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)xxvi. N.E. (b)S.E.)
b(1). Parish Church of St. James, in the middle of the village, was re-built in 1818 on the site of the original church. It contains from the former building the following
Fittings—Brasses and Indents: see Monuments. Communion Table: in the W. vestry, with turned legs, lower rails plain, upper rail with flat carved ornament and date 1615. Monument: on S. side of chancel, altar tomb, with three traceried panels in front, containing brass shields, without arms, slab at the top, of Purbeck marble, with indents of two shields and part of indent of inscription, late 15th-century. Panelling: at E. end of nave, on each side, some panelling, with dentil moulded top rail, 17th-century. Plate: includes large silver gilt cup with two repoussé panels representing the Annunciation and the Nativity, base repoussé with four faces in band of strapwork ornament, and roses, etc., English hall-mark, date letter illegible, inscription under foot, 'This cupe and cover wayeth 28 oz. 3 dwt.': plain silver gilt stand paten of 1615. Pulpit: square, with chamfered corners, each side with arched panels over lower moulded panels, panelled frieze and dentil cornice, modern moulding at the top, sounding-board with ogee dome, late 17th-century. Miscellanea: Churchyard cross, octagonal base, with broach stops, and part of octagonal shaft, 15th-century, the upper part and cross modern. Headstone: to Mary Grainges, 1676.
Condition—Good, generally; the communion cup and paten are slightly damaged.
b(2). Homestead Moat, S.E. of the church, wide, and well preserved.
a(3). Homestead Moat, at New Park Farm, fragment.
b(4). Gatehouse and Moat, 100 yards N. of the church. The Gatehouse was formerly part of Boarstall House, the other buildings having been pulled down towards the end of the 18th century; it is of three storeys, built of stone in the 14th century; some of the windows and the doorways of the S. and W. turrets were inserted in the 16th century; other alterations were made in the 17th century, and the bridge over the moat was built in 1735. The roofs are covered with lead.
The gatehouse, with its cross loops and the grooves for a portcullis, is of especial interest as the only remaining example of a mediæval fortified building in the S. half of the county.
The plan is rectangular, with a hexagonal tower at each corner; those at the S. and W. corners contain winding stone stairs. The ground floor consists of a wide central passage with a room on each side, the first floor is divided into three rooms, and on the second floor there are no divisions: the N. and E. towers have a small room on each floor. The N.E. Elevation has, in the middle, a 14th-century doorway, with plain chamfered jambs, partly restored, and a segmental arch of three chamfered orders; inside the jambs are the grooves for the portcullis; the large double doors are of the 17th century, with moulded framing, of different detail in each door; the battens at the back are modern; in one door is a small wicket gate: over the doorway is a small window; the sill has grooves worn in it, probably by the chains attached to the drawbridge. Towards the end of the 17th century a wide semi-circular arch was added some feet above the doorway; it rests on projecting buttresses with moulded abaci, and supports a bay window above it; the arch has a beaded edge, and the soffit of the keystone is ornamented: the bay window has three lights in front and one on each side, with moulded jambs and heads; it is probably a copy of a former window, but may retain some original work; the casements have elaborate 17th-century fasteners of pierced iron. On each side of the doorway, on the ground floor, is a 16th-century window of two lights, with moulded jambs, mullions and head; above each window a moulded string-course is carried across the wall from the doorway to the turret at the corner; the two windows on the first floor are each of one light, similar to those below: the wall at the top is set back, and has a carved and moulded cornice, and a parapet with a stone balustrade, all of the 17th century. The N. and E. hexagonal towers are carried above the roof and have embattled parapets, in which are the remains of original cross loops. The N. tower has, on the ground floor, a window of one light, and on each of the upper floors a window of two lights, all with moulded jambs and square heads, inserted in the 16th century, and facing S.E.; the other sides have, on the first and second floors, 14th-century cross loops, now blocked. The E. tower has a small plain window on the ground floor, and on each of the upper floors a window of two lights with moulded jambs and mullions, inserted in the 16th century; on the second floor, on four sides, are original cross loops, of which three are blocked. All the loop-holes have wide inner splays and chamfered rear arches; each tower has, below the parapet, a 14th-century carved gargoyle, much damaged. The S.W. Elevation has a central entrance, with a segmental arch similar to that on the N.E.; on each side of the entrance is a small 16th-century window, with moulded jambs and square head; on the first floor are three windows, also of the 16th century, each of two lights with moulded jambs, square head and label; on the second floor are two similar windows, higher than the others, each of two lights with a transom. The plain parapet is original; near the centre are two 17th-century octagonal chimney shafts, of stone, with broach stops to the bases, and moulded caps. The S. and W. hexagonal towers have embattled parapets and are carried higher above the roof than those on the N. and E. In the S.W. face of each tower, on the ground floor, is a 16th-century doorway, with chamfered jambs, four-centred head, and moulded square label; part of the label in the S. tower is broken away. The walls are pierced at intervals by small loop lights, the highest light in the S. tower having a trefoiled head, and below the parapet is a grotesque winged gargoyle, in fairly good preservation. In each face of the highest stage of the W. tower is a plain rectangular opening with louvres; below the S.W. opening is a clock. The N.W. and S.E. Elevations are alike, and each has, between the towers, a splayed oriel window carried up from the first floor to the parapet; it rests on moulded corbelling, and is finished with a balustrade similar to that on the N.E. front; on each floor there are four lights, those on the second floor being transomed.
