Clifton Reynes

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. All rights reserved.


, 'Clifton Reynes', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913) pp. 90-93. British History Online [accessed 22 May 2024].

. "Clifton Reynes", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913) 90-93. British History Online, accessed May 22, 2024,

. "Clifton Reynes", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire, Volume 2, North, (London, 1913). 90-93. British History Online. Web. 22 May 2024,

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)ii. S.E. (b)v. N.E.)


a(1). British Pit Village, about 450 yards N.E. of the church. Several pit dwellings have recently been discovered on the site during quarrying operations N. of the railway; fragments of bone and pottery also have been found.

Condition— The dwellings have been destroyed in the course of quarrying.


b(2). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands W. of the village. The walls are of limestone rubble, those of the chancel being of thin shaly stones with much mortar and those of the S. aisle having a thin coat of mortar. The roofs are covered with lead, except that of the N. chapel which is tiled. The West Tower was built in the 12th century, when the church probably consisted of a chancel, nave and tower. In the 13th century North and South Aisles were added, extending to the W. wall of the tower, and the tower arch was re-built; c. 1330 the North Chapel was added, and c. 1340 the Chancel was re-built and widened towards the S.; c. 1350 the chancel arch was widened and the N. and S. arcades of the Nave were re-built without widening the nave; c. 1380 the tower arch was altered, the 13th-century capitals being re-used as bases. Early in the 15th century the clearstorey was built, an embattled parapet and new roof being added to the nave, and an embattled parapet to the S. aisle. The South Porch was built possibly in the 16th or 17th century. The N. aisle, except the arcade and the W. wall, was re-built in 1801. In the 19th century the building was partly restored, and the arch at the W. end of the N. chapel was inserted in 1905.

