A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
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The parish of Winslow, which comprises the market town of Winslow and hamlet of Shipton, covers an area of 1,919 acres, of which 162 acres are arable land, 1,501 acres are laid down in pasture, and 31 acres are woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The soil is of Oxford Clay, which has been worked in a pit at Tinker's End. The land rises from 290 ft. in the south-west to 410 ft. in the north-east, and the town of Winslow stands on the brow of a small ridge of hills which stretches from Bedfordshire to Oxfordshire. It is approached from the south-east through the small hamlet of Shipton by the road from Aylesbury to Buckingham, which becomes the High Street, as it passes through the town. The town is built round the square neat market-place, (fn. 2) and along the three streets, High Street, Sheep Street, and Horn Street. The houses are almost entirely of red brick, and the appearance of the town is bright and pleasing.
The church occupies a central position and stands in a churchyard separated from High Street by a wall within which trees have been planted. The vicarage lies to the west of the church. In the south-east corner of the square is the Bell Hotel, the name of which occurs in the early 17th century. (fn. 3) It is said by Lipscomb about the middle of the 19th century, to have been the only inn in Winslow. Since then with the growth of the town about a dozen others have come into existence. The inn itself is not very ancient, but the gateway and out-buildings are of half-timber with modern brick filling and date back to the early part of the 17th century. There are a few 16th-century houses and cottages, and several of the 17th century. They are for the greater part of timber framing with brick filling and have thatched roofs, though many are tiled. Market House, in the Square, is of the early part of the 18th century. Both it and the George Hotel have iron balconies of elaborate scrollwork, said to have been brought from Claydon House.
There is a Congregational church built in 1885 in Horn Street, a Baptist Tabernacle in Union Street dating from 1864, and a small red brick Baptist chapel in Bell Alley. (fn. 4) This is an interesting 17th-century rectangular building with a porch on the north side. The roof is tiled, and the windows fitted with wooden casements. It contains a gallery at the west end, the original wooden benches, and a 17th-century table. The porch has in each side wall a panel filled with moulded balusters and a moulded wooden cornice. It also has a modern date-stone bearing the date 1695. The floor of the building and the yard contain a number of floor slabs to former members of the congregation.
The Oddfellows' Society has a hall in High Street. The town is lighted by gas, the works being to the north of the town near the station on the Bletchley and Oxford and Banbury branches of the London and North Western railway. Here are also some brickworks, now disused. The inhabitants are principally engaged in agriculture, and lace-making is being revived.
Winslow Hall, the property and residence of Mr. N. McCorquodale, J.P., stands in well-planted grounds at the entrance to the town. It is a square brick building with stone quoins, three stories in height, and has a symmetrical front with a moulded modillion cornice and slated roof. It was built possibly from the designs of Sir Christopher Wren by William Lowndes, secretary to the Treasury. His name and the date 1700 are to be seen on the frieze over the door, and the Lowndes lived at Winslow Hall for many years afterwards. The house contains some good oak panelling and a fireplace dated 1647, which is probably of foreign origin. There are several powder closets. To the west of the Hall is a house similar in style and date, with a projecting Doric portico of wood over the front entrance. Redfield, the seat of Captain W. H. Lambton, is a handsome modern house of red brick with large grounds, from which extensive views of the county around can be obtained.
Among the place-names mentioned here is Tookey Mead (xvii cent.), which was sold by the Lees, who owned considerable property in these parts, (fn. 5) to Peter Fige of Winslow. (fn. 6) Peter Fige was assaulted in 1634 by Samuel Rawlins as he was going to make proof of his gentry. (fn. 7) There is a brass in the church to a member of his family, and the names of others occur constantly on the registers. The name of Tookey Mead is preserved in Tuckey Farm and Covert.
The Inclosure Award for Winslow, dated 30 May 1767, under the Inclosure Act of 1766, (fn. 8) and that for Shipton-in-Winslow, dated 29 April 1745, under the Inclosure Act of 1744, are in the custody of the clerk of the peace.
