A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
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Witehunge, Weowungum (xi cent.); Wyenge, Guionga (xiv cent.); Wenge (xix cent.).
Wing is a parish of nearly 5,703 acres, including 1,512 acres of arable land, 3,707 acres of permanent grass, and 46 acres of plantations. (fn. 1) The slope of the land varies from 299 ft. above the ordnance datum in the south-east of the parish, near the point where the boundaries of Wing, Cheddington, and Wingrave meet, to 475 ft. in the west. The soil is clay, sand, gravel, or loam; the subsoil is clay. The crops are hay, wheat, barley, oats, beans, and roots. Both the London and North Western railway and the Grand Junction Canal run along the eastern border of this parish. The village, once a place of considerable importance, is situated in the centre of the parish on an elevated ridge overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury and on the main road between Oxford and Cambridge. A railed-in circular group of trees at the north end of the village marks the reputed site of a market-cross. The village contains several 17th-century half-timber cottages, now much restored, with thatched or tiled roofs. The church stands on high ground in the centre of the village, with the vicarage—from internal evidence doubtless originally a 16th-century house—to the north-west and the school to the south-east. South of the school is Wing Lodge, a modern house of white brick in the French style, with dark brick gables, the residence of Victoria Countess of Yarborough. There are Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels in the village.
The Dormer Hospital stands at the south-east end of the village. These almshouses were founded, as stated on a tablet in the front of the building, by Dame Dorothy Pelham in 1569 (? for 1596) (fn. 2) in memory of her former husband Sir William Dormer. They are of one story with attics, and are built of rubble and brick with tiled roofs. They have gables at each end and dormer windows.
Half a mile north-west of the village, on Vicarage Farm, there is a large mound, partially natural, called Castle Hill. There is also a tumulus at Ascott. Wing Mill stands on the Aylesbury road, which also passes the farms known as Lower and Upper Wing Bury.
Half a mile east of Wing is the hamlet of Ascott. Ascott House, the seat of the Dormers, said to have been built on the site of Wing Priory, (fn. 3) formerly stood in Wing Park, which was inclosed by Sir Robert Dormer in the first half of the 16th century. (fn. 4) The Princess Elizabeth is said to have slept here in 1544 on her journey from Woodstock to Hampton Court, (fn. 5) and Charles I in 1645, when his army found shelter in the adjoining close. (fn. 6) The second Earl of Carnarvon kept great hospitality at Ascott House, and his fine bowling-green, which can still be traced, was much appreciated. (fn. 7) The house, said to have contained a fine room built by Inigo Jones, was allowed to fall into decay during the 18th century. (fn. 8) Sir William Stanhope sold the deer from the park and cut down the timber. (fn. 9) The foundations of the house were cleared away in the early 19th century and used for repairing the roads. (fn. 10) There are traces of a moat, (fn. 11) the water called Garden Pond covering about 1 acre, and a carriage road runs through the grounds, which are still inclosed. A red brick farm-house was built in 1860 on the east side of Wing Park, (fn. 12) and has since been occupied by the Gates family. The present Ascott House is a brick and timber building with a tiled roof. Part was built in 1606, which is the date on a beam inside the house and agrees with the architectural details. It was occupied as a farm-house in the middle 19th century, (fn. 13) but has since been restored and frequently enlarged. A fire-back with the Tudor arms was recently found in the house. It is the property and winter residence of Mr. Leopold de Rothschild. Lord Rothschild's stag-hounds (numbering thirty couples), which were formerly kept at Mentmore, are now at Ascott.
The hamlet of Crafton (Crofton, Croustone, xi cent.; Croston, xiv, xv cent.) is 1¾ miles south of Wing. Baron Mayer Amschel de Rothschild formed a stud farm here in 1853 on the site of an old farmhouse, (fn. 14) which has since been maintained by Lord Rosebery. A Primitive Methodist chapel was built at Crafton in 1889.
Burcott is a hamlet a mile north of Wing. There are several farm-houses, including Burcott Lodge, Hall Farm, and Mount Pleasant. Burcott House, which was taken down early in the 19th century, stood a quarter of a mile from Wing Church. (fn. 15) It was dated 1674 and was owned in the 18th century by the Fiennes, who purchased it from Lord Limerick, (fn. 16) and by the Clintons. (fn. 17)
Wick, a field in Crafton, showing in addition to fish-ponds and fruit trees indications of the foundations of a large house, is the reputed site of the residence of the Theeds (fn. 18) in the 17th and 18th centuries. Tinkers' Hall or Hole, (fn. 19) now South Tinkers' Hole, a small farm-house with remains of a moat, stands on high ground in the north-west of the parish. It forms part of the hamlet of Cottesloe, from which the hundred took its name.
The blue clay beds in the hamlet of Littleworth, a quarter of a mile north of Wing, were worked in 1859 by Mr. Richard Harris for the manufacture of bricks and tiles. (fn. 20) Brick-making is still carried on here. There is a Congregational Union chapel at Littleworth.
