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). Villa, partly underlying Dell Farm and the road to Chesham, on the S. bank of the Chess, was found in 1834, partly excavated in 1863–4, and again more carefully in 1909. It was plainly a fairly large house, probably of the courtyard type; the central part, now excavated, measures 65 ft. by 140 ft., and contained a corridor, in two divisions, with some six or seven rooms on the S.E.; traces of an E. wing have been noted, and a W. wing probably lay under and beyond the road. Most of the floors in the central part had plain red pavements, one or two with white borders, and one with a pattern in other colours; some of the walls were decorated with coloured fresco. Many small objects were found, but only four coins of the 3rd and 4th centuries, and the pottery is not figured. The Roman dwelling at Sarratt in Hertfordshire is barely two miles away. Records of Buckinghamshire, iii., 181–5.
(2). Parish Church of St. Michael, W. of the village, on a hill overlooking the valley of the Chess, is built of flint rubble, with stone dressings which are almost entirely modern. The roofs are tiled. The church, consisting of Chancel, Nave, South Aisle and West Tower, was entirely re-built in the 15th century, and the only remains of 12th-century work are a carved capital, lying loose in the S. aisle, and the font. The North (or Bedford) Chapel was added in 1556, but was subsequently re-built, and was enlarged in 1906. The Organ-Chamber and South Porch are modern, and the church was restored in 1861 and 1887; the walls of the nave and aisle have been raised.
The monuments in the Bedford Chapel are in very perfect condition and of unusual interest on account of the historical record they provide, the heraldry they display, and the illustration they afford of the costume of the 16th and 17th centuries. The 15th and 16th-century brasses in the nave and S. aisle are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (30½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has modern details, except the four-centred arch in the N. wall, opening into the Bedford Chapel, which is of 1556, with panelled soffit and jambs. The chancel arch is modern. The Organ-Chamber is modern. The Nave (47 ft. by 16½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, two arches opening into the Bedford Chapel, and a blocked window, all modern. The S. arcade, of late 15th-century date, is of four bays, with four-centred moulded arches, and columns with clustered shafts, moulded bases and capitals. The Bedford Chapel is modern. The South Aisle (12½ ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, two windows of late 15th-century date, much restored, each of four cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head. The S. doorway has chamfered jambs and head, of late 15th-century date, re-cut. The W. window is similar to those in the S. wall, but is of three lights. The West Tower (10½ ft. square) is of two stages, with a S.E. stair-turret, W. angle buttresses and an embattled parapet. The two-centred, moulded tower arch is of two orders and has moulded jambs, and an attached shaft with moulded base and capital supporting the inner order. In the S. wall is a small original doorway with a four-centred head, opening into the stair-turret. The W. doorway is modern, except the inner splays, which are re-cut; the W. window, also much restored, has original jambs, and over it is a single cinque-foiled light of the 15th century. The four windows of the bell-chamber are modern.
Fittings—Brasses: in nave—on N. side of W. respond of S. arcade, (1) of Richard Newland, rector, 1494, in Mass vestments, with inscription set inverted and damaged; on W. wall, (2) of Agnes Johnson, widow, 1511, mother of Robert Leyff, rector, part of inscribed scroll and inscription; (3) of Elizabeth, daughter of John Broughton, 1524, remains of marginal inscription, and two shields with arms. In S. aisle—on W. wall, (4) of Agnes, widow of Sir John Cheyne, knight, date of death not filled in, and of Edmund Molyneux, her second husband, 1484, two figures, man in plate armour, under canopies having foiled heads and pinnacles, one pinnacle missing, with inscription; (5) of Anne, widow of Sir David Phelip, knight, 1510, figure, holding a heart, and inscribed scrolls, under crocketed canopy with pinnacles, finials missing, four shields with arms, and inscription; (6) of John Waliston, smith, 1469, Isabell and Joan, his wives, and inscription, head-dress of one woman broken; (7) to Sir Nicholas Smythe, 'late person of latemars' (Latimer), 1517, inscription only, broken. Chest: in vestry, with carved and panelled front, 17th-century. Font: of the 'Aylesbury' type, circular fluted bowl, with band of foliated ornament at the top, square scalloped base, late 12th-century. Glass: in central light of E. window of chancel, figure of man kneeling in a chapel, 16th-century. Images: two, at E. end of the Bedford Chapel, on modern brackets, of St. Peter and St. Andrew, carved, wooden, French, from Church of La Royal, early 16th-century: at W. end of chapel, angels, wooden, holding shields with Russell arms and quarterings, apparently from roof, 17th-century. Monuments: In the Bedford Chapel—at E. end, (1) altar tomb, of John, Lord Russell, Earl of Bedford, Knight of the Garter, Comptroller and Privy Councillor to Henry VIII., Lord High Admiral to Edward VI., and Lord President of the Western Ports, Lord Privy Seal to Queen Mary, 1555, and of Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Sir John Sapcote of Northamptonshire, knight, date of death not given, effigies in alabaster, man's figure in complete armour, with collar and mantle of the Garter, coronet, and cross-hilted sword, head on helm, feet on