Building record 0099000000 - ST MARY'S CHURCH, PRINCES RISBOROUGH

Summary

Medieval and post-medieval parish church of St Mary at Princes Risborough, heavily restored in 1867-8 and with tower rebuilt in 1907-8.

Protected Status/Designation

  • Listed Building (II*) 1125815: CHURCH OF ST MARY

Map

Type and Period (3)

  • PARISH CHURCH (Restored 1867-8, 13th Century to Modern - 1200 AD to 1999 AD)
  • CONSTRUCTION TRENCH? (13th Century to 19th Century - 1200 AD to 1899 AD)
  • DRAIN (Post-Medieval to 19th Century - 1540 AD? to 1899 AD?)

Description

Grade II+. Parish church. C13 and C14, heavily restored and part rebuilt 1867-8 by Arthur Blomfield, tower completely rebuilt by J. Oldrid Scott 1907-8. Flint with limestone dressings. Tiled roofs to nave and chancel, lead roofs to aisles. Nave, aisles, W. tower, S. porch, chancel, C19 organ chamber to N. W. tower is of 3 stages with diagonal buttresses, chequered parapet and octagonal spire with lucarnes. Elaborate 3-light traceried openings to bell-chamber, cusped lights below, 2-light traceried window and door to W. Nave has 5-bay clerestory with C19 cusped round windows. Aisles have moulded parapets. S. aisle has 2 3-light windows to S., the left cusped, the right with grouped lancets. 2-light E. window with Y tracery. Moulded S. doorway with one shaft to each jamb. C19 gabled porch. N. aisle rebuilt C19 with traceried windows, 2 in Decorated style to right, 2 Perpendicular to left. Re-sited moulded doorway. Chancel has moulded sill course and 2-light traceried windows, one to N., 2 to S., the left window above a small blocked rectangular opening with chamfered surround. Moulded S. doorway, C19 3-light traceried window to E. Interior: tall narrow C19 arch to tower. Nave has 7-bay arcades of double chamfered arches,the W. arches on quatrefoil piers and responds, the E. arches inserted C19 with circular piers, other piers octagonal. S. aisle retains late C13 and early C14 details: E. window has moulded arch on shafts, and hoodmould with carved head stops; very fine S.E. window with moulded arches on attached shafts, and matching inner screen; sedile and piscina with cusped ogee canopies on shafts; 4 cusped ogee tomb recesses. Chancel arch is totally restored, as is most of chancel. N.E. window retains late C13 moulded arch on shafts. Trefoil piscina. C19 roods throughout. Fittings: good early C17 hexagonal pulpit with arcaded panels; late C16 chest with inlaid panels and strapwork frieze; other fittings and glass C19. E. window by Kempe and Tower 1909. Monuments: marble tablet in chancel to John and Rebecca Grace 1764 and 1770. RCHM I p. 269 - 270 (B3).
FLINT WITH STONE DRESSINGS. NAVE WITH 2 AISLES, SQUARE TOWER AT W END WITH OCTAGONAL SPIRE. PRE-C13 PROB CHANCEL & AISLELESS NAVE. EARLY C13 N & S AISLES ADDED. C.1290 NAVE & AISLES LENGTHENED TO W & CHANCEL REBUILT. C15 W TOWER LOST. 1803 OLD SPIRE FELL DOWN - MUCH DAMAGE. 1867-8 REBUILT (B1-2).
An archaeological evaluation was undertaken in the nave and aisles of St Mary's church in advance of the laying of a new floor and underfloor heating. Eight 1m x 1m test-pits were dug in the nave and aisles. A possible medieval or 19th century construction trench was found and the top of a post-medieval burial. A drain for the font and several 19th century heating ducts were also found (B11).
An investigation at St Mary's Church in March 2008 recorded 20 inhumations and graves located at a depth of between 0.7m and 1.39m in the extension footings, associated services and one pile position; later excavation of service trenches around the completed building located 3 more inhumations at around 0.7m. The sample represents a typical parish church cemetery population of the post-medieval period (B12).
A watching brief carried out during the removal of the Victorian floor and its replacement with a new oolitic limestone floor with drainage ducts inserted below. This work retrieved finds of earlier periods and also identified a number of earlier structural features, which enables the re-interpretation of the phasing of the development of the church. Previous interpretations of the church had suggested a simple nave and chancel structure that pre-dated the 13th century. This implied that the nave had been lengthened in the 14th century. This sequence of events can now be corrected. Limited archaeological evidence survives for an early but as yet poorly dated phase of the church. The walls of this structure were probably robbed. The phase 2 structure, over which the present nave sits, was initially considerably longer, measuring at least 21.9m in length. The west wall of the nave was detected in the drainage channels dug below the impact layer under the present tower. Investigation of the service cuts to the west of the church confirmed that there was a further wall beyond the present tower which indicated that rather than a square tower, the building had a rectangular porch more in line with late Anglo Saxon churches of the 9th to 11th centuries (for example Cirencester, Gloucester). In the 13th century the aisles were added on the north and south side, and the arcades inserted. These were longer, like the nave, than previously thought, as indicated by the line of a blocked door at the west end of the south aisle. In the 14th century the west end of the church probably collapsed leading to the insertion of new arches and the shortening of the nave. Further phases of the church can be detected internally from the later 16th to the early 19th century through posts for gallery steps and pulpits where protestant views reconfigured how the church should be used. The Victorian re-working of the church was also apparent from 1867-8, as were later repairs (B13).

