Church of St Peter and St Paul, Ellesborough

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  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Church of St Peter and St Paul, Ellesborough
    A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 2. (1908).

    The church ofSt. PETER AND ST. PAUL consists of a chancel 30 ft. by 18 ft. with south organ chamber and vestry; a nave 52 ft. by 21 ft. 2 in. with south aisle 9 ft. wide, south porch, and a south-west tower 10 ft. 6 in. square, all measurements being internal.

    The whole building seems to be of 15th-century date, with modern additions and repairs, and has had its outer surface entirely renewed, so that hardly a trace of old work shows on the outside.

    The situation is an unusually fine one at the top of a spur of the Chiltern Hills, 500 ft. above the Ordnance datum and overlooking the Vale of Aylesbury.

    The east window of the chancel is completely modern and of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery over. The two windows in the north wall of the chancel are also modern and of late 14th-century detail, that to the east being of two lights, and that to the west of three, while in the south wall is a two-light window like that opposite to it on the north and the door and arch to the vestry and organ chamber, all modern and of plain detail. In this wall is a small 15th-century piscina with a shelf and a bracket, the head of its recess being embattled. The chancel arch is also much restored, but in the main of 15th-century date.

    The nave is of five bays and is lit on the north by three large three-light windows with modern tracery of 15th-century detail in 15th-century openings. The blocked north door is between the west pair of windows and is of two moulded orders contemporary with the rest; it has a trefoiled recess for holy water to the east. The south arcade is of four bays with four-centred arches of two moulded orders, octagonal pillars and capitals, the abaci of the capitals being slightly concave in plan.

    West of the arcade is a single arch to the tower which is built at the west end of the aisle. The arch detail is identical with that in the nave arcade, while the abacus of the west respond of the arcade is continued round the north-east pier of the tower and runs into the capitals of the tower arches. The west window of the nave is of three lights like those on the north and, like them, has modern tracery in a 15th-century opening. The west door externally is completely modern but the internal reveal and moulded rear-arch are of 15th-century date.

    At the east end of the south wall of the aisle is a two-light window similar in detail, date, and degree of restoration to the north windows of the nave, but somewhat broader in proportion. The south door opposite the fourth bay of the arcade is continuously moulded with a double ogee and, externally at least, is quite modern. West of this is a modern single cinquefoiled light with tracery over.

    The south porch is completely modern and has a continuously moulded entrance arch of 14th-century detail, over which are a pair of modern niches containing figures of St. Peter and St. Paul.

    The south-west tower is of three stages with an embattled parapet and a south-east octagonal turret staircase, it is of considerable height with belfry windows of two cinquefoiled lights, single trefoiled lights in the second stage, and a two-light west window on the ground stage.

    The font has an octagonal 14th-century bowl upon a modern base and stem. The bowl is moulded and of ogee profile, its faces being panelled with flowing tracery in relief. The roofs throughout are modern.

    In a recess in the aisle is a handsome black and white marble monument to Bridget Croke, 1638. On a moulded sarcophagus of black marble is the white marble effigy of a woman in the costume of the period of Charles I, an extremely well executed and well preserved piece of work, the various details of the costume being treated with the utmost care and exactness. Above the effigy is a white marble semicircular pediment springing from the cornice of a complete entablature of the composite order, which is supported on either hand by a free and an engaged black marble column with white marble bases and capitals. The soffit of the entablature is panelled, the panels having alternately cherubs’ heads and rosettes in relief. The inscription is cut on a slate slab let into the white marble back and has no date. Above is Croke impaling Hawtrey, between Croke and a lozenge with Hawtrey.

    In the north aisle on the wall is a brass with the figures of Thomas Hawtrey, 1544, Sybil his wife, and eleven sons and seven daughters, with the Hawtrey shield, apparently engraved over another coat. Below is the inscription of another brass to Mary, ‘somtyme the wyfe of Will[ia]m Hawtrey,’ who died in 1555. In the floor of this aisle are slabs to the following: Henry Croke, 1588, with the Croke arms quartering a fesse nebuly between three rings; Henry Croke, 1662, with Croke quartering a shield bearing a chaplet; Sir Robert Croke, 1680, with Croke bearing the last quartered shield in pretence, and Susannah Croke, 1685. In the chancel is also a slab to Robert Wallis rector, 1666. In the windows of the organ chamber are preserved a few fragments of 15th and 17th-century glass. There is no woodwork of any interest in the church, but in the vestry is a large chest with handsome brass hinges, lock-plate, &c. of 17th-century date.

    The tower contains six bells, the treble cast by Mears and Stainbank in 1870; the second, third, fourth, and tenor by Thomas Mears, 1823, and the fifth by G. Mears, 1863.

    The church plate consists of a large covered cup of 1569, of extremely graceful design with a band of typical Elizabethan ornament. The sacred monogram and some of the Crucifixion emblems have been engraved on it at a later date; there are also a plated flagon and salver.

    The first book of the registers contains all entries between 1603 and 1663. The second book (overlapping the first) contains baptisms from 1659 to 1739; burials from 1660 to 1739, with burials in woollen from 1678 and marriages from 1662 to 1739. A third book contains all entries from 1740, baptisms and burials running to 1812, and marriages to 1753. A fourth book contains the marriages and banns from 1754 to 1812.