The unfortunate Rev. Dr. William Dodd was vicar of Wing for about two years before his death in 1777, (fn. 21) though he never resided here. He was presented by Philip, sixth Earl of Chesterfield, whose tutor he had been and whose name he afterwards forged. (fn. 22)
The parish of Wing was inclosed in 1797, when four small pieces of moorland were reserved to provide fuel for the poor. (fn. 23)
The following place-names have been found: In the 15th century, Folville's Grove, (fn. 24) Glakenhegges, and Wilhampesden (fn. 25); in the 17th century, Bowermead, (fn. 26) the Ham, Ligo's Close, Mile Banks, Prior or Foreign Field. (fn. 27)
Edward [Cilt], one of Earl Harold's men, held and could sell WING MANOR in the time of Edward the Confessor. (fn. 28) In 1086 it was assessed at 5 hides and held by the Count of Mortain. (fn. 29) On the forfeiture of the Mortain lands in 1104 it was not attached to the honour of Berkhampstead, but, as was the case with Bledlow, (fn. 30) held directly from the Crown by knights' service. (fn. 31)
A subinfeudation mentioned in 1400 (fn. 32) points to the retention of overlordship rights by Richard Earl of Arundel on the marriage about 1385 of his daughter Elizabeth with Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 33) but these rights evidently lapsed on the extinction of the direct male line in 1415. (fn. 34)
Hugh Talbot was holding Wing in the 12th century, and before 1198 it was held by his descendant Quintin, who was living in 1209. (fn. 35) Henry Fitz Gerald was holding in 1218 (fn. 36) and the Lady Ermentrude in 1234 (fn. 37) and 1235. (fn. 38) William Talbot had succeeded before 1239 (fn. 39) and was holding in 1247. (fn. 40) Before 1255 (fn. 41) Wing Manor had been transferred to John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey. (fn. 42) He died in 1304, and was succeeded by his grandson John de Warenne, then a minor. (fn. 43) His relative, Edmund Earl of Arundel, (fn. 44) was pardoned in 1314 for the acquisition of Wing Manor without licence. (fn. 45) He was attainted in 1328 and his estates were forfeited. (fn. 46) Wing Manor was granted to John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, in 1328, (fn. 47) but his nephew Richard Earl of Arundel, Edmund's son, regained possession, (fn. 48) probably on his restoration in blood and honours in 1331. (fn. 49) He was succeeded in 1376 by his son Richard Earl of Arundel, (fn. 50) who settled Wing on his daughter Elizabeth, second wife of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 51) who secured a grant of the reversion in tail-male on the attainder of his father-in-law in 1397. (fn. 52) He died in 1400, (fn. 53) and his widow married Sir Robert Goushill, who died in 1402. (fn. 54) On her death in 1425 Wing Manor reverted to her son and heir John Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 55) who held it at his death in 1432. (fn. 56) In 1433 it was assigned in dower to his widow Katherine, (fn. 57) who was holding in 1481. (fn. 58) Wing Manor was in the king's hands in 1484, (fn. 59) but Katherine is mentioned as lately deceased in 1488, when the manor was confirmed by Act of Parliament to William Berkeley, Earl Marshal and Earl of Nottingham, (fn. 60) one of the co-heirs to the Mowbray estates in 1483. (fn. 61) He obtained a licence of alienation in 1488, (fn. 62) and in accordance with his will this manor passed in 1492 to Thomas Earl of Derby. (fn. 63) In 1503 Maurice Lord Berkeley, brother to the Earl of Nottingham, petitioned Parliament for his estates in heritage. (fn. 64) Thomas Earl of Derby was succeeded by his grandson Thomas (fn. 65) in 1504, (fn. 66) and he in 1505 quitclaimed Wing Manor to Lord Berkeley. (fn. 67) The latter died in 1506, and his son and successor, usually called Sir Maurice Berkeley, kt., (fn. 68) in 1515 sold this manor to Robert (fn. 69) afterwards Sir Robert Dormer, kt. (fn. 70); Maurice's brother and heir Sir Thomas Berkeley also releasing his rights in it in 1516. (fn. 71) Sir Robert Dormer died in 1552, and Wing passed on the death of his widow Jane to his son William, (fn. 72) who was also knighted. (fn. 73) He died in 1575, and his son and successor Robert (fn. 74) was made a baronet, and was created a baron as Lord Dormer of Wing in 1615. (fn. 75) His eldest son, Sir William Dormer, predeceased him by a month, leaving a son Robert, (fn. 76) who succeeded his grandfather in 1616 as a minor. (fn. 77) In 1628 he was created Viscount Ascott and Earl of Carnarvon. (fn. 78) He died fighting for King Charles at the first battle of Newbury in 1643, (fn. 79) when his son Charles succeeded. (fn. 80) He retained Wing Manor, (fn. 81) which passed at his death in 1709 (fn. 82) to Philip Stanhope, (fn. 83) his grandson by his elder daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 84) Philip succeeded his father as third Earl of Chesterfield in 1714. (fn. 85) His son and successor in 1726 was the well-known Lord Chesterfield, author of the 'Letters.' (fn. 86) He gave Wing Manor to his second son, Sir William Stanhope, (fn. 87) who died in 1772, (fn. 88) when it descended with the title of Chesterfield (fn. 89) until it was sold in the second quarter of the 19th century by George, the sixth earl, to Mr. J. B. Harcourt, who was owner in 1847. (fn. 90) It was purchased before 1862 by Samuel Jones Loyd, Lord Overstone, (fn. 91) who died in 1883. (fn. 92) His heir was his daughter Harriet, wife of Sir Robert Loyd-Lindsay, K.C.B., who in 1885 was summoned to Parliament as a baron, Lord Wantage of Lockinge, (fn. 93) a title which became extinct at his death in 1901. (fn. 94) His widow, Lady Wantage, is lady of the manor of Wing.
