Grendon Underwood

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.

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, 'Grendon Underwood', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913) pp. 130-132. British History Online [accessed 22 May 2024].

. "Grendon Underwood", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913) 130-132. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024,

. "Grendon Underwood", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913). 130-132. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024,

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. xxii. S.W.)


(1). Parish Church of St. Leonard, at the N.W. end of the village, is built of stone rubble with ashlar facings to the buttresses, etc. The roofs are covered with lead, except that of the chancel, which is tiled. The Nave was built probably in the 12th century; the S. doorway was inserted c. 1220. The Chancel was re-built c. 1310. In the second half of the 15th century the West Tower was added, most of the S. wall of the nave was re-built, some windows were inserted, and parapets were added to the walls of the nave. The church was restored inside in 1866, and outside in 1902. The North Vestry is modern. The S. porch was destroyed a few years ago.

The S. doorway, of c. 1220, is of especial interest (see Plate, p. 220).

Architectural Description—The Chancel (33½ ft. by 16 ft.) inclines towards the N., and has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are two windows of c. 1310, each of two uncusped lights with a pierced spandrel in a two-centred head, which has moulded internal and external labels; the internal jambs and two-centred rear arches are also moulded, and there are broach-stops at the sill: between the windows is a doorway of the same date, restored, originally external, but now opening into the modern vestry; the jambs and two-centred head are chamfered; the internal jambs, flat segmental rear arch and internal and external labels are similar to those of the windows. In the S. wall are three windows, of the same date and design as those in the N. wall, but with the internal labels carried from head to head as a string-course; all the walls have moulded string-courses below the internal sills; that on the N. wall has been cut away for the large mural monuments. The two-centred chancel arch was re-built probably in the 15th century, and is of two chamfered orders, but the jambs are of c. 1310; they have broach stops at the bases of both orders, and have spread slightly from the weight of the arch and wall above them. The Nave (45½ ft. by 23 ft.): The masonry of the N. wall and of the W. part of the S. wall is original and of small stones; the older part of the S. wall is 3 ft. 2 in. thick and the other part 2 ft. 9 in. thick; both walls have moulded parapets with grotesque heads at the angles, and on the N. side are remains of a gargoyle. In the N. wall are two windows; the eastern is similar to the N. and S. windows of the chancel, but recently re-built and much restored; the western window is of the 15th century, restored, and of two cinque-foiled lights under a square head with an external label; under the sill a change in the external masonry of the wall probably marks the position of a former N. doorway. In the S. wall the roofline of the former porch is visible, and there are two late 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head, that of the western window being straight-sided; the external labels are moulded; the mullions of the western window are modern: between the windows is a doorway of c. 1220, with jambs and two-centred head of two richly moulded orders; in the jambs, between the orders, there were originally detached shafts, but only the capitals remain; the E. capital is much damaged, the W. capital is carved with stiff-leaf foliage; the outer order of the head has a deep hollow moulding, with remains of large richly carved and undercut dog-tooth ornament; the moulded label has badly defaced head-stops. The West Tower (10 ft. by 9½ ft.) is of two stages, with an embattled parapet and a projecting S.E. stair turret. The 15th-century tower arch is the full width of the tower; it is two-centred and of three moulded orders of unusual detail; the second order is possibly work of earlier date, re-used. In the S. wall is the doorway of the stair turret, with rebated jambs and four-centred head. The W. doorway, of late 15th-century date, has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head, with sunk trefoiled spandrels and a moulded label; the W. window, of the same date as the doorway, is of three cinque-foiled lights under a straight-sided four-centred head with a moulded external label. The upper stage has, in each wall, a 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the N. and S. walls have each, below the other windows, a small trefoiled light of the same date. The late 15th-century Roof of the nave is of four bays, and of flat pitch, with moulded tie-beams and wall-pieces, curved brackets with traceried spandrels, chamfered purlins and ridge; the moulded wall-plates and one tie-beam have been restored.

