A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.
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This parish covers 1,185 acres, of which 370 are arable, 697 permanent grass, and 20 woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The slope of the land varies from 396 ft. above the ordnance datum in the north to 276 ft. in the south. The soil is mixed, principally gravel, of which disused pits exist in the north and south of the parish. The chief crops are wheat, barley, and beans. The Ouse flows through the south of the parish. The main road from Buckingham to Brackley runs from east to west, and the avenue between Buckingham and Stowe also passes eastward through this parish.
The village is small and lies in a hollow in the south of the parish. The church and churchyard occupy a central position, with the rectory on the north. This latter is a spacious building with good grounds. The parsonage which it displaced is thus described in a document of 1639: 'The Parsonage, consisting of 8 Bays, is built of Stone, whereof five Bays Tyled, three Thatcht, and divided into 14 Rooms, above and below; two Barns, one of Stone of 6 Bays.' (fn. 2) South-west of the church is the manorhouse, now used as a farm and for many years in the occupation of the Swain family. (fn. 3) It is a gabled building of stone and brick, with a roof of tiles and slates, and bears the date 1621, when probably it was originally built, but it was much altered later, and part of it was demolished in the last century. Many of the windows still retain their wooden mullions and transoms, and some of the doorways are of the 17th century. Within still remain the original staircase and a screen at the south end of the kitchen, which seems to have been part of the hall. The entrance gateway and traces of the garden walls speak of its former importance. The River Ouse runs close by, and on it stands the ancient manorial mill.
The hamlet of Chackmore (Chakemore, xiii cent.; Jackemor, Chackemore, xiv cent.) in the north-east of the parish contains several old buildings mostly of halftimber with thatched roofs. The post-office is a 17thcentury building of stone with an original brick chimney stack. There is a school licensed for divine worship, and also a Wesleyan chapel. Chackmore farm-house is in the adjoining parish of Maids' Moreton.
Radclive was inclosed under an Act of Parliament of 1773. (fn. 4)
Roman remains are said to have been found in a field in Radclive called Town Close, and also at Chackmore. (fn. 5)
Under the Confessor, Azor son of Toti held RADCLIVE MANOR (with which was included the hamlet of Chackmore), of which the overlordship had passed by 1086 to Roger de Ivri. (fn. 6) Like the remainder of Ivri's lands Radclive later became part of the Walery Honour, and the overlordship follows the same descent as the adjacent manor of Westbury (fn. 7) (q.v.). No mention of the overlordship has been found after 1546, in which year the constable of the honour claimed a 'certain' rent of 13s 4d. here. (fn. 8)
In 1086 Fulk was the mesne tenant of Radclive Manor, (fn. 9) which, like Westbury, passed later to the Hareng family, though no reference to their holding has been found earlier than c. 1240, when Ralph Hareng held a fee here. (fn. 10) As at Westbury, too, a partition took place in the middle of the same century, by which part of Radclive Manor passed to the family of St. Lys and part to that of Newhall. But whereas in Westbury the Newhalls obtained the greater part of the manor, in Radclive the major portion was assigned to the St. Lys. The latter family, too, had acquired their share as early as 1254–5, when Isabel Hareng still held Westbury in widowhood. (fn. 11) Simon de St. Lys, who held Radclive at that date, was also lord of the manor in 1278–9. (fn. 12) The name of Simon de St. Lys is returned for the aid of 1284–6, (fn. 13) and is followed by that of his son Andrew de St. Lys, (fn. 14) lord of the manor in 1302–3. (fn. 15) He obtained a grant of free warren in his manor in 1314, (fn. 16) and though his name is not found in connexion with this parish after 1316, (fn. 17) probably held this manor for some years longer, for one of his name served as member for the county in the Parliaments of 1325, 1326 and 1328. (fn. 18) In 1346 Radclive was divided between John de Wolverton, who held two-thirds, and William Cantelow, who held one-third of the fee which had formerly belonged to Andrew de St. Lys. (fn. 19) John de Wolverton presented to the church, which was attached to the manor, in 1349, (fn. 20) and in 1361 the advowson was in the possession of Thomas Brember. (fn. 21) Shortly after this latter date Radclive Manor was purchased by William de Wykeham, (fn. 22) consecrated Bishop of Winchester in 1367, (fn. 23) who in 1379 bestowed it as part endowment of his foundation of New College. (fn. 24) By New College it has since been leased at various times. According to Willis, the manor-house was held by Sir Thomas Denton in the reign of Charles I and passed from him to Sir William Smyth, member for Buckingham in the Parliament of 1661. (fn. 25) He was made a baronet as of Radclive in that year, (fn. 26) and inclosed a park here, the pales and bounds of which were still kept up in 1755. (fn. 27) He conveyed his right in the estate to Captain John Woodfine, who died in 1693, and whose son-in-law, Mr. Lee, an eminent surgeon, held in 1735. (fn. 28) Henry Smith of Charwelton (Northants) was the lessee at the beginning of the last century. (fn. 29)
With regard to that minor portion of Radclive which, like Westbury Manor (q.v.), passed to Joan de Somery, it is described in 1278–9 as consisting of 3 virgates in demesne, 2 virgates of land, and 3 virgates in villeinage. (fn. 30) After the mention of John Strange's tenancy in 1379 (fn. 31) no further reference has been found.
