Lavendon

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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'Lavendon', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913) pp. 161-165. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/bucks/vol2/pp161-165 [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section

152. LAVENDON.

(O.S. 6 in. ii. S.E.)

Ecclesiastical

(1). Parish Church (dedication uncertain, said to be to St. Mary), stands in the middle of the village. The walls of the chancel, nave and tower are of limestone rubble in thin flakes set with wide joints, and without dressings; the quoins are of larger uncut stones; in each wall of the ground stage of the tower is a course roughly set in herring-bone pattern: the other walls are of larger rubble, with worked dressings in which is much shelly oolite. The roofs are covered with lead, except that of the chancel, which is tiled. The W. end of the Chancel, the Nave and the West Tower are of pre-Conquest date, and were built probably in the first half of the 11th century. Towards the middle of the 13th century the North and South Aisles were added, and the chancel was lengthened. Late in the 15th century the North and South Porches, the clearstorey, and the second stage of the tower were added, and the S. arcade, and possibly the S. aisle, were re-built. The building was completely restored in 1859.

The church is of especial interest on account of the early date of the chancel, nave and tower, which are good examples of late pre-Conquest work (see Plate, p. 330).

Lavendon, the Parish Church of St Mary.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 13 ft.) has an E. window of c. 1400, of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head. In the N. wall are three windows; the two eastern are lancet lights of mid 13th-century date; the third is a 15th-century low-side window (fn. 1) of one cinque-foiled light, now blocked. In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of late 15th-century date and of three lights, the middle light cinque-foiled, the others trefoiled, under a four-centred head; the sill is cut down low to form sedilia: only the semi-circular head and part of the jambs of the middle window remain, and are of the 11th century, set high in the wall and now blocked; they are formed of thin uncut stones set with very wide joints: the third window is a 13th century lancet with a moulded label and external rebate; it is of later date than those in the N. wall: under the middle window is a small blocked doorway with jambs and pointed head of one chamfered order, apparently of the 13th century. The chancel arch is modern, and its centre is about 1 ft. N. of the axial line of the nave. The Nave (48 ft. by 16 ft.) has an early 13th-century N. arcade of three bays; the two-centred arches are of one square order; the circular columns have circular moulded bases, and plain bell-capitals with square abaci chamfered off at the corners; the base of the eastern column is modern; the chamfered responds have plain imposts: over the side of the easternmost arch is the rear arch of one of the original windows of the nave; the masonry is rough and uncut. The S. arcade is of three bays, and is similar to the N. arcade, but the two-centred arches are higher and wider than those on the N., and are of long flat voussoirs; on the bell-capitals, under the corners of the abaci, are crudely carved heads; there are no bases, but the columns have curved stops and stand on square plinths; the E. respond is pierced by a small modern opening; the detail of the arcade probably indicates that it was re-built late in the 15th century, but the columns are of the 13th century, re-used. The clearstorey has, on each side, three late 15th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights under a square head. The nave and aisles have embattled parapets. The North Aisle (7 ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, a window of two trefoiled lights under a square head, with a wide chamfered external reveal; it is apparently of the 15th century, but the detail is unusual. In the N. wall are three windows, the easternmost of late 15th-century date, and of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head, with a deep external reveal; the second window is similar to the first, but is lower; the third window is a small 13th-century lancet: between the western windows is the 13th-century N. doorway with a two-centred head, of two orders, the inner order continuous, the outer heavily moulded and resting awkwardly on more simply moulded jambs. The South Aisle (6½ ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, a window of two lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the opening is apparently of the 14th century, the tracery and mullion are modern; internally the window is hidden by the organ. In the S. wall are two late 15th-century windows similar to those in the N. aisle: W. of the windows is the S. doorway, possibly 13th-century work re-set in the 15th century; the jambs and two-centred head are of one chamfered order and the label is chamfered: further W. is a small 15th-century doorway with a four-centred head, formerly opening into the stair-turret of the porch, but now blocked. The West Tower (11½ ft. by 12 ft.) is of two stages with an embattled parapet; the lower stage is very high. The tower arch is apparently of the 11th century, and is semi-circular, of one square order, with rough imposts, all now covered with plaster. The N., S. and W. walls have each three 11th-century windows, one above the other, with round heads of uncut stone, and plain jambs of rubble without dressings; the windows at the top are larger than the others, and the E. wall probably had a window at that level, now covered by the clock. The upper stage has, in each wall, a late 15th-century window, of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a pointed head. The North Porch (9½ ft. by 8 ft.) has diagonal buttresses and an embattled parapet; all the details are of late 15th-century date. The entrance archway is of two orders, the inner order two-centred, the outer square, with trefoiled spandrels; above the archway is a niche for an image (see Fittings). In each side wall is a window of two trefoiled lights with tracery under a flat head. The South Porch (9 ft. by 10 ft.) also has detail of late 15th-century date, similar to that of the N. porch, but it was originally of two storeys; the upper floor has been destroyed, and the projecting W. turret blocked. The inner order of the entrance archway is four-centred, and the spandrels are decorated with double fleur de lis; above the archway, originally lighting the second storey, is a small square-headed window with a label.

