LITTLE-MARLOW, in the hundred of Desborough and deanery of Wycombe, lies two miles to the north-east of Great-Marlow. At this place was a small convent of Benedictine nuns, said to have been founded by Geffrey Lord Spencer, before the reign of King John, in honor of the Virgin Mary. Its revenues were valued in 1534, at 23 l. 3s. 7d. per annum: it was then given to Bisham Abbey. The general dissolution of monastries followed within a few years, when the site of the convent at Marlow was granted to Tytley and Restwold. Browne Willis describes the chapel and hall of this nunnery, as remaining in his time. The hall, which was 60 feet in length was pulled down in 1740. There are now no remains of the conventual buildings.
The manor of Little-Marlow, which had belonged to the nunnery, after passing, within a short period, through several hands, was purchased about the year 1560, by the family of Borlase, who had a seat here, and another at Bockmer, in the parish of Medmenham. The elder branch of this family became extinct, by the death of Sir John Borlase bart in 1688. His daughter married Arthur Warren esq. whose great-grandson, Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren bart. K.B. sold the manor of Little-Marlow in 1781, to the guardians of William Lee Antonie esq. M.P. the present proprietor, then a minor.
The manor of Danvers, in this parish, so called from an ancient family who possessed it in the thirteenth century, is now also the property of Mr. Lee Antonie. A manor in Little-Marlow, (perhaps the same) was formerly in the Mowbrays and Berkeleys: it was given, with other estates, by the Marquis of Berkeley, to Sir Reginald Bray.
Westthorp-house, the seat of Thomas Wilkinson esq. was built by James Chase esq. member for Marlow, in the reigns of King William and Queen Anne: it was rented of his widow by Dr. Maddox, bishop of Worcester, and was afterwards the seat of Sir Everard Faukener, Ambassador to the Porte, and one of the postmasters-General.
In the parish church is an altar-tomb, with brass plates, for Nicholas Ledwich, founder either of the church or chancel, as appears by his epitaph. He died in 1430. There are some memorials also for the families of Chase and Warren.
In ancient times the benefice of Little Marlow was in medieties, and the church was served alternately by two rectors. In 1342, the great tithes were appropriated to the priory: they are now the property of Mr. Lee Antonie, who is patron of the vicarage. The present vicar is the Rev. Thomas Martyn, regius professor of Botany in the university of Cambridge.