Among the manorial rights appertaining in the 13th century were the return of writs, pleas and the assize of bread and ale. (fn. 95) A Friday market at Wing was granted in 1218 to Henry Fitz Gerald. (fn. 96) This was changed to Thursday in the grant of 1255 to John de Warenne, which also allowed him a yearly fair on the vigil, day and morrow of St. Michael (fn. 97) (28, 29, 30 September). Lipscomb says that the fair was still continued in the middle 19th century, as a statute fair for hiring servants. (fn. 98) A dove-house, a water-mill, (fn. 99) a windmill (fn. 100) and a horse-mill are named in the 15th century. (fn. 101) A tenure of 140 acres of land by a pair of white gloves or 1d. yearly is mentioned in 1275. (fn. 102)
There were two manors in Crafton in Wing in 1086. One was afterwards usually called WING, but sometimes WING with CRAFTON MANOR. Before 1086, when it was assessed at 2½ hides, the Count of Mortain had subinfeudated it to the monks of St. Nicholas of Angers, (fn. 103) who obtained the land by grant of Bodin de Ver. (fn. 104) In the 12th century Hugh Talbot granted them this land in free alms, and his charter enabled their abbot in 1209 to obtain a quitclaim from feudal services from Hugh's descendant Quintin Talbot, (fn. 105) who in 1198 (fn. 106) and 1200 (fn. 107) had sued the Prior of Kirkby in Leicestershire, the abbot's representative in England in this respect. The abbey retained this manor, (fn. 108) which was, however, frequently in the king's hands during the French wars of the 14th century. (fn. 109) On the confiscation of the lands of alien monasteries in 1414 the reversion after the death of Queen Joan was granted in 1416 to the priory of St. Mary de Pré near St. Albans. (fn. 110) This grant was inspected and confirmed in 1429, (fn. 111) and on account of it quittance from tenths and fifteenths was allowed in 1440. (fn. 112) A further grant in free alms was made in 1461. (fn. 113) On the suppression of the priory in 1528 and its annexation to St. Albans Abbey, (fn. 114) Wing Manor was at first granted to Cardinal Wolsey (fn. 115) for his college at Oxford, (fn. 116) but afterwards, in 1530, to John Penn, (fn. 117) and confirmed to him in tail-male in 1531. (fn. 118) This grant was surrendered in 1544, (fn. 119) and in 1545 the manor was granted in fee to John and Lucy Penn, (fn. 120) who conveyed it in 1547 to Sir Robert Dormer, (fn. 121) when it followed the descent of the principal manor of Wing. After 1643 it is not mentioned by name. (fn. 122)
A reference to courts held in the abbot's hall occurs in 1247. (fn. 123) In the later 15th century the Prioress of St. Mary de Pré went twice a year to hold a court at Wing, (fn. 124) probably the view of frankpledge. The Prioress of Sopwell held courts on this manor in 1517 and 1524, (fn. 125) but by what right is unknown.
The second manor in Crafton, known as CRAFTON MANOR, was held before the Conquest by Blacheman, a man of Earl Tostig, who could not sell it without the earl's licence. (fn. 126) In 1086, when it was assessed at 2½ hides, it was held by the Bishop of Lisieux, (fn. 127) and in the early 13th century was appurtenant to the barony of William de Say. (fn. 128) The overlordship of Crafton descended through his second son Geoffrey to the latter's grandson (fn. 129) William de Say (fn. 130) and his heirs. (fn. 131) His son Geoffrey was summoned to Parliament as a baron, Lord Say, in 1313. (fn. 132) By the death in his minority of Geoffrey's great-grandson, John Lord Say, in 1382 (fn. 133) this overlordship passed to his sister Elizabeth wife of Sir William Heron. (fn. 134) He died seised in 1404, (fn. 135) his wife having predeceased him without issue in 1399. (fn. 136) The overlordship rights reverted to the Crown, and Crafton was afterwards held of the king in chief. (fn. 137)
Robert de Nowers held Crafton Manor under the Bishop of Lisieux in 1086. (fn. 138) The manor probably continued for some time in his family, the descent of which is given under Gayhurst (q.v.), but before 1286 had passed to Robert Aguillon, who died seised in that year. (fn. 139) It was assigned in dower to his widow Margaret de Redvers, formerly Countess of Devon, (fn. 140) who died about 1292, when it passed to Robert's daughter and heir Isabel wife of Sir Hugh Bardolf. (fn. 141) He died about 1304, (fn. 142) and his wife surviving him conveyed her land in Crafton in 1307 to John son of Thomas de Bassingbourn. (fn. 143) Later in the century Crafton was held by John Chamberlain and Katherine his wife, who in 1367 gave it for life to John Kimble of Salden. (fn. 144) The latter released his right in this manor in 1379 to Sir Thomas Sackville, who had evidently purchased from the Chamberlains. (fn. 145) His son Sir Thomas Sackville, (fn. 146) on the marriage of his daughter Maud to Nicholas Kentwood, gave it to them in tail-male. (fn. 147) They also held Burston Manor in Aston Abbots (q.v.), with which Crafton descended in moieties. One moiety had passed to Robert Pigott, second son of Thomas Pigott of Doddershall in Quainton, (fn. 148) before 1575, when a settlement was made on the marriage of his son Francis. (fn. 149) The latter succeeded his father in 1587, (fn. 150) and he and his wife Margaret conveyed their moiety of Crafton to Nicholas Theed. (fn. 151) Though the second moiety is not traceable after 1492, it probably came to the Dormers, as Crafton Manor was held by Robert Earl of Carnarvon in 1632. (fn. 152) It has since remained under the same ownership as Wing Manor, being separately named in 1645 (fn. 153) and 1717, (fn. 154) but in common with the other hamlets in Wing was included under the principal manor in 1797. (fn. 155)
