Bletchley

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English Heritage

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1913

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63-66

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'Bletchley', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2: North (1913), pp. 63-66. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=121209 Date accessed: 20 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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111. BLETCHLEY.

(O.S. 6 in. xv. S.W.)

Ecclesiastical

(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on high ground N.E. of the village, and is built of limestone rubble; the roofs are covered with lead. The detail of earliest date is the late 12th-century work of the S. doorway, re-set in the S. aisle, and probably removed from the aisleless Nave of that date. At the end of the 13th century the Chancel was re-built and enlarged to its present size. The South Aisle was added c. 1300, and the North Chapel early in the 14th century; a little later in the same century the first three bays of the North Aisle were built, and early in the 15th century the W. bay was added, and the West Tower built; later in the 15th century the clearstorey was re-constructed. The South Porch was built possibly in the 14th century, but has been re-built, or completely restored. The whole building was restored in the 18th century and again in the 19th century.

The church is especially interesting on account of the development of the plan. Among the fittings the 15th-century alabaster effigy of a knight in armour, in the chancel, is unusually fine work (see Plate, p. 46).

Architectural Description—The Chancel (30½ ft. by 18 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is an early 14th-century doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred head: W. of the doorway, opening into the N. chapel, is an early 14th-century arcade of two bays; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders, with broach-stops and a chamfered label; the inner order of the E. respond has a small semi-octagonal pilaster with a moulded bell-capital, carved with a four-leafed flower resembling dog-tooth ornament; the base is moulded; the W. respond is similar to the other, but the capital is carved with a form of ball-flower, and the outer order dies into the wall; the pillar is octagonal, with a large moulded capital, also carved with ballflower ornament. In the S. wall are two windows and a doorway, all modern. The late 13th-century chancel arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, with remains of a plain chamfered label; the outer order is continuous, the inner rests on moulded corbel capitals. The North Chapel (31 ft. by 13½ ft.) has an E. window of three trefoiled lights with tracery, almost completely restored, but the jambs are of two moulded orders and partly of early 14th-century date. In the N. wall are two late 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights under a square head, all much restored; the rear arch of the eastern window is made up of 14th-century moulded voussoirs; in the wall W. of the eastern window, are external traces of the pointed head of an earlier window. In the W. wall, opening into the aisle, is a 14th-century arch of two chamfered orders, the inner order resting on moulded capitals supported by carved head-corbels. The Nave (48 ft. by 19 ft.) has a N. arcade of four bays, the width of each bay increasing towards the W.: the two-centred arches are of three chamfered orders; the three eastern arches are of the 14th century and of limestone, the fourth is of the 15th century and of clunch; at the E. end the outer orders die into the wall, the innermost rests on a corbel-capital with a grotesque carved head: the pillars are octagonal; the two eastern have moulded 14th-century capitals and plain chamfered bases: the third pillar has an early 15th-century moulded capital and base; the capital and pillar are of clunch, the base is of limestone: the W. respond is that of the 14th-century arcade, re-set; the capital, of limestone, is moulded and carved with four-leafed flower and ball-flower ornament. The S. arcade is of four bays, all of late 13th or early 14th-century date; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders with a plain chamfered label on each side; the pillars are octagonal, with moulded capitals of slightly varied detail, and chamfered bases; the E. respond has a moulded corbel-capital; at the W. end the arch dies into the wall: above the arcade are three quatrefoil openings in chamfered circular reveals, originally the 13th-century clearstorey, now opening into the S. aisle. The 15th-century clearstorey has four windows on each side, all of three pointed lights. The North Aisle (13½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, three 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights in a flat head and all much restored; between the western windows is the N. doorway, which has a two-centred head and is of two orders, the outer order chamfered, the inner moulded, with a moulded external label, all of the 14th century, much restored. In the W. wall is a window similar to those in the N. wall. The South Aisle (10½ ft. wide) has an E. window of c. 1330, of four trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. In the S. wall are two modern windows: between them is the S. doorway; the outer order of the two-centred head is enriched with beak ornament and of late 12th-century date, re-set c. 1200; the inner order and the moulded jambs are of later date or re-cut. The West Tower (14 ft. by 13 ft.) is of three stages, with a diagonal buttress at the N.W. angle, and an octagonal staircase at the S.W. angle; the embattled parapet has been entirely restored or re-built. The early 15th-century tower arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders separated by a hollow; the jambs are chamfered and moulded, with semi-octagonal pilasters, which have moulded capitals and bases. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of four trefoiled lights, with tracery in a pointed head. In the second stage, in the S. wall, is a single-light window, of the same date as the W. window, much restored. The windows of the bell-chamber are modern. The South Porch has been re-built or completely restored, but the entrance archway is apparently of the 14th century, considerably restored, and has a two-centred head of two chamfered orders, and jambs with pilasters which have crudely moulded capitals and bases. The 15th-century Roof of the N. chapel is low-pitched and of three bays, with moulded ridge and purlins. The nave has a low-pitched roof with plain bracketed principals, probably of late 16th-century date. The low-pitched roof of the N. aisle is of early 15th-century date, and has a moulded wall-plate, chamfered purlin and principals supported by curved braces forming two-centred arches, with octagonal moulded bases resting on carved stone corbels. The S. aisle has a 15th-century roof with plain moulded wall-plates and purlins and cambered moulded principals; above the arcade the weathering of the former roof is visible.

