CHETWODE, in the hundred and deanery of Buckingham, lies about five miles south-west of the county town, on the borders of Oxfordshire. Sir Ralph de Norwich founded a priory at Chetwode, in the year 1244, for Augustine monks. In 1460 it was dissolved on account of its poverty, and annexed to the abbey of Nutley.
The principal manor is the property of Sir John Chetwode bart. a lineal descendant of Robert de Thain, who held it under the bishop of Baieux, at the time of the Norman survey, since which it has never been alienated by sale. It passed indeed for a time, by the heir female of an elder branch of the Chetwodes, to the baronial family of Woodhull or Wahul; but, after a few generations, reverted by the marriage of an heiress of the Wahuls, to a younger branch of the Chetwodes, from whom the present baronet is descended: the Chetwodes had formerly a seat here, but it has long been deserted, their chief residence being at Oakley in Staffordshire.
The priory manor which belonged to Nutley abbey, after the dissolution of the monastery of Chetwode, was granted in 1541 to the family of Risley, who continued to possess it until the death of Paul Risley esq. Without issue in 1755: it is now in severalties.
The old parish church of St. Martin, which stood a quarter of a mile east of the priory, was pulled down in Queen Elizabeth's time: in this church was a monument of Sir John Chetwode, an ancestor of the present baronet of that name, and his lady. The conventual church, which was made parochial in 1480, still remains: in the chancel, which appears to be coeval with the foundation of the priory, are some memorials of the family of Risley. There was anciently an hermitage at Chetwode, dedicated to St. Stephen and St. Lawrence. which was founded by an ancestor of the Chetwodes.
Edward Lame esq. William Pearson esq. and Mrs. Lynch, have the impropriation of the great tithes. The benefice of Chetwode and the neighbouring parish of Barton-Hartshorne are consolidated.