An early grant of lands in Radclive appears to have been made to Oseney Abbey, (fn. 32) which received a rent of 25s. 7d. from this parish at the Dissolution. (fn. 33) This may be the origin of the small titular RADCLIVE CUM CHACKMORE MANOR which Sir Richard Temple, lord of Stowe Manor (which had also belonged to Oseney), claimed in 1735. (fn. 34) He then claimed to hold a court leet in Chackmore field, (fn. 35) and subsequent lords of Stowe are found as 'lords of Radclive cum Chackmore' in 1775, (fn. 36) 1803 (fn. 37) and 1819, (fn. 38) while the Baroness Kinloss is returned as a landowner in this parish at the present day.
Mention is made in Domesday of a water-mill worth 5s. belonging to the manor. (fn. 39) It was afterwards called West Mill, and as such bestowed by Ralph Hareng in 1243 on St. Michael's chapel. (fn. 40) It is occasionally named in later extents, and there is still a water-mill in the village, which is, however, no longer used.
The earliest details in the present fabric are the reset jambs of the chancel arch and the south doorway of the nave, both work of c. 1200. The north and east walls of the chancel, which are of limestone rubble, are probably of the same date, but the large coursed masonry of the south wall, approaching almost to ashlar work, shows a subsequent rebuilding, which may be ascribed to the latter part of the first half of the 13th century, the date of the coupled lancets at the north-east and south-west of the chancel. The west tower, the walls of which are of coursed rubble, was added early in the 14th century, when the nave, which is of the same material, was probably rebuilt. Late in the century the two north windows of the nave were reconstructed, a new window being inserted at the same time over the west doorway of the tower. About a hundred years later the south porch was added and the large south-east window of the nave was formed. The church was restored in 1903.
The east window of the chancel is of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. The tracery is of the 15th century, but the jambs and rear-arch with the internal mask-stopped label are made up of 13th-century material re-used. At the sill level, internally and externally, are stringcourses of the earlier date, and above the external head of the window is the head of a 13th-century lancet. At the north-east is a 13th-century coupled lancet window with linked mask-stopped labels, plain internal splays, external glass rebates, and a chamfered semicircular rear-arch. At the east end of the south wall are a modern piscina and sedile designed in the style of the 14th century. To the west of these is a 13th-century doorway, and at the west end of the wall is a coupled lancet of the same date as that in the north wall, with moulded corbels at the springing of the rear-arch. The chancel arch has reset jambs of c. 1200, but the arch itself, which is pointed, and of two chamfered orders, is evidently a reconstruction of the 15th century. The outer order of the jambs is shafted towards the west, the shafts being overlapped by panelled cheveron moulding. The capital of the northern shaft has leaf enrichment and the vertical face of the abacus is ornamented with circular flowers; the lower member of the abacus appears to have been cut to an ogee form when the arch was reconstructed. The capital of the southern shaft has vigorous voluted stiff-leaf foliage, and the abacus, which retains its original contour, is enriched with the star ornament. The abaci are continued without enrichment round the two orders of the jambs and back to the side walls of the chancel, but on the west side the abacus is stopped about 9 in. from the present north wall, while on the south side it is cut off to clear a late 15th-century niche with a moulded and cambered head. Above the arch on the same face is a cheveronmoulded voussoir from the original arch, set with other worked stones, doubtless to support a rood-beam. Above these, immediately under the tie-beam of the easternmost truss of the nave roof, are set five more cheveron-moulded voussoirs.
At the east end of the north wall of the nave is a built-up doorway, now flat-headed, but the springing of a two-centred arch can be traced. To the west of this is a late 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, and at the west end of the wall is a square-headed window of two similar lights, and of about the same date. The heads of both windows are formed of single stones and do not fit the mullions very well. At the south-east is a late 15th-century window of three trefoiled lights with a flat segmental external head and a cambered wood lintel for rear-arch. The south doorway is contemporary with the jambs of the chancel arch and, like it, has been reset. The head is two-centred and of three orders, the two inner orders being moulded with stopped chamfers and the outer with leaf-enriched cheveron moulding, the whole being inclosed by a label with dog-tooth ornament. The two outer orders of the jambs have ringed nookshafts with stiff-leaved capitals of early type, and the angles of the outermost order have chamfers with dogtooth ornament at wide intervals. The bases of the shafts are much decayed, but appear to have been of the water-table type. The inner order has angle rolls with a band of water-leaf ornament forming their capitals, and the rear-arch is of the segmental twocentred form. A blocked window, placed high up and probably inserted to light a gallery, can be traced externally at the west end of the wall.
