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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74. MONKS RISBOROUGH.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxvii. N.E. (b)xxxvii. S.E.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Dunstan, stands at the N.W. corner of the village, and is built of faced flint, with some stone rubble; the dressings are of stone and clunch. The roofs of the chancel and S. porch are tiled, those of the nave, aisles and tower are covered with lead. The early history of the church is obscured by extensive rebuilding in the 14th and 15th centuries. The North Transept is possibly of the 13th century, and is all that remains of the church existing at that date, though the present Nave is probably of about the same proportions as the former nave. Early in the 14th century the West Tower was built, and towards the end of the century the North Aisle, with its arcade, was added. Early in the 15th century the South Aisle and arcade were built, and a little later the Chancel was re-built; the South Porch was built at about the same time or a little later, and towards the end of the century the clearstorey was constructed. In the 19th century the whole church was repaired, and the North Organ-Chamber was built.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (36½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has a modern E. window; across the E. wall, outside, is a moulded string-course. In the N. wall are two 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label; both windows have been restored, and the organ-chamber cuts into them outside; between the windows is a modern arch opening into the organ-chamber. In the S. wall are two windows, similar to those in the N. wall, both considerably restored; between them is a modern doorway. The two-centred chancel arch is of the 15th century, and of two chamfered orders, dying into the wall on the E. side, and with pyramidal stops on the W. side. The Nave (47½ ft. by 21½ ft.) has N. and S. arcades of four bays, built of clunch; they are of similar detail, but the S. arcade is of slightly later character than the N. arcade; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders, with pyramidal and broach stops; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases; the N.W. respond is replaced by a capital on a corbel. Above the N.E. respond is the four-centred doorway of the former rood-loft, originally entered from the staircase in the transept. The clearstorey has, on each side, four windows of late 15th-century date, each of three cinque-foiled lights with sunk spandrels in a square head. The North Transept (16½ ft. by 13 ft.) has, in the E. wall, a 15th-century window, partly restored, of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a four-centred head; the moulded external label has head-stops, and the rear arch and inner jambs are moulded; in the N. wall is a similar window, much restored externally; the label has head-stops. In the S.E. angle are the remains of the rood-loft staircase. The arch opening into the N. aisle is of the same date and design as the N. arcade; on the N. side the arch rests on a moulded capital and corbel, on the S. it rests on the first column of the N. arcade. The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, two windows; the eastern is of the 15th century, much restored externally, and of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a four-centred straight-sided head; the western window is of clunch, also of the 15th century, and of three cinque-foiled lights with sunk spandrels in a square head; the segmental rear arch is of two orders: between the windows is a 14th-century doorway, much restored, with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head; the moulded label has defaced stops; the rear arch is modern. High up in the W. wall is a small 15th-century window, restored externally, of two trefoiled lights with sunk spandrels in a square head. The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has a modern E. window. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern, of early 14th-century date, and probably moved from the old wall of the nave, is of two cinque-foiled lights in a two-centred head, with a moulded external label which has mask-stops; the tracery is moulded, and the internal jambs and mullions have double attached shafts, with moulded capitals and bases; the rear arch is elaborately moulded, and has jambs with attached shafts, moulded capitals and bases, and a moulded label with return stops: the western window is probably of late 14th-century date, much restored, of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded external label; the two-centred rear arch is chamfered and dies into square jambs: the 15th-century S. doorway, between the windows, has continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head, with a moulded external label; the two-centred rear arch is chamfered. On the S. wall, outside, is a moulded string-course, with grotesque head-stops under the label stops of the eastern window; it is carried over the S. porch, following the line of the roof, and is mitred with the label of the western window. On the W. wall, inside, high up, are remains of the weather-course of the former roof, and a short length of horizontal string-course on the wall of the stair-turret of the tower. The South Porch has a two-centred entrance archway, of two chamfered orders with sunk spandrels under a square head; above the archway, outside, is a small niche with trefoiled arch and sunk spandrels in a square head; in