Fittings—Book: At the Rectory—large Bible and Prayer-book, dated 1638, in velvet cover with silver mounts, 18th-century. Brass: (see Monument (2)). Font: circular bowl, uncertain date, apparently not mediæval, possibly 17th-century. Font-cover, octagonal, spire-shaped with arabesque panels, early 17th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—under N. arcade (1) altar tomb, second quarter of 15th century, with alabaster effigy of knight in plate armour, head resting on helm, feet on lion, sides of tomb panelled alternately with quatrefoils, containing shields, and cinque-foiled panels, arms painted on shields, barry argent and azure with a label of five points gules, barry argent and azure with three roundels gules in chief, painted on edge of slab inscription to Richard Lord Grey de Wilton, lettering and painting probably 18th-century; (2) on N. wall, on alabaster slab with arabesque ornament, brass of Thomas Sparke, rector of the parish, 1616, engraved bust, figures of three sons, two daughters, other figures, apparently of his congregation, allegorical figures of Death and Fame, and inscription. In N. chapel—in recess under N.E. window, (3) large coffin-slab, with floriated cross and bugle-horn in relief, late 13th-century, defaced; on E. wall, (4) tablet to Rose, daughter of Andrew Inckforby, of Ipswich, wife of Thomas Sparke, 1615; (6) remains of monument with coloured effigies of alabaster, in relief, of man in armour, five sons, three daughters, all kneeling, no inscription, c. 1600. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Alice, wife of Thomas Willis, 1699, incised inscription and lozenge with arms; (2) to Thomas Willis, 1699, incised inscription and arms; (father and mother of Browne Willis, the antiquary). In N. chapel—(3) to Faith, wife of Edward Taylor, 1657. Piscinae (see Sedilia): In N. chapel—with trefoiled head, early 14th-century, defaced. Plate: includes standing paten of 1698, silver gilt, engraved with sacred monogram, and inscription recording the donation by Thomas Sparke, rector of the parish. Poor Box: In nave—on a moulded baluster stem, dated 1637. Recesses: In N. chapel—under N.E. window, for tomb, with segmental pointed head of two moulded orders, 14th-century, much defaced. In N. aisle— at E. end, for altar, wall cut away from floor for three or four feet, overhanging part carried on moulded corbel-course, 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—four recesses, one probably originally piscina, seats divided by circular columns with moulded capitals and bases, late 13th or early 14th-century, much scraped and restored. Miscellanea: In chancel—between N. doorway and E. respond of arcade, small opening with trefoiled head, now blocked; over tomb in E. bay of arcade, elaborate funeral helm, gilt and coloured, made up from a 17th-century close helmet; scratched on buttress, E. of N. doorway sundial in small circle. N. chapel—on parapet of E. wall, carved chalice and wafer, in low relief. In bell-chamber—works of a clock, late 17th or early 18th-century, out of repair.

Condition—Good; very much restored.

Secular

(2). Rectory Cottages, house, now two tenements, and a Barn, about 170 yards S. of the church. The Cottages are of two storeys and an attic; the S. front is of modern brick and the other walls are covered with rough-cast, but some timber-framing is visible. They form an L-shaped building, the wings extending towards the N.E. and N.W. At the W. end of the N.W. wing is a rectangular block, now used as a Barn, of one storey, timber-framed and covered with weather-boarding; it has an early 15th-century roof, originally of three bays; the E. bay is now incorporated in the N.W. wing of the L-shaped building which was built early in the 17th century, and has been much restored. The roofs are tiled.

The 15th-century roof of the barn is especially interesting.

