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The village name is an Old English language word meaning 'wooded hill where goats are kept'. In the Domesday Book in 1086 it was recorded as Gateherst. At that time the manor was owned by Bishop Odo of Bayeux.
Gayhurst House is reputed to have once belonged to Sir Francis Drake although it is not known whether he ever lived there, and for many years the gatehouse leading to the estate was a public house called the Francis Drake. The house certainly once belonged to the father-in-law of Sir Everard Digby (1578–1606), one of the conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, and he resided there for some time.
The church of St Peter was built in the classical style in 1728 to replace a medieval church; the designer is unknown.
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- 'Parishes : Gayhurst', Victoria History of the Counties of England, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4 (1927), pp. 343–347.
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