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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(O.S. (a)xxviii. S.W. (b)xxxiii. N.W. (c)xxxiii. N.E.)
b(1). Wells, two, and a Kiln, indicating the site of a village. In building the County Lunatic Asylum, in 1851, a well, apparently Roman, was cleared out; it contained an ironhooped oak bucket, Samian and British pottery, urns with bones in them, etc. It was dug probably for water and subsequently used for a rubbish pit and burial hole. A second well, with similar contents, was found in 1851, 200 yards further N.W., opposite the vicarage, and a kiln, also apparently Roman, was found near the same site in 1871. (Archæologia xxxiv. p. 22. Records of Buckinghamshire, iv. p. 22, ix. pp. 209, 270, x. p. 87.)
b(2). Parish Chrch of St. John the Baptist, in the village, is built of limestone rubble with courses of rough square stones in the walls of the chancel; the dressings are of stone; the roofs are tiled, except that of the N. aisle, which is covered with lead. The earliest remaining detail is of c. 1170, when the church probably consisted of a chancel, the same width as the present chancel, but considerably shorter, and three bays of the present Nave and North Aisle; a nave, without aisles, possibly existed at an earlier date. The South Transept was added c. 1210, and the nave was lengthened one bay towards the W. c. 1230; the chancel was lengthened and re-built in the second half of the 13th century; c. 1280 the first bay of the N. aisle was widened to form a North Transept. The West Tower was built about the middle of the 14th century, and a S. porch in the 15th century. Windows were inserted in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1843–5 the church was restored, and the Chancel re-built; it is said to be on the foundations of the 12th-century chancel, a few of the original stones being re-used. In 1885–90 the building was again restored, and the clearstorey windows, which are said to have been modern, were blocked; the S. doorway was moved 6 ft. towards the W., and the South Porch was re-built, a few of the original stones being re-used.
Architectural Description — The Chancel (38 ft. by 15 ft.) is modern, except the two-centred chancel arch, which is probably of late 13th-century date, and of two chamfered orders; the inner order rests on half-octagonal columns, with moulded capitals and bases; the abaci on the E. side are cut away, probably for the screen, and the moulded label on the W. side has been partly cut back. The Nave (61 ft. by 19 ft.) has a N. arcade of four bays, with circular columns and semi-circular responds; the three eastern bays, of c. 1170, have semi-circular arches of two square orders; the capitals are square with moulded abaci; that of the E. respond is scalloped, with a small volute at the angles; the capital of the first column has stiffleafed foliage, partly restored; the capital of the second column has stiff-leafed foliage on the S. half, and, on the N. half, scalloped ornament with modern leaves at the corners; the bases are moulded, with pointed semi-globular leaves at the angles, and are on square chamfered plinths; the westernmost arch is of c. 1230, two-centred, and of two chamfered orders; the third column, of the same date as the arch, has a plain moulded capital and base; the W. respond, moved from the third bay when the nave was lengthened, has a scalloped capital similar to the E. respond, and a modern base. Over the arcade are visible the outlines of the three blocked windows of the clearstorey. In the S. wall the two-centred arch, opening into the transept, is probably of c. 1210; it is of two chamfered orders with chamfered responds, which have detached circular shafts; the capitals are crudely moulded, that of the E. respond has pellet ornament on the abacus, and is of slightly better workmanship than the other; the inner order of the arch leans towards the N., but the outer order has been straightened; the label in the nave has been cut away: W. of the arch are traces, high up in the wall, of a 17th-century window, and beyond it is a modern lancet window: below the lancet is a straight joint and the remains of a semi-circular arch indicating the former position of the S. doorway; the present doorway, now further W., incorporates the remains of the late 12th-century doorway; the semi-circular head is of three square orders, the middle order original, with zig-zag ornament, partly restored; the jambs are modern, with detached angle-shafts, of which the upper part and the carved capitals are original; the abaci are modern: W. of the doorway are two early 15th-century windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights, with a sexfoil in a two-centred head, and an external label; the rear arches and inner jambs are chamfered; both windows have been considerably restored. The North Transept (13 ft. square) has, in the E. wall, an early 15th-century window, similar to the S.W. window of the nave, but with external casement moulding. In the N. wall is a late 13th-century window of two plain pointed lights with a pierced circle and sunk spandrels in a two-centred head; the external label is modern. In the W. wall the two-centred arch opening into the aisle is of two small chamfered orders, of rough workmanship, and probably of late 13th-century date; N. of the arch is a blocked