St. Leonard's Church - Little Linford

History and Antiquities of the Newport Pagnell Hundreds by Oliver Ratcliff 1900

Ecclesiastical History of Little Linford

That Little Linford was originally but a chapel appendant on Newport Pagnell; as it has also been shown, that, with its mother church of Newport, soon after the foundation of Tickford Priory, it was given thereto, so that this chapel was of very ancient foundation, and erected, in early days, as a chapel of ease to Newport, for as much as, by reason of the distance and situation, the inhabitants could not, at all times, attend divine service at Newport with convenience, although not probably, on its first erection, endowed with parochial rights, which might have been to the prejudice of Newport; but in 1291, Ecclesia de Newport cum Capella de Linford were joined in the taxation then made by the Pope, and also valued together; and in 1526 it was, with its mother church of Newport; and likewise in 1534, when the First Fruits and Tenths were, by Act of Parliament, given to the king, it was rated with Newport, and so, no doubt, had been supplied by a monk, or other ecclesiastic, deputed by Tickford Convent, while that religious house subsisted. After the dissolution, or resumption of Tickford Priory with the advowson of Newport by the crown, the serving the cure has been an appointment of the lessee tenant, or impropriator, and has accordingly gone with the manor, and is in the gift of the said lord. The record of clergy is not wholly complete but we are able to give the name of the following priests:

The present [1900] approximate value of the living is £188 and the real net value is £160.

The vicarage is pleasantly situated about half a mile to the north-east of the church. It was erected through the munificence of the late Arthur and Matthew G. S. Knapp. These two gentlemen also gave the amount of £4,000 to the church forever. This sum is invested and the income amounts to £128 per annum. There is also some land at Bradwell, and the income from this is £60 per annum.

A true Terrier of all ye Lands, Claims, and Properties belonging to ye Curate, Clerk, and Chapel of the Parish of Little Linford, in ye County of Bucks, and Diocese of Lincoln, given in at ye Bishop's second Visitation, holden at Newport Pagnell, 25 Aug, 1749.
Little Linford is neither Rectory nor Vicarage, but a Donative, conceived exempt, formerly belonging to Tickford Abbey, in or near Newport Pagnell, now in the occupation of John Knapp, Esq. There is neither Glebe, nor Tithe, nor House belonging to it, but only three Closes, containing twenty-seven acres, more or less, lying in the Parish of Litchborough, Co. Northampton, lately purchased with £500 out of the Augmentation Office, belonging to Queen Anne's Bounty, and £100 in money, still remaining in that office, till a convenient purchase shall be made. The customary allowance was, and is still, £10 per annum to ye person officiating, paid by ye said John Knapp; and the Clerk hath nothing but what he is pleased to assign him.

The Chapel or Oratory, is without consecrated ground for burials, but in good repair, with decent furniture thereto.

In the Survey in 1534, the tithes of Linford were valued at £3; and in the Charter dated 1312, on confirmation of former grants to Tickford, it was recited, that Tickford Convent should enjoy the Chapel of Linford, with a certain messuage or grange there, with the tithes and ells of Linford Mill.

In 1712, in the assessment of the land tax at 4/- in the pound, this parish was rated at, and paid £82/14/5 to the Royal aid.

St. Leonard , Little Linford,

Is a small ancient edifice, situated on rising ground, on the verge of the grounds of the manor house, and affords a most pleasing and interesting object in perspective, from the valley towards the south. It consists of nave, north and south aisles, chancel and north porch, with a turret at the west end, in which hang two bells, inscribed:


The style may be considered Gothic, with Norman details. The bell-turret appears to have been ornamented; the porch retains the stone sediles; and its inner door has a good pointed arches, testing upon octagonal pillars with Decorated mouldings. On the north side, the nave is divided from the aisle by two pointed arches of similar design, but resting upon a massive round pillar. At the east end of the north aisle is a good squint, or leper's window, which was again brought to light when the church underwent renovation. At the west end of the nave is a three-light window. The other windows are of various shapes. The font is ancient, large, cylindrical, and lined with lead; but the tracery work on its rim and sides is completely obliterated by a coating of plaster. The ceiling is of plaster. In the south aisle is a cinque-foiled piscine, showing it once to have been a chantry chapel. The pulpit is modern. The chancel arch is in proportion to the edifice and was re-erected by the widow of the Rev. Moses Magoliouth, a late incumbent. Fragments of the old Norman arch are to noticed in the mouldings. The chancel is raised three steps above the nave, and the east window is of two lights, with geometrical tracery in the head, and contains stained glass inscribed to the memory of the late Moses Magoliouth. Here are several mural monument belonging to the Knapp family. Two of them are large medallions, in white marble, beautifully executed by Westmacott, and in memory of Matthew Knapp, who died in 1782; and Sophia Knapp, who died in 1795. There is also an ornamented white marble shield inscribed to Matthew Lee M.D., who married Sarah, one of the daughters of John Knapp, the purchaser of Little Linford.

The Porch
The Nave
Rev. Moses Magoliouth

Dr. Lee, who was physician to Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III., died in 1755, and was buried here in the family vault of the Knapps, together with his wife.

On a large plain brass upon the north wall of the nave is the following inscription:

To the memory of John Knapp formerly of Harwell, Berks, and of Elizabeth his wife the father and mother of John Knapp of Little Linford who was baptised at Harwell in November 1638 and who was 72 at the time of his death and not 77 as stated on his monument above; also of his two brother and sister mentioned in his will, viz., Francis Knapp baptised at Blewbury, Berks, in 1635. George Knapp baptised at Harwell 5th Jany 1641 and Amy Knapp baptised at Harwell Septr 1644.

In the usual place for the holy water stoup, near the north door, are the remains of a trefoil-headed piscine, which has probably been removed from its original position.

By the side altar is a brass tablet in memory of seven men of the parish who lost their lives in the Great War, 1914-18.

Little Linford Choir 1909
July 19 1968
Wolverton Express Do You remember No. 5

Since November, for the first time in 200 years, there has not been a member of the Cave family living at Little Linford. Much has been said and written lately of this tiny “dying” village with its dwindling population, its demolished Hall and cottages, and its church of St. Leonard’s that a few brave souls struggling to keep open.
This photograph, taken by Mr. Harry Bartholomew of Great Linford in 1909, shows Little Linford’s last resident Vicar, the Rev. E. R. Sill, and members of his choir (six of them Caves!).
Here are some names, supplied by Mr. Percy Cave of 44 Queen Anne Street, New Bradwell, who was a member of the choir for 27 years.

Back row: (left to right) William Warner, John Cave, Amos Cowley, Frank Cave.

Middle row: George Smith (afterwards organist and choirmaster), William Cave, Cyril Smith, Bill Davis, Ernest Cave, Cyril Edmunds, Tom Frost, Fred Cave, George Hodges (organist who later emigrated to Australia).

Seated: The Rev. E. R. Sill, Jack Trenfield, Victor Trenfield, Cyril Cowley, Percy Cave, John Chapman, Cyril Ballyn, Percy Ballyn (standing), and Walter “Tom” Cook (verger).