BHO

Pitstone

Pages 236-238

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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Citation:

In this section

183. PITSTONE.

(O.S. 6 in. xxx. S.W.)

Ecclesiastical

(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands about ¼ mile W. of the Upper Icknield Way. The walls generally are covered with cement; the S. wall of the nave is partly covered with rough-cast, some ashlar being visible; the two lower stages of the tower are of ashlar, much weathered, and the third stage is probably of flint rubble, but is covered with rough-cast. The roofs are covered with lead. The earliest details in the building are the font and some fragments of carved stone, of late 12th-century date; the church existing at that time probably had a long narrow nave, of the same length as the present Nave. In the second quarter of the 13th century the Chancel was re-built and the North Chapel added; before the end of the same century, North and South Aisles were built. A S. porch was added probably early in the 14th century. Early in the 15th century the chancel was re-modelled and the North Vestry was added probably at that date; the West Tower was built about the middle of the 15th century, and at the end of the same century the S. arcade was destroyed, the S. aisle being thrown into the nave, and the N. arcade was re-built. During the 19th century many repairs were made in cement and plaster, the South Porch was re-built, much of the old material being re-used, and the whole church was restored.

The 13th-century chest is an interesting survival and the 17th-century pulpit, with sounding-board, is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (35 ft. by 12 ft.) has an E. window of c. 1420, of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, much repaired externally with cement. At the E. end of the N. wall, opening into the vestry, is a 15th-century doorway with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head; W. of the doorway, and opening into the N. chapel, is an arcade of two bays, of c. 1240; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders, with an undercut label; the octagonal column and semi-octagonal responds have capitals with plain abaci, and deep bells richly carved with undercut foliage; those of the column and E. respond have been badly repaired with cement; the moulded bases are almost completely buried under the floor, but are apparently of later date than the rest of the arcade. In the S. wall are three windows of c. 1420; the eastern is of two cinque-foiled lights and a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, much repaired externally with cement; the rear arch is chamfered: the other two windows are of similar design to that of the eastern window, but of much coarser detail. The chancel arch, of c. 1240, is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds, with bell-capitals, are very clumsy, and were probably re-built in the 15th century. The North Vestry (9½ ft. by 10 ft.) has, in the E. wall, an early 15th-century window, with a trefoiled head, now defaced. The North Chapel (21½ ft. by 9 ft.) has on the E. wall, inside, a string-course, apparently of the 14th century, much scraped and whitewashed. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern of the 14th century and of two trefoiled lights under a square head with a trefoil in the spandrel, the western of late 15th-century date and of three cinque-foiled lights under a square head; both windows have been much repaired externally with cement. In the W. wall, opening into the N. aisle, is a two-centred arch of late 13th-century date and of two continuously chamfered orders. The Nave (36½ ft. by 19 ft.) has, in the E. wall, S. of the chancel arch, a squint into the chancel, with a four-centred head. The N. arcade is of three bays, of late 15th-century date, with obtuse two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the columns are octagonal and the responds semi-octagonal, all with moulded capitals and bases. In the S. wall are two windows of late 15th-century date, much restored, each of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head, with a deep external reveal and an external label: between the windows is the 13th-century S. doorway, much altered; the jambs and two-centred head are continuously moulded, but the inner members of the mouldings have been cut away to form a square reveal: in the thickness of the wall, at the E. end, is the staircase of the former rood-loft, with two 15th-century doorways; the lower doorway has a four-centred arch in a square-headed rebate, and retains the original hinges; the upper doorway is quite rough. The North Aisle (7½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, two lancet windows without rebates, both of late 13th-century date: between them is the late 13th-century N. doorway, now blocked; it has continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head and a moulded label. The West Tower (10 ft. square) is of three stages with a quarter-octagonal stair-turret at the N.E. angle, diagonal buttresses at the W. angles, and an embattled parapet. The tower arch, of early 15th-century date, is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the outer order has broach-stops at the springing, and a much smaller chamfer carried down the jambs; the inner order rests on moulded corbels, probably of late 15th-century date. In the N. wall is a 15th-century doorway opening into the stair-turret. The W. doorway and window are of late 15th-century date and much covered with cement; the doorway has moulded jambs and three-centred arch under a square head with foliated spandrels; the window is of three trefoiled lights under a straight-sided four-centred head. In the second stage the S. and W. walls have each a square-headed loop light. The bell-chamber has a window in each wall, those in the N., E. and W. walls being of mid 15th-century date, and each of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the S. window is modern. In each stage of the stair-turret is a small light; the lowest is a quatrefoil, the second a circle enclosing tracery, and the third is rectangular with a crudely trefoiled head. The South Porch has been re-built, but has a two-centred entrance archway of two chamfered orders, apparently of early 14th-century date, re-set. The Roof of the chancel is modern, except three king-post trusses of late 15th-century date, of low pitch, with moulded tie-beams. The roofs of the N. chapel, the nave and N. aisle are all of late 15th-century date; that of the N. chapel has moulded wall-plates, principals and purlins, now painted and varnished. The low-pitched roof of the nave is of three bays with cambered and moulded principals and intermediates, and moulded purlins and ridge; the principals have plain unpierced spandrels, and brackets resting on stone corbels. The roof of the N. aisle is similar to that of the N. chapel, but is not painted. In the roof of the porch are some moulded 15th-century timbers.

