While the Manor of Winslow belonged to St Albans Abbey, Biggin was the Abbot's local centre, from which the demesne was run, and where the Abbot's representative (usually the Cellarer) stayed when he came to hold the manorial court. The whole of the St Albans estate, including Granborough and Little Horwood, was sometimes referred to as the Manor of Biggin. After the Dissolution, Biggin became a farm in its own right. This short piece by A.J. Clear was published in the Buckingham Advertiser, 8 Sep 1934:

Only separated from Granborough Bridge by two fields, in the occupation of Messrs Dickins, is the ancient site, occupying about 1½ acres, of the "well fortified" Manor House, Chapel, monks cells and "Scole of the Monks" known as "Biggin," and with the ancient ford leading across the brook one way into Granborough village, and the other into Western Lane, Winslow (a much shorter way than the present road) is the big knoll, which is all that remains of this anceint spot, although in Granborough Church is a Chrismatory which is believed to have come from the Chapel there, having been found in a niche in the Chancel of the Church in 1880. .. There is also preserved in the Church part of what is believed to have formed the altar piece at Biggin, being a group of marble figures representing the Crucifixion. This was preserved in the gable of the ancient house now occupied by Mr. W. Hughes, where it is presumed it was placed at the time when Biggin was finally demolished about 1680. It is probably of 12th century date and is now in the Church...
Finally came the dissolution of monasteries and Biggin came into the hands of Queen Elizabeth and degenerated into an ordinary farm, its conventional buildings being pulled down and most of its stonework, which is sure to have been of a very handsome character, was conveyed to Swanbourne, where it still remains, although it is believed that the foundations and part of the end of the "old workhouse" at Winslow which can still be seen were built with stone from Biggin. The adjacent fields, Winslow side of the brook are still known as "Biggin."

In fact it is unlikely that there were ever any monks permanently resident at Biggin. The Cellarer stayed there on his biannual tour of the St Albans estate, and there was apparently a chapel, but it was mainly used by the laymen who ran the manor on behalf of the Abbey. After dissolution in 1539 it became an enclosed farm, as can be seen on the 1599 map. There was a house of some sort there long after 1680. Below are extracts from some documents relating to Biggin.

Biggin looking north

Above: Biggin earthworks photographed July 2016, looking south towards Granborough.
Below: Google Earth view of Biggin earthworks (north at top).

Biggin on Google Maps

Below: Lidar view of the site. Granborough Bridge is near the top. Note how the brook has been artificially straightened between Biggin and the bridge.

Lidar aerial view

Record Office Publications: Calendars Patent Rolls Edward III (E4459), Volume for 1327-1330

4 Edward III pt. 1 Membrane 39

23 February 1330 Windsor

Confirmation of a demise for life, by chirograph, by the Abbot and Convent of St. Albans to Simon Fraunceys, citizen and mercer of London, at a yearly rent of £200 of the Manor of Biggynge, Co. Bucks, with the towns of Wyncelowe, Horwode, Schipton and Greneburgh, with rents, services and customs, view of frankpledge, etc., and the market of Wyncelowe, with the profits and fines therefrom accruing, the windmills of Wyncelowe, Horwode and Greneburgh, and all other appurtenances, except chattels of felons and fugitives, and execution and return of writs; and also of all rents belonging to the Abbot and Convent from Ovynge, Middleton Kaynes and Northmerston.
By p. s.

Winslow Court Books 1 June 1335 (p. 13)

Simon Fraunceys feels that a matter referred to the court under the Ash Tree at St Albans ".... is to the prejudice of himself and his status...."

Winslow Court Books 31 Oct 1335 (p. l3v)

"....the Lady of Kirkby, former farmer of Winslow, who had full authority as she said from Master Hugh, former Abbot of St Albans and the Monastery of that place to hold a halimiote in his name and receive surrenders of holdings and native lands from all the villeins of the manor...."

Winslow Court Books 23 May 1336 (p. 14v)

John Lombe sublets 2 acres in Ryefurlong ".... which Simon Fraunceys farmer previously devised to John from the Lord's land for the term which Simon had on them...."

Winslow Court Books 29 May 1340 (p. 23v)

Demesne land at Tuckey is said to be held ".... within the term which Simon Fraunceys has on the Manor of Winslow ...."

Winslow Court Books 18 Nov 1342 (p. 29)

Simon Fraunceys appears to have died or given up his lease as there is reference to ".... the time of Simon Fraunceys farmer of the Manor ...."

Winslow Court Books 15 Nov 1352 (p. 61v)

Although there is no reference to another farmer of Biggin or of the Manor at this time, John le Chandeler a freeholder is to show his charter ".... on the following day at Byggyng...."

Winslow Court Books 20 May 1353 (p. 63v)

Perhaps the Cellarer conducting the Court stays overnight, or maybe a Bailiff lives at Biggin for Ralph le Clere is to show a copy of his fine ".... on the following day at Biggyng....

Winslow Court Books 1426-7 (p. 11)

By this time there is again a tenant for ".... Robert Janyn farmer of the Manor of Byggyng...." appears.

Winslow Court Books 14 May 1431 (p. 19v)

The Court is held at "Grenburgh Bygging".

Chronica Monasterii S. Albani. Registra Quorundam Abbatum Monasterii S. Albani Qui Saeculo XVmo

Vol 2 p. 197

Abbot William Wallingford (1476-1488)

20 June 1479

Lord Abbot granted to John Barry, gentleman, an annuity of 40s, with the livery of his gentlemen, of a length reaching to John's feet. To collect the annuity annually in the Manor of Biggmg in the County of Buckingham, during the Abbot's life, with power of distraint; as appears more fully in the indentured letters patent then sealed with the Lord Abbot's seal. In return for the annuity and livery, John relinquished to the Lord Abbot all his lands and leases which he had in the Manor of Bigging, to be rented for £7. Furthermore, John, by reason of the annuity and livery, was one of the Lord Abbot's council etc.

Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Philip and Mary, Vol. 3. 1555-1557, pp.406-7.

25 June 1557. Whereas by patent under the great seal of the Court of Augmentations,
12 March, 31 Hen. VIII, were granted inter alia to Richard
Breme, esquire, and Margaret [=Marjory] his wife the manor of Bigging in Greneburgh,
co. Buckingham, formerly belonging to the monastery of St.
Albans and before leased with a moiety [? of the waifs and strays]
by indenture 12 Aug., 25 Hen. VIII [1533], under the conventual seal for
21 years to John Duncombe of Bigging, ' yoman,' at a yearly rent of
10l., the reversion of which manor should come to the crown by reason
of a charter made by the late abbot and convent, to hold the manor
to the said Richard and Margery [sic] for life in survivorship with
certain reservations at a yearly rent for the same and other lands
contained in the said patent of 50l. 16s. l½ d., the reversion of the
premises after the death of Margery belonging to the crown ;
And whereas by patent under the same seal, 28 June, 5 Edw. VI [1551]
were leased to Benedict Lee the said manor of Bigging and a moiety of
all waifs and strays within it, with numerous reservations, for 21 years
from the determination of Duncombe's lease at a yearly rent of 101.;
For the sum of 206l. 16s. 0¼d. paid to Nicholas Brigham, one of the
tellers of the Exchequer,
Grant in fee to the said Benedict Lee of the reversion of the premises
and the said rent of 10l.
Grant also of the said manor ; also the advowson of the rectory
and church of Glymton, co. Oxford, which was formerly parcel of the
monastery of Kenilworth ; and all lands and rights (long list) in Bigging
and Greneburgh belonging to the manor.
Yearly value, 10l.
Except bells and lead (save leaden gutters and lead in windows) and
advowsons (save that of Glymton).
To hold as of the manor of Estgrenewich in free socage.
[m. 28.] Exoneration, except fees of the bailiff, etc. These without fine or

Will of William Costerd of Byggyn Grenborowe 24 Dec 1575

Ardene v Chester, 1584-5

This dispute comes from the Court of Chancery. John Ardene said that in Jan. 1582 he conveyed his manor or farm of Biggyn to Thomas Lee, gent. (presumably as a mortgage arrangement). Thomas Lee then assigned it for 4 years from the following Michaelmas to Peter Dormer of Shipton Lee, Quainton, the brother-in-law of JA, as part of JA's marriage settlement. According to an indenture between PD and JA, PD would use the profits to pay JA's debts. JA said that the profits were more than sufficient to pay the debts, and PD allowed him to regain possession. PD also promised to pay JA 100 marks on his marriage. When PD died (in 1583, leaving a young son as his heir), his executor John Chester of Shipton Lee refused to honour the trust or render an account to JA, who asked for a writ of sub-poena against him, claiming that he and his wife and children were greatly impoverished. Read John Ardene's complaint.

