(i.) Earthworks, etc., Pre-historic and Later.
The earthworks of North Buckinghamshire are, with few exceptions, of no
special interest. Sites suitable for camps of the hill top class are particularly rare,
but the well watered lowlands are rich in homestead moats and provide some examples
of other works with moats as their principal defence.
Of early earthworks the most notable are two contour camps. One, locally
known as Danesborough, in Wavendon parish (Plan p. 313), overlooks Bedfordshire from the top of a steep hill; the other, not shown on the Ordnance Survey
maps, crowns Beacon Hill near Ivinghoe.
Remains of a British pit village have also been recently discovered in
the course of quarrying N.E. of Clifton Reynes Church, but have not been preserved.
The earthworks of five mount and bailey castles remain; in no instance is
any masonry visible, but there are traces of foundations at Bolebec Castle in Whitchurch parish. Castle Thorpe (Plan p. 81), in addition to the normal mount and
bailey, has outworks of uncertain origin; at Lavendon Castle (Plan p. 164) the
plan of a mount and three baileys is almost complete.
The most perfect homestead moats are those at Church Farm, Edlesborough;
at Moat Farm, North Crawley; at Marsworth Great Farm; at Church End, Pitstone; and those round Horton Hall, Slapton, and the Manor House, Sherington.
There are two village enclosures, one round the present village of Hoggeston, and
the other marking the site of the old village of Cublington.
Among miscellaneous earthworks the camp lying N. of Norbury Coppice,
in Little Horwood parish, deserves special mention owing to the curious avenue,
45 yards long, formed by an extension of the rampart and ditch from the S.W.
entrance. We may also note two large bowl barrows S.W. of Thornborough, some
remains of water cultivation in Whaddon parish, the lynchets at Cheddington, a
flood dyke at Lathbury, and a dam near Tingewick. The entrenchments at
Steeple Claydon and Leckhampstead were probably thrown up during the Civil
War of the 17th century.
(ii.) Roman Remains.
As in South Buckinghamshire, Roman remains are rare. The Inventory records
one small town or large village, probably known as Magiovinium or Magiovintum in
Romano-British days, which stood beside the Romano-British highway now called
Watling Street; remains of this town or village have been unearthed on the S. side
of the town of Fenny Stratford, at the hamlet called (from a vanished public-house)
Dropshort, which is in the parish of Little Brickhill and on the E. bank of the river
Ouzel. The exact size and character of the place cannot be determined without
excavation; a beginning of search was made in 1911 by Mr. Bradbrook and
Mr. James Berry, and structural finds then made, such as roof-tiles, rough 'tesserae'
from flooring and painted wall-plaster, suggest dwellings which were neither wholly
rude nor elaborately civilised. (Proceedings of the London Society of Antiquaries,
1912, xxiv., 35.) The Inventory also mentions three country-houses or farms, all
of which seem to have been fairly comfortable without reaching great size or splendour.
One of these houses, partly uncovered in 1862, was near Grove Hill Farm, Tingewick.
Another, also partly excavated, lay close to a tributary of the Ouse, at Foscott;
it was provided with baths, mosaic floors, heating apparatus and other appurtenances
of ordinary comfortable life; one of its mosaics is now at Stowe Park. A third
house, much more unsatisfactorily recorded, was at Shenley Brook End, N.W. of
Fenny Stratford. It is a brief list.
Roman Roads:—(I.) The road now called Watling Street ran across North
Buckinghamshire for about 12 miles through Fenny Stratford and Stony Stratford;
its course is apparently represented almost all the way by the modern highway.
(II.) A road seems to have connected the Romano-British town or village at Alchester,
near Bicester in Oxfordshire, with Watling Street at or near Towcester in Northants.
It entered Buckinghamshire near Water Stratford, where it crossed the Ouse, and
ran straight on N.E. through what is now Stowe Park; beyond that point its exact
course is doubtful, but it doubtless fell into Watling Street as stated. (III.) The
road now usually called Akeman Street runs along the S. edge of the district in its
course from Alchester in Oxfordshire to Aylesbury and Tring, but only parts of the
modern road seem to follow the Roman line. In general it belongs rather to the
area allotted in this Report to South Buckinghamshire. (IV.) Two doubtful roads
may also be noted. One is supposed to run westwards from the above-mentioned
Romano-British town or village outside Fenny Stratford, through Bletchley and
Whaddon Chase (past Six Lords' Inn and Lonetree Inn) towards Buckingham. A
second road has been conjecturally traced through the district which lies between
the villages of Quainton, East Claydon, Grandborough and Pitchcott; here an
existing road follows in Roman fashion a fairly straight line for about four miles
S.E. by S.; if actually a Roman road, it was presumably connected with Akeman
Street. Neither of these roads can be accepted as Roman without further evidence;
if Roman, they had apparently only local importance.
North Buckinghamshire, therefore, shows the same features as most of the
Midlands in respect of its Romano-British remains. An important thoroughfare,
Watling Street, which connected London and Verulam with Wroxeter (Viroconium)
and Chester, ran through it and the traffic supported a small town or posting village.
There were also one or two subsiduary roads. But the traces of rural life are few;
in character, they do not differ from those found elsewhere; in amount they are
very scanty. The reader may compare what Professor Haverfield has said on
Warwickshire (Victoria County History, i, 228):—
"There existed in Warwickshire a Romano-British civilization of
the normal type. But it was not normal in amount. Towns and villages
were few and very small, and most of them hardly deserve such names
at all. 'Villas' were even less abundant. Industries were wholly absent.
Roads, though prominent and important, merely crossed the district and
did not affect its character. The county has to be classed as one of the
thinner spaces in Roman Britain."
These sentences are as true of North Buckinghamshire as of Warwickshire,
and apply also to many other districts in the English Midlands.
(iii.) Ecclesiastical and Secular Architecture.
