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Great Hampden, Buckinghamshire

Historical Description

Hampden, Great, a parish in Bucks, upon the Chiltern Hills, 3 miles ESE from Princes Eisborough station on the G.W.R., and 4 S by W from Wendover. It contains the hamlet of Hampden Row, and it has a post office, of the name of Hampden Row, under Amersham; money order and telegraph office, Great Missenden. The parishes of Great and Little Hampden are united for civil and ecclesiastical purposes. Area, 2414 acres; population of the civil parish, 446; of the ecclesiastical parish of Great Hampden, 246. Hampden House belonged to Griffith Hampden, was visited in his time by Queen Elizabeth, descended to his grandson, John Hampden, the famous patriot, belongs now to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, retains its original character, is entered by a curious old hall with a wooden gallery, and contains, in Queen Elizabeth's room, in John Hampden's library, and in other apartments, many historical relics. The park has an avenue, called the Queen's Gap, which was laid open for the entrance of Elizabeth, and a spot in it, on the S side of the avenue, and within Stoke Mandeville, is still pointed out as the piece of land for John Hampden's resistance to a small tax on which he was led to trial, and the spark of the Civil War was kindled. "The woods of Hampden," says Lord Nugent, 11 terminate to the N upon the bare brow of a lofty hill called Green Haly, in the side of which is cut in the chalk the form of a cross, which is seen from all the country round. This monument, of very remote antiquity, is called the White Leaf Cross, from the hamlet of White Leaf. It appears to have been intended as a memorial of the last battle of the Britons with Hengist and Horsa, which was fought over the extensive plain of Risborongh and Saunderton. The Saxon princes planted their victorious standards on this height and on the Bedlow ridge adjoining, to recall their troops from the pursuit." The living is a rectory in the diocese of Oxford; gross value, £230 with residence. Patron, the Earl of Buckinghamshire. The church is ancient, picturesque, and good, and has a tablet by John Hampden to his first wife, brasses of a Hampden of 1446 and Sir J. Hampden of 1553, and a monument of the last Hampden prior to the female heirs. The grave of John Hampden is within the church, and on being opened in 1828 was found to contain his body in nearly entire condition.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyBuckinghamshire 
Ecclesiastical parishHampden St. Mary Magdalene 
Poor Law unionWycombe 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register of baptisms and burials dates from the year 1557; marriages 1559.


Church of England

St. Mary Magdalen (parish church)

The parish church of St. Mary Magdalen is an ancient structure of flint and stone in various styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of three bays, aisles, large south porch furnished with stone seats aud a small embattled tower at the south-west angle containing 3 bells: the chancel is Perpendicular, and retains a piscina with shelf and drain; on either side of the chancel arch is a hagioscope: the piers and arches of the nave arcade are Decorated and the lower part of the tower is Early English, the upper stage Perpendicular: the porch retains a portion of the ancient stoup: there are many memorials to the Hampdens, including brasses to John Hampden esq. with effigy in armour, 1496, and Elizabeth his wife, also with effigy, and figures of four sons and six daughters; Sir John Hampden, knt. 1553, also in armour, with effigies of two wives and three daughters; Griffith Hampden esq. 1591, and Anne (Cave) his wife, 1594, with a quartered shield above the inscription; and to William Hampden esq. son snd heir of above, 1597, with a shield displaying twelve quarterings; John Hampden, who received his death wound at Chalgrove Field, June 18, 1643, and died at Thame, June 24, was buried in this church the next day, June 25, as appears from the parish register; a fine monument representing the wounded patriot falling from his horse, with the church and village of Chatgrove in the background, was erected to his memory by the Hon. Robert Trevor, who succeeded to the estates on the death of John Hampden esq. the last male heir, in 1754: on the sonth side of the chancel is a mural monument to Elizabeth (Simeon), first wife of John Hampden the patriot, who died 20 Aug. 1634: the inscription was written by Hampden himself, and a memorial east window has also been presented: on July 21, 1828, a body, believed to be that of Hampden, was disinterred in the presence of Lord Nugent and other gentlemen, in order to ascertain beyond dispute the cause of his death, and from the evidences then presented it is believed that the statement of his having been mortally hurt by the bursting of his over-charged pistol is correct; great doubt has however been expressed as to whether the remains thus examined were in fact those of John Hampden; there are, besides, monuments of this family 1634-1754, and others to Thomas Kempthorne esq. 1738, and Anne (Hampden) his wife; John Mosse LL.D. rector, 1785, and Jane and Anna Maria, his wives; to the family of Welch, 1722-3: the lady chapel was restored and a stained glass window inserted in 1939 in memory of Alan Cameron Gardner: in 1894 the church was restored and in 1899-1900 the exterior Walls at the west end of the church and tower were renovated, a dry area dug all round the building, and the old oak roof of the nave thoroughly repaired: there are 200 sittings: in the churchyard are brick tombs to Robert Viscount Hampden, 1783, and Constantia, his wile, 1761: the lands for which the patriot, John Hampden, refused to pay ship money are in this parish.

Civil Registration

Great Hampden was in Wycombe Registration District from 1837 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Great Hampden from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Buckinghamshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Great Hampden are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Buckinghamshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

A full transcript of the Visitation of Buckinghamshire, 1634 is online

RegionSouth East
Postal districtHP16
Post TownGreat Missenden