John Chester's answer stated that JA did convey his term (i.e. unexpired lease) on Byggen farm to Thomas Lee, who then assigned it to PD for 4 years, of which there was less than 1 year to run. JC was willing to render an account to JA, but did not believe that PD had a surplus from the profits with which to pay JA's debts, and said that PD had used 200 marks of his own money. JC thought JA intended to sell the produce of the farm on his own account. He said that PD promised 100 marks to his sister if she married with his consent, but he did not consent to her marriage to JA, and he would not have allowed JA to regain possession of the farm. Now JA was hiding in his house and not daring to show his face. Read John Chester's answer.

Chester proposed that either he should be allowed to see out the remainder of the 4-year lease or Ardene should be reinstated and pay compensation for all Dormer's expenses. The court then ordered that a commission should be given for accounts to be drawn up. Read the orders.

There is not much information about the farm at Biggin, but there are references to arable land, corn, hay, horses, cows, pigs and wood.

1599: Map of Sir John Fortescue's land

Mr Lee: 180 acres freehold in Winslow
      3½ yardlands in Granborough

10 August 1600: D/LE/1/64

Deed of 1 August 1600. Recites indenture of 30 July 1600 between

  1. Thomas Lee sr of Morton, Dinton gent
  2. Alexander Hamden of Hartwell esqire
  3. George Throckmorton of Fulbrooke esquire
  4. Thomas Lee jr gent son and heir apparent of said Thomas Lee sr

Thomas Lee sr has given to 2 and 3 and to Michael Throckmorton gent, 2nd son of George:

They are to hold to the uses mentioned in the indenture quadripartite. Thomas Lee sr has appointed Edward Francklyne of Botte Claidon yeoman and John Colley of Fulbroke yeoman his attorneys to take and deliver possession.

1 May 1622: Centre for Bucks Studies, D/LE/1/149

1)Sir Thomas Lee of Morton Co Bucks Knight
Thomas Lee of Hartwell Esq son of the said Sir Thomas Lee
2)John Duncombe of East Claydon Esq
Richard Pawley of Halton Co Bucks gent
& John Busbye of East Claydon gent

Re debts of Thomas Lee the son

All that Manor of East Cleydon .... and all houses buildings messuages cottages landes tenements meadows pastures …. lying and being in East Cleydon and Bottle Cleydon .... And also of all that farme or tenement with appurtenances in East Cleydon aforesaid commonly called or known by the name of the Pryorie farme with all houses buildings orchards gardens lands tenements pastures ...

And also of all that messuage tenement or farme with the appurtenances in Winslow and Granborough or either of them in the said County of Bucks commonly called or known by the name of Biggin Farme with all the houses edifices buildings orchards gardens landes tenements meddows pastures feedings closes comons wastes easements proffits comodityes and hereditaments whatsoever to the said messuage tenement or farme called Biggin Farme belonging or anywise appurtaininge or accepted reputed or known as part or parcell or member thereof situate lying and being in Winslow and Granborough aforesaid or in either of them in the said County of Bucks

The property was sold with the manor of East Claydon to William Abell on 22 May 1624 (see documents listed in Lowndes Roll).

1628: National Archives, CP25/2/397/4CHASITRIN: Feet of Fines, Bucks (Latin)

This is the final concord made in the King's court at Westminster on the morrow of Trinity in the 4th year of the reign of King Charles before Thomas Richardson, Richard Hutton, Francis Hardye, George Croke & Henry Yelveston justices & other faithful subjects of the King there present between Emanuel Earl Sunderland querent [i.e. purchaser] and William Abell & Isabella his wife deforciants [i.e. sellers] concerning the manor of Biggyn with appurtenances and one messuage, one mill, one dovecote, one garden, one orchard, 400 acres of land, 100 acres of meadow, 250 acres of pasture & common of pasture for all beasts with appurtenances in Grandborowe alias Grandboroughe & Winslowe, about which a plea of covenant was summoned between them in the same court, namely that William & Isabella acknowledged the manor, land and common of pasture with appurtenances to be the right of the Earl, or what the Earl has as the gft of the same William and Isabella, and they remised and quitclaimed for themselves and their heirs to the Earl and his heirs forever. William & Isabella granted for themselves and William's heirs that they would guarantee to the Earl and his heirs the manor, holdings & common of pasture with appurtenances against William & Isabella & William's heirs forever. And for this acknowledgment, remission, quitclaim, guarantee, fine & concord the Earl gave to William & Isabella £700 sterling.

[verso] According to the form of the statute.
The first proclamation was made on 2 July in Trinity Term in the 4th year. The second proclamation was made on 21 November in Michaelmas Term. The third proclamation was made on 4 February in Hillary Term in the 4th year. The fourth proclamation was made on 29 April in Easter Term in the 4th year.

NB The description and price given in Feet of Fines are not necessarily accurate; see the National Archives guide. The part of Biggin in Winslow was an enclosed freehold farm of 180 acres. Sunderland transferred ownership to his mistress Martha. See further below. For the full story, see David Noy, "Martha Janes, an earl's mistress", Records of Bucks 60 (2020).

1631: National Archives, C142/476/135: Inquisition Post Mortem of Emanuel Earl of Sunderland, 27 Sep 7 Charles at Shirehall, Nottingham (Latin with documents recited in English) [only parts relevant to Biggin transcribed here]

He was seised of ... the manors of Hambleden and Biggin in Bucks and 40 messuages, 30 cottages, 3 watermills, 3 dovecotes, 60 gardens, 60 orchards, 1040 acres of land, 300 acres of meadow, 550 acres of pasture, 300 acres of wood, 100 acres of furze and heather, 200 acres of moor, 40s rent, and common of pasture for all beasts in Hambleden, Grandborowe alias Grandborough and Winslowe in Bucks, and the advowson of the church of Hambleden ...

By indenture of 20 May 5 Charles [1629] between
1. Emanuell Earl of Sunderland
2. Francis Nicholson of Downeholme Parke in Richmondshire, Yorks, gent. and George Gardner of the Savoy in the Strand gent.
The Earl grants that before 1 November next he shall levy fines sur cognizance de droit to Nicholson and Gardner for ... the mannors or Lordeshipps of Hambleden and Biggin alias Berrye Fearme in Bucks and all messuages, lands, tenements and hereditaments in the parishes and townes of Hambleden, Grandborough alias Grandborowe and Winslowe, and of all suits Seigniories Services Franchises Liberties iurisdictions authorities priviledges Courts Leets and perquisites of Courts and Leets Veiwe of Franckepledge and all that which to Veiwe of Franckepledge apperteyneth and of all other Royalties whatsoever unto the said Mannors or Lordshippes of Hambleden and Biggin alias Berry [deletion] belonging ...

For these uses: to the Earle and the heires males of his bodie lawfully begotten and for default of such issue then to John Scroope alias Janes alias Sandford the naturall and reputed sonne of the said Earle and sonne of Martha Janes alias Sandford of Biggin in the Countie of Buckingham Spinster or by whatsoever other name hee is or shalbee called and his heires male. And for default of such Issue then to the use of Marye Scroope alias Janes alias Sandford and of Elizabeth Scroope alias Janes alias Sandford and of Annabella Scroope alias Janes alias Sandford the three naturall and reputed daughters of the said Earle and the three daughters of the said Martha Janes alias Sandforde and the heires of their bodies. And for default of such Issue to the Right Honorable Henry Lord Viscount Dunbarr and his heirs male ...

