A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 4. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1927.
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The parish of Ickford covers 1,249 acres, of which 146 are arable and 817 permanent grass. (fn. 1) The chief crops grown are wheat and beans. The soil and subsoil are clay. The entire parish lies low, the highest part, which is very little over 200 ft. above the ordnance datum, being in the north. The village lies mainly round the junction of the chief roads, which meet a little south of the centre of the parish. The central portion is sometimes known as Great Ickford or Church Ickford, while the part lying further eastward is Little Ickford. The first name occurs in the 14th century, (fn. 2) but that of Church Ickford does not appear until the 16th century. (fn. 3) The church of St. Nicholas stands at the west end of the village, which contains a few buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries, mostly of timber and brick with thatched or tiled roofs. The rectory, which is mainly of brick with a tiled roof, is possibly of late 16th-century date, but seems to have been much altered in the next century. Church Farm is an 18th-century house incorporating some fragments of an earlier building.
At Little Ickford, which lies to the south-east of the village, are several other old houses and cottages. Manor Farm is a half-timber building of the late 16th century, added to and altered in 1675 and again about 1700; many original features remain, including two panelled rooms. A Baptist chapel, dating from 1825, stands in the road leading to Little Ickford. The outlying fields of the parish are liable to floods both from the River Thame and the stream which forms the north and west boundary of the parish. A bridge across the Thame existed here as early as 1237, since in that year Walter de Burgh was ordered to provide the keeper of Ickford Bridge with an oak from Brill (Brohull) Wood for repairs. (fn. 4) The present bridge, which carries the road from Ickford to Tiddington, is a stone structure of three elliptical arches. The triangular starlings on each side of the northern pier continue upwards to the parapets and form recesses. In the recess on the east side of the bridge are two stones, the southern one inscribed '1685, Here ends the county of Oxon,' and the northern one 'Here beginneth the county of Bucks, 1685.' Wodebrugge and Widebrugge are mentioned in the 13th century. (fn. 5)
The dramatic poet William Joyner alias Lede lived at Ickford 'in a devout condition' in the 17th century (fn. 6); his great-nephew, Thomas Phillips, biographer of Cardinal Pole, was born here in 1708. (fn. 7)
The following 13th-century place-names occur in Ickford: Stanfordpons, Brokforlang, Penygkoke, Dol mede, Goce, Holewebroc, Holerodacres, and Maseforlang. (fn. 8)
In 1086 Miles Crispin held 4 hides in ICKFORD; the name of the owner before the Conquest does not appear. (fn. 9) The manor afterwards formed part of the honour of Wallingford, (fn. 10) and this overlordship is last mentioned in 1627. (fn. 11) The tenant in 1086 was Richard, (fn. 12) who also held of the same overlord in Chearsley (q.v.), with which this part of Ickford descended for some time. In 1226 the guardians of Geoffrey de Appleton seem to have held Ickford, (fn. 13) and his name appears as witness to a charter here, (fn. 14) apparently before the year 1235, when Thomas de Appleton held a fee in Ickford and Chearsley (fn. 15) (q.v.). The Ickford portion, assessed at half a fee, passed at the death of Thomas de Appleton before 1284 (fn. 16) to his son Walter, (fn. 17) who held as late as 1302–3. (fn. 18) In 1313 William son of John de Appleton was lord. (fn. 19) Soon after this date—before 1316, in fact (fn. 20) —the rights of lordship appear to have been ceded to the atte Water family, who were under-tenants of the Appletons here (fn. 21) as early as 1284–6. (fn. 22)
