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St Peter, Wingrave, Buckinghamshire

(51°51′49″N, 0°44′21″W)
SP 869 191
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Buckinghamshire
  • Ron Baxter
04 August 2006

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Wingrave is in the E of central Buckinghamshire, 4 miles NE of Aylesbury and a mile from the Hertfordshire border in the Domesday hundred of Cottesloe. It is a large village on a hill, set in rolling farmland, now mostly arable but previously predominantly pasture, with the church in the centre.

Wingrave church has a W tower, a nave with aisles and clerestory, a chancel with a vestry and organ chamber on the S and a curious narrow chamber on the N, suggested by Pevsner to have been an anchorite’s cell. The chancel is the earliest part of the church, and has the remains of a blind arcade, stylistically of c1190, on the N and S interior walls. From the exterior masonry it is clear that it has been extended, and towards the E end a blocked S window and a lancet in the N wall with a dogtooth label continued as a stringcourse indicate that the lengthening took place at the beginning of the 13thc. It is unclear whether the interior blind arcade was added when the chancel was extended, or whether an existing arcade was lengthened then, but the capitals; largely stiff–leaf throughout, perhaps point to the first alternative. The narrow N chapel is much restored, but has a pointed barrel vault and wallpaintings that may also be 13thc. The lower storey of the tower is also early-13thc, with stiff-leaf capitals on the tower arch, but diagonal buttresses were added in the 14thc or 15thc. The upper storey is 19thc. The nave has a sanctus bell over the E gable. The 5-bay nave arcades are 14thc, and the clerestory and aisle windows are 15thc, much restored. The S doorway is 15thc too, and the chancel may have been heightened at this time. The church was extensively remodelled in G. Vialls of Ealing’s restoration of 1887-89. The S organ room and vestry date from this period, as does the S porch, and most of the 15thc window tracery was replaced then. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt in 1898. Romanesque sculpture is found in the blind arcades of the chancel and the 12thc font.


In 1086 the manor of Wingrave was held by Nigel from Miles Crispin. It consisted of 5 hides and meadow for 5 ploughs. Before the Conquest it was held by Beorhtric, a man of Queen Edith. Nigel may have been the ancestor of William and Robert Pipard, who held fees of the honour ofWallingford(to which Wingrave then belonged) in 1166. In 1235 and 1236 Wingrave was held by William Pipard. It stayed in this family until 1364, when it passed to Margaret Pipard, wife of Sir Warin Lisle. His heir was his daughter Margaret, wife of Sir Thomas de Berkeley, who succeeded in 1382. The manor continued to pass through the female line, until in 1538 it was sold to Thomas, Lord Rock. It subsequently passed to the Hydes (1569), and the Dormers (1607).

A second manor was held in 1086 by Wibald from Gunfrid de Choques. This was of 6 hides with meadow for 5 ploughs, and had been held by Swein, a thegn of King Edward, before the Conquest. A third holding of 1½ hides was held by Alan from the Count of Mortain. It was held by Ordmaer, a man of Beorhtric, before the Conquest. By the 13thc this land was held by the Wedons, who had previously given the church of Wingrave to St Alban’s abbey, so it is fair to assume that the church lay in this small holding.

The church was given by William, son of Alured de Wedon to St Alban’s abbey in the later 12thc, and the abbey retained the advowson (not without opposition from Alured’s descendants) until the Dissolution, when it passed to the crown.

The parish is now part of the benefice of Wingrave with Rowsham, Aston Abbotts and Cublington.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration

Blind arcades




Pevsner dates the entire chancel to c1190. VCH attributes the building of the 12thc church to William, son of Alured de Wedon. The font is almost certainly older than the Transitional chancel.


N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 752-53

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Buckingham. Volume 2 (north).London 1913, 337-39.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. III (1925), 458-65.