History and description of Winslow from: James Joseph Sheahan, History and Topography of Buckinghamshire (London, 1862), pp.792-7

Facsimiles of the book: pp.792-3, pp.794-5, pp.796-7

WINSLOW is a parish, small market town, and the head of a poor-law­ union. Its area (including Shipton) is 1,920 acres; and its population at present (1861) is 1,890. The soil in the south-eastern part of the parish, is a clayey loam; in the more northern part, it is sandy, with veins of gravel and limestone. The south part of the parish is partly bounded by a brook, which, being joined by' smaller streams, bends its course between Winslow and Grandborough; and running towards the west, and becoming the boundary of the Claydons, it ultimately joins the Ouse. The rateable value of the town and parish is £6,028.

The Town stands on the brow of part of a ridge of hills sufficiently high to render the buildings conspicuous at a great distance towards the south-east and south-west – which hills form a belt across the whole county, from Middleton Keynes, on the verge of Bedfordshire, to the borders of Oxfordshire. Winslow is distant from Aylesbury (on the road from that town to Buckingham) 10 miles. N.N.W., 6¾  miles S.E. from Buckingham, and 12 W.N. W. from Leighton Buzzard, Co. Beds. It lies between the 50th and 51st milestone from London. The Winslow Station, on the Buckinghamshire branch (between the Bletchley-Junction and Oxford) on the London and North-Western Railway, is about three­-quarters of a mile from the centre of the town. The Market Place, and three streets, chiefly form the town. The former is an irregularly-built square in the middle of the town, in which formerly stood an old timber and plaster Market-house. The town was first lighted with gas in February, 1843. The Gas Company consists of twenty-three shareholders who hold 141 shares of £10 each. The gasworks are in High Street, and were erected in 1842. The streets are roughly paved. Water is amply supplied from wells.

The weekly Market, for corn, pigs, &c., is held in the Market Place every Wednesday. Formerly Thursday was the market-day, but since the month of August, 1858, it has been held on Wednesdays. The markets commence at three o'clock. The market, and a fair on the feast of St. Lawrence, were granted by a charter of King Henry Ill. to the Abbot and Convent of St. Abans, the then Lords of the Manor. There are Cattle Markets on the first and second Wednesdays in every month. These are held in High Street and Sheep Street, commencing at ten o'clock, and the sales are effected by auction, Mr. James King, and Messrs. Dudley and Son, being the auctioneers. Fairs for cattle, &c., are held on February 18th, March 20th, the third Wednesday in May ("Holy Thursday Fair"), August 21st, September 22nd, November 26th, and the second Wednesday in December. Statute Fairs for hiring servants take place on the Wednesday before the 11th of October, and the two following Wednesdays. Petty Sessions are held every alternate Wednesday, at the Bell Inn. In the Market Place is a branch of the Bucks and Oxon Union Bank, which is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Fair-days. The poorer inhabitants of the town and parish are chiefly agriculturists and lace makers.

The land in the vicinity of the town is very fertile, and in a high state of cultivation. The white poppy was so successfully grown here, on four acres of land, in 1821, by the late Mr. John Cowley, as to produce 60 lbs. of opium; and in the following year 143 lbs. was produced from eleven acres – for which, on both occasions, the prize of thirty guineas was awarded to Mr. Cowley, by the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers, and Commerce.
The Mercian Kings had a Palace at Winslow. King Offa is especially mentioned as holding his Court here. At Winslow, that monarch is said to have planned the foundation of the monastery which was dedicated to the honour of the great British proto-martyr, St. Alban.

When the Domesday Survey was made Wineslai formed part of the demesnes of St. Alban's Abbey; and the manor, (together with its mem­bers, Little Horwood and Grandborough) continued in the possession of the Abbot and Convent till the general dissolution of religious houses in the time of King Henry VIII., when it came to the Crown. It remained amongst the royal possessions until 1598, when Queen Elizabeth, in con­sideration of £2,329 7s 1d paid into the Exchequer by Sir John Salden, Knt., of Salden, granted it to him in fee. In 1619, Sir John's son and his grandson sold the estate to George Villiers, Marquis (afterwards Duke) of Buckingham. It was subsequently purchased by Secretary Lowndes (See Grandborough), and from him, it came to William Selby Lowndes, Esq., of Whaddon Hall, the present Lord of the Manor (See Whaddon).

The other principal landowners in Winslow are Edward William Selby Lowndes, Esq., Mr. S. B. Dudley, and Mr. Henry Monk.

