Parishes: Wexham

Pages 318-320

A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.

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Wexham, the smallest parish in the hundred of Stoke, covers an area of only 748 acres, of which over two-thirds are permanent grass. (fn. 1) The soil is loam and clay, the subsoil gravel, and the chief crops raised are oats, wheat and barley. Gravel is worked and ragstone is also found. The land rises gradually from 98 ft. above the ordnance datum in the south of Wexham to 228 ft. in the north. There is a fine view from the common extending over Berkshire and Oxfordshire to the Surrey and Hampshire hills. The village lies in the west of the parish and forms part of the estate of Wexham Park, a modern red brick house built in the Elizabethan style, the seat of Lady Pigott. To the north of the park are some farms, an old gravel-pit, and the houses known as Wexham Springs and Wexham Place. The church and rectory stand at some distance from the village in the south of the parish, with the old rectory to the east and Wexham Court, the manor-house, now a farm, to the west. A timber-framed outbuilding at Wexham Court appears to date from the 16th century and to have been originally a dwelling-house. There are three moats of irregular form. (fn. 2)

Edward Waddington, Bishop of Chichester, was rector of Wexham from 1702 to 1706. (fn. 3) His successor William Fleetwood, afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph and later of Ely, wrote his Chronicum Pretiosum at Wexham. (fn. 4)

This parish was inclosed in 1810, when compensation for one-sixteenth part of the land inclosed was awarded to the lord of the manor. (fn. 5)


Wexham is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but its later history shows clearly that it was included under Eton as part of the barony of Windsor. (fn. 6) From 1540, when a fresh grant in fee was made by the Crown, Wexham was held in chief, (fn. 7) the last reference to this tenure occurring in 1606. (fn. 8)

During the 13th century Henry Mansel held WEXHAM as one fee of the heir of Hugh de Hodeng. (fn. 9) In 1262 it was transferred by Mansel (fn. 10) with the consent of the overlord to the priory of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, (fn. 11) which retained it (fn. 12) until 1539, when the priory surrendered to the Crown. (fn. 13) Next year Wexham Manor was granted to Thomas Arthur and his wife Anne. (fn. 14) John Arthur, probably their son, was in possession before 1562. (fn. 15) He died in 1606, (fn. 16) and his son and heir Edmund (fn. 17) conveyed Wexham in 1610 to Edward Woodward, (fn. 18) whose family had owned land in the neighbourhood for at least four generations. (fn. 19) He and his son Edward broke the entail in 1638, (fn. 20) and two years later conveyed the manor to Richard Winwood, (fn. 21) On the death of his mother in 1659 he became owner of Ditton Park in Stoke Poges (q.v.), and Wexham Manor followed the same descent until 1718, and afterwards that of Chalvey Manor (q.v.). The present owner is George Godolphin Osborne, tenth Duke of Leeds.

In 1262 Wexham Manor paid to the overlord £2 for scutage, 8s. for hidage, and half a mark every twenty-four weeks towards the ward of Windsor Castle. The overlord also received from the priory of St. Mary Overy one loaf of the canons' bread and 1¼ gallons of the canons' ale every day, and for one of his servants (when required to do so) a loaf of bread and a gallon of ale daily of the same quality as that provided for the prior's servants. Supplies for a week were to be delivered every Sunday. (fn. 22)

A court leet and view of frankpledge belonged to the manor of Wexham. (fn. 23)

The priory of Merton, Surrey, owned some land and a wood in Wexham, (fn. 24) over which it acquired the right of free warren in 1252. (fn. 25) In 1261 Henry Mansel and his wife Joan granted the priory in free alms 13s. 6d. in rents in Horton and Wexham. (fn. 26) These possessions, among which a farm called 'Woodhouse' was specified after the Dissolution, were included in the grant to Thomas Arthur in 1540. (fn. 27)


The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel measuring internally 23 ft. by 14 ft., nave 37 ft. by 14 ft. (the width being increased to 16 ft. 6 in. at the west end, where the nave is widened beneath the bell-turret), and a south porch. The chancel and nave are built of flint and stone, the porch of timber encased with modern brickwork, and the roofs are tiled.

16th-Century House at Wexham Court

The nave dates from the 12th century. The chancel appears to have been rebuilt on a larger scale during the early part of the 14th century, and the chancel arch was removed probably at the same time. No further alteration seems to have been made until the 16th century, when the south porch was added and the western part of the south wall of the nave was rebuilt to line with the wider west end of the nave. The fabric was considerably restored in the 19th century, and much of the stonework of the windows has been renewed.

The chancel is lighted from the east by a threelight traceried window of the 14th century, much restored, from the north by a single trefoiled light, the lower part of which is blocked, and from the south by a modern window. In the south wall there is also a 14th-century moulded recess with a cinquefoiled head enriched with crockets and finial.

An original round-headed window remains in the north wall of the nave, but it has been much restored. In the south wall are a 14th-century pointed doorway and a modern window; in the west wall is a two-light 15th-century window with a square head and, above it, a blocked 12th-century circular light, enriched with a zigzag ornament, both of which have been much restored.