The first reference which has been found to ASCOTT MANOR in Wing occurs in 1317, when it was held by Thomas Sackville, lord of Fawley (fn. 156) (q.v.). It remained in his family. In 1435 Thomas Sackville and his wife Anne settled it on Thomas and Margery Rokes and their heirs. (fn. 157) In 1457 Thomas Rokes, on the occasion of the marriage of his son Thomas with Joan Palmer, settled Ascott Manor on them and their issue. (fn. 158) Thomas Rokes, the son, had given it to his son Thomas before 1508. (fn. 159) He and his wife Elizabeth conveyed it in 1516 to John Newdigate. (fn. 160) It passed to his son-in-law Robert Dormer, (fn. 161) who on his death in 1552 left it for life to his widow Jane. (fn. 162) It has since followed the same descent as Wing Manor, which in 1617 is called alternatively Ascott. (fn. 163)
The hamlet of Burcott, mentioned in 1220 in a dispute about 2 virgates there, (fn. 164) and called BURCOTT MANOR in the 17th century, (fn. 165) was appurtenant to the principal manor in Wing (fn. 166) and followed the same descent.
The so-called 16th-century manor of NETHERWELD in Wing corresponds to the land in Netherweld included in the sale of Wing Manor to Sir Robert Dormer. (fn. 167) Tenants called 'Of the Weld,' later 'Aweld,' lived there for over two and a half centuries. Richard son of Paul quitclaimed two messuages and 1½ virgates and 9 acres of land in Netherweld in 1304 to his son Richard, (fn. 168) and a messuage and half a virgate of land to his son Thomas. (fn. 169) There are several references to the Awelds of Wing later in the century. (fn. 170) Netherweld Manor was held by William Aweld in 1530, (fn. 171) and in 1542 William and Humphrey Aweld conveyed it, including two messuages and 320 acres of land in Wing, Over or Upper Weld and Netherweld, to William Shepherd and his son William. (fn. 172) No later reference to the ownership of this property has been found. (fn. 173) Upperweld Farm was sold to the king in 1604 by William second son of John More, (fn. 174) in order to alienate it from his brother John. (fn. 175) He, however, obtained a grant of it two years later (fn. 176) and died in 1634. (fn. 177) His daughter and heir Mrs. Bridget Neale died in 1677. (fn. 178)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel 21 ft. by 21 ft., with a crypt beneath, nave 61 ft. by 21 ft., north aisle 12 ft. wide, south aisle 13 ft. 6 in. wide, west tower 16 ft. square, and north and south porches. The measurements are internal.
Although the date of the building is not authenticated, it is probably of the 10th century. The plan was then practically the same as at present, without the west tower and the north and south porches. The building probably remained in its original state until the 13th century, when an arch was inserted in the length of walling to the east of each arcade of the nave. The walls of the south aisle were rebuilt and windows inserted in the north aisle in the next century. In the 15th century the tower was built and the clearstory was added to the nave; the porches were built, more windows were inserted, and the greater part of the church was reroofed. The church was repaired at various times in the 17th and 18th centuries, the entries of payments made for this purpose being preserved in the Churchwardens' Accounts. In 1881 the crypt was cleared of rubbish and repaired, while in 1893 the whole building was thoroughly restored.
The walling generally is of small rubble masonry with wide jointing, the lower parts of the walls having a semblance of coursing. The upper part of the wall of the south aisle is of large stones, while the tower is built of large ashlar blocks. The parapets are all cemented, and at intervals beneath them are some very interesting gargoyles and grotesque heads, including a miser with his money bags and a monkey playing the bagpipes. The clearstory walls bear a number of dates in ironwork, probably referring to various repairs executed at these times.
The roofs are covered with lead.
The crypt, like the chancel above it, is apsidal and forms an irregular figure of seven sides. It is rudely constructed of rough rubble masonry, and consists of a central chamber having the plan of an irregular octagon and an outer ambulatory with which it communicates by three round arches. The outer wall opposite to these arches is pierced by three low windows; that on the south now serves as the entrance to the crypt. The ambulatory has a barrel vault and the central chamber a vault of domical character built of long narrow stones roughly set with wide joints. Access to the crypt was obtained by two stairways leading from the north and south aisles, and, although these have now disappeared, the arches into the crypt still remain.
