An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.
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b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands N. of the village, and is built of limestone, partly ashlared, and partly in coursed and squared rubble; the chancel is covered with rough-cast; the dressings are of coarse limestone and clunch. The roofs are covered with lead and with tiles. The Chancel, with a S. chapel, and the South Transept were built or re-built late in the 13th century; there are traces of an earlier building in the unusual thickness of the chancel arch, which may indicate the former existence of a central tower, and a small fragment of 12th-century work re-set in a doorway in the S. transept. The Tower, of which the ground stage forms a north transept, was added about the middle of the 14th century, and late in the 15th century the Nave was widened, apparently by destroying a S. arcade and including a S. aisle which existed at that time; the depth of the S. transept is a proof that a S. aisle existed or was added when the transept was built in the 13th century; the walls of the nave were heightened also in the 15th century, and the South Porch was built at the same time. In the 16th century the present South Chapel was built on the site of the late 13th-century chapel; the nave was again heightened and the present roof was added probably late in the 16th century. The building was generally restored towards the end of the 19th century.
The church is unusually interesting on account of the curious development of the plan. Among the fittings the 13th-century effigy in the E. wall of the nave, the 17th-century monument with fine alabaster effigies in the S. chapel, and the 17th-century hour-glass stand are especially worthy of note.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (25½ ft. by 14 ft.) has a late 13th-century E. window, of three sharply pointed, uncusped lights, with pierced spandrels in a pointed head; the external moulded label has mask stops. In the N. wall are three original lancet windows; the external jambs are chamfered, and the internal frames rebated. In the S. wall, opening into the chapel, is an arcade of two bays, with obtuse four-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the arches and the octagonal central column, with moulded base and capital, are of the 16th century; the responds are halfoctagonal, the E. respond with a base of late 13th or early 14th-century date, and a 16th-century capital, the W. respond with base and capital both of the earlier date. The late 13th-century chancel arch is two-centred, and of two chamfered orders; the abaci of the halfoctagonal responds have been re-cut, the bases are of the 15th century, and the arch appears to have been partly re-built at that date. The South Chapel (25½ ft. by 15 ft.) has an early 16th-century E. window of three wide cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head. In the S. wall are two windows, closely resembling the E. window, and a S. doorway, all of early 16th-century date; the S.E. window and the doorway are now blocked. At the S. end of the W. wall, opening into the transept, is a roughly worked round-headed arch. The Nave (54½ ft. by 25½ ft.) has, in the E. wall, above the chancel arch, traces of the former steep-pitched roof, and, S. of the arch, are traces possibly of the original S. wall of the nave; lower in the wall is a 15th-century arched opening, with moulded jambs and pointed head, possibly formerly the pulpit, opening into a small passage leading to the rood-stairs, of which both doorways remain, the lower doorway S. of the arched opening, the upper doorway next to the E. jamb of the transept arch. In the N. wall, W. of the tower arch, are three late 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; between the two eastern windows is a doorway of the same date, now blocked. In the S. wall, W. of the transept arch, are two late 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery and an external label; the eastern window is two-centred the western four-centred; between them is the S. doorway of the same date, with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head, and another doorway opening into the porch staircase. In the W. wall is a modern window, and on each side of it are straight joints, representing the jambs of the original 15th-century window; below the window, visible externally, are traces of a doorway. The North Transeptal Tower (12 ft. by 10 ft.) is of two stages, with a plain parapet, heavy diagonal buttresses at the N. angles, and a stair-turret, carried above the parapet, in the angle between the W. wall of the tower and the N. wall of the nave. The mid 14th-century tower arch, opening into the nave, is two-centred, and of three chamfered orders with an ogee moulded label on each side; the heavy half-octagonal responds have simple bases and capitals, which appear to have been re-cut. The E. window is of mid 14th-century date, and of three trefoiled lights with flowing tracery in a two-centred head. In the N. wall is a window, also original, of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the two-centred head; below it is a small doorway, of uncertain date, the jambs and pointed head covered with plaster. In the W. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is an original doorway, with a pointed head. The ringing-chamber and bell-chamber have small trefoiled single lights. The South Transept (15½ ft. by 13 ft.) has, in the E. wall, S. of the arch opening into the chapel, a lancet window, similar to those in the chancel, partly blocked, and under it, partly cut off by the S. wall, a small doorway of uncertain date, with a label made up of 12th-century material. In the N. wall is a late 15th-century arch, opening into the nave; it is two-centred and of two moulded orders, with a moulded label; the wide jambs are of three chamfered and moulded orders, with moulded capitals and bases. In the S. wall is a large window of three lancet lights with shafted internal jambs, probably of late 13th-century date. The South Porch is of two storeys, with diagonal buttresses, a plain parapet and a quarter-octagonal stair-turret, carried above the parapets of the porch and nave. The two-centred entrance archway is elaborately moulded and has a label with plain shield stops, and a shield at the apex; above it is a window of two cinque-foiled lights under a two-centred head with external label and shield stops; the label is carried up into the point of the pedimental cornice, which is covered by a much worn gargoyle. The ground stage has a four-centred barrel-vaulted Roof forming five panels, with cinque-foiled heads and foliated spandrels, divided by moulded ribs and ridge. The roof of the chancel is probably of the 15th century, much restored; it is steep-pitched, and originally of plain collar-beam and tie-beam construction, the tie-beam replaced by modern braces; the wall-plate is moulded. The roof of the chapel is low-pitched, with a moulded and mortised ridge, apparently of re-used 16th-century material. The nave has a low-pitched roof, probably of late 16th-century date, much restored, with plain, rough king-post trusses; the wall-brackets are carried on head corbels, apparently of the 15th century, re-set.