Building Materials; Stone, Flint, Brick, etc.
Of the 100 churches in North Buckinghamshire built before 1700, all but
two are entirely or partly of limestone, drawn probably from the quarries in the
Great Oolite and Cornbrash beds in the N. and W. parts of the county or from
the Portland and Purbeck beds near Oving and Whitchurch. Walls of early date
are generally of rubble; ashlar, i.e., "faced" stonework, was little used before
the 14th century. Good examples of herringbone rubble-work of 11th or early
12th-century date are found at Lavendon, Newton Blossomville, Ravenstone and
Of the secular buildings about one-fifth are of limestone, and most of those
are at the N. end of the county. In the other districts, where stone is rare and
must be brought from elsewhere, only the large Manor houses or halls are, as a rule,
built of that material. The best of the stone buildings are, Creslow Manor House,
of c. 1330 (Plate p. 95), and Gayhurst House (Plate p. 117), Hall Farm at Beachampton
(Plate p. 61), and the Manor Houses at Marsh Gibbon (Plate p. 192) and Swanbourne (Plate p. 292), all of the 16th or 17th century. Dated examples of stone
buildings are the N.W. block of the Manor House, Barton Hartshorn, of 1635, the
Vicarage at Westbury, of 1661, and Deverell's Farm, Swanbourne, of 1632; also
almshouses at Wing, founded in 1569, and at Shenley Church End, of 1654; and
dovecots at Tathall End Farm, Hanslope, of 1602, and at Haversham Manor House,
of 1665 (Plate p. 145). The largest groups of stone buildings are the villages of
Marsh Gibbon and Thornborough, on the Cornbrash beds, and Hanslope on the
Great Oolite beds.
Ironstone is found in churches on the E. border of the county, between
Stewkley and Walton, and also in Chelmscott Manor House, Soulbury, all near the
Lower Greensand beds, where ironstone has been quarried apparently since the
12th century. A few churches further N. and W. have dressings of ironstone,
which was probably imported from the Northamptonshire quarries; most of it is in
15th-century work, but two windows at Twyford Church are of the 13th century.
Sandstone occurs also in the eastern churches near the Greensand district.
Clunch or chalk is found at Wing Church (pre-Conquest) and at Ivinghoe
Church (13th-century), on the chalk formation, and in a few scattered churches
built on the Oxford Clay and Great Oolite beds, where it apparently occurs in
Flint is seen only in two churches, Marsworth and Ivinghoe, both on the
Chiltern Hills, and near to the flint churches of South Buckinghamshire. But many
churches in this neighbourhood—which are covered externally with cement—are
probably built partly of flint and clunch. The only instance of the use of flint
elsewhere is at Tattenhoe Church on the Oxford Clay.
Brick, except for repairs, is used only in one church built before 1700; this
is at Willen, and is of late 17th-century date. The Baptist chapel at Winslow
probably of the same date, is also built of brick. Only a few of the secular monuments
are entirely of brick, and except as filling in the walls of timber-framed buildings,
its use was reserved chiefly to the larger houses, and occurs especially on the
Oxford clay. The best examples are Crawley Grange at North Crawley (Plate p. 223),
Newton Longville Manor House, both of the 16th century, Hoggeston Manor House,
of c. 1620, the Old Tile House at Lillingstone Dayrell, of late 17th-century date,
and Winslow Hall, dated 1700; a 16th-century barn at Addington Manor House, a
school dated 1656, now part of the Public Library, at Steeple Claydon, and the almshouses dated 1687 at Quainton (Plate p. 246), and those of late 17th-century date at
Ravenstone, should also be noted. Two large buildings, Doddershall House at
Quainton, and Liscombe House at Soulbury, both dating from the 16th century, are
of brick, but now covered with rough-cast. The smaller buildings of brick are
principally of late 17th-century date, with patterns in red and black bricks.
Chimney stacks of all periods are almost invariably built entirely or partly of
Timber-framing is rare in churches. The only instances are the enclosed
belfries at Little Woolstone, of the 14th century, and Hoggeston, of the 16th century.
But most of the surviving secular buildings are timber-framed, and it is noteworthy
that the village groups at Newton Longville, Stewkley, Swanbourne, Great and Little
Horwood, East and Steeple Claydon, Quainton and Winslow stand on clay, a
witness to the enduring qualities of timber-framed buildings under the expansion
and contraction of clay soils. There are no good examples of large timber-framed
buildings. Of the smaller buildings attention may be called to the Moat Farm,
of early 16th-century date, at North Crawley (Plate p. 224), the late 16th-century
wing at Dovecote Farm, Stewkley (Plate p. 280), and Brise's Farm, of late 16th-century date, at Swanbourne. When in or near the stone districts many of the
timber-framed houses and cottages have stone used in the foundations of walls, and
in the chimney stacks and fireplaces.
The churches of North Buckinghamshire do not reach a high level of
architectural merit. There are, however, a few outstanding examples at Wing,
Ivinghoe, Stewkley, Hillesden, Maids' Moreton and Edlesborough that are
distinctly noteworthy, and Wing Church would be of especial interest even in the
Only three churches contain definitely pre-Conquest remains, though the plans
of many of the later buildings may be based on existing pre-Conquest foundations.
Wing possesses an extremely interesting and practically complete church of the
10th century or even earlier date, with a polygonal chancel and crypt (Plates
pp. 332, 336). In Lavendon Church, the original Saxon tower (Plate p. 330),
nave and part of the chancel, are of mid 11th-century date. Hardwick Church
has an original double-splay window, much restored.