each side wall is a single cinque-foiled ogee light with sunk spandrels under a square head; all of the 15th century, except the jambs of the archway, which are modern. The West Tower (11 ft. by 10 ft.) is of three stages, with a moulded plinth and a plain parapet above a moulded corbel table; the corbels are carved alternately as heads and masks, with a gargoyle on the N. and S. sides; the S. gargoyle is broken off; the buttresses are diagonal and the S.E. stair-turret is square and rises above the parapet. The tower arch, of early 14th-century date, is two-centred and of two continuously chamfered and moulded orders, carried down into square bases; the moulded label on the E. side is continued as a string-course to the N. and S. walls of the nave; above the arch is visible the line of the former roof, with a small two-centred chamfered opening in the apex. The early 14th-century W. doorway has chamfered jambs and a two-centred arch of two moulded orders; the external label has defaced head-stops, and is mitred at the apex with a moulded string-course continued across the W. wall; the W. window, of the same date as the doorway, is of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with an external label, continued as a string-course round the tower. In the second stage the N. and S. walls have each a narrow chamfered lancet window, also original. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, an early 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded external label. The stair-turret has four long loop lights; on each floor, and opening on to the roof of the tower, is an original doorway with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head. The flat-pitched Roof of the nave is of the 15th century and of four bays, with large cambered and moulded tie-beams and curved braces with traceried spandrels; the wall-plates, purlins, ridge and rafters are moulded; the two western trusses and the N. end of the third truss are supported on original head-corbels of stone. The flat-pitched 15th-century roof of the N. transept is of two bays, and is similar to the roof of the nave, but probably of earlier date; it has moulded and embattled wall-plates, a chamfered central tie-beam and chamfered rafters; four of the original stone corbels remain, three carved as heads, and the fourth as a grotesque figure with a shield. The roofs of the aisles are also flat-pitched and of the 15th century, very much restored, and have moulded timbers, and curved braces with pierced traceried spandrels; the N. aisle is of three bays, with original stone corbels on the N. side, the S. aisle of four bays, with the spaces between the rafters filled by small carved timbers, and with original stone corbels on the S. side. The roof of the S. porch is of the 15th century, in one bay of steep pitch; the truss at each end has moulded and cambered tie-beams, enriched with sunk panels and carving, curved and chamfered wallstruts, and moulded purlins supported on short struts and collar-beams; the wind-braces are chamfered; between the trusses the roof is ceiled with plaster. The stair-turret of the tower has a quadripartite domical vault of early 14th-century date, with chamfered ribs and a boss carved with foliage and the head of an angel with wings.
Fittings—Bells: six, five by Ellis Knight, 1636–37. Brackets: in S.E. corner of transept, moulded, with corbel carved as grotesque head, 15th-century. Brasses: In chancel—on S. side, (1) of priest, in Mass vestments, said to be Robert Blundell, rector of the parish, 1431, unusually good condition. In S. aisle—at E. end, (2) half figures of civilian and his wife, no inscription, late 15th-century. Door: in S. doorway, with original hinges and lock plate, possibly 14th-century. Font: circular, fluted cup-shaped bowl, with interlacing bands and conventional foliage at the top, c. 1200; circular stem and foliated base. Glass: in upper lights of N.W. and S.W. windows of chancel, many fragments, including merchant's mark, etc., in gold and white borders, 15th-century and later date: in S.E. window of S. aisle, many fragments, of various designs, including figures of Virgin and Child, 14th-century, part of figure of saint with sword and book, scroll inscribed 'orate pro anima', etc., 14th and 15th-century. Niches. in transept, on N. side of E. window, with foliated bracket and remains of elaborate spire canopy with crocketed gables and grotesque head-stop, 15th-century: in nave, over middle column of N. arcade, long, with plain chamfered trefoiled head, 15th-century: in the S.E. respond, small, with trefoiled head, 15th-century. Paintings: in nave, on easternmost principal of roof, traces of colour: on chancel arch, on canopy of niche in the transept, and on screen, slight traces of colour; on close lower panels of screen, series of figures in flowing robes with ermine capes and coifs, probably 18th-century re-painting of earlier work. Screen: between chancel and nave, two bays on each side of doorway, moulded mullions, open upper panels with two-centred heads and modern tracery in the spandrels, close lower panels, with painting (see above), late 15th-century, considerably restored. Seating: in nave, four poppy-head bench ends, three carved with a small figure standing on two heads, the fourth with two heads of women, in elaborate headdresses, mid 15th-century; some old work incorporated in modern seats. Stoup: in porch, part of basin on rough squared stem, date uncertain. Tiles: on N. and S. sides of nave, considerable number; in N. transept, a few, glazed, of various patterns, mediæval.
