The original village of Flaunden was located on the banks of the river Chess between Latimer and Chenies about one and a half miles away from the present village. In the 18th century the village of Flaunden slowly began to decline on the banks of the Chess and expand at the top of the hill – the reason for this is unclear but it is thought a combination of the plague from rags carrying the disease brought to Chesham for making paper and flooding from the river was the main cause. All that remains in this swampy area is a mound and some rubble that was once the old church of St. Mary Magdalen, built around 1238. In Flaunden village there is a picture showing that walls were standing as recently as 1930. If it had survived the old church would have been of great architectrual interest, being laid out in the form of a greek cross. It was a smalll church but a wooden bell tower contained three bells made by William Knight of Reading. Attached to the church was accomodation for a curate and other buildings. In 1728 the church was described as "hard to find" and by 1814 it was described as " a mean structure inhabited by poor families".