Fittings—Bells: three and sanctus; 2nd, by Richard Keene, 1686, sanctus undated. Brasses: In S. chapel—(1) to John Croke, knight, Judge of the King's Bench, 1619, marginal inscription, and second inscription in middle of slab; (2) to John Croke 'the ealder' Master in Chancery, 1554, marginal inscription, and shield bearing a fesse between six martlets, a crescent for difference, quartering a fesse nebuly with six roundels thereon between three rings; (3) to Sir John Croke, knight, 1608, and Elizabeth, his wife [daughter of Sir] [Alexan]der Unton, knight, 1611, marginal inscription, partly broken; see Monument (2); (4) to Edward Croke, 1626, inscription and shield bearing arms of Croke. Door: to the stair-turret of the porch, with crude tracery, late 15th-century. Font: octagonal cupshaped bowl, moulded circular stem and base, all 15th-century, but base probably earlier than bowl. Glass: in E. window of chapel, fragments, including initials P.C., 16th-century. Locker: in N. wall of chancel, plain, rect angular, rebated. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In nave—in E. wall, outside, above the roof of the chancel, (1) effigy of knight, in chain mail, long loose surcoat, legs crossed, late 13th-century. In S. chapel—on S. side, (2) of Sir John Croke, 1608 (see Plate, p. xxviii.), and Elizabeth, his wife 1611; altar tomb in large semi-circular recess, with elaborate architectural setting, Corinthian pilasters, entablature and pediment, of white and coloured marbles, two recumbent effigies, the knight in armour and ruff, his wife in black dress, kneeling figures of eight sons and three daughters, two of the sons in judges' scarlet robes; inscription on tablet at back, trophies of arms on pilasters, round base eleven shields, one over each son and daughter, all bearing arms of Croke, alone, impaled, or impaling another coat, above pediment, over highest shield, helm with crest, two swans' heads rising out of a crescent, figures and arms, etc., coloured; round the tomb original iron railings, with ornamental standards and uprights. In S. transept—on E. wall, (3) of Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Croke, and wife of Sir John Tyrell of Heron, knight, 1631, kneeling figure, with chrisom child, in semi-circular recess with Ionic pillars and pediment, of marble, inscription, shield and lozenge, with arms. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Jane, daughter of Moses Tryon, wife of John Croke, of Chilton, 1636. Plate: includes cup with cover, 1569, cover inscribed 'Chilton 1570'. Screen (see also stalls): between chancel and chapel, panels with traceried heads, carved rail, moulded cornice, 16th-century, mullions replaced by turned balusters, 17th-century. Stalls: in chancel, made up of close panels with traceried heads from a screen, and two carved poppy-head bench-ends, all 16th-century. Stoup: on E. side of S. door, recess with square head. Tiles: in floor of tower, mediæval, much worn. Miscellanea: in S. transept, under wood floor, two tapering, ridged stone slabs, possibly coffin lids: on E. wall of nave, hourglass stand, wrought iron, mid 17th-century: on bracket in S. chapel, funeral helm, made up of close helmet, late 15th or early 16th-century.
b(2). Chilton House, E. of the church, is a large building of three storeys with cellars and an attic, of red brick with stone dressings; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the first half of the 16th century, altered probably early in the 17th century, and almost entirely re-built c. 1740.
