Old Bletchley, Buckinghamshire
Bletchley, a township and a parish in Bucks. The township lies adjacent to Watheng Street, and on the L. & N.W.R., at the junction of the branches to Bedford, Oxford, and Banbury, 14 miles by railway E of Buckingham, and it has a station on the railway, and a head post, money order, and telegraph office of the name of Bletchley Station. The parish includes also the hamlet of Water-Eaton. Acreage, 1308; population of the civil parish, 456; of the ecclesiastical, including Water-Eaton, 697. The original head-manor was Water-Eaton, and was given by William the Conqueror to Geoffry, Bishop of Constance, in Normandy. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; gross yearly value, £630 with residence. The church is a handsome Gothic structure, with a tower, and was restored in 1867-68. It contains the tomb of Lord Grey de Wilton, who died in 1442, and a curious tablet to Dr Sparke, who was rector in 1616. There is a Wesleyan chapel at Water-Eaton.
The parish register dates from the year 1577
Church of England
St. Mary (parish church)
The parish church of St. Mary, approached through a fine avenue of very ancient yews, is built of stone, mostly in the Perpendicular style, and represents the work of the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th centuries; it was founded between 1100 and 1155, but the only Norman decoration that remains is the arch of the south doorway: it consists of a large chancel with north aisle, forming a chantry of the Grey de Wilton family, clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, south porch, and a fine embattled western tower containing 8 bells, which replaced the old 5 bells in 1712, cast by Abraham Rudhall; in 1924 the bells were hung on a new iron frame: the church was restored by Dr. Browne Willis in 1704, at a cost of £1,345, in accordance with the prevailing taste, but quite out of character with the style of the building: in the chancel are four early sedilia, all of which, hidden by the restoration of 1704, have since been uncovered: five of the windows are stained, four of them in memory of members of the Selby-Lowndes family: the stalls are of carved oak: between the chancel and the north chapel is an ancient table tomb, with an effigy, in white marble, to Richard de Grey, sixth Baron Grey de Wilton, who died at Water Hall in 1442, and was buried here, and also his son and grandson; the effigy was repaired and recut by Weston the statuary, at Dr. Browne Willis's expense; there is a funeral helmet of a later Lord de Grey hung on the wall near: in the chapel, which is also the mortuary of the family of Willis, is a raised table tomb to the wife of Dr. Browne Willis, who died at Whaddon Hall in 1724, and in the chancel are two large marble memorial tablets to the parents of Dr. Willis; and in the north wall of the chancel is a very curious brass with effigy to Thomas Sparke D.D. a former rector, who died in 1616; there is also an incised slab to the Rev. E. Taylor, 1693: the church was restored in 1867-8, the windows and doorways of the chancel, which had been modernized and misplaced, being reset, the body of the church fitted with oak seats, and the tower pinnacles, set up by Dr. Willis, removed: the pulpit was put in at the time of this restoration: a new organ, by Kirkland. was put in in 1911: there are 463 sittings.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Buckinghamshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Old Bletchley are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Buckinghamshire papers online:
A full transcript of the Visitation of Buckinghamshire, 1634 is online