Fittings—Bells: three, 1st, by Anthony Chandler, 1652; bell-frame old, with curved braces. Brackets: In chancel—on each side of E. window, a semi-octagonal shaft with moulded bracket at level of window-sill, late 15th-century. Chest: In vestry—unusually square shape, iron-bound, very plain, small ornament of incised circle and rolls on feet, 13th-century. Communion Table: with plain turned columnar legs, early 17th-century. Door: In tower—of stair-turret, plain, with strap-hinges, possibly mid 15th-century. Font: circular cup-shaped bowl, fluted, with band of coarse foliated ornament at the top, circular stem with billeted cable-moulding and roll-moulding, all of clunch, late 12th-century, a variety of the 'Aylesbury' type. Glass: In N. chapel—in tracery of N.E. window, small circle, with geometrical and foliated design in white, gold and brown, 14th-century. Locker: In N. chapel—between the N. windows, square, with deep rebate, hinges, and hasp for lock. Niche: In nave—in E. respond of arcade, roughly cut. Piscina: In N. chapel—with cinque-foiled head, and crocketed pediment having finial, crude work, 15th-century. Plate includes standingpaten, large, given by Lady Mary Miller in 1662. Pulpit: hexagonal, elaborately moulded and mitred panels, with egg-shaped bosses, panelled and scroll-worked standard and sounding-board with turned pendants, early 17th-century. Recess: In nave—in E. wall, S. of chancel arch, shallow, wide, with chamfered four-centred head, probably for nave altar, late 15th-century. Reredos In chancel—under E. window, course of embattled moulding, with moulded frame below it, probably for painted reredos, c. 1420. Seating: In nave —nearly all open seats, 16th-century, restored, and, at E. end, box pew, 17th-century. In N. aisle—at E. end, box pew, 17th-century; at W. end, bench, back 16th-century, curved ends of much earlier date. Stoup: In nave— on E. side of S. doorway, recess with four-centred head, no basin, late 15th-century. Tiles. In chancel—whole of E. end of floor paved with coloured tiles, various inscriptions, "Signum Sc~e Crucis", "Ave Maria Gracia Plena", "Ricard' me fecit", and designs, some of them possibly the signs of the Zodiac, 14th and 15th-century. Miscellanea: In N. chapel—in locker, two carved grotesque heads, and fragment of moulded stone with debased acanthus ornament and pelleted axe work, late 12th-century.

Condition—Fairly good; but bad cracks in tower and vestry, apparently due to recent settlement of foundations.

Secular

(2). Homestead Moat, at Church End, large, stirrup-shaped, with a strong retaining bank on the S.E. side.

Unclassified

(3). Tumulus, on Moneybury Hill, about 60 ft. in diameter.

Condition—Fairly good.