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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(1). Parish Church of St. James, W. of the village, is built chiefly of clunch with flints in the wide joints, but is partly covered with cement; the tower is of brick with stone dressings, on a plinth of pudding-stone and flint; the N. chapel is of brick and the S. porch of brick with a little clunch, and flint panels. The roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave are of the 12th century, with windows inserted in the 13th and 14th centuries. The West Tower was added, or re-built, c. 1530; the North or Garrard Chapel was built in the second half of the 17th century, and the South Porch is dated 1661. The floor of the nave and chancel was raised in the 19th century.
The remains of the early 12th-century window in the chancel, and the 16th-century tower are of interest. Among the fittings the 12th-century font, the 16th-century seats and the 17th-century gallery are especially worthy of note.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. square) has an 18th-century window. In the N. wall the arch opening into the Garrard Chapel is of uncertain date, some stones show diagonal tooling, but the moulded jambs and arch appear to be partly of 14th-century work, re-used, and partly modern; at the W. end of the wall is a low-side window of one cinque-foiled light, probably of the 14th century, re-cut. In the S. wall is a late 13th-century window of two trefoiled lights, with the external label cut away; the rear arch has been widened, and in the apex is a large block of wood, the sill is carried down low to serve as a sedile; further W. is a 13th-century doorway, now blocked, and over it, visible only outside, is the semi-circular head and one jamb of a blocked single-light window of early 12th-century date; at the W. end of the wall is a low-side window, of one trefoiled ogee light with pierced spandrels. The chancel arch is of c. 1340 and of two moulded orders; the jambs have small semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals; one base has been cut away, the other is moulded. The North Chapel (16½ ft. by 10 ft.) has an E. and a W. window each of three lights under a square head. In the N. wall, high up, is a three-light window, partly blocked, with brick mullions, jambs and transom. All the windows are of the 17th century and have been restored externally with cement. The Nave (38 ft. by 19½ ft. at E. end, 18½ ft. at W. end) has two modern windows on each side. In the N. wall is a blocked doorway, with a plain chamfered two-centred head, partly re-built, and a chamfered rear arch. A single-light window near the W. end of the S. wall has been restored, but half the pointed head is of the 13th century, re-used; the S. doorway has an old chamfered rear arch, but is otherwise modern. The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of two stages, with a hexagonal stair-turret and an embattled parapet. The 16th-century tower arch is of two chamfered orders, and is the full width of the tower. The W. doorway is partly modern, and above it the window of three uncusped lights retains little, if any, old stonework. The four windows of the bell-chamber are of the 16th century, and are each of two uncusped lights under a four-centred head, with a moulded label. The South Porch has a semi-circular outer arch, covered with cement, and a curved and pedimented gable; a defaced stone in the gable bears the date 1661. All the Roofs are ceiled.
Fittings—Bells: four, 1st by William Eldridge, 1698, 2nd by Ellis Knight, 1631; 3rd by Joseph Carter, 1582, inscribed 'Blessed be the name of the lorde'. Doors: of N. chapel, double, close panels below, open balusters above rail, with strapwork ornament, 17th-century: W. door, and door of stair-turret in tower, of old plain battens. Font: circular bowl, with foliated crosses in diamond-shaped panels, the top cut down, and with an iron band round it, plain circular stem and base, 12th-century. Gallery: at W. end of nave, supported on four posts, panelled fascia inscribed 'Henry Felo, 1634', turned balusters front and back, also to gate at the top of stairs, handrail slightly moulded, seat all round the gallery with panelled back, coat-pegs on the side walls. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Jane, daughter of Sir James Palmer, knight, Gentleman Usher to Charles I. and Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, 1663, large, black and white marble. In N. chapel—on N. wall, (2) of Sir William Garrard, 1607, and Elizabeth his wife, alabaster figures, knight in armour, in panelled recesses, with marble columns and pediment, in base kneeling figures of seven sons and eight daughters, five holding skulls, over each child shield with arms, defaced, inscription, arms and crest on pediment, traces of colour and gilding on principal figures. Painting: on N. jamb of tower arch, traces, date uncertain. Piscina: in chancel, with chamfered jambs and pointed arch, shallow basin, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1569, and plated flagon and paten, probably late 17th-century. Pulpit: hexagonal, with two tiers of panelling, inlaid, c. 1630, recently brought from Somersetshire. Screens: on E. wall of chancel remains of lower part of rood-screen, with trefoiled ogee tracery attached to heads of panels; the top rail has mortises for the mullions of the missing upper part, late 15th-century: across W. end of nave, incorporating remains of 17th-century work. Seating: in nave, thirteen seats, with plain standards, oak, 16th-century: in the chapel, traceried front of seat with moulded standard, 15th-century, brought from elsewhere.
