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All Saints, Wotton Underwood, Buckinghamshire

(51°50′14″N, 1°0′10″W)
Wotton Underwood
SP 688 159
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
28 February 2008

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Feature Sets

Wotton Underwood is a village in the west of central Buckinghamshire, 8 miles W of Aylesbury and a similar distance SE of Bicester. The church stands in the landscaped grounds of Wotton House, built for Richard Grenville between 1704 and 1714 and rebuilt by Soane after a fire in 1820. All Saints’ church consists of a nave, chancel and W tower, and on the S side of the nave the Grenville aisle, separately roofed. The church dates largely from the early 14thc, and the Grenville aisle was originally a chantry chapel founded by William de Grenville in 1343. It received new wrought iron gates by Jean Tijou at the E end in the early 18thc, and was rebuilt with a stone screen in the Decorated style by the Duke of Buckingham in 1867. Around that time the entire church was comprehensively restored. The W tower was rebuilt in a 13thc style at the beginning of the 19thc, and the green copper spire also dates from that time. The only Romanesque sculpture is a section of frieze now set as a pseudo-lintel above the door connecting the nave to the W tower. It is described below as interior decoration.


The manor was held by Walter Giffard in 1086, and belonged to the honour of Giffard, descending to the Marshals, Earls of Pembroke, and their successors the Valences. The sub-tenant in 1086 was Ralph, and the manor was assessed at 10 hides with meadow for 5 plough-teams and woodland for 200 pigs. There is a connection with the Grenville family from an early date, Gerard de Grenville being recorded here in 1166. After his death around 1184 the manor passed to his nephew Eustace, who was succeeded by Richard de Grenville, recorded in 1213 and 1236. His son, Eustace, was in possession in 1255 and 1284. The church was a peculiar of Canterbury, belonging to St Gregory’s priory, Canterbury. It is said to have formed part of the endowment of the cell of St Gregory’s at Bentley. After the Dissolution the possessions of St Gregory’s were granted to the see ofCanterbury. Before 1102 Walter Giffard granted tithes to the abbey of St Faith in Longueville, which were enjoyed by its cell at Newton Longville. These passed to New College Oxford on the suppression of the alien priories in the 14thc.

The parish is now part of the Bernwode benefice, i.e. Ashendon, Boarstall, Brill, Chilton, Dorton, Ludgershall and Wotton Underwood.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration


Similar diaper work is found on the lintel of the S nave doorway at Leckhampstead, here dated before 1130.


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

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 1 (south).London 1912, 326-27.

A. Sharpe, History of All Saints’. The Parish Church of Wotton Underwood Buckinghamshire. Church guide 1979, revised 3rd ed. 1990.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 130-34.