Mentmore Parish

Church: St Mary the Virgin

Hundred: Cottesloe

Poor Law District: Leighton Buzzard

Size (acres): 1575

Easting & Northing: 490219

Grid Ref SP900190 Click to see map


Names & Places

Mentmore PARISH St Mary the Virgin
Leborne NAMES name for Ledburn in 1626
Leburne NAMES name for Ledburn in 1641
Lyburne Green NAMES name for Ledburn in 1766
Mentemore NAMES name for Mentmore in Domesday Book in 1086
Ridborrowe ffeilde NAMES name for Redborough in 1766
Roughden NAMES name for Rowden in 1766
Baptist NON-CONFORMIST Ledburn. First Mentioned: 1840
Weslyan NON-CONFORMIST First Mentioned: 1840
Ledburn PLACE within the parish
Redborough (Fm) PLACE within the parish
Rowden (Fm) PLACE within the parish




Parish  Church  Register  Start
Mentmore   St Mary the Virgin   Baptisms   1575   1904   Yes,
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Mentmore   St Mary the Virgin   Marriages   1575   1902   Yes,
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Mentmore   St Mary the Virgin   Burials   1600   1905   Yes,
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These were extracted from our own records and presented as a guide.

PositionBefore 1700  18th Century  19th Century  Overall Surnames  



Rebuilt by Baron de Rothschild on completion of Mentmore Towers in the latter half of the 19th century, Mentmore is a pretty village with its mock Tudor houses set on top of a hill. The large village green is surrounded by splendid lime trees, and the views in all directions are quite breathtaking.

The church built in the 13th century is set on the highest point in the village with its 15th century tower as a landmark for miles around. It has over the centuries been added to and altered by various builders.

The dominant feature of the village was Mentmore Towers. Baron de Rothschild commissioned George Stokes to design the house, and the building was supervised by Stokes' father Joseph Paxton, who also designed the Crystal Palace. Work began in 1852, and on its completion Mayer Amschel Rothschild had the village of Mentmore rebuilt nearer to the gates of the Towers. No excuse for being late for work then! He also had stables and kennels for the stag hounds built.

Nearly everyone who lived in the village and the nearby villages of Crafton and Ledburn were employed in some capacity on the estate, in the studs, or gardens, the house, or management of the estate. There were very large gardens, with many greenhouses, and hothouses, for the estate was fully self supporting. When the last head gardener arrived, there were 44 full time gardeners. There were at least 10 laundry maids and dairy maids. The dairy was situated on the bend at the bottom of Stag Hill. It is now used as a smallholding.

The unmarried men lived in the Bothy, and there was similar accommodation for the grooms and trainers at Ledburn. Today this is the Hare and Hounds Inn.
One of the most interesting features of Mentmore were the Studs, for many famous racehorses were bred there, including winners of the Derby and the St Leger.

On the death of Baron de Rothschild the estate was inherited by his daughter Hannah. In 1878 she married the fifth Earl of Rosebery who later became Prime Minister. The Roseberys were a very sporting family and continued breeding racehorses right through to the present Earl's father.

When Lord Rosebery died in 1974, Mentmore Towers was offered to the Government of the day for 3 million pounds lock stock and barrel. There was quite a furore when it was turned down. The auction of the house and contents conducted by Sothebys caused much excitement. People came from all over the world to view and buy. The final sum realized was 6 million pounds, unfortunately many of the treasures were taken out of the country.

The Towers was finally sold to, and used as a conference centre for the followers of the Transcendantal Meditation Cult, and in the village as the houses become vacant they are sold off privately. The end of one Era and perhaps the beginning of another.

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 Mentmore from J. J. Sheahan, 1861

This parish, including the hamlet of Ledburn, contains 1,240 acres, and 399 persons; and its rateable value is £5,225. It is intersected by the London and North Western Railway. The Village, which is distant 8 miles N. E. from Aylesbury, 3.5 S. of Leighton Buzzard, and 1.5 N. W. from Cheddington Station of the before-mentioned railway, is situated on a hill which rises somewhat abruptly from the Vale of Aylesbury. This hill is of irregular shape, throwing out three spurs; one of which, stretching to the westward, stands the church; and along another, towards the north-east is the road to Leighton Buzzard. The houses which compose the village are irregularly scattered around a large green.

The manor and the principle estate were purchased a few years ago from Captain Harcourt, of St Leonard's Hill, near Windsor, by Baron Mayer Armschel de Rothschild, who commenced the erection of a magnificent mansion here in 1851.

