GREAT LINFORD, in the hundred and deanery of Newport, lies nearly three miles to the south-west of Newport Pagnell. In the reign of King John, the manor belonged to Geoffrey de Gibwen, some time one of his majesty's justices-itinerant. It was afterwards in the Pipards, from whom it passed to the Botelers. Upon the attainder of James Boteler, Earl of Wiltshire, King Edward IV. granted this manor to Richard Middleton esq. and his heirs male. It soon reverted to the crown, and was granted in 1467, to the Princess Elizabeth, who became the queen of Henry VII. It seems to have been afterwards restored to the St. Legers, as representatives, in the female line, of the Botelers, for it appears that Sir George St. Leger exchanged it for other lands, with King Henry VIII. Queen Elizabeth granted it to Richard Campion and John Thompson. It was purchased of the Thompsons, about the year 1632, by Sir Robert Napier, whose heirs sold it about 1679, to Sir William Pritchard, alderman of London. By his bequest, if became the property of his relation, [Footnote: It has been said that Sir William Pritchard bequeathed this estate to St. Bartholomew's hospital; but it appears by the will, that the bequest to that hospital was only in the event of a failure of heirs, according to the entail,] Thomas Uthwatt esq. Upon the decease of Mrs. Uthwatt, lady of the manor, in 1800, it devolved to the Rev. Henry Uthwatt Andrewes, who has since taken the name of Uthwatt, which is to be assumed by his issue male, when they shall succeed and come into actual possession of the estates, devised by the will of his godfather and relation, Henry Uthwatt esq. of Great Linford, bearing date 1757.
In the parish church is the monument of Sir William Pritchard above-mentioned, who died in the year 1704. He was president of St. Bartholomew's hospital, where he erected a convenient apartment, at his own expence, for performing the operation of cutting for the stone. He founded an alms-house at Great Linford, for six poor men, who receive from his endowment an allowance of 1s. 6d. each weekly, and a school, with a salary of 10 l. per annum for the master. Mr. Uthwatt is patron of the rectory.
Dr. Richard Sandy, alias Napier, who was presented to this rectory in 1589, was a very remarkable character: he was son of Sir Robert Napier, of Luton Hoo, in Bedfordshire, and having been instructed in physic and astrology, by the celebrated Dr. Simon Forman, commenced the profession of those sciences, in conjunction with the cure of souls: his practice as a physician became very extensive, it being given out that he held conversations with the angel Raphael, by means of which, he prognosticated with certainty, the death or recovery of his patients. This procured him great credit in a superstituous age, and he was resorted to by persons of the first rank and consequence. It appears by a passage in Howell's Familiar Letters, that the Earl of Sunderland (lord president of the north) was under his care for some months, at his house at Linford, in 1629. It was said of this emperic divine, that he was so devout, that his knees grew horny by much praying, and that he died in that posture, at a great age, in the year 1634. His burial is thus entered in the parish register, "April 15, 1634. Buried, Mr. Richard Napier, rector, the most renowned physician both of body and soul." Dr.Napier's papers came into the hands of Mr. Ashmole, and are now in the museum at Oxford.