During lockdown, I found myself walking around local villages, some that I had only passed through before. An interesting one was Orcheston, a tiny, sleepy place which has not one, but TWO medieval churches, St George’s and St Mary’s, one set at either end of the village.

Both were interesting to visit but what was particularly interesting was what I found out about this little, unassuming village’s history.

At one point it was held by Hugh de Audley, earl of Gloucester and his wife Margaret, and passed from them to their daughter Margaret, Baroness Audley, wife of Ralph de Stafford, earl of Stafford. The manor passed down a whole line of Staffords, eventually coming to Humphrey (died 1460 at the Battle of Northampton) who was also the 1st Duke of Buckingham. After his demise, it passed to none other than Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, Richard III’s untrustworthy ‘friend’ who was executed for rebellion on November 1483.

Interestingly in 1484 the manor was given to trustees for seven years–in order to pay off the Duke’s many debts! However, in 1485, it was given to John Howard, Duke of Norfolk, which sadly was for only a very short time, as Howard was slain at Bosworth Field on August 22 of that year.

The manor then appears to have reverted to Henry Stafford’s eldest son, Edward…but was taken away once more when Edward fell afoul of Henry VIII in 1521 and lost his head. The property than came into the hands of Edward Darell and his sons, then to the Seymours, then back to the Darells. (There is a Buckingham connection to the Darell family too–Edward Darell’s Uncle married the ‘other’ Margaret Beaufort–Henry Stafford’s widowed mother by whom he had a daughter, Margaret, Henry Stafford’s little-known half sister.)

St Mary’s Orcheston


St George’s , Orcheston
font in St George’s


  1. Thanks for this really interesting article. It’s amazing what you can find when you’re not even particularly looking.
    These two churches look lovely, and it’s fascinating to hear the ownership lineage of the village, and to get to our “infamous” Buckingham. Who would ever have known?
    Oh what a tangled web we weave!
    Thanks again, and please carry on looking into little known and very pretty places.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to conceive.” – Don Herold.
    And having done so, did they have to name all of them Margaret?

    Liked by 2 people

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