a(2). The Rectory, E. of the church, is of two storeys, built of red bricks, with a diaper pattern of black bricks, late in the 17th century, almost entirely restored and re-faced in 1863. The roof is tiled. The plan is of half-H shape, with the wings projecting towards the S., and a projecting porch in the middle of the N. front. The E. wing has been considerably extended towards the E. The gables and eaves are modern.
a(3). Cottage, about 100 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, built late in the 16th century, and timber-framed, with brick filling, much restored, but some of the original herringbone pattern remains. The roof is tiled.
a(4). Cottage, S.E. of (3), is a rectangular building of two storeys, probably of late 16th-century date. The lower storey is of flint and brick; the upper storey is timber-framed, with brick filling. The roof is tiled. In the front wall are two slabs of worked clunch, possibly part of a 15th-century altar tomb; one slab has two sunk quatrefoils, the other is divided into small traceried panels.
a(5). Pigeon-House, in a field, N.W. of the church, is a square 16th-century building of clunch rubble and roughly squared limestone; the pyramidal roof is tiled and has a small lantern. The N. doorway is of curious detail, in clunch, probably of late 16th-century date, possibly brought from elsewhere.
Whiteleaf, Upper Icknield Way, E. side
a(6). House, now three tenements, on the E. side of the road, about 730 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys, built in the 16th century, and originally timber-framed, with wattle and daub filling, now partly restored with 18th-century and modern brick and flint. The roof is thatched. The plan is rectangular, with a projecting chimney stack at the S.E. end, and a modern addition at the N.W. end; S. of the addition is an original window, with wood mullions, now blocked. Inside the house original beams are visible in walls and ceilings.
a(7). House, now two tenements, S. of (6), is of two storeys, built early in the 17th century, and timber-framed, with original brick filling in front and at the N.E. end; the other walls are considerably restored with 18th-century brick and flint. The roof is thatched. Inside the house original beams are visible in walls and ceilings.
a(8). House, now three tenements and a barn, about 300 yards S. of (7), is of two storeys, built in the 17th century, and timber-framed with plaster filling, restored with modern brick; in the 18th century the W. end and the barn at the E. end were re-built, and an addition was made at the back. The roof is tiled. In front the overhanging upper storey is original. Constructional timbers are visible inside the house.
a(9). House, now three tenements, S. of (8), is of two storeys, built in the 17th century, and timber-framed; at the N.E. end some of the original wattle and daub filling remains; the front has 18th-century brick filling; the other walls are of 18th and 19th-century brick and flint, and there is an 18th-century addition at the back. The roof is thatched. The bases of the chimney stacks are of 17th-century brick. Inside the house original timbers are visible.
a(10). House, about 90 yards N.W. of (9), is of two storeys, built in the 17th century, and retains, at the back and the N.E. end, the original timber-framing with filling of 18th-century brick; the other walls have been refaced with 18th-century brick and flint. The roof is tiled. Inside the house constructional timbers are visible.
