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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a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas, stands about 4 miles S.W. of Buckingham. It is built of stone rubble, that in the walls of the transept being coursed; the tower is covered with rough-cast. The roofs are covered with slate, except that of the tower, which is tiled.
The church was formerly that of an Augustinian priory, and was appropriated to the uses of a parish church c.1480. The Chancel and Nave of the present structure were built c. 1250 and were apparently the chancel of the priory church; the North Chapel was added c. 1330, and the North-West Tower late in the 15th or early in the 16th century. The church is said to have been almost wholly re-built c. 1820, but much of the 13th and 14th-century material was re-used, some of the 14th-century windows being re-set in new positions. Repairs were also carried out in 1868.
The building is especially interesting as it comprises the remains of a priory church, with fine 13th-century windows at the E. end; in the S. window is some unusually good glass of the 13th and 14th centuries.
Architectural Description.—The Chancel and Nave (together 57½ ft. by 24 ft.) have no structural division. The Chancel has, in the E. wall, a window of five tall lancets of c. 1250, of ascending height from the sides to the middle; externally they have double-chamfered and rebated jambs and heads, and moulded labels with head-stops; internally the jambs have keeled edge-rolls, and attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the edge-rolls are continued in the inner orders of the rear arches, but have carved foliage at the springing level; the outer orders of the rear arches are elaborately moulded and are carried on the attached shafts, which are all of one height, the arches being stilted to follow the height of the lancets; the moulded labels have head-stops at the outermost ends and foliage points at the mitreing; the N. and S. jambs respectively of the outermost lancets have a filleted edge-roll to the outer order, with foliage-stops below the abaci; under the window, outside, is a moulded string-course, probably modern. The N. and S. walls have each a window of three grouped lancets similar to that in the E. wall, but the capitals are carved with animals, monsters and foliage; the labels of the N. window have head-stops; the rear arches of the S. window have been re-built, and the labels have mask-stops. The Nave has, in the N. wall, opening into the chapel, an arch of c. 1330, of two chamfered orders; the outer order is continuous, the inner order rests on a moulded capital supported on a corbel carved as a crowned head; W. of the arch is part of a window of c. 1300, of two lights, with a modern flat lintel in place of a former traceried head; it is set high in the wall and has, attached to the jambs and mullion, inside and outside, small shafts with moulded octagonal bases and carved capitals; the external bases, which are roughly cut, are probably modern; the inner edges of the jambs have keeled edge-rolls with ogee-stops above the window ledge. In the S. wall, close together, are two high windows of c. 1310, each of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded external label; the inner face of the tracery has an attached roll, continued in the moulded jambs, which are restored externally; the drop rear arch is hollow-chamfered. In the W. wall is a window of two plain pointed lights with a pierced spandrel in a two-centred head, probably of early 14th-century date, re-set; further S. is a small window of two lights, probably modern. The North Chapel (21 ft. by 16 ft.) has a modern E. window and N. doorway. In the W. wall is an early 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head which has a plain external label. The North-West Tower (8½ ft. by 8 ft.) is of two stages, the lower stage being of two storeys; the roof is pyramidal. The tower arch is of plastered brick, and has moulded corbel-capitals of the 17th century. The modern W. doorway has a 17th century beam, re-used as the internal lintel, inscribed 'William War Churchwarden'; the W. window is of two four-centred lights in a square head with a plain label, and is probably of the 16th century. The second storey has a single light in the W. wall, hidden by ivy. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window similar to the W. window of the ground storey, and also probably of the 16th century; that in the N. wall is hidden by ivy. The Roofs are modern, but a number of stone corbels and other fragments of carved stone of various dates have been re-set high in the walls, apparently as roof corbels.