Fittings—Bells: three and sanctus; 1st, by Robert Atton, 1621; 2nd, by Richard Chandler, 1677; 3rd, by Anthony Chandler, 1664; oak frame, old. Bracket: In nave—on S. wall, semi-octagonal, date uncertain, probably not in situ. Chair: In chancel—with carved back, shaped arms, turned legs, plain rails, 17th-century. Chest: In tower—of oak, with three locks, possibly late 17th-century. Door: In stair-turret—opening into ringing-chamber, of oak, with plain strap-hinges, probably 15th-century. Font: octagonal bowl and stem, possibly 15th-century, re-worked. Monuments: In churchyard—S. of the church, gravestones, (1) to Martha, wife of Edward Pilkerton, 1689; (2) broken, no name, 1698; (3) inscription illegible, 1676; others, worn and half buried, probably 17th-century. Painting: On soffit of chancel arch—traces of foliated design, 15th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—in S. wall, tall, with cinque-foiled gabled head, having sunk trefoil in spandrel, richly foliated finial, diagonal pilaster on W. side with panelled and gabled head, and carved finial, pilaster on E. side destroyed for monument, moulded sill, sexfoil basin, moulded stone shelf at back of recess, 14th-century. In nave—with cinque-foiled pointed head, moulded stone shelf at back, traces of label, 15th-century. Plate: small chased cup of 1569, with cover paten of 1570. Pulpit: hexagonal, of oak, with carved panels, early 17th-century, cornice and base modern. Seating: At rectory— removed from church in 19th century, fragments of poppy-heads, cut up and re-used for ornament, 15th-century. Stoup: In nave—in S. wall, E. of S. doorway, small, with four-centred head, projecting sill with basin, 15th-century. Miscellanea: On gable over chancel arch—base of cross; on W. jamb of S. doorway, crosslet, incised; sundials: Chancel—on S.E. buttress, iron pointer only. Nave—on S.E. buttress, several, scratched on the stone; on buttress, E. side of S. doorway, scratched on one stone.

Condition—Apparently structurally sound; foundations formerly insecure and buttresses have been added.


Homestead Moats (2–3)

(2). By the roadside, about 350 yards N. of the church.

(3). About 350 yards N.W. of the church. Not shown on the Ordnance Survey maps.

Main road, S. side

(4). Shakespeare Farm, formerly the Ship Inn, about 200 yards S.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys, with attic and cellar, partly timber-framed with brick filling, and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. The plan is rectangular, facing approximately N.; the E. half was built probably late in the 16th century, and is now unoccupied; the W. half was re-built late in the 17th century, some of the original bricks being re-used. On the N. front the E. half of the building is timber-framed with filling of thin bricks, on brick foundations, and is gabled; on the ground and first floors it has original windows each of two lights with oak mullion and transom, and retaining some of the old leaded quarries of white glass; the attic has a small oval light, probably not original. The W. half of the front is of brick; that of the ground floor is of late 16th-century date, re-used; some courses of the first floor are of late 17th or early 18th-century date, and the rest is modern: in the middle is a modern porch. The chimney stack, between the two blocks, is of late 16th-century date, and of cross plan, set diagonally. The E. end and the back of the original block are timber-framed with filling of thin bricks; the back is gabled, and has, on the first floor, an old window, now without the mullion and transom, and boarded up; a small addition near the middle is also of old timbers, but is probably not original; beyond it is a low modern addition and the back of the W. block is of modern brick. The W. end is gabled and has a little diaper work of black glazed bricks.

Interior:—In the original block the room on the ground floor has two moulded ceiling-beams and a large open fireplace with moulded jambs and three-centred arch of brick covered with plaster. On the first floor is a similar but smaller fireplace. The staircase on the S. side of the large chimney stack is in four flights from the ground floor to the attic; it has plain posts from floor to ceiling on the ground and first floors, at the half-landing are octagonal newels with turned acorn heads; the handrail has a small moulding at the top and is carried on flat-shaped balusters. The roof has plain timbers, the purlins being supported by straight braces; it is probably not original. There is now no internal communication between the E. and W. parts of the house. The 17th-century block has plain chamfered ceiling-beams.

Condition—Of the older part, bad, the cellar being half full of water, the floors and stair-treads rotten and dangerous, and the plaster falling from the walls and ceilings. The inhabited part of the house is fairly good, but has some cracks in the walls caused by settlements owing to the clay soil.

