St John the Baptist, Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire

Feature Sets (3)


Little Marlow is a village in the Wycombe district of Buckinghamshire, on the N bank of the Thames which forms the boundary between Buckinghamshire and the Unitary Authority of Windsor and Maidenhead at this point. The nearest large towns are High Wycombe, 3 miles NW, and Maidenhead, 4 miles S. The church stands at the S end of the village, alongside the manor. It consists of a chancel with a S chapel, a nave with N and S aisles and a N porch, and a W tower. Alongside the tower are modern N and S vestries. Construction is of flint rubble with clunch quoins and brick repairs, except for the N porch, which is timber framed on an old brick base, and the vestries which are timber framed on modern brick bases.  The church is 12thc in origin, as shown by the chancel arch and the arch to the S chancel chapel. The chancel was rebuilt in the 13thc, the N nave aisle and the W tower are 14thc, and the S aisle dates to the 15thc, at which time the S chapel was also rebuilt. The N porch is 16thc work, restored in 1902. The chancel and S chapel arch and the font, all plain, are recorded here.


A manor assessed at 5 hides was held by Queen Edith in 1066 and by Bishop Odo of Bayeux in 1086, and Tedald held it from him. When Odo forfeited his lands the overlordship was apparently given to the Earls of Gloucester. The manor was given to Little Marlow Priory, and afterwards was known as Little Marlow manor. The church, however, belonged to another manor of 8½ hides and half a virgate, held by Miles Crispin in 1086 and by Haming, a thegn of King Edward, in 1066. Miles Crispin's lands later became the Honour of Wallingford. The tenants were Ralf and Roger, sons of Roland de Anvers, and their two tenancies later became two manors, called Danvers and Losemere. Roland Danvers held the tenancy under the Honour of Wallingford in 1165 and still in 1186-87. He died in 1196 . Ralf, presumably his son, was holding in 1201-02. Roger's share of Roland's manor was known as Losemere by the 14thc.

The advowson was shared equally between the manors of Danvers and Losemere.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Single order to E and W, with a pointed arch. The jambs are plain and carry quirked hollow chamfered imposts with a heavy roll above rather than the usual flat face. The arch is unmoulded but has a plain chamfered label on the W face.

Chancel S chapel arch

Plain jambs, the W jamb chamfered, carry hollow chamfered imposts with a low roll at the foot of the face, and a plain depressed round arch with no label.




At the W end of the nave, on the S side. The bowl is an undecorated convex tub, and stands on a modern octagonal shaft on a chamfered clunch block, extended westwards as a step. The lead lining covers the rim, concealing any signs of wear or fitting removal.

External diameter of bowl at rim 0.80m
Internal diameter of bowl at rim 0.58m
Height of bowl 0.51m
Height of font 1.14m
Height of stem 0.40m
Height of step 0.23m


RCHME describes the font bowl as 'probably 12th-century, stem and base modern', and although the stem is certainly modern, the step may be original. Pevsner (1960) dates the chancel chapel arch to the 12thc and the chancel arch shortly before 1200. He makes no mention of the font.


  • Historic England Listed Building 46956

  • N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 191-92.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 1 (south). London 1912, 230-32.

  • Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III (1925), 77-84.


Site Location
Little Marlow
National Grid Reference
SU 874 879 
now: Buckinghamshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Buckinghamshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Oxford
now: St John the Baptist
medieval: St John the Baptist (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
10 March 2017, 15 March 2017