Ibstone is a village in the Chilterns, 6 miles W of High Wycombe. The village is dispersed, with dwellings scattered over a network of minor roads in the hilly, wooded landscape. St Nicholas’s church is at the S end of the village, alongside Manor Farm. It consists of a tall 12thc nave with N and S doorways; the N blocked and the S protected by a timber porch. At the W end of the nave is an 18thc or 19thc gallery, and on the exterior above it is a weatherboarded bell turret with a tiled pyramid roof. The chancel arch is 12thc too, but the chancel is 13thc. A carved head is set at the apex of the chancel arch, and another is set above a S nave window outside. The church also has a plain 12thc font.
Ibstone was held by Hervey the legate (possibly an interpreter) from the king in 1086. It was assessed at 2 hides with woodland for 100 pigs. Confusingly a second holding of one hide with 3 acres of meadow in Ibstone was recorded under Hervey’s name in the Oxfordshire returns. In 1270 Henry III granted the manor to Walter Merton, Bishop of Rochester, for the endowment of Merton College Oxford. Subsequently the advowson of the church passed to the college.
Round headed, single order with tympanum, blocked. All that remains is a cuboidal W impost block and the top of the jamb on which it sits. This impost supports one end of a plain lintel which in turn carries a semicircular tympanum made of lozenge-shaped and half-lozenge blocks, as a form of opus reticulatum, surrounded by an arch of plain voussoirs.
|Height of lintel||0.17m|
|Height of opening||1.82m|
|Height (radius) of tympanum and enclosing arch||0.74m|
|Length of lintel (approx.)||1.15m|
|Width (diameter) of tympanum and enclosing arch||1.45m|
Round headed, single order with tympanum protected by a late 19thc porch. The jambs are plain with chamfered impost blocks decorated on the face and on the chamfer with single rows of chip-carved saltires in squares. The imposts carry a lintel carved with three rows of billet moulding, and this supports a plain recessed tympanum surrounded by an arch of plain voussoirs.
|Height of lintel||0.18m|
|Height of opening||2.24m|
|Height of tympanum and lintel||0.74m|
|Length of lintel||1.41m|
|Thickness of lintel||0.145m|
|Width of opening||1.01m|
This is a male human head with heavy eyebrows, drilled oval eyes, rounded cheeks, a straight nose drilled for nostrils, a moustache and an open mouth.
Single order, round headed. The jambs and arch are plain and unmoulded, with chamfered imposts carved on the face under the arch only with a row of chip-carved saltires in squares on the face and another similar on the chamfer. At the apex of the arch, under the soffit is a carved head, described below.
This is a human head set to be viewed from the chancel side; i.e. the crown of the head is set flush with the chancel side of the arch soffit. It shows a male figure with a flat-topped head, heavy brows, rounded cheeks with high cheekbones, a long, triangular nose and a wide, straight, closed mouth.
Towards the W end of the nave stands a tub-shaped font on a chamfered drum base. The 12thc bowl is unlined and covered by a network of repaired cracks. The exterior has been vertically tooled with a claw-chisel, probably in the 19thc. There are inserted repairs at the N and W of the rim.
|Ext. circumference at foot of bowl||1.88m|
|Ext circumference at rim||2.50m|
|Ext. diameter of bowl at rim||0.80m|
|Height of bowl||0.58m|
|Height of font||0.73m|
|Inner diameter of bowl||0.60m|
N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 409.
RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 1 (south). London 1912, 212-14.
Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III (1925), 62-65