FAWLEY, in the hundred of Desborough and deanery of Wycombe, lies on the borders of Oxfordshire, about three miles north of Henley, and about seven miles west of Great-Marlow. The manor was in the Sackvilles from the time of the Norman conquest till about the year 1400, after which it passed by female heirs, to the families of Roke and Alford. From the latter it passed, either by descent or purchase, to Sir James Whitlock, an eminent lawyer, one of the justices of the Common Pleas, and father of the celebrated Sir Bulstrode Whitlock, who filled some of the highest departments in the State, during the protectorate of Cromwell, and is held in much esteem for the accuracy and impartiality of his historical memoirs. Sir James Whitlock died at Fawley in 1632, and lies buried in the parish church, where there is a handsome monument to his memory. In 1642, Fawley Court, then the seat of Sir Bulstrode Whitlock, was occupied by a large party of the king's troops, under the command of Sir John Byron: the soldiers, in spite of their commander's orders to abstain from such outrages, destroyed the furniture, books, title-deeds, and many valuable MSS. Collected by Sir Bulstrode and his father, rendering the house unfit for future residence of its learned owner, who died at his seat in Wiltshire in the year 1675, and was buried at Fawley on the 6th of August: there is no memorial for him in the church. His son sold the manor of Fawley about the year 1680, to Col. William Freeman, who dying in 1708, bequeathed this estate to his nephew, John Cook, who assumed the name of Freeman, and was ancestor of the present proprietor, Strickland Freeman esq. who is also patron of the rectory. The manor-house, called Fawley-Court, which is situated at a distance from the village on the banks of the Thames, was built in 1684, after a design of Sir Christopher Wren. In the gallery are some portraits of the families of Whitlock and Freeman.
An estate in this parish, now the property of Thomas Stonor esq. of Stonor, in Oxfordshire, has been in his family more than three centuries.
The parish church was repaired and fitted up in 1748, at the expence of John Freeman esq. then lord of the manor. The pews, pulpit, altar, and font, were brought from the chapel at Canons, the magnificent seat of James, duke of Chandos, which had been pulled down and sold piece-meal the preceeding year.