William atte Water, who held this land at his death in 1313, (fn. 23) also held other lands in Ickford, to the value of half a fee, of another overlord (see Grestein Abbey Manor), and both estates evidently amalgamated to form GREAT ICKFORD MANOR, (fn. 24) which was alienated before 1346 by his son and heir John atte Water (fn. 25) to John, Lord Grey of Rotherfield. (fn. 26) The latter made a life grant of a messuage and 47 acres in Ickford, to be held for the annual rent of a rose, to John atte Water, with reversion to the Greys. (fn. 27) In 1379 the manor was held by the heirs of John de Grey, (fn. 28) son of the above. (fn. 29) It is not very clear which members of the family enjoyed the property for the next hundred years, but apparently, after the failure of the male heirs of John de Grey in 1400–1, (fn. 30) it reverted to a younger branch, descendants of a younger son of Robert de Grey, kt., (fn. 31) grandfather of the John de Grey who obtained Ickford Manor. Their representative, Thomas Danvers, (fn. 32) certainly held in Ickford in 1489 (fn. 33); his heir was his brother William, afterwards Sir William Danvers, kt., who died seised of Ickford Manor in 1504, leaving his son John as heir. (fn. 34) At the death of the latter in 1508 the manor, which was then worth £5 10s. per annum, passed to his son John, (fn. 35) who died a minor in 1517, leaving four sisters as heirs. (fn. 36) One of these, Mary, died unmarried soon after. (fn. 37) Another, Elizabeth, with her husband Thomas Cave, (fn. 38) afterwards held land in Ickford, (fn. 39) but the main manor evidently came to the youngest sister Dorothy, who held it with her husband Nicholas Hubaud in 1532. (fn. 40) She survived her husband and died in 1559, leaving a son John. (fn. 41) It does not appear that she held Ickford at the time of her death, and it may have passed before that date to Thomas Tipping, (fn. 42) who in 1585 made a settlement of it on his son George, then about to marry Dorothy Borlase. (fn. 43) Thomas died in 1601. (fn. 44) George held until his death in 1627, (fn. 45) when he was succeeded by his grandson Thomas, son of John Tipping. (fn. 46) Thomas, who was afterwards knighted, held the estate (fn. 47) until he died in 1693. (fn. 48) His son Thomas was created a baronet in 1698, (fn. 49) and in 1703 obtained an Act of Parliament to enable him to sell the manor of Ickford. (fn. 50) After this date various portions of the manor were enfranchised or the reversions sold, the main part with the demesne lands becoming the property of Sir Edmund Harrison, kt., (fn. 51) who died in 1712. (fn. 52) In 1733 his son Fiennes Harrison died also. (fn. 53) His sisters and heirs were Cecilia wife of William Snell, Sarah wife of Joel Watson, Jane wife of Matthias King, and Mary wife of Samuel Read (fn. 54); the two latter families sold their share to the two former. (fn. 55) In 1754 a fine of the manor was levied (fn. 56) by William Snell and Cecilia, John Hood, husband of their daughter Cecilia, (fn. 57) Joel Watson, Sir John Danvers, bart., and Mary his wife, daughter of Joel and Sarah Watson, (fn. 58) Cecilia Watson, another daughter, and Mary King. Mary King appears to have quitclaimed her share, and Cecilia Watson, who married Thomas Delaval, bequeathed hers to her niece Mary Danvers. (fn. 59) This Mary Danvers, daughter and heir of Sir John Danvers and Mary, married the Hon. Augustus Richard Butler, (fn. 60) and in 1792–3 they levied a fine of the 'manor' of Ickford, (fn. 61) though they did not apparently hold the entire property. They conveyed their estate to Henry Woolhouse Disney Roebuck, (fn. 62) who died in 1796, (fn. 63) and whose son Henry Disney Roebuck (fn. 64) held about 273 acres in 1831, at which date William Hood, son of John and Cecilia, held about 250 acres with the manor and a fishery, a division of the estate between himself and Roebuck having been made. (fn. 65) The Roebuck family retained lands in the parish as late as 1869, (fn. 66) but Hood's share seems to have passed to the Jacomb family, who were his cousins, his mother's sister Mary having married William Jacomb. (fn. 67) Thomas Jacomb was lord in 1862–9, (fn. 68) and his trustees held in 1873. (fn. 69) It passed before 1877 to J. W. Stephenson, who sold it after 1895 to Arthur Parsons Guy. At his death in 1912 his brother Mr. Frederick Parsons Guy succeeded.
