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St Mary Magdalene, Shabbington, Buckinghamshire

(51°45′21″N, 1°2′11″W)
SP 666 068
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
06 July 2007

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Feature Sets

Shabbington is a village in the east of central Buckinghamshire, 10 miles SW of Aylesbury on the Oxfordshire border, formed at this point by the river Thame. The village is in the low rolling pasture-land of the Thame floodplain, and the church is in the village centre, on the S side of the high street.

It consists of a nave with a N porch (facing the village), chancel and W tower. Nave and chancel are 11thc in origin, with areas of herringbone masonry among the coursed rubble. The S nave doorway is 14thc, but the round arch of a very tall and narrow earlier doorway is visible above it. The N doorway and porch are 19thc, and the reticulated nave windows are either 19thc replacements or very heavily restored. The S wall of the chancel has been rebuilt, reusing two early-14thc windows, the E window is a three-light intersecting window with cusped heads, and in the chancel N wall is one window with intersecting tracery and a rectangular low-side window. The W tower is 15thc with diagonal W buttresses and two large triangular 19thc buttresses supporting the W wall. The main W window is 3-light Perpendicular and the double bell-openings are in a plain 15th-16thc style. The only Romanesque sculpture is a loose capital, which was in the N porch when the visit was made.


Shabbington was held by Miles Crispin in 1086, and was assessed at 10 hides, 3 of which were in demesne. The manor also had a mill, meadow for 10 plough-teams, a fishery rendering 100 eels and woodland for 100 pigs. It was held before the Conquest by Vigot of Wallingford. Land here was given by Miles, or his son Hugh, to the abbey of Bec in Normandy around the year 1087, and in 1299 property here was given to the Knights Hospitaller.

The parish is now in the benefice of Worminghall with Ickford, Oakley and Shabbington.


Loose Sculpture


Much of the fabric of the church betrays evidence of an 11thc date, but unfortunately no sculpture survives from this phase. The trumpet-scallop capital is likely to date from the end of the 12thc, and its size suggests that it may have come from a doorway. A comparable trumpet scallop capital may be seen at nearby Ickford, on the chancel arch.


N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 616.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 1 (south). London 1912, 277-78.

H. E. Salter, “Two deeds about the Abbey of Bec”, English Historical Review, 40, 157, (1925), 73-78.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 102-05.