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Medmenham, Buckinghamshire

Historical Description

Medmenham, a village and a parish in Buckinghamshire. The village stands near the river Thames, at the boundary with Berkshire, 3½ miles SW by W of Great Marlow, and 4¼WNW of Henley stations on the G.W.R., and has a post office under Great Marlow; money order office, Great Marlow; telegraph office, Greenlands. The village is a place of popular resort in the summer, and there is good fishing for roach in the adjoining reach of the river. The parish comprises 2404 acres of land and 38 of water; population, 320. The manor belongs to the Scott-Murray family. A Cistercian abbey, an offshoot of Woburn Abbey, was founded here in 1204 by Hugh de Bolibec; went gradually into decay, so as to be very poor at the dissolution; survives in remains, agglomerated with modern tower and cloister, adjacent to a little inn and a ferry-house, on a lovely and secluded spot contiguous to the Thames; became in the middle of the 18th century the abode of a mysterious community calling themselves Franciscans, from their founder Francis Dashwood, afterwards Lord Ie Despencer, but were better known as the " Hell Fire Club." The notorious John Wilkes was a prominent member of this club. Some of the doings of the so-called Franciscans are noticed in " Chrysall, or the Adventures of a Guinea;" and some pictures, representing their mysteries, are preserved at the Thatched House Tavern in London. Danesfield House is a chi—f residence, pleasantly situated and commanding beautiful views. Connected with the house by a cloister is a domestic Roman Catholic chapel, the latest work of Pugin, in the style of the 13th century. It contains a beautiful altar and a shrine, in which are some sacred relics. A large ancient entrenchment, supposed to be Danish, is near Danes-field House. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Oxford; net value, £152. The church is Early English, of flint, chalk, and stone; was restored at several periods up to 1864, at a cost of nearly £1200; and has a tower and a fine E window. The churchyard contains a handsome monument to Mrs Bransby Powys.

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 parishMedmenham St. Peter 
Poor Law unionHenley 

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

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1654.


Church of England

St. Peter (parish church)

The church of St. Peter is a building of flint, chalk and stone in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, restored in 1839; it consists of chancel and nave under one roof, modern south porch and an embattled western tower with turret containg 3 bells: the south doorway is Norman: the east window is stained, and in the nave are mural tablets to the Murray family and a coloured memorial with arms to Mrs. Anne Danvers, ob. 1677; there is also a memorial window on the south side of the nave to Henry William Caslon, and in the chancel are stained windows and brasses to the Rev. F. W. Harris, 19 years vicar of the parish, and to Eliza Eleanor Murray: there are inscribed ledger stones to Francis Duffield esq, d. 1728, and to Francis Duffield esq. d. 1758, both of whom were of Medmenham Abbey, and each died in the month of May, aged 39; there also remains a brass to Richard Levyng, ob. 1415, and Alicia, his wife, ob. 1419: the church affords 170 sittings: in the churchyard, under the southern window, is a monument to Ellen, wife of Bransby William Powys esq.: Henry William Caslon, of the well-known family of typefounders of that name, is also buried in the churchyard.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Medmenham was in Wycombe Registration District from 1837 to 1845, Henley Registration District from 1845 to 1932, and Wycombe Registration District from 1932 to 1974

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Medmenham from the following:

Land and Property

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


Online maps of Medmenham 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 districtSL7
Post TownMarlow