Ivinghoe is a picturesque village with old houses clustered on two sides of the village Lawn. The size of the church and the existence of a Town Hall tell us that Ivinghoe was once a much bigger village. In fact, Ivinghoe used to have two or three markets per week to which the local farmers and straw plaiters came to sell their produce.

St Mary's church is a large cathedral-like building dating back to 1230 with a 15th century roof. An enormous thatch-hook is attached to the churchyard wall. This was used to drag thatch from burning houses to prevent the spread of fiire. Opposite the church is the 17th century King's Head Hotel. The imposing 18th century Old Brewery House, standing between the church and the Town Hall, serves as a Youth Hostel but was once part of the local brewery as its name denotes.

The Old Town Hall was last restored in the Queen's Jubilee Year and houses the village library. The downstairs was once an open market. Ford End watermill is a fine survivor from the days when many mills were at work in the Chilterns. It is believed to date back to at least 1795 and was still in use until 1970. The waterwheel is of the overshot type and two separate sets of stones were used, for grinding wheat for flour, and for animal foods.

Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission


This was formerly a large market-town, but is now very small in proportion
to what it was. It has a market on Saturday and two fairs in the,
year, 6th of May, and 17th of October, for all sorts. of cattle, and sundry merchandise.

The chief manufactory here is of lace, wherein two hundred and twenty four persons are constantly employed.

Ivinghoe is situated at the side of a range of large high chalk-hills, which are covered with fine green pasture, free from all kinds of shrubs or trees. The top of the hills commands a very extensive and pleasing prospect over the different, counties of Bucks, Herts, Bedford, and Oxon. In a fine clear day may be seen distinctly, without the help of any glass, thirty-six different parish churches; the country, being quite open, and. free from any inclosures.

The town of Ivinghoe has two streets one of which goes through the place, and the other branches out in the middle, representing the letter. T. The church is a fine building, dedicated to St. Mark; and is remarkable for a fine ring of bells. It appears to have been founded by Edward IV. The parish is about fourteen miles in length and two in breadth, and is divided into four hamlets.-- About a mile from the town the counties of Bucks, Bedford, and Herts,, meet in a piece of land hot twenty yards asunder.
Ivinghoe is distant from Hemelhempstead, ten miles south-east-Berkhampstead seven, south.-Chesham ten, south.-Tring three, south-Aylcsbury ten, south-Wendover eight, south-west.-Leighton six, north-and Dunstable six, north-east. Its distance from London is thirty-four miles south-east.
The principal inns are the King's Head (excise-office), and King's Arms (post-. office). The post comes in every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, at eleven o'clock in the morning and returns the same day at four o'clock in the afternoon: this is only a bye-post from Hemelhemrftead, Herts.

There is a stage-coach goes from Gaddesden Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at seven o'clock, to the Bell and Crown, Holborn; returns Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays: fare 7s inside, 3s. 6d. outside-There are two coaches arrive at Tring every day, namely, the Tring, and the Banbury and

Buckingham: the former sets out. from the Bell and Crown, Holborn; and the other from the Saracen's Head, Snowhill; and return every day. Thomas Cook's stage-waggon goes to London every Thursday morning at eight o'clock to the Bell Inn, Warwick-lane ; and returns on Saturday.
About a quarter of a mile from the town is a very fine wood, remarkable for its trees and high situation as it is seen at a verv great distance from Portsmouth, and from out of Derbyshire, and to 150 miles distance. The Wood and hills are the property of the duke of Bridgewater. A, quarter of a mile from the hills is one of the four old Roman roads called the Ickenild-way, which runs throughout the kingdom from Portsmouth to Tinmouth Avon. About four hundred yards from this is a surprising declivity between two hills, about three hundred yards in length and forty yards wide: on both sides of the hills is fine green pasture, as is the bottom, reported to have been one of the Roman encampments, as several old coins are found on the spot, and in the neighbouring fields, in fine preservation. --about two miles from the town is a place called Boburn, belonging to John Sear Esq of Tring Grove Here is said to be the first spring rising of the river Thames; the springs divide within ten yards of each other, one running due east, and the other west. Mr. Sear has made a fine canal for a pleasure-boat, one mile in length. This place appears to have been formerly used for a burial place, as several skeletons of human bodies have been taken up; and one in particular, about twelve months since, seven feet in length, and all the bones perfect. About three miles from the town is Astridge, the seat of his grace the duke of Bndgewater, which was a very ancient monastery. In the center of.the house in a fine square is a large bason of water, where Jonas is represented coming out of the whale's belly and round this are fine cloisters, with historical paintings but they are in a ruinous state, and are said to be of very great antiquity. Within the house is a bed and chair the work of queen Elizabeth, wrought in fine needle-work; and in the same bed the queen was taken prisoner and carried to the Tower, by her sister Mary .

