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St Mary Magdalene, Tingewick, Buckinghamshire

(51°59′32″N, 1°2′35″W)
SP 658 331
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
23 October 2006

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Feature Sets

Tingewick is a good-sized village in the NW of the county adjacent to the Oxfordshire border, in the Domesday hundred of Rowley, 2½ miles E of Buckingham. It is in a valley with the church on the high ground on the N side, overlooking the village. To the S is Tingewick wood, now separated from the village by the A421.

The church consists of a nave with N and S aisles and a S porch, a chancel and a W tower. The four-bay N arcade dates from the 12thc, although it has been modified and heavily restored. The three E bays are round headed but pier 3 is square and chamfered and the W bay is narrower and pointed. The N aisle is narrow and has a round-headed N window (the similar window at the W end of this aisle is 19thc). The N doorway is plain pointed and chamfered, i.e. 13thc, and has been blocked between the jambs to turn it into a window. The S arcade is also of four bays, but this aisle was added by R. C. Hussey in 1852 in a Perpendicular style. The S porch is later still. The chancel and W tower are 15thc. A datestone of 1634 reset in the S aisle wall presumably indicates a restoration. The chancel is constructed of large ashlar blocks; the E wall very obviously rebuilt. The N aisle wall is of irregularly coursed stone rubble, generally of a smaller size but with some very large blocks in the lower courses, including stone of a reddish colour. The tower is similar to the N wall. The 19thc S aisle wall is in regular ashlar.

Proposals to add a W gallery in 1832-34 and to widen the N aisle in 1843 were abandoned. A view of 1801, before the S aisle was added, matches the 1847 description of Lipscombe in showing a large four-light Perpendicular window with a central transom towards the E end of the S nave wall. According to Lipscombe this was originally one of a pair on the S wall. The major restoration was in 1851-53 and included the addition of the S aisle. Only the N arcade is recorded here.


The manor of Tingewick was held before the Conquest by Aethelnoth, a thegn of Edward the Confessor. In 1086 it was held by Ilbert de Lacy from the Bishop of Bayeux and was assessed at 10 hides with meadow for 8 ploughs and woodland for 800 pigs. There was a mill, but no church or priest was recorded.

About 1090 Ilbert de Lacy and his wife gave the manor with the land, waters and a wood belonging to it to the Benedictine alien priory of Harmondsworth (Middlesex), a cell of the abbey of Sainte-Trinité-du-Mont near Rouen, and subsequently the priors of Harmondsworth were often known as the lords of the manor of Tingewick. This situation lasted until 1390, when William of Wykeham, bishop ofWinchester, secured royal and papal authority to buy the lands of alien priories for his colleges. Tingewick and the other English possessions of Sainte-Trinité-du-Mont, became part of the endowment of his colleges atWinchesterandOxfordin the following year.

The parish now belongs to the Buckingham West benefice, i.e. Biddlesden, Shalstone, Tingewick, Turweston, Water Stratford and Westbury.


Interior Features



Pevsner suggests that pier 3 of the N arcade marks the former W wall of the nave, which was extended, perhaps at the same time as the aisle was added. He dates the arcade to the late 12thc, and it could be even later, c.1200-10, in view of the use of chamfers on arches and responds. The impost forms are varied, and the capitals are an unusual variant of the moulded bell capital. A label similarly carved with frontal sawtooth may be seen on the N doorway at Stoke Goldington, and in that case the motif is certainly a misapprehension of what was originally sawtooth by the restorers – which casts some doubt on the authenticity of the motif here.


G. Lipscomb, History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, 4 vols. London, 1847, vol. 3, 121-26.

N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire.London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 697.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 2 (north).London 1913, 299-300.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 249-51.

Victoria County History: Middlesex. I (1969), 193-204 (on Harmondsworth).