On the outer faces of the chancel apse is a lofty and shallow arcade of seven round arches, each arch spanning the full width of a face and springing from narrow pilasters at the angles. At a higher level there are remains of a wall arcade of triangular arches preserving on two of the faces small original round-headed lights now blocked. Previous to the last restoration these external features were hidden by the rough-cast with which the walls were covered. Three windows were inserted in the 15th century directly over the openings to the crypt, that on the east face being of three transomed lights with tracery in a four-centred head, and the others of three cinquefoiled lights in segmental heads. These last replace original narrow windows with round heads, traces of which still remain. It is probable that there was also a similar light in the east face, but all traces of it have been obliterated.
At the west end of the south wall, blocked by a tomb, is a low-side lancet window of the 13th century, chamfered and rebated externally. This window was discovered on the removal of the roughcast from the exterior in 1893. Internally the chancel walls are coated with plaster and the roof has a flat boarded ceiling. The 15th-century pillar piscina stands on a shaft with a moulded base and has a pointed chamfered recess. The high, wide semi-circular chancel arch is of a single plain square order projecting slightly beyond the wall surface on the nave side.
In the east wall of the nave above the chancel arch is an original window which was discovered at the 1893 restoration. It consists of two round-headed openings with arches of Roman bricks springing from square jambs, and supported in the centre by a round shaft, with a square capital. The north and south arcades are each of four bays. The eastern arch in each arcade is an insertion of 13th-century date, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, with a label on the nave side, and springs from jambs of the same section with moulded abaci, except on the east side of the northern arch, where the inner order springs from a moulded corbel. The remaining arches are original work; they are semicircular, of a single plain square order, and spring from square jambs with corbelled imposts. Above the arches the walls diminish in thickness, and show the springing level of the original roof and the 15th-century heightening of the walls. The clearstory has four tall windows on each side; the eastern three in each wall are each of two cinquefoiled four-centred lights with tracery in a square head; the western window is of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental head; all have external labels. At the east end of the south wall is the upper 15th-century doorway to the rood-loft stair. On the east pier of the second arch from the east in the same wall is a 14th-century moulded corbel enriched with four-leaved ornament and carved with a leopard's head.
The north aisle has a 15th-century east window, recessed externally, of three cinquefoiled lights in a four-centred head with an external label. Below the east window is an original doorway, now blocked, which apparently opened to the stairway to the crypt. The north wall contains three windows, the eastern of which is similar to the east window of the aisle, but is hidden internally by the monument erected in 1552 above the Dormer vault. The second window is of 14th-century date and of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, containing in the tracery some fragments of contemporary glass, including two shields of Warenne, one of which has the difference of a label. The third window, also of the 14th century, is of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, and has a moulded rear arch and inner and outer labels, the latter having one old head-stop. Between the last two windows is a doorway of 15th-century date, with a two-centred head and jambs continuously moulded and an external label with stops carved with demi-angels. It retains its original lock. The west window is of 15th-century date and of two cinquefoiled four-centred lights with tracery in a segmental head. At the east end of the south wall is a piscina, apparently of the 15th century, with a pointed trefoiled head.
The south aisle has an early 14th-century east window of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. In the central light of the tracery are some fragments of old glass, including a shield of Warenne hanging from a tree, between the seated figures of a king and queen. It has been suggested that these figures were all close together, and represented our Lord seated, His right arm raised to crown the Blessed Virgin kneeling by His side. There is a 15th-century moulded corbel on each side of the window carved as a head. At the east end of the north wall is the lower doorway with the stair to the former rood-loft. On the south side of the second pier of the nave arcade is a small shallow niche of 15th-century date with a moulded sill and a projecting canopy. The south wall contains three windows similar to the west window in the north wall of the north aisle, all having moulded rear arches and internal labels with mask stops. Between the first and second windows is the stair to a former rood-loft, the eastern bay of this aisle having been used as a chapel from an early date. The lower doorway has a four-centred head and contains an original door, while the upper doorway has a square head. Between the second and third windows is a 14th-century doorway with a pointed head and jambs of two moulded orders, and an external label returning on either side as a string-course. It contains an old heavily studded door with the original ironwork and lock. East of the doorway internally is a rectangular recess or locker, and at the east end of the wall a piscina with a pointed head and a shelf at the back. The west window is similar to the corresponding window in the north aisle.
The west tower has a tall lower stage and two upper stages; the plinth and cornice are moulded; it has an embattled parapet and square buttresses on the north, west, and south faces rising to the top of the middle stage. The lofty tower arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders, with a label on the nave side and jambs with engaged shafts and moulded capitals and bases. The west doorway is of two continuous orders, the inner pointed and the other square, with sunk spandrels and an external label. Above it is a large window of four cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with an external label. Low down on either side of the window is a small niche with a cinquefoiled arch in a square head, and a small length of moulded string-course above. The second stage has a small light in the east side and a pointed window of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in the west. In the topmost stage is a window of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a pointed head in each face. That on the east side is now filled by the clock dial, and both this window and that on the north side bear traces of having been at some time subjected to fire.
The north porch, which is now used as a clergy vestry, was rebuilt and enlarged in 1893. The entrance doorway is of early 15th-century date, but much restored, and has a two-centred head and jambs enriched with quatrefoils and an external label with head-stops.