The church is a good example of 14th-century architecture. Among the fittings are some exceptionally fine 14th-century effigies of wood (see Plate, p. 43) and stone; the brass of 1428, and the mediæval painting and glass are also of interest.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (30 ft. by 15 ft.) has diagonal buttresses at the E. angles, and a modern embattled parapet; the internal face of the walling is not plastered. The E. window is of three cinque-foiled lights under a square head with sunk spandrels and a moulded external label; the jambs and mullions up to the original springing level are of c. 1340; the head and upper part of the window were altered late in the 15th century. In the N. wall, opening into the N. chapel, is an arcade of two bays and of c. 1330; the two-centred arches are of three orders, the innermost order being moulded; the two outer orders are chamfered and are continued down the E. respond; both responds have semi-octagonal shafts with moulded bell-capitals and bases, and are partly hidden by the tombs under the arcade; the octagonal pillar has a capital and base similar to those of the responds. In the S. wall are three windows; the two eastern are of c. 1340, and each of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, which has a plain external label; one label is much broken and all the stops are defaced; the rear arches are moulded and have head-stops; the third window is a low-side single light of c. 1340 with a transom and a two-centred cinque-foiled head, under a plain external label with a head-stop on the E. side; the W. stop is broken; the jambs are moulded below the transom and chamfered above it, and the transom has been externally restored: between the two eastern windows is a doorway of mid 14th-century date; the jambs and two-centred head are of two moulded orders, with internal and external labels; the internal label has stops carved as the heads of animals. On the E. and S. walls, below the windows, is an internal string-course, broken for the doorway. The chancel arch, of c. 1350, is two-centred and of two orders, the inner order moulded, the outer chamfered; the jambs have clustered shafts with moulded bases and capitals; the bases are much damaged. The North Chapel (25 ft. by 10 ft.) has, in the E. wall, a window of two pointed lights under a two-centred head; the tracery and external stonework are modern; the two-centred rear arch and internal jambs are probably of the 14th century and are of rough workmanship. In the N. wall is a recess (see Fittings). The Nave (31 ft. by 12½ ft.) has a 15th-century embattled parapet and a moulded string-course with flower ornament; the E. wall has a low gable, also embattled. The N. and S. arcades are of c. 1350, and each of three bays with acutely pointed arches of two moulded orders and a three-quarter hollow between the orders; the moulded labels have uncarved stops; the pillars and responds have clustered shafts with moulded bases and capitals of similar detail to those of the chancel arch. Over the second pillar of the S. arcade, in the haunch of the arch, is a small square opening with rolledges and holes for a grating; in the N. wall opposite there was possibly a similar opening. The clearstorey has two N. and two S. windows, each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; three of the windows are of early 15th-century date; the N.E. window is a rough copy of the others; in the E. wall is a similar window of early 15th-century date. The North Aisle (46 ft. by 12 ft.) was re-built in 1801; the date is inscribed on a stone over the N. doorway; the W. end is cut off by a timber-framed partition, and is used as a coal cellar. The South Aisle (45½ ft. by 12 ft.) has a 15th-century embattled parapet, partly restored; below it is a moulded string-course carved with flowers and leaves, and with figures of beasts at the E. and W. angles. In the E. wall is a 14th-century window of three pointed lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head, which has a moulded external label; the rear arch and inner jambs are chamfered; on the N. side of the window is a 15th-century squint into the chancel, with a cinque-foiled pointed head. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is of the 15th century, and of three cinque-foiled ogee lights and tracery under a square head with a moulded external label: the second window is a 13th-century lancet; the internal jambs and rear arch are covered with plaster: between the windows is the S. doorway, probably in a 14th-century opening, but with modern jambs and two-centred head; the label is old and the stops have been cut away; over the doorway is a rough relieving arch. In the W. wall is a lancet window, probably of the 13th century, with a plain external label, much damaged. The West Tower (about 11½ ft. by 11 ft.) is of three stages, with an embattled parapet, much restored. The tower arch is probably of c. 1380; it is two-centred and of three orders; the chamfered outer order is continuous, the two inner orders are moulded, and carried on moulded jambs, with bases which are evidently the 13th-century capitals adapted and partly re-cut; the present moulded capitals are similar to those of the nave arcades; the label on the E. side is also moulded. In the W. wall is a window of late 15th or early 16th-century date, of three cinque-foiled lights under a three-centred head with a moulded external label. The second stage has plain round-headed openings of the 12th century in the E. and W. walls. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a single-light window of c. 1300, with a trefoiled pointed head and a plain label which has mask-stops. The South Porch is deflected towards the E. and has a plain two-centred entrance archway with chamfered jambs, of the 16th or 17th century. The Roof of the nave is of three bays with moulded tie-beams supported by plain braces on wood corbels; the purlins and ridge are roughly chamfered; on the E. tie-beam are the initials and date 'H O R W C W 1637'; the date is probably that of the whole roof.

