Pages 91-92

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Middlesex. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1937.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section


Littleton, the Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene

(O.S. 6 in. XXIV, N.E.)

Littleton is a small parish on the left bank of the Thames, 3 m. S.E. of Staines. The church is the principal monument.


(1) Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of ragstone, chalk and flint rubble and brickwork; the dressings are of Reigate stone and brick and the roofs are tiled. The S. arcade of the Nave was built c. 1200 but the rest of the nave and South Aisle were re-built, the North Aisle added and the Chancel re-built and enlarged c. 1280. Early in the 16th century the West Tower and clearstorey were added; a N. vestry was added probably about the same time together with the South Porch. In 1705, a large mortuary Chapel was added N. of the chancel, and extended towards the N. 20 or 30 years later; about the same time the tower was heightened. The church was restored in the last century.

The church is of some architectural interest and among the fittings the communion-rails are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (39 ft. by 17½ ft.) has a modern E. window and flanking it are the jambs of two windows probably part of a triplet of lancet-windows of the 13th century; the segmental-pointed rear-arches also remain in part. In the N. wall (Plate 5) are two 13th-century lancet-windows with the labels cut back; there was a third lancet-window further E. of which the rear-arch remains; it has been cut into by an early 18th-century doorway of brick with a two-centred head. In the S. wall are four windows, all modern except the 13th-century splays and rear-arches of the three eastern and most of the jambs and sill of the westernmost; the doorway is modern. The 13th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds have modern imposts.

The North Chapel (31¼ ft. by 15¼ ft.), now vestries, was built by the Wood family as a mortuary chapel in 1705. The walls are of brick and the E. end has a curvilinear gable with a panel below inscribed "Deo et memoriæ sacrum erect. An. Dom. 1705." The E. window is modern and replaces a doorway. The W. gable has been altered; in the W. wall are a modern doorway and window, the latter set in a large round-headed opening. There is a later 18th-century addition on the N. side and a modern partition-wall in the chapel.

The Nave (33 ft. by 18¾ ft.) has a late 13th-century N. arcade of two bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the octagonal column and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals; those of the responds are probably of the 16th century. The S. arcade of c. 1200 is of two bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical column and semi-octagonal responds have mutilated moulded capitals and bases. In the S.E. angle is a re-set 13th-century lancet-window, probably inserted in the 17th century to light the pulpit. The early 16th-century brick clearstorey has, on each side, two windows, each of two four-centred lights in a square head with a label.

The North Aisle (6 ft. wide) has a partly restored mid 14th-century E. window of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a segmental head with a label. In the N. wall is a similar window; the late 13th-century N. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label; it is now fitted with a window. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window.

The South Aisle (7 ft. wide) has a window in both the E. and S. walls, both modern except for the splays and the rear-arch of the E. window; the 13th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window.

The West Tower (10¾ ft. by 8¼ ft.) is an early 16th-century brick structure of three stages (Plate 171) with a stage or high parapet added in the 18th century. The two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered orders with plain imposts and splayed responds. The W. doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head with plain imposts; the W. window is of three four-centred lights in a square head. The second stage has, in the N. and S. walls, a window of one four-centred light in a square head. The bell-chamber has, in the N. and S. walls, a window of two four-centred lights in a square head; there is a similar window of three lights in the W. wall.

The South Porch is an early 16th-century brick structure with an embattled parapet. The outer archway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The side walls have each a window of one four-centred light.

The Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century, partly reconstructed; it is of three bays with king-post trusses, curved struts and curved braces to the tie-beams. The late 14th-century roof of the nave, reconstructed in the 16th century, is of four bays and of collar-beam type with curved braces forming segmental arches. The 16th-century roof of the porch is flat with moulded ribs and curved brackets to the main cross-rib.

Fittings—Bells: three by William Eldridge, 1666. Brass: In chancel—on N. wall, to Blanche wife of Sir Hugh Vaughan, 1553, inscription, shield-of-arms and two roses inscribed Ihu Mey, palimpsest on shield, group of five daughters, c. 1520, two roses lost. Chest (Plate 18): In N. chapel—heavily iron-bound with two strap-hinges and staples, remains of leather covering, probably 16th-century. Communion-rails (Plate 130): of five bays including gates, with panelled pedestals and moulded rails, main panels carved in relief (a) chalice, host, cross and book; (b) pelican in her piety; (c) chalice and host with cherubs and scrolls; (d) table with shew-bread; (e) tables of the law and high-priest's vestments; late 17th-century, Flemish. Font: octagonal bowl with splayed under side and projecting rim, plain stem and square moulded base, probably 13th-century. Locker: In S. aisle—in S. wall, with rebated jambs and square head, mediæval. Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In churchyard—W. of tower, to Elizabeth Singer, 1702, headstone. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Edward Westley S.T.B., rector, 1673. Piscinæ: In chancel—of two bays with modern two-centred heads, central shaft with moulded base, two round drains, 13th-century, restored. In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with trefoiled head and oblong drain, 13th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten of 1632 with the arms of George Stewart, son of Esme, Duke of Lennox, cup and cover-paten probably of 1712, and a stand-paten of 1680. Pulpit: with five sides, two plain and three with bolection-moulded panels and enriched cornice, early 18th-century. Seating: In nave and aisles—pews with buttressed standards and moulded rails, 15th or early 16th-century made up with modern work. Screen (Plate 162): Under chancel-arch—of three bays including central doorway, close lower panels with linen-fold, side-bays each of five open trefoiled lights with tracery above, doorway with curvilinear head, early 16th-century, made up with modern work and modern cornice. Stalls (Plates 5, 20): In chancel—twelve on N. and ten on S. side, series of traceried backs with trefoiled and sub-cusped heads, ogee labels with crockets, etc. 15th-century, said to have come from Winchester. Miscellanea: In chancel—scrolled wood bracket (Plate 20) with cherub-head, late 17th-century, foreign.



(2) Old Manor House, 200 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly of brick and partly timber-framed and the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The E. part of the main block was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century. Late in the 16th century the house was extended towards the W. and a wing added on the S. side. Early in the 18th century a large addition was made at the W. end and there are later and modern additions on the S. and E. and a narrow extension on most of the N. front. The central chimney-stack has one square and two diagonal shafts. Inside the building is some exposed timber-framing and a considerable amount of 17th-century panelling. The roof of the original block retains its wind-braced purlins but the trusses have been reconstructed. A small bell in the house, by William Eldridge, 1696, presumably came from the church.

Condition—Good, much altered.

(3) Rectory, 50 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1700 and has a hipped roof and a modillioned eaves-cornice. Inside the building, the original staircase has turned balusters and close strings.