Sources (13)

  • <1>SBC7642 Bibliographic reference: LIPSCOMB 2 PP435-440.
  • <2>SBC13091 Bibliographic reference: RCHM BUCKS 2 PP269-270.
  • <3>SBC22140 Bibliographic reference: DoE. 1985. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. p73.
  • <4>SBC14376 Bibliographic reference: SHEAHAN PP192-193.
  • <5>SBC13339 Article in serial: RECS OF BUCKS 1908 9 P307.
  • <6>SBC15411 Bibliographic reference: VCH BUCKS 2 PP265-266.
  • <7>SBC11798 Bibliographic reference: PEVSNER N 1960 BUCKINGHAMSHIRE PP225-226.
  • <8>SBC4404 Graphic material: DRYDEN COLLECTION, NORTHAMPTON LIBRARY: MS NOTES, GROUND PLAN & DETAILS OF CHURCH 186.
  • <9>SBC10345 Map: OS 1921 1:2500 MAP.
  • <10>SBC15198 Graphic material: UNSIGNED & UNDATED ?ARCHITECT'S PLAN IN BRO REF: PR 175/6/10 (11) (COPY, FILED).
  • <11>SBC23068 Unpublished document: John Moore Heritage Services. 2005. An Archaeological Field Evaluation in the Nave of St Mary's Church, Princes Risborough.
  • <12>SBC23772 Unpublished document: John Moore Heritage Services. 2008. Archaeological Recording for the extension to St Mary's church, Princes Risborough.
  • <13>SBC24258 Unpublished document: John Moore Heritage Services. 2012. Archaeological Watching Brief at Saint Mary's Church, Church Street, Princes Risborough.

Location

Grid reference SP 80600 03490 (point) (Exact)
Civil Parish PRINCES RISBOROUGH, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

Finds (3)

  • FLOOR TILE (Medieval to Post-Medieval - 1066 AD to 1798 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval to Post-Medieval - 1066 AD to 1798 AD)
  • ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT? (Undated)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • Event - Intervention: Archaeological recording for the extension to St Mary's Church, Princes Risborough (EBC17335)
  • Event - Intervention: Evaluation in St Mary's church, Princes Risborough (Ref: PRSMC04) (EBC16930)
  • Event - Intervention: Watching brief (Ref: PRSMC 10) (EBC17540)

Record last edited

Sep 16 2020 4:37PM

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