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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175. NORTH CRAWLEY.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)v. S.E. (b)x. N.E. (c)xi. N.W.)
b(1). Parish Church of St. Firmin, on the S. side of the village, is entirely covered with cement, except the tower, which is of stone rubble. All the walls have embattled parapets. The roofs are covered with lead. The Nave existing in the 12th century was probably of three bays; the South Aisle was added c. 1210; a little later the nave and aisle were lengthened two bays towards the W. and the three lower stages of the West Tower were built. The Chancel was re-built c. 1295, and early in the 14th century a N. aisle with an arcade of four bays was added to the nave; late in the same century the fourth stage was added to the tower, and towards the end of the 15th century the clearstorey was built, the S. aisle widened and the North Aisle and chancel arch were apparently re-built. Early in the 19th century a N. porch was added and the whole church covered externally with cement, and internally with much plaster and whitewash. The cement has since been removed from the tower, and the North Porch was re-built in 1912.
The church is especially interesting on account of the 13th-century inscription below the E. window, recording the rebuilding of the chancel; the 13th-century S. arcade of the nave is also noticeable. The roofs are fine examples of 15th-century woodwork. Among the fittings the late 15th-century rood-screen, with remains of the loft and paintings, is noteworthy. (See Plate, p. 220.) The dedication of the church to St. Firmin is unusual.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (36 ft. by 17½ ft.) has a late 13th-century E. window with the external stonework partly restored; it is of three uncusped lights with three quatre-foiled circles in a two-centred head, which has moulded internal and external labels, the internal label having mask-stops; the jambs, mullions and head are moulded, and the internal splays have attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; below the sill, outside, is an incised inscription in Lombardic characters, '✠ Petrus cancellum tibi dat Firmine novellum ut cum lauderis Deo Petri memoreris', probably referring to Peter of Guilford, presented to the living in 1294. In the N. wall are two late 13th-century windows, partly restored, each of two uncusped lights with a quatre-foiled circle in a two-centred head and having mouldings similar to those of the E. window, but without the internal label. In the S. wall are two windows similar to those in the N. wall and also restored; between them is a priest's doorway, with a moulded two-centred head and shafted jambs of 14th-century design, but all of cement. Below the E., N.E. and S.E. windows, inside, is a large moulded string-course, covered with plaster. The late 13th-century chancel arch was re-built in the 15th century; it is two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders, with a plain label on each side; the inner order rests on moulded semi-octagonal corbels: above the arch, externally, are traces, much obscured by cement, of a sanctus bell-cot. The Nave (60½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has an early 14th-century N. arcade of four bays; the columns are quatrefoil in plan, the responds are shafted, and all have moulded bases and capitals; the two-centred arches are of two hollow-chamfered orders, with plain labels and mask-stops on the S. side. The S. arcade is of early 13th-century date and of five bays with octagonal piers, semi-octagonal E. and W. responds, and a double respond between the third and fourth bays; the moulded bases have been mutilated for the seating and are partly hidden by it: all the capitals have moulded abaci and, except that of the E. respond, are enriched with stiff-leaf foliage; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders, and have chamfered labels on both sides, except the two western arches which are somewhat lower than the others and, on the N. side, have moulded labels. The clearstorey has, on each side, five late 15th-century windows, partly restored, each of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head with sunk spandrels; the jambs and mullions are moulded: below the windows is an internal string-course. The North Aisle (10½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, three late 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a segmental pointed head; the jambs and heads are deeply moulded and the moulded external labels have carved stops: between the second and third windows is the late 15th-century N. doorway; the jambs have each two attached shafts, with moulded capitals and bases; the head is of two moulded orders, the inner order four-centred, the outer square, with traceried spandrels. The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, three windows of the same date and design as those in the N. aisle, but the middle light in each window is wider than the side lights; set high in the wall, near the W. end, is a fourth window of the 15th century, and of one light, with a trefoiled ogee head: between the second and third windows is the S. doorway, with shafted jambs and moulded head, all of cement. The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of four stages with an embattled parapet, which has grotesque faces at the angles of the string-course; at the S.W. angle of the tower is a circular stair-turret carried up to the top of the second stage. The early 13th-century tower arch is two-centred and of three continuously chamfered orders, with moulded stops at the bases; on the E. side is a moulded label with head-stops, all plastered. In the N. wall is a doorway of uncertain date, with plain jambs and semi-circular head. In the S. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is a square-headed doorway with a modern frame. The W. window is a tall 13th-century lancet, deeply splayed; the external string-course between the first and second stages is carried over it as a label. The second stage has, in the N. wall, a 13th-century lancet window. The S. and W. walls of the third stage have each a window similar to that in the second stage, and part of a third window is visible in the N. wall, below the clock-face. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a late 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the moulded labels have head-stops, except that of the S. window which has plain stops. The Roofs are all flat-pitched and of late 15th-century date: that of the chancel is of three bays; the main timbers are moulded and enclose plastered panels; at the intersections of the intermediate rafters with the purlins and ridge are carved bosses; at the feet of the intermediate rafters are small carved angels of stone holding plain shields, and the tie-beams rest on wooden figures of men standing on birds; one figure holds a boat, one is broken, and the rest hold books. The roof of the nave is of five bays, and is similar to that of the chancel; the twelve figures below the tie-beams probably represent the Apostles, as one has the symbol of St. James and another the chalice of St. John; others are broken and the rest hold books; all the timbers and figures are whitewashed. The lean-to roof of the N. aisle is of six bays with moulded main timbers; at the intersections are carved bosses, three being crowned heads and the rest foliated; two are probably modern; the timbers are whitewashed and the spaces between them are plastered. The roof of the S. aisle is similar to that of the N. aisle, but the bosses are all foliated, and two of them are modern.
Fittings—Bells: six; 2nd, by James Keene, 1638; 4th, by Anthony Chandler, 1652. Brackets: In chancel—one on each side of E. window, semi-octagonal, moulded and foliated, 14th or 15th-century; in S. wall, small, semi-circular, moulded, date uncertain. Brasses and Indents: Brasses: In chancel—on S. wall, (1) of John Garbrand, D.D., rector of the parish, 1589, figure in ruff and gown, kneeling before an altar, at the top of the plate, skull, crossbone and hourglass; in floor, (2) to Thomas Hackett, 1689, inscription only; (3) to Elizabeth, wife of Nicholls Hackett and daughter of William Middleton of Middleton, 1690, inscription only. In S. aisle—at E. end, (4) to Robert Latymer, 1548, Katherine, his wife, 1547, and Elizabeth, their daughter, inscription only, rivets of other brasses remain in slab, but indents obliterated. Indents: In N. aisle—in Purbeck marble slab, of two figures, four shields, and two inscriptions, one being marginal. Chest: In N. aisle—at W. end, with three richly carved and inlaid panels in front, panelled ends and plain lid, late 16th-century. Communion Table: of oak, with twisted balusters, moulded upper and lower rails, c. 1700. Font: octagonal bowl, upper and lower edges moulded, central octagonal stem surrounded by four small detached shafts with moulded capitals and bases, 14th-century; Font-cover: of wood, octagonal, with moulded base, each side with round-headed panel, carved pilasters and spandrels, embattled cresting, one side inscribed 'Anno domini: 1640: T.L.'; rising from the middle, square obelisk, panelled, and carved with foliage. Glass: In chancel—in head of middle light of E. window, fragment with the name 'Petrus' in black-letter, 15th-century. Lockers: In chancel—in S. wall, rectangular, with moulded edges, plastered; in N. wall, similar to the other, but larger. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Giffard and afterwards of Thomas White of Caldecot, Newport Pagnell, daughter of Edmond Harding, 1687; tablet of white marble with fluted pilasters, entablature and achievement of arms. In churchyard—(2) headstone, name illegible, dated 1679. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Thomas Grifford, 1687; (2) to Devereux Wyatt, 1682, much defaced. In nave— at E. end, (3) with remains of incised cross, much worn, probably 13th-century. N. porch—in pavement, outside, (4) part of slab, name defaced, 1690. Paintings: see Screen. Piscina: In chancel— double, with shafted jambs and small column, moulded capitals and bases, and moulded two-centred arches, circular basins, early 14th-century design, all covered with cement. Panelling: see Seating. Plate: includes cup of 1665, and stand paten, without marks, dated 1663. Screen: Between chancel and nave—rood-screen and vaulted soffit of loft, three bays on each side of doorway of two bays, all with traceried heads, moulded posts and muntins, on W. side small trefoiled shafts with crested capitals, on E. side small single shafts with tall crocketed finials, the head of each bay of doorway having carved crockets, in N. bays and doorway moulded middle rail, traceried and carved on W. side, in S. bays plain rail; below middle rail close panels with traceried heads, two in each bay, those in doorway different from the others; in each of the sixteen panels, painted figure represented standing on a corbel bearing name; each figure, except those on the doors, has scroll inscribed with a Latin quotation; figures, from N. to S.—Jeremiah, David, Isaiah, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, St. Blaise, St. Martin, St. Edward, St. Edmund, Zephaniah, Joel, Micah, Malachi, Daniel, and Ezekiel; soffit of loft fan-vaulted and coved on W. side with moulded cornice on E. and W. sides; all late 15th-century, paintings contemporary. Seating: In nave and N. and S. aisles—at E. end, box pews made up of panelling; in S. aisle, seat at the back inscribed 'Thoms Nash is at the charge of this seate ano domini 1635 T.L.', in both aisles, panelling continued on walls, early 17th-century. In nave and N. aisle—at W. end, fourteen seats and four front desks with moulded rails and buttressed standards, some of the standards and desks having linen panelling, early 16th-century, partly repaired with 17th-century panelling. In S. aisle—at W. end, moulded rails, made up in modern seating, early 16th-century.
