An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxiii. N.E. (b)xxxiii. N.W.)
a(1). Hartwell House (see also (4)), stands in a large park, 1¾ miles S.W. of Aylesbury. It is of two storeys and an attic, built early in the 17th century; the walls are of stone, all with ashlar facing, except the W. wall; the roofs are covered with slate. The plan is H-shaped, the central block facing N. and S., with a central porch on the N. front; the wings extended considerably further towards the S. than towards the N. and in the internal angles of the court on the S. formed by the wings were projections, the eastern containing the grand staircase and the western the chapel. About the middle of the 18th century the court was enclosed to form new rooms and the wings were lengthened towards the S.; the E. front was re-built and a small addition made on the W. side; on the N. front the gables were removed, and the existing parapet and cornice were added. The original disposition of rooms has been somewhat altered, but the main block still contains a large hall with one room on the E. and domestic offices on the W. The kitchen in the W. wing and the grand staircase also retain their original positions.
The house is an interesting example of domestic architecture of early 17th-century date; the N. front, with the oriel window over the entrance, is remarkable for its proportions and excellent detail, and the grand staircase, of oak, is notable for the fine carving.
N. Elevation:—The central porch is carried up to the roof; the outer doorway has enriched jambs and semi-circular arch, flanked by carved and moulded pilasters, supporting a moulded cornice with a carved frieze; above it is a semi-circular oriel window of six lights with moulded stone mullions and two transoms, supported by finely carved and moulded corbelling; at the level of the window sill is a carved and moulded string-course. On each side of the porch is a projecting bay with splayed sides, which has on each floor a window of six lights with moulded mullions and two transoms of stone; between the upper and lower windows is a moulded string-course; beyond the projecting bays, on each floor, is another window of four lights with moulded mullions and transoms. At the N. end of each wing, on the ground floor, are two small square-headed windows, each of two lights with moulded jambs and mullions; those in the E. wing are blocked; above them, in each wing, is a segmental oriel window of eight lights with moulded mullions and transoms, resting on deep moulded corbelling and having a moulded cornice at the top. The elevation is finished by an 18th-century cornice and low parapet, surmounted by a carved stone vase at each corner of the wings. The W. Elevation has, above the 18th-century addition, original windows with plain chamfered mullions and transoms, considerably restored. A change in the masonry marks the extension of the wing towards the S. Two lead rainwater pipes with moulded heads are probably of the 18th century. The S. and E. Elevations were re-built in the 18th century.
Interior:—In the N. porch is part of the stone canopy of a late 16th-century tomb, belonging to the Lee family, and formerly in Quarrendon Church; on the stone is a garter enclosing a shield of Lee with eight quarterings, of which some of the original colour remains, and a mantled helm, with the crest broken off. On the ground floor the room E. of the hall is lined with small square oak panels of the 17th century; the servants' hall has an original fireplace with moulded jambs and three-centred head with plain spandrels under a square outer member. In the E. wing a chimneypiece is dated 1658, but is not in its original position. On the first floor the 'China Room' has a 17th-century overmantel of richly carved and panelled oak, supported by two large moulded pilasters. The 'Tapestry Room' is lined with 17th-century oak panelling made up with modern work, and also contains some fine Mortlake tapestry, one panel marked with the arms of London and the initials I.B.; the moulded stonework of the fireplace is re-cut or entirely modern; in the same room is a large four-post bedstead of the 17th century, with very elaborately carved posts, canopy and back. In the 'Muniment Room' is an original fireplace which has moulded stone jambs and four-centred opening with plain spandrels, in a square head; the overmantel, richly carved and panelled, is apparently of 17th-century oak, but is now painted; on the walls are remains of equally rich panelling. The steps of the grand staircase are 8 ft. wide, and there are twenty-four large square newels with strapwork panels, all surmounted by carved figures, amongst them Samson, Hercules, etc., each holding a sword or lance which is removable; the massive moulded handrail is supported by balusters carved as small double figures with folded arms. The back staircase in the W. wing is also of the 17th century and has turned balusters.
In the grounds a small house is built of old timber, re-used, and modern stone, and has a late 16th or early 17th-century door-frame of moulded oak, with door of moulded battens. The summer-house contains some 17th-century panelling. In a boundary wall S.W. of the house is some re-used 17th-century stonework, and a door leading to a passage under the road is of old studded battens.
Condition—Fairly good, but there are three cracks in the N. front, the worst being at the junction of the W. wall of the porch with the main block. The carved detail of the corbelling under the oriel window and some of the other stonework is flaking away.
a(2). The Old Rectory, about 150 yards W. of the church, is a two-storeyed building completely covered with modern rough-cast, but a richly moulded beam in the dining-room bears the letters M.I. and the date 1582. A lead water tank in the garden is dated 1605, and also has a rose, a lion rampant, a fleur-de-lis, and other ornamental designs embossed on it.
Condition—Good, much altered and restored.
a(3). House, at the corner of the main road, 300 yards S.W. of the church, is of two storeys entirely re-faced with modern brick; some stone mullioned windows of two lights, apparently re-set, are of the 17th century.
b(4). Mound, probably a barrow, in Hartwell Park.