WOTTON-UNDERWOOD, in the Hundred of Ashendon and deanery of Waddesdon, lies about nine miles nearly west of Aylesbury, and about the same distance from Bicester, in Oxfordshire. It was called Wotton-Underwood from its situation with respect to Bernwood forest, which was disforested by King James I. The manor, among many others, was given by William the Conqueror, to Walter Giffard, Earl of Buckingham: Isabel, daughter and co-heir of Walter the second earl, is said to have brought it in marriage about the year 1097, to Richard de Grenville, from whom there has been an uninterrupted line of male succession, through twenty generations, to the present proprietor, th Marquis of Buckingham
Wotton-house has been from time immemorial the seat of the Grenvilles. The present mansion was built in 1705, after the model of Buckingham-house; the staircase and saloon were painted by Sir James Thornhill, who was paid 1000l. a year during three years, for his professional labours at Wotton. This mansion was the principal and favourite residence of the Right Hon. George Grenville, first lord of the Treasury, and chancellor of the exchequer, in the early part of the reign of his present majesty: it is now the occasional residence of Lord Temple, the Marquis of Buckingham's eldest son.
Burwells manor, in Wotton, which had in ancient times belonged to the Grenville family, was given by Sir Robert Dormer to Richard Grenville esq. in exchange for the manor of Ascot in Wing.
The parish church of Wotton has been lately repaired, and a new stone spire built by the Marquis of Buckingham. In the Grenville chapel or south aisle, which was originally built, in 1343, by William Grenville and Mary his wife, a large columbarium has been lately erected by the Marquis of Buckingham, for the internment of his family. The ancient monuments of the Grenvilles have been replaced and restored, some memorials of later date added, and the arms of the family and its alliances emblazoned under the superintendance of Francis Townsend esq. Windsor Herald. The windows also have been ornamented with the arms and quarterings of the families of Grenville, Temple, and Chandos, executed in stained glass by Eginton. The rectory of Wotton, which had been appropriated to the priory of St. Bartholomew, was annexed to the see of Canterbury, in the reign of Henry VIII. The parish of Wotton has been inclosed by an act of Parliament, passed in 1742, when an allotment of land in the neighbouring parish of Brill, was, in consequence of an exchange which took place under the act, given to the see of Canterbury in lieu of the great tithes. In consequence of a liberal donation for the augmentation of the curacy, the archbishop of Canterbury, under the powers of Queen Anne's bounty act, has lately conveyed the patronage of the donative to the Marquis of Buckingham.