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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167. MIDDLE CLAYDON.
(O.S. 6 in. xxii. N.E.).
(1). Parish Church of All Saints, in Claydon Park, is built of stone rubble, with limestone dressings. The roofs are covered with lead, except that of the S. porch, which is tiled. The earliest existing detail in the church is that of the four windows and the S. doorway of the Nave, which, although much restored, are of c. 1300. The N. doorway is apparently of c. 1340. The West Tower was added c. 1500, and in 1519 the Chancel was re-built and possibly the walls of the nave were heightened. The building was restored in 1871; the South Porch and Vestry are modern.
The church is interesting on account of the inscription of 1519, which records the rebuilding of the chancel at that date. The brass of Roger Giffard, of 1542, is a good example of the armour of that period, and the alabaster effigy of Margaret Giffard, 1539 (see Plate, p. 46), is of unusually fine workmanship and in excellent preservation.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (29 ft. by 14½ ft.) has an E. window of early 16th-century date, of five lights and tracery in a four-centred head with an external label; the jambs and mullions are moulded. In the N. wall are two early 16th-century windows, each of three uncusped pointed lights under a roughly three-centred head with pierced spandrels; the eastern window has chamfered jambs; the western window has been much restored: between the windows is an early 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch under a square head, and above the arch outside is inscribed, 'Rogerus Giffard et Maria uxor ejus hanc cancellam fieri fecerunt anno Dn~i 1519'. In the S. wall are two windows similar to those in the N. wall, both much restored; the sill of the eastern window is carried down to form a sedile: above a modern doorway under the western window is a slightly projecting four-centred arch of the 15th century, with moulded jambs and panelled soffit, probably formerly the head of a tomb recess. The pointed chancel arch is of c. 1300, much restored, and of two chamfered orders, the inner order dying on to semi-octagonal responds. The Nave (34 ft. by 23½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, four windows; the two eastern are of c. 1300, much restored, and each of two pointed lights under a pointed head with a pierced spandrel; the jambs, mullions and external label are chamfered; the two western windows are modern: W. of the windows of c. 1300 is a doorway of later 14th-century date, which has jambs and pointed head of two moulded orders, with an external label. In the eastern half of the S. wall are two windows similar to those of c. 1300 in the N. wall, but almost entirely modern; further W. is the S. doorway, also of c. 1300, with a pointed head. The West Tower (10½ ft. by 9 ft.) is of three stages with a plinth and a modern parapet, a N.E. staircase, diagonal buttresses at the W. angles, and a chamfered string-course between the two upper stages. All the detail, except that of the parapet, is of c. 1500. The tower arch is two-centred, of two moulded orders and rests on semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals. In the N. wall is a doorway opening into the stair-turret. The W. doorway has a four-centred head under a square label; in the spandrels is inscribed 'Ihc merci', backwards: the W. window is of three trefoiled lights under a three-centred head with an external label, and has chamfered jambs and mullions; it has been much restored. In the W. wall of the second stage is a small loop light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two uncusped lights under a square head, restored. The Roof of the S. porch has some 16th-century timbers, re-used.
Fittings—Bells: three and sanctus; 1st by Chandler, 1674; 2nd by Chandler, 1664; 3rd and sanctus, blank. Brasses: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) of Roger Giffard, 1542 [who re-built the chancel], and Mary [Nansicles], his wife, large figures of man in plate armour with mail skirt, and woman in pedimental head-dress, thirteen sons and seven daughters, inscription in black-letter, palimpsest on inscription to Walter Bellingham, Ireland King of Arms, 1487, and Elizabeth, his wife; three shields, 1, three lions passant for Giffard impaling a cheveron between three lapwings with three stars on the cheveron; 2, Giffard; 3, as 1; (2) of Alexander Anne, 'presbiter', 1526, figure of priest holding chalice and Host, inscribed scroll from mouth, Latin inscription, and shield of Giffard; (3) of Isabella Giffard, 1523, figure and inscription. In nave—at E. end, (4) to John, son of John Verney, Viscount Fermanagh, 1694, inscription recording the descent of the Verney family for nine generations. Communion Table: In vestry—with turned legs, plain rails, probably 17th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on N. side, (1) of Margaret Giffard, 1539, co-heiress of John 'Bardfield' of 'Chevfield', altar tomb, with alabaster effigy of woman in close head-dress, gown with slashed and puffed sleeves, and loose skirt, head on pillow supported by angels, dog at feet; sides and ends of tomb with large square panels, three each side, one each end, containing large shields of late Gothic form, three on S. side carved with arms, westernmost Giffard, easternmost Bradfield, a bend with three fleurs de lis thereon quartering quarterly a border ermine; middle shield Giffard impaling Bradfield, remaining