By another indenture of 18 June 5 Charles between the Earle and John Welles of Langar Notts gent. and Matthew Gale of Tulescote in Richmondshire Yorkshire he demised for rayseing of marriage Porcions of Mary, Elizabeth and Annabella [to raise £20,000 for Mary and £10,000 each for the other two; property in Bucks not involved]. Provided alwaies and upopon Condicion nevertheless That if the said Earle shall att any tyme during his naturall Life tender and paie or cawse to bee tendred to bee paid The somme of Tenne shillings of Lawfull money of England to the said John Welles and Mathewe Gayle or eyther of them or to the parsonne for the tyme beeing of the parish Church of Wynslowe in the said Countie of Yorke [sic - did they mean Wistow?] in the presence of Two sufficiente witnesses att the Least to the intente to determine this presente Lease or Demise [or if he makes arrangements for the daughters during his lifetime] then this presente Lease or Demise and graunte and everie Clause Article and thing therein conteyned ... shalbee voyde ...

By another indenture of 18 June 5 Charles between
1. The Earle and Welles and Gayle
2. Martha Janes alias Sandford of Biggin in Bucks Spinster
(1) for and in consideration of the somme of Ten shillings ... paid by Martha ... have bargained sould demised graunted and to Fearme letten All that the Capitall Messuage and Fearme called Biggin Fearme alias Berry Fearme and all howses dovehowses buildings Barnes Stables Gardens Orchards and backsides thereunto belonging ... and all other the Messuages Cottages Lands Tenements and Hereditaments scituate lieing or beeing in the parish Townes Hamletts or Feildes of Biggin Grandborrowe alias Grandborough and Winslowe [and the manor of Ellarton upon Swale, Yorks] to have and to hould ... unto the said Martha Janes ... from the daye of the death of the Earle for the Terme of Fowerscore yeares if shee shall happen soe long to live sole \Chast and unmarried/ ... yeilding and paieing therefore yearelie unto the Earle his heires and assignes the yearelie Rente of one pepper corne att [Michaelmas]. Provided allwaies ... that if the Earle shall att anie time hereafter

the some of Ten shillings ... to the Parsonne for the time being of the parishe Church of Grandborowe alias Grandborough to the [intent] that the this presente Lease should bee voyde ...

[The fines were levied in the Court of King's Bench at Westminster three weeks from Trinity 5 Charles, Nicholson and Gardner querents, the Earl deforciant.]

The manor and advowson of Hambleden: of whom they are held the jurors do not know; they are worth p.a. in all revenues except reprises £10.
The manor of Biggin alias Berry Fearme is held of the King as of his manor of East Greenewhich in free socage; it is worth p.a. in all revenues except reprises £10.
The messuages, tenements and hereditaments in Hambleden and Grandborowe alias Grandborrough and Winslowe: of whom they are held the jurors do not know; they are worth p.a. in all revenues except reprises 20s.

Archdeaconry Court of St Albans, 1636

Herts RO ASA7/31, f.4 (19 March 1635/6): Stephen Janes of Granborough said that his predecessors had a special seat in Granborough church as "inhabitants of the farme called Biggen Farme", of which Richard Grace had deprived him.

f.6 (2 April 1636): Richard Grace said the seat had long belonged to the possessor of Graces Ferme, not the Biggen Ferme.

Enquiries continued for over a year, including a commission to the Vicars of Winslow and Little Horwood to sit at Winslow church so the witnesses did not have the expence of travelling to St Albans.

f.55 (26 Sep 1637): according to his representative Nicholas Rolfe, "the said Richard Grace was and is the lawfull owner by right of enheritance or other good and lawfull right of the Farme house called Graces Farme with the lands thereunto belonginge wherein hee then dwelte and occupied and now dwelleth and occupieth" as previously stated "and that the said Stephen Janes is but Tenant Baylife or servant to the owner of the Farme called the Biggen Farme" as previously stated "and that all the lands belonginge to the said Biggen Farme are not in the occupacion of the saide Stephen Janes but att least three partes a moytie or the fourth or some other part of the saide lands are letten to some other person or persons whoe occupie and possesse the same and are taxed and doe paye for the same to the Repayre of the church and other Taxacions".

Janes' representative Dagnall disagreed and the case was again postponed.

f.62v (12 March 1637/8): Richard Grace presented letters inhibitory from the Court of Arches preventing the Archdeacon's court from reaching a verdict.

Will of Stephen Janes of Biggin, yeoman, 1638 (Herts RO, 80AW24)

In the name of god Amen

The second daye of September in the yere of the reigne of our sov(er)eigne Lord Charles by the grace of god of England Scotland Fraunce and Ireland Kinge Defender of the faythe &c the fowreteenthe Anno D(omi)ni 1638 I Stephen Janes of Biggin Farme in the Countie of Buck yeoma(n) beinge sick of bodye but of good and perfect memorie (preysed be to god therefore) and callinge to mynde the uncertainetie of this transitorie Lyffe doe heereby make & declare my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following (That is to saye) First I com(m)end my soule unto almightie god my Creatoure hoepinge to be saved and to enioye eternall rest and happinesse in his heavenlye kingdome amongst the blessed companie of his elect throughe the onelye merritts deathe and passion of my Savioure and Redeemer Jesus Christ my mortall bodye I remitt to the earthe in hope of A iouyfull resurrection. And as touching the devisinge of such goodes and Chattells as god hathe lent me in this World I [deletion] give devise and bequeathe the same as followethe

Imprimis I doe give unto my wyfe Cisilye Janes that p(ar)te of the farme house wherein I nowe live Called Biggin farme all that p(ar)te Eastward from the Halle duringe the terme of yeeres w(hi)ch to be belongethe by vertue of one Lease yf that she shall soe longe live  Alsoe I give unto her out of the sayd farme to be payd by my executor the some of twentie powndes yeerelye to be payd halfe yeerelye by equall porc(i)ons after my decease dueringe the terme of the sayd Lease yf that she shall soe longe live, Item I doe give unto her in the Chamber over the \newe/ Halle two ioyned Chests, alsoe I doe give unto her in the Chamber over the buttorie one ioyned bedsted, two ioyned Chests, one fetherbed, fowre fether bowlsters, one flockbed, two newe Coverletts, one other Coverlett, two payre of blanketts, six pillowes, ten payre of sheetts, five payre of pillowbeers, Three dozen of napkins, In the Cheese Loft one Chest, In the Kitchin one brasse pott one brase pan, two possenetts, One Bason and ure, One dozen of pewter platters, two great pewter Candlesticks, two brazen Candlesticks, One pewter flaggon, one pewter bole, one quart pott, six fruite dishes, one dozen of sawsers,

It(e)m I give unto my daughter Margarett Janes the some of ten powndes to be payd unto her yeerelye after my decease forthe of the sayd farme and the p(ro)fitts and commodities that shall arise thereuppon dueringe the terme of the sayd Lease, after the terme of foure yeeres is expired after my decease, and yf my wyffe doe decease att anie tyme before the sayd terme of yeeres be expired that then my will is that my Daughter Margarett shall receave twentie poundes a yeere forthe of the sayd farme dueringe the terme of yeeres that shall then remayne unexpired of the sayd Lease to be payd unto her halfe yeerelye by equall porcons

It(e)m I give unto my Daughter Marie Janes - xiid

All other my goods Cattells & Chattells quick & dead of what sort and kinde soev(er) they be I give and bequeathe unto my son John Janes whome I doe make my sole & whole executor of this my last will and Testament In wittnesse whereof I the sayd Stephen Janes have heereunto sett my hand & sealle this fowrthe daye of Septemb(er) in the yeere of the reigne of o(ur) sov(er)eigne Lord Charles by the grace of god of England Scotland France and Ireland Kinge defender of the faythe &c the fowrteenthe 1638

[left margin] I doe appoynt Willm Hogg and Thos Montegue to being overseers of this my last will & testament

Stephen Janes
his marke

Sealed & Deliv(er)ed in the p(re)sence of
Rich: Brinsall  Willm Wiatt                   
Thomas Montague

Proved 15 November 1538 by John James son of deceased

Inventory of Stephen Janes, 1638 (Herts RO, A25/3381)

A true and p(er)fect Inventory of all the goods & Chattels of Steven Janes late of Biggin Farme in the Parrish of Granborow in the Countie of Bucks gent taken the Nineteenth day of September 1638 in the Foureteenth yeare of the Raighne of our Sov(er)aighne Lorde Charles by the grace of God now King of England &c.