At Winslow or Shipton the Abbot of St. Albans had a small borough with a portmanmote in the 13th century. (fn. 11) There were, however, but ten burgesses in 1279, and nothing is heard at a later period of any borough apart from the manor. It is possible that some at least of the original burgages were situated along Sheep Street. Winslow and Shipton shared in the revolt of their fellow tenants elsewhere and extorted charters from their lord in 1381. (fn. 12)
Late in the 8th century Offa, King of the Mercians, had an estate at WINSLOW. About 792, during one of his sojourns here, he was much occupied with the plan of founding the monastery of St. Albans, and upon its foundation he granted to it his royal estate at Winslow. (fn. 13)
The overlordship continued to belong to the Crown, and in the 17th century the manor was said to be held by the king as of his honour of Hampton Court by military service. The hamlet of Shipton seems always to have been a part of the manor, with which it descended, but in the 17th century it was held of the king as of his manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 14)
In 1086 Winslow, assessed at 15 hides, belonged 'to the demesne of the church of St. Alban' (fn. 15) and was confirmed to the abbot by Richard I in 1198 (fn. 16) and by the pope in 1219. (fn. 17) There was some doubt as to whether the abbey held Winslow in free alms or by military service, (fn. 18) the trouble apparently arising from confusion with lands in Hertfordshire, which the abbot held by knight service, but the question was finally settled in 1356 in favour of the abbot. (fn. 19)
The abbey continued to hold Winslow until the Dissolution, (fn. 20) and in 1330 leased it and other places, with the market and other rights, to Simon Fraunceys, mercer and citizen of London, for £200 a year. (fn. 21)
After the Dissolution Winslow was granted in 1540 to Richard Breme, king's serjeant, and Margery his wife for life. (fn. 22) In 1599 the manor was granted in fee to Sir John Fortescue, kt., chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 23) He died at Westminster in 1607, (fn. 24) having by a settlement in 1606 (fn. 25) left the manor to his wife for life, with remainder to his son Sir Francis Fortescue, kt. The latter conveyed the manor in 1620 to George, Marquess, afterwards Duke, of Buckingham. (fn. 26) The duke was assassinated in 1628, and was succeeded by his infant son George. (fn. 27) In 1647, before the duke came of age, the Buckinghamshire estates of his mother and his step-father the Earl of Antrim (fn. 28) had been sequestered, Winslow being mentioned by name. (fn. 29) In 1651 the Committee for Compounding sent word to the Commissioners for the county to the effect that Parliament intended to dispose of the manors of Winslow and other places to persons whose services they wished to recompense, and forbad the Commissioners to let any part of the manors for more than a year or to allow any timber to be felled. (fn. 30) In 1651 a grant of lands was made to Major-General Philip Skippon, in which the manor of Winslow was no doubt included, (fn. 31) for in 1656 he sold it to Michael Norman and his heirs. (fn. 32) At the Restoration it returned to the Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 33) In 1671 and 1675 the duke granted the manor to different sets of trustees, probably for the purpose of evading his creditors. (fn. 34) In 1679 he granted the manor to Nicholas Goodwin of Hammersmith, (fn. 35) who held it until 1697, (fn. 36) when it was conveyed to Charles Twitty and Samuel Brewster in trust for William Lowndes, the trustees of 1675 quit-claiming all their right in the manor to Twitty and Brewster. (fn. 37) William Lowndes had been made secretary to the Treasury in 1695, in which year he was active in urging recoinage upon a new standard. He was successfully opposed in this scheme by Locke. Walpole, in announcing Lowndes' death in 1724, said that 'the house had lost a very useful member, and the public as able and honest a servant as ever the Crown had.' The family motto 'Ways and Means' dates from his time. (fn. 38) He was succeeded by his son Robert, who died in 1727, leaving a son and heir Richard, (fn. 39) who was sheriff of the county in 1738. (fn. 40) He was succeeded by his son William, (fn. 41) who took the name of Selby on succeeding to Whaddon Manor (fn. 42) (q.v.), with which Winslow has since descended.
