[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]
"MELCHBOURNE, a parish in the hundred of Stodden, county Bedford, 6 miles S.E. of Higham-Ferrers, its post town, and the same distance south-west from Kimbolton. It is a small village, entirely agricultural. It was formerly a market town under a charter granted in 1264 to the Knights Hospitallers, who had a preceptory here, which Queen Elizabeth gave to the Russells. The soil is chiefly a stiff clay. The impropriation belongs to Lord St. John. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ely, value £120. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, has a tower containing four bells. The interior of the church contains two monuments to the Beauchamp family, also a brass to R. Paveley and wife, bearing date 1377. There is a school at Risley for the education of the children of this parish, which is supported by Lord St. John. Melchbourn Park, the residence of Lord St. John, is situated in a wooded park, in which are game preserves and fishponds. Leland, the historian and antiquary, was a native of this place. Lord St. John is lord of the manor.
The church of St. Mary Magdalene, re-erected (with the exception of part of the tower) in 1779, on the site of an earlier Gothic church, is an edifice in the Classic style, consisting of chancel, nave, north porch and an embattled western tower containing 4 bells, rehung in 1891: the organ was presented by the late Dowager Lady St. John : there are two monuments to Col. the Hon. George St. John, Lavinia (Wolstenholme), his wife and four children, who were all drowned on their passage from Bombay, in 1802; and to Henry Beauchamp, baron St. John of Bletsoe, 1805; and a brass to Robert Paveley, dated 1377, also a brass to the late Lord St. John d. 2 Nov. 1887, and to Ellen Georgiana (Senior), his wife, d. 1890. The pulpit is of fine polished mahogany : there are sittings, for 400 persons., The register dates from the year 1706. [Kelly's Directory - Bedfordshire - 1898]