Impr(imis) 12 beaste younge & olde in the Pasture next unto the Howse
It(em) one weaninge bullock
It(em) 19 sheepe in the same
In the Barne
Impr(imis) the wheate
It(em) Pease & Beanes
It(em) the Haye
In the Stable
It(em) one grey gelldinge
In the Yard
Inpr(imis) 2 Hoggs
It(em) the Tymber fyerwood & other lumber
It(em) the Turkeyes and other poltery
It(em) the Lease of the Farme
In the Hall
It(em) one great Cubbard & Table
In the Kittinge
It(em) one cubbarde & a Chair
It(em) 2 Potts 2 Kettles one greate Pan 2 spitts 2 hangers one Cheesepress w(i)th other Lumber
In the Buttery
Inpr(imis) one great Safe the Barrells Milkeboles & other Lumber
In the Best Chamber
Inpr(imis) one standinge bedd together w(i)th the furniture to the same
In the Chamber over the Kitchen
It(em) 2 Chests
It(em) the Linnen in one of them
It(em) the Linnen in the other
It(em) one Burdinge peece & a Pistoll
It(em) 2 Bibles & other Bookes
It(em) a Cheste w(i)th Puter & 2 Cussions
It(em) the Cheeses
It(em) a Warminge Pann & 2 Boxes
It(em) 2 Coverletts & one Flockbedd
It(em) his Sworde his Sadle & Aparrell
Some totall is

[signed] Sam: Macarness: Minister
[marks] William Wiatte
John Thorpe
Henry Stevenes
Henrye Emerton Prysers

[Latin] This inventory was exhibited 15 Nov 1638 by John Jones.

1624    15 Aug: John son of Stephen Jones baptised at Winslow
1638    15 Sep: Stephen Janes buried at Granborough
1639    14 Sep: Margaret Janes dau of Cicelie Janes buried at Granborough (bap. 6 Dec 1628 at Winslow)
1645    1 May: Cicelie Janes buried at Granborough

1651: will of John Janes of Granborough (proved 1658); it's not clear if he was still living at Biggin; he mentions his sister Mary Foddergale. He was buried at Granborough on 12 Nov 1658.

1641: Taxation certificates

National Archives, E115/224 f.134
Wee whose names are subscribed Comissioners (amongst others) appointed for the taxing and assessing of ye first of the 2 Entire Subsidies granted to his Maty. by ye Layity in ye Parliament begun the 3d. day of No(vemb)er. in the 16th. yeare of his Maties Raigne [1640] Doe Certify to ye Lo(rd) high Tre(asur)er to ye Lo(rd) chief Baron of ye Exchecqr and rest of the Barony there and to whom else these pr(ese)nts may concern That Mrs. Martha Janes was by ye Assessors of ye parrish of Granborough in com’ Bucks before us taxed and assessed att Five pounds in Lands for & towards ye payment of the said 2 Subsidies in respect of her Resiance and Comorancy at a place called Biggen Farme within yesaid parrish of Granborough at ye time of ye making of the said Assessmt wch said sum she ye said Mrs. Janes hath paid accordingly. Witnesse our hands & seals this 30th day of March 1641.
Alex Denton [signature]                      Ri: Grenvile [signature]
[Added in Latin] Bucks, Three Hundreds of Ashenden. Grandbourrough: Martha Janes £5 in lands, £2 (payment). Note concerning the time of residence.

National Archives, E115/229 f.105 = E115/230 f.107

Wee whose names are subscribed Comissioners (amongest others) appointed for the taxeing and assesseing of the two subsidies graunted to his Ma:tie by an Act of Parliamt made in the Parliamt. began the 3d day of November in the 16th year of his Mat:tiesRaigne intituled an Act for the further Releife of his Ma:ties Army and the Northerne p(ar)ts of his Kingdome doe Certifie to the Lord Treasurer and the Lord cheife Baron of the Exchequer and the rest of the Barons there and to all others to whom it may app(er)taine That Mrs. \Martha/ Janes – widdow was by the Assessors of the p(ar)ish of Granborough – taxed and Assessed at five Pounds in Landes for and towards the paymt. of those two subsidies as being Inhabitant and resiant in the s(ai)d p(ar)ish of Granborough where the s(ai)d Martha Janes did at the tyme of the s(ai)d taxacon and Long before most usually reside and inhabite wth. her Family and \is/ still there Comorant and abideinge. Wittnes our handes and seales this 18th of day of October 1641.
Ri: Grenvile [signature]                      Tho: Tyringhan [signature]
[Added in Latin] Bucks, Three Hundreds of Ashenden. Grandborrowe: Mrs. Martha Janes £5 in lands, 40s (payment).

1647: Subsidy return for Ashendon Hundred (National Archives, E179/244/9)

Biggin Farme was included at the beginning of the list for Granborough with an assessment of £2 5s 6d. No individual was assessed at more than 11s 5d.

1662: Hearth Tax return

John Thorpe for Byggen Farme: 5 hearths

1677: Notes by Arthur Clear, The King's Village in Demesne, p.45

In 1677, one Martha Jones, (alias Sandford), of Epperton [=Epperstone], Co. Notts, and others, conveyed to Sir Robert Clayton, Knight, Alderman of London, and John Norris, Esq., in consideration of £4,119 3s. 4d., the Manor and Farm called Bigyn, or Bury Farm, and lands in Grenesburgh and Winslowe.

According to the VCH: "It is not clear how Bigging came again to the Lees, but it was held in 1624 by Sir Thomas Lee, kt., and sold by him in that year to William Abel, from whom it passed in 1628 to Emanuel Scrope, Earl of Sunderland (Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 4 Chas. I [see above]). He held Hambleden Manor with which Bigging descended (Feet of F. Bucks. East. 28 Chas. II) until 1678, in which year it was conveyed to Sir Robert Clayton and John Morris (Feet of F. Bucks. Trin. 30 Chas. II.)." "Martha James alias Sandford, the mother of the earl's children, compounded for her estate in Grandborough in 1647 (Cal. Com. for Comp. 67)"

Emanuel Scrope, 1st Earl of Sunderland (1584-1630), the grandson of Henry Carey, Queen Elizabeth I's cousin, had four children by his servant Martha Jeanes alias Sandford. He must have given Biggin to her during his lifetime as she is not mentioned in his will (of which his wife Elizabeth Manners d.1654 was executrix). Presumably Stephen Janes was her relative.

18 Jan 1623/4: Mary, daughter of Edward Sandford baptised at Winslow
Winslow baptism records for 1626 missing. Was their son John born then?
1 Oct 1627: Elizabeth, daughter of Edward and Margaret Samford baptised at Granborough
18 April 1629: Annabella, daughter of Edward and Margaret Sanford baptised at Granborough

1663 Subsidy: Mrs Martha Janes was the largest taxpayer in Winslow.

1676-7: National Archives, CP25/2/630/28CHASIIEASTER: Feet of Fines, Bucks (Latin)

This is the final concord made in the King's court at Westminster in the octaves of Candlemas in the 28th year of the reign of King Charles II before Francis North, John Archer, Hugh Wyndham, Robert [Atkyns?] & William Ellys justices & afterwards in fifteen days from Easter Day in the said year, granted & received & given before the same justices & other faithful subjects of the King then present there between John Savage esquire & Robert Hyde gentleman querents and Thomas Earl Rivers deforciant concerning the manor of Biggyn with appurtenances and one messuage, one mill, one dovecote, one garden, one orchard, 400 acres of land, 100 acres of meadow, 250 acres of pasture & common of pasture for all beasts with appurtenances in Grandborowe alias Grandboroughe & Winslowe, about which a plea of covenant was summoned between them in the same court, namely that the Earl acknowledged the manor, land, holdings & common of pasture with appurtenances to be the right of John, or what John & Robert have as the gift of the Earl, and he remised and quitclaimed for himself and his heirs to John & Robert & John's heirs forever. Furthermore the Earl granted for himself and his heirs that he would guarantee to John & Robert and John's heirs the manor, holdings & common of pasture with appurtenances against all men forever. And for this acknowledgment, remission, quitclaim, guarantee, fine & concord John & Robert gave to the Earl £700 sterling.

