BHO

Hillesden

Pages 146-151

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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In this section

147. HILLESDEN.

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xviii. N.W. (b)xvii. S.W.)

Ecclesiastical

a(1). Parish Church of All Saints, stands in an isolated position 3½ miles S.S.W. of Buckingham. It is built, except the tower, of stone, ashlar-faced internally and externally, with moulded external plinths, and moulded off-sets to the buttresses. The tower is of stone rubble. The roofs are covered with lead. The W. walls of the North and South Transepts are considerably thicker than the other walls, and are remains of an early cruciform church, probably of the 12th or 13th century. The West Tower is of c. 1450: the rest of the church was re-built at the end of the 15th century. It was carefully restored by Sir Gilbert Scott, and reopened in 1875.

The church is a very fine example of late 15th-century architecture. The N. porch, the stair-turret of the vestry, the stone panelling in the chancel, N. chapel and porch and the carved angels which form a cornice in the chancel, are especially interesting. Among the fittings, the late 15th-century glass, the early 16th-century rood-screen, and the Denton tomb of 1560 are noteworthy.

Hillesden, Parish Church of All Saints

Architectural Description—All the detail except that of the tower is of late 15th-century date. The Chancel (30½ ft. by 18 ft.) has an embattled and moulded parapet, with sunk tracery in each merlon; below the parapet is a moulded string-course, with pierced projections for rain-water shoots; the N. and S. walls have each three pinnacles with crockets and finials, all restored; under the windows is a moulded external string-course. The E. window is of five cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a four-centred head with a moulded external label; the lights are divided by a moulded transom, and the heads of the lower tier are four-centred and cinque-foiled; the jambs and mullions are richly moulded internally and externally. In the N. wall, opening into the N. chapel, is an arcade of two bays with a shafted column and responds which have moulded octagonal bases and capitals; the two-centred arches are moulded and have a moulded label on each side. In the S. wall are two windows, each with a moulded transom and of four lights with four-centred and cinque-foiled heads, both in the four-centred main head and below the transom; the jambs and mullions are moulded internally and externally, and the external label is also moulded. The chancel arch is similar to the arches in the N. wall, but larger, and has a moulded label only on the E. side. Internally the walls have a moulded string-course below the sills of the windows, and from the string-course up to the roof they have sunk traceried panelling, in two tiers of panels with cinque-foiled ogee heads, surmounted by a frieze of narrow cinque-foiled panels. Immediately below the ceiling are carved half-figures of angels in albs, four on the E. wall, and eighteen on each side wall; those on the E. wall and the two easternmost on each side wall hold musical instruments, and the rest scrolls of music; they retain much of the original colouring. On each side of the E. window is a bracket (see Fittings), and above each bracket is a carved angel holding a painted shield, that on the N. bearing the emblems of the Passion, and that on the S. displaying the Five Wounds. The North Chapel (30½ ft. by 13½ ft.) has a moulded embattled parapet, similar to those of the vestry, transepts and aisles. In the E. wall is a window of four cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded external label; the lights are divided by a moulded embattled transom, and below it have four-centred cinque-foiled heads; the jambs and mullions are moulded. In the N. wall, opening into the vestry, is a doorway with richly moulded jambs and four-centred arch, under a square head with traceried spandrels and a moulded label; at the W. end of the wall is a window of four lights, similar to the windows in the S. wall of the chancel, but with an embattled transom. In the W. wall the arch opening into the N. transept is similar to the chancel arch, but has a label on each side. The E., N., and S. walls have each, internally, two tiers of stone panels divided by an embattled transom; the panels have cinque-foiled ogee heads and those of the upper tier are traceried. The North Vestry (15½ ft. by 9 ft.) is of two storeys with an octagonal stair-turret at the N.E. angle. The lower storey of the vestry has, in the E. wall, a small single light with a four-centred head, and carved roses in the spandrels; S. of the window is a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred head, which has a moulded external label. The N. and W. walls have each a single light similar to that in the E. wall, but with plain sunk spandrels. At the E. end of the N. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is a doorway, with plain chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The upper room was apparently the private pew of Hillesden House, and has, in the E. wall, a window of one cinque-foiled light under a square head with moulded external jambs and label; S. of the window is a blocked doorway with a flat four-centred rear arch, and retaining hooks for a door in the S. jamb; externally the position is indicated only by a patch of brickwork; it is said to have been approached by a bridge from Hillesden House. In the N. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is a doorway with rebated jambs and four-centred head; further W. is a window of two cinque-foiled lights under a square head with a moulded external label; the mullion and jambs externally are deeply moulded. In the S. wall is a row of rectangular splayed loops; some of them are blocked, and further E. a wide opening, apparently original, is also blocked. In the W. wall is a window similar to that in the N. wall. The stair-turret (see Plate, p. 39) is continued above the roof of the vestry, and has a moulded and embattled parapet with a frieze of trefoiled panels below it, and pinnacles at the angles with panelled and traceried sides, an embattled moulding, and a crocketed finial; from each pinnacle there is a flying buttress, crocketed above and cusped below, and supporting a central shaft, which has a large crocketed finial. Inside the turret is a wide circular stone staircase with a central newel, terminating at the top with a small column, which has a moulded capital and base, and supports a plain, slightly coved vault. The doorway opening on to the roof of the vestry has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The Nave (46½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has N. and S. arcades, each of four bays, including the easternmost bay opening into the transept, with a two-centred arch, higher than the other arches, which are four-centred; all the arches have a casement moulding between two hollow chamfers; the columns have each four attached shafts, separated by hollow chamfers, and having moulded capitals; the octagonal base is moulded: the responds are half-sections of the columns. Over the S.E. respond is the upper entrance to the rood-loft. The clearstorey has three N. and three S. windows, each of five cinque-foiled lights under a square head, externally much restored. The North Transept (13½ ft. by 12½ ft.) has a N. window of four lights under a four-centred head; the lights are divided by a moulded transom, and have two-centred heads above it and four-centred heads below it; the jambs and mullions are moulded. The South Transept (13½ ft. by 12½ ft.) has, in the E. wall, a window similar to the S. windows of the chancel, and in the S. wall a window similar to the N. window of the N. transept. The North Aisle (8½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, two windows, each of three uncusped two-centred lights under a four-centred head, with moulded jambs, head and mullions; the N. doorway, W. of the windows, has continuously moulded jambs and four-centred head. In the W. wall is a window similar to those in the N. wall. The South Aisle (8 ft. wide) has three windows in the S. wall and one in the W. wall, similar to those of the N. aisle; under the westernmost window in the S. wall is the S. doorway, with moulded jambs and four-centred head having sunk spandrels. The West Tower (10ft. square) is of three stages with an embattled parapet and a stair-turret in the S.W. angle. All the detail, except that of the W. doorway, is of mid 15th-century date. The tower arch is two-centred and moulded; there are no responds, but on the E. side the outer chamfer is carried down the angles of the opening, and there is a moulded label with head-stops; over it is visible the weathering of a former flat-pitched roof of the nave. In the S.W. angle of the ground stage, opening into the stair-turret, is a doorway with moulded jambs and depressed head. The W. doorway is of late 15th-century date with moulded jambs and depressed head, which has a moulded external label; the W. window is of two cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded external label which has shield-stops. The second stage has a plain rectangular chamfered light in the W. wall. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded label having shield-stops. The North Porch has, at the N. angles, diagonal buttresses with narrow uncusped sunk panels in the upper stages; the embattled parapet has sunk tracery in the merlons, and below it is a frieze of sunk cinque-foiled panels; the pinnacles at the angles are modern. The outer entrance has elaborately moulded jambs and four-centred arch under a square head with richly carved spandrels and a massive moulded label; in the soffit of the arch and jambs are small sunk trefoiled panels; over the entrance, outside, is a niche (see Fittings); internally the side walls are panelled, and over the inner doorway is sunk tracery; in the angles of the walls are vaulting shafts; the vaulting has been completely restored. All the Roofs have flat plaster ceilings with moulded ribs, modern copies of the late 15th-century ceilings.