lion, his wife in peeress's robes, with coronet and long hair, feet on goat; the sides of the tomb panelled, ornamented with pilasters, arabesques in relief, inlaid lozenges and roundels of clouded black marble and polished flint, cartouche with achievements of arms in each panel, and at ends of tomb, inscription in the frieze: on N. side, (2) altar tomb of Anne, wife of Ambros Dudley, Earl of Warwick, and eldest daughter of Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford, date of death not given, alabaster effigy, coloured, in peeress's robes, ruff, 16th-century head-dress, and coronet; tomb of black marble, slab at the top with overhanging plinth, and Ionic columns at the corners, also at the corners amorini with shields bearing arms of Dudley impaling Russell, on sides lozenges with arms of Russell, inscription in the frieze with small panels separated by console strips, early 17th-century: (3) altar tomb, recently brought from Watford Church, of Bridgit, Dowager Countess of Bedford, daughter of John, Lord Hussey, married 1st, Sir Richard Morison, 2nd, the Earl of Rutland, 3rd, Francis Russell, Earl of Bedford, 1600, effigy, of alabaster, in peeress's robes, with ruff and close-fitting cap; tomb of marble, on each side small kneeling figures of man or boy in armour, carved in full relief, also on sides and at ends of tomb, shields with arms and quarterings, inscription: (4) also brought recently from Watford Church, altar tomb of Elizabeth, daughter of Henrie Longe of Shingaye, Cambridgeshire, and wife of William, Lord Russell of Thornhaugh, 1611, recumbent effigy, coloured, in peeress's robes, with small coif and coronet; tomb of alabaster, black marble and slate, the angles set with Doric pilasters, the sides with shields bearing the Russell arms and quarterings: (5) to Lady Frauncis Bourgchier, daughter of William, Earl of Bath, and Elizabeth Russell, 1612, slab of black marble, supported by Doric columns of white marble, and forming canopy to second slab of black marble, bearing shields with arms, inscription records the erection of the monument by Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset, 'her deare cosen': on S. side (6) altar tomb, of Francis, Lord Russell of Thornhaugh, 1641, and Catherine his wife, daughter of Giles, Lord Chandoys, 1652/3, effigies coloured, man's figure in armour, with collar and mantle of the Garter, his wife in peeress's robes; tomb of marble, on the wall above it two arched niches and broken pediment, constructed of alabaster and slate, in the niches figures of child and chrisom infant, and inscriptions to Francis, 1612, and Elizabeth, 1616, daughters of Francis, Lord Russell of Thornhaugh, in pediment, achievement of Russell arms and quarterings, on side of tomb strap-work cartouches with arms, between them inscription recording that Lord Russell erected monuments in this chapel to his grandfather and grandmother, Francis and Margaret, Earl and Countess of Bedford, also to his aunt, Anne Countess of Warwick; against S. wall (7) altar tomb of Francis, Lord Russell, Earl of Bedford, Knight of the Garter, Privy Councillor, etc., to Queen Elizabeth, 1585, and of Margaret his wife, daughter of Sir John St. John of Bletsoe, knight , effigies of alabaster, coloured man's figure in armour, with collar and mantle of the Garter, and coronet, his wife in peeress's robes; tomb of red-veined alabaster, sides divided into three bays by small Doric pilasters, in each bay, and at head of tomb, slabs with achievements of the Russell arms and quarterings, and inscriptions recording the names and marriages of their seven children and the erection of the monument in 1619 by their grandson, Francis Lord Russell of Thornhaugh: (8) moulded sarcophagus, of Francis, daughter of Edward, Earl of Lincoln, wife of Giles Bruge, Lord Chandos, mother of Katherine, Countess of Bedford, 1623, erected by her grandson, William, Earl of Bedford, effigy, of alabaster, with open book before her, embroidered or jewelled dress and quilled ruff, shields with arms and inscription; at W. end (9) large monument, said to be of William, fifth Earl and first Duke of Bedford, 1683, and of his wife Anne, daughter of Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset, 1684; monument very late 17th-century, possibly later, pedestal of marble, with two seated figures, under cupola with looped-up curtains, on each side Corinthian columns carrying complete entablature, above it curved pediment with cartouche of the Russell arms supported by cherubs, between the columns medallions of nine children, inscribed with their names: in N. aisle of the chapel— at E. end, (10) two effigies of clunch, man in armour, with coat of arms on gypon, apparently a fesse between six martlets, three and three, from waist downwards modern, uncut, head rests on modern sculptured helm, woman's figure in sideless gown, much defaced, arms missing, c. 1385. In the churchyard—(11) tomb of John Vernon, 1622, and his wife, 1650. Piscina: in S. wall of aisle, with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, basin missing, possibly 15th-century, re-cut. Plate: stand paten of 1634 (? 1576). Miscellanea: on N. wall of chancel, over arch, achievement of the Russell arms carved and painted, probably 17th-century: trestles, two, for coffins, with turned legs, 17th-century: in S. aisle, loose stones, carved capital with volutes, late 12th-century; corbel, carved as figure of angel with plain shield, the head missing, 15th-century: at W. end of the Bedford Chapel (four) funeral helms; in E. wall of the Bedford Chapel, stone with inscription recording that the chapel was built by Anne, Countess of Bedford, according to the will of her husband, John, Earl of Bedford, 1556, the inscription is apparently original.
