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St Mary, Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire

(51°47′1″N, 0°45′22″W)
Weston Turville
SP 859 102
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
07 August 2006

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Weston Turville is a village in E central Buckinghamshire, in the Domesday hundred of Stone, 2½ miles SE of the centre of Aylesbury and just beyond its outskirts. To the S rise theChiltern Hills. It lies along and to the S of the Ickneild Way (B4544), with the old village centre to the S of the main street. The manor is immediately N of the church, and in its grounds are the remains of a motte and bailey castle with a moat.

The church has an aisled and clerestoried nave, chancel and W tower. The nave aisles have 4-bay arcades; the two E bays of the S arcade dating from the 13thc. In the 14thc the nave was lengthened, along with the S arcade, and the present N aisle was added. The aisle windows are mid to late -14thc, square headed but with flowing tracery. The N porch is timber-framed with brick infill. On the S a modern brick lavatory has been erected over the doorway. The nave clerestory is 15thc, as is the W tower, which has diagonal W buttresses and a polygonal NW stair that rises higher than the main parapet.. The nave aisles have been extended alongside the W tower. The chancel arch is 13thc, but the chancel is 14thc with flowing tracery windows (the E window of 1860). On the N side of the chancel is a 19thc vestry. The church is of flint and stone blocks, all cement rendered except the tower. The church was restored by David Brandon in 1860 and the chancel by J. P. St Aubyn in 1879. It contains an important Aylesbury group font, and various fragments are reset in the S chancel wall, including the shaft of a 12thc pillar piscina.


In 1086 Weston Turville was a great manor of 20 hides, with meadow for 10 ploughs, woodland for 100 pigs and four mills. No church or priest was recorded. It was then held by Roger from the Bishop of Bayeux. Before the Conquest the land of this manor was divided between Earl Leofwine (9½ hides) Godric the sheriff (3½ hides), two of Godric’s men (3½ hides), one of Earl Tosti’s mean (2 hides), and 2 men of Earl Leofwine (1½ hides). After the forfeiture of Odo of Bayeux, the overlordship passed to the Counts of Meulan, Earls of Leicester, and subsequently to the duchy ofLancaster. The tenancy passed from Roger to the Bolbecs and the Turville family. In 1146 Geoffrey de Turville gave land to the abbey ofAustincanons at Great Missenden, founded around the year 1133 by one William of Missenden. The advowson of Weston Turville church was held by William de Turville at the end of the 12thc, and in 1206 he granted it to Geoffrey fitz Piers, Earl of Essex for a term of 13 years, presumably during the minority of his heir, another William.

The parish still forms its own benefice.




Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


The font belongs to a group of 22 (according to Pevsner) centred on Aylesbury, of which thirteen (not all complete) are in Buckinghamshire. These are at Aylesbury, Bledlow, Buckland, Chearsley, Chenies, Great Kimble, Great Missenden, Linslade, Little Missenden, Monks Risborough, Pitstone, Weston Turville and Wing. Of these the finest are at Aylesbury, Chenies, Great Kimble, Great Missenden (base only), Weston Turville and Wing (base only). Others in the group have shallower or less complex carving, while a further three in the county, at Ludgershall, Saunderton and Haddenham, are less adept copies of the design. Outside Buckinghamshire there are related fonts at Duston and Eydon in Northants, and at Barton-le-Clay, Dunstable, Flitwick and Houghton Regis in Bedfordshire. These fonts are normally dated late in the 12thc, c.1170-90. Thurlby suggests, on the basis of comparisons of foliage forms on the Aylesbury and Weston Turville fonts with sculpture at St Alban’s Abbey dating from the abbacy of Simon (1167-83), and on the resemblance between these fonts and liturgical chalices, that the sculptors were copying St Albans metalwork, perhaps of the kind produced by one Master Baldwin according to an account by Matthew Paris. Of the other fonts in the group, the Weston Turville font is perhaps closest to the Aylesbury font. The two have similar rim decorations and both have fluted bowls, although the Aylesbury bowl has a double-curved (cyma) profile. The motifs on the shields of the base are similar too, although the Aylesbury base is double scalloped. The nested chevron central roll of the Aylesbury font is also more complex, having two units of chevron where Weston Turville has only one. Other comparisons may be made between Weston Turville and the fonts at Great and Little Missenden (for the cushion base and its shield decoration).


C. S. Drake, The Romanesque Fonts of Northern Europe and Scandinavia.London, 2002, 26-27, 175.

R. P. Hagerty, “The Turvilles and the castleof Weston Turville”, Records of Buckinghamshire 28 (1986), 179-81.

N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 40, 724-25.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 1 (south).London 1912, 313-16.

M. Thurlby, “The Place of St Albans in Regional Sculpture and Architecture in the Second Half of the Twelfth Century.” in M. Henig & P. Lindley (ed.), Alban and St Albans. Roman and Medieval Architecture, Art and Archaeology. (British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions XXIV). Leeds 2001, 162-75.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. I (1905), 369-76 (on Missenden Abbey).

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. II (1908), 365-72.

P. A. St J. Yeoman, “Excavations at the motte, Weston Turville Manor, 1985”, Records of Buckinghamshire 28 (1986), 169-78.

P. A. St J. Yeoman, “Excavations at the Manor House, Weston Turville”, South Midlands Archaeology 16 (1986), 41-2.