ISENHAMPSTED or ISELHAMPSTED-CHENEYS, in the hundred and deanery of Burnham, lies on the borders of Hertfordshire, about four miles north-west of Rickmansworth, in that county, and about five miles nearly west of Amersham. It is now generally called Cheneys; its original name is almost lost, having been exchanged for that, which was first given to distinguish it from the neighbouring village of Isenhampsted-Latimers, this place having been for many years the manor and seat of the ancient family of Cheyne. It had long been in the crown, previously to the reign of Edward III. to which monarch Thomas Cheyne, the first of the family who settled in this county, was shield-bearer. Iselhampsted was a royal palace, at which, as may be traced from records, King Edward I. and King Edward III. in the early part of his reign, occasionally resided. From the Cheynes this manor passed to the Sapcotes, pursuant to the will of Agnes Lady Cheyne, in 1494: it is now the property of the Duke of Bedford, whose ancestor, John Lord Russell, afterwards Earl of Bedford, married Anne, relict of Sir John Broughton, of Tuddington, in Bedfordshire, and heiress of Sir Guy Sapcote. For greater security perhaps of the title, John Cheyne, the heir male of its ancient proprietor, conveyed the manor of Iselhampsted-Cheneys to the Earl of Bedford, in 1560. Lord Russell, upon coming into possession of this estate, rebuilt the greater part of the manor-house, and made it his principal seat. "The old house of Cheneys is so translated," says Leland, "by my Lord Russell, that hath this house in right of his wife, that little or nothing of it remaynith ontranslatid, and a great deal of the house is even newly set up and made of bricks and timber." Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Cheneys, by Francis Earl of Bedford, in 1570. A considerable part of the house, which was built by his father, still remains, but it has been deserted by the Russell family, ever since they fixed their principal residence at Woburn. In one of the wings now remaining is a long gallery, in which are some damaged pictures: the windows are stopped up. Cheneys is now occupied as a farm, and is the residence of the duke's principal tenant on this estate.
In the parish church are some memorials of the Cheynes. Two ancient tombs, which are now in the adjoining chapel, are supposed to belong to the same family. In this chapel, which was built by Anne Countess of Bedford, (the heiress of the Sapcotes,) is a monument for herself and her husband, John, the first Earl of Bedford. There are also the monuments of Francis Earl of Bedford, who died in 1585, and his countess; Anne Countess of Warwick, their daughter, and Lady Frances Bourchier, their grandaughter; Francis Earl of Bedford, who died in 1641, and his countess; that of the first Duke of Bedford, a very heavy piece of sculpture, with whole-length figures of the duke and duchess, and a medallion of the unfortunate William Lord Russel, who lost his head on Tower-Hill, and was buried at Cheyneys, August 2, 1683; and that of Wriothesley, Duke of Bedford, and his duchess, put up in 1769, by Wilton, from a design of Sir William Chambers. The last of this noble family here interred was the late duke, for whom as yet there is no monument at this place, nor is there any for his father, the Marquis of Tavistock, or his grandfather, John Duke of Bedford. A tablet has lately been put up in memory of Georgina Elizabeth, wife of Lord John Russel, (now Duke of Bedford,) and daughter of Viscount Torrington, who died in 1801.
It appears by the parish register, that the celebrated couple, Philip Earl of Pembroke and Anne Countess of Dorset (who was grandaughter of the first Francis Earl of Bedford) were married at Cheyneys on the third of June, 1630. The register contains numerous entries of the Russel family, and records the burial of the Hon. Capt. Francis Digby, (son of George Earl of Bristol,) who was slain in the great sea fight with the Dutch, in 1672.- The Duke of Bedford is patron of the rectory.
Anne Countess of Warwick, founded an alms-house at Cheyneys, in 1605, and endowed it with 50 l. per annum, for the support of ten poor persons, six of whom are to be of Cheyneys, two of Northall, and two of Wotton-Under-edge, in Gloucestershire.