LAVENDON, in the hundred and deanery of Newport, lies on the borders of Bedfordshire, nearly three miles north-east of Olney; it had formerly a market on Tuesdays, granted in 1248 to Paulinus Peyvre, together with a fair on the festival of the assumption of the Virgin Mary. The market has been long discontinued; a small fair is held annually on the Tuesday before Easter. In this parish was an abbey of Premonstratensian monks, founded in the reign of Henry II. by John de Bidun, a baron, in honour of St. John Baptist. Its revenues were estimated, when it was dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII. at 79 l. 13s. 8d. clear yearly value. The site, together with the abbey manor, was granted in 1544 to Sir Edmund Peckham, who had for some years been lessee under the crown, and afterwards to Sir Roland Heywood. About the year 1676, it was purchased by the father of Dr. Newton, founder of Hertford College, in Oxford, who made the site of the abbey his residence. There are no remains of the conventual buildings, which, by the report of the commissioners, appear to have been in ruins in 1534, before the monastery was dissolved. The Abbey-manor, or grange, is now the property of the Rev. Simon Adams, whose father, Knightly Adams esq. married Jane, the daughter and heir of Dr. Newton.
The Castle-manor is so called from a castle, which probably was the seat of the ancient baronial family of Bidun, by the whom the abbey was founded: it was afterwards successively in the Peyvres and Zouches; of the latter it was purchased in 1527, by Lord Mordaunt, whose descendant sold it, about the year 1630, to the Comptons: it is now the property of Farrer Grove Spurgeon Farrer esq. whose grandfather, William Farrer esq. purchased it of the Comptons. There is a farm-house on the site of the castle, of which there are no other remains than a moat, and some vestiges of buildings. It appears by an ancient institution to the vicarage of Lavendon, now in the registry of the bishop of Lincoln, that the castle was standing in the year 1232, since it is stated in the record of the institution, that the abbot of Lavendon was bound to provide a chaplain, to officiate in the chapel of St. Mary, in Lavendon-castle.
The manor of Uphoe, a hamlet of this parish, has been some time in the Farrer family, and is now the property of F.G.S. Farrer esq. The manor, or reputed manor of Snellson, another hamlet of this parish, on the confines of Bedfordshire, was sold by the Mordaunts, to the Comptons, of whom it was purchased by the father of Charles Chester esq. the present proprietor. The manor, or reputed manor of Addersey, in this parish, now the property of Philip Skeen esq. was purchased of Lord Hinchingbroke, (now Earl of Sandwich:) it had belonged some time before to the Earl of Halifax.
In the parish church is the monument of Dr. Newton above-mentioned, and memorials for others of his family. The parish of Lavendon has been inclosed by an act of parliament, passed in 1801, when an allotment of land was assigned to the vicar, in lieu of this vicarage, and a portion of the great tithes to which he was entitled: allotments were assigned also to the Earl of Dartmouth, Mr. Farrer, and Mr. Chester, in lieu of their several portions of tithes, which had formerly been appropriated to the abbey. The vicarage is in the gift of Gerard Noel esq. who inherited the advowson, with other estates from his uncle, the late Earl of Gainsborough.