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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163. MAIDS' MORETON.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xiii. N.E. (b)xiii. S.E.)
a, b(1). Parish Church of St. Edmund, at the S.E. end of the village, is built of limestone rubble with ample quoinings and dressings, a moulded plinth, carefully worked string-courses, elaborately weathered buttresses and plain parapets; the S. wall of the chancel and the original walls of the vestry are covered with rough-cast. The roofs are covered with lead. The earliest detail is that of the font, probably of late 12th-century date, and some 12th-century stones are re-set in the N. porch, but the present church was built in the second half of the 15th century; an addition was made to the S. vestry, and the building was repaired in 1882–87.
The church is exceptionally interesting, as it is of unusually fine design, workmanship and material, all of the 15th century and practically untouched; the W. tower, with the fan-vaulted canopy over the W. doorway and the fan-vaulting in the vestry, tower and porches are especially noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (26 ft. by 16 ft.) has an E. window of five cinque-foiled lights with elaborate tracery in a three-centred head; the external and internal reveals are moulded; the internal reveal is carried down to the ground and the mullions are continued as fillets, which stop on a blocking of stone, possibly intended for fixing the altar and reredos. In the N. wall are two windows; the eastern is of three trefoiled lights with tracery in an obtuse head; the western window is small and of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the reveals are of similar design to those of the E. window, but on a smaller scale; the internal splays of each window are carried to the ground and contain a stone bench: W. of the first window are two tall narrow recesses with chamfered jambs and depressed heads; the eastern recess is almost filled and partly covered by an 18th-century monument; the western recess contains a doorway of two moulded orders, with a four-centred head. In the S. wall are two windows, similar to those in the N. wall; the western window now opens into the modern addition to the vestry: between them are three tall narrow recesses; one is not carried to the ground and under it, opening into the vestry, is a doorway of two moulded orders, with a two- centred head. The chancel arch is two-centred and of two continuously moulded orders; at the S.W. corner of the chancel is a squint from the nave, a small rough opening with a trefoiled head. The South Vestry (6½ ft. square) is of late 15th-century date, with a modern extension towards the W. It has fan-vaulting springing from the four corners and of somewhat elaborate detail; the central boss is foliated, and the cones have panels with trefoiled heads. The E. and S. walls have each a single trefoiled light with uncusped tracery under a square head; the tracery was probably always glazed, but the lights apparently had shutters. The Nave (40 ft. by 24 ft.) is of four bays; in the first, second and fourth bays the N. and S. walls have each a window of three cinque-foiled lights with a transom and tracery in a two-centred or four-centred head; the detail is similar to that of the E. window; in the third bay of each wall is a recess, with jambs and rear arches of similar design to those of the windows, and each containing a doorway; the N. doorway is four-centred and of two moulded orders; the outer order has elaborate pierced cusping making the head septfoiled, with trefoiled subcusping; the S. doorway has jambs and four-centred head of two moulded orders. In the E. wall, S. of the chancel arch, the squint to the chancel has moulded jambs and cinque-foiled head. The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of three stages with diagonal buttresses, a N.W. stair-turret and an embattled parapet; the battlements are moulded, and pierced with round openings; under the parapet is a moulded string-course with birdshaped gargoyles at the angles. The tower arch is four-centred and of three continuous orders. The W. doorway is of three orders; the two inner orders are moulded and continuous in the jambs and four-centred head; the outermost order of the jambs is formed by round angle shafts which carry cones of fan-vaulting supporting a wide flat canopy; the soffit is almost plain; the canopy has a frieze decorated with flower ornament, and a parapet with triangular merlons, which have trefoiled panels: the W. window is of four cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, the detail is similar to that of the E. window. The ground stage is fan-vaulted; the cones have panels with trefoiled heads and spring from corbels in the four corners, carved as cherubim; the ribs are heavy and double-chamfered, and in the middle is a large circular bell-way. Above the ground stage the plan of the tower is unusual; in each wall is a wide external recess, rising from the sloping off-set at the bottom of the second stage to the top of the third stage; each recess has a four-centred head with elaborate pierced septfoiled cusping, the cusps terminating in wide foliations; the sides are splayed, and at the back is a V-shaped vertical projection extending to the outer face of the wall and supporting the apex of the recess: in each wall of the second stage at the base of the recess is a window with a trefoiled head, and a panel of the same form; the string-course marking the second stage is mitred into the recesses and carried round the buttresses and stair-turret. In each wall of the bell-chamber, at the top of the recess, are two single-light windows with trefoiled heads, separated by the V-shaped projection; in the N. wall one light is blocked. The North Porch (9 ft. by 7 ft.) has an embattled parapet, each merlon containing a small trefoiled panel; the middle merlon