Monuments (5–14)

These buildings are all of two storeys; the walls generally retain old timber-framing, with filling of brick, much of it modern, or plaster; the roofs are thatched. They were each built on a rectangular plan, probably early in the 17th century; some of them were lengthened towards the W. or N.W. late in the 17th century and have modern additions. Internally all the buildings have chamfered ceiling-beams and many have wide fireplaces, partly blocked; a considerable number of the upper floors are out of the horizontal, owing to unequal settlements in the walls caused by the clay subsoil.

(5). House, now two tenements, ¼ mile S.E. of the church. The walls are on stone foundations and partly weather-boarded; the E. wall is of modern brick, and the central chimney stack has been re-built, also with modern brick.

Condition—Fairly good.

(6). House, now two tenements, 570 yards S.E. of the church. The foundations are of stone and brick. The original part of the house is higher and has wider timbers than the W. addition; at the back it has been partly refaced with modern brick. The chimney stack, originally at the W. end of the building, now central, has three square shafts, one original, the others probably of late 17th-century date.

Condition—Fairly good.

(7). House, probably formerly two tenements, about 1,000 yards S.E. of the church. The E. half of the chimney stack, now central, is original; the other half, of late 17th-century date, was built when the N.W. addition was made to the house.

Condition—Poor; unoccupied.

(8). Grove Farm, about 2/3 mile S.E. of the church, facing N.W. At the back of the original building a wing was added in the 18th century, making the plan L-shaped, and the S.E. wall of the main part has been re-faced with modern brick. The central chimney stack is original; another stack, at the N.E. end, is of late 17th-century date.

Condition—Fairly good, but some cracks are visible in the brickwork, caused by settlements owing to the clay sub-soil.

(9). House, now two tenements, about ¾ mile S.E. of the church. The original building was lengthened towards the S.E. late in the 17th century and a wing was added at the back of the house in the 18th century, making the plan L-shaped, with the internal angle facing S. The walls have been partly re-faced with modern brick. The central chimney stack is original; another stack, which projects from the S.E. end, is of late 17th-century date.

Condition—Fairly good.

(10). Cottage, E. of (9). At the S.E. end is an original chimney stack; at the N.W. end is a window, apparently also original.

Condition—Fairly good.

N. side

(11). House, now two tenements, about 670 yards S.E. of the church, facing S.W. The early 17th-century part of the house is lower than the N.W. addition. At the N.W. end the gabled wall is of stone, and there is a chimney stack of late 17th-century brick. The original central stack is also of brick.


(12). Cottage, about 830 yards S.E. of the church, set back from the road, and facing S.W. The foundations are partly of brick and partly of stone. The central chimney stack has two square shafts, the western of early 17th-century brick, and the eastern of late 17th-century brick.

Condition—Fairly good.

(13). House, about ¾ mile S.E. of the church. The early 17th-century building is higher than the N.W. addition and, in front, has an original window on the upper floor; the chimney stack, originally at the N.W. end, is now central. The late 17th-century addition has a gabled N.W. wall of modern brick.


(14). Lawn Farm, 13/8 miles S.E. of the church. The original house was partly re-faced with brick and lengthened towards the N.W. in the 18th century. On the N.E. front is a modern addition, making the plan L-shaped; the doorway and three oak-mullioned windows are of early 17th-century date.


(15). Rookery Farm, about ¾ mile N.N.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys, facing S.E. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, probably on a rectangular plan, and altered later in the 17th century to a T-shape by the addition of a small wing at the back; there are also modern additions, and the house has been restored. The main block retains some original timber-framing, with brick filling set partly in herring-bone pattern, but otherwise the walls are of 18th-century or modern brick. The small wing has walls of 17th-century brick with plain stringcourses between the storeys and at the foot of the N.W. gable. The roofs are tiled. Two chimney stacks of brick are original.

Interior:—On the ground floor one room is lined with 17th-century panelling, and two rooms have old ceiling-beams; there is also a wide fireplace. On the first floor, there is an old stone fireplace, with chamfered jambs and depressed head; some rooms have old floor-boards, and the timber-framing is visible in the walls. At the top of the staircase is a short balustrade, with a panelled newel, moulded handrail and turned balusters of the 17th century.