Fittings—Altar slab: In chancel—under communion table, 8½ ft. by about 3 ft., two consecration crosses remain, probably 15th-century. Bells: six; 1st and 2nd inscribed 'Alexander Deanton, e. qs. 1681', with arms of Denton impaling Herman of Middleton Stoney, both by Henry or Matthew Bagley, 1681; 3rd by Matthew Bagley, 1681; 4th by Henry Bagley, 1681. Brackets: In chancel— on N. side of E. window, semi-octagonal, with sunk quatrefoil in each of three faces, moulded at the top and bottom, finished underneath with carved rose; on S. side of E. window, similar to the other, but moulded only; both late 15th-century. In N. chapel—on N. side of E. window, semi-octagonal, with small cinque-foiled panel in each of three faces, moulded at the top, vaulting ribs carved underneath; on S. side of E. window, similar to the other, but moulded only; both late 15th-century. Chest: In vestry—on ground floor, of oak, with iron angle-straps, probably 17th-century. Communion Table: In N. chapel—with turned legs, framed top, plain top and foot rails, 17th-century. Doors: In vestry—in doorways of stair-turret, on ground floor, of battens, with four-centred head and foliated strap-hinges, late 15th-century; on first floor, of two thicknesses of battens, with moulded frame planted on, lozenge pattern scratched on battens, nail-studded, large floriated strap-hinges, late 15th-century. In N. aisle—in N. doorway, of plain battens on frame, restored at top, traces of carved sun, moon and star on outer face, late 15th-century, pierced by several bullet holes, probably at the time of the Civil war. Font: plain circular bowl, 13th-century, octagonal stem, possibly of later date. Font-cover: of oak, octagonal pyramid, 17th-century. Glass: In chancel— in E. window, in the ten lights of the tracery, from N. to S., (1) St. Gregory?, figure of pope in vestments, red cope, papal mitre, book in left hand, staff in right hand, standing in canopied niche; (2) small fragments at the top and bottom; (3) St. Peter, fragments, including keys; (4) St. Paul?, figure holding book, canopy at the top, three letters of black-letter inscription, fragmentary; (5) St. John the Baptist?, figure with yellow nimbus, parts missing, fragments and canopy at the top; (6) St. John the Evangelist, figure holding chalice, part missing, fragment of black-letter inscription, part of canopy at the top; (7) St. George, jumbled fragments including hand of saint holding spear, head of dragon, top of canopy; (8) St. Christopher with staff, and part of figure of Christ holding orb, fragment of canopy at the top; (9) St. Augustine?, bishop holding staff, fragmentary; (10) St. Ambrose?, bishop holding staff, standing in niche, head of figure incomplete; in three middle main lights, above transom, and in heads of four lights below it, buildings and blue sky. In S.E. window, in heads of lights, two above transom, and all four below it, parts of canopies; in S.W. window, as in S.E. window, but head of one light below transom partly blank. In N. chapel—in E. window, in spandrel between heads of the two northern lights, blue glass, fragment of white with quatrefoils; in corresponding spandrel between heads of the two southern lights, blue glass; in heads of the upper northern lights, buildings and blue sky; in southernmost upper light, fragments of figure of the First Person of the Trinity, right hand raised in blessing, left holding orb, part of a representation of the Annunciation; in heads of three of the lights below transom, (1) buildings and sky, (2) angel with scroll of music, (3) dove with outstretched wings removed from the representation of the Annunciation above; in N. window, in heads of upper and lower lights, part of canopies. In S. transept—in E. window, in the four lights, above transom, series of eight subjects illustrating legends of St. Nicholas, inscription in black-letter below each subject (subjects taken in two horizontal rows from N. to S.); first two representing the legend of St. Nicholas and the two cups; third, the famine at Myra; fourth, fifth and sixth, the Jew of Calabria and the image of St. Nicholas; seventh and eighth, St. Nicholas' restoration to life of the boy strangled by the devil disguised as a pilgrim, (1) boy holding gold cup falling from ship into water, on ship father, and three sailors hoisting sail, inscription 'Cadit puerulus quem mox salvat Nicholaus'; (2) altar with reredos containing half-figure of Christ, before altar small figures of man, wife, and boy holding gold cup, silver cup falling from altar; at N. end of altar seated figure of St. Nicholas in mitre, with nimbus, hand raised in blessing, inscription 'Tunc offert cyphum grates pro mun(er)e reddens'; (3) large three-masted ship at shore, in foreground St. Nicholas, without episcopal vestments or nimbus, two monks, boy holding round object, on ship figures pouring corn on shore and tying it up in sacks, inscription, 'Multiplicat frugem presul quam nave recepit'; (4) in background, image of St. Nicholas with nimbus, holding staff, Jew departing, in foreground dog and four robbers, one robber showing box of gold to another, inscription 'Que tulerant [fures] bona cogit reddere [presul or sanctus]'; (5) in foreground two of the robbers, one with box of gold, the other with a sack, St. Nicholas appearing to them on left, in background the Jew in his house attacking the image, which has no nimbus, inscription 'Auro furato baculo flagellat amicum'; (6) the robbers returning the treasure to the Jew, gate-house and castle in background, inscription 'Restituit rursus lator quod sustulit aurum'; (7) the devil, disguised as pilgrim, strangling boy who holds dish, three grief-stricken men behind them, tower and building in background, inscription 'Strangulat [hic] demon puerum [pul]menta ferentem'; (8) boy