GREAT-HAMPDEN, in the hundred of Aylesbury and deanery of Wendover, lies about five miles to the south-west of Wendover. The manor had been for many generations in the ancient family of Hampdens, which became extinct in the male line by the death of John Hampden esq. in 1754. This Mr. Hampden, who is called in his epitaph the twenty-fourth lord of the manor in lineal descent, bequeathed it to his cousin, the Hon. Robert Trevor, who took the name of Hampden. It is now the property and occasional residence of his son, Lord Viscount Hampden, whose chief seat is at Glynde, in Sussex. There is a tradition that King Edward III. and the Black Prince once honoured Hampden with a visit, and that whilst the prince and his host were excercising themselves in feats of chivalry, a quarrel arose, in which the prince received a blow on his face, which occasioned him and his royal father to quit the place in great wrath, and seize on some valuable manors belonging to their host, as a punishment for his rashness. This story gave rise to the following rhimes :
'Tring, Wing, and Ivinghoe,
Hampden did foregoe,
For striking of a blow,
And glad he did escape so.'
This tradition, like many others of a like nature, will not bear the test of examination; for it appears, by record. That neither the manors of Tring, Wing, or Ivinghoe, ever were in the Hampden family. Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Hampden, during one of her progresses, by Griffith Hampden esq. who, for her more commodious access to the house, is said to have cut an avenue through his wood, still called the Queen's gap.
In Hampden-house are several family portraits, some of which are good pictures; none of them are inscribed with names, nor have we been able (by application to the present noble owner) to procure any information concerning them. There is a portrait also of the aged Marquis of Winchester in his robes, and a whole length picture of Oliver Cromwell, with a boy tying his sash. In the parish church are several memorials of the Hampden family, the oldest date is 1493. The monument of John Hampden esq. the last heir male of the family, is ornamented with a medallion, on which is a tree, hung with shields, containing the arms of the Hampdens and their alliances; at the foot of the tree is a representation in basso relievo, of the battle of Chalgrave field, in which John Hampden, the celebrated patriot, received his death's wound: he died about three weeks after the battle,on 24th of June 1643, and was buried the following day with his ancestors in Hampden church.
Lord Hampden is patron of the rectory, which in 1799 was consolidated with Great Kimble.