Condition—The S. wall of chancel leans outwards considerably, but is apparently safe and is held by one iron tie-rod; the chancel arch has spread; the clunch dressings, etc., are decaying in some places. The walls of the chapel are very damp.
(2). Dorney Court, E. of the church, is a large house of two storeys, built c. 1510, of brick and timber, much altered in the 18th century, and carefully restored in the 20th century as far as possible to its original condition. The roofs are tiled.
The house is a fine example of a domestic building of early 16th-century date, and retains the great hall with the screens and dais. The chimney stacks, the stone fireplaces, and some original doorways are the most interesting details.
The plan consists of an L-shaped building, with the wings extending towards the N. and W., attached at the W. end to the N.E. corner of a square block which encloses a small courtyard; part of the square block formerly extended considerably further towards the S. and there was apparently a small additional wing E. of the courtyard; the S.W. half of the block is almost entirely of the 18th century or modern, and in the angle between the wings of the L-shaped block is a modern addition. Other buildings which originally surrounded the house, including a wall with turrets and a gatehouse on the N., have all been removed. The W. wing of the L-shaped building contains the great hall, with screens and dais, and the library; the E. entrance lobby, the main staircase and a parlour are in the N. wing; the dining room, boudoir, kitchen, etc., are in the square block. The E. Elevation has, in the middle, a gabled two-storeyed porch with a bay of shallower projection on each side; at the S. end of the elevation is an oriel window under a gable, and at the N. end a square bay window. The walls are of original thin bricks, with a diamond pattern picked out in blue bricks, and ornamented near the S. end by a row of small narrow panels with plastered backs and sunk spandrels, under a depressed arch; the upper storey and gables of the projecting parts are timber-framed, with brick filling, recently restored. Some of the old timber-framing and the oak oriel window on the first floor of the porch were brought from elsewhere. The outer entrance of the porch has old posts and a modern four-centred head, the inner doorway has a four centred head with sunk spandrels, partly restored, and the door is of old studded battens. On the N. side of the inner doorway is a 15th-century oak window, and the carved beam over window and doorway is probably of the same date, all brought from elsewhere. The seats inside the porch have early 17th-century panelled backs, and the ceiling has plastered panels with moulded oak ribs. A chimney stack near the S. end of the elevation has an octagonal moulded base with cinque-foiled panels; the shaft is star-shaped on plan, with oversailing courses at the top; a similar stack near the N. end is apparently not original. Two lead rain-water heads are of the 17th century. The lower storey of the N. Elevation, W. of the modern addition, is of early 16th-century brick, but towards the W. end a straight joint shows where the wall originally ended; the material, including that of the gable, W. of the joint, was brought from another part of the house; the upper storey, with three gables, is of closely spaced timbers resting on a deep moulded beam, with brick filling of basket-work pattern, original except where it was destroyed by the bonding of an 18th-century brick facing, now removed; on the first floor the oriel window at the W. end is original, and supported by two curved brackets with sunk spandrels; the soffit is carved; the easternmost gable is partly cut off by the 19th-century addition, and above it is an original chimney stack with a shaft similar to those on the E. elevation. In the modern addition between the wings is re-set the original N. doorway of the screens, with a four-centred head and carved spandrels showing traces of colour; the door is of studded battens with a frame of four panels; the strap-hinges, etc., are original; two of the windows are old, but were brought from elsewhere. The N. wing has projecting bays on the N. and W. sides, and the N.W. corner forms part of an octagon on plan; the gables of both walls are brought out flush with the bays, and some of the soffits thus formed between the bays are vaulted with wood and plaster, partly restored; at the first floor level on both walls is a moulded wood cornice, partly restored on the N. side; on the W. side are three original single-light windows, with moulded brick jambs and four-centred heads, plastered to represent stone. The S. Elevation is almost entirely of brick, but the upper part of the gable at the E. end shows original timber-framing with brick filling; the windows have been restored. The other elevations are of the 18th century or modern.