Interior:—On the ground floor the ceiling of the central passage has old flat joists; the room on the N.W. side has a wide fireplace with beaded jambs and depressed head, partly original; the doors opening into the N. and W. towers are old. The room on the S.E. side has large exposed ceiling-joists, somewhat decayed, and a small stone fireplace, of the 16th century, with beaded jambs and a depressed head; the inner jambs and soffit of the small window in the E. tower are covered with 17th-century oak panelling. On the first floor are several original chamfered stone doorways with two-centred heads, and some old battened doors with strap-hinges. On the second floor all the four doorways opening into the towers are original, with chamfered jambs and two-centred heads; three of the doorways are of stone, the fourth, opening into the S. tower, is of oak, in two pieces, with a chamfered four-centred rear arch of stone; in the S.W. wall is a large open fireplace of the 16th century, with moulded stone jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with sunk spandrels: the flat pitched ceiling is of five bays, with massive cambered beams and rough joists, partly restored. In the bay window on the N.E. front is a considerable quantity of 17th-century glass; in the central light is a shield with the arms of Ap Gwyllym; in the E. light, a shield with arms of Aubrey quartering Mansel, Basset and South, and the motto 'Solem fero' at the bottom: in each side light is a pane with arms of Aubrey impaling Lewis, mantled helm and crest, the motto 'Solem fero' and date 1692. In the window of the E. tower is a shield in a wreath, with the arms of Basset quartering de la Bere, and another shield in a wreath, with eight quarters. In the S. tower the staircase, which goes up to the roof, is of stone, finished at the top with an oak newel and rail. In the W. tower the staircase to the second floor is encased in wood. The clock at the top is disused; over it is a bell inscribed 'Richard Keene made me, 1661'. The S. boundary wall between the grounds and the churchyard is of 17th-century brick, and has a contemporary stone doorway with moulded jambs, semi-circular arch, architrave and segmental pediment; the door is original, and elaborately panelled: S.W. of the gatehouse are the remains of a stone tunnel which apparently led from the cellars of the former house to the moat.
The Moat, enclosing the gatehouse and the site of the former buildings, is about 60 ft. wide and has a strong inner rampart.
Condition—Of gatehouse, good; of moat, fairly good, except E. arm, which is obliterated.
b(5). Tower Farm, 140 yards N. of the church, is a house of two storeys and an attic, built of brick with stone dressings in the second half of the 16th century. The roofs are tiled. The plan was probably originally E-shaped, with the wings projecting towards the N., but the E. wing has been destroyed, a modern addition built on the site, the space between the central and W. wings filled in and the interior considerably altered; the W. wing, now used as a stable and piggery, originally contained on the ground floor one large room with N. and S. entrance doorways; the central wing contains the stairs. The S. front is of original brick with stone quoins at the S.W. angle; there is a plain stone string-course between the storeys, and a moulded stone string-course a little below the eaves; the two doorways have chamfered jambs and four-centred heads; two windows on the ground floor and six windows on the first floor are original, each of two lights with moulded stone jambs, head and mullions and external label with return stops; the two other windows on the ground floor have no mullions and have been widened by removing the stone jambs, one jamb being re-used as a lintel. The W. end is similar to the S. front, and has two original windows on each floor. At the N. end of the N.W. wing the lower storey is faced with stone and the upper part is of brick with stone quoins; the doorway is original, of stone, and has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The lower storey of the staircase wing is of stone, the upper part is gabled and of brick. The lower part of one chimney stack is original.
Interior:—Some of the rooms have large stop-chamfered beams in the ceilings. On the first floor four doors of moulded battens are original. The plain newel staircase from the ground floor to the attic is original. In the attic over the W. end of the house is the top of another newel staircase with a short balustrade, having turned balusters, square newels and a chamfered handrail; only a few of the top steps remain. The stable in the N.W. wing has two large turned wood posts supporting the ceiling-beams.
b(6–8). Cottages, three, at Holt's Farm, about 3/8 mile N.N.E. of the church, are of two storeys, and form an L-shaped block. The walls have been re-faced with 18th-century brick, but the central chimney stack, with two square shafts, is of 17th-century thin bricks. The roofs are tiled.
b(9). Upper Panshill Farm, about 1¼ miles W.N.W. of the church, is a red brick house of two storeys and an attic; the roof is tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, and consisted of a rectangular block facing S., with a small wing in front and another at the back; later in the 17th century a N.W. wing was added, and a modern addition has been built at the W. end. The wings and E. end are gabled. The large central chimney stack, with three square shafts, is original, and another small chimney stack is of the 17th century. Some of the ceilings have old beams, and in one room is a wide fireplace, partly blocked.
Condition—Fairly good; the original bricks are somewhat decayed and there is a crack in the S. wall.
b(10). Pasture Farm, about 1 mile S.W. of the church, is a small house of two storeys, built of brick late in the 17th century. The roof is tiled. The plan is cross-shaped, with a modern addition built in the N. angle. The central chimney stack is original. Some of the ceilings have stop-chamfered beams.
b(11). Old Arngrove Farm, 1 mile W.S.W. of the church, is a house of two storeys, built of brick in the 17th century; a small addition at the N.E. angle, built later in the 17th century, is of timber and brick; the building was restored and again enlarged in the 19th century. The roofs are tiled. Two chimney stacks are original. The W. wall of the cowshed at the S.E. end of the house is of 17th-century brick, and two large gate pillars S. of the house are built of stone, said to have come from Boarstall House.