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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16. CHALFONT ST. GILES.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xliii. S.E. (b)xliii. S.W. (c)xlviii. N.E. (d)xlviii. N.W.)
c(1). Parish Church of St. Giles, stands S. of the main street. The walls are of flint, with stone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead. In the 12th century the church probably consisted of a small chancel, Nave, S. aisle and W. tower; c. 1260 the Chancel was re-built on a larger scale, and a North Aisle, with an arcade of two bays, was added. In the 14th century the South Aisle was re-built and enlarged, and the nave lengthened towards the W., the original tower being destroyed; c. 1410 the N. aisle was widened and lengthened, an extra bay was added to the N. arcade at the W. end, the chancel arch and the 12th-century S. arcade were re-built, and the clearstorey was added; the present West Tower was probably built at the same time, some of the material of the old tower being re-used. In 1861–3 the North Vestry was added and the church completely restored; the South Organ Chamber and the South Porch were built later in the 19th century.
The church is especially interesting on account of the development of the plan; the masons' marks on the chancel arch, the westernmost arch of the N. arcade and the arches of the S. arcade are evidence of the work being of one date (c. 1410). The 14th-century paintings in the S. aisle are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (37 ft. by 16 ft.) leans to the S.; the 14th-century E. window is of three trefoiled lights and tracery under a pointed head and an external label; the inner jambs have shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the tracery and outer stonework are almost entirely modern. In the N. wall is a modern doorway, opening into the vestry, a 14th-century window of one trefoiled light and tracery under a pointed head, and, near the W. end of the wall, a wide splayed squint from the N. aisle. In the S. wall is a 13th-century lancet window, a modern arch opening into the organ chamber, and a squint from the S. aisle. The 15th-century chancel arch is of two chamfered orders with double-chamfered responds, moulded half-octagonal capitals and bases; some of the voussoirs have masons' marks. The North Vestry is modern. The Organ Chamber is modern, but in the E. wall is a 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights under a square head; it was moved to its present position from the S. wall of the chancel when the modern arch was built. In the S. wall is a window of two trefoiled lights and tracery under a pointed head; the external stonework, of the 14th century, but restored, originally belonged to a window in the E. wall of the S. aisle, where the rear arch and jambs remain, and form the upper part of the W. archway of the organ-chamber. The Nave (47 ft. by 15½ ft.) has a N. arcade of three bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, and octagonal columns having moulded capitals and bases; the two eastern bays are of c. 1260; the original W. respond now forms half the second column; the other half was added in the 15th century when the N. aisle was lengthened, the mouldings of the capital and base of the new half being roughly copied from those of the respond: the 15th-century western arch has larger voussoirs than the eastern arches, with masons' marks resembling those on the chancel arch. The S. arcade of three bays has two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases, and is similar in detail to the chancel arch; the half-octagonal E. and W. responds rest on 12th-century square bases of semi-circular responds, with carved foliage on the corners; the square stones under the bases of the columns are also remains of the 12th-century arcade. The thicker wall at the W. end of the arcade is part of the original W. tower, and has a small arch, two-centred and chamfered, probably pierced through the wall in the 14th century when the S. aisle was lengthened. The staircase to the rood-loft in the S.E. angle of the nave has been built up to strengthen the wall. The clearstorey has three N. and three S. windows, each of two trefoiled lights under a square head, of the 15th century, restored. The North Aisle (52 ft. by 12 ft.) has a late 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a four-centred head and a moulded external label. In the N. wall are three windows of late 15th-century date, each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, and a moulded external label; the blocked N. doorway is of the same date. The W. window is similar to those in the N. wall. The South Aisle (52½ ft. by 11 ft.) has, in the S. wall, two windows of the 14th century, similar to that in the S. wall of the organ-chamber, externally much restored; the 14th-century S. doorway has a moulded two-centred arch enriched with ball-flower and four-leaf ornament; the external jambs are modern. The W. window resembles the S. windows, but the external stonework is almost entirely modern. The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of two stages with a N.W. staircase and an embattled parapet. The 15th-century tower arch is two-centred, of three chamfered orders, without responds; over the apex is a small rectangular window. The 15th-century W. doorway has continuously moulded jambs and two-centred arch, with modern bases, label and keystone; the W. window is of two trefoiled lights and tracery under a two-centred head and a moulded external label; over it is a rectangular window, and the N. and S. walls have each a similar opening. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a 15th-century window, much restored, of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a pointed head. The flat-pitched Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century, and has moulded purlins, ridge-piece and principals, and curved brackets with traceried spandrels; the roof of the nave is similar, but plainer, and has stone corbels carved as heads. The N. aisle has a plastered ceiling which probably conceals old timbers. The 15th-century roof of the S. aisle has moulded wall-plates, principals, and purlins, and is ceiled with plaster.