The N.E. wing has a central chimney stack, with four attached square shafts, built of thin bricks, with a moulded brick course half-way up; the shafts have been restored at the top. Interior:— On the ground floor, in the N.E. wing, the timber-framing is visible, and there are moulded and chamfered ceiling-beams and a wide fireplace, partly blocked. On the first floor is a large fireplace, with a flat three-centred arch of stone and an old door of wide battens with strap-hinges. The N.W. wing also shows the 17th-century timber construction.

The barn has an elaborately designed hammer-beam roof of the 15th century, with one bay in the N.W. wing of the house; the main trusses are supported on large moulded uprights, the hammer-beams have carved heads, and are supported by curved struts, the upper collar-beams have curved struts forming an arch, and the spandrels and space above the hammer-beams are filled by smaller arches; between the main trusses are intermediate hammer-beams with carved heads, curved struts, and vertical supports to the lower purlins; at the level of the wall-plate is a moulded cornice.

Condition—Generally good, but the interior of the barn is suffering from its present use for the storage of lumber. The door described above in the N.E. wing has been removed to the Rectory since date of visit.

Monuments (3–14).

These buildings are all, except one, of two storeys, and timber-framed, generally with brick filling which is almost entirely modern. Almost all the roofs are thatched. All the buildings are probably of the 17th century, except (13), which is possibly of earlier date. The plan is generally rectangular. Many of the buildings have wide fireplaces, partly blocked, and old ceiling-beams.

(3). Cottage, about 250 ft. S.W. of (2). The walls retain some original wattle and daub filling. The roof has original wind-braces.

Condition—Poor.

(4). Cottage, 100 ft. N.W. of (3). At the W. end is some original wattle and daub filling; on the S. side is a modern addition. The roof has original wind-braces.

Condition—Poor.

(5). Cottage, on the S.E. side of the road, 250 yards S.W. of the church. The filling of the walls is partly of old thin bricks. At the E. end is a modern addition.

Condition—Poor.

(6). Cottage, now two tenements, N.W. of (5), on the opposite side of the road. It is of L-shaped plan, and has two modern additions. The central chimney stack is of old thin bricks.

Condition—Poor.

(7). Well House, in a by-road, about 600 yards S.W. of the church. The walls retain a little original filling of wattle and daub, except the S. front which has been re-faced with modern brick. One chimney stack is of 17th-century brick. At the back is a small addition, partly modern, but containing an old bread oven.

Condition—Poor.

(8). Cottage, W. of (7). The walls have filling of thin bricks, but are covered with whitewash. The plan is rectangular with a small wing at the back. The central chimney stack is of 17th-century brick.

Condition—Fairly good.

(9). Yew Tree Cottage, on a footpath 50 yards S. of (7). Some original wattle and daub filling remains in the walls, which are entirely covered with plaster. The plan is rectangular, with a wing projecting from the middle of the N. side, and a modern addition at each end. The lower part of the two chimney stacks is of 17th-century brick.

Condition—Poor.

The Fenny Stratford road, N. side

(10). Cottages, two, adjoining, about 130 yards S. of (9). The timber-framed skeleton of the building remains, with a little of the brick filling. The lower part of the central chimney stack is also of thin bricks.

Condition—Ruinous at time of visit, since demolished.

(11). House, about 50 yards W. of (10). The walls have been almost entirely re-built or encased with modern brick. Both chimney stacks are partly of 17th-century brick.

Condition—Good; much altered.

(12). Cottage, now a dwelling and shop, 5/8 mile S.W. by W. of the church. One window at the back has an old frame and leaded lights. The roof is tiled. The chimney stack in the W. half of the building is modern above the roof. Interior:— On the first floor the old rafters and wind-braced purlins of the roof are visible.

Condition—Fairly good; thatch of roof in bad repair.

S. side

(13). Cottage, now two tenements, ½ mile S.W. of the church. It was built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. The N. front has brick filling in herring-bone pattern, covered with thick yellow wash, and on the upper floor are windows with old frames. The roof is of corrugated iron. The chimney stack in the E. half of the building is of thin bricks.

Condition—Fairly good.

(14). House and Barn, about 150 yards N.W. of (13), on the W. side of the road to Shenley Brook End. The House is covered with pebble-dash and whitewash. At the E. end is a projecting chimney stack of 17th-century brick. At the W. end and at the back are modern additions. The Barn, W. of the house, is a rectangular building of one storey, and of three and a half bays, originally at least one bay longer. On the S. side the base is of large stones. The 17th-century roof has three large trusses with tie-beams, collar-beams, struts and curved braces.

Condition—Of house, good, much restored; of barn, poor.



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