HANSLAPE, in the hundred and deanery of Newport, lies about five miles north of Stony-Stratford, on the borders of Northamptonshire: it was formerly a market-town. The market, which was on Thursdays, has been long discontinued: it was granted in 1293 to William Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, who at the same time had a grant of a fair at this place, at the festival of St. James, to continue for fifteen days. This fair also has been disused, but there is one on Holy Thursday. The Hanslapes and their representatives the Mauduits, who inherited this manor by a female heir, were of baronial rank, and had the seat of their barony at Castlethorp, formerly a hamlet of this parish. Robert Lord Mauduit being in rebellion against King John, garrisoned this castle, which was taken and demolished by Foulkes de Brent, on the 18th of December 1215. Lord Mauduit returning to his allegiance in the suceeding reign, repossessed this manor, which he had forfeited, and in 1222 made a park at Hanslape, and had a grant of does to stock it out of the king's forest of Salcey. On the death of William Mauduit, Earl of Warwick, his title and estates devolved to William Beauchamp, who had married his sister and heir: in 1291, he had the king's licence to embattle his manor-house at Hanslape. On the attainder of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, the manor of Hanslape was granted, in 1397, to Thomas Mowbray, who about that time was created Duke of Norfolk, but being himself attained within a few months afterwards, it was granted in tail-male to Edward Duke of York, who lost his life at the battle of Agincourt; dying without issue, this manor reverted to the crown. It was occassionally granted to branches of the royal family, and formed part of Queen Elizabeth's revenue before her accession to the throne. In 1663, it was granted in fee to Sir Thomas Tyrell, one of the justices of the Common Pleas: his son having obtained an act of parliament to vest this manor in trustees for the payment of debts, it was sold about the year 1707 to George Pierrepont, who was created Lord Pierrepont of Hanslape in 1714. Dying without issue, this estate devolved to the Duke of Kingston, and was purchased of the late duke's heirs, by the guardians of the present proprietor, Edward Watts esq. who resides at Hanslape-park.
The manor of Tothall-end, in this parish, belonged anciently to the family of Tothall, and afterwards to the Lanes: it has lately been sold by Sir William Wake bart. who inherited it by female descent from the Lanes, to Mr. Watts, who possesses also by purchase from the Howes, the manors of Stoke and Singleton, which formerly belonged to the Pigot family.
A considerable estate in this parish belonged for several generations to the family of Forster, who had a seat here, which was sold in 1663, by Sir Grey Forster, to Dr. Turner, dean of Canterbury, and afterwards became the residence of William Thursby, the celebrated lawyer, who purchased it of Dr. Francis Turner, bishop of Ely: it is now a farm-house, the property of Mrs. Lowndes of Abingdon-street, Westminster.
The parish church was remarkable for its taper spire, which, together with the lofty tower on which it stood, was above 200 feet from the ground, and afforded a very conspicuous object to a large tract of country, in which spires rarely occur. Hanslape spire, which was destroyed by lightning in the month of June 1804, was built in 1409, by Thomas Knight, the rector; the stone was brought from Ketton, in Rutlandshire: it was octagonal and fluted. The chancel has some remains of Saxon architecture: in Troughton's chapel are some memorials of a family of that name. The rectory, which had been appropriated to Newark college, in Leicester, was given by King Henry VIII. in 1538, together with advowson of the vicarage, to the Corporation of the city of Lincoln. In 1803, an act of parliament passed for inclosing Salcey-Green and Stocking-Green, in this parish, when an allotment of each was given to the impropriators in lieu of tithes. The parish was inclosed by an act of parliament, passed in1778, when an allotment of land was given to the impropriator in lieu of tithes. Hanslape-park and Bosenham-field were not exonerated from tithes by this act.
Lucy Lady Pierrepont founded a school at Hanslape for four children. The benefactions given to this parish by Isabella Barnwell, William Fox, and a person now unknown, consisting of houses and lands, producing a rent of 60 l. per annum, are vested in feoffees, who distribute the amount among the poor on St. Thomas's-day.
Most of the persons in this parish are employed in the manufacture of lace, which is made here of a very fine quality.