Of the post-Conquest churches, four date from the second half of the 11th
or the beginning of the 12th century, at Lillingstone Dayrell, Newton Blossomville,
Ravenstone and Thornborough. Of these Lillingstone Dayrell which retains an
original nave with arches opening into the chancel and tower, is the most important. Stewkley furnishes the most complete example of a mid 12th-century
church and is particularly rich in detail; the tympanum of the W. doorway with its
long central keystone is possibly unique (Plates pp. 14, 276). Shenley Church
End, with its cruciform plan, and the chancel at Hanslope (Plate p. 136) are also
fine examples of mid and late 12th-century work. The chancel at Wingrave, with
a small vaulted chamber on the N. side, is of c. 1190. Good examples of 12th-century detail are to be seen in the N. and S. doorways at Leckhampstead (Plates
pp. 14, 163), in the S. doorway at Twyford (Plate p. 306), in two doorways at Water
Stratford (Plate pp. 14, 310), and in the re-set tympanum at Lathbury (Plate p. 14),
the N. arcades of Castle Thorpe, Turweston and Whaddon, the N. and S. arcades of
Newton Longville, and the S. arcade of Lathbury also have interesting detail of the
same period, the last three having similar animals and foliage carved on some of
the capitals (Plate pp. 214, 160). The chancel arch at Stantonbury should also be
noted (Plate p. 272). The chapel of St. John the Baptist and St. Thomas of Acon, at
Buckingham, has a late 12th-century doorway, and the chapel at the Creslow Manor
House has remains of a doorway of the same century.
The large cruciform church at Ivinghoe is an excellent example of 13th-century work, and the foliated capitals of the nave arcades are beautifully carved
(Plates pp. 39, 156); Marsh Gibbon is also a cruciform building of this period
with carved capitals to the transept arches (Plate p. 39). The chancel and nave at
Chetwode, were originally the chancel of a priory church, built c. 1250; they have
been considerably re-built, but contain some very fine windows (Plate p. 86). The
chancel and S. arcade at North Crawley (Plate pp. 219, 220) are interesting examples
of 13th-century work, and the approximate date of the chancel (1295) is fixed by
the inscription, containing the name of the builder, under the E. window. Bradwell
Church has a good S. arcade and the remains of a dedicatory inscription on
the imposts of the chancel arch. The S. doorways of Grendon Underwood
(Plate p. 220) and Swanbourne, and the W. doorway of Leckhampstead, are noteworthy.
Building in the 14th century is well represented. Olney and Whitchurch
have large churches almost entirely of this period, and Olney is the only example in
the county (except Hanslope) with a spire; this church and that at Emberton
both possess good window tracery and moulded and carved external cornices (Plate
p. 227). Milton Keynes, a 14th-century church with a N.E. tower, has a little re-used material of earlier date; the window tracery and the detail of the S. doorway
and porch are exceptionally good (Plate pp. 199, 200). The large church at Newport
Pagnell was re-built partly in the 14th century and partly at later dates, but there is
still enough evidence to show that the former church was a cruciform structure; the
S. doorway and porch have good detail of c. 1355, and the N. porch, of the same
date, has a parvise. A late example of this period is the chancel at Grandborough,
which was re-built between 1396 and 1401 by Abbot John Moote of St. Albans,
as were the chancels of Sandridge and Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire.
Cublington has a small, but complete church of early 15th-century date, and
a brass records that its first rector died in 1410. At Hillesden, Maids' Moreton
and North Marston are splendid examples of late 15th-century work. Hillesden
Church has some remains of a cruciform church of the 12th or 13th century, but
is otherwise entirely of late 15th-century date, except the W. tower, which is of
c. 1450; the building is finely proportioned and the stair-turret of the two-storeyed
N. vestry, the N. porch, the internal stone panelling and the carved angels forming
the cornice of the chancel are remarkable (Plates pp. 39, 148, 150). Maids' Moreton
is entirely of one date; the design, especially that of the W. tower (Plate p. 186),
and the fan-vaulting in the tower and porches are particularly good. At North
Marston the chancel was re-built and the two-storeyed N. vestry added (Plate p. 22)
at this period, and the external details call for special notice. Most of the church
towers are of the 15th century—either added at that time, as at Bletchley and Wing,
or re-built as in the upper part of the fine central tower at Sherington (Plate p. 260),
and the whole of the central tower at Shenley Church End; the W. tower, with
spire, at Hanslope (Plate p. 133) was also added early in this century, but the spire
has been practically re-built.
The principal examples of 16th-century work are, the chancel at Middle
Claydon, re-built in 1519, Tattenhoe Church, re-built in 1540, and the W. tower at
Newport Pagnell, erected between 1542 and 1548.
Work of the 17th century, apart from a few porches and some restorations,
is confined to Willen Church, of c. 1680, which is said to have been built by
Sir Christopher Wren for Dr. Busby of Westminster (Plate p. 330).
Thirty-six churches have low-side windows, more than double the number
in the southern part of the county. In some churches they occur near the W. end
on both sides of the chancel, but as a rule they are found only in the S. wall.
Most of them are of the 14th century and only the windows of that date are of
the transom type; of this type there are thirteen examples, at Adstock, Preston
Bisset, and elsewhere. No old shutters have survived and only the rebates and
iron hooks remain to indicate their former existence. At Haversham Grange a
good 14th-century window with a transom came originally from an ecclesiastical
Less than half the churches included in the Inventory have roofs of earlier
date than 1700, and most of the old roofs are of the 15th century; Twyford has
one of the best examples, while those at Bletchley, Edlesborough, Ivinghoe, North
Crawley, Newport Pagnell, and Wing are all noteworthy (Plate p. 41). Among
the roofs of later date the low-pitched and panelled roof of the nave at Walton
Church is interesting as a late 16th or early 17th-century copy of a 15th-century
There are few traces of monastic buildings: the most considerable remains are
at Chetwode where much of the material of the quire of the priory church has apparently been re-used in the chancel and nave of the present parish church. Of Tickford
Abbey at Newport Pagnell, probably the earliest foundation in the whole county,
only a few carved stones remain. At Bradwell Abbey (Plate p. 24) nearly all the
remains are incorporated in later buildings and no structure there can be identified
with the monastic plan.
