An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1913.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
176. NORTH MARSTON.
(O.S. 6 in. xxiii. N.W.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands at the N.E. end of the village; the walls of the chancel and vestry are of ashlar, those of the nave and aisles of stone rubble, and those of the tower of rough ashlar, covered with plaster; all the dressings are of stone; the roofs are covered with lead. The church which existed on the site before the middle of the 13th century probably consisted of a chancel, and an aisleless nave about the same size as the present Nave; the North Aisle, with its arcade, was added c. 1260. A South Aisle was built or begun c. 1320, but the E. bay was built or completed about the middle of the 14th century when the South Porch was added. In the 15th century the Chancel was re-built, a two-storeyed North Vestry was added, and the West Tower built; towards the end of the 15th century the two W. bays of the S. arcade were partly re-built, the old arches being retained; at the same time the clearstorey was constructed, and only restorations have been carried out in the church since that date; the chancel was restored by Queen Victoria in 1854.
The church is especially interesting on account of the development of the plan, and the late 15th-century detail of the chancel is of an unusually high standard of technical and artistic excellence. The famous Master John Schorne (d. 1314) was rector of the parish, and the church formerly contained his shrine.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (40 ft. by 20 ft.): The external face of the walls is elaborately designed with a moulded plinth, a sill-course, a string-course carried over the windows and forming labels, and a cornice with gargoyles; above the cornice is an embattled parapet; the buttresses have moulded offsets, finished with panelled, crocketed pinnacles. At the apex of the low-pitched E. gable is a niche for an image (see Fittings). The late 15th-century E. window is of five cinque-foiled lights with elaborate tracery under a four-centred head; the external jambs and head, and the internal splays and rear arch are elaborately and continuously moulded. In the N. wall are three windows, all of similar detail to that of the E. window, but each of three cinquefolied lights with simple tracery; the middle window is blind, and is only visible in the chancel, the tracery and filling are constructed in one piece, and in the middle light, communicating with the upper room of the vestry, is a small square-headed opening with chamfered and rebated jambs; under the window, also opening into the vestry, is a small doorway, of two continuously chamfered orders, the inner order four-centred, the outer order square, with a label. In the S. wall are three windows and a doorway similar to those in the N. wall. The chancel arch, also of late 15th-century date, is two-centred, and of two chamfered orders, the inner order carried on moulded corbels. The North Vestry (12½ ft. by 10½ ft.) is externally of similar design to that of the chancel (see Plate. p. 22), but has no sillcourse; at the S.W. angle, projecting from the first floor and rising above the parapet of the vestry, is an octagonal stair-turret, which also has an embattled parapet and a cornice with gargoyles at the angles; on the parapet of the N. wall of the vestry is a chimney stack with two attached octagonal shafts, which have moulded and embattled caps. On the ground floor the late 15th-century E. window is of three cinque-foiled lights, with a deep square-headed external reveal; the label is formed by the string-course, deep perpendicular members being carried down on each side of the window with returned stops. In the N. wall is a fireplace, with a square-headed, moulded opening, apparently original, but much restored. The first floor is approached by a modern staircase of wood, and has a window of two lights in the E. wall, a single-light window in the N. wall, and another in the W. wall, all of the same date and design as the E. window on the ground floor, but they are rebated internally for shutters, and were not originally glazed; in the N. wall is a fireplace, similar to that on the ground floor, much restored; in the S.W. corner, opening into the stair-turret, is a small doorway. The Nave (35 ft. by 18 ft.) has an embattled parapet. The N. arcade is of c. 1260, and of three bays with obtuse two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, and a label with serrated ornament and remains of grotesque head-stops; each pillar is composed of four engaged circular shafts with plain moulded bell-capitals of slightly varied detail; the square responds are chamfered, and have corbel-capitals. The S. arcade is also of three bays, the easternmost of mid 14th-century date, with a segmental pointed arch of two moulded orders separated by a hollow, and of somewhat unusual section; the pillar has a flat fillet on each side, and the angles are moulded; the bell-capital is moulded and ornamented with four-leafed flowers, and the base is moulded; the E. respond is set with a half-pillar, and has in it a small arched opening into the S. aisle, of mid 14th-century date; the cinque-foiled head, the jambs and sill are enriched with four-leafed and five-leafed flowers; above the opening is the upper doorway of the former rood-loft with chamfered jambs and two-centred head; the two western bays of the arcade have two-centred arches of c. 1320, and of two orders, the outer order chamfered, the inner moulded; the octagonal pillar and semi-octagonal respond are of late 15th-century date, and have concave sides; the capitals and bases are moulded. The late 15th-century clearstorey has three N. and three S. windows, each of four cinque-foiled lights with hollow-moulded external jambs and square head. The North Aisle (6½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, two windows; the eastern is of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the western is of late 15th-century date, and of two cinque-foiled lights with crude uncusped tracery under a square head and a moulded external label with shield-stops; one stop is roughly carved apparently with a cross and ring (possibly crown of thorns), and the other with arms, apparently quarterly, 1 and 3 a wreath, 2 and 4 blank: between the windows is the 14th-century N. doorway, which has jambs and two-centred head of two continuously moulded orders, much defaced with cement. In the W. wall is a small 14th-century lancet light, with an external rebate. The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has a mid 14th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery under a two-centred head; the rear arch is moulded and enriched with small flower-ornament; in the splays are niches for images (see Fittings). In the N.E. corner is a 14th-century squint to the chancel, now blocked; the head has flower-ornament: carried below the E. window, the squint and the opening into the nave, is a sill-course enriched with four-leafed flowers. