WHADDON, in the hundred of Cotslow and deanery of Muresley, lies about four miles south of Stony-Stratford, and about five miles nearly north of Winslow. The manor of Whaddon, with the office of Keeper of the Chace, was anciently in the Giffards. It was seized by the crown in the reign of King John, and granted to the Earl of Arundel. By a subsequent grant, in 1245, it was given to the Fitz-jeffreys, from whom it descended by heirs female to Lionel Duke of Clarence, to the Mortimers, and the Plantagenets, by which means it became again vested in the crown. The manor of Whaddon was a part of Jane Seymour's dower. It was afterwards given to the Pigots, and by them sold to the noble family of Grey of Wilton. Whaddon was the seat of the brave Arthur Lord Grey, who, in 1568, was honoured with a visit by Queen Elizabeth, then on her Buckinghamshire progress. Edmund Spenser, the poet, who was his secretary, is said to have been frequently resident with him at this place. On the attainder of William Lord Grey, for being concerned with Sir Walter Ralegh in some treasonable practices, this manor was given to Sir George Villiers, afterwards Duke of Buckingham, who occasionally resided at Whaddon-hall, from whence he took the title of Baron. In 1698, the manor and chace were purchased of the representatives of the second duke, by James Selby esq. and Dr. Willis the celebrated physician. The manor, on a partition, became the property of Dr. Willis, and was inherited by his grandson, Browne Willis the antiquary, who resided many years at Whaddon-hall, which was purchased, with the manor, of his representatives, by the late Mr. Selby, who, on the supposiition that no heir at law could be found to inherit his estates, which proved to be the case, bequeathed the manor and other property to William Lowndes esq. of Winslow, who has taken the name of Selby. Whaddon-hall is now the residence of his eldest son, William Lowndes esq. In the parish church are monuments of Thomas Pigot serjeant at law, who died in 1519: and of Arthur Lord Grey, of Wilton, who died in 1593. The great tithes of this parish, which belonged formerly to the priory of Newenton-Longueville, were given by William of Wickham to New College in Oxford, togther with the advowson of the vicarage.
Dr. Cox, Bishop of Ely, who was tutor to King Edward VI. and one of the composers of the liturgy, was a native of Whaddon.
The late Mr. Coare of Newgate-street, founded a charity school at Whaddon for 20 children, and endowed it with 10 l. per annum. He built an alms house also, but did not live to complete his intention of endowing it.
Ralph Martell, in the reign of King Henry III. founded a small priory of monks of the Bendictine order at Snelshall, now called Snelsoe green, in this parish. The prior had a grant of a weekly market on Thursdays at Snelshall, in 1227. The revenues of the priory were estimated at the time of its suppression at only 18 l. 1s. 11d. clear yearly value. The site was granted at three several times to Francis Pigot, Sir Thomas Palmer, and Edmund Ashfield. From the latter it passed by a female heir to the Fortescues, who in 1619 sold it to the Duke of Buckingham. It was included in the purchase made by Selby and Willis in 1698, and has since passed with the manor of Whaddon. There are no remains of the conventual buildings which were in a ruinous state when surveyed by the commissioners, previously to its suppression, in the reign of King Henry VIII.