[Transcribed information from A Topographical Dictionary of England - Samuel Lewis - 1831]
(unless otherwise stated)
" MELCHBOURNE, a parish in the hundred of STODDEN, county of BEDFORD, 5¼ miles (east-south-east) from Higham-Ferrers, containing 244 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Bedford, and diocese of Lincoln, rated in the king's books at £5, and in the patronage of Lord St. John. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, contains several ancient monuments and brasses. Here was a preceptor of Knights Hospitallers, the revenue of which was valued at £241.9.10.; after the dissolution it was granted by Queen Elizabeth to the first Earl of Bedford : to this preceptory a market and a fair were granted, in 1264. Leland, the historian and antiquary, was a native of this place."