The plan is now oblong, but appears to have been originally of half-H or E shape, the wings projecting towards the E.; few traces of the original building remain, except in the N. and S. walls and the cellars, which run from N. to S. under the E half of the middle part of the house, and possibly indicate the position of the original hall and main block. The 18th-century work includes new E. and W. fronts, the filling up of the space between the N. and S. wings and a complete alteration of the interior.
Elevations:—The N. front is of red brick with the remains of a diamond pattern in black headers, and has been much patched; there are traces of three blocked windows with stone dressings, apparently original. Near the W. end is an original chimney stack, of brick with black headers in a diamond pattern; it has a pointed niche in the base, and square shafts, set diagonally, with engaged moulded caps; a second stack is similar, but of early 17th-century date, and has no diamond pattern. The S. front, which is similar in design to the N. front, has been even more altered, but retains, on the ground floor, an original doorway with stop-chamfered jambs and four-centred head; over the doorway is an original window of four lights with pointed heads, set in a square outer order, moulded, and with a moulded label.
Interior:—The cellars have three or four-centred barrel vaulting in brick, apparently original, and in the walls are some small pointed niches. On the first floor, in a room in the N.E. corner of the house, is an early 17th-century fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred head; on it are scratched several contemporary inscriptions, one in French, but all only partly legible. Three rooms at the S. end of the house are lined with early 17th-century panelling, re-set. On the second floor, at the S. end of the house, is a long narrow room lined with 16th-century linen panelling, re-set.
Between the N. garden and the stable yard is an old wall of stone rubble in which is set a 16th-century stone doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head, and a label. There is a similar doorway, now blocked, in the W. wall of the garden, and near it is a 17th-century doorway; both open into the churchyard (see Parish Church). In the N. wall of the garden is a 17th-century doorway with a square head.
b(3). The Post Office, S.W. of the church, is of two storeys. The walls are timber-framed with brick filling, partly re-faced with stone rubble; the foundations are of stone; the roofs are tiled. It appears to be the central block and N. wing of a building of half-H plan, possibly of mediæval date, with a hall of one storey in the central block and the solar in the two-storeyed N. wing, but the whole building has been much altered and the central block is now divided into two storeys. The S. wing has been replaced by a modern structure. At the E. end of the N. wing the upper storey projects and is gabled; the gable is elaborately framed in a form of king-post trussing, and a few heavy wall-posts remain in the walls of the central block.
b(4). Cottage, now two tenements, on the S. side of the road to Bicester, 100 yards S. of the church, is a small rectangular building of two storeys, and of late 16th or early 17th-century date. The walls in front and at the back are timber-framed with brick filling, except in front, where some of the original plaster filling remains; the E. and W. ends have been re-faced with stone and brick. The roof is thatched. The two doorways from the street are now blocked and the entrances are at the back.
b(5). Cottage, 30 yards E. of (4), is of two storeys, built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, but almost wholly re-built with brick in the 18th and 19th centuries. The front is gabled and retains the original timber-framing with brick filling. The roof is tiled.
b(6). House, 200 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, and is dated 1683. The walls are of red brick in Flemish bond with black headers; the tiled roof is hipped. The plan is rectangular. The windows have flat arches, solid frames with plain mullions and transoms, and iron casements; over the windows on the ground floor are long narrow raised panels of brick. The doorways have plain solid frames and panelled doors, and above the front entrance is the date, 1683, in raised cut brick. The interior has been considerably altered, but some of the doorways retain their moulded cornices. The staircase is original, and has a ramped handrail and turned balusters.
b(7). The Vicarage, 350 yards S.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, built probably early in the 17th century, and originally of central chimney type, much altered and enlarged in the 18th and 19th centuries. The walls are entirely faced with brick of the later dates; the roof is tiled. Inside the house is some early 17th-century panelling, re-set.
a(8). Chilton Park Farm, 1½ miles N.W. of the church, is a house of two storeys and an attic, with a basement under the S.W. corner, on account of the slope of the site. It was built of timber and brick late in the 16th century, on a rectangular plan, with two rooms on each floor; in the 18th century two additions were built on the E. side, and a small wing was added on the W. side. The roofs are tiled. The original building is gabled at both ends, but the S. end is almost covered by a large chimney stack, of stone rubble with brick quoins on the ground floor, and above that of brick, with three square shafts set diagonally. The W. wall has been partly re-faced with brick; the N. end retains heavy timbers, but is much hidden by ivy. All the doorways and windows are of the 18th century. A room on the first floor has some original panelling, re-set.