(3). The Manor House, now a farmhouse and church-room, W. of the church, was built or re-built c. 1530, probably by John, Lord Russell, afterwards first Earl of Bedford. The walls are of red brick with some black glazed headers; the roofs are tiled.
The house is a good example of 16th-century brickwork; the chimney stacks are unusually fine and the shafts are enriched with various forms of ornament. A cellar, N. of the house, is worthy of note; it is apparently of the 15th century, and part of a former building on the site.
The plan of the 16th-century house is uncertain, and only part of it appears to remain; the building is now of modified L-shape, the shorter wing extending towards the N., and the longer wing towards the E. The N. wing is of two storeys, with an attic at the S. end, and a modern wing at the N. end; the E. wing is of two storeys and an attic. The E. Elevation of the N. wing is on two planes, with a stepped gable, flanked by angle-pinnacles, at each end; almost in the middle is a large projecting stair-turret, with an embattled parapet and moulded coping; S. of the turret is a modern porch, and a small modern projection of one storey in the S.E. angle of the building; all the doors and windows are modern, except a small light in the turret, with a four-centred arch in a square head, and a moulded label, a window on the ground floor at the N. end, with a similar, square moulded label, and the oriel window above it, which has old brickwork in the corbelling. Much of this elevation is covered with ivy. The W. Elevation is re-fronted with modern brick, and is on three planes, the southernmost forming the W. end of the E. wing; there are three stepped gables in their original positions, two being opposite those on the E. elevation; the windows are all modern. The chimney stack in the middle of the N. wing has six fine shafts with moulded bases and concave hexagonal caps with plain, oversailing courses; the shafts are ornamented with different forms of brick moulding, raised honeycomb, zig-zag, raised quatrefoils, lozenge pattern, geometrical designs, etc. The E. wing has, on the S. Elevation, a range of six chimney stacks with ornate shafts; in front of each stack is a square bay, of two storeys, with a stepped gable, built to give space for a narrow closet behind each fireplace; the shafts are ornamented with designs resembling those on the W. stack, and many others; all the stacks have been considerably repaired, and some of the shafts re-built; there were apparently no original doors or windows on this elevation. At the E. end of the wing is a stepped gable like that at the W. end; the N. Elevation has plain eaves and is almost entirely modern.
Interior:—The plan has been much altered; in a window on the ground floor is some original heraldic glass, a shield, with arms and quarterings of Russell within a garter, and a coronet above it; a few other quarries have different designs, a belt with pouches, flowers, etc.; in the entrance hall are some 16th-century encaustic tiles, of which four form a shield with arms:—a cheveron between three roses. On the first floor of the E. wing are three fireplaces of Totternhoe stone, which have moulded jambs and four-centred arches in square heads, with carved foliage in the spandrels. The attic floor of the E. wing, called the 'Armoury', is undivided, and the open roof has plain queenpost trusses of oak; a few original doors remain, and are of oak battens.
The cellar, a few yards N. of the house, is entered through a hole in the ground at the E. end; the first chamber (17 ft. by 16 ft.) has walls of flint and chalk; the roof is of pointed barrel vaulting divided into seven bays, by chamfered ribs of Totternhoe stone; the remains of jambs at the entrance indicate the existence of a window or high doorway; at the W. end is a pointed doorway with the rear arch towards the E.; it is chamfered on the W. face, and retains hooks for hinges; on each side of it is a niche, or locker, with rebated edges. The chamber (about 7 ft. by 6 ft.) into which the doorway opens, has walls of chalk rubble, and the roof is vaulted in four bays; in each wall are four recesses with chamfered edges and pointed arches; the room is half full of earth, and the W. end has been filled in with modern brickwork.
A small building of brick, N.W. of the house, is now in a ruinous condition, but is said to have had chimneys resembling those of the house. A long wall of flint and brick, N. of the house, probably formerly supported a terrace.