The bell-turret is supported in the nave by a framework of large timbers with curved struts, most of which is original. Externally it is covered with modern weather-boarding, and is surmounted by a timber spire. The south porch retains internally its original timber framing. One old tie-beam is preserved in the present nave roof, and the door in the south doorway is probably of the 16th century. In the chancel floor are a few mediaeval encaustic tiles.

There is one bell in the turret by John Warner & Sons, cast probably about 1800.

The plate consists of a cup, two patens and a flagon, all of 1806.

The registers begin in 1728.


The advowson of Wexham (fn. 28) belonged to Henry Mansel in the 13th century, (fn. 29) and its descent is the same as that of the manor (q.v.) until the Dissolution. (fn. 30) It has since been retained by the Crown. (fn. 31) Wexham Church was valued at £6 13s. 4d. (fn. 32) in 1291, at £5 in 1307, (fn. 33) at 7½ marks in 1341, (fn. 34) and at £6 4s. 8d. in 1535. (fn. 35)

An eighth part of the land inclosed in Wexham in 1810 was assigned to the rector in lieu of tithes and all other ecclesiastical dues except mortuaries, Easter offerings and surplice fees. (fn. 36) An exception was made in respect of 10 acres of land in the parish belonging to the poor of Stoke Poges. (fn. 37)


In or about 1831 Mrs. Mary Grainger of Exeter, who was the residuary legatee under the will of General Roberts, gave the sum of £100 for the poor, being part of a sum which had been lent to the parish by the testator. The gift was invested in £108 19s. 10d. consols, with the official trustees. The annual dividends, amounting to £2 14s 4d., are distributed among about twelve poor parishioners, preference being given to widows.


  • 1. Statistics from Bd. of Agric. (1905).
  • 2. V.C.H. Bucks. ii, 32.
  • 3. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 4. Lipscomb, Hist. of Bucks. iv, 583.
  • 5. Priv. Act, 50 Geo. III, cap. 66.
  • 6. Hund. R. (Rec. Com.), i, 33; Testa de Nevill (Rec. Com.), 246b; Feet of F. Bucks. East. 46 Hen. III, no. 26; Mich. 47 Hen. III, no. 11; Feud. Aids, i, 93, 118; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 63.
  • 7. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII, pt. v, m. 32.
  • 8. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxciii, 24.
  • 9. Testa de Nevill, loc. cit.
  • 10. Feet of F. Bucks. East. 46 Hen. III, no. 25.
  • 11. Ibid. no. 26.
  • 12. Abbrev; Plac. (Rec. Com.), 265; Feud. Aids, loc. cit.; Inq. a.q.d. file 244, no. 11; Mins. Accts. Hen. VIII, no. 3464. The Valor shows that it was a Rectory Manor valued at £7 11s. yearly (Valor Eccl. [Rec. Com.], ii, 62).
  • 13. V.C.H. Surr. ii, 111.
  • 14. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII, pt. v, m. 32. Thomas Arthur had been lessee from 1532 (Mins. Accts. Hen. VIII, no. 3464).
  • 15. Recov. R. Hil. 5 Eliz. m. 804.
  • 16. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccxciii, 24.
  • 17. Ibid.; Fine R. 5 Jas. I, pt. iii, no. 49.
  • 18. Feet of F. Bucks. Mich. 8 Jas. I.
  • 19. Chan. Inq. p.m. 21 Edw. IV, no. 2; Visit. of Bucks. (Harl. Soc.), 132.
  • 20. Recov. R. Hil. 14 Chas. I, m. 24.
  • 21. Feet of F. Bucks. East. 15 Chas. I. George Woodward the father, John the grandfather, and George the great-grandfather are named.
  • 22. Feet of F. Bucks. 46 Hen. III, no. 26.
  • 23. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII, pt. v, m. 32; 16 Jas. I, pt. viii, no. 9; Feet of F. Bucks. East. 15 Chas. I.
  • 24. Cott. MS. Cleop. C vii, fol. 58, pp. 85, 86.
  • 25. Cal. Chart. R. 1226–57, p. 391.
  • 26. Feet of F. Bucks. East. 45 Hen. III, no. 4.
  • 27. Pat. 32 Hen. VIII, pt. v, m. 32.
  • 28. a Ralph of Burnham was instituted in 1219 (R. of Hugh of Wells [Cant. and York Soc. ], i, 171). Wexham is called a parish church from 1413 (Linc. Epis. Reg. Inst. Repingdon, fol. 456), previously a chapel or church.
  • 29. Feet of F. Bucks. East. 46 Hen. III, no. 25.
  • 30. Ibid. no. 26; Harl. MS. 6952, fol. 78, 79, 119; Harl. Chart. 86, F 48; Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iv, 224.
  • 31. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1640, p. 93; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.); Lysons, Mag. Brit. i (3), 662; Clergy Lists to 1914.
  • 32. Pope Nich. Tax. (Rec. Com.), 33.
  • 33. Cott. MS. Faust. A viii, fol. 153, 161.
  • 34. Inq. Nonarum (Rec. Com.), 332.
  • 35. Valor Eccl. loc. cit.
  • 36. Priv. Act, 50 Geo. III, cap. 66.
  • 37. Lipscomb, op. cit. iv, 582.