BHO

Simpson

Pages 261-264

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

193. SIMPSON.

(O.S. 6 in. xv. N.W.)

Ecclesiastical

(1). Parish Church of St. Thomas or St. Nicholas (dedication uncertain), stands on the E. side of the village. The walls are of limestone rubble, those of the chancel and S. porch being repaired at the top with brick. The roofs are tiled, except that of the chancel, which is covered with slate. The Central Tower is part of a cruciform church which existed on the site c. 1280; the work of rebuilding the Chancel and North and South Transepts was begun c. 1330, probably at the E. end, and was completed c. 1340; between these dates the chancel was widened and probably lengthened; the transepts were widened towards the E. and lengthened, the W. walls being re-built on the old foundations; the angles of the N. and S. walls of the chancel with the former E. walls of the transepts were retained to act as buttresses to the tower; c. 1340 the arches of the tower were re-built above the springing-line, and the Nave was re-built and considerably widened. At the end of the 14th century the tower was heightened. In the 15th century a vestry, since destroyed, was built in the angle between the chancel and N. transept, the nave was re-roofed, the rood-stairs were made, and various windows were altered or inserted. The South Porch was added in the 15th or 16th century, and the transepts were re-roofed, probably in the 17th century. The church was restored in 1873, when the tower was underpinned, and again in the 20th century, when the E. wall of the chancel was re-built, and a wooden staircase was built against the E. wall of the nave, inside, from the top of the rood-loft stairs to the second stage of the tower.

Simpson Parish Church

Architectural Description.—The Chancel (24½ ft. by 16 ft.) has N. and S. buttresses at the E. angles; in the middle of the S. wall is a buttress, and in the N. wall are traces of a similar buttress removed when the former vestry was built; the N. and S. walls have a chamfered plinth of c. 1340, much worn. The E. window is modern. In the E. half of the N. wall is a modern window; in the W. half is a window and a doorway, each with a pointed head, and now blocked, only the outline being visible outside; in the wall E. of the doorway, outside, is a large stone, possibly indicating a piscina in the former vestry. In the E. half of the S. wall is a window of two lights, all modern, except possibly a few external jamb-stones; in the W. half is a tall square-headed window, blocked with brick and only visible outside; the jambs are of two chamfered orders, the lower part being of different stone from the upper part; it is probably an early 14th-century window, heightened in the 15th or 16th century. The Central Tower (8½ ft. by 9½ ft.) is of three stages, two of them being above the roof of the nave; the parapet is embattled. The ground stage has four pointed arches of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on semi-circular shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the arches are of c. 1340, and have labels in the tower; the W. arch has also a label in the nave; the capitals are of the same date as the arches, or were possibly re-cut at that time; the shafted jambs are of early 14th-century date. The upper storey of the ground stage has, in the E. wall, a single light of uncertain date, and in the S. wall a rectangular loop opening into the roof of the S. transept; in the W. wall is a doorway opening into the nave; it has a four-centred head apparently of the 15th century, but is probably not in situ. The second and third stages have, on the E. and W. walls, traces of the former high-pitched roofs of the chancel and nave; those on the W. wall enclose a rectangular loop immediately above the string-course between the stages; in the N. wall is a similar loop. In each wall of the bell-chamber is a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a pointed head, probably of c. 1400; at the sill-level of the windows the walling becomes thinner than in the lower part of the tower, and below them are straight joints made by the jambs of the former windows. The North Transept (13 ft. by 18 ft.) has a chamfered plinth similar to that of the chancel and also of c. 1340, and diagonal buttresses at the N. angles. In the E. wall, at the S. end, is an early 15th-century doorway with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head; the rear arch is outside, showing that the doorway opened into the former vestry, and further N. the line of the wall of the vestry is visible outside. In the N. wall is a window, of c. 1330, of three trefoiled lights with net tracery in a two-centred head, which has a label with head-stops; below and W. of the window is a small rectangular piercing probably of the 15th or 16th century, the lintel inside being of wood with moulding similar to that in the roof of the nave. In the W. wall, towards the N. end, inside, is visible the outline of a window, probably of 15th-century or later date: at the S. end of the wall, opening into the nave, is a small arch or doorway, probably of the 14th century, of one chamfered order with broachstops; the rear arch is on the W. side; further N. is a doorway with a pointed head, probably of the 15th century, but with a modern S. jamb; it opens into the staircase in the wall, leading to the former rood-loft. In the S.E. corner is the projecting N.W. angle of the chancel, which stops below the roof of the transept. The South Transept (11 ft. by 16½ ft.) has plinth and buttresses similar to those of the N. transept. In the S. wall is a 14th-century window and a rectangular opening below and W. of it, both resembling those in the N. wall of the N. transept. In the W. wall, outside, is visible the outline of a window: in the N. end of the wall, opening into and probably contemporary with the nave, is a skew arch, two-centred, and of one chamfered order; in each jamb is a small partly renewed shaft, with a moulded bell-capital; the bases are hidden by the floor. In the N.E. angle is part of the wall of the former transept, which has been splayed off and pierced with a small squint, now blocked in the chancel by an 18th-century monument. The Nave (46½ ft. by 24½ ft.) has two buttresses on the N. side, one on the S. side, and diagonal buttresses at the W. angles, all much worn. In the N. wall, at the E. end, is a 14th-century window, partly restored, and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the external label has head-stops: the N. doorway, also of the 14th century, has jambs and pointed head of one moulded order; the label has head-stops, one broken and the other repaired with cement. In the S. wall, towards the E. end, are two windows; the eastern is of c. 1340, and of three trefoiled ogee lights with intersecting tracery in a pointed head, much restored; the external label has headstops: the western window is similar to the window in the N. wall, but has an irregular rear arch of large stones: the S. doorway, of c. 1340, has moulded jambs and pointed head; the external label has head-stops and a foliated finial; the lower part of each jamb is modern. The W. window is of four trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a pointed head, and has a moulded label with broken head-stops; it is of late 15th-century date, externally much restored; the rear arch is built of badly fitting stones, probably those of a former rear arch, re-used. The South Porch has a two-centred entrance archway of the 15th or 16th century, much repaired with cement; it is of two chamfered orders, the inner order resting on shafts with perished capitals; the external label has head-stops. In the W. wall is a single-light window with a trefoiled pointed head; it is possibly of earlier date than the porch, adapted in the 15th or 16th century, and is now blocked; in the E. wall are traces of a similar window. The high-pitched Roofs of the N. and S. transepts are probably of the 17th century, and have two plain trusses, and re-worked tie-beams with struts. The 15th-century roof of the nave is fairly high-pitched and of four bays; the three intermediate trusses have tie-beams each with two struts carrying a collar-beam, from which rise two more struts supporting a second collar-beam; at the E. end is a hammer-beam truss, without the lower collar-beam, the struts forming an arch; the truss at the W. end resembles the intermediate trusses, but has hammer-beams instead of a tie-beam; the wall-plates, tie-beams and purlins are moulded, and the curved wind-braces, the struts and collar-beams are chamfered, except the upper struts of the second truss from the E., which are moulded.

Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd, by Richard Chandler, 1694; 4th, by Bartholomew Atton, 1604; 5th, by James Keene, 1630. Font and Font-cover: In N. transept—with plain tapering round bowl, cylindrical stem, stepped base, probably 13th-century, now disused; cover, consisting of flat lid, turned post in middle supported by four shaped brackets, 17th-century. Monuments: N. transept—against E. wall, outside, broken headstone, to William Gale, 1638. Piscina: In N. transept—in N. side of projecting end of chancel wall, with trefoiled drop arch, small trefoils in spandrels of cusps, very slightly chamfered, probably 14th-century.

Condition—Good generally; plinths of chancel and transepts much weather-worn.

Secular

(2). Rectory Farm (see Plate, p. 257), 120 yards N. of the church, is a house of two storeys, of timber and brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built about the middle of the 17th century on a T-shaped plan, the central wing projecting towards the N.; a small addition, of one storey, was added at the N. end later in the century, and the house has been restored. The S. front and gabled E. end of the main block are timber-framed, with modern brick filling; at the W. end the lower storey is of modern brick; part of the upper storey, with the gable, has old brick filling set in herringbone pattern. The stone chimney stack at the N.E. corner is old, but the shaft is modern. The N. wing is almost entirely of 18th-century and modern brick, but part of the E. wall of the upper storey retains old timber-framing and a late 17th or early 18th-century casement window, with an ornamental handle; the N. end is of late 17th-century brick and has a moulded brick string-course over a blocked window.

Interior:—On the ground floor some of the rooms have old beams in the ceiling, and the kitchen has exposed ceiling-joists. The staircase, in the S.E. corner of the N. wing, is probably in the original position, but is practically modern. The first floor has old oak floor-boards.

A barn, W. of the house, is probably of the 17th century, and is built of large timbers, weather-boarded; the roof is thatched.

Condition—Fairly good.

Monuments (3–11)

These buildings are nearly all of two storeys, and of rectangular plan; (3–6) are of late 16th or early 17th-century date, the others are of the 17th century; all of them were originally timber-framed, but have been much restored with modern brick. The roofs are thatched.

Road to Woughton-on-the-green, N. side

(3). Cottages, a group of five tenements, about 40 yards N.W. of the church, form an L-shaped block. One chimney stack is partly of old thin bricks.

Condition—Fairly good.

(4). Cottages, two adjoining, about 100 yards N.W. of the church.

Condition—Fairly good.

(5). Cottage, now two tenements, about 160 yards N.W. of the church. The S. front is of brick, half of c. 1700, and half modern; at the back is a modern addition.

Condition—Good.

(6). Cottage, about 200 yards N.W. of the church. The walls retain a little of the original plaster filling, and have a modern brick plinth. At the back is a modern addition.

Condition—Of walls, bad, all leaning outwards; of roof, poor.

S. side

(7). Cottage, opposite to (6), is of one storey and an attic. The E. gable has original plaster filling; at the W. end is a modern addition.

Condition—Fairly good.

Road to Fenny Stratford, W. side

(8). Cottage, set back from the road, about 80 yards W. of the church. The walls retain much of the original plaster filling, and some of the windows have old leaded diamond-shaped panes. The chimneys are of 17th-century brick, restored.

Condition—Poor; walls lean outwards.

(9). Cottage, about 90 yards S.W. of the church, is of one storey and an attic. The plan is L-shaped and the small N. wing is weather-boarded.

Condition—Good.

(10). Cottage, about 120 yards S.W. of the church. The large central chimney stack is apparently of 17th-century brick.

Condition—Fairly good.

(11). Cottages, a range about 400 yards S.W. of the church. The central chimney stack is apparently original, but restored.

Condition—Fairly good.