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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(O.S. 6 in. (a)ii. S.E. (b)v. N.E.)
b (1). Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, stands at the S. end of the town. The walls are faced with ashlar; the roofs are covered with slate, except that of the chancel, which is tiled. The Nave is probably of the 12th century, but no detail remains to show the exact date. The Chancel was re-built and enlarged c. 1330; the North and South Aisles were added a little later, and at the end of the 14th century the West Tower and spire were built. The walls of the N. aisle were heightened and partly re-built in the 16th or 17th century. A North Porch was added at some uncertain date and was re-built in 1807; later in the 19th century the S. aisle was almost completely re-built, and in the 19th and 20th centuries the whole building was restored.
The church contains good 14th-century detail, and the 14th-century spire is an unusual feature in the county.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (49 ft. by 21½ ft.) has a plain 14th-century parapet and a moulded cornice set with alternate grotesque heads and foliated bosses, and with grotesque gargoyles. The E. window is of five cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; part of the external jambs, and the shafted internal splays and moulded rear arch with a label are of c. 1330; the rest is modern. In the N. wall are three windows of c. 1330, all externally much restored; the easternmost window is of three trefoiled lights and the others of three cinque-foiled lights, each with tracery of a different design in a two-centred head; the internal jambs are shafted, and the rear arches and external reveals are moulded; the westernmost window is carried low down, and has a transom, but the lower part is almost entirely modern. In the S. wall are three windows of the same date and design as those in the N. wall, but much less restored; the westernmost window has low-side lights under a transom, but they are almost entirely modern: under the middle window is a small doorway, externally modern, but with a moulded two-centred rear arch of c. 1330. A moulded external string-course of the 14th century is carried round the chancel under the sills of all the windows. The two-centred chancel arch, of c. 1330, is of three moulded orders on the E. side, and two on the W. side; the arch dies into the N. wall and into the flat surface of a slight projection from the S. wall; the projection is not carried down to the ground, and is apparently the remains of the E. wall of the nave existing when the chancel was re-built; there are straight joints between the N. and S. walls of the nave and chancel. The Nave (75 ft. by 22 ft.) has 14th-century N. and S. arcades, of five bays; the two-centred arches are of two moulded orders and have moulded labels with head-stops; the columns are quatrefoil in plan, with moulded capitals and bases; the responds are half-sections of the columns. The North Aisle (15½ ft. wide) has a 17th-century embattled parapet, and the marks of the former lean-to roof are visible on the E. and W. walls. In the N. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of three lights and tracery in a two-centred head; the upper part of the window is modern, but the lower part of the moulded internal splay is of the same date as the arcade; the second window is apparently modern; the third window is of the 14th century, and of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, all the stonework being moulded: high up in the wall are traces of two windows, now blocked, and apparently of the 17th century, with four-centred rear arches: between the two western windows is the 14th-century N. doorway of three continuously moulded orders, with a two-centred head and a moulded internal splay and rear arch; the moulded external label has stops, apparently of late 17th-century date, one carved as the head of a bishop, the other as that of a priest, both wearing bands. In the W. wall is a window of three lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the moulded internal splay and rear arch are of the 14th century, the rest is modern: under the window, and continued under the westernmost window in the N. wall, is a moulded sill-course of the 14th century. The South Aisle (16 ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, four windows; the three eastern are modern, the fourth has a 14th-century opening with modern mullions and tracery: between the third and fourth windows is a modern doorway. In the W. wall is a modern window. The West Tower (22½ ft. by 18 ft.) is of mid 14th-century date, considerably restored; it is of three stages with diagonal buttresses, a stair-turret in the S.E. angle, a moulded cornice and a stone spire: the cornice is set with alternate grotesque heads and foliated bosses; at the corners are octagonal pinnacles with crocketed finials, apparently not original: the spire is octagonal, and the angles have roll mouldings with moulded bases. The tower arch is two-centred and of three continuously chamfered orders with a moulded label. The W. doorway is of two moulded orders with a two-centred head and a moulded label: the W. window is of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the external reveal is unusually deep, and is of three sunk-chamfered orders. In the ringing-chamber are remains of the springing of a stone vault, which apparently was never completed. The four windows of the bell-chamber are each of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. Four sides of the spire have each three small gabled windows, one above the other; the two lower windows are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the upper windows are single lights. The North Porch is of two storeys; it was re-built in 1807, but on a stone in the N.E. angle is carved the date 1686. The outer entrance has a two-centred moulded arch and square jambs, all possibly old work, re-used.
