seems to have been granted to John Ramsey, Viscount Haddington, for in 1609 he sold it, together with the rectory, to William Fleetwood. (fn. 123) The advowson and rectory then became united, and have since followed the same descent, until the death of John Oldham in 1822, since when the advowson has been in the hands of his trustees. (fn. 124)
The rectory of Great Missenden, which came into the king's hands at the Dissolution, was in 1541 granted to Richard Greenway, a gentleman usher of the Household, for a term of twenty-one years. (fn. 125) In 1560 the reversion of the rectory at the end of that term was granted to Richard Hampden, principal clerk of the king's kitchen, for thirty years, and fell to him late in 1561. (fn. 126) He, however, surrendered it about 1578, when it was granted for life to Griffin Hampden, and after his death to his daughters, Mary and Ruth, for their lives. (fn. 127) Mary, who subsequently married James Russell, and her sister were both living in 1597, (fn. 128) but evidently died before 1606, for in that year the rectory, which would revert to the Crown at their death, was granted to John Ramsey, Viscount Haddington. (fn. 129) The latter sold it in 1609 to William Fleetwood, (fn. 130) who died seised of it in 1631, (fn. 131) and in whose family it descended in the same manner as Missenden Priory and Great Missenden Manor, (fn. 132) in which it has presumably become merged.
There are Baptist chapels at Great Missenden, Lee Common, and at Hyde Heath, and a Primitive Methodist chapel at Lee Common.
In 1629 Nicholas Almond by deed conveyed to trustees his messuage in Thame—now a house and shop, 2 Corn Market, let at £16 a year—upon trust for the poor, subject to the payment of 6s. 8d. for a sermon on the Wednesday in Easter week.
The charity is regulated by a scheme of 20 April 1865, but the income has been absorbed in recent years in repairs of the property.
The charity of Dame Jane Boys, John Hampden, and another, founded in 1635, consists of a house and 4 acres at Prestwood, and allotment land, producing yearly £20 11s. 10d. By an order of the Charity Commissioners of 9 June 1896, made under the Local Government Act, 1/24th part of the net yearly income was apportioned as the ecclesiastical branch. In 1907 there was after repair and removal of the monument of the foundress a balance in the hands of the churchwardens of £2 19s. The net income of the remainder of the charity was, under the title of the Borough Charity, applied in apprenticeship premiums and outfits.
In 1690 Thomas Gregory, by will proved in the P.C.C. 29 March, gave £5 a year for poor housekeepers not in receipt of parish relief. The annuity is paid by the owner of Knives Farm, Hughenden. The operation of the charity was in abeyance, and in 1906 there was a balance in the hand of £21 18s. 6d.
In 1864 William Dent by deed gave a sum of £1,000 consols for educational purposes, the dividends of which are duly applied.
In 1888 Miss Jane Douglas, by will proved at London 23 August, bequeathed to the vicar and churchwardens a legacy, now represented by £327 15s. 2d. consols, with the official trustees, the income to be distributed on 13 November in each year among forty aged poor persons. The annual dividend, amounting to £8 3s. 8d., is applied in charity tickets.
In 1881 Abraham Watson, by will proved with a codicil at London on 9 May, bequeathed £800 consols, the income, now amounting to £20 a year, to be applied towards the support of the infant schools.
The same testator bequeathed to the vicar and churchwardens of Great Missenden £180 consols, the income now amounting to £4 10s. annually to be distributed twice each year among the poor of the hamlet.
The sums of stock are held by the official trustees.