Fittings—Bells: five, modern, sanctus, now used as a clock bell, possibly 17th-century. Brasses and Indents (see also Monuments). Brasses: in chancel—on N. wall, (1) small figure of priest, in Mass vestments, probably late 15th-century, see indent (2). In N. aisle—in frame on N. wall, (2) palimpsest, obverse, to John Salter, 1523, and Elizabeth, his wife, inscription only; reverse, to Thomas Bredham, 1521, and Anne, his wife, inscription only, ends cut away to suit later inscription. In S. aisle—in recess in S. wall, (3) of civilian in furred gown, and his two wives, c. 1530, see indent (9), group of three boys, of same period; (4) figure of a woman, c. 1515, see indent (5); (5) shield with arms, a cheveron with three scallops thereon with a griffon's head razed in the foot and a chief embattled with a cross potent between two griffons' heads razed therein, for Gardyner, impaling three mallets; in floor, in small slab, probably part of larger one, (6) two shields, with arms somewhat defaced. Indents: in N. aisle—(1) of two figures, probably 16th-century, inscription and two shields, lower part of slab hidden by seats; (2) of small figure of priest, see brass (1); (3) of a shield, rest of slab hidden by seats; (4) of two small figures, inscription and children, much worn. In S. aisle—(5) of figure of a woman, see brass (4); (6) of roundel and small shield; (7) of upper part of figure and a shield, much worn, rest hidden by seats; near S. doorway, (8) of large figure and inscription, almost obliterated; (9) of three figures, much worn, see brass (3). Chairs: in the chancel, two, oak, with arms and high backs, possibly late 17th-century. Communion Tables and Rails: in the chancel, table with turned legs, probably late 17th-century: rails, moulded, with pierced foliated panels, possibly late 17th-century: in N. aisle, table with turned legs; in organ chamber, another; both 17th-century. Font: square bowl of Purbeck marble, 13th-century, re-tooled, central circular stem and, at the corners, four modern shafts (see also Miscellanea); cover, of oak, square, with octagonal curved pyramid and turned finial, 17th-century. Glass: in N. aisle, in quatrefoils of two N. windows and W. window, fragments; in S. aisle, in tracery of W. window, fragments, including the moon from a Crucifixion, a rose, part of a pinnacle, etc. Locker: in N. wall of chancel, large, with rebated jambs and two-centred head, 13th-century, formed by arch found in wall when N. vestry was built, and closed on vestry side, slab from 18th-century tomb being inserted as base. Monuments: in chancel—N.E. corner, (1) mural tablet of Purbeck marble, with panelled pilasters and moulding, containing brasses of Thomas Fletewoode, lord of the Vache, Treasurer of the Mint, Knight of Parliament for Bucks, Sheriff of Bucks and Beds, 1570, kneeling figure in armour; his first wife, Barbara (Francis), with two sons and two daughters, his second wife, Brigett, daughter of Sir John Springe, knight, with eight sons and six daughters, all kneeling figures, inscription and three shields, with arms of Fleetwood, Fleetwood impaling Francis and Fleetwood impaling Springe; (2) altar tomb, Purbeck marble, with indent of rectangular inscription in slab at the top, on front of base three circular moulded panels with shields in high relief, one with brass shield of Fleetwood impaling Springe, the others with indents of shields, at W. end of tomb similar panel and shield with arms of Fleetwood; on S. wall, (3) tablet of black and white marble to George Fleetewood, knight, 1620, and Katherine (Denny) his wife, 1634, arms above of Fleetwood, below of Fleetwood impaling Denny. In N. aisle—at E. end of N. wall, (4) painted tablet, on leather or canvas in wood frame, to Katherine, daughter of Anthony Radcliffe, 1660. In S. aisle—S.E. corner, (5) altar