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St Leonard, Little Linford, Buckinghamshire

(52°5′22″N, 0°45′59″W)
Little Linford
SP 846 442
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Milton Keynes
  • Ron Baxter
02 March 2017

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Little Linford is a village on the N edge of Milton Keynes in the far N of the county. It stands at a junction of minor roads on the N bank of the River Great Ouse. The church is on the edge of the grounds of Linford Hall, a late-17thc house altered in the 18thc, and consists of an aisled nave with a double bell-cote over the W gable and an aisleless chancel. The chancel is 13thc in origin but rebuilt using old materials, notably the E and S windows. The chancel arch is modern but includes re-used imposts, described below. The N arcade is 13thc, of 2 bays and the S arcade is early 14thc, of 3 bays. Reset in the S aisle wall is the doorway described below, of c.1200 or later. There is also the plainest of fonts, of uncertain date, also described here.


The manor of Little Linford was held by Eadgifu of the Bishop of Coutances in 1086, and by the same Eadgifu before the Conquest. It was assessed at 4 hides. The bishop died in 1093 and his nephew Robert de Mowbray inherited, but forfeited his estates for rebellion and the manor passed to the Paynels, and it was thereafter attached to their honour of Dudley. As for the tenancy, Eadgifu (or Eddeva) had been succeeded by 1205 by Henry son of Peter de Northampton, who conveyed it to Henry and Ellen de Hauville in trust for their son Henry. It remained with the Hauvilles until the early 14thc. The litigious history of this manor is given in VCH. The church was a chapel of Newport Pagnell, and was given by Fulk Paynel to Tickford Priory early in the 12thc. It remained with the priory until it was dissolved in 1524.

The present dedication is to St Leonard only, as in Arnold Forster (1899), but the RCHME Inventory (1913), VCH (1927) and Pevsner (1960) all have St Leonard and St Andrew.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




There are doubts about all the inclusion of all three of these features in a corpus of Romanesque sculpture. The imposts of the doorway appear 12thc, the label is more probably 13thc, and the form of the arch is not to be trusted. The imposts of the chancel arch are certainly re-used medieval stones, but the form of the cable (if it can be called that) is more ogival than might be expected, and the zig-zag could easily be later graffiti. Finally the font, pithily described by the RCHME Inventory as 'circular bowl, covered with cement, possibly old', is of uncertain date and material.

RCHME calls the doorway early-13thc and refers to 'a few old stones' reset in the chancel arch. Pevsner (1960) does not date the doorway and misses the chancel arch stones and the font.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, 3 vols, London 1899, III, 183.

N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 191.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 2 (north). London 1913, 178-79.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 392-95.