Tudor Tour

Willen church

This is a reconstruction shows what Willen church looked like in 1520 when John Christian was vicar. We know that it was built by the Norman Lord of the Manor before 1154, possibly by William Fitz-Ansculph, Fulk Paganell (Paynell), or even by Phillip de Cohaines (Keynes), because in that year Phillip donated it to Tickford Priory. Rich Normans often built churches or established priories because they thought it would make God pleased with them, and so help to get their souls to heaven quicker when they died.
Willen Church before 1680, by Hilary Denny
The church is reputed to have been very similar to Great Woolstone church, but with an arch with two bells instead of a turret. The church became very dilapidated by the end of the 1600s. Richard Busby, the new Lord of the Manor, had it rebuilt in 1680, to designs by Robert Hooke, and it is this church that survives today.

Tickford priory appointed the vicars at Willen, (who lived in the vicarage nearby), until the priory was dissolved in 1524. They also benefitted from the tithes that were collected in the village. However, it is doubtful if the villagers got much benefit from the link with Tickford Priory. Priories could be very helpful to a community if the monks were good, but the monks at Tickford were always causing trouble.