Points of Interest
The Old Church
is of early English Gothic design as indicated by the lancet windows.
This sharp knife shape first appeared
in the mid12th Century,
superseding the Norman or Romanesque round arch. The windows are made of the chalky local
stone Clunch which is still used today. The walls of rubble are rendered
outside except for the West face which shows flintwork.
The History of Buckingham (1831) describes the Church:
“The Chapel stands in a spacious
cemetery (contiguous to which is a meadow nearly surrounded by woods)
and consists of a nave and chancel about 40 feet long, capable of containing
about 100 persons, and having on the gable at the west end a small wooden
turret, supporting a little spire."
Cross. The coloured circular feature marking the place of the act
of consecration is west of the main doorway.
Century Glass in upper part of the east window showing the Crucifixion
and the figures of St Mary and St John.
- The unusual
Puritan window contains Art Nouveau design and
was originally made for Little Hampden Church, hence the central figure.
It was placed here in 1902 when rejected by Little Hampden because it
included the figure of Cromwell.
or niche bowl for washing vessels, near the east end of the south wall
adjoins the Sedile or priest's seat.
- Near these
is a Springer stone of an arch finely carved in angelic
form, perhaps part of a window elsewhere. The battlemented string
courses above the north and south walls are also of uncertain origin
but may have supported a screen.
Remains of ancient window ironwork are seen in hinge bases beside lowside
windows in the north and south walls. The window in the south
side also has the remains of an outside grille. In the north wall
between the first
second windows is a small rectangular Recess. Perhaps for alms or an alms
The mediaeval basin with original staple holes securing the lid, now
has an oak cover made from 17th century floorboards from nearby Hawthorn
Farm and a rose knob carved from wood from the ancient churchyard Yew.
The staple holes would have been part of a mediaeval anti-witch device.
Board. High on the west wall is an 18th century triple frame
inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Creed.
- On the
outside of the south wall, near the porch, Mass clocks (sundials
for telling the time for Mass), although the gnomons are missing.
The numbers on one of them are inscribed in the wrong positions.
Paintings. These are described on the ‘bats’ in the Church.
The earliest work uncovered is 14th century (earlier
traces underneath cannot be revealed yet). Painting continued for
at least four hundred years. Restoration is now complete as far
as possible. The two principal works are the Weighing of Souls
on the west wall (south part) and St Christopher carrying the Christ Child
on the north wall facing the door. Roses are seen in many places;
Tudor roses above the Sedile and the south door.
Porch appears to have been added in the 18th century.
there were three Bells made by MICHAEL DE WYMBIS in about
1290. The remaining bell of this group now hangs at the top of the
new church. To mark the 'Millenium', the roof of the old church was extended
westwards forming a canopy to house a 'new' bell weighing one cwt. It came
from a church in Kent which had been severely damaged in the 1987 great storm.
Two families are commemorated:
date from the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1
The PLAISTOWES owned the Manor from the 17th century
and members of the family survive in the area.
The Georgian tablets are particularly interesting. The Latin
inscription on that to Thomas Plaistowe on the south wall was popular at
‘What you are I was, what you look upon you will be.’
The Puritan Window
The remaining bell
(now in the Parish Church of St John the Baptist)
Memorial to the Plaistowes
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This information is based
on a talk given to The Lee
Old Church Trust by John Glanfield and on a leaflet produced by the Trust.
Photographs appear by permission of The Lee Newsletter and The Chiltern
Society Photgraphic Group.