The Abbots of St. Albans exercised an extended jurisdiction over Winslow, including return of writs; (fn. 43) and their rights were challenged by the Crown in the reign of Edward I. (fn. 44) They claimed by a charter of Henry II, confirmed by Richard I and John, not only to have view of frankpledge with pillory, tumbrel and cucking-stool, assize of bread and ale, chattels of felons and fugitives, but to be quit of all exactions from shire and hundred and to have their own coroners and warreners for the fields. (fn. 45) The most stoutly contested point was that of the abbot's immunity from visitations of the royal officials, and at the beginning of the 14th century a writ was obtained from the king bidding the sheriff desist from entering the abbot's liberty to hinder him from making summonses and attachments. (fn. 46) Most of these privileges remained attached to the manor and are enumerated in detail in 1825. (fn. 47)
A court was mentioned in 1480 as held by the cellarer of the abbey, (fn. 48) and court leet and court baron were included among the appurtenances of the manor from the 17th century onwards. (fn. 49) In 1830 it was stated that a court leet was held annually at the Bell Inn on the last Monday in October.
In the time of Edward I there was a windmill in Winslow belonging to the Abbot of St. Albans, (fn. 50) which followed the descent of the manor. In the 16th century a water-mill (fn. 51) and a malting-mill (fn. 52) are referred to. There is now no trace of a mill in Winslow.
In 1234 the Abbot of St. Albans received a grant of a market on Thursdays at his manor of Winslow, and a fair on the eve and day of St. Lawrence (9 and 10 August). (fn. 53) The market continued to be held by the abbots until the Dissolution, when it escheated to the Crown. In 1586 Elizabeth bestowed the office of bailiff and clerk of Winslow market and the 'pretorium' and the chamber over it called the Motehall in the market on John, later Sir John, Fortescue for a term of twenty-one years. (fn. 54) She is said to have sold the market to Sir John Salden, whose grandson alienated it to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, (fn. 55) who was in possession in 1625. (fn. 56) Since this date it has descended with the manor, and is at present the property of Mr. W. Selby-Lowndes of Whaddon. In 1858 the market day was changed to Wednesday. (fn. 57)
In 1677 the right to set up stalls in the market-place was claimed by William Giles, who occupied a house overlooking the same. The Duke of Buckingham as lord of the manor stated that the bailiffs always had placed and let the stalls, receiving the profits of 4d. a stall to their own use. Giles was accused of attempting to bribe a witness who had been examined by the steward of the court leet regarding the stallage about six years previous, but on his behalf it was urged that he had set up two rows of stalls outside his house for at least sixteen years past. (fn. 58)
In 1792 the fair days were 20 March, Holy Thursday, 21 August, 22 September, first and second Thursdays after Michaelmas (old style), and 10 October (for hiring). (fn. 59) In 1864 statute fairs for hiring servants were held on Wednesday before 11 October and the two following Wednesdays, (fn. 60) and exist at the present day.
The church of ST. LAWRENCE consists of a chancel 37 ft. 3 in. by 19 ft. 4 in., north chancel aisle (used partly as an organ chamber and vestry) 14 ft. wide, nave 45 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft., north and south aisles 63 ft. 9 in. by 10 ft. 3 in., west tower 11 ft. 3 in. by 14 ft., and a south porch.
The building dates from about 1320, when it consisted of chancel, nave, and tower with north and south aisles inclosing the tower. In the 15th century great alterations were effected. A number of windows were inserted, the walls of the nave and aisles were heightened, and the whole building was reroofed. In the 16th century the upper part of the tower was rebuilt. The church was restored in 1884 and the chancel aisle added in 1889.