The district does not yield many good illustrations of domestic planning,
but at least one example is of peculiar interest; this is Creslow Manor House,
of c. 1330, which retains the greater part of the hall and the whole of an elaborately
designed solar wing (Plates pp. 95, 96, 98). There are also a few small houses and
cottages such as Church Farm, Wingrave, and a cottage at Cheddington (No. 7),
originally constructed in bays with trusses of a very simple type, which may date
from an even earlier period. Twyford Vicarage and the Priory, Whitchurch, are
houses of a moderate size dating from the 15th century. Doddershall House,
Quainton, is part of an early 16th-century building of the courtyard type, as is
also Castle House, Buckingham, of c. 1500, apparently with the hall on the
first floor. The finest house of late 16th-century date is Gayhurst House,
which internally has been, however, considerably altered; a smaller example, of
early 17th-century date, is Hall Farm, Beachampton. The old Tile House at
Lillingstone Dayrell is an interesting example of a late 17th-century house on a
small scale and Winslow Hall, attributed to Sir Christopher Wren, is a large
building of 1700 (Plate p. 342). In addition there are many houses, especially
at Stewkley, Swanbourne, East Claydon, and Steeple Claydon, with detail and
design of 16th and 17th-century date, but internally much altered.
The only secular roofs of interest are the traceried and carved roof of the
15th century in a barn at Rectory Cottages, Bletchley, the remaining central truss,
also of the 15th century in the Priory, Whitchurch, and the remains of the queen-post
roof of c. 1500 at Castle House, Buckingham; some ceiling-beams at Castle House
are also noteworthy (Plate p. 76).
Bridges, Village Crosses, etc.
The bridge across the Ouse between Buckingham and Thornborough (Plate
p. 297) is the only example mentioned in the Inventory. It is built of stone and is of
the 14th century.
Remains of three village crosses survive, at Buckingham, Quainton (Plate p. 24)
and Weston Underwood.
Altars:—Only two churches have pre-Reformation altar-slabs. At Addington,
there are two slabs, one, set in the modern communion table, is small and well preserved, with five consecration crosses, while the other is a fragment of a larger slab
with one incised cross. At Hillesden, under the communion table is a complete slab,
but it retains only two of the crosses.
Bells:—Of the existing bells cast before 1700 nearly half came from the local
foundries of the Attons at Buckingham, and the Chandlers at Drayton Parslow, and
of those bells the Chandlers were responsible for more than two-thirds. The oldest
bells are the two, of c. 1300, at Bradwell by Michael of Wymbis, a London founder;
the only other known examples of his work are the two bells at Bradenham and one
at Lee in S. Buckinghamshire. The bell at Tattenhoe bears the name of another
London founder, Peter of Weston, who died in 1347. Many of the older bells also
came from London, but after the 14th century a large number were cast at Woodstock, Reading, Chacombe in Northamptonshire, Leicester, Stamford in Lincolnshire,
Books:—A manuscript Bible at Buckingham Church is said to be of c. 1320 or
of earlier date. A Bible and prayer book of 1638 are preserved at Bletchley. At
Willen there is a very large collection of books, consisting of 620 volumes dating from
the 16th to the 18th century, the gift of Dr. Busby and Mr. Hume, a former rector
of Bradwell. Winslow Church contains books, including seven volumes of a Commentary of 1508 on the Old and New Testament, a black-letter Bible of 1611, and
the Life and Works of Bishop Jewel, 1611. Other books mentioned in the
Inventory include Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and dated Bibles of the 16th and
Brasses:—Examples are more common in the eastern than in the western half
of the district, and an unusually large proportion are of the 17th century. Some of
the brasses included in the Inventory are of unusual interest. The marginal inscription to John Olney, 1405, at Weston Underwood, records a petition to the Pope that
the right of burial might be granted to the church, which at that time was a chapel.
The inscription has unfortunately been removed from its slab and refixed in wrong
order. There is also a brass of John Mordon, alias Andrew, 1410, at Emberton, with
a curious inscription recording the gift of service books to various churches. The
inscription has been extended and explained for us by Dr James, the Provost of
King's College, Cambridge, and is as follows:—
'Orate pro anima magistri Johannis Mordon alias Andrew quondam Rectoris
istius ecclesie qui dedit isti ecclesie portos missale ordinale pars oculi in oraticula
ferrea manuale processionale et ecclesie de Olney catholicon legendam auream et
portos in craticula ferrea et ecclesie de Hullemorton portos in craticula ferrea et alia
ornamenta qui obiit die . . . . . mensis . . . . . anno domini M° CCCC° X cuius
anime propicietur deus amen.'