About one mile from here is an ancient nunnery; the manor belonging to this nunnery is supposed to be the most extensive in this kingdom, as it is nearly forty miles in length. From Astridge to this monastery about one mile, and there is a subterraneous passage communicating from one to the other.

One mile from Ivinghoe is a hill called Wadden, where the ancients burnt sacrifices; from which may be seen six others, all dedicated TO the days of the week. At the bottom of this hill is a large ditch cut, said to have parted the kingdom of Mercia and the East Angles, when the kingdom was divided -

Other villages in the neighbourhood of Ivinghoe are Ivinghoe Aston -one mile from Ivinghoe, Edlesborough, two -Northall, two - Eaton Bray, three - Totteringhoe, four - Dagnall, four - Ringshall, three -Little Gaddesden, four - Aldbury, three - Pitstone, one - Marsworth, two - Longmarston, four - Putnam, four - Cheddington,two -Wingrove, six - Crasston, six - Mentmore, three - Ledbain, three - Wing, six - Ascot, five - Horton, three - Slapton,three - Seabrook, the seat of the Rev. Mr. Woxley, two - Stocks near Aldbury, the seat of William Hayton, Esq. Two - And Penley, the seat of Richard Harcot, Esq three.


Description of Ivinghoe from J.J. Sheahan, 1861.
This parish comprises several hamlets, and extends over an area of 5,260 acres. Population in 1861, 1,849 souls. The place is situated on the eastern verge of the county, and borders on Hertfordshire. The soil is chalk and flints. The London and North Western Railway, and the Grand Junction Canal intersect the parish. The rateable value of the parish, except Nettleden, is £6,693, viz of the town quarter £2,118; upper quarter, £1,139; and the lower quarter, £2,736. "Near the town " writes Libscomb, "passes the old Roman Road, called the Icknield Way; but the alterations which have been made in the surface of the country, in consequence of tillage, enclosures, and agricultural improvements, have nearly obliterated its track, which is now with much difficulty traced through the parish."
There is a local tradition that Ivinghoe was once an Assize-town, and that the assizes had been held in an antiquated house which stood at Brook End, and called the Court House. This house, which was demolished several years ago, is described as having had four dormer windows, with a wooden image under each, said to represent Moses, Abraham, Zacharia, Job. The historians of the county are silent on the subject of assizes in this place.
Sir Walter Scott acknowledges that he borrowed the name, or conceived the idea, of calling one of his hitorical romances by the name "Ivanhoe," from the old rhyme which states that "Tring, Wing and Ivinghoe" were lost by one of the Hampdens for striking the Black Prince. But the tradition upon which this verse was founded, has been disproved.
Ivinghoe is a small market town or rather a large village, 6 miles S. from Leighton Buzzard, 9 E.N.E. from Aylesbury, 4 N.E. from Tring, 3 from the Tring Railway Station, and 33 miles N.W. from London. The place consists of three streets, which are neither paved or lighted. The inhabitants are well supplied with good water by wells about thirty feet deep. There is a small weekly market on Saturdays for the sale of butchers meat, garden produce, and straw plait; and annual Fairs chiefly for cattle, pigs, and sheep, are held on May 6th, and October 17th. The Town Hall is a neat building, erected on the site of the old-workhouse in 1840. The lower part was intended for a market-house, but has never been used for that purpose, the vendors preferring to to exhibit their wares in the open street. The upper story contains an excellent magistrated court-room in which Petty Sessions are held on the third Saturday in every month. This room is lighted by ten Gothic windows (barge-boarded), five on each side. Adjoining is the Police Office.


Ivinghoe Parish, including the Hamlets of Aston, Horton with Seabrook and Margaret-Street, (Pop. 1,648.)

One Daily School, in which 6 males and 9 females are instructed at the expense of their parents.

Three Sunday Schools; one with 49 males and 53 females, who attend the Established Church; another appertaining to Methodists, consists of 28 males and 31 females ; the other, to Baptists, of 38 males and 36 females; in all of which the children receive gratuitous instruction.

There are also Seventeen small Schools, in which 93 boys and 107 girls are taught to make straw plait, the mistresses hearing them read once a day.