shields blank; baluster columns of Italian detail at angles, moulded plinth and moulded top edge with small projecting blank shields, two each side, one each end, and inscription in capitals, mixed Gothic and Italian character; on N. wall, (2) small, with oak pillars and arms of Giffard, of Italian detail, no inscription, probably c. 1540; (3) to Elizabeth, wife of John Verney, daughter of Ralph Palmer of Little Chelsey, Middlesex, 1686, of marble, with inscription and arms; (4) of Urian Verney and Lettice, his wife, daughter of Sir George Giffard, 1608, of marble, kneeling figures of a man and woman, with prayer desk between them, kneeling figure of son behind his father, tablet with carved flanking pilasters, two inscriptions, arms of Verney and others; (5) to the Honble Colonel Henry Verney 'who faithfully served King Charles I. in his wars', 1671, and his sister Penelope, wife first of John Denton and afterwards of Sir John Osborne, knight, 1695, inscription and arms of Verney, Denton and Osborne; on S. wall, (6) of Sir Edmund Verney, standard bearer to Charles I., 1642, and his wife Margaret, 1641, of Sir Ralph Verney, knight and baronet, 1696, and his wife Mary, daughter of John Blacknall of Abingdon, 1650, and to another member of the Verney family, 18th-century; large monument of different coloured marble, with four busts of white marble set in round-headed niches, in the middle inscription to Sir Edmund Verney and his wife, at the bottom black tablet recording erection of the monument to Lady (Mary) Verney by her husband [c. 1655], on plinth 18th-century inscription; broken pediment with figure on each side; arms of Verney and others. In nave—at E. end, (7) to Mary, wife of Sir John Verney, daughter of the Honble Sir Francis Lawley, baronet, master of H.M. Jeweloffice, 1694, mural tablet of marble. Piscina: In nave—in sill of S.E. window. Plate: includes standing paten of 1663, and paten of 1667. (fn. 1) Pulpit: hexagonal, of oak, on each side panel with carved semi-circular archway shown in perspective, on W. side occupying the whole space, on other sides and on door, smaller, with oblong raised panels below them; moulded cornice, early 17th-century, bookboard and base modern. Screen: Between chancel and nave—with wide middle doorway having four-centred head with spur-cusps, and tracery in spandrels, on each side four narrower bays with traceried heads of varying design, moulded muntins, doorposts and cornice, late 15th or early 16th-century, cornice restored, embattled moulding at the top modern.
Condition—Good, much restored.
(2). Claydon House, 20 yards N.W. of the church, is of three storeys and an attic, and is built of brick and stone. The roofs are tiled. The house is of an irregular H-shaped plan, and is said to incorporate part of a 16th-century building; it retains many internal decorations of the 17th century, but was completely re-modelled in the 18th century, the exterior and the present arrangement of the interior being entirely of that date or modern. The 18th-century work is unusually fine. Interior: Ground Floor:—The fireplace in one room has a fire-back with a phœnix in relief, and the date 1664. Another room, at the S.E. end of the house, has a moulded cornice and three crossing beams, the mouldings of the beams mitre, and at the junction are small plaster ornaments; the mantelpiece is of c. 1650, and has a moulded shelf supported by grotesque consoles, a moulded architrave and a cartouche containing an oval shield with the arms of Verney, and the badge of Ulster in the quarter. In a vestibule, entered from a courtyard on the E. side of the house, is some bolection-moulded panelling of c. 1700; some of the doors with egg-and-tongue moulded panelling are probably also of c. 1700; in a small room, on the N. front, is a fireplace of late 17th-century date, with an enriched and moulded architrave. First Floor:—A room, in the S.E. corner of the W. block, has a dado, a mantelpiece, and doorways with architraves and over-doors, all of elaborately carved deal, apparently of late 17th-century date; the doorways and mantelpiece have broken pediments, and the dado has an interlacing geometrical design in low relief. Attic:—In one room is some re-set panelling of c. 1625 with solid-worked mouldings on the styles and upper rails, and mouldings butted on to the plain chamfered lower rails; the panels of the frieze are enriched with conventional foliage carved in relief.
Condition—Very good; largely re-built.
(3). Muxwell Farm, at the E. end of Home Wood, about ¾ mile S. of the church, is a house of two storeys, built of timber and brick early in the 17th century. The roof is thatched. The W., or main front, has a slightly overhanging gable in the middle. At the S. end is a small lean-to addition of late 17th-century date. At the back is a low modern addition, and the roof has been carried down to within a few feet of the ground; one window contains some quarries of old glass. The original central chimney stack has four square attached shafts.
(4). Knowlhill Farm, at the S. end of Home Wood, 1,200 yards S.W. of (3), is a house of two storeys, built of timber and brick in the 17th century, on a T-shaped plan. The roofs are tiled; that of the main block has been heightened, the S., or main front, re-faced with modern brick, the other walls have been covered with plaster and modern additions made. The central chimney stack has been re-built. Interior:—On the ground floor are some original ceiling-beams and a wide open fireplace.
Condition—Good; much altered.