Leckhampstead Parish

Church: St Mary the Virgin

Hundred: Buckingham

Poor Law District: Buckingham

Size (acres): 2571

Easting & Northing: 472237

Grid Ref SP720370 Click to see map


Names & Places

Leckhampstead PARISH St Mary the Virgin
Lechamstede NAMES name for Leckhampstead in Domesday Book in 1086
Lekehampsted NAMES name for Leckhampstead 1525
Lekhamsted(e) NAMES name for Leckhampstead in 1517 and 1766
Leycamstede NAMES name for Leckhampstead 1512
Lykehamstede NAMES name for Leckhampstead 1517
Lymesend NAMES name for Limes End in 1607
Lymeswodes NAMES name for Limes End in 1542
Limes End PLACE within the parish
Nast End PLACE within the parish, now lost




These population figures are based on the Census results. The boundaries are those used in the particular census which may vary over time..

1801 346
1811 397
1821 519
1831 499
1841 505
1851 518
1861 482
1871 447
1881 340
1891 302
1901 241
1911 243
1921 209
1931 199
1941 N/A
1951 204
1961 178
1971 128
1981 154
1991 151

There was no census in 1941.



Parish  Church  Register  Start
Leckhampstead   St Mary the Virgin   Baptisms   1560   1861   Yes,
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Not available
Leckhampstead   St Mary the Virgin   Marriages   1558   1854   Yes,
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Not available
Leckhampstead   St Mary the Virgin   Burials   1559   1903   Yes,
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Not available




These were extracted from our own records and presented as a guide.

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  



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'.

It 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



Description of Leckhamstead from Sheahan, 1861.

The area of Leckhamstead or Lekehamstead is 2,552 acres; rateable value, £2,992; population 482. The name of the parish is supposed to have been derived from Leck, or Lake; Ham, a border; and Sted, a farm or dwelling. The river Ouse bounds the parish on the south, and a branch canal from Buckingham to the Grand Junction at Cosgrove intersects it in the southern extremity from west to east. The surface is finely undulated; the scenery is enriched by about 200 acres of woodland; the village and lowlands are watered by a brook called "The Lake," that issues from Whittlebury Forest in Northamptonshire, by which the place is bounded in the north; the soil is clay and gravel, and the substratum abounds with limestone. For rating purposes the parish is divided into two parts called Leckampton Magna and Leckampton Prava, and the between these parts is known as "Tween Towns," Formerly there was a Chalybeate spring in a field called the Digging, but all trace of it has been lost. The parish was enclosed in 1630.

The village, which is small, stands about 3.5 miles N.E. of Buckingham. There is an ancient encampment on the hill to the south of the church.

After the Conquest the principal Manor belonged to the Bishop of Bayeaux and another estate here was the property of Walter Giffard. In the reign of Richard I the Chastillon family had the chief manorial estate; but before 1398 it had passed from them to the Gernons. An heiress of the Gernons carried it in marriage to the Tylneys, from whom it passed in marriage to the Greenways. In 1631 the manor of the Greenways was purchased by Edmund Pye, Esq., whose son, Edmund, resided here in the manor house in 1641, when he was created a Baronet, as of Leckhamstead; but at his decease the title became extinct. His daughter, the Hon. Catherine West, was the next owner, and she bequeathed it to her neice, Martha, Baroness Wentworth, who married Sir Henry Johnson.

This lady, who nearly demolished the old mansion which had been the seat of the Chastillions, Gernons, Tyneys, Greenways, and Pyes, died in 1745, leaving this estate to her niece Martha (a daughter of Neville, Lord Lovelace), who was married to Lord Beauclerk. This lady's great grandson, Henry William Beauclerk, Esq., is the present Lord of the Manor. The manorial estate is not the largest in the parish.
A reputed manor in this parish called Leckhamstead Prava, or Lymes End, belonged to the family Mortimer in the beginning of the 15th century, and in the 17th century the Tyrrells had it. Sir Edmund Tyrrell, Knt., was advanced to the dignity of Baronet in 1627. He built a mansion here in 1603, called the Toy, which was remaining in 1735 in a decayed state, but had degenerated to a farm house. The house and land then belonged to Sir C. Tyrrell, Bart of Thornton. The daughter of the latter married Thomas Shepherd Esq., of Lidcote, and Thornton Hall, who was created a Baronet in 1809. The Hon. Richard Cavendish of Thornton Hall is the present owner.