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is of late 15th-century date and of three cinque-foiled lights with uncusped tracery under a square head; the western window is of the 16th century and of three lights set in a moulded outer order with a square head: between the windows is the S. doorway of mid 14th-century date, with jambs and two-centred head of three moulded orders. The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of three stages with diagonal buttresses and a circular staircase in the thickness of the S.W. angle; the parapet is embattled. The tower is entirely of the 15th century. The pointed tower arch is of two chamfered orders dying into flat responds. The W. doorway has jambs and two-centred head of two continuously moulded orders; the W. window is of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. In the second stage is a small square-headed window; the windows of the bell-chamber are each of two trefoiled lights under a square head, and are much worn. The South Porch (9 ft. by 8 ft.) is of mid 14th-century date; the two-centred entrance archway is of two orders outside and of one order inside, and the label is moulded; it is much defaced with cement. The Roof of the chancel is modern, but the corbels are of early 15th-century date; four of them represent the symbols of the Evangelists; the other four are carved as angels holding shields. The low-pitched roof of the nave is probably of late 15th-century date, and has moulded purlins and trusses; the wall-brackets have tracery in the spandrels and are supported by carved cherubs holding shields, etc. The low-pitched lean-to roofs of the aisles are plain, and possibly of the same date as the roof of the nave.
Fittings—Bells: five and sanctus, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, by James Keene, 1627; 4th, by Richard Chandler, 1699. Books: In vestry—(1) Paraphrases of Erasmus, 3 volumes, early 17th-century; (2) Sermons of Bishop Jewel, 1609; (3) Bible, with chain, calendar begins 1603; (4) Book of Homilies, c. 1600; (5) book without title-page, referred to in index as 'Matters of the commonplaces of M. Wolfgangus Musculus,' dated 1578; all in poor condition, bindings loose, pages lost, etc. Brasses: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Elizabeth Saunders, widow, 1613, put up by her son, John Saunders, inscription and verse; on S. wall, (2) of Richard Sanders, 1602, kneeling figure in cloak and ruff, skull in scroll with motto, inscription, verses, and shield with arms. In nave— on N. wall, (3) to John 'Yngrave' or 'Yngrame' formerly bailiff 'to this vill', 14 inscription only. Chest: In vestry—plain, iron-bound, with foliated lock-plate, late 15th or early 16th-century. Doors: In vestry—of stair-turret, early 15th-century. In S. aisle—of S. doorway, modern, with plain hinges, probably mediæval. Font: of clunch, octagonal, bowl with eight panels, five carved with foliated patterns, three with shields bearing charges, apparently not heraldic, the stem has five carved angels bearing shields, much defaced, 15th-century. Monument: In chancel—on N. wall, to John Virgin, Minister of North Marston, 1694, inscription, with hand pointing downwards, encircled by the words, 'He lise dust doune thare', roughly carved on wall. Niches: Chancel—at apex of E. gable, outside, set in pinnacle, elaborate, with spire canopy, the soffit vaulted, bracket supported on corbel carved as cherubim, gargoyles on each side carved as angels holding scrolls, etc., late 15th-century. In S. aisle—in splays of E. window, one on each side, with cinque-foiled head and canopy, 14th-century. Paintings: In S. aisle—over S. doorway, traces of colour decoration, apparently c. 1600. Piscinae: In chancel—with projecting bowl on foliated corbel, flanked by diamond-shaped buttresses, recess in two stages, lower stage with four-centred uncusped head, upper stage forming credence, with four-centred cinque-foiled crocketed head, late 15th-century. In vestry— with bowl on panelled pillar, recess in two stages, upper stage forming credence, with sub-cusped cinque-foiled head, 15th-century. In nave—in E. wall, on S. side, square recess, with chamfered edges. In S. aisle—with cinque-foiled crocketed head, flanking buttresses and broken projecting bowl, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover paten of 1569. Poor-box: In S. aisle—on S. wall, small, rectangular, iron-bound, two hasps, 16th-century. Seating: In chancel—at W. end, six stalls, with moulded arms, misericordes carved with vaulting on foliated corbels, elaborately traceried panels in front, with desks and carved poppy-head standards, 15th-century; panels carried along N. and S. walls, stalls replaced by rough modern benches. In nave—considerable number of plain open seats, probably 16th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—with pinnacled buttresses, semi-octagonal crocketed and enriched canopies with vaulted soffits, late 15th-century, much defaced. Miscellanea: Chancel—on S. wall, many sundials. Nave—on N. wall of clearstorey, two rainwater heads, with cross and saltire, embattled at the top, 16th-century; on S. wall of clearstorey, two with corner buttresses, one of them with figure of bishop in Mass vestments, late 15th-century.
