IVINGHOE, in the hundred of Cotslow and deanery of Muresley, is a small market-town, 33 miles from London by way of King's Langley, and 32 by way of Watford: it lies near the ancient Ikeneld-Street. A market at this town, on Thursdays, was granted to the bishop of Winchester, in 1318: the present market-day is Saturday, but the market is so small that it may be almost said to be discontinued. A fair of St. Margaret's-day was granted in 1227, another on the assumption of the Virgin Mary, by the charter of 1318; the present fairs are May 6th, and October 17th. The manor of Ivinghoe was given by Edward the Confessor to the see of Winchester; bishop Poynet surrendered it to the crown. It was restored to bishop White, but reassumed by Queen Elizabeth, who granted it, together with the profits of the market and fairs, to Sir John Mason: having again reverted to the crown, it was given to Lord Keeper Egerton, and is now the property of his descendant, the Earl of Bridgwater.
Berrysted-House, in this parish, is said to have been the seat of Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester, brother of King Stephen; it is now a farm-house, belonging to the Earl of Bridgewater.
In the parish church, which is a handsome Gothic building, are some memorials to the family of Duncombe, who had a seat in this parish, called Barley-end House, now the property and residence of their representative, Mrs. Lucy. On the north side of the chancel is an ancient altar-tomb, with an effigies of the deceased, said to have been that of a brother of King Stephen, meaning perhaps Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester: Browne Willis supposes it to be the tomb of Peter Chaceport.
The great tithes were appropriated to the monastery of Asheridge, in 1413: they are now the property of the Earl of Bridgewater, who is patron of the vicarage.
The principal hamlets in this parish are Aston, where was formerly a chapel dedicated to St. James, Wardhurst, Ringshall, Clippersdown and St. Margaret's. At the latter, which is a populous hamlet, containing about three-score houses, and is distant about five miles from the town of Ivinghoe, are the remains of the monastery of Muresley, founded by henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester, in the reign of Henry I. for nuns of the Benedictine order, and dedicated to St. Margaret. Its revenues were valued in the reign of Henry VIII. 14 l. 3s. 1d. The site, with the manor, or reputed manor, of Muresley, was granted, almost immediately after the dissolution, to Sir John Dance: it has been lately sold by Mr. George Catherall, in whose family it has been during several generations, to Mr. Mercer, of Long-acre.
The building was, in 1802, almost entire: the parlour and hall, which are of Toternhoe stone, appear to be of the age of Henry VII.