Fittings—Bells: five; four by Alexander Rigbe, 1689; 5th 17th-century; bell-frame with the initials and date, 'IS RB CH WD 1690'. Brackets: In chancel—on S. side of E. window, with corbel carved as head of man with beard, late 14th-century. Brasses: At the vicarage— (1) to Katherine, wife of Thomas Newton and daughter of Martin Harvey of Weston Favill, Northamptonshire [1680]; (2) to James Newton, barrister of the Inner Temple, 1690. Chair: In chancel—of mahogany, with upholstered back, carved arms and claw feet, c. 1700. Font: In tower—under arch, octagonal, six sides with sunk tracery, seventh side with foliated design, eighth with shield bearing apparently three fleurs de lis, late 15th-century. Locker: In chancel—in N. wall, rebated for door, probably 13th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on S. wall, (1) to Katherina, wife of Thomas Newton, of Lavendon Grange, 1680, cartouche with inscription. In N. aisle— on N. wall, (2) to Nathaniel Waker, rector of the parish, 1654, incised slab; on S. wall, (3) to Ephraim Pippin, rector of the parish, 1670, incised slab. In S. porch—built into E. wall, (4) part of slab with elaborate foliated design, 13th-century. In churchyard—built into S. wall, (5) slab with remains of raised cross, 14th-century, much defaced. Niche: N. porch—above entrance archway, outside, with cinque-foiled head, at apex a double cross, late 15th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—with cinque-foiled head, 15th-century. In nave—at E. end of N. wall, in square modern recess, bowl, old. In N. aisle—at E. end of S. wall, in recess with round head covered with plaster, capital of pillar piscina, 11th or 12th-century, much defaced. In S. aisle—at E. end of S. wall, said to be another piscina, now covered by organ. Plate: includes covered cup, of 1569, standing paten, with inscription recording donation by Sir Anthony Chester, baronet, and arms of Chester, without date mark, late 17th-century. Pulpit: of oak, sides panelled in two stages, with round arches and incised ornament, early 17th-century.

Condition—Good; some ivy on N. aisle and tower may prove dangerous; the straight joint between S. aisle and S.W. angle of nave has opened.

Secular

(2). Lavendon Castle (mount and bailey), about 700 yards N. of the church, stands on nearly level ground about 200 ft. above O.D.

The work is especially interesting, as the original plan is almost complete.

The castle consists of a mount, with traces of its encircling ditch, and three attached baileys. The mount, now occupied by a farmhouse and outbuildings, has never been apparently of any great height and now measures about 350 by 250 ft. at the base; the ditch is indicated by two ponds, one on the S.E. side, the other on the N.W. The N.E. bailey, with its defences, covers about 4¾ acres; it was evidently the main court, and the defences are much stronger than those of the other baileys; they consist of a wide rampart 7 ft. above the interior level and 14½ ft. above the bottom of the ditch, which is 57 ft. wide and is wet at the S. corner. There are two well defined entrances, one on the S.E. side; the other leads into the N.W. bailey, and is probably original. The N.W. bailey covers about five acres and is defended by a rampart 5½ ft. high at the best sections, and a ditch 34 ft. wide. There are gaps in the rampart on the N.W. and S.W. sides, and on the N.E. the defences are incorporated in a field boundary. The S.W. bailey, covering about 12/3 acres, is defended by a rampart and ditch similar to those of the N.W. bailey.

