Chesham Bois

Pages 101-102

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.

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In this section


(O.S. 6 in. xliii. N.W.)


(1). Parish Church of St. Leonard, stands on high ground E. of Chesham. The walls are of flint and the dressings of clunch and modern stone; the roofs are tiled. The church appears to have been built c. 1360, and then consisted of an undivided Chancel and Nave; in 1884 the North Aisle and South West Tower (porch) were added, the N. windows of the nave re-set in the aisle, and the rest of the building was restored, the stonework of all the windows being partly renewed. The North Vestry is also modern.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (20 ft. by 14½ ft.) has an E. window of three pointed lights, almost entirely modern. In the N. wall are two 14th-century windows, partly restored, and each of two trefoiled lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the eastern window is blocked. In the S. wall are two windows similar to those in the N. wall. The chancel arch is modern. The Vestry is modern, but in the E. wall is a 14th-century window similar to the others, re-set, probably from the chancel. The Nave (38½ ft. by 14½ ft.) has a modern N. arcade of five bays. In the S. wall are three windows, resembling those in the chancel, and a modern doorway. The 15th-century W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head. The North Aisle is modern, but has the 14th-century windows of the nave, three re-set in the N. wall and one in the W. wall; they are similar to those in the chancel. The Roof of the chancel is probably of the 15th century and has four moulded arched trusses, with longitudinal ribs and curved wind-braces; the trusses rest on stone corbels carved as heads, and angels with shields, all covered with modern paint; the timbers are also painted and there is a modern deal-boarded ceiling. The roof of the nave is similar to that of the chancel, and has carved stone corbels.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st undated, 3rd by John Kebyll, inscribed, 'Sancte Andrea Ora Pro Nobis', probably early 15th-century. Brasses: in the chancel—(1) of Elizabeth, wife of Robert Cheyne, 1516, figure in pedimental head-dress and loose gown, standing on mound, with inscription; on her right side, of Robert Cheyne, 1552, figure in armour of curious form, of early type for the date, standing on mound, inscription below that of Elizabeth, four shields of arms; half hidden by organ platform, (2) to Wenefride, daughter of Lord Mordante, and wife of John Cheyne, 1562, inscription only; (3) of Benedict, son of Roger Lee, c. 1520, small figure of chrisom child. Chair: in chancel, back of priest's seat, formed of 17th-century panelled oak. Communion Table: probably late 17th-century. Communion Rails: with twisted balusters, probably mid 17th-century. Glass: in E. window, some quarries with flowers, etc., probably 14th-century; six shields with arms of Cheyne, checky or and azure, a fesse gules fretty argent; a seventh shield charged, or three bends azure a quarter ermine for Fitz Otes; an eighth shield charged argent, a bend sable with three roses argent thereon impaling or three piles azure, probably 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—in N.E. corner, (1) of John Cheyne, 1585, altar tomb with slab of Purbeck marble, sides of clunch, having shields, one in a garter, others in wreaths, middle shield on S. side with the Cheyne arms, others with various quarterings, above tomb, tablet with inscription, the Cheyne arms and crest of a boar's head with collar and chain. In the churchyard—(2) high tomb to Jane and Ellen, daughters of Philip Henslow, 1698 and 1708. Floor-slabs: in chancel—(1) to Mrs. Anne Cheney, 1630; under communion table, (2) to Francis Cheyne, 1644; partly covered by communion rails, (3) to Lucie, wife of—by Tyrrell, and formerly wife of William Cheyne, 1691; (4) to Anne Gilmore, 1682. Pulpit: hexagonal, carved panels, canopy placed upside down on floor, to form base, 17th-century. Seats: in chancel, two, with moulded standards, 15th-century, heads partly cut off and covered with modern caps. Tiles: in front of communion table, a few. Miscellanea: near the pulpit, hour-glass stand, of iron.

Condition—The N. aisle is damp, and the buttresses along the N. wall, although modern, are in a very bad condition. The stonework of the N.E. window is badly weathered and the plinth of the aisle much perished. Rest of the church, good. (fn. 1)


(2). Ivy House Farm, about 2/3 mile E. by S.E. of the church, on the S. side of the road to Chesham, is of two storeys; the upper storey is timber-framed with rough-cast filling, and projects at the N. end beyond the lower storey, which is restored with modern brick. The roof is tiled. The house was built early in the 17th century, enlarged and restored in the 19th century. The plan is rectangular, facing E., with a central chimney stack. On the ground floor the rooms have open timber ceilings, and there is one large open fireplace.


(3). Bois Farm, house and barns, about 5/8 mile W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, and consists of a rectangular block, facing S., built in the first half of the 17th century, and originally extending further towards the W., modern additions have been made at the back and at the W. end. The original timber and brick remain at the E. end; the S. front is of early 18th-century brick. The roofs are tiled. The large chimney stack at the W. end of the original part of the house has square shafts built of thin bricks. Interior:— On the ground floor the ceilings have beams and exposed joists, and there are two wide fireplaces, one partly blocked and the other hidden by the modern W. addition. On the first floor the timber construction is visible in the walls and roof; the floor boards are original. The Barn, E. of the house, is timber-framed and weather-boarded, except the N. wall, which has original brick filling. It is built with an aisle on the N. side; the roof has large trusses with tie-beams and curved brackets. The second Barn, S.W. of the house, is similar to the other, but has a base of thin bricks on the W. side; they are both of the same date as the house. The roofs are tiled.



  • 1. Since the above account was written, the church has been extended towards the W. and again restored.