on the N. side has a triangular head, cut off, probably for the socket of a cross; under the parapet is a string-course with bird-shaped gargoyles at the angles. The outer doorway has jambs and four-centred head of two moulded orders. The roof is fan-vaulted, and carried on six round wall-shafts with moulded capitals, and bases of a concave octagonal form; on each side of the middle shaft is a small window with a trefoiled head. The South Porch (7 ft. square) has a plain parapet with a small niche (see Fittings) over the outer doorway, which is three-centred and of two moulded orders. The fan-vaulting of the roof is similar to that of the vestry, but is carried on wall-shafts similar to those of the N. porch. The Roofs are all original; that of the chancel is low-pitched and of two bays, with three king-post trusses of simple design; the principal timbers are chamfered, and the heavy wall-plates are elaborately moulded; the trusses and the spandrels of the wall-brackets are filled with tracery; the wooden corbels are moulded; the E. bay has foliated bosses on the ridge and purlins; one boss is carved with a bird holding a scroll, another with the head of a bishop (possibly restored); under the middle tie-beam is a carved figure of Christ with one hand raised, seated between two crocketed finialled buttresses. The roof of the nave is similar to that of the chancel, and is of four bays with five trusses; the bosses are of different designs; under the middle tie-beam is a carved figure of Christ, with both hands raised; the corbels of the brackets on the S. wall are similar to those of the chancel, except the easternmost, which is of stone, carved as a lion's head; four of the corbels on the N. wall are of stone, also carved.
Fittings—Brackets: In chancel—on N. side of E. window, moulded; in nave—in splay of S.E. window, apparently not in situ, carved as an angel; both late 15th-century. Brasses and Indents: In nave—in large slab, two shields bearing arms, a cheveron with three fleurs de lis thereon, 15th-century; indents of two figures and inscription plate, filled with modern brasses, representing the figures of the two sisters, by tradition the builders of the church (see Paintings). Communion Table: elaborately carved, with urn-shaped legs, apron covered with grotesque heads, including face with Van Dyck beard and moustache, on each side a shield, one inscribed '1623', the other, 'JOHN MORE'. Doors: In chancel—in N. doorway, plain, possibly 15th-century. In nave—in N. doorway, with elaborate tracery planted on, late 15th-century, much defaced. In N. porch—in outer doorway, double door with panels having small carved semi-circular heads, below lintel two open panels set with turned balusters, head of doorway filled with turned balusters, springing from semi-circular lintel carved with shield bearing a cheveron with three fleurs de lis thereon, and date 1637; roughly cut or scratched below date, initials, 'PR. IA. IN. WA'. Font: circular bowl, with band of crude acanthusleaves and pellet ornament, probably late 12th-century, base modern. Glass: In chancel—in tracery of E. window, fragments, including part of canopies, foliated designs, part of two scrolls, one inscribed 'miserere i . . . mei dn~s', the other '. . ve maria', on another scroll heart with five wounds; in N.W. window, in quatrefoil, vernicle in white and gold; all late 15th-century. In tower—in W. window, fragments of architectural designs, part of four figures of saints, one with book, late 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—in N.W. recess, to Frances, daughter of Thomas Attenbury, 1685, cartouche with drapery and cherubs, and inscription. Floor-slab: In nave—to John Birtwisle 1697, and Phillip his wife, 1696, inscription and arms. Niche: On S. porch—over entrance, with trefoiled head, crocketed and finialled ogee canopy, with pinnacles, late 15th-century, much weathered. Painting: In nave—over N. doorway, shield with arms, argent a cheveron sable three fleurs de lis argent thereon, below it in ornamental frame, inscription, painted on wall, to 'Sisters and Maids, daughters of the Lord Pruet, the pious and munificent founders of this church', possibly c. 1700; on E. truss of roof, traces of colour. In chancel—at back of sedilia, representation of the Last Supper, late 16th or early 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—pillar piscina, with moulded semi-hexagonal basin and stem; in vestry—at E. end of S. wall, rectangular recess, probably piscina; in nave—in reveal of S.E. window, broken away, but drain visible; all late 15th-century. Screen: Under chancel arch—of three bays, with moulded mullions and buttressed master-mullions, traceried upper panels and close lower panels with small piercings and cinque-foiled heads, double doors in the middle, moulded cornice with remains of cresting, late 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel— in splay of S.E. window, three, with moulded and buttressed mullions, under projecting semi-hexagonal canopies, traceried and elaborately moulded, with sub-cusped cinque-foiled heads, enriched frieze, vaulted soffit and crocketed ogee labels, all of chalk, late 15th-century; remains of moulded string-course, probably part of original sedilia. Tiles: In tower—a few, 'slip' tiles, simple patterns, mediæval. Miscellanea: In chancel— over screen, two carved wooden half-figures of angels holding shields, one shield bearing three nails, the other a hammer, 15th or 16th-century. In S. porch—bier, with plain chamfered panel carved with date, 1659. In nave—on N. and S. walls, between windows, six consecration crosses, in circles 8 in. in diameter, crosses formy, incised and painted red, two partly hidden by modern brass and gas-bracket, some very indistinct; on E. wall, N. and S. of chancel arch, similar cross, scratched on plaster; all late 15th-century. In N. porch—in rear arches of windows, four stones with dentil ornament, 12th-century.
