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St James the Great, Hanslope, Bucks - geograph.org.uk - 333065.jpg
St. James the Great parish church
Hanslope is located in Buckinghamshire
 Hanslope shown within Buckinghamshire
Population 2,238 [1]
OS grid reference SP8046
Civil parish Hanslope
Unitary authority Milton Keynes
Ceremonial county Buckinghamshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Milton Keynes
Postcode district MK19
Dialling code 01908
Police Thames Valley
Fire Buckinghamshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Milton Keynes North
Website Welcome to the Hanslope Village Website
List of places

Coordinates: 52°07′01″N 0°49′41″W / 52.117°N 0.828°W / 52.117; -0.828

Hanslope is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Milton Keynes.[2] The village is about 4 miles (6.4 km) WNW of Newport Pagnell, about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Stony Stratford and 8 miles (13 km) north of Central Milton Keynes. The northern parish boundary is part of the county boundary with Northamptonshire.

Hanslope was historically part of Buckinghamshire, and remains so for ceremonial purposes.

The West Coast Main Line between London Euston and Glasgow passes through the western part of the parish, just over 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the village.


The toponym has evolved over the centuries. In the 11th century it was variously spelt Hammescle, Hanslepe or Anslepe.[3] In the 13th century it was Hameslepe or Hamslape, and the latter form continued in use into the 14th century.[3] It was Hanslopp in the 15th century and Hanslap or Anslope in the 16th century. Anslap, Anslapp and Hanslapp were used early in the 18th century[4][5] and Hanslape was used in the 19th century.[3] The toponym's etymology is from the Old English for a muddy place or slope belonging to a man called Hama.[citation needed]

There was once a castle in the parish (that later became Castlethorpe), that was the seat of the Maudit family. In 1215 William Maudit had started a rebellion against King John and was defeated in battle by the king's men. After King John's death, Maudit reclaimed his seat and founded a great park in the parish, remnants of which still survive in Hanslope. The castle building has been lost but the grassy mounds of the motte and bailey earthworks survive.

Isabel Mauduit was the mother of William de Beauchamp, 9th Earl of Warwick (1237–98). From 1293 the Earl was chartered to have a weekly market in Hanslope on Thursdays and a three-day annual market on the eve, day and morrow of the feast of St. James the Great (24, 25 and 26 July).[3]

In the middle ages the parish was part of Salcey Forest[6] and Hanslope Park was originally a medieval deer park.[7] Much later the park was landscaped by Humphry Repton before 1794.[8]

Hanslope is conveniently close to quarries for Great Oolite limestone,[9] which has been used in the parish's traditional vernacular architecture.

In 1697 the distinguished clockmaker Joseph Knibb (1640–1711) retired from London to Hanslope,[10] acquiring Green End Farm with a total of about 230 acres (93 ha) of land.[11] Despite his retirement he continued at Hanslope to make clocks, some of which survive.[10] His will, proved in 1712 left his Hanslope property to his younger brother John Knibb[4] (1650–1722),[12] who was a notable clockmaker in Oxford.[13] However, John kept his business in Oxford and only one clock marked "John Knibb Hanslapp" is known.[5]

Green End Farmhouse predated the Knibbs' ownership of the farm and was a scheduled monument under the Town and Country Planning Act 1947.[11] Despite this protection its last owner demolished the historic house in 1954.[11]

In the 19th century Hanslope was a centre of Buckinghamshire lacemaking. Early in the 19th century Hanslope lace was noted as being particularly fine, and in 1862 about 500 women and children in the parish were employed making pillow lace.[3]

Parish church[edit]

The chancel arch of St. James the Great parish church is Norman. The five-light east window is 13th century but its present intersecting tracery is a modern replacement.

The Church of England parish church of St. James the Great was originally a Norman building,[14] established as a dependent chapelry of Castlethorpe.[15] Later St. James the Great became the parish's principal church, with Castlethorpe as its dependent chapel.[15]

The Perpendicular Gothic[14] church spire is a prominent feature of the village and surrounding landscape. It was originally built early in the 15th century and was 200 feet (61 m) high.[14] In 1804 it collapsed after being struck by lightning and afterwards it was rebuilt to the slightly lesser height of 186 feet (57 m).[16] However, it is still the tallest in Buckinghamshire.[16] The church has an open day each summer, when the tower is open to the public.

The spire can be seen for long distances across the low-lying countryside. In 1722, when the spire was 200 feet high, the antiquarian Thomas Hearne, who was a friend of John Knibb, wrote that Knibb "...told me he hath seen Anslapp spire in Bucks from Brill...".[4] This is a distance of just over 22 miles (35 km).

One notable incumbent was James Mayne MA who was rector from 1841 to 1851,[17] previously curate of St Matthew's, Bethnal Green. In series 5 of the Who Do You Think You Are? television programme, Patsy Kensit discovered that he was one of her ancestors and was shown his grave during a visit to the church.[18]

The church is a Grade I listed building,[19] the highest level of designation.

Hanslope Park[edit]

Main article: Hanslope Park

About half a mile south-east of the village is Hanslope Park. Once the manorial estate of the village, it is now owned by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and is home to Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre.[20]

Hanslope Junction[edit]

Main article: Northampton Loop Line

The West Coast Main Line passes just over 1 mile (1.6 km) south-west of the village and it divides at Hanslope Junction. Two tracks go directly to Rugby and the other two form the Northampton Loop Line. The tracks actually diverge a few miles further north, at Roade.


The Green Man Inn public house and the steeple of St James the Great in the 1950s
  1. ^ Neighbourhood Statistcs 2011 census, Accessed 4 February 2013
  2. ^ Parishes in Milton Keynes – Milton Keynes Council.
  3. ^ a b c d e Page 1927, pp. 348–362.
  4. ^ a b c Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 118.
  5. ^ a b Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 122.
  6. ^ Reed, Hoskins & Millward 1979, p. 125.
  7. ^ Reed, Hoskins & Millward 1979, p. 130.
  8. ^ Pevsner 1966, p. 156.
  9. ^ Reed, Hoskins & Millward 1979, p. 190.
  10. ^ a b Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 123.
  11. ^ a b c Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 185.
  12. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, p. 117.
  13. ^ Beeson & Simcock 1989, pp. 117–122.
  14. ^ a b c Pevsner 1966, p. 155.
  15. ^ a b Reed, Hoskins & Millward 1979, p. 136.
  16. ^ a b Reed, Hoskins & Millward 1979, p. 159.
  17. ^ "Clergy of Hanslope". Hanslope & District Historic Society. Hanslope & District Historic Society. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  18. ^ "Patsy Kensit". Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  19. ^ English Heritage. "Church of St James the Great  (Grade I) (1289671)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  20. ^ HMGCC, retrieved 25 May 2012 


External links[edit]