Interior:—The Great Hall has a roof of four bays, with cambered collar-beams, arched and chamfered braces springing from small moulded brackets, plain chamfered purlins and curved wind-braces; the large moulded stone fireplace of late 15th-century date was brought from elsewhere; the linen panelling on the lower part of the walls was brought from Faversham Abbey, and the original timber construction shows above it; near the W. end of the hall is a screen of 17th-century oak panelling, with two round-headed openings, partly restored and brought from elsewhere, the moulded beam which forms the cornice is probably part of the original early 16th-century screen; at the E. end is a slightly raised dais, with a doorway on the N. side, which has a four-centred head, partly restored, and an original oak frame and door of studded battens with strap-hinges. The archway opening into the N. end of the Screens has old oak posts and lintel, but the four-centred head has been inserted; the entrance from the W. passage into the screens has also an original post and a four-centred head, of oak; the doorway opening into the S. end of the screens has original oak posts and a four-centred arch under a square head with carved foliage in the spandrels; part of the apex of the arch has been cut away; the Library has two large chamfered beams in the ceiling; the fireplace has moulded stone jambs, and a four-centred arch with carved spandrels, partly cut away; round the fireplace and above it is some re-used 17th-century panelling, and one panel has the Palmer crest and four trefoils painted on it. The Parlour has original chamfered beams and stop-chamfered joists in the ceiling; the stone fireplace has moulded jambs and four-centred arch under a square head, which encloses spandrels with carved foliage and plain shields; in the brick fire-back are three small shafts with pointed openings: on the walls, to the height of about 5 ft., is some panelling of two dates in the 17th century, and in the recess of the N. window are four linen panels of the 16th century. The room, formerly a porch, between the screens and the modern dining room, has an original chamfered beam and large joists in the ceiling. The door of the Dining Room is of the 16th century, and of studded battens, with a frame of three panels and old strap-hinges; over this door, in the dining room, is fixed the wooden head of a 16th-century window of three pointed lights. There are chamfered beams in the ceilings of almost all the Domestic Offices, and in one of them is a blocked original doorway with chamfered posts and a four-centred head with sunk spandrels. Some of the windows on the ground floor contain small panes of 17th-century glass, one piece dated 1613. On the First Floor the room over the parlour has a plastered segmental ceiling; the 16th-century moulded stone fireplace was brought from elsewhere; the walls are covered with 17th-century panelling, partly restored, and a cupboard door is of early 16th-century linen panelling also brought from elsewhere; over the fireplace is a painted panel of the 17th century, representing ten knights on horseback, carrying heraldic banners, one bearing the arms of Palmer. The walls on the E. landing are partly covered with 17th-century panelling. The timbers of the roof are visible over the E. porch, partly supported by a large original moulded storey-post removed from another part of the house. The room over the library has a plastered segmental ceiling, and several rooms have four-centred plastered ceilings and some 17th-century panelling with moulded dentil cornices. One room has panelling with fluted pilasters, and a richly panelled overmantel above the original stone fireplace, which has moulded jambs and a four-centred head with carved spandrels, retaining much of the original colouring. The doorway to the gallery above the screens has old oak posts. The timbers of the roof and the original timber construction of the walls are visible in several rooms, and many of the floors have old boards.
Condition—Good; carefully restored in the 20th century. Mention is made above of those cases in which windows, panelling, fireplaces, etc., are known to have been brought from elsewhere, but where so many of the details are genuinely old it is difficult to distinguish between those imported and those forming part of the original house.
(3). The Vicarage, ¼ mile N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, built in the 17th century, and bearing the date 1688 on a gable at the back; it was originally timber-framed, but is now faced with 18th-century brick, partly covered with rough-cast. The plan was originally T-shaped, with the middle wing extending towards the W., and the cross wing projecting slightly towards the N. and S.; there were probably three rooms on each floor; the building was lengthened towards the E. in the 18th century, and further additions were made towards the N. and W. in the 19th century. The timber corner-posts of the original W. end are visible in the 18th-century brickwork, and the original cross wing is gabled at both ends. The roofs of the older part of the house are tiled; the others are covered with slate. Inchimney stacks are probably in their original position, but have been much restored. Inside the house some of the 17th-century timbers in ceilings and roofs are exposed, and one cupboard has an oak door of the same date, with garnet hinges.
(4–8). Cottages, several, in the village, are all of two storeys, built in the 17th century, of brick and timber; the roofs are tiled. The first cottage, near the Vicarage, is partly plastered, and the upper storey originally projected. Three cottages in a row, opposite the Post Office, have old timber-framing, much restored; the brick filling is modern. Three cottages near the Post Office have original timber-framing with modern brick filling. Rose Cottage, near the Common, has original timber-framing and some old brickwork; a cottage, on the Common, is of brick and timber, restored, and has a dormer window in front, and a central chimney stack with square shafts built of thin bricks.
(9–10). House, now two cottages, about ½ mile N. of the church, is of two storeys and timber-framed, with modern brick filling, built probably late in the 16th century, but much altered; the roofs are tiled. Original timbers remain in some of the ceilings, and some of the internal walls retain the original wattle and daub. A Cottage, N. of the house, is possibly of the same date, but the walls have been entirely re-faced with modern brick.