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St Peter, Medmenham, Buckinghamshire

(51°33′13″N, 0°50′30″W)
SU 804 845
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
14 September 2011

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Feature Sets

Medmenham is a village in the south of the county, on the N bank of the Thames that forms the boundary with Berkshire. The village runs south from a crossroad on the busy A4155 midway between Henley and Marlow. The church stands at this crossroad. It has a W tower, and a long unaisled nave with N and S doorways, the former blocked and the latter protected by a brick and timber porch. At the E end of the nave is a N transept chapel. There is no chancel arch, and a short chancel with a S doorway. The nave and its doorways are 12thc work, and the chancel and transept are 15thc rebuildings of earlier features. The W tower is of 14thc - 15thc date and rendered, while the nave and chancel are of chalk rubble and knapped flint with some banded flushwork on the buttresses.

Medmenham abbey was at the S end of the village near the river.


The manor was held by Wulfstan, a thegn of Edward the Confessor, before the Conquest. In 1086 it was held by Hugh de Bolbec, and was assessed at 10 hides with meadow, woodland for 50 pigs and a fishery supplying 1000 eels. The manor passed to the earldom of Oxford, from which it was severed in 1284 when the earl, Robert de Vere, bestowed it on William de Warenne as his daughter Joan’s dowry. The church meanwhile had been granted by Hugh de Bolbec to the monks of Woburn. Medmenham abbey was founded from Woburn in 1204 on lands granted by Isabel de Bolbec, and the advowson must have travelled with it, as in 1223 it was held by Medmenham abbey. The dedication to St Peter and St Paul is recent; older sources have it as St Peter’s (e.g. VCH, Pevsner and Lipscomb’s 1848 The History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham).


Exterior Features



Despite the simplicity of the doorways the deep chamfer suggests a date towards the end of the 12thc. (Pevsner describes it as Transitional).


Buckinghamshire County Council, Historic Environment Record 0464300000.

EH, English Heritage Listed Building 46995.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire, Harmondsworth 1960, 203-04.

VCH, Victoria County History: Buckingham I, London 1905, 376-77.

VCH, Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III , London 1925, 84-89.