Notes on Lavendon


Description of Lavendon from J. J. Sheahan, 1861

The parish of Lavendon is situated in the extreme N.E. angle of the county, and is bounded on the north of Northamptonshire, and on the east by Bedfordshire. Its area is 2.320 acres; population, 769; and rateable value, £3,642 The soil is clay and loam; the subsoil gravel and limestone.

The village is large, and lies on low ground, 3 miles N.E. from Olney. It was formerly a market town; and a small fair is still held here on the second Tuesday before Easter. Pillow lace is made here.

Lavendon Abbey. This house of Premonstration Canons was founded in the reign of King Henry II., by John de Bidun, a Baron, who endowed it with lands in Lavendon, etc. The charter of foundation is preserved in the Monasticon. The monastery was dedicated in honour of St. John Baptist, and the seal of the Abbey exhibited a representation of the Baptism of Our Saviour by the Baptist. Amongst the early benefactors of the Abbey was Randulph, Earl of Chester. King Henry III. confirmed the charter, benefactions, and privileges of the house. At the Dissolution, in the time of King Henry VIII., the convent possessed lands, rents, &c., in various parishes, valued at £91 8s. 3.5d., and in clear receipts to £79 13s. 8d. When the Abbey was suppressed, the community consisted of 11 canons, whereof 9 were priests, and 2 novices. The whole was then in a decayed state. No vestige of the conventual buildings remain. Grange, or Manor House of the Abbey Manor, situated about half a mile from the parish church, occupies their site. The following names of the Abbots only have been preserved: - Augustin, in 1236; Jordan, in 1254 and 1271; John de Lathbury, elected in 1312; Robert Helmeden, occurs in 1478 and 1488; and William Curlew, who governed until 1500. 

The living is a Rectory, with that of Cold Brayfield annexed, valued in the King’s Books at £6, and now worth about £270. The church belonged to the Abbey of Lavendon until that establishment was suppressed. The patronage was purchased of the Earl of Gainsborough by the present Rector, the Rev. William Tomkins.

According to the Registers, the plague raged here with great violence, in 1665; the number of burials in that year being 66, whilst in 1664 no burial took place, and the average of the seven preceding years was only ten. 

The Rectory House, a good stone building, was erected in 1839 by the present Rector. It is in a pleasant situation on the south side of the church, in tastefully laid out grounds. The schools is a neat and commodious building erected in 1853.

The rents of about nine acres of “Church Lands” are applied to the repairs to the church. This is the benefaction of some person or persons at present unknown.


Lavendon Parish (Pop. 664)

One Daily School (commenced 1833), towards the support of which the parish allows the master 2 s. per week; this School is attended by about 60 children of both sexes.

Two Sunday Schools, supported by voluntary contributions; in one are 80 children, who attend the Established Church; the other appertains to Dissenters, and consists of about 60 children.