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St Edmund, Maids’ Moreton, Buckinghamshire

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Feature Sets (2)

Description

Maids’ Moreton is a village on the northern edge of Buckingham alongside the road to Towcester, which follows the line of an ancient holloway.  It is in the Domesday hundred of Stotfold.  The land here is hilly and largely pasture.  The village has an attractive high street with thatched, timber-framed houses, but the expansion of housing in Buckingham, especially in the period immediately before and after the Second World War. 

The church is at the SE of the village centre, hence the N doorway rather than the S is the principal entrance.  It is an imposing aisleless Perpendicular church with a tall nave and chancel and a W tower with a polygonal NW stair and the bell-openings set in deep giant arches with crocketed cusping.  The nave has N and S porches; the N larger and more elaborate than the S.  The chancel has a 19thc S vestry.  Construction is of irregularly coursed stone blocks throughout.  Pevsner described it as “highly individualistic Perp work which looks the outcome of great zest and generosity.”  This is exemplified by the treatment of the bell stage of the tower, and also the fan-vaulted porches and the canopied triple sedilia in the chancel.  Modifications to the N doorway are dated by an inscription to 1637.  The church was restored in 1882 by J. P. St Aubyn, who also added the S vestry in 1887.  The only Romanesque feature here is the font.

History

Leofwine of Nuneham Courtenay held a manor of 5 hides here both before the Conquest and in 1086.  The manor also included a mill and meadow for 2 ploughs.  A second manor, of 2 hides with meadow for 2 ploughs, was held by Wulfric, a man of Aelfric son of Goding, before the Conquest and by Turstin from Walter Giffard in 1086.  Turstin also held a third manor, also from Walter Giffard.  This was assessed at 4 hides with meadow for 4 ploughs.  Before the Conquest it was held as 3 manors by Aelfric son of Goding, Eadric, a man of Esger the staller and Saeward, a man of Azur son of Toti.  At this time the vill was simply called Mortone.  The 15thc church is traditionally believed to have been built by two maiden sisters of the Peover family, daughters of the last male heir, hence the prefix.

The parish is now in the Buckingham North benefice, i.e. Akeley, Leckhampstead, Lillingstone Dayrell, Lillingstone Lovell and Maids Moreton.

Features

Furnishings

Fonts

Font

The font is at the W end of the nave, and consists of a low cylindrical 12thc bowl set on a later octagonal stem with an octagonal chamfered base and an octagonal step. The lower part of the bowl, below the lower rim, has been trimmed to match the stem and chamfered.  The bowl itself is decorated with a band of six semicircular lunettes in relief, each with a beaded strap outlining the curved lower edge and an inverted palmette with fluted lobes filling the lunette.  The palmettes are similar but not identical, some having central beaded clasps and others with a second, smaller palmette overlapping the first at the top. In the spandrels between and below the lunettes are triangular fluted palmettes.  The surface is generally good, but there are some areas at N and W where the top layer of stone is flaking away, and an inserted repair at the W.  The bowl is lead lined, the lining overlapping the rim.

Dimensions
Ext. diameter of bowl 0.73m
Height of bowl 0.34m
Int. diameter of bowl 0.50m

Comments/Opinions

The font is a product of the workshop from St Peter's,Northampton, active in the 1140s and '50s. Other fonts by these sculptors are found in Tiffield (the closest comparison), Green's Norton, Paulerspury, Dodford, Harpole and Weedon Lois (all Northants).

Bibliography

  • H. P. Maguire, 'A Twelfth-Century workshop inNorthampton', Gesta, 9, 1970, 11-25.

  • N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings ofEngland: Buckinghamshire.London1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 453-55.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in theCountyofBuckingham. Volume 2 (north).London1913, 184-87.

  • Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 198-205.

Exterior from SE
Exterior from S
Exterior from SW
Interior from W gallery

Location

Site Location
Maids’ Moreton
National Grid Reference
SP 707 351 
Boundaries
now: Buckinghamshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Buckinghamshire
Diocese
now: Oxford
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
Dedication
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Edmund
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
23 October 2006