'Portos' is a breviary; 'Missale', a mass-book; 'Ordinale' a book of
directions for the services, or Pie. A Pars oculi (Pars oculi sacerdotis by Walter
Parker or William de Pagula) is a manual for the use of parish priests, which
begins with the words 'Cum ecclesiae quibus praeficiuntur personae minus
idoneae . . . . .'. 'Manuale' is a book containing the 'occasional' services, such
as Baptism, Marriage, etc. A 'Catholicon' is the dictionary and grammar of Latin
by John Balbi (J. Januensis), c. 1286. 'Legenda aurea' is a book containing the
legendary lives of the Saints by Jacobus de Voragine (c. 1230–1298). The words
'in craticula ferrea' may mean either an open work book-cover of iron, or, as
Dr. James suggests, 'an iron grid' or desk in the church, to which the books were
The earliest brass is that of Joan Plessi, c. 1350, at Quainton; the latest is
that of John Woollhed, 1709, at Thornborough. Of the brasses of ecclesiastics, the
earliest, that of John Swynstede, 1395, was perhaps the finest brass in the county;
it was originally at Edlesborough, but is now in private possession at Ashridge,
Little Gaddesden, Herts. Other good brasses of priests are at Turweston, early 15th-century; at Twyford, of John Everdon, 1413; at Quainton, of John Lewys, 1422,
an early example of a kneeling figure apparently in academical dress, and of John
Spence, 1485, in cope, etc; an interesting example is that of John Garbrand, 1589,
at North Crawley, engraved on a quadrangular plate, with hourglass, etc; the brasses
of Erasmus Williams, 1608, at Tingewick, and of Thomas Sparke, 1616, at Bletchley,
are quadrangular plates elaborately engraved with a symbolic design and with
allegorical figures of Fame and Death. The brass of Dame Susan Kyngeston, 1540,
at Shalstone, is the only instance in the county with an inscription to a
'Vowes'. The earliest military brass is of Sir John Reynes, 1428, at Clifton Reynes,
somewhat mutilated, but very well engraved. There are good military brasses at
Thornton, of Robert Ingylton, 1472, with his three wives, which is said to be the
only brass in England with a quadruple canopy; at Tyringham, of a knight,
probably John Teryngham, in tabard and vizored salade, etc., late 15th-century;
at Edlesborough, of John Rufford, 1540; at Middle Claydon, of Roger Giffard, 1542,
an unusually fine representation of the armour of the period (Plate p. 197); at
Chicheley, of Anthony Cave, 1558, merchant of the Staple of Calais. There are a
fairly large number of brasses of civilians from the end of the 14th to the 17th century; of special interest are those at Lillingstone Lovell, of Thomas Clarell, 1471,
the only figure represented as wearing the Collar of Suns and Roses, the badge of
Edward IV; at Slapton, of James Tornay, 1519, yeoman of the Crown, wearing a
furred robe with a crown on the left shoulder; at Swanbourne, of Thomas Adams,
1626, with a curious inscription referring to his murder; at Wing, of Thomas
Cotes, 1648, porter of Ascott Hall, engraved on a quadrangular plate, with his hat,
key and staff. The costume of women is fairly well illustrated from c. 1350, by
the brass of Joan Plessi already noted, down to the 17th century, by the brass
of Margret Myssenden, 1612, at Whaddon, the Brugis brass, 1647, at Edlesborough, and others. Palimpsest brasses occur at Twyford (Thomas Giffard, 1550)
and at Middle Claydon (the inscription to Roger Gyffard, 1542).
Chairs:—The best examples are those at Clifton Reynes, Emberton and
Leckhampstead Churches, all of the 17th century and of the usual type, with carved
backs, shaped arms and turned legs.
Chests:—The earliest is at Cublington Church, of late 12th or early 13th-century date (Plate p. 50); a chest at Pitstone Church is of the 13th century, and
at Moulsoe is a late 13th or early 14th-century example. Haversham Church
contains a chest probably of the 15th century. North Crawley has a very richly
carved and inlaid chest of late 16th-century date. Most of the others are of the
17th century; six of them bear dates of the second half of the century, and a
panelled chest of 1690 at Buckingham is a good late specimen; the undated examples
at Newport Pagnell, Newton Longville, Radclive and Whitchurch Churches are
noteworthy. The chest at Loughton is a 'Poor Man's box' probably of the
Churchyard Crosses:—Nine churchyards have remains of crosses; the best is
at Hillesden (Plate p. 148); it is of the 14th century and almost complete. At
Twyford there is part of an octagonal shaft and a panelled base carved with figures in
niches, of late 14th or early 15th-century date; at Winslow there is the base and
part of the panelled top of the shaft of a 15th-century Cross.
Communion Tables and Rails:—A table at Tingewick is of late 16th-century
date, but most of the tables included in the Inventory are of the 17th century. The
following churches have dated examples: Stoke Hammond, 1619 (Plate p. 50),
Maids' Moreton, 1623, Grandborough, 1625, Foscott, 1633, and Padbury, 1634
(Plate p. 50). At Cheddington there is an early 17th-century table of unusually
elaborate design (Plate p. 50). The best of the eleven examples of rails are those
at Radclive, early 17th-century, and at Willen, late 17th-century.
Consecration Crosses:—Padbury Church retains one painted consecration
cross, probably of c. 1330, in the N. aisle. At Hillesden Church ten well preserved
internal crosses are visible, and at Maids' Moreton there are traces of eight others in
the nave; they are all of late 15th-century date and of the usual type with a cross
formy in a circle. The remaining external crosses are of doubtful authenticity.
Doors:—Most of the church doors are of plain design, though Maids' Moreton
possesses an elaborately traceried N. door of late 15th-century date, and the N. door,
of the same date, at Hillesden has remains of carving and is pierced with bullet holes
probably dating from the time of the Civil War of the 17th century. The S. door
at Hardwick, of the 14th century, is perhaps the earliest remaining in N.
Buckinghamshire. The N. porch at Maids' Moreton contains a panelled door in
a doorway dated 1637. At Willen and Ravenstone, in the nave, there are good
examples of late 17th-century doors.
In secular buildings few doors are of earlier date than the 17th century, but
good 16th-century examples remain at the Manor House, Marsh Gibbon, and at
Easter Sepulchres:—At Lillingstone Dayrell there is a good specimen, of late
13th-century date. The tomb recesses at Olney, Soulbury and Woughton-on-theGreen, all of the 14th century, were probably used as Easter Sepulchres.