This Palatial Residence of Baron de Rothschild introduces a new style of domestic architecture into Buckinghamshire. The designs for the building was supplied by Sir Joseph Paxton, Knt., M.P., and his son-in-law, Mr. George Henry Stokes, architect; and Mr. George Myers, of London, was the builder. A ground plan, and a view of this stately and splendid pile – this “many towered mansion” appears in The Builder newspaper of December 19th 1857 – together with the following description: -

The style adopted by desire of the Baron for the exterior is that which prevailed during the early part of the reign of King James I., and of which Wollaton Hall, Notts, is perhaps the finest example. A difference in the combination and arrangement has contributed to produce grouping of a picturesque character and outline, and the details and ornamentation are understood to be the result of a careful study and examination of the works of John of Padua. The mansion is built entirely of Ancaster stone, of fine quality and colour; the cornices are highly enriched; and the frieze of each order is filled in with in carved panels and heads.

The approach to the mansion is by a court, flanked on one side by the wall of the conservatory, and on the other side by the screen wall of the servant’s offices. Niches are formed in each of these walls, for the reception of statues. The entrance-porch is of sufficient width to admit of carriages passing through, and has a groined stone-ceiling elaborately carved. From the sub-hall, which is lined with Caen stone, and paved with Sicilian and Rough Royal marbles, a flight of marble steps leads to the arched corridor, which forms means of communication between the suite of apartments on the ground-floor and offices. The grand hall is about 48 feet by 40 feet, and 40 feet high, and is separated from the sub hall by the corridor just mentioned. At this end of the hall are inserted three arches, the whole height of the ground floor, filled with polished plate-glass. The entrance to the interior is through the centre arch which forms a doorway. At the level of the chamber-floor the grand hall is surrounded by corridors, and an open arcade of great beauty and richness; each arch of which is filled with a balustrade of alabaster and green marble. This arcade, with its richly-moulded arches, carving, and ornaments, is striking and effective, and imparts both character and variety to the interior. Immediately above the arcade is the main cornice, from which spring the coved ceiling and walnut ribs, which divide it into compartments; stone heads carved by Monti, are placed in the frize beneath each rib, and the compartments of the coved ceiling are filled with ornamental shields, scrolls and foliage.

The Baron’s Stud Farm is in the adjoining hamlet of Crafton, parish of Wing. The house, which is in the cottage ornee style, and is very neat, is built of red brick, with darker brick dressings. Adjoining the house are four yards or quadrangles lined with stables, loose boxes for stallions, and breeding-mares and their young. The premises are altogether a model of order and regularity, and are frequently visited by many noblemen and gentlemen interested in the national sport of horse-racing. Mr Charles Markham is the stud-groom and manger. This noted breeding establishment was formed in 1853, upon the site of an old farm dwelling.

The hamlet of Ledburn or Ledbourne, is about two miles north from Mentmore village, and consists of several detached houses, extending along one side of about half a mile of the road leading from Wingrave to Leighton Buzzard. Most of the houses are very old. One is particularly remarkable, with gable ends, and the upper part resting upon strong projecting oak beams, considerably overhanging the lower story. One of the upper rooms is formed of oak panelling, with pilasters, and a richly carved cornice, and contains a beautifully carved mantel piece of oak. Close to the fire-place is an arched doorway, which retains an ancient door with curiously formed steel hinges; and the house contains several small oddly shaped apartments. The old building, which was once of importance, is now unoccupied, and is shortly to be razed. A short distance from this house is another old farm dwelling which has an air of interest about it. Two doors belonging to the out-buildings have the appearance of having once belonged to some ecclesiastical edifice; they are of oak, with large iron headed and thickly studded projecting nails, curiously wrought hinges, and highly embellished handle plates of singular formation. The house and the farm connected with it has been in the occupation of the Freeman family for a considerable number of years.

The Vicarage House is a handsome modern building of dark sandstone with Bath stone quoins and dressings. It is in a pleasant situation, and only separated from the churchyard by the main road.

The Wesleyan Chapel is a neat building of white brick, with Bath stone dressings. It is Gothic in style, and has a bell-turret on one of the gables. There is a Baptist Chapel at Ledburn, a small building of red brick.

The School, now temporarily held in a part of Mentmore Cottage, is usually attended by about 70 children. A new school building is about to be erected.


Mentmore Parish, with Ledburn Hamlet (Pop. 329)

No School in the parish.