a(11). House, now two tenements, about 230 yards N. of (10), is of two storeys; it was built early in the 17th century, and timber-framed, with brick filling, but has been restored with 18th-century brick and flint. The N.E. tenement was almost entirely re-built in the 19th century. The roof is tiled. Constructional timbers are visible inside the house.
a(12). Cottage, about 1,000 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys, of late 16th or early 17th-century date, but restored with 17th-century brick, and 18th-century brick and flint; a little original timber-framing, with wattle and daub filling, remains in front. The E. end is modern. The roof is thatched. The central chimney stack is of 17th-century brick, restored at the top. Inside the building constructional timbers are visible.
a(13). Cottage, W. of (12), is of two storeys, built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, and almost entirely refaced with 18th-century brick and flint. A few original timbers remain in the E. gable. The roof is thatched. The plan is L-shaped, and the large central chimney stack has square shafts of 17th-century brick. Interior:—Constructional timbers are visible, and there are two large fireplaces, now partly blocked.
a(14). Cottage, at Middle Cadsden, about 2/3 of a mile E. by N. of the church, is of late 16th or early 17th-century date; the walls have been almost entirely re-faced with 18th-century brick and flint, but some of the original timber-framing remains. The roof is tiled. There is a modern addition at the back. Interior:— Constructional timbers are visible, and there is a large fireplace, partly filled in.
a(15). The Manor House, now three cottages, about ½ mile N. of the church, is of two storeys, built of brick and timber c. 1600, now considerably altered and patched with modern brick. The roofs are tiled. The present plan is roughly T-shaped, with the middle wing extending towards the W., but the original plan is uncertain. Interior:—The first floor is supported on plain moulded beams; the roofs are of collar-beam construction with plaster ceilings on the collar-beams which have small curved braces at the feet of the rafters. In the N. wing are two fireplaces, each with a moulded four-centred head and a stone frieze carved with an arabesque pattern.
Condition—Poor, but structurally fairly sound.
a(16). House, now three tenements, about 500 yards N. of the church, is of two storeys, partly timber-framed, with brick filling, and partly of red brick with a diaper pattern in black bricks. The roof is tiled. The original house was built late in the 16th century, and the plan was L-shaped, the wings extending towards the N. and E.; at the end of the 17th century a square block was added S. of the N. wing, making the plan T-shaped; the house has been subsequently restored and enlarged. The ends of the 16th-century wings are gabled; the N. gable retains the original rectangular timber framing, and is little altered; under the gable the upper storey projects, and is supported by a moulded bressumer, and the window has a shaped bracket under the sill. The 17th-century windows have square solid frames with mullions and transom, and a few of them have metal casements. Some of the original windows are blocked.
Condition—Poor, but structurally fairly sound.
a(17). Cottages, six, four on the S.E. side and two on the N.W. side of a lane running towards the N.E. from (16), are all of one storey and an attic, timber-framed, some with brick and some with plaster filling. They were built probably in the second half of the 16th century, and subsequently much restored and altered. All the roofs are thatched, except one. The largest building, on the S.E. side of the road, is divided into several tenements. The plan is T-shaped, and the lower storey is re-built with modern brick; the roof is tiled. Two of the cottages on the S.E. side of the road have half-hipped gables and dormer windows; one has a weather-boarded outhouse at each end.
a(18). The Spring, about 1 mile N. of the church, is a house of two storeys, dated 1627, and built of brick and timber, much restored and re-faced in the 18th and 19th centuries. The roof is tiled. The original timbers are visible only in the upper storey at the E. end. Interior:—On the ground floor the ceilings have chamfered beams, and there is a large open fireplace, with seats in the chimneycorners and a beam over it, inscribed 1627, John Trip. In the upper storey, the sloping ceiling is crudely painted with figures of Adam and Eve, standing on each side of a tree, and with texts inscribed on scrolls.