The south porch has angle buttresses at the south angles and intermediate buttresses at the east and west walls; it has a moulded cornice and a modern plain coping, and is gabled on the south side; the pinnacles and cross are modern. The entrance arch has a two-centred inner order and a square outer order, and springs from jambs having small shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The spandrels are carved with foliage, and each contains an angel with a shield; that in the west is rather weathered, but seems to be charged with Sackville impaling Rokes; the eastern shield is carved with the lion of Mowbray. Above the doorway is a niche with a trefoiled head flanked by buttresses and surmounted by a moulded coping with crocketed pinnacles. The cornice is hollow moulded, and on the south side where it follows the rake of the gable it is carved with the figures of a stag and a lion. The east and west walls have each two windows of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head and an external label.
The roof of the nave is of 15th-century date and of six bays, enriched with elaborate carvings. The cambered tie-beams are moulded and embattled and the spandrels above contain the figures of angels with outstretched wings holding shields. The principal rafters, purlins and ridge are all moulded and have carved bosses at the intersections. The tie-beams and principal rafters are supported at each end by a carved figure, those to the tie-beams being seated and the others standing. Between the figures is a moulded and embattled wall-plate; in each bay is an angel with outstretched wings holding a shield. The roofs of the north and south aisles and north and south porches are all of 15th-century date with moulded main timbers, those of the north porch being now carried on large modern timbers.
In the north aisle is a brass of late 15th-century date, with two small figures of a civilian and lady, and the indents of an inscription and probably four sons and two daughters; in the top of the slab are cut the initials 'KS' and the date 1693. In this aisle is also preserved a slab, in which are indents of brasses, containing a small lozenge of later date with an inscription to Margaret Fines (Fiennes), 'whose monument is set up on ye Pillow near this place,' and describing the various places of interment in the church of her daughters, Sarah and Henrietta, and of her son Charles. The eastern bay of the south aisle, which forms St. Catherine's chapel, contains a brass with figures of a civilian and lady, an indent of children, and an inscription to Harry Blacknall (d. 1460) and Agnes his wife (d. 1489). The slab of this brass also bears a much defaced inscription recording that Elizabeth wife of Henry Redman, who died in 1733, is buried here. The chapel contains another small brass with an inscription to John Theed (d. 1622). On the south wall of the south aisle is a brass to Thomas Cotes (d. 1648), sometime porter of Ascott Hall, with a small figure. On the floor towards the west are the indents of a small figure, an inscription, and two shields.
The north aisle contains floor slabs to Henry Redman, steward to the Earl of Carnarvon (d. 1672) and Joyce his widow (d. 1708); to George Redman, son of Henry Redman (d. 1699); to Henry son of Henry and Elizabeth Redman (d. 1722); to Stephen Russell (d. 1716); to Dorothy his youngest daughter (d. 1710); to John Worley (d. 1719); and to Elizabeth Worley his wife (d. 1712). In the south aisle is a floor slab to Henry son of Henry and Joyce Redman (d. 1729). Two other slabs bearing the dates 1710 and 1707 respectively are now indecipherable. A fourth appears to commemorate Edward Bromson. St. Catherine's chapel contains a floor slab to Mrs. Bridget Neale and a wall tablet to the same lady. She was the widow of John Neale and only daughter of John Meredith alias More, and died in 1677. The north aisle contains wall tablets to Sarah daughter of Norreys Fynes (Fiennes) (d. 1686); to Mrs. Henrietta Fynes (d. 1703); and to Mrs. Margaret Fynes, her mother (d. 1707). In the nave are monuments to Henry Fynes (d. 1758), and to Lady Anna Sophia Dormer, youngest daughter of Charles Earl of Carnarvon (d. Feb. 1694–5); and tablets to William Theed (d. 1757); to Mrs. Jane Bell (d. 1721); and to Henry Bell her husband (d. 1738), and William their son (d. 1723); while in the south aisle there is a tablet to John Perkins (d. 1777).
The chancel contains two elaborate monuments to members of the Dormer family. That on the north side has recumbent alabaster effigies with crests at the feet of Sir William Dormer, and, on a lower level, of Dame Dorothy (Catesby), his widow, beneath a canopy with a panelled soffit surmounted by cresting and supported by Corinthian columns. The knight is in armour and the lady wears a ruff and widow's cap. On the front are the kneeling figures of their son Robert and their three daughters, Katherine, Mary, and Margaret, and cradles containing their three children who died in infancy. In the two semicircular arched recesses at the back are inscriptions recording that Sir William Dormer married first Mary daughter of Sir William Sidney, and secondly Dorothy daughter of Anthony Catesby, and died in 1575. Dorothy his widow, who erected the monument in 1590, afterwards married Sir William Pelham, and died in 1613. On the cresting above the canopy there is the crested helm and shield of Dormer flanked on either side by two shields. On the west are the arms of Dormer impaling Sidney, and of Feria (the Count of Feria married Sir William Dormer's daughter Jane) impaling the quartered coat of Dormer, surmounted by a Spanish coronet. On the east the shields show the arms of Hungerford (Sir Walter Hungerford married Sir William Dormer's daughter Anne) impaling Dormer and of Dormer impaling Catesby. On the front of the tomb are the coats of Dormer impaling Browne, for Robert (afterwards Sir Robert) Dormer, of St. John impaling Dormer, for John Lord St. John of Bletsoe, who married Katherine Dormer, and of Browne impaling Dormer, for Anthony Browne, who married Mary Dormer. At the back there is a lozenge with the arms of Catesby. The monument on the south side consists of a semicircular arched recess with a panelled soffit in which are figures of Sir Robert Dormer and Dame Elizabeth (Browne) his wife kneeling at prayer desks. The recess is flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature, and on the base are the kneeling figures of three sons and two daughters, with five shields of the Dormers and their alliances below. The inscription at the back of the recess records that Sir Robert Dormer married Elizabeth daughter of Viscount Montagu, and had issue by her, six sons and three daughters.