[verso] According to the form of the statute.
The first proclamation was made on 8 May in Easter Term in the 28th year of the King. The second proclamation was made on 8 June in Trinity Term in the 28th year. The third proclamation was made on 9 November in Michaelmas Term in the 28th year. The fourth proclamation was made on 25 January in Hillary Term in the 28th year.

1678-9: National Archives, CP25/2/631/30CHASIITRIN: Feet of Fines, Bucks (Latin)

This is the final concord made in the King's court at Westminster fifteen days from Easter in the 30th year of the reign of King Charles II before Francis North, John Archer, Hugh Wyndham, Robert Atkyns & William Scroggs justices and afterwards three weeks from Trinity granted & recorded before Francis North, John Archer, Hugh Wyndham, Robert Atkyns & Vere Bertie justices & other faithful subjects of the King then present there between Robert Clayton knight & John Morris esquire querents and Martha Jan[es ali]as Sandford, Thomas Earl Rivers, Thomas Savage esquire son & heir apparent of the Earl, Richard Savage esquire, John Savage esquire, Robert Hyde gentleman, Elizabeth Savage spinster, Charles Marquis of Winchester & John Grubham Howe esquire deforciants concerning the manor of Biggyn with appurtenances and one messuage, one mill, one dovecote, one garden, one orchard, 400 acres of land, 100 acres of meadow, 250 acres of pasture & common of pasture for all beasts with appurtenances in Grandborowe alias Grandboroughe & Winslowe, about which a plea of covenant was summoned between them in the same court, namely that Martha, the Earl, Thomas etc. acknowledged the manor, land, holdings & common of pasture with appurtenances to be the right of Robert Clayton, or what Robert & John Morris have as the gift of Martha, the Earl, Thomas, etc., and they remised and quitclaimed for themselves and their heirs to Robert Clayton & John Morris & Robert's heirs forever. Furthermore Martha granted for herself and her heirs that she would guarantee to Robert Clayton & John Morris & Robert's heirs the manor, holdings & common of pasture with appurtenances against Martha and her forever. Furthermore the Earl granted [similar clauses for all deforciants]. And for this acknowledgment, remission, quitclaim, guarantee, fine & concord Robert Clayton & John Morris gave to Martha etc. £600 sterling.

[verso] According to the form of the statute.
The first proclamation was made on 19 June in Trinity Term in the 30th year of the King. The second proclamation was made on 15 November in Michaelmas Term in the 30th year. The third proclamation was made on 1 February in Hillary Term in the 31st year. The fourth proclamation was made on 7 May in Easter Term in the 31st year.

Thomas Savage, 3rd Earl Rivers (1628-94), was married to Elizabeth, daughter of the Earl of Sunderland and Martha Janes. Thomas, Richard, John and Elizabeth Savage were presumably their children; Richard became 4th Earl Rivers. Charles Powlett, 6th Marquis of Winchester (1630-99, later 1st Duke of Bolton), was married to Mary, another daughter of Sunderland and Martha. John Grubham / Grobham Howe (1625-79) was married to their third daughter Annabella. Sir Robert Clayton (1629-1707), who was the Duke of Buckingham's trustee but seems to have been acting on his own account here, also acquired the manor of Hambleden from Sunderland's children between 1668 and 1686 (VCH Bucks vol.3). John Morris (d.1682) was his banking partner.

Part of Biggin Farm appears under the name of the Berry Lands in a purchase by William Lowndes and William Gyles in 1680. It is clearly the same property in view of the documents cited concerning Sunderland, Rivers, etc. The Berry Lands were the 180 freehold acres in Winslow shown on the 1599 map, so later references to Biggin Farm must concern only the Granborough part of the property, which consisted of at least 84 acres (see the next entry). John Wise / Wyse who lent William Lowndes the money for the purchase regularly appears with Sir Robert Clayton as a co-defendant in Chancery cases, 1675-85.

1678: Centre for Bucks Studies, D/X/127/1

Indenture of 25 Nov 30 Charles II between
1. Sir Robert Clayton, Alderman of the City of London, and John Morris of London esq.
2. Thomas Sydenham of the City of London, Doctor in Phisicke, and Robert Thorpe of Hardwicke yeoman
For £200 lent to Thorpe by Sydenham and 5s paid to Clayton and Morris, they have demised to Sydenham:
a moity of a Close of pasture in Grandborough called the Furze or Furzenry Close containing Fourscore acres, and a moity of four platts of meadow ground lying dispersedly in a common meadow called Sow Mead in Granborough containing together four acres, now or late in the occupation of Rich: Bampton, John Thorpe & Robt Stevens or their assignes, part or reputed part of a Farme called Biggen Farme.
The indentures shall by voyd if Thorp pays unto Sydenham £212: on 26 May next £6, on 26 Nov 1679 £206 at the now dwelling house of Clayton and Morris scituate in the Old Jury in the parish of St Olaves Jury.

1685: Division of the Granborough part of Biggin Farm (Centre for Bucks Studies D/X/127/1)

[endorsed] Rob(er)t Thorpe & Rob(er)t Stevens Agreem(en)t for a division.
This Agreement not to be delivered but by the Consent of both parties
February the 11th 1685

Memd it is then Concluded & agreed upon by & betweene Rob(er)t Thorpe of Hardwicke & George Thorpe his son, & Rob(er)t Stevens of Grandborough & Elizabeth his wife, that whereas a Peece of pasture Ground in Grandborough called the Furzeney Ground contayning about Fourscore acres wherein the said p(ar)ties are sev(er)ally Interested & concerned which Ground by Agreem(en)t is to be devided The s(ai)d Rob(er)t Stevens for his part & on the behalfe of his s(ai)d wife doth hereby Covenant & agree to divide & sett out by Stakes & bounds the s(ai)d Pasture \ground/ as equally as he thinks \fitt/ on or before the 29th day of September next ensuing And when such division is made that it shall be att the Liberty of the s(ai)d Rob(er)t Thorpe & his son to choose w(hi)ch p(ar)t they shall thinke fitt paying five pounds for the \Choise thereof/ on or before the first day of November next And further that upon such division to be made the said Rob(er)t Stevens \is/ to sett forth & appoint the Mounds w(hi)ch shall belong to each p(ar)t, & the ditching & charge of bounding thereof to be borne & paid by such of the said p(er)sons to whom the p(ar)ts afores(ai)d shall upon the division afores(ai)d come & belong, And when such division shall be made & settled then all p(ar)ties concerned in Title & Interest are to make such assurance thereof each to other as by Councell shall be Advised which the s(ai)d Rob(er)t & George Thorpe doe agree to p(er)forme accordingly. And that they will make their Choise by the time afores(ai)d & pay the Five pounds upon such division & Choise to be made att such time as is herein before Agreed upon. In Wittnesse whereof the s(ai)d p(ar)ties to these p(re)sents have sett to their hands & seales the day & yeare first w(i)thin written.

