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St Michael, Lavendon, Buckinghamshire

(52°10′26″N, 0°39′42″W)
SP 916 537
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Milton Keynes
medieval St Mary
now St Michael
  • Ron Baxter
01 November 2011

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Lavendon is a village in the extreme N of the county, on the A428 road from Northampton (10 miles) to Bedford (8 miles). The church stands on a bend in the centre of the village. It consists of a plain 11thc W tower of rubble with some herringbone masonry and plain rubble lancet windows. The top storey was added in the 14th or 15thc. The nave is Romanesque in origin (see the blocked window in the N arcade wall), with aisles added in the late-12thc (S) and the 13thc (N). In the 15thc a clerestorey was added. The E end of the N aisle is fitted as a chapel, and in the corresponding situation on the S is the organ room. There are embattled N and S porches; the S of 2 storeys. A blocked window in the chancel S wall indicates 12thc fabric, but it was remodelled in the 13thc. Romanesque features described here are the S nave arcade and a piscina set in the N aisle chapel.


The Domesday survey records 7 holdings in Lavendon. The Countess Judith held 3 manors: one of 2 hides and 1¼ virgates was held from her by Roger, and by Hunmann, a man of Alli, a housecarl of Edward the Confessor, in 1066; the second, of 2 hides and 1 virgate was held from her by Gilbert de Blosseville and by Alli before the Conquest; a third, held from her by Ralph in 1086 and by Thorbert, a man of Countess Goda in 1066, was assessed at 1 hide. A manor of 2½ hides was held by Humphrey from the Count of Mortain, held by a man of Aelfric, son of Goding in 1066. A manor of 2 hides and 1¼ virgates was held by Ralph from Walter Giffard, held by a man of Bishop Wulfwig before the Conquest.. The Bishop of Coutances held 2 hides as a manor, held by a man of Burgraed before the Conquest. Finally Ketil held half a hide of the King, before and after the Conquest.

Of these holdings the church was in the Countess Judith's manor held from her by Ralph. The church was given to the Abbey of Lavendon by Hugh of St Medard, the earliest identified tenant, at an unspecified date, the gift being confirmed by his grandson John de St Medard in 1236-37.


Interior Features




Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


It seems probable that the piscina started its life as a pillar piscina, the pillar being discarded when it was installed in its niche. The capital or bowl is unusual in combining elements of the cushion and Corinthianesque forms in two distinct registers.

Main arcade capitals with heads at the angles like this are unusual in Buckinghamshire and Romanesque comparisons are not known to me. It is more of a Yorkshire feature (see Hayton (East Riding)). The arcade itself may date from c.1200 or even a few years later.


W. Farrer, Honors and Knights Fees, 3 vols, Manchester 1925, I, 4.

Historic England Listed Building 397102

G. Lipscombe, History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, 4 vols. London, 1843, 208-19.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 379-87.