HILLESDON, in the hundred and deanery of Buckingham, lies nearly four miles south of the county town. the manor was anciently in the Giffards, Earls of Buckingham, afterwards in the Bolbecs, from whom it passed by marriage to the Veres and Courtneys. After the attainder of the Earl of Devon, in 1461, it was given to Sir Walter Devereux, who being slain at Bosworth-field, it was restored to the Courtneys, but was again forfeited by the attainder of the Marquis of Exeter, in 1539. King Edward VI. granted it to Thomas Denton esq. whose descendant, Edmund Denton, of Hillesdon, was created a baronet in 1699. The title became extinct at his death: the manor of Hillesdon, which continued in a collateral branch of the family, is now the property of Mrs. Coke, relict of the late Wenman Coke esq. and daughter of George Chamberlayne esq. whose father married Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of Alexander Denton esq.
The manor-house, the greater part of which was taken down a few years ago, was, during the civil war in the seventeenth century, made a garrison for the king, being then the seat of Sir Alexander Denton knt. who suffered great losses on account of his attachment to the royal cause. The garrison was surrendered in 1643, the house plundered, and Sir Alexander Denton committed to prison, where he died of a broken heart.
In the parish church are several monuments of the Dentons; that of Catherine, wife of Alexander Denton esq. one of the justices of the Common Pleas, is by Sir Henry Cheere, and is ornamented with busts in white marble, of the judge and his lady. There is also a monument for George Woodward esq. envoy to Poland, who died at Warsaw in 1735, and the tomb of Godfrey Boate, one of the justices of the king's bench, in Ireland, (the subject of Dean Swift's quibbling elegy,) who died in 1722. The church, which was rebuilt in 1493, is a very handsome Gothic structure: in the east window of the north aisle is some very rich stained glass, representing various scenes from the legend of St. Nicholas.
The great tithes, which were given by Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham, to Nutley abbey, are now vested in the dean and chapter of Christ Church, in Oxford, who are patrons of the donative.