At the east end of the north aisle above the family vault of the Dormers a large Palladian altar tomb stands under a canopy supported on Corinthian columns and pilasters. The whole is elaborately carved with cartouches and other enrichments and bears the date 1552. The following members of the family are buried here: Sir Robert Dormer, Sir William, and the second Sir Robert (whose monuments are in the chancel), Robert grandson and heir of the latter (who was created Earl of Carnarvon and was killed in the first battle of Newbury, 1643), and Lady Anne Herbert his wife. At the back are the arms of Dormer impaling Browne, of Dormer with its quarterings impaling Newdigate (for the first Sir Robert Dormer and Jane Newdigate his wife), of Sir William Dormer impaling Sidney, of the same impaling Catesby, and in the middle the quarterly coat of Dormer with mantled helm and crest. On the canopy is a pair of gauntlets; above it is a funeral helm crested with a hawk standing on a glove, below which is a painted shield of Dormer.
The octagonal pulpit, which retains its original door, is of early 17th-century date. It is panelled in two heights and with the exception of one side which is plain the lower panels are enriched with a carved arcade and the upper panels with scrolls and crosses. It contains the original seat with turned legs.
The chancel screen is of 16th-century date, and consists of a wide central bay with two narrower bays on either side. It has been considerably restored and is apparently entirely modern above the springing line of the arches. The lower part has closed traceried panels and moulded mullions with buttresses from which rise semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals.
St. Catherine's chapel is divided from the nave and from the remainder of the south aisle by two screens of the same period as the chancel screen. That to the nave has an opening with a four-centred head having foliated cinquefoiled cusping; on the east of the opening are five, and on the west two bays with traceried upper panels and closed lower panels, some of which have been removed. The top rail is original, but has modern cresting. The screen to the south aisle is similar, with four bays on each side of a central opening.
In the chancel are two 15th-century moulded bench ends and one standard carved with grotesque figures, and the seating of the nave contains a considerable amount of 15th-century woodwork, including moulded and embattled bench ends. There is a 17th-century table in the north porch.
In the north-east corner of the south porch, partly built into the wall, is the lower part of a late 12th or early 13th-century font similar in form to that of St. Mary's Church, Aylesbury. The present font is of the 15th century, and has an octagonal bowl with sunk panels, having shields carved with symbols of the Passion. The pedestal is octagonal, with cinquefoil-headed sunk panels, and has four corbels carved with figures of angels supporting the bowl.
Beneath the canopy of the monument in the north aisle there are two chests, one of which is mediaeval and retains its original ironwork, while the other is dated 1761.
There are a number of fragments of masonry in the church, including some 12th-century carved stones, some 14th or 15th-century crocketed finials, and part of a 15th-century carved and moulded basin.
There is a ring of six bells: the treble, dated 1654, is by Ellis, Francis and Henry Knight, and is inscribed 'For the honour of Carnavan here I singe, wishing health to the neighbours of Winge'; the second, 1640, inscribed 'Hope in God,' the third, 1638, inscribed 'Prayes God,' and the fourth, also 1638, are by Ellis Knight; the fifth is by Taylor of Loughborough, 1842, and the tenor by John Warner & Sons, 1863. There is also a sanctus, which is blank.
The communion plate includes a cup and cover paten of 1569; a large paten of a rare William III pattern, bearing the date-mark of 1699, and having an inscription stating that it was given in 1732 by Mrs. Ann Browne, widow of the Rev. William Browne, minister of this place; a large silver gilt cup and cover paten of 1644, which, with the elaborate silver-gilt flagon of 1676, was the gift of Sir William Stanhope and bear his arms, and a large pewter flagon and two almsdishes probably of 18th-century date.
The registers before 1812 are as follows: (i) baptisms and marriages from 1546 to 1749, burials from 1546 to 1684; (ii) burials in woollen from 1678 to 1783; (iii) baptisms from 1749 to 1783, marriages from 1749 to 1755; (iv) burials from 1783 to 1812; (v) baptisms from 1783 to 1812; (vi) marriages from 1755 to 1783; (vii) marriages from 1783 to 1812.
There is also a very interesting and complete folio volume of Churchwardens' Accounts, handsomely bound in leather in 1659; it consists of 235 sheets, mostly written on both sides, and covers with few gaps the period from 1527 to 1723.
In the churchyard stands the base and shaft of a small cross of uncertain date, now used as the pedestal for a sundial.