Fittings—Bells: eight; 3rd by Henry Bagley, 1682; 4th probably by Newcombe and Watts of Bedford, 1599; 5th by Henry Bagley, 1699; 6th by Robert Atton, 1631; 8th by one of the Bagleys, 1682. Chest (see also Miscellanea): In porch— plain, large, mid or late 17th-century. Easter Sepulchre: (see Monument (1)). Font: In N. aisle—octagonal bowl, cut down, possibly 16th-century, not in use. Monuments: In chancel— partly under N.E. window, (1) tomb recess, possibly used for Easter Sepulchre, with continuously moulded jambs and segmental pointed head; in recess shallow altar tomb, front carved with quatrefoils in square panels, styles and rails with small flowers, all of c. 1330, much restored; on N. wall, (2) to Catherine, daughter of Thomas Johnson, 1680. In N. aisle—on N. wall, (3) to William Gaines, 1657, slab, with inscription under broken pediment with skull, supported by pilasters. Piscina: In N. aisle—in E. wall, with trefoiled head, 14th-century, much defaced. Miscellanea: In chancel—on each side, covers to gas meters, etc., made up of small rectangular and L-shaped panels with raised mouldings, from small wooden chests, early 17th-century.
Condition—Good; much restored.
The Town contains many houses with walls of stone, built probably before 1700, but only the following buildings retain any detail by which a definite date can be assigned to them; they are almost all of the 17th century and many of them are dated, but all have been restored and altered; all are of two storeys or two storeys and an attic. Most of the roofs are tiled.
b (2). Chimney Stack, between Etolia House and the Boot Inn, on the W. side of Bridge Street. The buildings have been completely re-built or altered, but the chimney stack is of early 17th-century date, and has four square shafts built of brick and set diagonally on a stone base.
Weston Road, S. side
b (3). Cottage, 400 yards N.W. of the church, is of two storeys. On the N. front are two gabled dormer windows. The chimney stacks are of late 17th-century brick.
b (4–5). Cottages, two adjoining, 330 yards N.W. of the church. The western cottage was built probably late in the 16th century. In front the ground and first floors have each an original window with moulded jambs and square head and a moulded label; both windows were originally mullioned. At the back are two windows similar to those in front, but they retain the mullions, and the upper window is without a label. At the W. end is a chimney built probably of 17th-century brick. The eastern cottage has, in the N. wall, a stone inscribed with the initials and date 'I.K. 1699' The roofs are covered with slate.
Market Place, S. side
b (6). House, now a shop, 320 yards N. of the church. The front is modern, but re-set in the wall is a stone shield bearing the initials and date 'WGE 1622' and a cheveron between three flowers (?).
b (7). Houses, two, Nos. 24–25, now one tenement with a shop, nearly opposite to (6). The northern house, No. 24, was built in 1654, the date, with the initials 'I.G.' being inscribed on a stone in the S.W. wall, which is ashlar-faced; a second stone, near the first, is inscribed 'TS1795' and may record a restoration. The southern house, No. 25, was built probably late in the 16th century; it was originally timber-framed, but has been re-fronted with modern stone. At the back is a modern addition. Each house has a chimney stack of brick, possibly of late 17th-century date. Interior: —In No. 25 are visible the original roof-timbers with curved wind-braces.
b (8). House, in East Street, about 400 yards N. of the church, is a small building, of two storeys and of c. 1600. In front the overhanging upper storey is covered with plaster, and is probably timber-framed. The roof is thatched. The chimney stack is of old thin bricks.
Condition—Good, much altered.
High Street, W. side
a (9). House, now a shop, about 570 yards N. of the church. It is of two storeys, re-built in 1694, a stone in the E. wall being inscribed, 'Rebuilt by the Feoffees for the town of Olney 1694'; the wall is ashlar-faced.
a (10). The Duke of York Inn, about 640 yards N. of the church. The E. wall is ashlar-faced, and in it is a stone inscribed with the initials and date 'ME1682' in a diamond-shaped panel, which has two hearts incised under it. One chimney stack is of brick, possibly of late 17th-century date.
a (11). The Castle Inn, at the corner of the Yardley Road, about 5/8 mile N. of the church. The house has been considerably enlarged. Interior: —There are rough-hewn beams in the ceilings, and in the tap-room is a wide open fireplace.
Condition—Good, much altered.
a (12). House, now two tenements, on the W. side of the Yardley road, opposite to (11). In the E. wall is a stone inscribed with the name and date, 'John H. iv 20. 1651' The roof is covered with slate.