Fittings—Bells: one and sanctus, 1st, inscribed in small Lombardic capitals '+ me tibi xp~e dabat i chetwode quem peramabat,' c. 1350, sanctus, blank, possibly 18th-century. Brasses and Indents. Indents: In chancel—near E. end of quire stalls, in marble slab, of figure, in upper corners two small figures, and marginal inscription, 15th-century. Chest: In N. transept— of oak, with three locks, possibly 17th-century. Communion Tables: In N. chapel—small, possibly 17th-century. In tower—part of table, with moulded rail and turned balusters, 17th-century. Glass: In chancel—in S. window (formerly in E. window), grisaille, partly restored, with geometrical patterns in colour—in E. lancet, two circles near the top, upper white with scroll pattern, coloured middle and yellow border; lower, geometrical pattern in yellow and red, blue middle and border; below circles, green cross, bordered yellow, red ends to arms, between four roundels, two green, two yellow; all c. 1250; at foot of lancet, figure of saint with book, in fragmentary architectural setting with tracery and canopy, 14th-century: middle lancet, two vesicae piscis, one with figure of St. John the Baptist, in various colours, holding the Agnus Dei (see frontispiece), the other with figure of archbishop in Mass vestments with pall and cross-staff, below figures shield with arms of England reversed, all 13th-century: W. lancet, two circles, upper as in E. lancet, lower with fragments, including part of crucifixion on pale blue ground, foliage, etc., c. 1250; under circles, two figures, St. Peter with keys, and the Virgin crowned, probably 14th-century; at foot figure of bishop with crozier and fragment of inscription in Lombardic capitals, 'Amicus dei Nicholaus', 14th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel—on N. wall, to Mary, daughter of Paul Risley of 'Chitwood', 1668, black marble panel flanked by weeping figures, cherubs' heads at base, urn at the top, all of stone. Floor-slabs: In chancel—at E. end, (1) to Elizabeth, widow of Henry Risley, arms at the top, 17th-century; (2) to Susan, daughter of Thomas Risley, 1660, arms at the top; (3) to John Risley, 1682, arms at the top; hidden under wood floor near organ, visible through trap door, (4) to Sir John Giffard, large, with richly designed incised cross, and marginal inscription in French, mid 14th-century. Painting: In chancel—E. of chapel arch on N. wall, at back of recess (see below), foliage design in red and yellow, 13th-century. Panelling: In N. chapel—forming pew, and lining walls of W. half of chapel, c. 1630, re-used. Piscina: see Sedilia. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall, E. of chapel arch, with plastered jambs and pointed head, 13th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—in S. wall, under window, four, the easternmost probably recess for piscina, third recess wider than the rest, now a doorway; moulded jambs having filleted rolls with dog-tooth ornament, moulded bases and carved foliage capitals, arches elaborately moulded, with dog-tooth ornament, and irregularly set, with small horizontal moulding at apices, crossing the other mouldings, probably part of destroyed string-course, moulded labels foliated at mitreing but dying on to abaci at E. and W. ends, all of c. 1250, re-set, some modern stones in arch of third recess.
In the Churchyard all the graves are on the N. side of the church; on the S. side is the garden of a modern house (the Priory), on the site of the cloister and domestic buildings of the former priory.
a(8). The Manor House, nearly ½ mile E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys and an attic, built chiefly of brick with stone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The original house was erected c. 1600, on a plan of modified T-shape, the vertical wing projecting towards the E.; an addition was made on the N. side of the E. wing apparently in the 18th century; E. of this addition another block was built early in the 19th century, and recently the house was again enlarged towards the E. by the extension of the original E. wing, now part of the main block of the house, and the addition of a large cross wing to match the W. wing, the plan thus becoming H-shaped above the ground floor; an attic was added to the main block, and a further one-storeyed addition was built on the N. side, making the wall of the ground floor on that side almost on one plane.
The N. Elevation is of the 18th and 19th centuries, except the W. wing, which is original, and of red bricks, with a diaper pattern of black bricks; on the first floor are two original windows of moulded stone, each of one light with a moulded label; the upper storey is gabled. The original part of the main block has an old chimney stack with a modern shaft, and the W. wing has an original chimney stack with four square shafts set diagonally. The E. wall of the wing is of stone. All the other original walls are of red and black bricks as on the N. front. The W. Elevation, now facing the kitchen yard and domestic offices, was probably the original entrance front; on the ground floor, in the N. half, are two original windows, the northern of three lights, now blocked, and enclosed by a modern larder, the southern set higher in the wall, and of two lights, also blocked; the first floor has a window of four lights similar to the others, and the second floor two gabled dormer windows, each of three lights with brick mullions and a moulded stone coping; the S. half of the elevation has a large projecting chimney stack, modern at the top. On the S. Elevation, facing the garden, the W. wing is original, and has a moulded stone window of four lights on the ground floor, and another of three lights on the first floor, similar to the other windows; the main wall is set back from the wings, and part of it is original; on the ground floor are two windows, one of two lights, the other of three lights; another two-light window has been converted into a doorway; the first floor has three windows each of three lights; all the windows have dressings of moulded stone; in the attic are two modern dormer windows; the rest of the main wall and the projecting E. wing are modern.
Interior:—The kitchen in the S. half of the W. wing has a large original arched fireplace, now partly blocked. The room in the N. half of the wing has an original oak doorway. In a passage on the first floor is an original stone fireplace with moulded jambs and flat four-centred arch; the jambs have moulded stops; the room over the kitchen is lined with moulded oak panelling of c. 1630, and the frieze is elaborately carved; two doors in the panelling have cock's-head hinges; the fireplace and overmantel (see Plate, p. 71) are also of carved oak and of c. 1630; the fireplace is flanked by Doric shafts standing on high panelled plinths and supporting a mantel-shelf enriched with carved ornament including lions' faces; the overmantel has a heavily carved square frame, flanked by Corinthian columns and flat pilasters, carrying an entablature and cornice with carved strapwork and faces; the pilasters are enriched with arabesque ornament; the frame encloses an achievement of arms including a shield, helm and mantle and a crest of a demi-lion coming out of a crown; the arms affixed to the shield are quarterly four crosses formy (counter coloured) for Chetwode; the crosses are modern. In the attic are two original doors, one with cock's-head hinges.
a(10). Sunflower Farm, about 600 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys, built of stone; the roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped, the wings projecting towards the N. and W. On the N. side is a small staircase wing with 'T.B.C. 1662.P.H.' inscribed in the head of the gable; the date is probably that of the house. A low modern addition has been added in the internal angle of the L. Some old wooden window frames remain in the upper storey. Two of the chimney stacks are of late 17th-century brick.