Fonts and Font-covers:—Most of the fonts of early date are plain, but at Wing
is the base of a late 12th-century font of the 'Aylesbury' type, and the font at
Pitstone (Plate p. 238) is a variety of the same type. A late 12th-century font
at Little Woolstone, and a carved font of c. 1210 at Linslade, are illustrated on
the opposite page. Leckhampstead has an interesting example of an octagonal
bowl re-cut and carved in the 14th century from a circular 12th-century bowl, also
carved; a panel of the original carving has been retained (Plate opposite). At the
N. end of the county a group of seven octagonal fonts of late 14th or early
15th-century date have panelled sides, either of window-tracery pattern, or carved
with heraldic devices or figures of Saints; three of them, at Clifton Reynes, Emberton
and Sherington, are illustrated, with a panelled font of late 15th-century date at
Drayton Parslow (Plate opposite); a few other fonts, with foliated panels or carving
of the 14th and 15th centuries, are scattered about the county. At Willen is a good
marble font of late 17th-century date, with a cover of oak (Plate opposite). Almost
all the other font-covers included in the Inventory are also of the 17th century.
One of the best is that at Newton Longville, with a carved counterpoise. North
Crawley has a good example dated 1640. The cover at Whitchurch, no longer in
use, has curious moulded counterpoises (Plate opposite).
Glass:—With few exceptions the old glass is fragmentary. The only 13th-century glass is the very beautiful example of grisaille with coloured subject
panels at Chetwode Church; one of the best panels contains a figure of St. John
the Baptist holding the Agnus Dei and is reproduced in the frontispiece to this
volume; another panel shows a shield charged with the leopards of England.
Some figures in the same window are of the 14th century, and other good examples
of the same century are, the figure of a bishop at Clifton Reynes, the figures, etc., at
Weston Underwood, the figures and shields with arms at Wing and, amongst
the smaller remains, the representation of the Pelican in her Piety at Whitchurch,
and two censing angels at Whaddon. Of the 15th-century glass, the most complete
specimen is in the S. transept at Hillesden, where eight panels illustrate some of the
legends of St. Nicholas, and fragments in most of the other windows show that this
church formerly possessed a fine collection of glass. The figure subjects at Stoke
Hammond and the heraldry, etc., at Drayton Parslow and Clifton Reynes are also
good 15th-century work. There is little 16th or 17th-century glass, and only the
examples in the churches at Addington, Fenny Stratford, and Stoke Hammond are
Lecterns:—Only three lecterns and the remains of a fourth are of earlier date
than 1700; they are all of wood. That at Ivinghoe Church is of the 15th century.
The lectern at Cublington is dated 1685; that at Quainton now consists only of a
desk, and is dated 1682. The other example, at Swanbourne, is also of the 17th
Monuments:—The northern half of the county is fairly rich in monuments,
ranging from 13th-century coffin slabs, of which there is a good example at Marsh
Gibbon, to the elaborate architectural structures of late 17th-century date. At
Twyford there is a fine Purbeck marble effigy of a knight of c. 1230 (see Plates
opposite and p. 304). Three monuments at Clifton Reynes are of the 14th century
(Plates pp. 43, 92), two of them, have each two wooden effigies of a knight and a lady,
of 1300–10 and 1320–30, and the elaborate series of body garments of the second
knight are noteworthy (Plate opposite). The third monument, of c. 1375, has
elaborately carved effigies of stone, and an interesting series of small figures
illustrating a variety of male and female costumes of the period. At Leckhampstead there is an effigy of a knight, of c. 1325. At Stowe and Hoggeston are effigies
of civilians, and at Woughton-on-the-Green is an effigy of a priest, all of the 14th
century, while at Biddlesden there are fragments of a 14th-century gravestone, which
has lettering inlaid with lead. At Haversham is a late 14th-century tomb of
elaborate design with an alabaster effigy of a woman. There is a beautiful
alabaster effigy of a knight at Bletchley, of the second quarter of the 15th century
(Plate opposite), and at Thornton are alabaster effigies of a man and a woman
(Plate pp. 298, 43), of slightly later date. A 15th-century effigy of a priest, at
Ivinghoe, is interesting, although somewhat crudely carved.
One of the finest monuments in the district is that of Margaret Giffard,
1539, at Middle Claydon, with a beautifully modelled alabaster effigy (see Plates
opposite and p. 197). Mursley Church contains an altar tomb of 'Gothic' character,
and probably of c. 1525, set with brasses of 1570. At Wing a large architectural
monument of 1552, to members of the Dormer family (Plate p. 43), is of the purest
Italian design. At Hillesden the Denton tomb of 1560 has alabaster effigies of a
knight and lady, at Lillingstone Dayrell the tomb with effigies of 1571 is evidently by
the same sculptor as the Peckham monument at Denham (see Inventory of South
Buckinghamshire, pp. xxviii. and 116). Two monuments at Chicheley (Plate
p. 43) and Hillesden, both of 1576, are decorated with grotesque human forms.
At Wing the two Dormer monuments of 1590 and c. 1600 have an interesting series
of alabaster effigies (see Plates opposite and p. 43). There are also monuments of
this period, with effigies of Sir John Fortescue and his wife, at Mursley, and of
Thomas Stafford of Tattenhoe (alabaster) at Shenley Church End (Plate p. 43). At
Stowe is a well modelled shrouded figure of Dame Martha Penyston, 1619, and at
Chicheley is a tomb of 1637, with effigies of Sir Anthony Chester and his wife.
There are elaborate monuments of the second half of the 17th century at Middle
Claydon erected by Sir Ralph Verney to his wife, c. 1655; at Twyford, to
members of the Wenman family, set up c. 1660; at Castle Thorpe, with alabaster
effigies of Sir Thomas Tyrrill, 1671, and his wife; at Ravenstone, to Heneage Finch,
Earl of Nottingham, 1682 (Plate opposite); at Beachampton, to Simon Benet, 1682;
and at Quainton, to Richard Winwood, set up in 1689. At Quainton there is
also an 18th-century monument, designed by Leoni, to Sir Richard Piggot, who
died in 1685.
