"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.