History of Wavendon

The Parish of Wavendon – A Brief History

Wavendon is a village and civil parish in the south east of the Borough of Milton Keynes and ceremonial Buckinghamshire, England. The village name is an Old English language word, and means ‘Wafa’s hill’. In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 969 the village was recorded as Wafandun. The ancient village lies just outside the south-east of Milton Keynes itself. The ecclesiastic parish of Wavendon anciently contained the hamlet of Woburn Sands, which became a separate civil parish in 1907. The village is best known today for being the location of The Stables live music venue, and the “Wavendon All-music Plan” music summer schools. In the expansion plans for Milton Keynes, it is proposed that Wavendon will become a part of the city and a neighbourhood centre, in a similar way to the other towns and villages that provided the roots of early Milton Keynes. Wavendon is twinned with Presles-en-Brie in France

Hugh de Bolebec’s manor descended to the De Vere’s, Earls of Oxford, and afterwards to the Courtenays. King Henry VIII demised it to JohnSheppard, in 1557, as having been then lately the property of the attained Marquis of Exeter. Edward Courtenay, the last Earl of that family, being restored in blood by Queen Mary, on her accession in 1553, this manor, with other demesnes, were re-granted to him; but on his death without issue it escheated to the Crown, and it was again devised to John Sheppard. Mr Sheppard’s eldest daughter, Joan, carried it in marriage to Thomas Wells, of Great Gaddesden, Co. Herts. From the Wells family it came to the Dixies.

Another manor here, which descended to the Veres, was given by them about 1220, to the Abbey of Woburn. Queen Elizabeth granted it, in 1559, to Richard Campion and John Thompson, who parcelled it out and sold it in severalties. “This estate” says Lipscombe, “included two groves called the Abbat’s wood, and Fuller’s Earth Grounds, and a manor-house called the Grange, which belonged to the Gregories, who purchased it of the Thompsons, by whom it was conveyed to the family of Wells”. A part of this third manor belonged to James Selby, Esq., Serjeant-at-Law; “who” writes Lipscombe, “on account of its being his native place, about the year 1703, added to and greatly enlarged a house which his father had in part rebuilt, made handsome gardens, canals, and fish-ponds, and planted orchards and avenues of trees”. The estate of the Selbys was conveyed by the last of that family to a Mr Shuttleworth, having been purchased by Lord Charles Fitzroy (brother of the Duke of Grafton); who in 1798, conveyed it to Henry Hugh Hoare, Esq., who had other lands in this parish, purchased of different persons and at different times. This gentleman succeeded to the title of Baronet on the death of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart., his eldest half-brother. Henry Arthur Hoare Esq., is the present holder of the estate.

Wavendon Parish (A History to 1890)

The Parish of Wavendon includes the hamlet of Woburn Sands . Its area is 2,665 acres, and the population in 1851 was 935 souls. There are about 500 acres of woodland. The soil generally is a strong clay or loam; towards the hills it is sandy. The Bedford Branch of the London and North Western Railway passes through a portion of the parish. The village is on the road between Woburn and Newport Pagnell 33/4 miles NW and 5 miles SSE from the former town. Many of the women and children are employed in making bone lace, and some in platting straw.

Wauendene is the Domesday name of this place. The Earl of Morton, Hugh de Bolebec and Lewis de Neweham, were the principal landowners here after the Conquest. About 1180 the Passelew family held the principal manor. In 1344 (18 Edward III) a dispensation was granted to William Passelew to celebrate Divine Service in an oratory at his house in Wavendon.

The Peovers had the manor and advowson for a short period, and it passed from them to the Greens. Constance, daughter and heir to Sir Henry Green of Drayton, Co Northampton, brought the estate in marriage to John Stafford, a younger son of Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, and descended to the Staffords of Tattenhoe. It passed in marriage from the Staffords to Edmund Ashfield, Esq (afterwards Knighted), who presented to the Rectory in 1570. Soon after this the manor and advowson were disservered and sold separately; the manor to the Fitz Hugh Family, from whom it came by marriage to the Cranwells. It subsequently passed successively to the families of Beale, Cullen, and Isaacson. Robert Isaacson Esq, was Lord of the Manor in 1735. When the Bucks section of Lysons Magna Britannia was complied, this manor was the property of “Mrs Denison, widow of the late Principal of Magdalen Hall, Oxford”, who was a descendent of the Isaacsons. It now belongs to William Henry Denison Esq, of Hardwick Cottage – a handsome villa residence – at Woburn Sands.

These estates were held of the extensive Royalty of Brockborough, for several generations the property of the Greys, Earls of Kent. This family sold their claim, about the year 1630, to the family of stone, who conveyed their right to the Russells, Dukes of Bedford, about 1702; and that noble family receive a small quit-rent in virtue thereof.

The Act of Parliament which passed in 1788, for inclosing the parish of Wavendon, describes the several owners of the estates as claiming the “manor” of Wavendon and a right to the heath; and these claims having been examined, the Commissioners determined that Mrs Denison’s was the only estate entitled to an allotment on account of manorial rights.

The Messers. Lysons’ write:- “Wavendon Heath was planted about the year 1778, with Scotch firs, by Francis Moore, Esq of Eggington, in the neighbouring county of Bedford. The authors of the Agricultural Report tell us “they continue” that this gentleman received the gold medal from the Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufacturers, for planting those firs; that the whole number planted was 51,376; and that in 1794, after having been several times thinned, there remained 17,125 thriving trees, from 20 to 28 feet in height. The appearance of the heath (now, by purchase, the property of the Duke of Bedford) has been much improved by these plantations, and it exhibits some very picturesque scenery. The noble mansion and park of Woburn Abbey are seen, perhaps to more advantage from some parts of the heath, than from any other spot”.