Little Marlow

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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'Little Marlow', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 1, South, (London, 1912) pp. 230-232. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xlvii. N.W. (b)xlvii. S.W.)


b(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, on the S. side of the village, is built of flint, roughly plastered; the dressings are almost entirely of chalk; the plinth is of tiles, and under the buttresses of the tower are large blocks of Denner Hill stone; the W. wall of the S. aisle is covered with cement, and the N. porch is timber-framed, with plaster filling. The roofs are tiled. The South Chapel and part of the Chancel are of late 12th-century date; the N. wall, and possibly the E. wall, of the chancel were re-built c. 1280. The original Nave was widened towards the N. c. 1340, and the North Aisle was built; the West Tower is probably also of the 14th century, though some of the walling may be of earlier date. The South Aisle was added in the 15th century, and is probably part of the work of Nicholas Ledewich, who restored the church; he died in 1430, see Monument (1) below; the S. chapel may have been lengthened at about the same time; the North Porch was built early in the 16th century. The church was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Architectural Description — The Chancel (25 ft. by 13 ft.) has a late 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded external label. In the N. wall are two windows of c. 1280, each of two pointed lights, with chamfered outer jambs and mullions, a sex-foiled circular light in the head and a moulded label; the inner jambs have attached shafts with moulded bases and capitals; the rear arches and labels are richly moulded; the tracery of the eastern window is modern: near the W. end of the wall is a blocked doorway of the same date as the windows, with chamfered jambs, a pointed head and splayed sill. In the S. wall, over the Ledewich tomb, is a four-centred chamfered arch of the 15th century; further W., opening into the chapel, is a 12th-century semi-circular arch, of one square order, with moulded abaci, the E. abacus restored with plaster. The chancel arch, of late 12th-century date, is two-centred, of one square order, and has a chamfered label on each side and square jambs, with moulded abaci. The South Chapel (24 ft. by 10½ ft.) has a 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery; the moulded external label, with carved stops, is much worn. In the S. wall is a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a square head, with a moulded external label, much worn. The W. arch, opening into the S. aisle, is also of the 15th century, and of two orders; the jambs are semi-octagonal and have moulded capitals and bases. The Nave (39 ft. by 18 ft.) has N. and S. arcades of three bays, with octagonal columns, which have moulded capitals and bases, re-cut, probably in the 16th century; the arches of the N. arcade are of two moulded orders, of the 14th century, but restored; the 15th-century arches of the S. arcade have a moulded outer order and a chamfered inner order. Over the E. respond of the N. arcade is the entrance to the former rood-loft. The North Aisle (11 ft. wide) has a 15th-century E. window of three lights, similar to that in the S. chapel; the label has been cut away. In the N. wall are two 15th-century windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a square head with a moulded label; the N. doorway, between the windows, has moulded jambs and a two-centred arch, probably of the 15th century, much restored. In the W. wall is a small trefoiled light of c. 1340. The South Aisle (11 ft. wide) has details entirely of the 15th century. The two windows in the S. wall resemble those in the N. aisle, but have slightly different mouldings; the S. doorway, between the windows, has continuously moulded jambs and two-centred arch. In the W. wall is a single wide cinque-foiled light. The West Tower (13 ft. by 12 ft.) is of two stages, with buttresses at the W. angles and a modern embattled parapet. The 14th-century tower arch is of two chamfered orders, with moulded capitals and bases to the jambs. The W. doorway has a drop arch and jambs of two chamfered orders, much restored; the W. window is externally modern, under a 14th-century arch; the internal splays and rear arch are old. High up in the ground stage the N. and S. walls have each a lancet window, and in each wall of the bell-chamber are two wider lancet windows, probably of the 16th century. The North Porch has a plastered gable with a foiled barge-board. The Roof of the chancel is probably of early 15th-century date, and has a deep moulded wall-plate and arched brackets supporting the collar-beams. The roofs of the S. chapel and of the aisles are similar to that of the chancel, but plainer. The roof of the nave has old tie-beams, part of the wall-plates and some brackets are also old, but the rest is modern.

