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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(O.S. 6 in. xiii. N.E.)
(1). Parish Church of the Assumption of the Virgin, stands in the middle of the village; the walls are chiefly of limestone rubble with much mortar; the roofs are tiled, except those of the N. aisle and S. porch, which are covered with lead. The Nave was built c. 1160, and c. 1180 the North Aisle was added, and the nave probably lengthened. The West Tower was built late in the 13th century; the Chancel was re-built and widened towards the N. in the middle of the 14th century; the South Porch was added in the 15th century; the North Vestry was built, the chancel arch re-built and the whole building considerably restored in the 19th century.
The church is especially interesting on account of the late 12th-century arcade, the 12th-century N. and S. doorways, and the 13th-century W. doorway. Among the fittings the remains of the 13th-century painted inscriptions, the 12th-century font, re-cut in the 14th century (see Plate, p. 45), and an early 14th-century effigy of a knight (see Plate, p. 46) are peculiarly worthy of note.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27 ft. by 15 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern is modern, except the inner jamb-stones and segmental pointed rear arch, which are of the 14th century; the western window is of mid 14th-century date, of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded external label: between the windows, now opening into the vestry, is a mid 14th-century doorway with moulded jambs and ogee head. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is of mid 14th-century date, and of two trefoiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head; the second window, of three lights, is apparently modern, except some of the inner jamb-stones. The chancel arch is modern. The Nave (56½ ft. by 19 ft.) has a N. arcade of four bays and of c. 1180; the piers and responds are square with chamfered edges, and have rounded stops below the moulded imposts, except the easternmost pier, which has broach-stops; the chamfered plinths are almost entirely modern; the arches are pointed, and, in the nave, are of two orders with keeled edge-rolls, and have labels with engrailed edges and grotesque head-stops; at the apex of each arch is a plainer head-stop; in the aisle the arches are of one chamfered order: over the E. respond is the small 15th-century doorway of the former rood-loft, with a square head in the nave, and a four-centred head in the aisle; under the sill, in the nave, are two pieces of 12th-century moulding, enriched with diaper ornament. In the S. wall are two modern windows, and between them is the S. doorway of c. 1160; the jambs are of two square orders, with circular shafts in the angles; the W. shaft is carved with scale ornament, the E. shaft with cheveron ornament; the capitals are carved with winged monsters, but the W. capital is partly broken away, and under the E. capital is the inverted head of a monster with long ears; the abaci are hollow-chamfered; the bases are modern; the semi-circular arch has a moulded outer order and plain chamfered label; the tympanum (see Plate, p. 14) rests on a chamfered stone lintel enriched with diaper ornament, and is made up of an arched stone, apparently intended for a smaller opening, carved with two winged monsters; between them is a small human figure with long ears; the space above the arched stone is filled with a number of smaller stones, not laid horizontally, ornamented with small red circles (see Paintings); over the crown of the arch is a rounded stone carved with a carbuncle or star. The North Aisle (9 ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, three modern windows: between the second and third windows is the N. doorway of c. 1180; the jambs are of two square orders, the inner with a keeled edge-roll; the attached shafts in the angles have primitive foliated capitals, and the edge-rolls have capitals of still more simple type; the abaci are moulded, and the bases are modern; the arch is semi-circular, and of two moulded orders, with a label; the inner order is carved with cheveron and foliage ornament, and the label has the same ornament on a smaller scale, with head-stops, and a head-corbel above the crown of the arch. The W. window is a single trefoiled four-centred light, all modern, except the head, which is possibly of the 15th century. The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of three stages, and has square buttresses at the W. angles of the ground stage, and an embattled parapet with a 15th-century moulded string-course and gargoyles. The two-centred tower arch, probably of late 13th-century date, is of three chamfered orders dying into the wall on each side. The late 13th-century W. doorway is of two orders, the inner continuously moulded; the outer order of the two-centred head is elaborately moulded; that of the jambs is hollow-chamfered, and has, in each jamb, an attached shaft, between two hollows, with a moulded capital and base; the rolls of the inner order of the jambs and the bases of the shafts are modern restorations; the label is moulded. The W. window is of late 12th-century date and has been re-set; the jambs and semi-circular head are externally of two orders, with an engrailed label; the outer order has, in the angles of the jambs, attached shafts with foliated capitals and moulded bases; the chamfered inner order is modern. The second stage has a rectangular loop in each wall; that in the E. wall is blocked. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window, probably of late 13th-century date, of two lancet lights under a two-centred head with an unpierced spandrel. The South Porch has a 15th-century outer entrance with moulded jambs and four-centred head, of clunch, partly restored; over it is a stone inscribed 'w.c. 1688'. In each side wall is a 15th-century window of two lights, partly restored internally, and with modern external stone-work.