tomb, black marble slab at the top with brasses of William Gardyner, 1558, Anne, his wife, 156— (date not filled in), two figures, man in armour, five sons, four daughters, shield with arms of Gardyner impaling Newdigate, and inscription, which has been inverted, sides of base plain, with two brass shields bearing arms as above. Paintings: over chancel arch, circles with quatrefoils, trefoiled spandrels, an embattled parapet with crosslets in the merlons, and an enriched cornice, across design, traces of palimpsest inscription, said to be the Ten Commandments: in S. aisle, the following, all probably 14th-century:—on E. wall, fragments of two figures, one holding a wafer; at E. end of S. wall, remains of three figures, one crowned, the second, that of a woman, presenting a document to the first, and the third apparently that of a bishop; near S. doorway, representing the Crucifixion, with figures of St. Mary and St. John; daughter of Herodias with head of St. John the Baptist in a charger; remains of other figures below both subjects, and traces of inscription of later date. Panelling: in the vestry, on N. and E. walls, 17th-century. Piscinæ: in the chancel, double, with moulded jambs and heads, small central shaft having moulded capital and base, deep fluted basins, 13th-century, basins restored, and eastern basin apparently deepened, moulded projecting sill, not original: in S. aisle, with moulded jambs, trefoiled head, chamfered shelf and quatrefoil basin, 14th-century, restored with cement. Plate: includes large engraved cup, of 1569, stand paten, of 1637, both formerly gilt. Poor-box: in W. tower, iron bound, on turned baluster shaft, 17th-century, base modern. Recess: for tomb, in S. wall of S. aisle, with moulded jambs and drop arch, 14th-century, over apex small head in mail coif and helmet. Seating: in the chancel, three oak benches, with fleur-de-lis finials to the standards, probably 15th-century: in W. tower, three similar benches. Stoup: in W. wall of tower, inside, semi-circular, with trefoiled head, probably 15th-century, sill modern. Tiles: in floor of tomb recess in S. aisle, in blocked N. doorway and in stoup in tower, fragments, one with a queen's head, possibly 14th-century. Miscellanea: in tomb recess in S. aisle, coffin slab with remains of cross on stepped base, in relief, 13th or 14th-century: in blocked N. doorway, part of a second slab, with head of cross in relief. Near the font, fragment of clunch tracery, and two pieces of one of the original Purbeck marble shafts of the font. Lychgate (see No. 7 below).
Condition—Structurally good; the stonework of some of the windows is decaying.
d(2). Jordans Meeting House, 1¾ miles S.W. of the church, was built in 1688, and restored in the 18th century; the S. end of the house, occupied by a caretaker, is of two storeys, the meeting-room of one storey. The walls are of red and blue bricks; the roof is tiled.
Jordans is an early example of a Quaker meeting house, and of peculiar historical interest from its association with William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.
The plan is rectangular, and the greater part of the building forms the Friends' meetingroom, with an entrance on the W.; on the E. side is a stable, which may be of earlier date than the rest of the building, the rooms above the stable are modern. The windows in the W. wall have leaded glazing and iron casements with ornamental fastenings, in wood frames; some of the glass is original, but the lead is modern; in the N. wall is a similar window, now blocked. At the S. end is a plain rectangular chimney. The meeting-room and the house have panelled dados of deal; some panels in the partition between them being movable, in order that the rest of the building might be included in the meeting-room when required.