Condition—Well preserved, although the defences are somewhat denuded in places.

Homestead Moats (3–4).

(3). Remains, at Uphoe Manor, about 700 yards E. of the church. The moat was originally circular, and on the S. are traces of a second and larger enclosure.

(4). Remains, ¾ mile W. of the church, on the site of Lavendon Abbey, a house of Premonstratensian Canons founded in the 12th century. Only the W. arm and part of the S. arm of the moat remain, with an inner rampart and a counter-scarp bank; W. of the moat are traces of foundations.

(5). Lavendon Grange, house and outbuilding, about 1 mile W. of the church. The House is of two storeys and an attic; the walls are of stone; the roofs are covered with tiles. It was built c. 1625, possibly with re-used material, and consists of a rectangular block, facing S., with considerable modern additions at the back and E. end. S. Elevation:—In the middle of the original block is a slightly projecting bay with a gable in which is a sundial dated 1722; the porch projecting from the bay was built in 1911, of old stones; those in the jambs of the outer doorway were found buried near the moat ¼ mile E. of the house, see (4); the head is that of a 17th-century fireplace brought from elsewhere; the inner doorway is of c. 1625, and has moulded jambs and depressed four-centred head; on the ground and first floors all the windows, except two at the E. end of the block, have original stone mullions and labels; the attic is lighted by gabled dormer windows. The other elevations have been much altered or obscured by modern additions. Interior:—At the W. end of the house is a slightly moulded ceiling-beam.

Lavendon Castle

The Outbuilding, N. of the house, is rectangular and of one storey, built of stone in the 17th century. The roof is tiled. The doorway has a wooden frame with moulded jambs and head. The chimney stack is original. Interior:—There is one large open fireplace, with a wooden lintel.

Condition—Good; house much altered and restored.

Monuments (6–14)

These dwellings are generally of two storeys; they were all built of stone in the 17th century, and most of them have been restored. The roofs generally are tiled or thatched. Inside almost all the buildings are wide open fireplaces, and some of the ceilings have chamfered beams.

Road to Lavendon Castle, E. side

(6). Cottage, 50 yards N.E. of the church. The chimney stack is of stone, moulded at the top.

Condition—Fairly good.

(7). House, about 200 yards N.E. of the church. A modern addition has been made at the S. end.

Condition—Good.

(8). Cottage, four tenements, N. of (7), now used as a storehouse. The chimney stacks are of stone.

Condition—Poor; two of the tenements are to be pulled down.

(9). House, on the S. side of the Northampton road, 100 yards W. of the church. In front is a tablet with the initials and date 'F.I. 1690'. The roof is of corrugated iron.

Condition—Good, much altered.

(10). House, now five tenements, 200 yards N. of the church, on the E. side of the Olney road. The plan is L-shaped, and both wings have gables with moulded kneelers. The roofs are covered with corrugated iron.

Condition—Fairly good.

Main road, S. side

(11–12). Houses, two, on opposite sides of a yard, about 200 yards S.E. of the church, are each of two storeys and an attic. The S. house has a gable which faces the road and bears the initials and date 'V.W.S. 1694'.

Condition—Good.

N. side

(13). The Hit or Miss Inn, about 250 yards S.E. of the church. The plan is rectangular; at the W. end is a small outbuilding on which are the initials and date 'I.F. 1678'; the main building is probably of an earlier date.

Condition—Good.

(14). House, now a shop, about 300 yards S.E. of the church. The plan is L-shaped, the wings projecting towards the S. and E.; the S. wing is possibly of later date than the other; at the back is a one-storeyed outhouse. The central chimney stack has two square shafts set diagonally.

Condition—Good.

Footnotes

  • 1. Shewn by error in plan as 16th-century.