Wittnesse hereunto   [signed]  Robert Thorpe
Robert Adames    Rob(er)t Stevens
John Holland        Georg Thorpe
Rich(ard) Francke

1695: Inventory of William Wyatt of Shipton

Item all ye hay att Bicken farme: £8

1710, 10 Nov: Letter from Rev. John Croft of Winslow to Browne Willis of Whaddon Hall (copied by Rev. William Cole, British Library, Add. MS 5840, ff.202v-203r [click here for the previous part of the letter]

And now from Bed-Well- Head in Addington Feild I naturally make a transition to Biggin Farm in Grenburrow Feild: for ‘tis but from Superstition to Debauchery. A little below the Bridge which unites Winslow & Grenburrow Fields, near the River Side stood an antique Chapell, puill’d down about 30 years since, by the purchaser of the ground to mend their Ways, by corrupting their Doeings: By the Chapell, a large House, (more a small Sheep Barn.)  In the large hall, on the Beame, over the Head, was engraved a Cross, to which the Parish Processioners paid Suit & Service on Rogation Monday: the Pater Familias treating the Minister & neibours with Cheesecake, Bread, Cheese, Beere &c. But this being lookt upon as a reliq of Popery, ‘tis abolisht with the Building. Alas! That Reformation should rise on the Ruins of Hospitality! And you will wonder with me in the Sequell of my Leter, why Grenburrow men sho’d be such zealous Protestants : for they certainly descended from Monks Bastards.

Biggin House was formerly a Cell, Nursery, Retreat, or Infirmary to the Monks of St Alban’s.  It had a little Mannor belonging to them within the Mannor of Winslow, now split [into two] Halves, [hav]ing so many Freeholders: most of whom from before the Reformation (as the Parish[?] Register can now witness) retein the Christian Name imposed upon them by their spirituall[?] Fathers in the Flesh: who, for the Honour of their Tutelar Saint, christened the Boys of their own getting by the Name of Benedict.   

1714, 1 Sep: Will of Robert Thorpe the elder of Hardwick, yeoman

... to Richard Redding & his heires dureing the Terme of the naturall life of my daughter Mary Shepherd one Annuity of £5 ... to be yearly Issueing out of All that my Close of Pasture ground lying & being in the parish of Grandborough called the Furze or Furzuy Close with the meadow thereunto belonging or therewith used & enioyed And all other my freehold Lands Tenements and hereditaments whatsoever lyeing & being in Grandborough. Item I give & devise my Close [as above] unto my sonn George Thorp his heires & Assignes forever subject [to the annuity above] ...
Proved 31 Jan 1716/17

George Thorp sr was buried at Granborough in 1745.

1722: Letter of Viscount Fermanagh (Centre for Bucks Studies, Verney Papers, M11/57)

Sir John Verney, Viscount Fermanagh, had apparently been negotiating with John Deverell (see below) to buy his property at Biggin. On 2 Jan 1721/2 he wrote to his steward Charles Challoner to tell him to get the Winslow lawyer Nicholas Merwin to complete the paperwork "if he finds the title good". Presumably he did not, as the sale did not happen.

... there is one thing in [the papers] which I think not right which is that Deverell and his mother shall joyn in Fine if needfull in ten years time at my cost ... I believe a fine is necessary to cut out ye mothers right ... I see by ye writings yt Deverell has not so many acres near as we reckon'd The house ground & Jeans's ground together is \call'd/ but 29 acres the bridge ground 11 acres and the meadow 18, & there is Smiths ground besides, so tis let for almost thirty shillings an acre \my part of it I mean/ ... Deverells mother has a joynture in Bigin Farme, therefore there must be a fine, & Deverell is by agreement to pay the charge of it, Merwin should know it ...

1725, 18 Oct: Will of Thomas Key of Biggin Farme in the parish of Granborough in the County of Bucks

I give unto my eldest daughter Shielometh for whom I have already provided £100 to be paid out of my estate at Biggin Farm within twelve months after the decease of Dinah my loving wife

I give unto Hannah Deeley my granddaughter the like sum to be paid at the same time if she shall be then living

I give unto Elizabeth Key my daughter all my lands tenements and hereditaments in Steeple Claydon and Ethersay Oldwick in the County of Bucks to hold to her and her heirs for ever paying unto John Deverell so much principal and interest money as shall be outstanding from me at the time of my decease the same principal being now £320

I give unto the said Dinah my loving wife the use of all my household goods and utensils of housewifery during so long time as she shall live sole and unmarried whereof my will is that a particular shall be made after my decease and signed by my said wife and the said Elizabeth my daughter with a counter part thereof to whom I give the same goods after my wife's decease

I give unto the said Dinah my loving wife all that my estate in the parishes of Granborough and Winslow and either of them to hold unto the said Dinah my loving wife for the term of her natural life and after her decease I give my said estate in Granborough and Winslow unto the said Elizabeth my daughter and her heirs to hold to her and her heirs for ever paying unto the said Shielometh and Hannah the said several sums of one hundred pounds apiece as aforesaid

I give unto the said Dinah my wife all other my personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever whom I make sole executrix of this my last will and testament

Eliz Merwin
Nicho Merwin
John Wyatt

1726: Dinah wife of Thomas Keys listed as a tenant of the manor

1727, 20 April: Will of Thomas Key proved in London by Dina Key relict

1736: Shelomith wife of John Dealey gent and daughter of Thomas Key of Biggin Farm gent died 1 Sept 1736. Buried at Launton, Oxon.

1730: Marriage settlement

1)  Charles Gibbs sen of Lillingstone Dayrell gent
     Charles Gibbs jun of Lillingstone Dayrell gent
2)  Elizabeth Key of Abthorpe Co Northants daughter of Thomas Key late of Biggin in the parish of Granborough gent
3)  Rev Joseph Key of Marks Kerby Co. Warwick clerk

Marriage settlement on intended marriage of Charles Gibbs jun to Elizabeth Key

All the messuages land and hereditaments situate in Horwood Magna Bucks formerly the property of Mary Williatt mother of Elizabeth Key

And also for settling the Manor and hereditaments belonging to Elizabeth Key being the Manor or reputed Manor of Biggin situate in the parishes of Granborough and Winslow and a farm called Biggin Farm and a new built house and lands in Granborough given to Elizabeth Key by the will of her late father

Arthur Clear, Buckingham Advertiser, 21 Nov 1896
  In a copy of a marriage settlement dated 1730, between Charles Gibbs senr., and Charles Gibbs, junr., both of Lillingstone Dayrell, gentlemen, Elizabeth Key, of Abthorpe co. Northants, daughter of Thomas Key, late of Biggin, in the parish of Granborough, Bucks, gent., and the Rev. Joseph Key of Marks Kerby co. Warwick, clerk on the intended marriage of Charles Gibbes, the younger, with Elizabeth Key - of all the messuages, land and hereditaments situated in Horwood Magna, Bucks,formerly the property of Mary Williatt, her mother.
  And also for settling the Manor and hereditaments belonging to Elizabeth Key, being the Manor or reputed Manor of Biggin, situated in the parishes of Granborough and Winslow, and a farm called Biggin Farm, and a new built house and lands in Granborough given to Elizabeth Key by the will of her late father. (Thomas Key was buried at Granborough 4th April, 1721.)
  In Launton Church, Oxfordshire, is a monument to Shelomith, wife of John Dealey, gent., and daughter of Thomas Key, of Biggin Farm, gent., she died 1st Sept., 1736, aetat 37.
  Charles Gibbes, of Towcester, son of Charles Gibbes and Elizabeth Key, by his will dated 13th March, proved 26th July, 1781, directed Biggin Farm, in the parishes of Granborough and Winslow to be sold by his widow and executrix, Phoebe Gibbes.