The walls of the nave and aisles are of rubble masonry, and the remaining walls of ashlar blocks. The dressings, which are of ashlar, are all much restored. The east gable of the nave is of half-timber work.
The chancel is lighted from the east by a late 15th-century window of five lights with tracery in a four-centred head. Near the east end of the north wall are two small rectangular piercings, through which a view of the altar could be obtained from a former sacristy. The two arches opening into the north chancel aisle are modern and the two windows in the south wall are much restored. The latter have pointed heads with tracery, the eastern, of the 14th century, having two lights and the other, of the 15th century, having four lights. Beneath the eastern is a range of three modern sedilia, and to the east of them is a rectangular aumbry and a restored 15th-century piscina with a cinquefoiled arch and carved spandrels in a square head. Between the windows is a doorway with continuously moulded head and jambs of 15th-century date, much restored. On the western jamb, inside the church, are cut the names of two vicars, 'Robert Maynw[aring ?], Oct. 14 an. do. 1646,' and 'Samuel Dix, vicar 1663.' The pointed chancel arch is original, the outer order is continuous, and the inner springs from semi-octagonal responds.
The arcades of the nave are of four bays; their pointed arches of two orders spring from octagonal columns and responds with moulded capitals and bases. The clearstory above has three much-restored windows; the central windows on each side are original and consist of a quatrefoiled circle, the others are 15th-century square-headed windows of three lights.
The modern arch at the east end of the north aisle replaced a 15th-century square-headed window of four lights, which has been reset in the north wall of the modern chancel aisle. The north aisle is lighted from the north by three windows, the first, of 14th-century date, having two lights with tracery in a pointed head, and the others, of 15th-century date, having three lights in a square head. The north doorway is of the 14th century, and has continuously moulded jambs and pointed head. It is now closed and fitted internally with a book-case containing a number of volumes, including a black-letter commentary in seven volumes of 1508, a Book of Homilies of 1562, a Bible of 1611, the Life and Works of Bishop Jewell, 1611, a commentary of 1674, Foxe's Acts and Monuments in four volumes of 1684, a Bible of 1701, and two Prayer Books of 1718. This wall retains fragmentary traces of paintings, probably of the 15th century, the subjects of which are now partly indecipherable. (fn. 61) The west window of the aisle dates from the 14th century. It is pointed and of two lights in a traceried head. The doorway at the south-west of the aisle leads to the turret of the tower.
In the south aisle the 15th-century east window of four lights under a square head remains, and the two western of the three windows in the south wall are modern and of four lights. Between them is a 14th-century doorway. The eastern window in this wall is of the 14th century and has an external label with crudely carved stops of a spade and shovel and a crucifix. On the eastern side of this window is a late 14th-century piscina (fn. 62) with two trefoiled ogee-headed openings, one in the splay of the window and the other in the wall of the aisle, while further to the east is an original aumbry with a modern door.
The tower is of three stages with small buttresses to the western face, and has a stair in the north-west angle, and a moulded cornice. Each merlon of the parapet is pierced with a small circle. There are arches opening into the church on the east, north, and south sides of the tower, all of 14th-century date. They are pointed and have inner orders springing from semi-octagonal pilasters with moulded abaci, the openings into the aisles being smaller than that into the nave. The west doorway and window are original but restored, the former having a continuously moulded pointed head and jambs and the latter two lights in a pointed head. The upper part of the lower stage has clock dials in the north, south, and west faces which almost hide the small rectangular openings on the north and south faces. The upper stage has in each face an opening of three lights in a depressed head, with an external label probably of the 16th century.
The gabled south porch has diagonal buttresses. There are grotesque gargoyles in the centre of the eastern and western faces and a crocketed pinnacle at each of the four angles. The entrance arch has a square-headed continuous outer order, and a four-centred inner order springing from modern circular shafts with octagonal moulded capitals and bases. The spandrels are traceried. Above the arch is a modern canopied niche containing a figure of St. Lawrence. The east and west walls each have a small restored quatrefoil light.