Condition—Appearance of walls externally spoilt by cement, and stonework 'picked' to make it adhere. Internally the church has suffered much from the plaster and whitewash applied in the 19th century: walls of chancel damp.
a(2). Homestead Moat, enclosing four Fishponds, at Up End, 1 mile N.W. of the church.
c(3). The Manor House and Moat, 1 mile E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, built of stone in the 17th century. The roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular, facing N., with a small staircase wing at the back, and a modern addition at the E. end. In front the principal doorway has a nail-studded oak door with panels; the windows have metal casements; one of the windows, with another in the W. wall, is blocked. At the back, towards the E. end, is a gable, and towards the W. end, a projecting chimney stack of stone with two shafts built of thin bricks. Interior:— The principal staircase has old steps and octagonal newel post of oak. In the upper storey the floor-boards are of oak.
The Moat surrounds the house and is crossed by a causeway on the N. side.
Condition—Of house, ruinous, unoccupied and falling into decay. Of moat, good.
a,b(4). Moat Farm (see Plate, p. 224), house and moat, 700 yards N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, partly timber-framed with brick and plaster filling, and partly of stone; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 16th century, on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W.; a small N.W. wing was added in the 17th century; the one-storeyed extension at the W. end of the W. wing is partly modern and possibly partly of the 18th century, and the addition in the internal angle between the wings is also modern. In the original W. wing is a large hall, a staircase and another room E. of the hall; the original S. wing contains one room, and in the N.W. wing is the entrance lobby with a small room on the E.
The house is a good example of a 16th-century domestic building, almost entirely timber-framed.
The N. Elevation is gabled at the E. end, and the original wall is of closely set vertical timbers with curved braces; the wattle and daub filling has been re-faced with modern plaster, and the narrow plinth is of brick. The upper storey of the N.W. wing is of widely set timbers with plaster filling, and the lower storey is of thin bricks and stone; on a stone in the N. wall near the doorway are the initials and date 'T.G. 1661', roughly carved. The S. Elevation is covered with modern plaster, but a fragment of the original timber-framing is visible; on the S. side of the W. wing the upper storey projects slightly, and has a moulded bressumer supported on brackets: the S. wing and the modern addition between the wings are gabled. The E. Elevation is similar to the N. elevation, but the plinth is covered with modern plaster; the upper storey projects slightly, and is supported on a moulded bressumer with brackets. The W. Elevation is almost entirely modern; above the one-storeyed extension is visible the stone wall of the original W. wing, and part of a 16th-century bressumer is set in the W. wall of the addition between the wings. The chimney stacks have been restored.
Interior:—In the N.W. wing, on the ground floor, the entrance lobby has the date 1660 carved on the wall; opening into the hall is a doorway with a square head and carved spandrels; between the spandrels is carved the word 'salve'. In the hall is a wide fireplace, partly blocked; the ceiling has large rough beams, and the timber-framing, with wattle and daub filling, is visible: the doorway opening into the modern addition is similar to that in the N. wall, and another doorway, with slightly different carving, opens into the room E. of the hall, which contains a 16th-century fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with carved spandrels. In the original S. wing is a similar fireplace. The staircase has two old newel posts, and at the foot is a door of old oak panels; a cupboard under the staircase also has a panelled oak door.
