Leckhamstead

The village of Leckhampstead is situated on the stream the Leek that rises in Whittlebury forest in Northamptonshire and is a tributary of the river Ouse which bounds the parish on the south side. In bygone years the parish was divided into two parts called Leckhampstead Magna and Leckhampstead Parva and land between was known as 'Tween Towns'.

I t is possible to trace the owners of the manors or estates that comprised the village from the time of the Norman conquest. At that time Walter Giffard and the Bishop of Bayeaux were the principal landowners. In the reign of Richard I the Chastillon family held the chief manorial estate and the altar tomb in the north aisle of the church of a full length recumbent figure of a knight in armour is believed to be a member of the Chastillon family, possibly Hugh De Chastillon. By 1398 the estate had passed to the Gernons and from them to the Greenways and was then purchased by Edmund Pye, and through female descendants it was bequeathed to Martha Baroness Wentworth who before her death in 1745 nearly demolished the old mansion, but left the estate to a niece, Martha who married Lord Beauclerk. The manor is reputed to have a ghost which present-day villagers claim to have seen walking by the river. The ghost at Weatherhead farm carries a spinning wheel but both are reported to be quite harmless!

The church, dedicated in honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin has its first rector recorded in 1219 and contains some rich remains of the Norman period.

Leckhampstead House was built in 1837 as a rectory by the Rev. Heneage Drummond, Rector from 1835-1883, and is now a private dwelling. During his incumbency the Rev. Drummond felt very strongly that the proximity of the local public house to both the church and the rectory was inappropriate - so he bought and closed the pub. Modern Leckhampstead has neither pub or shop and is now 'dry'.
Lacemaking used to be taught in a thatched cottage where Bellandean now stands, and Leckhampstead was one time well-known for its pillow lace.

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