At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 there was no distinction between the two Risboroughs, as the parish wasn't divided until the Fourteenth century. The name in 1086 was recorded as Riseberge though in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was Hrisanbyrge: both early and late Anglo Saxon names meaning Hill where brushwood grows.
The Risborough estate has always been royal hunting land, right from the time that it was mentioned as such in the Saxon Chronicle in 903 through to the time of King Henry VIII of England. However in the middle of this hunting land was a monastery established by Ęschwyn, bishop of Dorchester and given to the Benedictine monks of Christchurch, Canterbury. It is from this monastery that the modern village gets its name, and the parish church of St Dunstan's is still part of the probate jurisdiction of Canterbury today.
The farming lands that belong to the parish of Monks Risborough are fairly extensive, and include the hamlets of Askett, Cadsden, Meadle, Owlswick and Whiteleaf. The latter, which forms the highest point of the parish, features a chalk cross carved into the side of the hill that can be seen for miles around, and dates from the foundation of the old monastery.