Fittings—Bells: five and sanctus; 3rd inscribed 'Gaudevirgomatr', by John Saunders, or by William Welles, 16th-century; 4th by Chandler, 1664; 5th by Anthony Chandler, 1662; sanctus, now in the N. aisle, inscribed 'Crestit me firi fecet', mediæval. Brass: In nave—on S. wall, below eastern window, (1) of woman in pedimental head-dress, no inscription, early 16th-century. In N. aisle—near E. end, (2) of Reynold Tylney, 1506, figure of man in fur-trimmed gown, with three daughters, and inscription in Latin; at top of slab shield, partly defaced, with arms of Tylney impaling Garnon, above shield strips inscribed with the names 'Tylney' and 'Garnon'. Chair: In chancel—with shaped arms, turned arm-posts and legs, back carved in low relief, incised decoration on edges of seat, 17th-century. Font: octagonal bowl, the sides carved with oak leaves and other designs, and figures representing (1) the Crucifixion, (2) a bishop with mitre and pastoral staff, (3) St. Catherine, with wheel and sword, standing on the figure of a man, (4) the Virgin and Child, under a trefoiled and crocketed canopy, figures defaced, S.E. side carved with 12th-century strap and leaf ornament; bowl 12th-century, originally circular, re-cut to octagonal form in 14th century, stem and base modern. Font-cover: of oak, flat, with moulded cross-pieces, probably late 16th or early 17th-century. Monuments: In chancel—(1) to Sir Anthony Grenowaye, knight, 1619, stone tablet with moulded frame. In nave—under W. arch of arcade, (2) altar tomb, c. 1325, with recumbent effigy of knight, wearing bascinet, camail, surcoat long behind and short in front, pourpoint or skirted cuirass, apparently sleeved hauberk and mail defences on legs and feet, gauntlets, roundels on elbows, and kneecops, sword, dagger and shield, effigy considerably worn (see Plate, p. 46). Paintings: In nave— on piers of arcade, remains of painting in red; on E. pier cheveron ornament with the words 'Ave Maria' in Gothic letters, on second pier scroll ornament and the words 'Hic Sedet Isabella', on third pier traces of design, all 13th-century; on tympanum of S. doorway a number of stripes and rings in red, intended to represent marble. Plate: includes cup inscribed 'Leckhamsted Parish', with elaborate band of ornament, 1569. Sedilia: In chancel—two, one smaller than the other, both with plain chamfered jambs and semi-circular heads, possibly 16th-century. Stoup: In nave—in S. wall, E. of doorway, with square jambs and four-centred head, 15th or 16th-century, basin modern. Miscellanea: Tower—on S.E. buttress, porch—on E. jamb of S. doorway, and on S. wall, outside, scratched on stones, sundials. In churchyard—near S. porch, base of churchyard cross, date uncertain, much worn.
(2). House, now two tenements, about 200 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys and an attic, built in the 17th century, on a rectangular plan. The walls are of stone rubble; the roof is tiled. Two chimney stacks are of original thin bricks: on the ground floor, in each stack, is a wide open fireplace.
(3). Cottage, about 260 yards N.W. of the church, is a two-storeyed building of stone and of the 17th century. The roof is thatched. At the E. end is a chimney stack with a rectangular shaft; the lower part is of stone, and the upper part of thin bricks. One room has a wide open fireplace; in the ceiling are exposed timbers.
(4). Home Farm, about ½ mile S.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys and an attic, built of stone late in the 17th century, on a rectangular plan, facing S.; additions, also of stone, were made at the back in the 18th century, the wing projecting towards the N. bears the date 1762; at the E. end is a modern addition, built of brick. The roofs are tiled, except those of the later additions, which are covered with slate. The main block has gabled dormer windows in front, and at each end is a chimney stack of 17th-century brick, restored at the top. In the E. wall of the N. wing are two early 17th-century windows, said to have been brought from a house formerly standing E. of the farm; each window is of three lights with moulded stone jambs, mullions and head. Inside the house the staircase is of late 17th-century date and rises from the ground floor to the attic; it has a moulded handrail and turned twisted balusters.
(5). Windows, at Lower Farm or Toye Court (shown on the Ordnance Survey maps as 'Middle Farm'), about 5/8 mile S.E. of the church. The house is modern, but has two early 17th-century windows, said to have been brought from a house which formerly existed near the farm; each window is of two lights with chamfered and rebated stone jambs and heads, and chamfered mullions.
(6). Line of entrenchment, about 200 yards S. of the church, occupies a commanding position on the top of a hill about 300 ft. above O.D., and consists of a single rampart and ditch facing W. with a slight return at each end. The work is not shown on the Ordnance Survey maps.