An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.
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138. GREAT HORWOOD.
c(1). Parish Church of St. James, stands in the middle of the village, and has walls of yellow oolitic rubble, with dressings of similar stone. The roofs are covered with lead and with tiles. The earliest detail is that of the 13th-century S. doorway, which has been re-set, possibly from the original aisleless nave; c. 1340 the Chancel was re-built and a N. vestry was added or preparations were made for it; c. 1360 the West Tower was built or begun, and towards the end of the century the North Chapel was added. In the 15th century the North and South Aisles were built, the nave was slightly widened towards the S.; N. and S. porches were constructed, and the W. tower was completed or the upper stages were re-built. In the 19th century the church was twice restored, the second time in 1874, the North Vestry was built or re-built, the North and South Porches were re-built and the N. chapel, if not also re-built, was completely restored.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (33½ ft. by 18 ft.) has a moulded external cornice of the 14th century, much restored on the N. side. The 14th-century E. window is of four cinque-foiled round-headed lights with elaborate tracery in a two-centred head; the external jambs and head are of two orders, the outer order moulded, the inner chamfered and cusped; the internal and external labels have grotesque head-stops. In the N. wall, at the E. end, set high up, and opening into the vestry, is a small doorway of uncertain date, with chamfered jambs and roughly triangular head; the rear arch is in the vestry: a doorway at the floor level also opens into the vestry, and is of c. 1340, with an elaborately moulded two-centred head; a chamfered string-course is carried over it to form a label, with a head-stop on the E. side, and is continued towards the W. as a label above the two arches opening into the chapel; the E. arch is of the 14th century, two-centred, and of two chamfered orders; the W. arch is modern. In the S. wall are three 14th-century windows: the two eastern are each of three trefoiled lights with elaborate tracery in a two-centred head; the internal and external labels have head-stops, one representing a man in a liripipe hood: the third window is of two trefoiled lights, with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the sill is carried down low, and there are hooks for hinges in the W. jamb, but no rebate or transom: between the two western windows is a doorway of c. 1340, with a moulded two-centred head, much weathered, and a two-centred rear arch; the sill-course of the windows is carried over the doorway to form a label. The 14th-century chancel arch is two-centred, and of two continuously chamfered orders. The Vestry is modern, but contains an old piscina (see Fittings). The North Chapel (24 ft. by 13 ft.) has, in the E. wall, opening into the vestry, a modern doorway; high up in the wall is a window of three lights and tracery, almost completely modern, but with a few old stones in the jambs. In the N. wall are two modern windows. In the W. wall, opening into the aisle, is a 15th-century arch, two-centred and of one chamfered order, of ironstone, with a large broach-stop on each side; the jambs are of one square order, much scraped; between the arch and the N. wall of the chancel is the narrow doorway of the former rood-loft, set level with the arch, but now blocked; it is of ironstone, and is also visible in the aisle. The Nave (43 ft. by 18 ft.) has late 15th-century N. and S. arcades of four bays; the two-centred arches are of two orders, the outer order hollow-chamfered, the inner moulded; the octagonal columns have plain moulded capitals and bases, and the responds are semi-octagonal. The North Aisle (13 ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, three 15th-century windows, all restored, especially the westernmost, and each of three cinque-foiled ogee lights and tracery in a four-centred head, and with a transom above the lights: between the two western windows is the late 15th-century N. doorway of two continuously chamfered orders, with a two-centred head and an external label; the jambs have been much restored. In the W. wall is a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; it is apparently of somewhat earlier date than the aisle and was probably brought from elsewhere. The South Aisle (12 ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, a late 15th-century window of four cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a square head, with an external label which has been much restored; the rear arch is four-centred. In the S. wall are three windows of the same date and design as the N. windows of the N. aisle, and all considerably restored; between the two western windows is the S. doorway, which is of mid 13th-century date, re-set and much restored; the two-centred head and label are moulded, and the jambs have shafts with plain bell-capitals; the moulded bases are modern or much restored. In the W. wall is a window similar to the W. window of the N. aisle. The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of three stages, with diagonal W. buttresses, an embattled parapet, and a circular staircase in the thickness of the S.W. angle, rising above the parapet as a small octagonal turret with a pyramidal stone roof; the parapet and roof are modern. The 14th-century tower arch is two-centred and of three orders, the two outer orders chamfered, and the innermost moulded, all dying on to square responds. The 14th-century W. doorway is of two continuously moulded orders, with a two-centred head and an external label, all much restored; the W. window is of the 15th century, also much restored, and of two cinque-foiled lights with a sexfoil in a two-centred head; the external reveal is of two orders separated by a hollow, and the label is moulded. In the second stage is a small pointed light in the S. wall, and a rectangular loop in the W. wall. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a pointed head; the external reveal is of two orders, the outer being of considerable depth; all the windows have labels with head-stops and have been much restored. The stair-turret is lighted by three rectangular loopholes. The North and South Porches are modern, but some 15th-century material is incorporated in the entrance archways. The Roof of the nave is of late 15th-century date, low-pitched, and of four bays, with moulded king-post principals filled with cusped tracery, and carried on stone head-corbels; on the soffits of the principals are shields with the arms of the Passion. The aisles have low-pitched lean-to roofs of the same date as that of the nave, with moulded principals which have plain curved brackets carried on stone corbels carved in various human and grotesque forms; the purlins are chamfered.