The Manor House,formerly the seat of the Lowndes family, stands at the entrance to the town from Aylesbury. It is a stately and substantial edifice of brick, with a flight of several steps to the door, over which is the date of its erection, 1700, and the name of William Lowndes, Esq., (Secretary Lowndes) for whom it was built, from designs by Inigo Jones. The apartments are numerous, lofty, and spacious, and the front com­mands an extensive view towards the south. The house is now occupied as a school.

Winslow House, a neat modern mansion, about half a mile from the town, is the seat of E. W. S. Lowndes, Esq.
The mansions in the neighbourhood of Winslow are Addington Manor, the seat of J. G. Hubbard, Esq., M.P. ; Claydon House, of Sir Harry Verney, Bart., M.P. ; Whaddon Hall, of W. S. Lowndes, Esq. ; the Rectory, Little Horwood, the seat of Philip Dauncey, Esq. ; Swanbourne House, of Sir Thomas F. Fremantle, Bart. ; and Oving House, the seat of George H. Brettle, Esq.

The scattered hamlet of Shipton is very pleasantly situated on the Aylesbury road, about half-a-mile east from Winslow.

The Living is a Discharged Vicarage, rated in the King's Books at £11 5s. 10d., and now worth £240 per annum nett. Patron, the Lord Chancellor; Vicar, Rev. W. W. McCreight. The Church and Vicarage, with its members ecclesiastical, Little Horwood, Grandborough, and Aston Abbots belonged to St. Alban's Abbey; and some time after the dissolution of that house, the church was made part of the See of London. On the patronage becoming again vested in the Crown, the impropriation was given to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral, whilst the right of presentation to the Vicarage was reserved to the Crown. Having become a custom for the Lord Chancellor to present to livings in the gift of the monarch, under a certain value, Winslow was included in that class. The Vicarage has been augmented twice with Queen Anne's Bounty, and much improved by the inclosure.

The Abbey of St. Alban's had a Cell, or perhaps only a Grange near Winslow, afterwards called Big-end Farm. At that place was a Chapel, which, according to Dr. Browne Willis, John Deverell, of Swanbourne, pulled down, after the Restoration of King Charles II, and sold the materials of which the building was composed. In 1586, Queen Elizabeth demised to John Fortescue, Esq., for twenty-one years, the office of Bailiff and Clerk of the Market at Winslow, and all waifs and strays in right of the Manor of Bigging, near Winslow, and all stallage, customs, rights, jurisdictions, &c., of the Forester in the woods of Little Horwood (See Grandborough.)

The Church (St. Lawrence) is a spacious and venerable structure, chiefly in the Perpendicular style, with some Decorated windows. The component parts of the edifice are a west tower, a nave with aisles extending to the extremity of the western face of the tower, a chancel, and a handsome south porch. The tower and porch are embattled, and. the walls of the other parts of the church finish with coped parapets. The porch is ornamented with crocketed pinnacles, and above the door­way is a niche. The tower, which is 64 feet high, contains a peal of six bells, (recast out of five, in 1668), a clock, and chimes; and in its west front is a doorway, now used as the principal entrance to the church­ – the porch being fitted up for the use of the boys attending the Sunday School. The nave and aisles are divided by four pointed arches on each side, supported by octagon pillars; the plain wood roof of the nave is unceiled ; the clerestory is lighted by three windows on each side, the two centre ones being small and circular, the others square-headed, and of three lights. There are eight windows in the aisles, most of which are square-headed and of three lights each. The pews are of deal and high­backed, and galleries extend along the sides and west end. The fine east window of the chancel contains five cinquefoiled lights with a number of smaller compartments in the head; but the lower part of the window by the upper portion of the oak altar screen or reredos is hidden. In the south wall of the chancel are two pointed windows of unequal size, and there is one window in the north wall. The pulpit and reading-desk are of carved oak. The ceiling of the chancel is partly of wood and partly of plaster. The chancel is disfigured with ugly high-backed pews. There is a small door on the south side of the chancel, formerly called the "priests' door." The church was repaired and the seats re-arranged in 1839, by which means 155 additional sittings were obtained. Lipscomb gives a plate (a general view) of the church.

Lipscomb says, "Mr. Secretary Lowndes paved the chancel throughout, which is 35 feet long and 20 broad, with Bicester stones, in 1700, and new leaded it ; he also sunk a vault, at the east end, for his family, and raised the altar two steps, encompassing it with a rail, and paved it within the rails with Danish marble. His eldest son, Robert, on whom he settled this estate, afterwards set up, behind the communion-table, the Creed and Lord's Prayer curiously wrought in gold letters upon handsome black wainscot. He new glazed the windows throughout. In the old windows remained only one pane that was painted, which is still preserved and fixed in the east window under his arms, which are in the middle, with the date, 1700."

