Whaddon

This small village stands high on a ridge nearly 500 ft above sea level, overlooking Whaddon Chase with the new city of Milton Keynes in the distance.
The name Whaddon is an old English word for 'Wheat Hill' and the village is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
It is best known as the original home of the Whaddon Chase Foxhounds, started by the Selby-Lowndes family back in the 1800s. Unfortunately this hunt no longer exists, as it has recently been incorporated with the Bicester and Warden Hill Hunt. There is still a lane in the village known as Kennel Lane where the hounds were once kept.

Whaddon Hall was the Manor House for many years and the home of the Lowndes family from 1783 when Mr W. Lowndes Selby took possession of the Hall. In 1813 his son took again the family name of Lowndes after that of Selby, and so the name of Selby-Lowndes became associated with the village and remains in the memory of many of the older villagers.

The present Whaddon Hall is at least the fourth to stand on the site. The Lowndes family left to live in Winslow at the beginning of the Second World War, when the Hall was taken over by the War Office, later to be replaced by the Foreign Office. In the 1960s it became a factory, and, in the 1970s was to be turned into a Country Club, but unfortunately this venture ended with a fire, resulting in the building being gutted, after which it was sold and has now been converted into four luxury apartments with the stable block and the two gate lodges also having been converted into houses.
Across the Parks, due east from the Hall, is the site of Sneshall Priory, a small house for Benedictine Monks dedicated to St Leonard in about 1218. The stone from this priory was used to build the small church of St Giles at Tattenhoe which comes under the benefice of Whaddon and is still used regularly during the summer months.

Whaddon has now got an approximate population of 500. Unlike a few years ago, when most of the village people worked at Wolverton, either at the British Rail Engineering Works or McCorquodale Printing Works, with many working in agriculture, now only a few are still employed in these industries. With Whaddon becoming a dormitory village to Milton Keynes, people now work in Milton Keynes and surrounding districts or commute to London.

Like most villages, Whaddon has changed over the years from being almost self supporting by having its own bakery, butcher's shop, blacksmith and tailor, to the village life we have today.

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