Its name is Old English and means Queen's Estate (cwen tun). It is not known however to which queen this refers. The former suffix Malet refers to the manorial family of the village.
Quainton was once linked to central London via a tramway that ran from Brill along the Metropolitan Line to Baker Street tube station. Although the line is no longer used Quainton railway station is now a railway museum.
The local headquarters for the RSPCA are also in this village.
The parish church is dedicated to St Mary and Holy Cross.