The chancel has a steep-pitched modern outer roof, but the flat-pitched 15th-century roof still remains below. It is of four bays and has moulded and cambered tie-beams with traceried spandrels above, and moulded plates, purlins, and ridge. The roof of the north aisle is of the same period and character and is of six bays, while that of the porch, also of 15th-century date but restored, has moulded main timbers with carved bosses at the intersections and wooden corbels to the north and south walls carved with initials and the date 1677, apparently the date of a restoration.
On the north side of the chancel, in a Purbeck marble slab, is a brass to Thomas Fige (d. 1578) and Jane his wife, with small figures of a civilian and his lady, two sons and five daughters, and a shield of arms: quarterly, 1 and 4, a fesse between three fleurs de lis; 2, on a bend three molets; 3, on a bend sinister three molets. There is another brass on the south side of the chancel with the small figure of Dorothy Barnard, daughter and co-heir of Ralph Allwey of Shenley in Hertfordshire (d. 1634).
The pulpit, which is of early 17th-century date, is hexagonal and rests on a modern base. The sides, one of which is open, are panelled in two heights, the lower panels being arcaded and the upper enriched with arabesque carving. The book-rest is supported at each angle with a bracket carved as a bird. The 17th-century communion table has four turned legs in front and two behind. A disused altar table, also of the 17th century, is preserved at the east end of the south aisle. There is a large sconce over the font in the tower and a smaller one in the chancel, both of 18th-century date.
There are six bells and a sanctus, of which the treble is by Edward Hall, 1730; the second by C. & G. Mears, 1846; the third by Richard Keene, dated 1670; the fourth and fifth of 1668; the tenor by Pack & Chapman, 1777; and the sanctus by Robert Atton, 1611.
The communion plate includes a cup and cover paten of 1569, a cup and paten of 1639, an almsdish of 1685, a stand paten of 1693, the gift of Sarah Fyge Egerton, two silver gilt spoons of 1699, a cup and cover paten of 1716 and a stand paten of 1723 the gift of Joseph Roger.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) all entries 1560 to 1715; (ii) baptisms 1716 to 1745, marriages and burials 1716 to 1739 (the entries of marriages and burials from 1739 to 1745–6 are missing, but there is a small vellum pocket book, supposed to have been the clerk's book, containing entries of baptisms, marriages and burials from 1736 to 1761); (iii) baptisms and burials 1745 to 1784, marriages 1746 to 1753; (iv) baptisms and burials 1785 to 1812; (v) marriages 1754 to 1785; (vi) marriages 1785 to 1803; (vii) marriages 1803 to 1812.
The church of Winslow is mentioned in 1198, when it was confirmed to St. Albans Abbey by Richard I, the grant being inspected by Edward I in 1301. (fn. 63) It continued in the abbey until the Dissolution, (fn. 64) when it escheated to the Crown. The advowson was bestowed on Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London, by Queen Mary in 1558, (fn. 65) but it reverted to the Crown, in which it has remained vested until the present day, the presentation being made by the Lord Chancellor. (fn. 66)
The church, together with the chapels of Little Horwood and Grandborough, was assessed at £28 in 1291. (fn. 67) By 1535 the net annual value was £11 5s. 8d. (fn. 68) A vicarage was ordained sometime before 1328. (fn. 69)
The rectory appears to have been appropriated to the chamberlain of St. Albans Abbey, who had an untithable pension of 13s. 4d. in Winslow Church in 1391. (fn. 70) Abbot John V (1396–1401) built at Winslow for the chamberlain's use an excellent grange fortified with very strong earthen walls, and thereupon let the tithes for a higher rent (fn. 71); but afterwards, finding that his enterprises had brought him into debt, he retrenched by reserving for his own use till death the tithes of Winslow, which properly belonged to the chamberlain. (fn. 72)
In 1534 the abbot granted the rectory of Winslow to John Boston for a term of forty years. (fn. 73) Five years later the monastery was dissolved, (fn. 74) and the rectory was granted to Richard Breme, king's serjeant, and Margery his wife. (fn. 75) In 1573 the Crown granted the rectory to David Deley for twenty-one years, (fn. 76) and to Henry Best for thirty-one years in 1595. (fn. 77) In 1607, long before this term had expired, the rectory was given in fee to Sir John Fortescue, kt., (fn. 78) since when it has always descended with the manor.
