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)v. S.W. (b)v. S.E.)
b (1). Parish Church of St. Laud, N. of the village, is built of limestone rubble with stone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead and with tiles. The lower part of the N. and S. walls of the Central Tower is probably of the 12th century. In the 13th century the E. and W. arches of the tower were re-built and a S.W. stair-turret was constructed; the Chancel was also re-built and lengthened, and a North Aisle was added to the Nave. Early in the 14th century the chancel was lengthened and widened at the E. end, and the S. wall was re-built; shortly afterwards the South Aisle and South Porch were added, and the W. wall of the nave and part of the N. aisle were re-constructed. Late in the 15th century the upper part of the tower was re-built, new windows were inserted in the chancel and the W. window of the nave was altered to its present form. Early in the 16th century part of the N. aisle was re-built and the clearstorey added; probably at the same time the N. arcade was re-built and moved about 4 in. N. of its original position. In the 19th century the whole church was restored and the North Vestry, Fuel-House and organ-recess were constructed.
The church is especially interesting on account of the intricate development of the plan. The 15th-century font is noteworthy (see Plate, p. 45).
Architectural Description—The Chancel (31 ft. by 17 ft. at E. end and 15 ft. at W. end) has an early 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled lights under a two-centred head and an external label with mask-stops; the external stonework and the internal splays are moulded; the tracery is modern. In the N. wall, at the W. end, is a modern recess for the organ. In the S. wall are two 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights and tracery in a two-centred head; the deep external reveals are moulded: between the windows is a doorway, apparently of the 14th century, much defaced; in the S.W. corner, cut through the S.E. buttress of the tower, is a single-light window with a trefoiled head, and an internal rebate apparently for a shutter; the sloping sill is carried low down. The Central Tower (11 ft. square) is of two stages, the lower stage rising considerably higher than the roof of the nave; at the E. angles are diagonal buttresses and at the S.W. angle is a stair-turret; the bell-chamber and the upper part of the first stage project slightly and are carried externally on blind arches of one heavy moulded order, that in the S. wall being cut into by the stair-turret; the parapet is embattled, and there is a small wooden spire. The arches, in the E. and W. walls of the ground stage, opening into the chancel and nave, are of late 13th-century date, two-centred and of three chamfered orders, with a chamfered label on each side; the responds have three engaged circular shafts, partly embedded in the 12th-century N. and S. walls; the stair-turret has a modern external doorway and, in the S.W. corner of the ground stage, an internal doorway of the 15th century; above it is the doorway of the former rood-loft, also opening into the stair-turret. In the first stage of the tower, above the nave, are small pointed windows. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, 15th-century coupled windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head, with a deep moulded reveal. The Nave (54½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a N. arcade of four bays, containing much work of mid 13th-century date, but apparently re-built c. 1500: the arches are two-centred, almost equilateral in shape, and are of two chamfered orders, the inner order of fairly large voussoirs, the outer order of smaller voussoirs: the E. respond is made up of three engaged shafts with moulded capitals; the moulded bases are of 14th-century type: the circular columns have 13th-century moulded capitals and bases, and stand on large square plinths: the W. respond is a half column. The S. arcade is also of four bays, with arches similar to those of the N. arcade, but the pillars are octagonal and the moulded capitals and bases are of the 14th century. Both arcades have been much scraped. In the W. wall is a large window, originally of the 14th century, but completely altered in the 15th century, of five cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. The clearstorey has four N. and four S. windows, of early 16th-century date, and each of three uncusped lights under a four-centred head. The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, an early 16th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head. In the N. wall, at the E. end, is a 16th-century window similar to that in the E. wall, but of two lights; the internal and external labels have mask-stops, and are possibly work of an earlier date than the window, re-used: in the middle of the wall is the N. doorway, of early 14th-century date, considerably restored; the jambs and two-centred head are heavily moulded, and the external label is also moulded; above, and on each side of the doorway, are traces of the former porch; at the W. end of the wall is a window of c. 1340, and of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has a plain parapet with three large grotesque gargoyles under it. In the E. wall is a window of three lights apparently in a 14th-century opening, but all the tracery is modern; above it, on the N. side, is part of the weathercourse of the former roof of the nave, continued on the stair-turret and W. wall of the tower. In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of three lights, apparently in a 14th-century opening, but with modern tracery; the second window is of c. 1330, and of three cinque-foiled lights with elaborate tracery in a two-centred head; the third window is of late 13th or early 14th-century date, re-set from elsewhere, and of three uncusped lights with three circles which have modern cusps, in a two-centred head: between the two western windows is the S. doorway of c. 1330, with jambs and two-centred head of one continuously moulded order; W. of the S. doorway, opening into the stair-turret of the porch, is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The South Porch is of two storeys with S. diagonal buttresses, a N.W. stair-turret, and a plain parapet. The outer entrance retains only a few old stones in the head, which is of slightly ogee shape, and of two moulded orders; over it is a two-centred window of uncertain date. In the E. and W. walls are small single lights, the E. light having a trefoiled head; against each wall, inside, is a stone bench, with three carved panels in the wall above it, having trefoiled heads and traceried spandrels. Above the S. doorway is a small quatrefoil opening into the aisle. The lower storey has a plain quadripartite vault, with chamfered ribs, much restored. The stair-turret was originally carried up to the roof, but is now roughly weathered off at the level of the parapet. The 16th-century Roof of the nave is of five bays and low-pitched, with moulded principal and secondary beams, moulded purlins and wall-plate, and plain rafters; at the feet of the principals are shields charged, 1st a cross, 2nd a saltire, 3rd apparently a cheveron between three roses. The 16th-century roof of the N. aisle is low-pitched and of six bays; at the feet of the principal rafters are carved figures, one holding a scroll and the others blank shields. The roof of the S. aisle is similar to that of the N. aisle, but without the figures.
Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd inscribed ' Gabrel', by one of the Watts family (Leicester), cast at Bedford, 16th-century; 3rd by Henry Bagley, 1672; 4th and 5th, inscribed with alphabets, by one of the Watts family, cast at Bedford, 1591; bell-frame of old oak. Books: Book of Common Prayer, printed by Bill, Hills and Newcomb, Printers to the King, 1683. Font: octagonal bowl, with moulded panels, containing figures of saints under crocketed ogee arches, much defaced, below panels band with alternate head and flower ornament, stem with traceried panels, moulded base, early 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Floor-slab: In N. aisle—on threshold of N. doorway, apparently to Ann, daughter of Sir John Brett, knight, widow of William Norton, 1671, only part of inscription remains, much worn. Piscinae: In N. aisle—partly covered by N. wall of nave, with trefoiled head, 13th-century. In S. aisle—with trefoiled ogee head and blind tracery, 14th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—triple, with double trefoiled head to each recess, and tracery under a three-centred main head, 15th-century. Stoups: In S. aisle—E. of S. doorway, recess with depressed two-centred head. In S. porch—E. of S. doorway, small projecting bowl, mutilated.
b (2). Homestead Moat, at the Manor House, 600 yards S. of the church.
b (3). Yewtree Farm, about 250 yards S.E. of the church. The house is of two storeys, built of stone c. 1595. The original plan is roughly T-shaped, the central wing extending towards the S.; in the W. angle, between the wings, is a low 17th-century addition, and in the E. angle is a modern addition. On the N. front are two stone panels, one bearing a fleur de lis and the other the date 1595. The roofs are tiled, and one chimney stack is of old bricks.
b (4). Cottage, 70 yards N. of (3), is of two storeys, built of stone in the 17th century. The roof is thatched. An original chimney stack is of brick. Some old casement windows remain.
b (5). The Rectory, about 280 yards S.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys and an attic, built of stone early in the 17th century, and has modern additions on the N. side. The roofs are tiled. The original plan is H-shaped; the middle block faces E, and contains the hall and staircase; the drawing room and dining room are in the S. wing, the study and kitchen in the N. wing; the space between the wings in front is filled by a modern conservatory, and a modern porch has been added at the back. In the S. wall, under the eaves, is a stone inscribed with the initials and date 'T. M. 1607'. Interior:—The hall is lined with early 17th-century panelling, and the principal staircase is probably of late 17th-century date.
The coach house and a large barn are possibly of 17th-century or earlier date. The walls are of stone; the timbers of the roof are visible inside the barn.
b (6). The Laurels, ¼ mile S.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys; the walls are of stone; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan, and has 18th and 19th-century additions at the back. One chimney stack is original, and has two square shafts of brick, set diagonally on a stone base. Interior:—The staircase is of late 16th or early 17th-century date and has flat carved balusters and a plain handrail; the treads are modern.
A barn, with walls of stone, was built probably at the same date as the house, but the upper storey and roof have been destroyed.
These buildings are each of two storeys, built of stone in the 17th century, on a rectangular plan; modern additions have been made at the back. Original chimney stacks remain and some of the windows have old casements. All the buildings have original ceiling-beams and wide fireplaces, partly blocked.
b (7). House, S. of (6). The roof is tiled.
b (8). Cottage, about 600 yards S.S.W. of the church. The roof is thatched.
a (9). House, about 400 yards S.W. of the church, on the W. side of the High Street. The roof is covered with slate.
Condition—Of all, good.