The west tower, a remarkably fine piece of work, is of three slightly receding stages with diagonal buttresses at the western angles, a well-designed south-east vice-turret rising only to the intermediate stage, and an embattled parapet. The walls rise from a boldly moulded plinth, which is continued round the north and south walls of the nave. The tower arch is of three chamfered orders, the outer segmental and continued down the meeting angles of the nave and tower walls, while the inner orders die into the jambs. The west doorway of the ground stage has a two-centred head of two orders with continuously moulded jambs, and immediately above it is an inserted late 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. The intermediate stage is lighted from the north and south by small lights with two-centred heads, and the bell-chamber by a larger light of the same character in each face.
The chancel roof is of high pitch and is concealed internally by a plastered barrel ceiling. The nave roof has low-pitched king-post trusses with curved tiebeams. They are probably of late 15th-century date, but the wall brackets and corbels are of the Elizabethan period. The altar-table is faced with an elaborately worked early 17th-century chest front. The altar rails are of the same period and have flat pierced balusters, and the moulded stone sanctuary step also belongs to this period. The font is contemporary with the earliest detail in the church; it is of tub shape with a simply moulded base and stands on a square plinth. Above the head of the opening of the west doorway, immediately under the rear-arch, is a 12th-century sculptured stone, perhaps representing the Agnus Dei. In the north-east window of the nave are some remains of late 14th-century glass; in the east light is a portion of a bearded figure inclosed by a gabled and crocketed canopy, and in the west light are fragments of the figures of the Virgin and Child with a similar canopy, while in the quatrefoil in the head is a rose with red and green petals. Some black and white pattern quarries of the same date remain in the pierced spandrels of the north-west window. The sounding-board of the modern pulpit is of the 17th century, and in the porch are two 15th-century benches with poppy-head finials brought from elsewhere. In the tower is preserved a very fine Queen Anne brass-bound mahogany chest with two drawers in the lower part.
In the sanctuary floor are slabs to John Norborne, a former rector (d. 1726), and his wife Sarah (d. 1720), and to Mary, daughter of John Norman of Woodford, Essex, who died, so far as can be deciphered, in 1717. There is also a slab to 'C. H.' (d. 1753). On the wall at the north-east of the nave is a tablet commemorating Ann, the wife of Hartley Sandwell and youngest daughter of John Woodfine, 'late of this place' (d. 1729), and her husband (d. 1756).
There is a ring of three bells, the treble uninscribed, but probably of the 17th century, the second inscribed in black letter 'Sancte George Ora KV,' (fn. 41) and the third inscribed 'Bartholomewe Attun 1594.'
The advowson of Radclive has descended with the manor and is held by New College, Oxford. (fn. 42)
The chapel of St. Michael, situated in the churchyard at Radclive, was in existence before 1243, in which year Ralph Hareng alienated lands to the chaplain daily celebrating there for the souls of himself and wife Alice, his father and mother Ralph and Isabel and his brother Jordan. (fn. 46) 'Dominus' Bartholomew de Capella held in Radclive cum Chackmore in 1254–5, (fn. 47) while in 1278–9 Robert 'Capellanus' held 1½ virgates of land in the parish belonging to his chapel. (fn. 48) References to St. Michael's Chapel occur in the Lincoln Episcopal Registers in 1276, (fn. 49) 1297 (fn. 50) and 1328. (fn. 51) In the latter year Andrew de St. Lys received licence to alienate in mortmain lands and rents here and in Westbury to provide a chaplain to celebrate divine service daily in the chapel of St. Mary, Radclive. (fn. 52) William de Wykeham presented to the chantry of the chapel of St. Michael the Archangel in 1364. (fn. 53)
When Radclive was inclosed in 1773 the tithes of Radclive were commuted for a rent-charge and those of Chackmore for land. (fn. 54)
The Poor's Plot, awarded in 1776 for the benefit of the poor on the inclosure of the parish, consists of 4 a. 3 r. 7 p., which is let in allotments producing £4 10s., the net rents being distributed in coal.
The charities founded by will of the Rev. John Croker, proved at London 4 March 1864: (a) for the distribution of coal, trust fund £104 18s. 4d. consols, and (b) for the benefit of the daily school, trust fund £104 18s. 4d. consols. The sums of stock are held by the official trustees, producing in each case £2 12s. 4d., which is duly applied.