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St Bartholomew, Fingest, Buckinghamshire

(51°36′51″N, 0°52′45″W)
SU 777 912
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter

14 September 2011

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Fingest is a small village in the Chiltern Hills, surrounded by wooded rolling pasture. It consists of a few houses, a pub and the church clustered around a minor crossroads some 5 miles W of High Wycombe. The church is dominated by its 12thc W tower with a later twin gabled roof. It has an unaisled nave with a plain round-headed N lancet indicating a 12thc date, and a 13thc chancel with no chancel arch. Entry is through the timber S porch. The exterior is rendered, although much has been lost from the tower. Romanesque features recorded here are the tower bell-openings and tower arch.


The manor of Fingest is not recorded in the Domesday Survey, but was granted with the church to St Albans Abbey during the abbacy of Richard Daubeny (1097-1119). The abbey held the manor until 1163, when a legal dispute over its ownership was settled in favour of the Bishop of Lincoln. It remained attached to the see of Lincoln until 1547, when it was alienated to Edward, Duke of Somerset, the Protector. The advowson of the church followed the manor throughout the Middle Ages.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Pevsner makes the point that the famous tower of Fingest is “absurdly mighty” for the church appended to it. Clapham has suggested that the tower served as a nave when first built, with the present nave as the chancel. The bell-openings have clearly been restored rather patchily. Capitals are very plain, and the only decorative feature of much interest is the extra ornament given to the S face, which looks onto the village street.


Buckinghamshire County Council, Historic Environment Record 0463800000.

EH, English Heritage Listed Building 46688.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, Harmondsworth 1960, 136.

VCH, Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III , London 1925, 42-45.