Condition—Good; painting well preserved.
a(19). Brook Farm, E. of 'The Spring', is a house of two storeys, built probably early in the 17th century; the plan is rectangular, with a central chimney stack; at the N. end is a modern addition. The E. and W. sides retain the original timber-framing, now almost entirely covered with plaster; the filling is partly of 17th-century brick. The roof is tiled. The chimney stack has square shafts of original bricks, partly restored. Inside the house there are chamfered ceiling-beams and two large fireplaces, one with seats in the chimney-corners and a 17th-century fire-back of cast iron.
a(20). Meadle, N.W. of Brook Farm, is a two-storeyed house, of L-shaped plan, built probably early in the 17th century, with modern additions in the angle between the wings and at the S. end. The original timber-framing remains, but the filling is entirely of 18th-century or modern brick; the roof is thatched. The central chimney stack, and that at the E. end are also of 18th-century brick above the roof. Inside the house the original beams are visible in the walls and ceilings; on the ground floor is a wide fireplace, partly blocked; on the upper floor is a 17th-century door of wide moulded battens, and there are some original boards in the floor.
a(21). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, about 120 yards N.W. of (20), is of two storeys, built of brick and timber, probably early in the 17th century, almost entirely re-faced in the 18th and 19th centuries; the original timber-framing remains on the E. side. The roof is thatched.
a(22). Cottage, on the S. side of the main road, N.W. of 'The Spring', is of two storeys, built of brick and timber, probably early in the 17th century, considerably re-faced in the 18th and 19th centuries; the original timber-framing, covered with plaster, remains at the N. end. The roof is tiled.
a(23). Dock Farm, at a little distance from the main road, about 100 yards S.W. of (22), is a house of two storeys and an attic, built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, of brick and timber. The plan is rectangular, facing S., with a central chimney stack, and, at the E. end, a modern one-storeyed addition. The front retains the original timber and brick in the upper storey, the lower storey is of 18th-century brick. The back is almost entirely restored with 18th-century brick. The roof is tiled. The W. end is original, and has on each floor an original window, now blocked; the E. end is similar, but the lower part is hidden by the modern addition. The chimney stack is built of thin bricks and has square shafts. Inside the house the ceilings have original beams, and a large open fireplace is now partly blocked.
a(24). Cottage, on the S. side of the main road, N.W. of Dock Farm, is of two storeys, built of brick and timber, probably early in the 17th century. The E. front and the N. end are almost completely original; at the back the upper storey retains the original timber-framing, with 18th-century brick filling; the lower storey and the S. end are modern. The roof is thatched. Interior:—Some of the constructional timbers are visible, and there are two large open fireplaces, one partly blocked.
a(25). Meadle Farm, on the E. side of a lane about 1½ miles N.W. of the church, is a house of two storeys, and an attic, built early in the 17th century, of timber and brick, much restored and altered in the 18th and 19th centuries. The roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular, with a modern addition at the back. The central chimney stack is of 17th-century brick, and has four diagonal shafts, irregularly set. Interior:—The original moulded beams, some encased, remain in the ceilings, and the timber-framing is visible in the walls. Two large open fireplaces are partly blocked.
b(26). Grims Ditch (see also Aston Clinton, Bradenham, Buckland, Drayton Beauchamp, Great and Little Hampden, Great Missenden, Lee, Prince's Risborough and Wendover): the ditch is visible in this parish, running in a S.W. direction from Redland end, along the edge of Hillock Wood and Monkton Wood to Lilybottom Farm. At the best preserved part of this section the bank is about four feet above the ditch, and the ditch is about 30 feet wide.
a(27). Whiteleaf Cross, cut in the chalk on the hillside E. of the village, is one of the two turf-cuttings in the county; it has a triangular base, and measures about 80 ft. across both ways, excluding the base; the arms are about 20 ft. wide.
a(28). Tumuli, remains of, two, on the crest of the hill, above Whitcleaf Cross.