St Mary, Radnage, Buckinghamshire

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Feature Sets (4)


Radnage is a dispersed village in the Chilterns, consisting of houses, and farm buildings scattered along a network of minor roads in the hilly, wooded landscape around Bledlow Ridge, 5 miles NW of High Wycombe. The church stands on its own at the N end of the village. It has a nave with a 15thc S porch and a 20thc vestry in the corresponding position on the N. There is a slender central tower (but no sign of transepts), and a two-bay chancel. The church is faced with flint, with ashlar dressings. The building is substantially of the years around 1200, and features that may be 13thc are thus included here; the crossing arches, plain font and S doorway. There is also a scallop capital converted for use as a piscina.


Radnage is not mentioned under that name in the Domesday Survey, but it seems, at that date, to have been a royal demesne attached to the manor of Brill. In the early 12thc Henry I divided the manor into two parts, reserving the larger, known as Radnage Manor, to the crown; and presenting the smaller to the nuns of Fontevrault. The church was attached to the first of the two, which is known to have been the subject of temporary grants under Henry II, and to have been given to the Knights Templar by King John in 1215. When that order was suppressed in the early 14thc, its property passed to the Knights Hospitaller, and the manor returned to the Crown at the Reformation.


Exterior Features


S nave doorway

Single order, pointed with label under a late-medieval porch. The slightly chamfered jambs carry hollow-chamfered imposts shaved back on their inner faces, and a plain, unmoulded pointed arch with a fat half-roll label with outward-turning returns.

Height of opening 2.36m
Width of opening 1.01m

Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

E tower arch

A single-order pointed arch with plain jambs on chamfered bases, and a plain arch, separated by hollow chamfered imposts.

W tower arch

A single-order pointed arch with plain jambs on chamfered bases, and a plain arch, separated by imposts carved with a lower roll necking below a deep hollow, with a vertical face above it.




Centrally placed at the W end of the nave. It must be classed as chalice-shaped, but bowl and stem have been rendered into a continuous hourglass shape. At the W side there remains a staple near the top of the outer surface. This still engages with a hasp on the lid.

Ext diameter of bowl at rim 0.68m
Int. diameter of bowl at rim 0.50m
Overall height of font 0.99m

Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


Set in the SE angle of the late-medieval piscina enclosure at the E end of the S chancel wall is a scallop capital reused as a piscina. It has 4 scallops per face and is only carved on the 2 visible faces. The shields are small and the cones sheathed. The upper surface is dished and a hole drilled vertically through the central axis serves as a drain.

Height of block 0.17m
Width of block at top (across capital) 0.26m x 0.27m


The carving of the piscina on two faces rather than three or four rules out the possibility that it could have been a pillar piscina originally; Such a capital must be from a doorway or a window. This most probably predates the chancel arch and doorway, which belong to the years around 1200.


  • Buckinghamshire County Council, Historic Environment Record 0463600000.

  • EH, English Heritage Listed Building 46611.

  • VCH, Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III , London 1925, 89-92.

  • N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 612-13.

Exterior from SW
Interior to east


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SU 786 979 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Buckinghamshire
now: Buckinghamshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Oxford
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Cristian Ispir, Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
26 October 2011