The family of Pollard had lands here, having purchased a portion of the estate of the Tyrrells. Heybon Fields, a subordinate manor, was the property of the Greens in the reigns of Richar II, Henry VI, and Edward IV. In Queen Mary's time it belonged to the Wentworths, and afterwards came to the Beauclerks.

The other principal landowners in the parish are John Hall, Esq., of Weston Colville, Cambridgeshire, and Sir Charles Mordaunt, Bart.

The Manor House, Occupied by a farmer, is a plain stone building, a little to the south-west of the church.


In the first decade of this century I left my home in London to pay a visit to some relatives in north Bucks in the village of Leckhampstead. This visit was
never terminated and from the age of four I spent the next fifty years in the same cottage that became my home. In the fifty years up to the 1914-18 war, our village life had changed very little, except when the Education Act provided free schooling. Till then our village school, built about 1850, had received such scholars whose parents could afford the few coppers a week required. The children walked the mile or so to school, where they were taught the three R's, and a smattering of history and geography by question and answer. By the time I arrived, the school was properly equipped by one qualified teacher and an assistant. Between forty and fifty children attended. The village green was our playground.
My great-uncle, Walter Hurst, was the eldest of five children born at Wood House, my great-grandfather being a woodman, as were generations of Hursts before him. My uncle tenanted a small holding of twenty-six acres and our house overlooked the green with the brook running by. He also carried on the wood business held by his forefathers, in which he employed one or two men, cutting down the undergrowth, keeping the ridings clear and utilising the wood for faggots, bean poles, pea-sticks, hurdles and rakes, which he sold in the surrounding villages. He took loads of oak-bark to the tanners in Northampton for use in the leather industry. Only horses were used for transport, and the load would start off early in the morning with probably a stop at Towcester and Blisworth to rest horses and men on the way.
We also had two 'carriage' horses as my uncle supplied carriages for the rectory nearby and was also the local 'carrier' to Buckingham on market days.
In addition my aunt kept the post office, so we were always involved in the life of the village, my uncle being also a churchwarden, school manager and parish councillor.
The rectory and its occupants were the centre of the village. Our rector was a son of the Bishop of Winchester, his wife the eldest daughter of a Scottish peer. Their house—the largest in the village—had its complement of servants, with a gardener and handy boy. The servant girls employed were usually from other villages. Our own girls were 'put out' to places chosen by the rector's wife, or they found their own from a little registry office in Buckingham. Some men worked at the iron foundry at Deanshanger, a few cycled to the Wolverton Railway Carriage Works but most were employed on the land in some capacity.
Busby, the greengrocer, came round with his horse and trolley from Buckingham to all the surrounding villages, and the children and mothers gathered with their cans and baskets of fruit, glad of the twopence a lb he gave them.
In January, the choir and bellringers had their supper, an enormous round of boiled salt beef and a huge roasted leg of pork; beetroots were cooked, peeled and sliced, Christmas puddings made and boiled, and on the day, there was a marathon potato-peeling.
Lent was a special time. We had week-night services when the local parsons 'exchanged pulpits', and usually a visiting missionary would give us a lantern lecture in the newly built parish room.
Spring sent us round the hedges 'vi-letting'. We went in groups, the elders hastening ahead to bag the best patches. They knew from experience where the rarer white and 'grey' (mauve) ones grew, even the more secret and treasured spots where deep pink ones were to be found.
By Good Friday, the primroses were out in Leckhampstead Wood and a number of the girls would make a special journey to gather them for decorating the church for Easter Day.
Early on Easter morning, the bellringers mustered to ring a peal. The Church, filled with spring flowers, looked strangely new and beautiful. Self-conscious youths and maidens were there to make their first communion as confirmations always took place in Lent.
Figs were an inescapable part of Palm Sunday, and the hot cross-buns brought round by the bakers on Good Friday morning. We had Easter Eggs too, but they were mostly the cardboard type, filled with some little novelty and tied with ribbon.
The next red-letter day after Easter was May Day. Garden flowers were begged from those who were willing to give, and we searched the banks and hedgerows for blue bells, cowslip and marsh marigolds—we called them 'water bubbles'. The simplest May garland was a bunch of flowers tied to the end of a long stick, with streamers of ribbon. Boys had these. Girls preferred two wooden hoops crossed between each other, or a child's small chair, with willow wands fastened over the back and arms in arches. This foundation was covered first in moss, then with tiny bunches of flowers. It was usual to make a cowslip ball to hang from the top of the middle arch and, to soar above it, such may as could be found together with blooms of Crown Imperial or 'Crown of Pearls'. The grandest doll that could be round was fastened securely in the whole garland veiled in a curtain to hide it from curious eyes while in transit. Two of the biggest girls carried the garland, the one selected to be Queen had a sash tied across from shoulder to waist after the style of the 'Garter' ribbon and she carried the money box. This was the song we sang:

'Good morning, young ladies and gentlemen,
I wish you a happy May. I have come to show you my May garland
Because it is May Day.

'A branch of may I have brought you
And at your door it stands.
It is but a sprout, but is well spread about
By the work of our Lord's hands.

'Now take the Bible in your hands,
And read the chapter through,
And when the day of judgement comes
God will remember you.

'And now I've finished my little short song
I can no longer stay.
So God bless you all, both great and small
In the merry month of May.'

It was a tradition that the girls wore white on Whit Sunday.
Children looked forward to hay-time, helping with the preparations for it, particularly in carrying tea. Leckhampstead is a large village in acreage though relatively small in population. Tea might have to be carried to Wicken Wood or up to Lillingstone Lovell. There was not so much arable land just before the first world war. Many farmers had put down to grass much that had been ploughed land, as they did again between the wars. There were no subsidies then.
During the day, the horse-drawn machine had cut the swathes, and by late afternoon, and the next day, the men and women workers walked in rows with their rakes, turning the swathes. The women wore long skirts and aprons and perhaps a sun-bonnet or a man's cap on their heads. After tea in the hayfield some of the men left to do the milking, then the bigger children took over. Later, when the hay was fit to carry, there were long rides in the empty waggons.
Towards the end of September, Harvest Festival was held. There were always masses of fruit, flowers and vegetables and of course the traditional sheaf of corn to stand in the chancel. One could always be sure of a well-packed church for Harvest Festival. The bellringers always stayed to this service—although they were inclined on ordinary occasions to shuffle out of the belfry-door as soon as they had 'rung down'.
The villagers by the late autumn had gathered in every hedgerow harvest; blackberries, sloes for wine-making, mushrooms culled from the dew-drenched fields, walnuts staining the fingers, and 'conkers'.
My aunt started making her puddings by the last week of Trinity. A night or two before Christmas we heard the handbell ringers outside the door. After playing a few tunes they were invited in and given beer or wine and cake. Then they rang again before they left.
Maids Moreton ringers called too: they were more proficient than our Leckhampstead ringers who were somewhat jerky in their performance.
We always sat up to hear the church bells ring the old year out and the new year in. This was echoed from the distance by Wicken or Maids Moreton belfries. Sometimes we could hear Buckingham bells too. We didn't practise any superstitious rituals.

Edith Victoria Cox, Lillingstones & Akeley

Extracted from 'A Pattern Hundreds' (1975) and reproduced with the kind permission of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes


Leckhampstead Parish (Pop. 499)

One Daily School, containing about 30 children of both sexes; endowed in 1806 by John Smith with certain funds, with which the trustees subsequently purchased £300 in the three and a half per cents; 15 of the above are on the foundation, the rest are paid for by their parents.

One Sunday School, consisting of about 30 males ana 20 females, supported by subscription;

Also a small School, consisting of 14 females, who are taught lace-making;

and a School of Industry (at the workhouse) for the like purpose, and for straw plait, consisting of 14 males and 4 females; the children in these Schools are taught reading, and the Church Catechism, twice a week.