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St James the Great, Bierton, Buckinghamshire

(51°49′48″N, 0°47′17″W)
SP 836 153
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Bierton is a village on the NE outskirts of Aylesbury, extending for a mile along the A418 to Leighton Buzzard; a busy road that robs the village of much of its character. The surrounding landscape is largely pasture. The church is alongside the A418 on its S side, so that the main entrance is the N doorway, under a timber-framed and mortar-rendered porch. To the SW of the church is St Osyth's Well. St James's is a long, broad cruciform church with a low crossing tower. It is of coursed rubble construction and dates from the early 14thc. The nave is aisled, with 4-bay arcades. There is no clerestory in the central vessel but high-level windows were added to the aisles when their roofs were raised and the pitch flattened, perhaps in the 15thc. The arcades have quatrefoil piers and finely moulded capitals, and the crossing piers belong to the same campaign. The aisleless chancel has Y-tracery lateral windows with extra bar-tracery cusping, and a 4-light east Perpendicular window, probably c.1500. The N transept is now a chapel; the S has been converted for use as a vestry. The only Romanesque feature is the font.


Bierton is not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey, but was probably part of the royal manor of Aylesbury. In the 12thc Aylesbury manor was in the hands of the Mandevilles, Earls of Essex, but was granted by King John to Geoffrey fitzPiers. That this grant included Bierton is implied by the fact that Geoffrey's grandson and successor, Lord Richard fitzJohn, died seised of the manor of Aylesbury with the hamlet of Bierton before 1297. The chapel of Bierton was originally dependant on the prebendal church of Aylesbury, along with the chapels of Buckland, Quarrendon and Stoke Mandeville. In 1266 the four chapels were separated from the mother church and given to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. In 1294 the vicarage of Bierton was ordained, with the chapels of Buckland, Quarrendon and Stoke Mandeville, and that was the position until 1858 when Buckland and Stoke Mandeville were formed into separate benefices. The parish is now in the benefice of Aylesbury (St Mary) with Bierton and Hulcott.




The font may be compared with that at Wingrave, which is also cable-moulded.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. II (1908), 320-27.
RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 1 (south). London 1912.
N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994.