Bletchley (St. Mary)

BLETCHLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Newport-Pagnell, hundred of Newport, county of Buckingham; containing, with part of the chapelry of Fenny-Stratford, and the township of Water-Eaton, 1415 inhabitants. Walter Gifford, Earl of Buckingham, possessed by grant from William Rufus the whole landed property of this parish, which was inherited by Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford, who had married his granddaughter, Roesia; from the latter family it passed to the Greys, who continued to hold the manor for upwards of 400 years, until the attainder of Thomas, Lord Grey, in 1603. It was given by James I. to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, whose descendant sold it, in 1674, to the eminent physician, Dr. Thomas Willis, grandfather of Browne Willis, the celebrated antiquary. The parish is intersected by the London and Birmingham railway, of which the Bletchley and Fenny-Stratford station is situated here: a branch line was opened to Bedford in November, 1846; and an act was passed in the same year, for a railway to Oxford. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £29. 13. 1½.; net income, £456; patron, J. Fleming, Esq.: in 1810, land and a money payment were assigned in lieu of tithes. The church was repaired at the expense of Browne Willis, by whom a large sum was expended upon the internal decorations. William Cole, the Cambridge antiquary, was rector of the parish from 1753 to 1767.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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