37 LITTLETON (A.e.)
Littleton, the Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene
(O.S. 6 in. XXIV, N.E.)
Littleton is a small parish on the left bank of the
Thames, 3 m. S.E. of Staines. The church is the
(1) Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene
stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are
of ragstone, chalk and flint rubble and brickwork;
the dressings are of Reigate stone and brick and the
roofs are tiled. The S. arcade of the Nave was built
c. 1200 but the rest of the nave and South Aisle were
re-built, the North Aisle added and the Chancel re-built
and enlarged c. 1280. Early in the 16th century the
West Tower and clearstorey were added; a N. vestry
was added probably about the same time together with
the South Porch. In 1705, a large mortuary Chapel was
added N. of the chancel, and extended towards the N.
20 or 30 years later; about the same time the tower
was heightened. The church was restored in the last
The church is of some architectural interest and
among the fittings the communion-rails are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (39 ft. by
17½ ft.) has a modern E. window and flanking it are
the jambs of two windows probably part of a triplet
of lancet-windows of the 13th century; the segmental-pointed rear-arches also remain in part. In
the N. wall (Plate 5) are two 13th-century lancet-windows with the labels cut back; there was a third
lancet-window further E. of which the rear-arch
remains; it has been cut into by an early 18th-century
doorway of brick with a two-centred head. In the S.
wall are four windows, all modern except the 13th-century splays and rear-arches of the three eastern and
most of the jambs and sill of the westernmost; the
doorway is modern. The 13th-century chancel-arch
is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the
responds have modern imposts.
The North Chapel (31¼ ft. by 15¼ ft.), now vestries,
was built by the Wood family as a mortuary chapel in
1705. The walls are of brick and the E. end has a
curvilinear gable with a panel below inscribed "Deo et
memoriæ sacrum erect. An. Dom. 1705." The E.
window is modern and replaces a doorway. The W.
gable has been altered; in the W. wall are a modern
doorway and window, the latter set in a large round-headed opening. There is a later 18th-century
addition on the N. side and a modern partition-wall in
The Nave (33 ft. by 18¾ ft.) has a late 13th-century N.
arcade of two bays with two-centred arches of two
chamfered orders; the octagonal column and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals; those of
the responds are probably of the 16th century. The
S. arcade of c. 1200 is of two bays with two-centred
arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical column
and semi-octagonal responds have mutilated moulded
capitals and bases. In the S.E. angle is a re-set 13th-century lancet-window, probably inserted in the 17th
century to light the pulpit. The early 16th-century
brick clearstorey has, on each side, two windows, each
of two four-centred lights in a square head with a label.
The North Aisle (6 ft. wide) has a partly restored
mid 14th-century E. window of two trefoiled ogee
lights with tracery in a segmental head with a label.
In the N. wall is a similar window; the late 13th-century N. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred
arch and label; it is now fitted with a window. In
the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window.
The South Aisle (7 ft. wide) has a window in both
the E. and S. walls, both modern except for the splays
and the rear-arch of the E. window; the 13th-century
S. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head.
In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window.
The West Tower (10¾ ft. by 8¼ ft.) is an early 16th-century brick structure of three stages (Plate 171) with
a stage or high parapet added in the 18th century.
The two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered
orders with plain imposts and splayed responds. The
W. doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head
with plain imposts; the W. window is of three four-centred lights in a square head. The second stage has,
in the N. and S. walls, a window of one four-centred
light in a square head. The bell-chamber has, in the N.
and S. walls, a window of two four-centred lights in a
square head; there is a similar window of three lights
in the W. wall.
The South Porch is an early 16th-century brick structure with an embattled parapet. The outer archway
has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The
side walls have each a window of one four-centred
The Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century, partly
reconstructed; it is of three bays with king-post
trusses, curved struts and curved braces to the tie-beams. The late 14th-century roof of the nave, reconstructed in the 16th century, is of four bays and of collar-beam type with curved braces forming segmental arches.
The 16th-century roof of the porch is flat with moulded
ribs and curved brackets to the main cross-rib.
Fittings—Bells: three by William Eldridge, 1666.
Brass: In chancel—on N. wall, to Blanche wife of Sir
Hugh Vaughan, 1553, inscription, shield-of-arms and
two roses inscribed Ihu Mey, palimpsest on shield,
group of five daughters, c. 1520, two roses lost. Chest
(Plate 18): In N. chapel—heavily iron-bound with two
strap-hinges and staples, remains of leather covering,
probably 16th-century. Communion-rails (Plate 130):
of five bays including gates, with panelled pedestals
and moulded rails, main panels carved in relief (a)
chalice, host, cross and book; (b) pelican in her piety;
(c) chalice and host with cherubs and scrolls; (d) table
with shew-bread; (e) tables of the law and high-priest's
vestments; late 17th-century, Flemish. Font: octagonal bowl with splayed under side and projecting rim,
plain stem and square moulded base, probably 13th-century. Locker: In S. aisle—in S. wall, with rebated
jambs and square head, mediæval. Monument and
Floor-slab. Monument: In churchyard—W. of tower,
to Elizabeth Singer, 1702, headstone. Floor-slab:
In chancel—to Edward Westley S.T.B., rector, 1673.
Piscinæ: In chancel—of two bays with modern two-centred heads, central shaft with moulded base, two
round drains, 13th-century, restored. In S. aisle—in
S. wall, recess with trefoiled head and oblong drain,
13th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten
of 1632 with the arms of George Stewart, son of
Esme, Duke of Lennox, cup and cover-paten probably
of 1712, and a stand-paten of 1680. Pulpit: with five
sides, two plain and three with bolection-moulded
panels and enriched cornice, early 18th-century.
Seating: In nave and aisles—pews with buttressed
standards and moulded rails, 15th or early 16th-century
made up with modern work. Screen (Plate 162):
Under chancel-arch—of three bays including central
doorway, close lower panels with linen-fold, side-bays
each of five open trefoiled lights with tracery above,
doorway with curvilinear head, early 16th-century,
made up with modern work and modern cornice.
Stalls (Plates 5, 20): In chancel—twelve on N. and
ten on S. side, series of traceried backs with trefoiled
and sub-cusped heads, ogee labels with crockets, etc.
15th-century, said to have come from Winchester.
Miscellanea: In chancel—scrolled wood bracket
(Plate 20) with cherub-head, late 17th-century, foreign.
(2) Old Manor House, 200 yards E. of the church,
is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly of
brick and partly timber-framed and the roofs are
covered with tiles and slates. The E. part of the
main block was built late in the 15th or early in the
16th century. Late in the 16th century the house was
extended towards the W. and a wing added on the S.
side. Early in the 18th century a large addition was
made at the W. end and there are later and modern
additions on the S. and E. and a narrow extension on
most of the N. front. The central chimney-stack has
one square and two diagonal shafts. Inside the
building is some exposed timber-framing and a considerable amount of 17th-century panelling. The roof
of the original block retains its wind-braced purlins but
the trusses have been reconstructed. A small bell in
the house, by William Eldridge, 1696, presumably
came from the church.
Condition—Good, much altered.
(3) Rectory, 50 yards E. of the church, is of two
storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the
roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1700 and has a hipped
roof and a modillioned eaves-cornice. Inside the
building, the original staircase has turned balusters
and close strings.