Before the Conquest Ulf, a man of Earl Harold, held a second manor which in 1086 belonged to the Count of Mortain. (fn. 70) In 1377 overlordship rights here were held by William Montagu, Earl of Salisbury, (fn. 71) who succeeded to some of the Mortain lands. (fn. 72)
In 1086 this manor was held of the count as 6 hides by the monks of his abbey of Grestein in Normandy. (fn. 73) A later confirmatory charter to the abbey states that Ickford had been given to them by Maud Countess of Mortain. (fn. 74) The abbey continued to hold until the 14th century. (fn. 75) In 1359 lands here are said to have been held of the priory of Wilming ton in Sussex, (fn. 76) the English cell of the Norman abbey.
Towards the end of the 12th century Bartholomew de Ickford held lands in the parish, (fn. 77) probably as tenant of Grestein, since his descendants certainly held of the abbots. (fn. 78) Bartholomew was succeeded by his son William. (fn. 79) Thomas de Ickford, son of William, (fn. 80) was sued by the abbot in 1235 for customs and services. (fn. 81) In 1254–5 the same Thomas was found to hold the 6 hides of the abbot for a pair of gauntlets. (fn. 82) Thomas, who still held in 1284–6, (fn. 83) was succeeded by his son John, tenant in 1302–3. (fn. 84) About this date the family appear under the name of atte Water. (fn. 85) In 1313 William atte Water died seised of a messuage, lands, and a fishery, which he held of the abbot for half a knight's fee. (fn. 86) He was also in possession of the Wallingford Honour lands, and the two holdings appear to have been amalgamated, descending henceforth to the same lords.
Members of the Ickford and Appleton families gave lands in Ickford to the abbey of Godstow (fn. 87) and the priory of St. Frideswide. (fn. 88) In the 14th century the atte Waters gave to the priory of Bisham lands, (fn. 89) afterwards called a manor, granted in 1540 to William Burt. (fn. 90) This estate passed in marriage to the Tipping family, who, from 1585 onwards, held the 'manors of Great and Little Ickford.' (fn. 91) The abbey of Bradwell also claimed lands in Ickford by grant from the atte Waters. (fn. 92)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS consists of a chancel measuring internally 26 ft. 6 in. by 13 ft., nave 41 ft. by 13 ft., north aisle 6 ft. 6 in. wide, south aisle 5 ft. 6 in. wide, south porch, and west tower 10 ft. 6 in. square.
The present building dates in the main from about 1210, but the north and south aisles do not seem to have been added till some twenty years later. The width of the south aisle appears to have been governed by a south porch to the original nave, the outer wall of which is preserved in part on either side of the south doorway. The upper stage of the tower assumed its present form in the 14th century, and the east wall of the chancel was rebuilt about the same time, probably on account of some failure at the north-east angle. The south porch, though much altered about 1600, is probably of the 15th century. Restorations were undertaken in 1856 and 1875, and in 1907 the south side of the chancel was rebuilt and other repairs done. The walling generally is of limestone rubble and the principal roofs are tiled.
The chancel is lighted from the east by a threelight 14th-century window, with a traceried pointed head and image brackets on either side, and from the north by two original lancets, the western of which has been reset further west to give room for the large Tipping monument, removed from the north aisle in 1906. At the south-east is a square-headed window of two trefoiled lights of about 1350 said to have been brought from elsewhere. To the west of the central buttress of the south wall is an original lancet, and between this and the west end of the wall are a 13th-century doorway, and a cinquefoiled 15th-century light with a depressed head. The lower part of this last window apparently formed a low-side window and has two sills inside, much restored. Beneath the western lancet on the north side is a blocked lowside window, and east of this a recess which seems to indicate the former existence of a squint. In the south wall, in the usual position, is a 13th-century piscina with a credence shelf. The communion table is of the 17th century, but now supports a mediaeval altar slab found at the east end of the north aisle. The chancel arch is pointed and of two moulded orders towards the nave. It is of original early 13thcentury date, but appears to have been considerably altered at a later period; the south jamb has been cut away on the east side, apparently to make room for the aumbry between it and the south-east window of the chancel, and a moulded corbel inserted to carry the arch. The jambs have attached circular shafts with early 13th-century capitals, that on the north being scalloped. Externally there are stringcourses of original date on the north and south walls, which leap the heads of the lancets and form their labels; these have been cut for the later windows, and beneath the sills of the lancets in each wall is a second string-course, interrupted by the low-side windows.
