WENDOVER, in the hundred of Aylesbury, is a market town, 35 miles from London, on the road to Aylesbury and Buckingham. It gives name to the deanery in which it is situated. The earliest charter for a market to be found on record, is in 1403. A subsequent charter of the year 1464, confirms a market on Thursdays, and two fairs [Footnote: At the festival of St. Matthew, and St. Philip and St. James.] to the men of Wendover. The market which is now on Tuesdays, is very inconsiderable. John Molins had a grant of a fair on the festival of St. Barnabas in 1349. The present fairs are May 13 and October 2.
The town of Wendover sent members to parliament as early as the year 1300. This privilege, after a discontinuance of above 300 years, was restored in 1623, by the exertions of Mr. Hakeville, a barrister of Lincoln's Inn. The right of election is vested in all the house-keepers residing within the limits of the borough, and not receiving alms. The celebrated John Hampden, the patriot, represented the borough of Wendover in five parliaments.
The manor was given by King Henry II. to Faramus de Boulogne, and from him descended by a female heir to the family of Fiennes. It having been forfeited by an attainder, King Edward III. gave it to Sir John Molins, in 1341. Having reverted to the crown in the same reign, it was given to Alice Perrers, the king's favorite, on whose disgrace at the commencement of the ensuing reign, it was seized by King Richard II. who granted it in 1380 to his half brother, Thomas Holland, Earl of Kent, and in 1388, to Edward Duke of York, who dying without male issue, it reverted to the crown, and was from time to time granted for life to the queen or some of the branches of the royal family, till the year 1564, when it was granted in fee to Sir Francis Knollys, and Catherine his wife. About the year 1660, it was purchased by the Hampden family, in whom the fee is still vested, subject to an interest in it, purchased by Lord Carrington, during the life of the present Lord Hampden.
The manor of Martyns, in Wendover, which had belonged to the Dormers, was purchased of that family, in 1670, by Thomas Lewes esq. alderman of London, and passed with West-Wycombe to the Dashwoods. It is now the property of Matthew Raper esq. The manor of Wyvelsgate, in Wendover, has been many years in the family of Colet or Collett. Sir Henry Colet, lord mayor of London, and father of Dean Colet, the founder of St. Paul's school, was of this family, and born in the parish of Wendover. The family of Colet has lately become extinct in the male line; and on the death of the last Mr. Collett, the estate devolved to his nephew, Mr. Richard Stratfold, who has taken the name of Collett in addition to his own. The mercers company have the manor of Hale in this parish, being part of the estate left by Dr. John Colet, dean of St. Paul's, to that company for charitable uses.
The parish church, which stands a quarter of a mile from the town, contains no monuments worthy of notice. There are the remains of a chapel in the town, which was dedicated to St. John. It has been long disused. The vicarage is in the gift of the crown. In 1771, an act of parliament passed for making exchanges in this parish, and settling a corn-rent on the vicar in lieu of tithes. Another act for inclosure of the whole parish excepting Bottendown-hill, passed in 1794, when allotments of land were made to Lord Hampden, Matthew Raper, and others as impropriators, and to the vicar, for the glebe and vicarial tithes. The great tithes were formerly appropriated to the monastery of St. Mary Overie, in Southwark.
Roger de Wendover, the historian, who was historiographer to King Henry III. is said to have been a native of this place.