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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157. LITTLE BRICKHILL.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xv. S.W. (b)xv. S.E.)
a(1). Foundations of Buildings, Pottery, Coins and other Remains, S. of the town of Fenny Stratford and the hamlet of Dropshort, on each side of the Roman road now called Watling Street, and on the E. bank of the river Ousel, have been found at various dates since the 18th century The Roman name of the site can be fixed from the Antonine Itinerary as Magiovinium or Magiovintum. In 1911 excavations revealed structural remains such as roof-tiles, rough tesserae from flooring and painted wall-plaster. (See note by F. Haverfield, Proceedings of Society of Antiquaries of London, xxiv. 35.) If the fields were excavated or prepared for building, larger discoveries would follow, and the site should be carefully watched; it ought to be scientifically explored.
Condition—No remains now visible above ground, except stray tiles, potsherds, etc.
b(2). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene, on high ground at the end of the village, N of Watling Street, is built of ironstone rubble with limestone dressings. The roofs are covered with slate, except that of the S. porch, which is tiled. The Nave was built probably in the 12th century; a N. transept (blown down in 1703) was added c. 1330, and c. 1340 the Chancel was re-built. The Tower, at the N. end of the W. wall of the nave, was built probably in the 15th century; a Chamber was added to it on the S. side later in the 15th, or early in the 16th century. The South Aisle, South Chapel (now used as a vestry), and South Porch, are of crude workmanship of late 16th or early 17th-century date. The church was restored in the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1864 the chancel was almost entirely re-built.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27 ft. by 17½ ft.) is almost entirely modern. In the W. half of the S. wall, opening into the S. chapel, is a four-centred arch of late 16th or early 17th-century date and of two orders, the outer order continuously moulded, and the inner chamfered, forming semi-octagonal responds with crudely moulded capitals and bases. The two-centred chancel arch is of c. 1340 and of two chamfered orders; in each jamb the inner order forms a shaft which has a moulded capital and base; the N. base is modern; the outer order is continuous, but at the springing level is a small trefoiled ogee canopy on the face of each chamfer. The South Chapel (15 ft. by 12 ft.) has an E. window of three lights, the middle light being cinque-foiled, and the side lights quatre-foiled and canted to the line of the main drop arch; the jambs and mullions are modern; the rest of the stonework is of 16th-century or later date; N. of the window, about 5 ft. above the floor, is a short length of string-course. In the S. wall is a modern window, probably in an old opening, and a doorway of the 16th or 17th century, with jambs and pointed head of two chamfered orders, the head much restored. In the W. wall, opening into the S. aisle, is a four-centred arch, also of the 16th or 17th century; it is of two chamfered orders with semi-octagonal responds which have moulded capitals and bases. The Nave (48 ft. by 18 ft.) has, in the N. wall, at the E. end, a blocked arch of c. 1330, which opened into the former N. transept; it is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the moulded jambs are exposed to half their depth internally and have moulded capitals and bases; externally they are only visible in outline: in the filling of the arch is a modern window, and further W. are two windows; the eastern is of three cinque-foiled lights in a square head with an external label, and is of the 15th century, externally almost entirely restored; the western window is of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a square head, all externally modern and internally colour-washed: between the second and third windows, is the 16th-century N. doorway, now blocked; it has a flat four-centred arch under a square head with a label, and is of two moulded orders with moulded stops, of which only the western is old: W. of the doorway are visible externally two stones of the arch of a former doorway, apparently round-headed, and of the 12th century. The S. arcade of the nave is of the 16th or 17th century, and of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the octagonal pillars and semi-octagonal responds have crudely moulded capitals and bases; the capital of the W. respond has probably been re-cut, and the base is modern. In the W. wall, opening into the chamber S. of the tower, is a late 15th-century doorway of two chamfered orders, with a pointed head. The South Aisle (12 ft. wide) has two windows in the S. wall and one in the W. wall, all modern, but probably in old openings. The S. doorway, W. of the second S. window, is of two continuously moulded orders with a two-centred head; it is of late 13th-century date, moved out from the nave when the aisle was added: W. of the doorway, visible inside, is the outline of a large window with a four-centred head. The North-West Tower (7½ ft. square) is of two stages, the lower stage being of two storeys; the parapet is embattled; against the N. and W. walls heavy buttresses have been added, two to each wall. The 15th-century tower arch is tall and narrow, two-centred and of two chamfered orders. The W. window is of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery and a transom under a four-centred main head, all of the 15th century, except the tracery below the transom, which is modern. The second storey has, in the N. wall, a cinque-foiled four-centred light under a square head and label. The bell-chamber has a modern window in each wall. The Chamber, S. of the tower, has a lean-to roof. In the W. wall are two loop-lights, probably of the 16th century. The South Porch has detail of the 16th or 17th century. The four-centred entrance archway is continuously moulded, and has a label with volute stops. In each side wall is a small window, not grooved for glass, of two trefoiled lights, under a square head, both restored.
Fittings—Bells: three and sanctus; 1st marked '+KRCI', and, in black-letter, 'AN NA' repeated several times and sometimes reversed, probably 16th-century; 2nd by James Keene, 1639; 3rd by Anthony Chandler, 1669; sanctus, probably 17th-century. Bracket: In S. chapel—in E. wall, moulded, 16th-century or later date, damaged. Brass: In S. aisle—on S. wall, to Rob. Seling, 1692, inscription and verse. Communion Table: In S. aisle—at E. end, with turned legs, plain rails, 17th-century. Font: cup-shaped bowl, roughly circular, chamfered on lower edge, probably 13th-century, stem and base re-cut or modern. Locker: In S. chapel—in E. wall, below string-course N. of E. window, square, 16th-century or later date, oak door made from 17th-century panel. Monument: In S. aisle—on E. wall, to William Benett, 1658, painted board in moulded frame, inscription and shield of arms. Piscinae: In S. chapel—in S. wall, with trefoiled pointed head, soffit cusps, no basin, sill only 1 ft. 4 in. above floor, probably late 13th-century, re-set. In nave—in S. wall, with trefoiled ogee head, chamfer diminishing from apex to jambs, circular basin, 14th-century; in N. wall, outside, formerly in transept, with jambs and trefoiled ogee head of two moulded orders, 14th-century. Miscellanea: In S. chapel—alms-shovel, dated 1664. In nave—one on N. wall and one on S. wall, at E. end, head-corbels; on E. wall, on each side of chancel arch, plain corbel, formerly supported rood-beam, all probably 15th-century.
b(3–4). Houses, two, in the main street, are each of two storeys, built in the 17th century. The roofs are tiled. The first house on the N. side of the street, 300 yards W.N.W. of the church, is covered with rough-cast in front; the other walls are timber-framed, with modern brick filling; at the back is a modern addition. The central chimney stack is of 17th-century brick, restored, and a projecting chimney stack at the E. end of the house is also of thin bricks, but has a modern shaft. The other house, on the S. side of the street, 150 yards E. of (3), is almost entirely of modern brick, but at the E. end is a little old timber-framing. The square central chimney stack is of late 17th-century brick.
Condition—Of both, good.