Condition—Good; the roof may need attention in a few years' time; there are one or two signs of settlement, but none of them serious; little restored.
These buildings are nearly all of the 17th century and of two storeys; all, except two, are timber-framed, with wattle and daub or brick filling restored with modern brick; the roofs generally are thatched. Many of the chimney stacks are original.
a(2–3). Cottages, two, on the W. side of the Leckhampstead road, about 330 yards N.E. of the church. They are both of the central chimney type.
Main road, N.E. side
a(4). Cottage, at the S.E. end of the road, about 220 yards N. of the church. It was built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, but the walls have been entirely re-faced or re-built with modern brick. Only the central chimney stack is original. Interior:—On the ground floor there is an open timber ceiling.
Condition—Good; much altered and restored.
a(5). Cottage, about 120 yards N.W. of (4). Some of the windows have old iron casements.
Condition—Good, much restored and altered.
a(6). Cottage, now two tenements, 150 yards N.W. of (5). The walls are covered with rough-cast.
Condition—Good, much restored and altered.
a(7). The Wheatsheaf Inn, N.W. of (6). The walls are covered with rough-cast and there is a central chimney stack. Interior:—On the ground floor there are original ceiling-beams and a wide fireplace, partly blocked.
a(8). Upper Farm, 200 yards N.W. of (6). It was built of stone in 1624, the date on a chimney stack, and the original plan was rectangular, facing S.W.; later in the 17th century a low wing was added, extending towards the N.E.; it is timber-framed, and originally had wattle and daub filling, now replaced by brick; the wing was heightened in the 18th century. The roofs are covered with tiles, slate and corrugated iron. The S. W. Elevation has four modern windows under early 17th-century labels; each of the two lower windows retains the upper part of three original stone mullions. The S.E. Elevation has, in the gabled end of the main block, an original stone-mullioned window of two lights. At the N.W. end of the main block is a chimney stack with two square shafts of brick on a stone base, bearing the date 1624; the central stack of the N.E. wing is also on a stone base. Interior:—On the ground floor are two wide fireplaces, partly blocked, one in the main block, and one in the wing.
Some of the outbuildings, N.W. of the house, are of the 17th century, built of timber and brick.
a(9). Cottage, opposite to (4). One window at the back contains some old glass. Interior:— On the ground floor is an open timber ceiling and a large open fireplace with a wooden lintel.
a(10). Cottage, 120 yards N.W. of (9). The walls have lower courses of stone. The base only of one chimney stack is original.
a(11). Cottage, opposite to (6). The chimney stacks are modern.
The Buckingham road, W. side
a(12). Cottage, four tenements, at the corner of the main road. The plan is of the central chimney type; some old casement windows remain. Interior:—On the ground floor there are some original ceiling-beams.
a(13). Cottage, S.W. of (12), has some old casement windows.
a(14–16). Cottages, three, opposite to (12) and (13). A few old casement windows remain.
a(17). Manor Farm or Home Farm, about 450 yards N.W. of the church, is a house of two storeys, built of stone late in the 16th century; two small modern wings, of brick, have been added at the back. The roof is tiled.
The large stone fireplace in the hall, probably of c. 1600, is worthy of note.
The plan of the original part of the building is rectangular, facing W.; the modern S.E. wing is over old cellars, which indicates that the house formerly extended in that direction. Interior:—On the ground floor, in the hall, there are chamfered wall-plates and beams, and the large stone fireplace has a four-centred arch under a square head, with a moulded bracket at each end and sunk spandrels; it is now partly blocked. Two other rooms have chamfered ceiling-beams, and some of the doors are of moulded battens, probably of oak, now painted.