Fittings—Brasses and Indents (see Monuments). Communion Table: in the chancel, with turned legs, plain foot rail, 17th-century. Door: in N. porch, of oak battens, with strap-hinges having ornamental ends, small ring handle, 16th-century. Font: circular bowl, roughly worked, probably 12th-century, stem and base, modern. Glass: in E. window of S. chapel, a few fragments and a shield with arms—argent three crescents sable in a border sable with six mullets or thereon, impaling argent, a cheveron sable between three fleurs de lis sable; in S. window of S. chapel, fragments —flowers, part of figure of man, part of inscription to Nicol Ledewych: in S.E. window of S. aisle, fragments—drapery, battlement, part of border with stars; in N.E. window of N. aisle, in the tracery, two angels; all early 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on S. side, (1) altar-tomb of Nichol Ledewich, 1430, and Alice, his wife, Purbeck marble slab at the top, with indent of figure of a man, brasses of figure of a woman, inscription recording the decoration of the church by Nichol Ledewich, two shields with arms, and indent of third, sides of tomb covered with modern wood panelling. In N. aisle— on N. wall, (2) tablet to Henry Corker, and one of his children, 1696–7. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Freeman, 1681. In S. chapel—(2) to Francis Hippisley, 1659. In N. aisle—(3) to Margaret Newbery, 1675. Niche: in E. wall of nave, N. of the chancel arch, trefoiled, with dog-tooth ornament, late 13th-century, originally the reredos of a nave altar. Painting: over the N. doorway, inscription in black-letter, almost illegible, under band of ornament, probably 16th-century Piscinæ: in chancel, remains, with shelf: on sill of E. window of S. chapel, detached, square bowl of pillar piscina, with carved pattern on three sides, 12th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1569. Tiles: in floor of porch, patterns much worn, on one tile three shields with arms (1) a mill-rind cross, (2) three cheverons, (3) a cross, mediæval. Miscellanea: built into W. wall of N. aisle, fragments of worked stone, apparently from an arch.

At the N.E. corner of the Churchyard is a lych-gate of timber, much restored, the gate fixed to a central post, and worked by a pulley; the rafters are old; the roof is tiled.



b(2). Nunnery, ruins, and Moat, at The Abbey, or Abbey Farm, about 1 mile E. of the church. A complete excavation of the ruins of the Nunnery was made in 1902, and the plan of the buildings recovered. They were probably of the 13th century, but only a low wall of rough flint and clunch now remains in situ above ground; it has a short return at the E. end, and is the N.E. corner of the frater; there are two gaps in it, but no worked edges or mouldings. At the W. end is a shed partly built of old stones. The Moat is formed by a stream which runs into the river Thames about 200 yards S. of the site of the nunnery.

Condition—Well preserved.

b(3). The Manor House, N.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are covered with rough-cast; the roofs are covered with tiles and with slate. The original house, built probably early in the 17th century, is almost completely hidden by modern additions; the only parts visible are the overhanging gables on the S. side, supported on a beam with a carved edge, which has a plaster cove under it. The modern entrance hall is lined with early 17th-century panelling, brought from elsewhere, and fixed with the rails reversed. The staircase, also of early 17th-century date, has large square newels with ornamental heads, moulded handrails and turned balusters; between each pair of balusters is a small semi-circular arch with a key-block and sunk spandrels; two of the newels are carried up from the foot of the stairs to the ceiling, with arches between them, and form a screen between the staircase and hall.

The S. and E. walls of the garden, separating it from the churchyard, are of thin bricks; in the S. wall is a doorway with a moulded stone in one of the jambs.


b(4). House, now three cottages, N. of the church, next to the Queen's Head Inn, is of two storeys, built probably early in the 17th century. The walls are of timber, modern brick and flint; the roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped, and the free ends of the wings are gabled. On the W. side of the S. wing is an original chimney stack with small pilasters, partly destroyed by a modern stack, belonging to the inn, built against it; the plain square stack at the E. end of the house is also original.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(5). House, E. of the church, is of two storeys, built probably early in the 17th century, but the walls are of modern brick and the upper storey is covered with rough-cast. The roofs are tiled. The central chimney stack is of 17th-century brick, restored at the top.


b(6–7). Cottages, two, 3/8 mile N. of Spade Oak Ferry, on the E. side of the road, are of two storeys, built of brick and timber; the roofs are tiled. The northern cottage, now three tenements, is of late 16th or early 17th-century date, and of the central chimney type. It is gabled at the E. and W. ends; at the W. end the upper storey projects and the brick filling is modern. The chimney stack is of thin bricks, and there is one original fireplace partly altered. The second cottage is probably of early 17th-century date; at the back is an original chimney stack and a modern addition.

Condition—Of the first cottage, fairly good; of the second cottage, poor.

a(8). Hard-to-Find Farm, about 1½ miles N. of the church, is of two storeys, built probably in the middle of the 17th century, of brick, now covered with plaster; the roof is tiled. The plan was originally L-shaped, but modern additions have been made. The interior has been altered, but the kitchen and offices in the shorter wing are probably in the original position. The free ends of the wings are gabled, and the original chimney stacks are plain. A large barn N. of the house is probably contemporary with it.

Condition—Fairly good.