St Mary Magdalene
The original St Mary Magdalene church burned down in 1742 in a fire said to have been started in the Bull Hotel by a maid who was drying sheets in front of an open fire. One of the sheets got scorched and the maid, on hearing the mistress coming, panicked and pushed it up the chimney, which started the fire.

It spread and destroyed the church, along with 146 other buildings. The only part of the church to survive was the tower, which still stands today thanks to the intervention of the local historian Browne Willis, founder of the Society of Antiquaries in London. He donated £30 to have it repaired. Further money was raised to rebuild the church but it was decided to use the money instead to rebuild and extend the dilapidated St Giles, which had escaped the fire.

The ancient tower of St Mary Magdalene
The total cost of the fire damage to the town was estimated to be £15,000, whilst the previous fire damage in 1736 to a different part of Stony Stratford was estimated at £6,000.
A headstone in the old graveyard
Some of the headstones in the graveyard, which was extended over the area formerly occupied by the church, date back to before the fire. The graveyard was in use until about 1865. An article in the Milton Keynes Express of 22nd November 1974 had the following story:

"An overenthusiastic workman has robbed Stony Stratford of an historic treasure. A cast iron gravestone has disappeared following a clean up session at the old St Mary Magdalene churchyard and is probably now buried under tons of refuse on a council tip.

"The tombstone, one of the rarest in North Buckinghamshire, was found to be broken when the workmen began clearing the 'jungle'. Not realising the value....the broken pieces were put on a lorry and sent off to the tip."

One of the gravestones, now lost, is said to have had the following inscription on it:

Here lies a body who did no good,
And if it had lived it never would,
Where it has gone and how it fares,
Nobody knows and nobody cares.