There are funeral helms at Bletchley and Quainton; at Lillingstone Dayrell
there are two, one a 17th-century copy of the other, which is probably also
of the 17th century, but is made up with the skull of a genuine close helmet
of the 16th century. The helms at Wing and Stantonbury are also probably
of the 17th century, but made up from 16th-century helmets. At Tyringham is
the vizor of a 15th-century helmet.
Niches:—The remaining niches are generally of the 14th or 15th century,
that in the W. tower of Stowe Church is of c. 1330 and has a vaulted canopy; it is
especially interesting as it contains a carved crucifix and figures of St. Mary and
St. John (Plate p. 22). In the S. aisle at Great Horwood there is a late 14th-century
niche with three shields, one bearing the arms of the Passion. Other interesting
14th-century examples are at Whitchurch, in the jambs of the W. window of the
tower, and at Emberton, in the E. buttresses. Elaborately carved niches of the
15th century occur in the porches at Hillesden, Maids' Moreton and Winslow and
in the E. gable of the chancel at North Marston.
Paintings:—The best 13th-century painting is that at Little Horwood Church,
showing incidents in the life of St. Nicholas; it is partly concealed by a 16th-century
representation of the 'Seven Deadly Sins' (Plate p. 176). Wingrave Church contains
a 13th-century painting of two angels. At Leckhampstead Church are remains of
13th-century inscriptions, and one of them, 'Hic sedet Isabella', may possibly be
the record of a seat of that period. The representations of incidents in the life of
St. Catherine, and of the 'Seven Deadly Sins' at Padbury are probably of c. 1330.
An unusual painting, at Broughton (Plate p. 71), is of c. 1400, and depicts the
Virgin with the mutilated body of Christ on her knees, surrounded by figures of
men holding parts from the body of Christ. The 15th-century paintings include
the remains of three 'Dooms', at Broughton, Clifton Reynes and Lathbury, a very
fine painting of St. George and the Dragon at Broughton (Plate p. 72), and
representations of St. Christopher at Little Horwood and Winslow, St. Margaret and
the Dragon at Whitchurch, the murder of St. Thomas of Canterbury at Winslow,
and the 'Seven Sacraments' at Lathbury. At Swanbourne there is a late 15th or
early 16th-century painting of the different conditions of the soul of man before and
after death. There is a painted badge at Hanslope, of the 15th century, and shields
at Hillesden, of the 16th and possibly the 17th century. Most of the other
16th-century paintings are in the form of inscriptions and foliage. At Maids'
Moreton is a representation of 'The Last Supper', of late 16th or early 17th-century
date. Some of the paintings have suffered apparently from decay since they have
The rood-screen at North Crawley Church has well preserved 15th-century
paintings of Prophets, Saints, etc., and the fragment of a screen at Quainton
(Plate p. 48) has similar work, of late 15th or early 16th-century date. The chapel
at Bradwell Abbey contains the Stuart Royal Arms and other work of the
Few wall paintings remain in secular buildings, but at Loughton Manor House
there is some interesting line decoration of late 16th-century date (Plate p. 178), which
has been covered up since our visit.
Piscinae:—The capital of an 11th or 12th-century pillar piscina remains at
Lavendon, and a 12th-century shaft and capital have been re-used for a pillar piscina
at Addington. Swanbourne is the only church which has a 13th-century piscina with
two basins, while four churches, Lathbury, Lillingstone Lovell, Marsworth and
Whitchurch, have 14th-century double piscinae; the best are the two examples at
Lillingstone Lovell. Among the 14th-century piscinae of the single basin type, those
at Grendon Underwood, Great Horwood and Milton Keynes (Plate p. 39) are the
most notable; Twyford has a 14th-century pillar piscina, and at Grandborough,
Haversham and Winslow piscinae have been formed in the splays of 14th-century
windows. At Woughton-on-the-Green is an elaborate piscina of the 15th century,
and at Maids' Moreton, North Marston and Wing are pillar piscinae of the same
Plate:—The only example of pre-Reformation church plate is the interesting
15th-century paten at Woughton-on-the-Green (Plate p. 50). The large majority
of pieces are of the 17th century, but the cup and cover paten at Aston Abbots and
the cup at Little Horwood are of 1562, the old chalice at Aston Abbots having
been exchanged in that year for a new 'cuppe'; Linslade and Wingrave have each
a cup of 1568, and twenty-two churches have cups, some with cover patens, of
1569, that at Leckhampstead being one of the best examples.
Pulpits:—Only two pre-Reformation pulpits survive. That at Edlesborough
(Plate p. 110), is of the 15th century, and has a tall vaulted and traceried canopy of
the same date. The pulpit at Bow Brickhill also has remains of traceried work of the
15th century. That at Marsworth is almost entirely modern, but stands on a curious
stone capital of the 14th century, probably diverted from its original use. The other
pulpits are of the 17th century; the best are those at Cheddington (Plate p. 48),
at Ivinghoe (Plate p. 156), and at Pitstone (Plate p. 238), with sounding-boards,
and at Middle Claydon, all of the first half of the century, and at Wavendon, of
the second half of the century.
Screens:—There are very few screens or remains of screens in the churches;
the most complete are those at Edlesborough (Plate p. 110), Hillesden (Plate
p. 150), North Crawley, Maids' Moreton, Wing, Middle Claydon, Great Horwood
and Oving, all of 15th or early 16th-century date; at Edlesborough, Hillesden and
North Crawley are remains of the rood-lofts. The best screens of the 17th century
occur at Ravenstone, late 17th-century, and at Castle Thorpe, early 17th-century.
At Wingrave (Plate p. 48) an interesting 15th-century screen has been removed
to a cart-shed and is likely to suffer damage in its present position.
At Quainton Rectory there is a good hall-screen of c. 1500, with linen
panelling and shields with arms.