rectangular light with rebated external jambs, also probably of c. 1280. The first arch of the N. arcade (see Nave) opens into the transept, and above it is visible the line of the former continuation of the roof of the aisle. The North Aisle (7 ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, two windows of early 16th-century date, much restored, each of two cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a square head with a moulded external label; the N. doorway, between the windows, also of early 16th-century date, has moulded jambs and pointed head with an external label, and a four-centred chamfered rear arch. The window in the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet, considerably restored. The South Transept (18 ft. by 15 ft.) has, in the E. wall, a window similar to the E. window of the N. transept. In the S. wall are three 13th-century lancet windows, much restored; the labels are restored or modern. In the W. wall is a small lancet; of the outer stonework only the head is old, evidently not in situ; it is carved on the inner face with a rosette, apparently the centre of a cross; the rear arch and inner jambs are probably of the 13th century. The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of two stages, with square angle-buttresses at the W. end, and, in the S.E. angle, a square stair-turret with a pyramidal stone roof; the parapet of the tower is plain, and rests on a corbel table, the corbels carved with ball-flowers and grotesque heads of mid 14th-century date: the roof is gabled on the E. and W. sides. The two-centred tower arch is of mid 14th-century date, and of three moulded orders, with a moulded label in the nave, continued as a string-course on each side; the jambs are of two orders with attached semi-circular and segmental shafts which have moulded bases and bell-capitals. In the S. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is an original two-centred doorway, with moulded jambs and arch. The W. doorway is of mid 14th-century date, partly restored; the jambs and two-centred arch are of two moulded orders, and the internal label is moulded: the W. window, of the same date as the doorway, is of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded external label continued as a string-course on each side. The clock-chamber has a rectangular light in the S. wall, and a similar light, now blocked, in the N. wall. The bell-chamber has four windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights with quatrefoil spandrels in a two-centred head; the stonework is practically all modern, but the labels are original; over each window is a gargoyle. The South Porch is modern, except a few voussoirs, probably of the 15th century, in the entrance archway.
Fittings—Bells: five, 2nd and 4th by Ellis Knight, 17th-century, sanctus by Richard Chandler, 1699. Brasses and Indents: Brasses: In nave—re-set on new slab, (1) of William Gurney of Bishopstone, 1472, and Agnes, his wife, date of death not filled in, mutilated figure in shroud, woman in plain gown and veil head-dress, inscription in black-letter; (2) of Thomas Gurney, 1520, and Agnes, his wife, two figures, man in fur-lined robe, woman in fur-trimmed gown and veil head-dress, with six sons, three daughters, inscription in blackletter, said to be palimpsest. Indents: In nave —in fragments of slab, much worn. Chest: at W. end of aisle, with incised double diamond panel, three locks, 17th-century. Font (see Plate, p. xxvii.): circular bowl, band round the top of interlacing pattern formed by three strands enriched with pellet ornament, below it series of irregular knots of similar character, interspersed with small grotesque masks, serpents, birds, foliage, and other devices; on one side symbolical group—in the middle, figure of man with sword in his right hand, extended towards a dragon with flames proceeding from its mouth, behind it is a fish, the left hand of the central figure is in the mouth of a second representation of a dragon, with tail tied in a knot, a dove pecks at its throat and below it is a head with nimbus of flames; under the feet of the central figure are snakes or adders; a smaller figure, standing on a branch, points with a staff to the second dragon; the bowl is of limestone, 12th-century, partly repaired and perhaps re-worked, formerly covered with plaster; stem and base modern. The font came originally from the parish church of Hampstead Norris, Berkshire, and was removed from there in 1767; it was presented to this church in 1845. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Floor-slab: In chancel—to John Fenner, 1684, and Anne, his wife, 1693. Piscina: in S. transept, square, with rebated head, jambs and sill, shallow circular basin, with double drain, apparently 13th-century. Seating: in nave, five poppy-head bench ends, re-used, two restored at the top, ornamented with trefoiled panels and tracery, crude design, 16th-century: about twenty-five heads of bench ends or screens, re-used on modern bench ends: six heads of the same type, larger, 16th-century, all of crude workmanship. Stoup: in porch, recess with two-centred drop arch, chamfered head, square stone basin, uncertain date. Tiles: in nave and chancel, considerable quantity, few patterns visible, 14th-century, much worn. Miscellanea: in churchyard, large square sunk base of churchyard cross, much weather-worn.
