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St Nicholas, Lillingstone Dayrell, Buckinghamshire

(52°3′7″N, 0°58′18″W)
Lillingstone Dayrell
SP 706 398
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
12 June 2007

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Feature Sets

Lillingstone Dayrell is in NE Buckinghamshire, 3½ miles N of Buckingham and just 1½ miles S of the Northamptonshire border. The present village consists of a few houses on a lane off the A413 Buckingham to Towcester road, but the church stands outside the modern village to the N, accompanied only by the buildings of Manor Farm and otherwise surrounded by fields. It is approached by a track from the W. The landscape is generally hilly and wooded; much given over to rough pasture now but originally forming the extensive woodland described in the Domesday entry (see VII). To the S and W of the church is a large wheatfield. The area was systematically walked by the Whittlewood Project in Autumn 2000, and their pottery finds revealed a great deal about the history of the village. It was occupied by the Romans, but the distribution of Romano-British pottery was too random to provide useful evidence of the settlement pattern. Later, but before the Conquest, pottery finds indicated that the village street followed the line of the present track to the W of the church. Shortly after the Conquest the village expanded with a second concentration indicating another street parallel to the first but further S. After 1450 it contracted again, back to its original focus along the track. To the SW of the church was the Manor House, but remains of this were lost when the ground was ploughed up in 2000 to form the large wheatfield described above.

The church is of limestone rubble and consists of an aisled nave with no clerestory and a S porch, a chancel with a 19thc N vestry and organ chamber and a W tower. The nave is tall with very simple and small tower and chancel arches of around 1100. The 3 bay aisles were added in the 13thc, and the S porch in the 15thc in a rich reddish brown stone that was also used for the 15thc S aisle window. The N aisle windows are 19thc in a simple 13thc style that was also used for the vestry. The chancel was also heavily restored in the 19thc, but retains one original 13thc window decorated with dogtooth, and a 13thc low-side window, both in the S wall, as well as 13thc wall arcades and tomb recess inside. The interior of the chancel is dominated by the large, centrally placed tomb of Paul Dayrell (d.1571) and his wife, and on the S side is another tomb chest with brasses commemorating an earlier Paul Dayrell (d.1491) and his wife. The tower must be 12thc in its lower parts, but its bell-openings are early 13thc. It is unbuttressed and has a flat top.

In the 17thc the church was in a poor state of repair, so that the N aisle was demolished, its arcade blocked off, and its stone used to repair the rest of the building. In 1868 a restoration was carried out byG. E. Streetin 1868, and he was responsible for the rebuilding of the N aisle and the vestry and organ chamber. In 1952 this vestry was converted into the Chapel of Our Lady. Features recorded here are the tower and chancel arches.


Lillingstone Dayrell was held by Hugh from Walter Giffard in 1086. The manor was assessed at 5 hides with meadow to support 5 plough teams and woodland for 1,200 pigs. Before the Conquest it was held by Sigeric, a man of Queen Edith. The Dayrell family held the manor at some time in the 12thc, and it remained in this family until 1885.

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


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches
Tower/Transept arches

Pevsner dates the chancel arch Early Norman, and before the tower arch, on the basis of its imposts. He must be correct in this.


F. H. Mountney, The Parish and Parish Church of Lillingstone Dayrell. Buckingham 1955, repr. 1984.

N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 431-32.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 2 (north).London1913, 167-70.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 187-91