Condition—Of chancel, good; of nave, with its roof, and of aisles, poor; some bad cracks beginning in walls.
These buildings are nearly all of two storeys, and of the 17th century, but many of them have been altered. The walls generally are timber-framed with brick filling, partly re-faced or restored with modern brick; several buildings have some wattle and daub or mud filling. Most of the roofs are tiled or thatched. In many of the rooms there are chamfered ceiling-beams and wide fireplaces, in most cases partly blocked.
Church Street, S. side:—
(2). House, 100 yards S.W. of the church, is of three storeys. The walls are of thin bricks, partly covered with plaster. The two chimney stacks are of the 17th century.
(3). Cottage, two tenements, E. of (2), was built probably in the 16th century. The wall at each end is partly of stone, and at the back the building is of one storey, and entirely of stone. Interior:— In one tenement there is an open timber ceiling.
Main street, N. side
(4). Cottage, 100 yards W. of the church, is of one storey and an attic.
(5). House, 150 yards W. of the church, is of central chimney type. The front has been entirely re-faced with modern brick; the back is of stone. Interior:—On the ground floor is an open timber ceiling.
(6). Cottage, two tenements, about 300 yards N.W. of the church. The plan is roughly L-shaped, with the wings projecting towards the N. and W., and with a second small projection on the N. side of the W. wing. The S. front has been partly re-faced with 18th-century red and blue bricks. The N. wing is partly weather-boarded; in the E. wall are two original windows containing old leaded glass. Interior:—The staircase has a few 17th-century balusters and two newel posts with carved heads.
(7). House, about 300 yards W. of the church, is of one storey and an attic. The N. and S. walls have been entirely re-faced with modern brick, covered with rough-cast. There are two dormer windows in front.
Condition—Much altered and restored.
(8). Cottage, W. of (7). The walls are whitewashed. The plan is of central chimney type, and the chimney is original.
(9). Cottage, W. of (8). The filling in the walls is entirely of modern brick.
(10). The Wheatsheaf Inn, W. of (9). A low modern addition has been built at the back.
(11). House, now four tenements, W. of (10), was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. The plan was originally of the central chimney type; late in the 17th century a N.W. wing was built, making the plan L-shaped, and about the same time a small lean-to addition was made at the E. end. On the N. front, the walls have been whitewashed, and towards the W. end of the original block the upper storey projects. The W. end is weather-boarded. At the back the wall is partly of original brick on stone foundations, and partly modern. The central chimney stack is original.
(12–14). Cottages, three, W. of (11).
(15). Cottage, about 270 yards W. of (10).
(16). Cottage, about 70 yards W. of (15). The roof is covered with corrugated iron.
(17). Cottage, S.W. of (16).
(18). Cottage, about 120 yards S.W. of (17). The roof is covered with slate.
Road leading to Manor Farm, W. side
(19). Cottage, 1,000 yards W. of the church.
(20). Cottage, S. of (19). The roof is covered with corrugated iron.
(21). Manor Farm, 1,200 yards S.W. of the church. The house is of two storeys with cellars and an attic, built in the 16th century and originally of central chimney type, facing N.W.; in the 17th century a wing was added at the back, making the plan T-shaped, and in the 18th century an addition was made in the S.E. angle between the wing and the main block. The 16th century upper storey has closely set timber-framing with filling of thin bricks, and is covered with rough-cast; it originally projected, but has been under-built with modern brick. In front there is a gable in the middle, and at the back the 17th-century wing is also gabled. The central chimney stack in the main block is original and has four grouped shafts; the 17th-century wing has a contemporary stack.
Interior:—Some old doors, of oak, remain and there are two 16th-century moulded brackets supporting cross-beams. The cellars are under the main block, and are of stone.
(22–23). Cottages, two adjoining, on the E. side of the Grandborough road, 500 yards N.W. of the church.