The nave arcades are each of three bays, and are contemporary with the aisles, with the exception of the eastern arch on the south, which appears to have been rebuilt. The arches are of two orders supported by circular columns and responds, all having plain capitals, except the western column of the south arcade, which has a foliated capital.
The north aisle is lighted from the north by a mid-14th-century square-headed window of three cinquefoiled lights, which has been altered at a later date, a narrow 13th-century lancet with 16th-century rear-arch, possibly re-used from the original nave, a round-headed lancet set high in the wall, also perhaps re-used, and a 13th-century coupled lancet repaired in the 16th century. In the east and west walls are coupled lancets, that on the east probably a 16thcentury insertion, while that on the west, though originally of the 13th century, has been much restored. Between the third and fourth windows is an original round-headed doorway with a continuous chamfer.
The south aisle is lighted from the south by a four-light square-headed window, probably of the 16th century, near the east end of the wall, the head of which has been much restored, and by a modern three-light window at the opposite end of the wall, above which in the roof is a modern dormer window. The east and west windows are single lancets; the west window is modern, but the head, which was found in the south wall during the restoration of 1906, is of original 13th-century date. Above it is a small 13th-century quatrefoil. Between the two windows in the south wall is the south doorway, which is probably contemporary with the building of the chancel and nave, and once formed the outer doorway of a south porch. The head has been rebuilt in the 15th century; the inner order is four-centred, and the outer order, which is pointed, rises above its apex. The original pointed head has apparently been re-used as the head of the outer doorway of the porch added in the 15th century. The jambs are of two orders with detached shafts having moulded bases and annulets and carved and moulded capitals. The portion of walling in which the doorway is set is probably the south wall of the first porch; two fragments of the weather-mould of its roof can still be seen over the doorway. At the south-east is a damaged piscina contemporary with the aisle, and to the east of the south doorway is a stoup, much renewed, but partly of the 14th century. A niche at the east end with a trefoiled head probably dates from the 15th century.
The tower, which is crowned by a saddleback roof, contains three stories, but is divided externally only by the string-course beneath the windows of the bellchamber. The tower arch is pointed and of two chamfered orders with small detached jamb shafts, having a scalloped capital on the north and a foliated capital on the south; the base of the southern jamb shaft has been patched with part of an octagonal column. In the west wall of the ground story is an original lancet. The story above was originally lighted by round-headed lights on the north, west, and south, but only that on the north now remains unblocked. In the east wall is a modern loop formed in a doorway which must have originally opened into the nave roof. The topmost stage is lighted on the west by a pair of tall lights with trefoil heads and jambs of two orders externally, the outer orders having acutely pointed heads inclosed by labels and rising considerably above the apices of the inner heads. In each of the remaining three sides are pointed 14th-century windows of two trefoiled ogee lights with traceried heads; on the south and east the original 13thcentury windows can be traced. Three fragments of worked stones preserved in the chancel probably belonged to these windows.
The chancel roof is of the 14th century and has trussed collar-beams and rafters. The nave roof, which is modern, has been lowered, but the weathering of the original roof is visible on the east side of the tower. The pitch of the roof and gable of the south porch has been raised in modern times. The timbers are mostly ancient; a boss on the southern tie-beam is carved with a Tudor rose, while reset on the modern northern tie-beam is another original boss carved as a lion's face.
The font has a plain round bowl and may be of the 13th century. The pulpit and sounding board, the latter enriched with a guilloche ornament, are of the 17th century. In the nave are some plain 16thcentury seats. The gallery at the west end has a front of 17th-century panelling. Some 14th-century glass with foliated patterns remains in the tracery of the east window of the chancel. There are some modern shields and one ancient shield bearing the following charge: barry or and azure over all a bend gules. Some quarries of the same date survive in a north aisle window.
There is a large monument on the north side of the chancel to Thomas Tipping (d. 1601) and Margaret his wife. It is of chalk or clunch with columns painted in imitation of black marble, and contains kneeling figures of their four sons and five daughters. At the south-west of the chancel is a floor slab to Edmund Lawrence (d. 1645), and at the west end of the nave is a slab to Ann wife of Thomas Coles (d. 1695). A mural tablet in the south aisle commemorates Thomas Phillips (d. 1704) and Mary his wife (d. 1681).
