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Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Twyford, Buckinghamshire

(51°56′5″N, 1°2′2″W)
SP 665 267
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
18 June 2008

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Twyford is in the W ofN Buckinghamshire, 5 miles S of Buckingham and a mile from the Oxfordshire border. The village is on gently rising land on the S side of Padbury Brook. The church is at the N end of the village, alongside the brook, and consists of an aisled nave with a S porch, chancel with a N organ room and vestry, and a W tower. The nave is 12thc, and of this phase is the S doorway (reset in the aisle wall) and chancel arch (later remodelled). In the mid-13thc, a S chapel was added in a transept-like position at the E end of the nave, and the S aisle was also added. The N aisle was added a few years later, and the W tower was begun, and at that point the decision was taken to extend both aisles westwards alongside the tower, so that they were of the present 4 bays. At some time in the 13thc too the chancel was rebuilt and the chancel arch was remodelled. The nave clerestory was added in the 15thc, and the S aisle widened to the same width as the S chapel, absorbing it. This aisle is thus much wider than the N (15ft 7in as opposed to 6ft). The tower was not completed until the late-15thc, the S porch was added then or later (it has a datestone of 1619), and an embattled parapet was added to the chancel. The nave, chancel and tower were restored in 1887, and the S aisle and porch in 1897. Romanesque sculpture is found on the S doorway and the chancel arch. A loose corbel in the form of a head is also described here but is considered doubtful.


Twyford was held by Ralph de Fougeres in 1086, and was assessed at 17 hides, 6 of which were in demesne. The manor also included meadow for 3 plough-teams and woodland for 100 pigs. In 1066 it was held by Countess Goda, and a man of Earl Harold held 3 hides there as a manor. Twyford was retained by the Lords of Fougeres, descending to Ralph’s great grandson William, whose lands were in the king’s hands in 1207. It passed thereafter with the Fougeres estates inDevonto Randolhp, Earl of Chester through his marriage to Clemence, William de Fougeres’ daughter. He died without issue in 1232 and Twyford passed to the crown. It was granted in the same year to Richard Marshal, earl of Pembroke, and in the following year to Peter Duke of Brittany and Earl of Richmond. When Peter withdrew his allegiance from the king in 1235, Twyford was seized and granted to Walter Marshal who died in 1245. In 1246 it was granted to Ralph fitzNicholas and he, or his son Robert, subinfeudated it some time after 1254 and before 1276 to John Giffard, who was holding in 1290. It remained in this family until the end of the 14thc.

Half of the church had been given by a member of the Fougeres family to the Priory of Fougeres before 1207. Presentations were made by the priory in 1225 and 1235. In 1260 Robert fitzNicholas claimed and won the right of presentation, and it eventually passed to the Bishop of Lincoln.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Loose Sculpture


The main comparison is with Radclive, where simplified beakhead is found on the chancel arch jambs and in stones set in the interior E nave wall. The Radclive chancel arch was similarly remade in the 13thc. The work at Radclive is here dated to 1125-40, and this must be more or less contemporary. If the loose head is 12thc it must belong to the very end of the century, but such objects are difficult to date when out of context.


N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire.London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 700-01.

N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire.London 1960, 270-71.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 2 (north).London 1913, 302-07.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 254-59.