In 1652 an augmentation of £50 per annum was granted to Thomas Bishop, incumbent of Winslow, from the rectory, which had been sequestered from the Duke of Buckingham. (fn. 79) A rent-charge of £14, reserved when the rectory was granted to Sir John Fortescue in 1607, was bestowed in 1620 on Lawrence Whitaker and Henry Price. (fn. 80) It afterwards came into the hands of Lord Coventry and Hugh Dashfield, who in 1636 alienated their right to the Merchant Taylors' Company. (fn. 81) Their clerk, Richard Marsh, in 1653 petitioned the Committee for Compounding to pay the rent-charge and all arrears. (fn. 82)
In 1630 the incumbents of parishes near Winslow petitioned Bishop Laud that the lecture discontinued at Winslow should be resumed. (fn. 83) The official of the archdeaconry of St. Albans, under whose jurisdiction Winslow was, objected on the ground that the minister was competent for all requirements, (fn. 84) and, though the petitioners again wrote to Laud, (fn. 85) the matter appears to have ended here.
The school was founded by will of Joseph Rogers, 1722. (fn. 86)
(1) An allotment containing 1 a. 1 r. 35 p., awarded under the Inclosure Act, 1766, in exchange for an ancient inclosure in Shipton in this parish, which appears to have constituted the property of Sarah Egerton's charity, mentioned in the Parliamentary Returns of 1786, but is now known as the charity of Thomas Bishop.
(2) An allotment containing 7 a. 3 r. 24 p., awarded under the same Act, presumably in exchange for land purchased with a legacy of £100 bequeathed by will of Joan Forde, proved in the P.C.C. 12 April 1647.
(3) In 1814, as appears from a tablet in the church, William Packer by will bequeathed £100 stock, now £100 consols, the income to be applied annually in the distribution of bread on the Sunday next after 5 July.
(4) In 1820 Edmund Cox, by will proved in the P.C.C., bequeathed £300 stock, the interest to be applied twice in every year in the distribution of good wheaten bread. The legacy, less duty, is now represented by £276 5s. 1d. consols, producing £6 18s. a year, which with £2 10s. from the charity of William Packer is duly applied.
(5) The Church Repairs Trust consists of a house in Winslow, £319 7s. 11d. consols, producing £7 19s. 8d. a year, arising from the sale of another house in Winslow, and a piece of freehold land in Market Square, on which was an old building known as the Old Post Office. It was taken down in 1913, and a parish room built on the site.
In 1846 Miss Bridget Yeates, by will proved at London 2 January, founded the charities following, namely: (a) in support of Sunday School Trust Fund, £166 13s. 4d. consols, producing £4 3s. 4d. a year; (b) Fuel fund, consisting of £166 13s. 4d. consols, for supplying coal at a reduced price, or laid out in fuel to be distributed to the poor; (c) in support of infants' school, founded by testatrix in 1843, trust fund, £166 13s. 4d. consols; (d) for distribution of Bibles, Testaments, and Prayer Books among children attending Sunday school, trust fund, £50 consols, producing £1 5s. a year.
In 1872 Elizabeth Miles, by her will proved at London 22 January, bequeathed £200 Metropolitan 3½ per cent. stock, the yearly dividends, amounting to £7, to be distributed at Christmas among deserving poor. The distribution is made in blankets and coal.