Bodin de Ver granted the reversion of Wing Church on the death of Goldric the priest to the abbey of St. Nicholas of Angers in addition to his land in Crafton. (fn. 179) A vicarage was ordained in 1216. (fn. 180) Henry a monk, proctor of the abbey, presented to it in 1230. (fn. 181) This is the first reference indicative of a cell of monks at Wing afterwards known as Wing Priory whose prior was proctor of the abbey. (fn. 182) In 1291 the church was valued at £26 13s. 4d., (fn. 183) the vicarage at £4 6s. 8d. (fn. 184) The descent of the advowson and rectory is the same as that of the manor of Wing with Crafton (q.v.) until 1530, (fn. 185) when they were excepted from the grant of this manor to John Penn, (fn. 186) and in 1531 given in free alms to St. Albans Abbey. (fn. 187) St. Albans leased the rectory in 1537 for eighty years to Sir Robert Dormer, (fn. 188) who in 1543 after the Dissolution applied for a grant of both advowson and rectory, (fn. 189) which he obtained in 1544. (fn. 190) Both have since descended with the principal manor of Wing (fn. 191) (q.v.).
The great tithes of Crafton belonged to the vicar of Wing, and not to the impropriate rector, and both great and small tithes were commuted in 1797. (fn. 192)
In 1527 there were five lights in the church: the Rood, St. Katherine, St. Margaret, St. Thomas, and St. Mary Magdalene. (fn. 193) In 1548 land worth 4d. yearly maintained one light, and a tenement left to the parish by John Meriden provided bride-ale, childale, and ale on the occasion of marriages and dirges and lawful games. (fn. 194) The churchwardens' accounts between 1527 and 1603 have entries for Hock-ale between 1529 and 1546, (fn. 195) for May-ale between 1531 and 1600, (fn. 196) and the Maypole in 1593 and 1595. (fn. 197) There is an entry in 1554 for the making of the Easter sepulchre and for sepulchre ale. (fn. 198) An organ, purchased from Woburn Abbey at its dissolution, was placed in the church in 1538. (fn. 199)
This inscription was on the wall of the hospital: 'Dormer's Hospital of the foundation of Dame Dorothy Pelham, sometime wife to Sir William Dormer, Knight, lord of the Manor of Wing, 1569.' As Sir William died in 1575 this date should probably be 1579 or 1596.
The hospital is regulated by schemes established by the Court of Chancery 3 November 1855, and by the Charity Commissioners 28 May 1886, and is possessed of the following endowments: 6 a. 1 r. 25 p. at Linslade let at £30 a year, wharfage at Linslade producing £2 14s. a year, £1,052 2s. 2d. consols, and £1,320 London and South Western 3½ preference stock, which are held by the official trustees, arising chiefly from sales, and producing £72 10s. a year. Each of the eight inmates has 4s. a week. The almshouses have recently been put in a state of repair.
Charity of Thomas Pratt, founded by deed, 18 November 1614.
This parish is entitled to a four-thirteenths part of the net income. (See Wingrave.)
In 1909 the sum of £16 was received and applied in the distribution of articles in kind with the income of the charities next mentioned.
The following charities are regulated by schemes of the County Court of Bedfordshire of 21 May 1860, and of the Charity Commissioners of 9 December 1892; namely, the charities of:—
1. William Dent, founded by will, 1757, trust fund, £59 consols with the official trustees, producing £1 9s. 4d. yearly.
2. William Robinson, will 1686, being an annuity of £2 out of land at Burcott.
3. Lady Carnarvon, will 1707, and the charity of William Hoare, will, 1714 consisting of 5 a. 3 r. 18 p. at Burcott, known as the Poor's Piece, awarded under the Wing Inclosure Act, 1797, in exchange for land purchased with legacies of £50 and £40 by wills of these donors respectively. The land is of the annual rental value of £20.
4. Robert Shepherd, by deed, 1685, charged a piece of land at Dagnall (Edlesborough) called Hall Mead with an annuity of £2 3s. 4d. for the distribution of bread weekly to ten poor children, and the same donor by his will gave a rent-charge of £3 13s. 4d. issuing out of land at Northall, to be applied as to £2 13s. 4d. in the distribution of bread weekly to ten poor boys, 20s. to the minister for catechizing the recipients, and 10s. to the minister of Leighton Buzzard for a sermon upon Ascension Day.
5. The Fuel Allotment formerly consisted of 5 acres in Wing and Crafton, 2 a. 2 r. in Burcott, and 2 a. 2 r. in Ascott, awarded under the Inclosure Act, 1797, to the poor for cutting fuel. The land in Wing and Burcott was sold in 1861, and the proceeds invested in £268 9s. 1d. consols with the official trustees, producing £6 14s. yearly.
6. The church lands, which originally consisted of a cottage and an acre of land and two cow commons, are now represented by £475 0s. 8d. consols with the official trustees, producing £11 17s. 4d. yearly, which is carried to the churchwardens' account.
Robert Shepherd's charity and the church lands are applied in accordance with the trusts thereof, as stated. The incomes of the remaining charities, with that of Thomas Pratt's charity, are applied together in the distribution of coal tickets, blankets and sheets, doles to aged poor, and two coats to old men.
Hamlet of Littleworth.
In 1887 George Trueman, by will proved at Oxford 21 October, bequeathed £200 to the Congregational Union Chapel for investment, subject to the life interest of the testator's widow.
The legacy has been invested in £197 9s. 6d. consols in the names of Arthur Somers Hely and three others.