A.J. Clear wrote about this in his column in the Buckingham Advertiser (29 July 1916)
  BIGGIN AND THE GIBBS FAMILY.- That the ancient family of Gibbs was connected with Grandborough as well as Winslow has long been known, but that a branch of the family was at one time (by marriage) in possession of “Biggin,” the site of the Cell and Moated Grange, built by the Abbots of St. Albans, is not generally known.  Thomas Key, of Grandborough, gent. (who was buried there 4th April, 1721), bequeathed to his daughter Elizabeth “the Manor or reputed Manor of Biggin,” situated in the parishes of Winslow and Grandborough, a farm called Biggin Farm, and a new built house and lands at Grandborough (probably now the property of Mr. J. B. Hughes, J.P.).  She also inherited messuages, land and hereditaments situated at Horwood Magna, formerly the property of Mary Williatt, her mother.  (The Williatts were an ancient family in the district, the last descendant being Mr. Robt. Williatt Jones, of Blake House, Winslow.  Doctor John Cowley, the well-known Winslow medical practitioner and antiquary, is also believed to have married a Miss Williatt, who lies buried with her husband in Winslow Churchyard.) [Clear assumed this incorrectly from the name of his eldest son, John Willeat Cowley]  Miss Key in 1730 married Charles, son of Charles Gibbs, of Lillingstone Dayrell, gentleman, and their son, Charles Gibbs, of Towcester, described as an attorney, by his will proved 26th July, 1781, directed Biggin Farm in the parishes of Winslow and Grandborough to be sold by his widow and executrix, Phoebe Gibbs.  A descendant of these Gibbs’s died at Milton, not far from Towcester, some 20 years back. – A. J. C.

18th- and 19th-century references

1705: Will of John Deverell of Swanbourne, yeoman. He leaves to his son John "all my Estate at Granborow & Winslow", which might be Biggin Farm.

1730: Inventory of John Deverell of Winslow, yeoman. There is no indication of where he lived, but he was later referred to as "of Biggen Farm" (see below), and he was buried at Granborough. According to Browne Willis (quoted by Clear, p.45), John Deverell of Swanbourne pulled down the chapel at Biggin "after the restoration of King Charles II".

1739: Will of Robert Stevens of Granborough, gentleman, 1738/9 (proved 1739)
Leaves to his wife Elizabeth for her life, then to his son Richard: "All that my Inclosed Close of pasture Ground Scituate in the parish of Grandborough aforesaid called Jeanes’s Ground with the Appurtenances which I Formerly purchased of John Deverell"
Leaves to his son Robert: "All that my Inclosed Close of pasture Ground in the parish of Grandborough aforesaid called the Furzen Close now divided into two Closes and four individual plotts of Meadow Ground lying in Sow Meade in the parish of Grandborough"

1746: Will of Josias Askew of Swanbourne gent 4 July 1746 (proved 1750)
... I give and devise to John Deverell of Winslow in the said County of Bucks ironmonger (son of John Deverell late of Biggen Farm in the parish of Grandborough in the said County grazier deceased) and his heirs All that Messuage or Manor House in Swanbourne aforesaid ...

1750: John Deverell mortgaged to Richard Fish of Grandborough for £153 7s 6d "a close of pasture called Bridge Ground containing 10 acres, part of Biggin Farm in the parish of Grandborough" (see Administration of Richard Shelton)

1766: William Butcher of Steeple Claydon mortgaged to James Burnham of Winslow for £40: "All that Close of Pasture Ground formerly called or known by the Name of Walkers Close lying and being in the Parish of Grandborough in the said County of Buckingham containing by estimation two Acres be the same more or less then late in the tenure or occupation of Robert Stevens his Assignee or Assigns formerly part of a Farm called Biggin Farm" (see Administration of Richard Shelton).

1767: Winslow Enclosure Award : ... a certain Plank or foot Bridge leading into certain ancient Enclosures in the Parish of Grandborough aforesaid called Biggin farm Grounds ...

1776: William Butcher and Rebecca his wife sold Walkers Close to Philip Box of Buckingham, draper, for £60. (see Administration of Richard Shelton). By 1805 the land had passed to Matthew Deverell of Salden.

1779: The mortgage of Bridge Ground was transferred to Richard Shelton of Winslow, currier, in trust for Mary Smith of East Claydon, spinster (see Administration of Richard Shelton).

1781: Will of Charles Gibbs of Towcester directed Biggin Farm in the parishes of Granborough and Winslow to be sold by his widow and executrix Phoebe Gibbs

1782 Land Tax: Owner: Charles Gibbs; Occ: Stephen Gibbs £6 15s 6d

1786 Land Tax: Owner: Charles Gibbs; Occ: Stephen Gibbs £6 15s 6d

20 Aug 1791: Northampton Mercury, sale advert

Two rich fertile PASTURE and MEADOW GROUNDS (adjoining) in the Parishes of WINSLOW and GRANDBOROUGH, about a mile from Winslow, on the Buckingham Road, known by the name of BIGGAN-FARM - Biggan House and other Buildings standing thereon; - with the Manor or Reputed Manor. - There are several thriving Trees growing on the same, with a Fishery running through the Meadow Part. The Whole containing about Forty Acres; in the Occupation of Mr Stephen Gibbs, Tenant at Will, at an old Rent of 55l per Annum.
Apply to Mr. Si. Adams, Attorney, Towcester

1795 Land Tax: Owner: William Selby Esq; Occ: Francis Budd £6 15s 6d

1799: Will of Richard Stevens, gentleman of Grandborough (National Archives PROB 11/1325/99)
"I give and devise unto my housekeeper Mary Bradbury ... all those my several Freehold inclosed grounds called or known by the Name of Biggin Farm ground"

1807: Will of William Selby (heretofore called William Lowndes) of Winslow directs executors to sell "all my farm lands tenements and hereditaments situate in Granborough in the said County of Bucks called Biggin Farm now in the occupation of Francis Budd".

1815: Will of Mary Bradbury
Left all her real estate (unspecified) to her brother Robert and nephew John Bradbury.

1820: John Chapman of Whaddon acquired the freehold of Bridge Ground (see Administration of Richard Shelton).

Northampton Mercury, 1 July 1820 

To be L E T T,

A Desirable SITUATION, at WINSLOW, in the County of Buckingham; consisting of a good dwelling House, with a large Yard, good Garden, Stabling, Barns, Piggeries, and other convenient Premises; together with about five Acres of good pasture Land, divided into two Closes, now in the Occupation of Mr. Francis Budd, who is leaving the same at Michaelmas next, when Possession will be given.

For a View of the Premises, apply to the TENANT;  and for further Particulars, to Mr. RICHARDSON, of Thornborough Mill; or to Mr. EDWARD CLEAVER, Draper, at Newport Pagnell.

1825: Biggin Farm in Winslow and Holcombe Farm in Swanbourne, "then late or theretofore were in the tenure or occupation of Thomas Read his Undertenant or Undertenants assignee or assigns at and under a yearly rent of Two hundred and sixty Pounds" were settled in trust by William Selby Lowndes and his sister Maria Selby Lowndes to William Lowndes Stone.

1832 Land Tax: Owner: William Selby Lowndes; Occ: George Maydon £3 2s 8½d

1865 sale, lot 11
BIGGEN FARM, consisting of 35a. 2r. 2p., of first-rate Pasture and Meadow Land, adjoining the Road to Grandborough, in the occupation of Mr. George Maydon.

1865: Bucks Herald, 21 Oct
THIRTY-FOUR CAPITAL DAIRY AND FAT COWS, HEIFERS, and STEERS; 2 Cart Colts, 3 stacks of hay (to go off,) and the grass keeping, up to Lady-day, 1866;
On the Premises AT BIGGEN FARM, by direction of Mr George Maydon, whose tenancy expires at Lady-day next.
  THE STOCK is remarkably good, and in fine healthy condition.
  Two Months Credit will be given for the Hay, on paying a deposit.
The Sale will commence at Twelve o’Clock.
Catalogues may be had at the Inns in the Neighbourhood, and of Messrs. Dudley and Son, Auctioneers and Land Agents, Winslow.

1866, 8 June
1)William Selby Lowndes and others
2) Henry Monk of Winslow grazier
All that scite or piece of ground situate and being in Granborough whereon a messuage or tenement in occ Stephen Gibbes then formerly stood and which was many years since pulled down …. Which said scite close and meadow were then formerly in occ Stephen Gibbes and were then in occ George Maydon...

