Great Missenden

"This parish is bounded, on the North, by Wendover and Lee; on the East, by Chesham; on the South, by Amersham and Little Missenden; and on the West, by Hitchendon, Great Hampden, and Little Hampden. It contains about four thousand acres, of which three hundred are computed to be wood land, chiefly beech; four hundred meadow, two thousand two hundred arable, and, at the least, one thousand acres open heath and waste." [The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, by George Lipscomb, 1847]


The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Dictionary of English Place-Names", A.D. Mills, Oxford University Press, 1997, ISBN 0 19 28131 3
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham", Lipscomb G., 1847
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Aylesbury Hundred - part three, Risborough, Missendens and their environs, Volume 9", Peter Quick.



War Memorials

War memorials in Great Missenden have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: Aylesbury Hundred - part three, Risborough, Missendens and their environs, Volume 9", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.



In 1642 there were 150 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £10.10.9 of which sum Mr Rob. Lee contributed £1.10.0

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 328 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Great Missenden.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 1411 inhabitants in 303 families living in 259 houses recorded in Great Missenden.

Census Year Population of Great Missenden
1801* 1411
1811* 1576
1821* 1735
1831* 1827
1841 2225
1851 2097
1861 2250
1871 2278
1881 2170
1891 2385
1901 2166

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.


Church History

Details of the stained glass in the church can be found on the following web sites (the site includes many photos):


Church Records

The original copies of the parish registers for St Peter & St Paul, Great Missenden have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1694 - 1949
Marriages 1694 - 1966
Burials 1678 - 1874

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Society Library*
Dates covered
1575 - 1683
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1575 - 1682
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
1575 - 1683
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Great Missenden showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Great Missenden,
St Peter & St Paul
300 - Morning General Congregation
120 - Morning Sunday Scholars
420 - Morning Total

400 - Afternoon General Congregation
120 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
520 - Afternoon Total

Great Missenden, Baptist 130 - Morning General Congregation

74 - Afternoon General Congregation
60 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars

150 - Evening General Congregation

Great Missenden, Lee Common
Primitive Methodist
73 - Morning General Congregation

130 - Afternoon General Congregation

104 - Evening General Congregation

Great Missenden, Primitive
Methodist Meeting House
40 - Morning General Congregation
20 - Morning Sunday Scholars
60 - Morning Total

100 - Afternoon General Congregation
25 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
125 - Afternoon Total

130 - Evening General Congregation
130 - Evening Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Great Missenden which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Great Missenden has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



Great Missenden was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

GREAT-MISSENDEN, in the hundred of Aylesbury and deanery of Wendover, lies about half-way between Wendover and Amersham, on the road to London. At this place was an abbey of black canons, the history of the foundation of which is involved in some uncertainty. An inquisition taken on oath, in the year 1331, states that it was founded in 1293, by Sir William de Missenden; although it might be supposed that there could be a little doubt of the authority of so solemn a record of a fact, then so recent,, yet there is good reason for supposing that the abbey existed at an earlier period. An old register of the convent dates its foundation in 1133. An ancient court-book of the manor says that it was founded by the Doyleys, and augmented by the Missendens, pursuant to a vow, made on escaping from shipwreck. It is probable therefore that the benefactions of Sir William de Missenden, in 1293, were of such importance, and the former income of the convent so small, that it was looked upon as a second foundation, and that he was even in his own time called and deemed the founder, as bishop Rotheram is even now called the second founder of Lincoln College, in Oxford. Sir William de Missenden, among other benefactions, gave the manor of this place to the abbey, and his family were its patrons. The patronage was afterwards in the Brudenells. The revenues of Missenden abbey were estimated, in 1534, at 261 l. 14s. 6 1/4d. clear yearly value. It appears that John Otewell, the last abbot, upon quitting the monastic life, renounced the state of celibacy, for by his last will, bearing date 1558, he makes his wife margaret Otewell, alias Westwick, sole executrix, and bequeaths legacies to his son Samuel, and his daughter Lettice. The abbot had a pension of 50 l. per annum assigned him, at the dissolution of the monastery; Thomas Barnard, one of the monks, had the vicarage of Missenden given him in lieu of a pension; John Slythurst had a pension of 8 l. per annum, on condition of undertaking to officiate at the chapel of the Lee. The site of Missenden abbey, with the manor of Missenden and other lands, were granted on lease to Richard Greneway, and afterwards to Richard Hampden esq. clerk of the king's kitchen. In 1553, the fee was granted to John Duke of Northumberland, and in 1573, (having reverted to the crown by the duke's attainder) to Robert Earl of Leicester. Not long afterwards, this estate was purchased by Sir William Fleetwood, recorder of London, an antiquary and historian, who made Missenden abbey his residence. It continued in his male descendants till the beginning of the last century, after which, it passed by female heirs to the families of Ansell and Goostrey. After the death of the late Thomas Goostrey esq. it was purchased under a decree of chancery, in the year 1787, by the present proprietor, J. Oldham Oldham esq. by whom the house has been modernized, and nearly rebuilt. Browne Willis mentions some arches belonging to the conventual buildings, which appeared to have been part of the Chapter-house. These arches, or a part of them, have been used in forming a recess at each end of a green-house. They have groined roofs, with rich ornaments in the center. The pillars have scalloped capitals.

Peterley-House, in this parish, an ancient seat of the Dormer family, is still the property of Lord Dormer, but has not been inhabited by the family for many years. It is now occupied as an academy. Lord Dormer gives a deputation for his lands in Peterley and Stone. Mr. Oldham also gives a deputation for the manor of Peterley and Stone, which belonged to Missenden abbey, and for the manors of Netherbury and Overbury, which were also part of their possessions. Netherbury was granted to the abbey in 1383.

The parish church of Missenden is a handsome Gothic building. On the north side of the chancel, about seven feet from the ground, is a row of pointed arches, with small pillars, detached from the wall. There are several monuments of the family of Boys, one of which exhibits a bust of the deceased, under a circular arch, composed of books. Among some ancient brass plates, which in 1801 had been removed, during the repairs of the chancel, was, one of Thomas Clement, Woolman, and Butcher, 1445. Mr. Oldham is impropriator of the great tithes, which belonged to Missenden abbey, and patron of the vicarage.

John Randal, an eminent divine in the reign of James I. was a native of this place.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP893014 (Lat/Lon: 51.704245, -0.70912), Great Missenden which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

The name Missenden is thought to possibly derive from the old english words mysse, denu, meaning 'valley where water-plants or marsh-plants grow'. The name Great being used as a distinguishing affix.