Parish Church of St Mary, Clifton Reynes

Fittings—Bells: six, 2nd-6th by John Hodson, 1664. Brackets: In chancel—on E. wall, N. of window, large, square, with chamfered edge, below it a plain rough projecting stone; on E. side of chancel arch, near S. capital, projecting splayed piece of timber. Brasses and Indents: In N. chapel—(1) of Sir John Reynes, 1428, figure of man in armour, wearing besagues, plate bevor over mail, bascinet, etc., imperfect, part of the legs missing, inscription and four shields of Reynes, checky a quarter, scored for colour, (ermine); (2) of man and woman, figures in shrouds, at corners four shields of Reynes, and Reynes impaling a saltire engrailed, for Tyringham, indent of inscription plate, c. 1500. Chairs: In chancel— two, one with carved back, shaped arms, turned legs and supports for arms, moulded top rail c. 1630; the second, similar to the first, with panelled carved back, plain foot rail, c. 1660. Communion Table: with plain turned legs, slightly moulded top rail, plain foot rail, 17th-century, angles strengthened by short iron straps. Font (see Plate, p. 45): octagonal bowl with small shaft at each angle, moulded lower edge with carved faces and roses; in each side of bowl slightly sunk niche with carved figure of saint, etc., (1) St. Katherine with wheel and sword, (2) St. Michael, with wings, holding shield and spear, dragon at feet, (3) St. Paul with sword and book, (4) representation of the Trinity, (5) St. Peter with keys and book, (6) St. Barbara holding a tower, (7) St. Margaret, crowned, piercing with spear the dragon at her feet, (8) the Virgin and Child; octagonal stem with traceried panel of different design in each side, base moulded; late 14th-century. Glass: In chancel—in upper part of S.W. window, figure of bishop, in Mass vestments, with mitre and crozier, set in panel with border of fragments, including parts of two leopards (or lions passant), crocketed pinnacles, foliage, and part of inscription; in head of window, a leopard's head, crocketed finials, roses, tracery, and other fragments, all late 14th-century, said to have been brought from Emberton Church in the 19th century. In nave— in E. window of clearstorey over chancel arch, in N. light, part of figure of saint, head with nimbus, hand holding book, and other fragments; in S. light, head and hand of figure of saint, and various fragments; in head of window, and below remains of figures, crocketed finials, and quarries bearing a lion, a fleur de lis in lozenge, foliage, etc.; in quatrefoil of tracery, three crocketed finials with a rose in the middle; all early 15th-century; in N.W. window of clearstorey, W. light almost complete, with ornamental quarries and border, in the middle a shield of Reynes, impaling Reynes; E. light with border at the top, and in the middle a shield set inside out, gules a cheveron between three scallops or for Chamberlain, impaling Reynes; all early 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In N. chapel—in N. wall, (1) tomb recess, with segmental pointed head of two orders, the outer order moulded, the inner cinque-foiled and sub-cusped, moulded label with carved head-stops, jambs with three engaged shafts having moulded capitals and bases, early 14th-century; set in recess, two carved wooden effigies of 1300–1310; of man with legs crossed, hand on sword, wearing long loose surcoat, hauberk, camail, etc.; of woman in head-veil, wimple, gown, and sleeveless super-tunic; under eastern arch of chapel arcade, (2) altar tomb, c. 1375, with two stone effigies, of man in armour, wearing bascinet with camail laced up to it, tight gipon over hauberk, articulated pauldrons, arm-pieces, gauntlets with gadlings, leg-pieces and sollerets; of woman wearing sideless gown, pleated skirt, and long cloak, hair elaborately dressed; sides of tomb each set with eight niches having crocketed trefoiled heads, in each niche small figure, of man and woman alternately, two of the men in long cloaks over armour, the others in different civilian dress, all somewhat coarsely cut but of unusually good design, several considerably defaced; above each figure a shield with the following arms:— a cheveron between three scallops for Chamberlain, ermine a fesse three mill-rind crosses thereon for Paynell, a saltire engrailed for Tyringham, ermine a chief indented for Morteyne, three arches for Arches, three harts passant at gaze for Greene, bezanty with an ermine quarter for Zouche, a chief with a lion passant thereon for Brok, three stirrups with their leathers for Scudamore, three plain crosses fitchy a chief with a demi-lion thereon for (?), a cross engrailed possibly for Drayton, a scutcheon and an orle of martlets for (?), a fesse between six crosses formy for (?): under western arch of arcade, (3) altar tomb of 1320–1330, with two carved wooden effigies, of man, legs crossed, hand on sword, wearing ridged bascinet, camail, long gambeson with pointed skirt, hauberk with pointed skirt, embattled skirt of cuirass or haketon also visible, and possibly a fifth body-garment between the cuirass and surcoat, surcoat short in front with long tail behind, mail hose, leather breeches to knee, small shield; effigy of woman wearing gown with tight sleeves, apparently short jacket with short loose sleeves and sideless super-tunic, wimple and head-veil; sides of tomb panelled, with quatrefoils containing shields with the following arms:— Arches, Chamberlain, Chamberlain impaling Reynes, two lions passant with a label possibly for Ekeny, Drayton (?), Paynell, Greene, Tyringham impaling Reynes, and Zouche. Floor-slabs: In chancel— (1) to Anna Bernar . . . . 1632, incomplete; (2) to Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Pepys, rector of the parish, 1680; (3) to . . . . apparently one of the Fryer family, almost illegible. In N. aisle— (4) to Mary Dennis, 1652, incomplete; (5) to . . . . . Dennis, (?) 1637, incomplete; (6) to Peter, son of Samuel Pepys, M.A., Fellow of Emanuel College, Cambridge, 1684. Paintings: In nave—over chancel arch, remains of representation of a 'Doom', in black outline, central figure of Christ sitting on a rainbow, with an archangel on the left side, and figures of the dead rising on the right side, barely visible, 15th-century; over N. arcade, traces of texts in black-letter, red outlines, probably 16th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—with pointed cinque-foiled head, moulded jambs, round basin, probably mid 14th-century, sill restored. In S. aisle—plain square rough recess, chamfered edges, round basin. Plate: includes cup, of 1692, and stand paten without date-letter, bearing same maker's mark as cup. Sedilia: In chancel—in range with piscina, three, separated by circular shafts with moulded capitals and bases, shaft between E. sedile and piscina, half-shafts at the back of recesses and against W. jamb, quarter-shaft in W. corner, two-centred trefoiled and sub-cusped moulded heads, moulded label with old head-stop at W. end; mid 14th-century. Stoup: In porch—N.E. corner, plain round bowl, of grey stone, probably 15th-century. Miscellanea: In N. aisle—at W. end, worked stones, fragments, including (1) five stones of moulded jamb of recess, probably 15th-century; (2) traceried panel probably from altar or tomb, 14th-century; (3) panel similar to (2); (4) part of edge of moulded slab, 15th-century; (5) part of string-course, 14th-century (?), (6) chamfered stones, probably part of window; (7) large slate slab, with moulded edges, probably 16th-century, all detached; built into thin wall of coal-cellar, three quatrefoils formerly with shields, one shield remaining charged with two bars, probably 15th-century. S. aisle—on lower quoins of E. face of S.E. angle, two sundials, scratched.

