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All Saints, Lathbury, Buckinghamshire

(52°5′47″N, 0°43′26″W)
SP 875 450
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Milton Keynes
  • Ron Baxter
07 September 2006

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Lathbury is a small village inNorth Buckinghamshire(ancient hundred of Bunsty), a mile from the northern edge of Newport Pagnell. It stands in fertile, low-lying farmland in a loop of the Great Ouse. The village is on the road from Newport Pagnell toNorthampton, and the church with the hall alongside it is some 300 yards away from the village centre, alongside the river. The present hall,LathburyPark, dates from 1801 and replaced a medieval manor house on the same site.

All Saints consists of an aisled and clerestoried nave, chancel and W tower. Remains of the original early-12thc structure can be seen in the form of a blocked window in the S wall of the nave, now partly removed by the later arcade, and a tympanum carved with lions now reset in the N nave arcade wall at the E end. The S arcade dates from the end of the 12thc, as does the S nave doorway (the N doorway is 18thc). The unbuttressed, thick-walled W tower is apparently slightly later (early 13thc according to RCHME). The tower arch has been entirely remade but retains some 12thc features; and the tower windows, plain pointed and chamfered lancets on the first two levels and double pointed and chamfered bell-openings on the third, are early 13thc work. The S porch also belongs to this period but was rebuilt in the 19thc. The N arcade dates from c1300, as do the clerestory and the aisle windows, which have intersecting or Y-tracery. The chancel arch is contemporary with the N arcade, but the chancel windows are stylistically later, with reticulated tracery. Battlements have been added to nave, aisles and tower, all in blocks of brown ironstone that contrast with the greyish yellow irregularly coursed limestone rubble of the rest of the building. The tower battlement is recent; the rest possibly 15thc. There was a restoration in 1869 and Lathbury received a grant for repairs, carried out by L. E. King ofLondonin 1962-65.


In 1086 William d’Orange held four hides here from Hugh de Beauchamp as a manor. The holding also included meadow and woodland for 100 pigs. Before the Conquest two thegns, Leofric and Wulfgeat, held it as two manors. In addition, ploughland rated at one hide less five feet was held by the Bishop of Lisieux from the Bishop of Bayeux in 1086, having been held before the Conquest by Sigeric, a man of Earl Leofric. ThechurchofLathburywas part of the foundation endowment of the Premonstratensian abbey of Lavendon, which was founded by John de Bidun some time in the mid-12thc. John was sheriff of the county in 1154. The manor of Lathbury was also held, at least in part, by the abbey, and in 1284 the Abbot answered for half the vill. At the Dissolution Lavendon’s possessions passed to the Crown, and Lathbury later passed toChristChurchCollege,Oxford.

The parish now belongs to the benefice of Newport Pagnell with Lathbury and Moulsoe.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches



Interior Decoration


RCHME dates the tympanum to c1130, and the S doorway c1190. Pevsner prefers a date of 1090-1100 for the tympanum (a date accepted by the present author), and dates the S arcade to the late 12thc and the S doorway to c.1200. There seems no reason not to attribute the two last to the same campaign since they include similar stiff-leaf decoration. The inventive treatment of the amphisbaena capital is one of the delights of latest 12thc sculpture in the county –certainly meriting more than Pevsner’s bland description of it as “capital with dragons”. The same sculptors worked at Newton Longville and on the font at Old Linslade, both nearby.


N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings ofEngland: Buckinghamshire.London1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 424-25.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 2 (north).London1913, 158-61.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. I (1905), 384-86 (on Lavendon).

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927) 372-79.