The Moat surrounds the house, and is crossed by a modern brick causeway on the N. side.
Condition—Of house, good, considerably restored; of moat, fairly good.
b(5). Crawley Grange, about 650 yards N.E. of the church, is a large house of two storeys and an attic. The walls are of brick with dressings of Ketton stone, the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the first half of the 16th century, and a large N.E. wing has been recently added. The plan of the original building is H-shaped, with the wings at the E. and W. ends of the central block, and a projecting porch on the S. front between the wings; the N. end of the E. wing has been incorporated in the modern addition. The main block contains, in the W. half, the hall and principal staircase, in the E. half a study and passage. In the E. wing are the dining room and a secondary staircase; the domestic offices are in the modern N. wing. The W. wing is divided into the drawing room, the library and a small lobby. On all the walls the storeys are divided by stringcourses of stone, considerably restored, and the moulded stone plinth has been also restored; almost all the windows in the 16th-century part of the house are original, and are each of two, three or four lights with moulded jambs, mullions and head of stone; some of them have been restored; the gabled dormer windows are each of two or three lights, and have been re-faced with modern brick. S. Elevation:—The porch in the middle is of three storeys; the outer entrance has moulded jambs with splayed and moulded stops, and a flat four-centred arch in a square head with sunk spandrels; on the lintel is cut a Latin inscription, probably modern, and over it is a modern shield of stone with the Boswell arms and motto; the inner doorway has chamfered jambs with moulded stops, and a flat four-centred arch in a square head; the second and third storeys have each a window of two lights; the gable is faced with modern brick, and has modern stone coping. The main block has a modern cornice of wood, and the wings have stone quoins, considerably restored. E. Elevation:—At the S. end, up to the level of the second floor, the wall is of 16th-century brick, and the windows have been restored, but the rest is modern. W. Elevation:— In the S. half is a projecting chimney stack with four shafts, restored above the level of the second floor. N. Elevation:—The N. end of the W. wing has, on the ground floor, a modern window; the wall has been partly restored and the stone coping of the gable is modern. The main block has, in the middle, an original projecting chimney stack with three modern shafts; on the ground floor, on each side of the stack, is a window similar to the others, but the mullion and the inner order of the head are of wood; on the first floor the W. window is original, the E. window is a modern copy with a wood frame.
Interior:—The hall has a fireplace made up with mid 17th-century and modern carved wood; in the overmantel is a shield with the arms of Boswell; the three windows contain 16th and 17th-century glass, almost all foreign. The dining room is lined with panelling chiefly of early 17th-century date, brought from elsewhere; the elaborately carved fireplace has fluted round pilasters of the Corinthian order, and the overmantel is divided into three panels by pilasters with caryatides; the middle panel is round-headed, and the side panels are lozenge-shaped; below them are panels carved with foliage, one with the date 1686; the frieze is carved and the cornice moulded; in the S. window is some 17th-century glass with five shields of arms, all foreign. The principal staircase is probably of late 16th-century date, and has square newels with moulded and pierced heads, a plain handrail and turned balusters; the balusters of the gallery on the first floor are modern. The secondary staircase is similar to the principal staircase but smaller; the steps are modern. On the first floor is one room lined with late 16th or early 17th-century panelling.
Condition—Good, much restored.
These buildings are all of two storeys, and all but one of the 17th century. The walls generally are timber-framed, with wattle and daub filling, which has been considerably restored with brick; the roofs are tiled or thatched.
b(6). House, now used as a dairy, about 40 yards E. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century. The walls are almost entirely covered with modern plaster. The plan is rectangular, with a large modern extension on the E. side. On the N. front the upper storey projects, and is supported on a moulded bressumer with brackets. Two of the chimney stacks are old. Interior:—On the ground floor is an open timber ceiling.
Condition—Good; considerably altered and restored.
b(7). Cottages, a range of three, 100 yards N.W. of the church. The middle cottage was built probably earlier in the 17th century than the others.
b(8). Broadmead, a cottage on the N.W. side of the road, 800 yards E. of the church. In front the wall is of stone; at the back there are modern additions, and the roof is carried down low. The central chimney stack is original.
c(9). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, W. of Quaker's Farm, and about 1¼ miles E. of the church. The central chimney stack is original.