Fittings—Bells: six and sanctus; 2nd by Anthony Chandler, 1652; 3rd by Robert and Bartholomew Atton, 1605; 5th by Robert Atton, 1623; sanctus probably by Richard Chandler, 1696. Brackets, for images: In chancel—on S. side of E. window, carved with grotesque bust of man, early 14th-century. In S. aisle—on S. side of E. window, moulded, 15th-century. Font: octagonal bowl, one side blank, other sides carved with cusped sunk panelling of window-tracery type, and on four sides, shields, late 14th-century, much scraped. Glass: In S. aisle—in upper lights, and in heads of lower lights of E. window, vine, fruit and flower designs, late 14th-century, made up with modern glass. Image: In N. aisle— in niche, lower half of carved wooden figure, 15th-century. Monument: In chancel—on N. wall, to Robert Barker, 1636, and Marie (Smith), his wife, 1653, broken pediment and cartouche of white marble, with arms. Niches: In N. aisle—N. of chapel arch, with cinque-foiled head, and above it an embattled string-course, late 14th-century, re-set. In S. aisle—N. of E. window, with ogee crocketed and finialled head, flanking buttresses and three shields, middle shield bearing the arms of the Passion, dexter shield quartered, sinister shield paly within a border of roundels quartering a cross, late 14th-century, re-set. Panelling: In nave and S. aisle—at W. end, incorporated in modern seating, part of six linen panels, early 16th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—with cinque-foiled ogee head, crocketed and finialled label, with grotesque head-stops, projecting basin, 14th-century. In vestry—with trefoiled head, 14th-century, weather-worn, basin modern. In N. chapel—with trefoiled head, 15th-century, basin modern. In S. aisle—with cinque-foiled head, projecting basin, 15th-century. Plate: includes two stand patens of 1697. Screens: In chancel— four panels and doorway of rood-screen, upper panels open, each of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head, all cut out of boards, moulded mullions, close lower panels, late 15th-century, loft and canopy modern. Seating: In N. aisle—at E. end, incorporated in modern seat, part of bench-end, 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—triple, formed by low internal sill of S.E. window, with moulded jambs and mullions, skeleton canopy with cinque-foiled ogee head over each seat, crocketed and finialled, E. and W. jambs and part of E. and W. heads, 14th-century, the rest restored.
c(2). Manor Farm, ¼ mile N.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys and an attic, built probably early in the 17th century, but the only work of that date now visible is a chimney stack; the walls are of brick of c. 1700. The roofs are covered partly with tiles and partly with slate. The 'courts' of the manor are still held in the courtroom. The plan is rectangular, with a small projection at the back, and a modern addition at the N. end. In front the wall has blue burnt headers, and between the storeys is a projecting string-course; some of the windows are blocked. There are two gables at each end of the building. At the back the projection is gabled, and the windows have moulded wood frames of c. 1700. One chimney stack has grouped square shafts built of early 17th-century brick, and another stack, of later date, is rectangular, with projecting nibs at the sides.
Interior:—Two rooms have wide open fireplaces; one of them is partly blocked, the other has a marble architrave, and above it is a panelled overmantel with a painting, all of c. 1700. The court-room is lined with bolection-moulded panelling of c. 1700, and the doorways have moulded architraves. The entrance passage and the walls of the staircase have large unmoulded panels. On the first floor, opening from the landing, are five doorways of c. 1700, with moulded architraves and cornices; some of them have contemporary doors and one doorway has also a moulded frieze and pediment. Some of the rooms have fireplaces with moulded stone architraves and panelled overmantels; one room has large plain panels on two of the walls, a moulded over-door and a painting in the overmantel; all of c. 1700. The staircase from the ground floor to the first floor is of c. 1700, and has a large moulded handrail, twisted and turned balusters, and square newels; against the wall are half-balusters, etc.; at the foot of the stairs is a dog-gate. The plain stairs from the first floor to the attic are old.
These buildings are nearly all of two storeys, timber-framed with brick filling, and all of late 16th or early 17th-century date, but most of them have been restored and altered; the cottages in the hamlet of Singleborough were much re-built in the 18th and 19th centuries. The roofs generally are thatched. Inside many of the buildings in the village old ceiling-beams and other constructional timbers are visible.