Seats and Stalls:—Edlesborough contains the finest set of stalls, with carved
misericordes and traceried desks, of the 15th century (Plate p. 160), and the 15th-century stalls at North Marston also have carved misericordes. Many of the
churches have 15th or early 16th-century standards with poppy-heads and tracery
or other carving; the best are those at Ivinghoe (Plate p. 156), Whitchurch and
Buckingham (Plate p. 48). At Hillesden there are good examples of early 16th-century seats with linen panels. The late 17th-century seats at Willen (Plate
p. 48) and Ravenstone are interesting on account of their similarity in style
Sedilia:—In some of the churches these are formed by lowering a convenient
window-sill. The best example of the more elaborate type is that at Chetwode,
c. 1250 (Plate p. 86), and at Stewkley there is a projecting stone seat with a standard
at one end, probably also of the 13th century (Plate p. 39). Most of the sedilia are
of the 14th century, and those at Clifton Reynes, Milton Keynes (Plate p. 39),
Newport Pagnell and Preston Bisset are noteworthy.
Staircases:—There are very few staircases of note; the best is that at Hall
Farm, Beachampton (Plate p. 62), with elaborately carved oak newels, etc., of early
17th-century date. At the Manor House, Marsh Gibbon, are two good plain and
heavy staircases probably of late 16th and early 17th-century date; and a similar
staircase, of c. 1610, survives at Creslow Manor House.
Tiles:—The early 13th-century tiles at Lillingstone Dayrell are of interest,
and some 14th-century examples remain in various churches. Pitstone Church
contains many 15th-century tiles with different inscriptions, including 'Ricard' me
fecit', and the same inscription occurs on tiles at Milton Keynes and Moulsoe.
Other 15th-century examples at Milton Keynes bear the arms of Beauchamp.
Thornborough Church has a considerable number of tiles, also probably of the 15th
Miscellanea:—The following details are of special interest on account of their
rarity:—Alabasters of the 15th century occur at Stewkley and Grandborough; the
representation of the Virgin and Child with censing angels at Stewkley is very good.
A 13th-century Book-rest, in the splay of the S.W. window of the chancel at Pitchcott,
is remarkable. The Chrismatory (Plate p. 50) at Grandborough is an interesting
relic of the 15th century, which escaped destruction by being built into the E. wall
of the nave of the church; it is practically complete, except the gabled lid, of which
only pieces remain. Each of the three receptacles still retains the tow with which
the oil was administered. Alms-shovels, all of the 17th century, occur at Whaddon
(two dated 1643), at Little Brickhill (1664), at Tingewick (1676) and at Water
Stratford (undated). A 14th-century stone Image of a woman standing on a carved
and moulded corbel adorns Newton Longville Church, and there are remains of
a 15th-century wooden image at Great Horwood. At North Marston there are two
lead Rainwater-heads of late 15th-century date, one with the figure of a bishop in
Mass vestments. A Speaking or singing-trumpet, probably of the 17th century,
survives at Haversham. An unusually elaborate Sundial at Hillesden Church bears
the date 1601 and an inscription.
The condition of the earthworks generally is fairly good, and the more
important remains are not apparently in any danger of destruction.
Of the 100 old churches the condition of 55 may be passed as extremely good;
many of these, however, have been much restored or partly re-built. The other
churches are in good or fairly good condition, except in one or two particulars. Thus,
17 have cracks or distortions in the walls and arches on account of unequal settlements in the foundations, due principally to movement in the clay subsoil. Some
of these settlements are apparently old, but at Edlesborough, Grove, Milton Keynes,
Newport Pagnell, North Marston, Pitstone, Quainton and Woughton-on-the-Green
they appear to be recent and of a more serious nature. In 14 cases the stonework
is weathering badly. In 7 other churches the weathered stone dressings have
been repaired or covered with cement which has stripped off, causing further damage
to the surface of the stone beneath it. At Weston Underwood the mortar in the
walls is crumbling away. Castle Thorpe and Walton Churches are damp; the
dampness at Walton is caused probably by the close proximity of river and
floodland, but is increased by the growth of ivy on the S. walls of the chancel, nave
and tower; 11 other churches have ivy upon the walls, which may cause damage
unless it is kept in check, and at Whaddon the W. wall of the N. chapel has been
damaged by the flue of a stove. Little Woolstone and Tattenhoe Churches, from
disuse or little use, have a neglected appearance.
At Stony Stratford East, the church has been entirely burnt down, except the
tower which is almost in ruins; another church, Hogshaw, has been completely
destroyed; 4 churches have been re-built, except the W. tower, 3 have a few
old stones re-used, and 3 some old fittings from the former church. In 2 churches,
Grove and Thornton, the chancels have been destroyed and not re-built, while in
many Churches other parts have disappeared.
The 6 chapels included in the Inventory have been converted to secular uses.
The chapel at Bradwell Abbey is now used as a fowlhouse and lumber shed, while that
at Creslow is a coachhouse and storehouse. The chapel at Lillingstone Dayrell has
been converted into cottages, while that at Liscombe Park, Soulbury, is a billiard
room, and that at Chelmscott Manor House, also at Soulbury, now forms part of the
dwelling-house. Lastly, at Buckingham, the Chapel of St. John the Baptist and
St. Thomas of Acon, once used as the 'Royal Latin School', is now in the hands of
the National Trust for preservation as a building of historic interest.
About 16 per cent. of the secular buildings, for the most part small cottages,
are in poor or bad condition; about a quarter of this number, including Shakespeare
Farm at Grendon Underwood, Swanbourne Manor House and Hall Farm, Beachampton, are buildings which are only partly occupied, the inhabited part being in
good condition, and the uninhabited part more or less neglected. Horwood House,
at Little Horwood, and some of the cottages there and in other parishes have been
destroyed, in some cases by fire, since they were visited. The Manor House at
North Crawley is an example of a larger building which is being allowed to fall
into decay without prospect of repair. Creslow Manor House suffers naturally