The greater part of the ground W. of the house was purchased for a burial ground in 1671 by Thomas Ellwood and others; among those buried there are Isaac Penington, 1679, Mary Penington, 1682, Gulielma Maria Penn, 1689, Springett Penn, 1696, William Penn, 1718; all the head-stones were set up in 1862–3.
d(3). Homestead Moat, at The Grove, fragment.
d(4). The Vache, about ¾ mile N.E. of the church, is of two storeys and an attic, built probably in the 16th century, of brick, but very little can be seen of the original walling, as it is now almost entirely cemented or hidden by ivy. The roofs are covered with slate. The plan is approximately square, with four wings surrounding a central hall, originally an open courtyard; the E. and W. wings project towards the N.; the former hall was in the E. wing. The house was completely restored in the 18th and 19th centuries, and modern additions have been made on the W. side. The E. and W. wings are gabled at each end. On the E. side are two projecting chimney stacks, with square shafts set diagonally, which may be old. A little original brickwork remains on the W. side, and the lower parts of two chimney stacks are possibly old. Interior:—The central hall has a 16th-century stone fireplace, brought from another part of the house; it has moulded jambs and straight-sided head, carved spandrels and frieze; the 17th-century overmantel, of oak, has moulded and carved panels. The dining-room, in the N. wing, has two fireplaces, one is modern and conceals the other, which is of stone, and was seen when the 16th-century fireplace was inserted in the hall. The former hall has two doorways with solid oak frames, and some 17th-century panelling, re-used. On the first floor two rooms have 16th-century fireplaces of similar character to that in the central hall: the bathroom, over the former hall, has an original door with strap-hinges; one wall showsmassive timber-framing, and has a blocked doorway with moulded oak jambs and four-centred head; some timber-framing is also visible in a passage in the S.E. part of the house. The roof of the W. wing is probably original, and has large trusses and curved wind-braces. In the attic are some loose pieces of early 17th-century panelling.
a(5). Panelling, at The Stone, a modern building on the site of a 16th-century house, 400 yards N. of the church. The panelling, in a room on the ground floor, is of early 17th-century date, and is from the original house. (See also Ashwell's Farm, Chalfont St. Peter.)
Condition—Good, now painted.
c(6). Cottages, three, known as the 'Church Houses', next to the Merlin's Cave Inn, and on the N. side of the churchyard, are of two storeys, built in the 17th century, of brick; the roofs are tiled. The three dwellings form one rectangular building, and at the back are three original chimney stacks, with square shafts.
c(7). Cottages, two, with Lychgate (see Plate, p. 12), at the N.W. entrance of the churchyard, are probably of late 16th-century date, and are of two storeys, timber-framed, with brick filling, restored in the lower storey; the front of the E. cottage is cemented. The roofs are tiled. The chimney stacks are of old thin bricks. Inside the cottages the original timber-framing of the walls is visible. The lych-gate is between the cottages, under the continuous upper storey, and has a revolving gate fixed to a central post; grooved wheels to hold the rope by which the gate was formerly worked, remain at the top of the post and on the W. side of the gateway.