There are three bells and a sanctus. The treble has letters selected at random cast upon it by way of an inscription (fn. 93); the second is inscribed 'Chandler made me 1716'; and the tenor 'Let your hope be in the Lord 1623.' The sanctus bell is by W. Taylor, 1847.
The plate includes a cup of 1661 and a standing paten of the same date, the cup inscribed, 'Ex dono Gilberti (Sheldon) Episcopi Londini nup. Rectoris de Ickford in Com. Bucks'; and an 18th-century paten.
Reference to Ickford Church occurs first in 1194–5, when Helias son of Goce, in the tithing of William son of Goce, was accused of robbing the 'priest of Ickford,' for which offence he was fined. (fn. 94) It appears to have been attached to Miles Crispin's land, as it was held by the Appletons in 1226. (fn. 95) In 1262 Thomas de Appleton granted the advowson to Thomas de Valognes and his heirs to be held of the Appleton heirs for 1d. rent and foreign service. (fn. 96) The advowson descended with the manor of Shabbington (q.v.) to Thomas de Valognes's daughter and heir Joan, wife of Robert de Grey, kt., and passed at her death, about 1313, to Joan, the daughter and heir of their dead son Thomas, upon whom a settlement had been made by Robert de Grey and confirmed by Joan his widow in 1297. (fn. 97) The younger Joan married Guy de Breton, (fn. 98) who presented to the church in 1318 and again in 1333. (fn. 99) In 1387 the advowson was held by Thomas Merington, William Wolfe and others, who had purchased it of John son and heir of William de Breton. (fn. 100)
Presentation was made by the king in 1405, (fn. 101) and in 1412 by John Clayrell, (fn. 102) who apparently left daughters as heirs, as in 1419 Thomas Wodelawe and Margaret his wife quitclaimed a moiety of the advowson, subject to a life interest to be retained by Margaret, to Richard Quartermain. (fn. 103) This Richard was the grandson of Thomas Quartermain, who died in 1342, by Katharine his wife, daughter and heir of Guy de Breton and Joan above mentioned. (fn. 104) Richard Quartermain presented to the church in 1458, (fn. 105) and after his death the advowson probably passed to his sister and co-heir Maud, wife of John Bruley, or her descendants. (fn. 106) Their daughter and heir Joan had married John Danvers, whose eldest son Thomas became his grandmother's heir, (fn. 107) and held property in Ickford in 1489. (fn. 108) His brother, Sir William Danvers, died seised of the advowson and the manor, (fn. 109) with which the advowson descended until the sale by the Tipping family in 1703. (fn. 110) After this date it was held separately from the manor by various persons, presentation being made by John Beauchamp in 1728, by Evans Pitt in 1737, and by Hester or Esther Newell, widow, in 1747 and 1775. (fn. 111) The patronage was obtained before the end of the 18th century by Richard Townsend, (fn. 112) in whose family it remained until after 1890, when it passed to the Turner family, who still present to the rectory. (fn. 113)
Thomas de Valognes received half a virgate of land with the advowson in 1262, (fn. 114) and five messuages, 3 virgates 19 acres of land and 5 acres of meadow were held with this property in 1313. (fn. 115) In 1316 Guy de Breton is recorded as holding Ickford (fn. 116) with John atte Water, lord of the manor, from which account it seems possible that a manor of the rectory at one time existed.
In 1430 William Hebbenge, the rector, received a papal dispensation to hold for five years another benefice with Ickford. (fn. 117)
Among other rectors of Ickford may be named Gilbert Sheldon, who later became Bishop of London in 1660 and Archbishop of Canterbury in 1663. (fn. 118) The incumbent in 1632 was Calibute Downing, author of several treatises and sermons, advocating amongst other things the taking up of arms against the king in defence of religion. (fn. 119)
Thomas Phillips, by deed poll 6 January 1697, charged lands in the parish of Tetsworth, Oxfordshire, with the yearly payment of £10. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 3 March 1911 the annuity is used to provide clothing for three poor men and three poor women.