1901 (proved 1903): will of Henry Monk
I devise ... my land known as “Biggin Farm” situate in the respective parishes of Winslow and Grandborough ... unto my Trustees Upon trust that my Trustees shall sell call in and convert into money the same

1903: Buckingham Advertiser, 6 June
Close to the Town and within One Mile of Winslow Station on the L. & N.W. Railway, and Winslow Road on the Metropolitan Railway.
PARTICULARLY VALUABLE FREEHOLD ESTATES, COMPRISING ABOUT 100 ACRES, and embracing some of the finest Grazing Land in the District, some portions of which possess magnificent sites for the formation of Residential Estates, and comprising in the
2 Highly Valuable Inclosures of Rich Feeding Land,
Distinguished as the Great Ground and “The Knob,” comprising an area of 26a. 0r. 16p.
4 very desirable Accommodation CLOSES of rare old Pasture LAND, known as Long close, Beresford’s Closes, and Square Field, with an aggregate area of 28a. 0r. 32p.
2 Accommodation INCLOSURES of Rich Old PASTURE known as Parrott’s Closes, containing 10a. 1r. 34p.
A most valuable Inclosure of Freehold Feeding Land,
Known as Biggin Farm, comprising an area of 27a. 0r. 9p.
A RICH FEEDING GROUND, Bounded by the Road leading from Winslow to Grandborough and by the Brook; known as Biggin Meadow, and containing 10a. 1r. 17p.,
At the Bell Hotel, Winslow, at 4 for 5 o’clock precisely, in five Lots, by direction of the Exors. of the late Mr. Henry Monk.

1903: Buckingham Advertiser, 20th June,
  PROPERTY SALE.- On Monday afternoon Messrs. Geo. Wigley and Sons offered for sale by auction at the Bell Hotel a freehold estate situate at Winslow and Grandborough, by direction of the executors of the late Mr. Henry Monk.  Lot 1, 26a. of pasture land known as Great Ground, with a garden, etc., and Lot 2, 28a. of pasture land divided into four enclosures, were purchased by Mr. H. S. Leon at £3,550.  Lot 3, Biggin Farm, midway between Winslow and Grandborough, and bounded by Grandborough Brook, comprising 26a. 2r. 8p. of pasture land, was bought by Mr. Gaius Chapman, of Little Horwood, for £1,650.  Lot 4, Biggin Meadow, in the parish of Grandborough, comprising 9a. 3r. 10p., was purchased by Mr. A. O. Fulks for £650.  Lot 5, Parrott’s Closes, was bought in.  Messrs. Willis and Willis were the solicitors.  There was a representative company present and good prices were realised.

Restoration of Granborough church

1881: Bucks Herald, 30 April
  At the conclusion of the luncheon [to celebrate the church's reopening], most of the visitors spent some time in the Church, inspecting its several very interesting features more closely.  Amongst these we may specially notice the piece of ancient sculpture in alabaster, and the iron chrismatory, which have been placed in an oaken cabinet, against the east wall of the nave.  We copy the following inscription, placed beneath these interesting relics of parochial antiquity: “The above piece of sculpture in alabaster, representing the crucifixion, with the figures of St. John and the three Marys, was until lately built into the gable end of the old farm house at the north end of the village, at present in the occupation of Mr. John Biggs.  When this house was rebuilt by the present occupier in 1879, the sculpture was removed.  In the History of Buckinghamshire it is mentioned, and a connection is traced between Mill Hook Farm and an antique chapel which, it is said, ‘stood near Biggin Farm, a little below the bridge which unites Winslow and Grandborough fields, near the river side, which was pulled down in 1680.’  It is conjectured that this sculpture, which is probably of 12th or 13th century workmanship, formed the altar piece of this ancient chapelry or monastic cell.  It has seemed advisable to preserve so interesting a piece of parish antiquity from further risk of destruction from the wind and weather, to which it has been exposed without protection for the last 200 years.  The chrismarium, or chrismatory, was found (1880) built up in the east wall of the nave near the springing of the chancel arch, where in all probability it had been placed for safety during the civil wars of Cromwell.  It is probably between four and five hundred years old.  It is made of iron or pewter, and contains three cruets, which originally held the three kinds of sacred oil used by the Church of the middle ages in the ceremonies of baptism, of the anointing of catechumens and of the sick.  There is only one other known specimen in England, in the ancient church of St. Martin, Canterbury.  An account of these two chrismatories will be found in the forthcoming volume of the transactions of the Royal Antiquarian Society.

Arthur Clear: A Thousand Years of Winslow Life (1888): pp.4-5 on Biggin

The Manor of Winslow, with its members, Little Horwood and Granborough, continued parcel of the demesnes of St. Albans Abbey until the general dissolution of religious houses the time of Henry VIII, when it was surrendered to the Crown, in whose hands it remained until 1599, when Queen Elizabeth sold it to Sir John Fortescue, of Salden, for £2,329 7 1. A few years prior to this, viz 1586 - the Crown had granted to John Fortescue, in consideration of a tine of £6 13 4, a lease for 21 years at the annual rent of £1 13 4, - of the Office of Bailiff and Clerk of the Market of Winslow; and all waifs and strays, in right of the Manor of Biggin, near Winslow; with all stallage, piccage, tolnage, customs, rights, jurisdictions, etc., of the Forester in the Woods of Little Horwood. In 1619 the Manor was sold to Sir George Villiers, Marquis of Buckingham; it was purchased in 1697 under an act of Parliament, (giving power to Nicholas Goodwyn the Mortgagee, to sell it), by "William Lowndes, Esq., in whose family it still continues. The Manor of Biggin, was situate in Granborough, and the Abbey of St. Albans had long held a Grange or Farm there, with a Cell and Chapel, of which nothing now remains. But the extensive entrenchments and marks of the foundations may still be traced in a field near the present Granborough Bridge. The Church at Granborough was formerly a Chapel of Ease to Winslow, and Lipscombe, before quoted, mentions the existence of an old Deed or Roll, dated about 1250, in which Aston Abbotts is also called a Chapel under Winslow, it is therefore probable that the officiating Priests for these places, were supplied from the Cell at Biggin. In Grandborough Church there is carefully preserved a carved marble representation of the crucifixion, with a figure on each side of the Cross, this is believed to have been originally in the Chapel at Biggin, the buildings were still standing until about 1680, a family named Sanford being the last residents, the place was then mostly pulled down by John Deverell of Swanbourne, and the materials sold, and tradition has it that part of the same were used in repairing the Moat House at Little Horwood.

R.S. Downs, extract from a lecture on crosses in Bucks given at High Wycombe

1900: Bucks Herald, 17 Nov
  There was a praying cross and well in Chetwode churchyard.  At Grandborough, near Winslow, there was an ancient chapel or cell, formerly belonging to St. Albans’ Abbey.  It stood close to the brook, called in some old documents “La Burne,” forming the boundary between Grandborough and Winslow.  It rises in a ridge of hills in the centre of the county, and flows between Claydon and Padbury into the Great Ouse, near Thornborough.  The chapel occupied a pleasant, secluded spot, near Biggin Manor Farm, a little below the bridge which connects the two parishes just named.  It was demolished in in 1680, by John Deverell, of Swanbourne, who sold the materials of which it was constructed, so that not a vestige of the mansion or chapel now exists, and their site is only indicated by the remains of an old moat and fish pond.  On the exterior of this chapel there was a crucifix in one of the large upright beams.  The figure had disappeared long before the building was destroyed, but the large hollow in the beam remained.  The processions always halted before this cross on Rogation Monday after beating the bounds of the parish, but what circumstances led to this particular custom I have not been able to discover, unless it was on account of the manor belonging to St. Albans, to which this cell was an affiliated establishment.  There is a still more remarkable instance of the use of the sacred emblem in the same parish.  At the northern extremity of the village there is an ancient house belonging to Mill Hook Farm, and in one of the gable ends of the building there is a rude representation of the crucifixion carved in stone, with a figure on each side of the cross, probably intended for the Blessed Virgin and St. John.  Nothing has apparently been discovered with regard to its origin, or how it came to be in the position it now occupies, and the only conjecture respecting it, which possesses any degree of probability, is that it must have been in some way connected with the afore-mentioned cell at Biggin End.

Copyright 8 December, 2022