WADDESDON, in the hundred of Ashendon, gives name to the deanery in which it is situated. It lies about five miles and a half from Aylesbury, on the road to Bicester. The manor, which successively belonged to Robert Doyley and his sons-in-law, Milo Crispin and Brien Fitzcount, was seized by King Henry II. on the latter having assumed a religious order, and given to the Courtenays. In consequence of the attainder of one of that family, it was by two several grants in the possession of Archbishop Neville and Henry Bouchier, Earl of Essex. It was afterwards restored to the Courtenays, but being again forfeited, was granted by King Henry VIII. in 1540, to the Goodwins, from whom it passed by a female heir to the noble family of Wharton. It is now the property of his grace the Duke of Marlborough, whose father purchased it of the last Duke of Wharton or his representatives, together with the manors of Ham, Westcote, and Warmeston, in this parish, all of which had belonged to the Goodwins. The manor of Westcote was part of the estates of Thomas Duke of Gloucester, who was murdered in 1398.
Ethorp, in this parish, was the manor and seat of the ancient family of De Arcubus or Arches, as early as the year 1309. Richard de Arches, of Ethorp, was one of the knights of the shire in 1402; not long afterwards Ethorp became the seat of the Denhams: Sir John Denham died, seised of it in 1458. The same year Roger Denham, who it is probable was his son and heir, built and endowed a chantry chapel at this place. In the reign of Edward VI. Ethorp belonged to the Dormers, and was settled by Sir William Dormer, on his wife Dorothy, the daughter and coheir of Anthony Catesby esq; this lady, after the death of her first husband, married the brave Sir William Pelham, who distinguished himself during the wars in the Netherlands, and died at Flushing in 1587. Ethorp was his country seat, as appears by his last will, in which he leaves all his furniture there to his wife Dorothy, who survived him many years, and in 1610 built some additional rooms at the west end of the house, in one of which are to be seen her arms and initials, with the above date over the chimney piece. The armoury, which has a wooden sloping roof, ornamented with red and white roses, was built by Sir William Dormer; at the base of the rafters are angels bearing shields, with arms of the family of Dormer and their alliances; it is hung round with a variety of ancient armour and accoutrements. From the Dormers Ethorp passed by marriage to the Stanhopes, and was the country seat of Sir William Stanhope, who added the more modern part of the house, and erected several large buildings in the pleasure grounds and plantations, resembling the ruins of amphitheatres, castles, &c. In 1728, at the desire of his lady, he fitted up the chantry chapel at Ethorp, and divine service was performed in it for a few years; but in 1738, says Browne Willis, "he most wickedly, sacrilegiously. and impiously demolished the chapel, though warned against it by Dr. Carmichael," and made use of the stones to build a bridge, which he was then about to throw over the Thame, near the house. Before the abolition of chantries, the priest had his lodgings and maintenance at Sir Robert Dormer's house. Ethorp is now the property of the Earl of Chesterfield, but he seldom visits it, and the greater part of the furniture has been removed. Among the few pictures which remained there in 1801, was a good portrait of Charles the First, with his son and successor when a boy; Robert Dormer, Earl of Carnarvon, who fell at the battle of Newbury, and his countess; Lucy, Countess of Bedford, Sir William Stanhope, and Philip, Earl of Chesterfield. The gallery, 138 feet in length, appears to have been fitted up about the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Blagrave, a manor farm in the parish of Waddesdon, has within the last century undergone several alienations: it is now the property of Charles Shaw Lefevre esq. M.P.
The manor, or manor farm, of Colwick, Collet or Collick, in this parish, belonged fopr several years to the Deacles, and is now by marriage the property of Mr. Griffith.
[Correction/Addition at the end of Magna Britannia states "The manor-farm of Collet was sold in the month of June, 1805, to Mr. Jones of West Smithfield."]
The manor, or manor farm of Cranwell, in this parish, is the property of Richard Bard Harcourt esq.
In the parish church of Waddesdon is the monument of Guy Carleton, a veteran soldier, who died June 1, 1608, aged 94. It is not improbable that he was an ancestor of his namesake Sir Guy Carleton Lord Dorchester, who has followed his steps in the field of valour, and attained more honourable distinction. On his monument is the following epitaph :
"Whilst I was young, in wars I shed my blood,
Both for my king and for my Country's good;
In elder years my care was chief to be
Soldier to him who shed his blood for me."
[Correction/Addition at the end of Magna Britannia states "It is somewhat remarkable that Guy Carleton, who was afterwards bishop of Chichester, being then vicar of Bucklebury, in Berkshire, (to which vicarage he was instituted in 1635), is said to have done good service in the calvary during the civil war on the King's side."]
The rectory of Waddesdon is divided into three portions; the portionists reside and officiate alternately; the Patronage of all three is vested in the Duke of Marlborough. Robert Parsons, one of the portionists of Waddesdon, preached the funeral sermon on the death of the celebrated Earl of Rochester, which is printed at the end of Bishop Burnet's memoirs of that nobleman.
Sir Francis Goodwin founded an alms-house at Waddesdon, for six poor persons, and endowed it with 30 l. per annum. Mr. Lewis Fetto founded a charity school at this place, in 1724.
Westcote and Woodham are hamlets or tithings belonging to this parish. Certain fields in the tithing of Westcote were inclosed by an act of parliament passed in 1765. The whole parish has been since inclosed by an act passed in 1774, when allotments of land were assigned in lieu of tithes, to the portionists, and a composition directed to be paid for the tithes of old inclosures.