(including the hamlets of Bragenham, Chelmscote, Hollingdon and Liscombe)


"This parish, with the hamlets hereinafter noticed, contains 4460 acres, and 589 inhabitants. On the east side it is, partly, separated from Bedfordshire by the river Ouse. The London and North Western Railway, and the Grand Junction Canal intersect it - the former occupying 23A. 2R. 6P. ; and the latter, 13A. 3R. 3P. The rateable value of the parish is £7732. Soulbury parish is 7 miles in length, and contains, it is said, upwards of 17 miles of roads. The Village, which is situated 3 miles N.W. from Leighton Buzzard, is about half-a-mile in length, and the houses are mostly ancient and covered with thatch. The southern end of it is pleasantly seated on the brow of a hill, from which issues a copious spring of pure water. The country around is well wooded." [History and Topography of Buckinghamshire, by James Joseph Sheahan, 1862]



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
"History and Topography of Buckinghamshire", Sheahan, James Joseph, 1862
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: Cottesloe Hundred, Bucks, Volume 2", Peter Quick.



War Memorials

War memorials in Soulbury have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet entitled "War Memorials and War Graves: Cottesloe Hundred, Bucks, Volume 2", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.



In 1642 there were 70 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £3.12.2 of which sum Mr Edward Meridale contributed £0.15.0

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 131 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Soulbury.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 526 inhabitants in 107 families living in 101 houses recorded in Soulbury.

Census YearPopulation of Soulbury

* = 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 Records

The original copies of the parish registers for All Saints, Soulbury have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

EventDates covered
Christenings1594 - 1838
Marriages1623 - 1992
Burials1624 - 1893

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

Society Library*
Dates covered
1575 - 1837
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 Soulbury showed the following numbers:

Soulbury, All Saints74 - Morning General Congregation
16 - Morning Sunday Scholars
90 - Morning Total
Wesleyan Methodist Chapel
78 - Afternoon General Congregation
48 - Afternoon Sunday Scholars
126 - Afternoon Total

135 - Evening General Congregation
135 - Evening Total


Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Soulbury which are provided by:




Historical Geography

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



Soulbury was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

SOULBURY, in the hundred of Cotslow and deanery of Muresley, lies on the Bedfordshire side of the county, about three miles north-west of Leighton-Busard and about five miles south of Fenny-Stratford. The manor was in the Mansells during a great part of the thirteenth century. It is now (together with the manors of Liscombe and Hollingdon, hamlets in this parish) the property of Sir Jonathan Lovett bart. whose ancestors were possessed of them as early as the reign of Edward the Second, probably by purchase from the Mansells. Sir Jonathan Lovett, the present proprietor, was of a younger branch of the family who had been settled for a long period at Kingwell, in the county of Tipperary. Upon the failure of the elder branch he succeeded to the Buckinghamshire estate, and in 1781 was created a baronet. The seat at Liscombe is a quadrangular building; one side is occupied by a chapel which, by the style of its architecture, appears to have been built about the middle or latter end of the fourteenth century; the house is of much later date, no part of it appearing to be older than the reign of Queen Elizabeth: the windows have been modernized. Among the portraits at Liscombe are several of the Lovett family; a half length of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk , with a pink in his hand; the first Earl of Bedford, a half length, on board, dated 1555; Sir Nicholas Crispe, in armour; Sir Edmund Verney, standard bearer to King Charles I. who was slain at Edghill; Archbishop Sancroft; Titus Oates, &c. In the parish church are some monuments of the Lovetts.

The impropriate rectory, which formerly belonged to Woburn abbey, is now the property of Sir Jonathan Lovett. The curacy, or donative, is in the gift of the crown, but the Lovett family have been allowed to enjoy the patronage ever since the year 1642, when Sir Robert Lovett left the sum of 40 l. per annum. as an augmentation of the curacy to be paid by his heirs, on condition that they should be allowed to nominate the curate, whose salary was before only 8 l. per annum. A charity school for 24 children was founded by the Lovett family in 1714. The manor and liberty of Soulbury, with the hamlet of Hollingdon was inclosed pursuant to an act of parliament passed in 1772, when an allotment of land was assigned to the impropriator in lieu of tithes. The other hamlets in this parish are Liscombe (already spoken of) Bragenham, where was formerly a chapel of ease, and Chelmscote. The manor of Bragenham is the property of the Hon. Mary Leigh, whose family purchased it of the Theeds in 1735. The manor of Chelmscote has passed with that of the neighbouring parish of Linslade, and is now the property of Andrew Corbet esq.

In a distant part of this parish, near Great-Brickhill, is Stockgrove, the seat of Edward Hanmer esq. whose manor of Smewnes extends partly into this parish.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SP882272 (Lat/Lon: 51.936328, -0.718472), Soulbury which are provided by:


Names, Geographical

  • Soulbury - the name derives from old english being either a persons name + burh, meaning 'Sula's gully', or, sulh + burh, meaning 'stronghold by a gully'.
  • Bragenham - the derivation of this name is not clear, but is possibly from old enlgish, being a persons name + ham, meaning 'Bracca's farm'.
  • Chelmscote - the name derives from old english being a persons name + cot, meaning ' Ceolmund's cottage(s)'.
  • Hollingdon - the name derives from the old english words holan + dene, and means 'hollow valley'.
  • Liscombe - the derivation of this place name is not clear although the first part may derive from a persons name 'Lissa'.