EDLESBOROUGH, in the hundred of Cotslow and deanery of Muresley, lies on the borders of Bedfordshire, under the Chiltern hills, near the ancient Ickeneld-Street; about four miles and a half south-west of Dunstaple. The manor belonged in the reign of Henry III. to the Blounts, ancestors of the Lords Montjoy: in the fourteenth century it was in the family of Bard. From the Dormers, who were possessed of it as early as the year 1616, it passed by a female heir to the Stanhopes, and is now the property of the Earl of Chesterfield, who inherits also from the Dormers the manor of Dagnall and Hudnall, both in this parish. Hudnall had belonged to the neighbouring monastery of Asheridge; Dagnall had been in the Brocas family. Georege Whitfield esq. gives a deputation for the manor of Pinks, in Dagnall.
The manor of Horton, in this parish was in the Brocas family, from the year 1400 to 1663, about which time it was sold to the Theeds: in 1716 it was purchased by the family of Hall, from whom it passed to the present proprietor, Christopher Johnson esq. The manor of Botelers passed, about the year 1350, by a female heir from the family whose name it bears, to the Ruffords; in 1610 it was in the Langford family, who were succeeded by the Kidgells and Brewsters: it is now the property of Mrs. Catherine Moyer, spinster, by inheritance from the family last mentioned. The manor of Bates, in Edlesborough, which had been long attached to that of the neighbouring parish of Eaton-Bray in Bedfordshire, [Footnote: Bates has been attached to the manor of Eaton-Bray, since the time of Sir Reginald Bray, and probably at a much earlier period.] is the property of William Beckford esq. of Fonthill.
The manor of Cawdwells, in this parish, was granted to Sir William Paget, in 1544. It was afterwards successively in the families of Skipwith, Sankye, Pigott, and Bruges. In 1701 it was sold, together with the manors of Fitz-Hugh [Footnote: The manor of Fitz-Hugh was so called from a family of that name, who possessed it in the fourteenth century] and Bowells, which had been in the same families, to Mr. William Chew, of Dunstaple, who bequeathed them to trustees, for the support of a free-school in that town, and other charitable purposes. Another manor in Edlesborough was part of the estate of Thomas Chaucer esq. son of the poet, who married the heiress of the Burghersts. Alice Chaucer brought it in marriage to William De la Pole, Duke of Suffolk; his son, John Duke of Suffolk, gave it to the dean and chapter of Windsor, with the king's licence, in 1480.
The parish church of Edlesborough, a handsome Gothic structure, with a small spire, forms a conspicuous object, being placed on an insulated hill, which has the appearance of having been an ancient fortress. In the chancel are some brasses of a large size, among which is that of Sir John Swynshide, rector of Edlesborough, who died in 1390: in the north chancel or Rufford's aisle, are some tombs of the family of Rufford. The Earl of Bridgewater is patron of the vicarage, and impropriator of the great tithes, which belonged formerly to the monks of the Charter-house. The parish register records the burial of Michael Fenn, at the great age of 124, April 21, 1675.
Northall, Dagnall, Horton, and Hudnall, are hamlets of this parish: at Dagnall was a chantry chapel, dedicated to All Saints. Part of Ringshall is also in the parish of Edlesborough, and two houses in St. Margaret's, a hamlet of Ivinghoe.