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St Giles, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

(51°37′53″N, 0°34′10″W)
Chalfont St Giles
SU 991 935
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
medieval St Giles
now St Giles
  • Cristian Ispir
  • Ron Baxter
26 October 2011

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Feature Sets

Chalfont St Giles is a small town in S Buckinghamshire, 3 miles S of Amersham. Its position on the Metropolitan line makes it a popular residential town for the wealthier commuter, but it has retained a village character, especially in the High Street around the parish church. St Giles’s church is built of knapped flint, and consists of a chancel with a N vestry; a nave with a timber S porch, clerestories, and N and S aisles with 3-bay arcades; and a W tower. At the W end of the S nave arcade is a short and narrow extra bay. The nave arcades and chancel arch are 14thc work, while the chancel is of the 13thc, remodelled in the 14thc. The tower dates from the 14thc. and the vestry was built when the church was restored in 1861-63. The only 12thc feature is a Purbeck marble table font.


Four hides and three virgates in Chalfont St Giles were held by Mainou the Breton in 1086. The holding also included meadow for 1 plough, woodland for 600 pigs and a hawk’s eyrie. Before the Conquest the tenant in chief was Tovi, a thegn of King Edward, and his man Alweard had half a hide that he could sell if he wished.

Mainou held a large fief in Buckinghamshire, headed by the manor of Wolverton from which his heirs took their name. They remained in possession until the 15thc. The church was held by the lords of the manor until Hamon, son of Meinfelin, heir of Mainou gave it to the priory of Bradwell (Bucks) that his father had founded c.1154. The dedication to St Giles is recorded in the 13thc.





These Purbeck fonts were widely exported from Purbeck, especially to areas like this with no local freestone thought to be sufficiently durable for the purpose (but see the Aylesbury group of clunch fonts). They were usually decorated with arcading in low relief, which sometimes spalls away, and the shaving might have been undertaken to tidy it up. It is fair to assume that the coarse tooling acted as a key for a gesso ground for painting, later removed.


Buckinghamshire County Council, Historic Environment Record 0184000000.

EH, English Heritage Listed Building 44398.

VCH, Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III , London 1925, 184-93.

VCH, Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire IV, London 1927, 505-09.

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