Hillesden, a village and a parish in Buckinghamshire, on a branch of the river Ouse, 2½ miles N by W from Steeple-Claydon station on the L. & N.W.R., and 3½ S by W from Buckingham. Post town, Buckingham; money order and telegraph office, Steeple Claydon. Acreage, 2606; population, 197. The manor belonged formerly to the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, afterwards to the Dentons, and belongs now to the Morrison family, and the manor house was garrisoned for Charles I., suffered assault and spoliation by the Parliamentarians, by whom it was set fire to and reduced to ruins. Having been rebuilt by the Denton family, it remained standing until it was taken down by the second Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, who had bought the estate from the Earl of Leicester. The living is a vicarage in the diocese-of Oxford; net value, £200 with residence. Patron, Christ Church, Oxford. The church, a building of wrought ashlar, is a fine specimen of the Perpendicular style, consists of nave,. aisles, and chancel, with N porch and W embattled tower, was in great part restored in 1875 by the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott, B.A., and was further restored in 1893 by his son, Mr John Oldrid Scott, F.R.S. It contains monuments of the Dentons, Ishams, and others.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Hillesden All Saints|
|Poor Law union||Buckingham|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register dates from the year 1594.
Church of England
All Saints (parish church)
The parish church of All Saints, rebuilt, except the tower, in 1493 by the monks of Notley Abbey, and in great part restored in 1875 by Sir George Gilbert Scott R.A. who presented the fine vaulted ceiling of the porch and its four pinnacles, is a very fine specimen of the Perpendicular style, built both within and without of wrought ashlar, and is one of those rare churches which bear evident tokens of having been designed and erected under some special and superior inlfuence, carried out in every part with such extreme care as to excite the greater admiration the more closely it is examined, its greatest charm lying in its beautiful grouping and in the faultless elegance of its detail: it consists of chancel with chantry chapel on the north side, nave of four bays, aisles, north porch and a western embattled tower containing 6 bells: the greater part of the building is surmounted by an embattled parapet, and at the north-east angle of the chapel is an octagonal stair turret, with a panelled and embattled parapet, at the angles of which are crocketed pinnacles, and from within these rises an open lantern, formed by crocketed ogee ribs, springing from each pinnacle, meeting in the centre and terminating in a finial; within the turret is a staircase leading to a room overlooking the church, which originally communicated with old Hillesden House: the east window contains glass of the 15th century, representing various saints, including St. Augustine and St. Chad: at the east end of the south aisle is an ancient stained window of eight lights, each of which is supposed to represent some incidents in the legendary life of St. Nicholas, to whom, according to Lysons, the church was dedicated, and has explanatory inscriptions in Latin; another window of sixteen lights, to the Judge family, consisting of subjects from the parables, was erected in 1875 by Grills; a window of three lights, by Grills, jun. was erected in 1923 in memory of three men who fell in the Great War: the earliest portion of the church is the tower, which is much less rich than other parts: the nave has good piers and arches, a clerestory lighted by a series of pierced panels extending across its whole length and a panelled roof: the north porch has a canopied niche over the outer doorway: there is a fine alabaster tomb with full-length effigies of Thomas Denton and his wife, 1560: and monuments to Dr. William Denton, 1691, physician to Kings Charles I. and II.; to Sir Alexander Denton kt. one of the Justices of the King's Bench, d. 22 Mar. 1740, and Catharine his wife, 1733; Alexander Denton esq. 1514, and Mary his wife, 1576; Alexander Denton esq. 1698, and others of that name 1701-14; Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Isham esq. 1667; Thomas Isham gent. 1676:. George Woodward esq. ambassador to Poland, who died at Warsaw 1735, and is here buried; the Hon. Godfrey Boate, one of the Justices of the King's Bench in Ireland, 1722, and Mary his daughter, 1772, wife of Godfrey Clayton esq, 1745; Francis Drake esq. 1701; Mary (Rowe) Viscountess Hillsborough, 1742; Mrs. Elizabeth Hayes, 1702, and others: at the top of the chancel walls, under the ceiling, are a number of stone figures representing a choir of angels; those towards the east have musical instruments, the others have scrolls of music in their hands: there are two piscinae: a canopied rood screen divides the chancel and nave: the former contains massive oak choir stalls, and in the tower are three old paintings of Moses, Aaron, and the arms of William III, painted after the death of Queen Mary: by the side of the south door is a sundial of unusual character, carved out of a buttress; the church was restored in 1874-5, and further restorations were carried out about 1893: the church door, originally belonging to the old manor house, still retains the marks of bullets: the original Presbyterian Table, which was used by the Presbyterians until the Restoration, and from then until 1875 as the altar of the church, has been re-furnished and set up in the side chapel, as an altar, by the widow and brothers of the late Rev. J. L. Bowley M.A. rector of this parish, 1910-1932: there are 200 sittings: in the churchyard is the octagonal fluted shaft of a fine cross of the 14th century, much mutilated, rising from a bold and well-designed base of three steps, and retaining part of the beautiful group of niches; the cross is 7 feet 7 inches high and derives additional interest from its standing near the grave of the Royalists who fell at the siege of Hillesden House, March 3rd, 1643. The churchyard was extended on the north side in 1898.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Hillesden was in Buckingham Registration District from 1837 to 1935
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Hillesden from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Hillesden (All Saints))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Buckinghamshire is available to browse.
Online maps of Hillesden 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