dead on ground, four kneeling figures, behind them St. Nicholas in mitre, with nimbus and holding staff, in background small building containing three people, inscription 'Mortuus ad vitam rediit precibus Nicholai'; in heads of three lights below transom, buildings and blue sky, and other fragments; in head of fourth light, black-letter inscription 'eledgite Nicholau~ i~ episcopu~', and other fragments. In S. aisle— in S.E. window, in E. light, head of bishop in jewelled mitre, purple nimbus; in middle light, similar head, red nimbus, part of top of staff; in W. light, middle part of figure of archbishop in red chasuble, pallium, etc., and holding crozier, other fragments; in S.W. window, head of bishop in jewelled mitre, purple nimbus; in some of the plain glass windows old white quarries. All the glass described, late 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to William Denton, 1691, physician to Charles I. and Charles II., inscription and arms. In N. chapel—against N. wall, (2) of —Denton, 1560, and his wife, altar tomb with two alabaster effigies, man in plate armour with mail skirt, tabard with arms [argent] two bars [gules] with three cinquefoils in the chief, and a molet for difference [sable] for Denton, hilt of dagger visible under back, long thin sword at left side, head on helm apparently with camail, crest with mantle, woman in close head-dress, outer and inner cloak, embroidered underskirt, both figures somewhat defaced, hands missing, right leg and left foot of man missing, figure of woman broken in two; tomb of alabaster having pilasters of Renaissance design, between them shields with encircling inscriptions, remains of marginal inscription; (3) to Alexander Denton, 1576, and Mary, his second wife, daughter of Sir Roger Martyn, knight, 1574, monument with pediment, grotesque figures, flanking pillars, inscription and three shields of arms; on N. wall, (4) to Thomas Isham, son of Thomas Isham of Pighley, Northants, 1676. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Dr. William Denton, 1691. In N. chapel—(2) to Alexander Denton, 1698; (3) to Thos. Isham, 1676; (4) to Mrs. Elizabeth Isham, 1667. Niche: On N. porch—over entrance archway, outside, with projecting moulded base, recess flanked by pinnacles and flying buttresses carved on face of wall, rich canopy with trefoiled ogee head on each side, crocketed pinnacles and finials, and ogee-shaped carved roof with crockets and finial, cove of canopy richly carved with traceried vaulting, late 15th-century. Paintings: In chancel—on E. wall, arms of Denton with quarterings, much restored, 16th or 17th-century; on S. wall, arms of Denton impaling another coat, probably 16th-century, partly concealed by mural monument. Panelling: In N. transept—large enclosed pew, front of three bays, with shaped and bolection-moulded upper panels enclosing cartouches and ornament in high relief, lower panels of similar form, but with pediments; W. end of one bay similar to front, but with plain rectangular lower panels, having curved pediments, E. end similar, but without carved cartouche; inside pew, heavy bolection-moulding, capping a small moulding with dentils; late 17th-century; dado against wall inside pew, mid 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and four-centred head, carved spandrels, semi-octagonal projecting moulded basin, no drain visible, small moulded recess immediately above head, partly blocked by monument, late 15th-century. In N. chapel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and cinque-foiled ogee head, carved spandrels, semi-octagonal projecting moulded basin, no drain, late 15th-century. Screen: Between chancel and nave—rood screen, of three large bays, middle bay containing double doors, each large bay containing four small open panels with ogee head having foliated cusps, and rich tracery filling the two-centred main head of the bay, posts and muntins moulded, the four principal posts having attached shafts with moulded capitals, from which spring the ribs of the vaulted cove below floor of loft; middle rail carved and moulded, below it closed panels carved with double linen pattern; loft with moulded ribs and vine-leaf pattern on both sides; early 16th-century, loft much restored. In N. chapel—across W. end, low, of fifteen bays, linen panels in two tiers, buttressed muntins, nine bays early 16th-century, six modern. Seats: In chancel—two desks with linen panelled fronts and ends, buttressed muntins, early 16th-century, top of desk modern. In nave—nine seats with desks and linen panelled standards, front desk and two back seats linen panelled, top rails of seats and standards moulded, early 16th-century, restored. In N. transept—bench, with turned legs, and arms having turned posts and shaped elbows, 17th-century. Tiles: In vestry—various patterns, 15th-century, some much worn. Miscellanea: Ten consecration crosses, internal; two on E. wall of chancel, one on N. wall of N. chapel, one on S. wall of S. transept, two on N. wall and one on W. wall of N. aisle, two on S. wall and one on W. wall of S. aisle, all consisting of scratched circle containing a cross formy; two other crosses, one on S. wall of chancel hidden by monument, and one on N. wall of N. transept, covered by panelling. In vestry—in upper storey, worked stones: (1) head of woman in wimple, 14th-century; (2) and (3) mouldings, 14th or 15th-century, painted yellow. Nave—on S. buttress, sundial, concave, divided and figured, pointer missing, inscription at the top '1601 Georg . . de Fraisne', round sides 'Sic transit gloria mundi'. In churchyard— near N. porch, remains of churchyard cross, consisting of tall octagonal column, part of carved head, with ball-flower ornament, etc., stepped base, highest step with rounded stops at the angles, 14th-century.