Condition—Good; much restored.
b (3). Farmhouse, now two tenements, about 350 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys, built of brick and timber in the 17th century; the W. half is covered with plaster, the E. half re-faced with modern brick at the back and E. end; the roof is partly thatched and partly tiled. One of the chimney stacks and some of the windows are original.
c (4). Cottage, now three tenements, next to the smithy, about 1¾ miles S.E. of the parish church, is of two storeys, built in the 17th century. The walls are of brick and timber, except the W. wall, which is of stone; the roof is thatched. The chimney stack and windows are original. Inside the building is an open fireplace with corner seats and small recesses, and there are chamfered beams in the ceilings.
Condition—Bad; at present unoccupied.
c(5). Dove Close Cottages, probably originally a farmhouse, W. of St. John's Church, are of two storeys, built early in the 17th century. The plan is L-shaped. The S. wing, which has a gable on the E. side, is built of brick and timber, and a small wooden bracket under a modern window bears the date 1601; in this part of the building there is also a window with stone mullions, now blocked. The E. wing was added apparently late in the 17th century, and the walls are re-faced with 18th-century brick. The roofs are tiled. Both the chimney stacks are original. Inside the building there are some old beams in the ceilings, and an open fireplace, partly blocked.
b(6). Cottage, N.W. of (5), is of one storey and an attic, built in the 17th century; the walls are covered with plaster; the roof is thatched. The chimney stack and some of the windows are original.
b(7). Cottage, three tenements, on the E. side of the road, nearly ½ mile N.E. of the parish church, is of two storeys and an attic, built in the 17th century. The walls are of brick and timber, with a gabled dormer on the N. side; the roof is thatched. Inside the building are three open fireplaces and some chamfered ceiling-beams.
b(8–10). Cottages, three, N. of (7), are each of two storeys, built in the 17th century and covered with plaster. The roofs are thatched. Inside the southernmost cottage is an open fireplace and an original ceiling-beam.
b(11). Cottage, about 5/8 mile N.E. of the parish church, is of two storeys, the upper storey partly in the roof, built probably late in the 17th century. The walls are covered with plaster, but some original timber-framing is visible in the gable at each end; the roof is thatched.
a (12). House, N. of (11), is of two storeys, built in the 17th century of brick and partly re-faced with modern brick; the roof is tiled. The large chimney stack is original. Inside the house on the ground floor is an open fireplace, now blocked; the ceiling-beams are chamfered, and in one room is some 17th-century panelling.
a(13). House, at the N. end of the hamlet, is of two storeys and of the central chimney type, built of brick late in the 17th century; the roof is tiled. The chimney stack is original. Inside the house is an open fireplace, partly filled in.
c(14). Calley Farm, about 7/8 mile S.E. of the parish church, is a house of two storeys, the upper storey partly in the roof, built of brick and timber in the 17th century; the roof is thatched. Inside the house on the ground floor is an open fireplace, and an encased beam in the ceiling.
a(15). Barrow, on Burn Hill, 5/8 mile N.N.E. of the church.