c(8). Stonewell's Farm, about 100 yards S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed, with brick or plaster filling, built in the 16th-century, restored and altered at later dates. The plan consists of a central block, an E. wing projecting towards the S., and a W. wing, of which part is now a shop, projecting towards the N. The roof is tiled. The N. front has two gables with original barge-boards, and between them is a dormer window; the projecting porch has a sloping tiled roof supported on curved brackets; the window of the kitchen, E. of the porch, has a large moulded wood frame and modern mullions; some of the upper windows have original casements with ornamental fastenings. At the back there are two projecting chimney stacks of thin bricks, partly restored, and another on the E. side, also restored; all the stacks have rectangular shafts. Between the kitchen and one of the rooms on the E. is a doorway of oak, with a four-centred head and carved foliage in the spandrels; the door is also original, of moulded battens, with a small iron handle and strap-hinges; both these rooms have wide, open fireplaces and the room on the E. has an open joist ceiling. On the first floor the timber-framing is visible in the walls, and one room on the E. side of the house has an open roof with plaster between the timbers; the mortices remain of the brackets for a large beam formerly placed across the roof; all the fireplaces have chamfered brick jambs and four-centred or square heads.
Condition—Fairly good; some of the external walls need repair.
d(9). Milton's Cottage, about 300 yards W. of the church, is of two storeys, built of timber and brick in the 17th century, and restored in the 18th century, when much of the walling was faced with brick. The roofs are tiled. The W. front retains the original timber and brick at the N. end, which is gabled; the windows are modern, but have 17th or 18th-century ornamental casement fastenings; over the entrance is a carved shield bearing the arms of Fleetwood of the Vache, quartering Fleetwood (sic) much defaced. At the N. end of the cottage is a large projecting chimney stack, much restored. The two principal rooms have each a wide fireplace and an original ceiling-beam; the S. room is now fitted up as a museum for relics of Milton, and has a 17th-century door. The oak newel staircase is original, except the modern balusters at the top.
c(10). House, now divided into the 'Feathers Inn' and a dwelling-house, opposite the lych-gate of the churchyard, is of two storeys, built probably in the 17th century, but re-faced with modern brick and partly covered with rough-cast; the roofs are tiled. The large central chimney stack, of 17th-century brick, with oversailing courses, has panelled sides, and, at the top, a modern addition. In the inn is a small newel staircase, apparently original, now disused. Some of the ceilings have old beams.
Condition—Good, much altered.
c(11–12). Houses, two, opposite the Merlin's Cave Inn, on the N.W. side of the main road, 100 yards N. of the church, are each of two storeys, built in the 17th century on a rectangular plan, and re-fronted in the 19th century; the roofs are tiled. The first house, now three dwellings, is of brick, and has a large central chimney stack with square shafts of thin bricks. Some of the ceilings have plain chamfered beams, and one fireplace has an original hearth. The second house retains the original brick and timber at one end; the central chimney stack has square shafts on a moulded base, the top is restored. There are plain beams in the ceilings and one wide fireplace.
Condition—Of both houses, good; much restored and altered.
b(13). Cottage, adjoining Chalfont Mill, about ½ mile N.W. of the church, is of late 16th or early 17th-century date, much restored late in the 17th, and again in the 19th century. It is of two storeys, built of red brick with blue headers; a little original timber-framing remains, and one panel is filled with bricks in herringbone pattern. The roofs are tiled. On the ground floor the ceiling of one room has, painted in an oval panel, a figure, landscape background, etc., and initials, apparently E.P.P.; the walls are said to be painted, but are covered with paper. Another room has an open joist ceiling.
d(14). Dell Farm, about ½ mile W. of the church, is a house of two storeys, built possibly in the 17th century; the lower storey is faced with modern brick, and part of the upper storey is of wattle and daub; the S. and W. sides are almost entirely covered with modern cement; the roofs are tiled.
d(15–17). Houses, three, in the hamlet of Three Households, nearly ¾ mile W. by S.W. of the village; they are of two storeys, built of brick and timber in the 17th century and subsequently restored. The roofs are tiled. The plan of the easternmost house is L-shaped, the others are rectangular. The first house has a central chimney stack, and, at the S.W. end, a second stack of original brick, with square shafts; the second house has a central chimney stack with square shafts and oversailing courses at the top. The front of the third house is covered with plaster.
Condition—Of the first and second houses, fairly good; of the third house, bad, the timbers decaying and much ivy at one end.