Condition—Good; stonework of windows slightly restored throughout.

Secular

a(2). Hillesden House, remains, E. of the church. Irregularities in the ground mark the site of the house, and a brick passage, probably a drain, runs in a south-westerly direction under the churchyard into a neighbouring field; some distance further E. of the church are three terraces, the lowest being revetted with ashlar. Between the churchyard and the site of the house is a wall of red bricks, with black headers set in diamond pattern, probably of the 16th century; the wall was further extended towards the N. in the 17th century and two large gate-posts were erected; the garden has similar brick walls.

Condition—Of walls, fairly good.

a(3). House, S. of the church, is of two storeys, built of red and blue brick late in the 17th century; the roofs are tiled. Additions have been made on the S. and E. Some of the windows have old iron casements, and one chimney stack is original.

Condition—Fairly good.

a(4). Cottage, one of a group known as 'the Barracks', about ¾ mile N.N.W. of the church, is of one storey and an attic, built of timber and brick late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, much restored with brick and altered at various dates; the timber-framing retains a few heavy wall-posts with diagonal braces; the roof is thatched. The cottage is of rectangular plan, and of the roughest workmanship, with half-hipped gables at each end.

Condition—Bad; roof dilapidated.

b(5). Queen, in the garden at Westfield Farm, 1 mile W.S.W. of the church, is probably of early mediæval date, and originally consisted of two stones, the lower containing a very shallow bowl 1 ft. 5 in. in diameter, the upper stone fitting into the bowl and forming a pestle for grinding.

Condition—Bad; stones broken in many pieces, covered with vegetation.