Condition—Good; except the S. windows of the clearstorey which are badly weather-worn outside.


Homestead Moats (3–4)

b(3). At Wood Farm, about 2⅓ miles S.E. of the church. Not shown on the Ordnance Survey maps.

b(4). 350 yards W. of Top Farm.

Monuments (5–9)

These buildings are almost all of two storeys, and all of the 17th century. The walls generally are of stone rubble; the roofs are tiled or thatched.

b(5). The Rectory, S. of the church: the E. wing with a cellar under it, is said to be of earlier date than the rest of the house, but no detail remains to show when it was built. The whole house has been restored, and a low modern extension added on the N. side. The plan is L-shaped, the wings extending towards the S. and E. Some of the chimney stacks are of thin bricks. Interior:—On the ground floor there are some chamfered ceiling-beams and an open fireplace.


b(6). The Robin Hood Inn, about 430 yards S.E. of the church. The N. front is of red bricks with black headers. Two of the chimney stacks are original.


b(7). House, on the N. side of the road, 350 yards S.E. of the church. The plan is L-shaped. Two chimney stacks are of 17th-century brick.


b(8). Dovecot (see Plate, p. 145), 70 yards N.E. of (7): a circular building with a slight off-set near the top of the walls; the roof is thatched and has a small lantern in the middle. Interior:—Fitted with many nests in the thickness of the wall.

Condition—Bad, probably to be pulled down.

b(9). Outhouse, about 580 yards E.S.E. of the church: a small rectangular building, said to have been the kitchen of the former manor-house. Interior:—There is one wide open fireplace.

Condition—Bad; the doors and windows are unsafe.


b(10). Enclosure, at the E. end of the village, of simple plan, nearly rectangular in shape, the defences consisting of a single rampart and ditch.

Condition—Much denuded.