There are several members of the Lowndes family buried in the above mentioned vault, and there are achievements, and other memorials, of the family in the chancel.

In the floor of the chancel on a diamond-shaped stone, inserted in a large flag is this inscription :-" Here lyeth the bodye of Edward Baswell, gent., who departed this life Augnst ye 30th,. 1689." There is a local tradition that this Mr. Baswell was the King of the Gipsies. In the floor, but partly covered by the steps leading to the communion-table, is a brass plate· bearing an inscription, a portion of which (including part of the name) is hidden from view.

In the floor of the south aisle is a sepulchral brass containing the effigies of a man and a woman in gowns, with two male children and five females beneath. The inscription states that beneath lie buried Thomas Figge, gent., and Jane, his wife. The date is 1578. There is a small tablet affixed to a pier belonging to the same family. According to the Parish Register, there are several of the Figge or "Ffige" family buried in this church or church-yard. There are likewise memorials of the Tookey, Markham, Bigg, &c., families in the church.
The Vicarage House is ancient and stands a short distance westward from the church.

The Baptist Chapel, situated at the top of Horn Street, was erected in 1625, and is a small plain brick building, covered with tiles. The Independent Chapel, a neat building of brick and slate, stands in the same street, and was built in 1829. The National School has been incorporated with the Free School, endowed with nearly £50 a-year, and mentioned below. Twenty boys are taught free. The school building, which is in High Street, is of brick and plain. About 30 boys attend daily. The Girls' School and the Infant School are close to the churchyard. About 120 is the average number attending them. The Union Workhouse stands near the Buckingham road, and is a large building of red brick, erected in 1835, from designs by Mr. G. G. Scott, architect. The accommodation is for 250 inmates, and the cost of the building was about £5,250. The Winslow Poor Law Union comprehends seventeen parishes or places, with a total area of 53 square miles.

Charities.- By his will in 1772, Joseph Rogers, of Winslow, bequeathed the sum of £600 upon trust, to be laid out in the purchase of land, the yearly rents and profits thereof to be expended in educating and instructing such a number of poor people's children belonging to the parish of Winslow, as his trustees would find the same would answer. The property of the charity now consists of a house with out-buildings, and an orchard, and certain closes of pasture land, containing in the whole 23A. 1R. 30p. in the parishes of Great and Little Kimble. As stated above, this charity has been engrafted on the National School charity. Sarah Egerton (daughter of Thomas Figge, gentleman), who died at Winslow in 1722, left-according to the inscription on a marble tablet to her memory in the church-the annual sum of 20s. to the poor parishioners. This charity now appears to consist of a plot of arable land, containing lA. 1R. 30P. allotted at the inclosure in lieu of a piece of ancient inclosure in Shipton. It appears from the Report of the Charity Commissioners, in 1786, that an unknown donor gave land to the poor of Winslow, producing then £9 9s. per annum. It is supposed that this land is the 7A. 3R. 24P. which is now called the Poor's Allotment. The Charity Commissioners of more recent date state in their Report, that Joan Forde, by her will, dated in 1644, bequeathed £100 to purchase land for the use of the poor; and as this testatrix does not appear to be known at Winslow as the donor of lands to the parish, they think it probable that the property in respect of which the allotment of 7A. 3R. 24P. was made on the inclosure, was purchased originally with £100 given by her.

William Packer, Esq., of London, gave, in the year 1814, the sum of £100 three per cents., the interest thereof to be distributed to the poor of this parish in bread annually on the Sunday next after the 5th of July. Edmund Cox, by will in 1815, bequeathed £300, the interest and produce thereof to be applied in the purchase of good wheaten bread, to be given twice in every year, among all the necessitous poor people for the time being, belonging to and residing in the parish of Winslow. After deducting the legacy duty this sum was invested in the funds.

In April 1843, Miss Bridget Yeates, of Winslow, gave a house adjoining the churchyard for the use of the Infant School in this town; and in December, 1846, her Executors purchased the undermentioned stock in the three-per-cent. reduced Bank Annuities – the dividends whereof to be annually applied as follows:- £166 13s. 4d. in aid of.the Infant School; a like sum to buy coals and wood for the poor; a similar sum in aid of the Sunday School; and £50 to buy bibles, testaments, and prayer­books for the said Sunday School. Ten bibles are yearly distributed among the children of the parish, pursuant to the will of the late Philip, Lord Wharton.

Copyright 8 August, 2015