St Laurence Church

Postcard of the church and new churchyard

History of the Church

Church before 1883 restoration
This pen and ink drawing shows the church before restoration began in 1883

Winslow Church 1862
This photo from by C. May & E. Rolls, Churches and Mansions: Buckinghamshire (1862) is the earliest known one of the Church

Church inventory, 1552

F.C. Eeles, The Edwardian Inventories of Buckinghamshire (Longmans, 1908) (click here to read the whole book)

The Protestant government of Edward VI required all parish churches to submit an inventory of their moveable goods so that those used for Catholic worship could be confiscated. We don't know what happened in Winslow, but in many cases items were hidden or bought by Catholics and returned to the churches when Mary I (1553-58) temporarily restored Catholicism.

[p.86] Wynslo cum Schepton
Thys Indentr . . . . made [23 July 1552] . . . .of all the goodes . . . .  perteynynge to the paryche of . . . . Wynslowe betwene [the same commissioners by virtue of the same commission and] Ryc[hard] Dekyn curat of Wynslowe afor[said and Antony] Wendelborowe and Iohn Skotte churche wardenes . . . all wyche goodes [etc.]
The inventory of the goodes of the churche of Wynslowe presenttyd by me Ryc[hard] Dekyn curat and Antony Wendellborow and Iohn Skotte churche wardenes
. . . . . challys of sillv(e)r perty gylte a cope of crymsyn velvet and another of say and j vestyment of crymsyn vellvet and a nothe of blew sattyn . . . [dama]ske ij other olde vestymentes ij syrplycys iij awltyr clothys and hanggyns before ye auter ij coparys with clothys in the same ij crossys on[e] . . . brasse one crosse clothe and a crysmatory of pewter a crueyt of pewter a hally water stoke of lattyn iij towelles a canapy clothe of . . . . . ys one of lattyn a nother of brasse ij candyllstyckes of lattyn ij old coffers and [p.87] a coffer w(i)the ij lockes wheryn ye rejister lyethe iiij bell[es] . . . . . . and bockes a cording to ye kynges maiestis procedyng 
[Signatures of the commissioners]
[Endorsed] . . . . [cr]uett . . . . of b[rasse] . . . . . Item j pax of brase ____ xxd sold for xxd
M(emoran)d(um) they have browght in more two deacons of salke with the apparelles and a vestyment of the same with a pix of coper and gylt

Enquiry into the Rectory of Winslow, 1581

National Archives, E178/443 (original in Latin)

According to the Survey of 1556, John Boston held the Rectory of Winslow, i.e. the right to collect the great tithes (now separated from the ownership of the manor), from Lady Day 1544 for 40 years, paying £40 p.a., but he died in 1558. On 25 April 1581, the Exchequer ordered an enquiry into the Rectory of Winslow. The Rectory with all fruits and tenths of corn and hay in Winslow and Shipton, with a barn and close [as held by John Boston], had been leased (along with other crown property in London and elsewhere) to David de Leye, goldsmith, on 24 April 1573 for 21 years for £14 p.a., the lease beginning on Lady Day 1584 when John Boston's term expired (Calendar of Patent Rolls, Elizabeth I vol.6, no.70). He is not mentioned in the document, but the enquiry apparently resulted from a dispute over the terms of his lease. The commissioners were ordered to find out:

whether (the Rectory's) houses and buildings are in decay and ruin or not, whether any spoliation or waste have been committed or done in and around the aforesaid houses and buildings of the aforesaid Rectory or not. And if so, then who committed or did the same spoliation or waste, and which and what sort of repairs the Rectory or any part of it needs.  And who up to now has been accustomed to hold and maintain the same Rectory, and now and afterwards should hold and maintain it,

The enquiry was held on 20 May 1581 by Paul Dayrell, Michael Harcourte and George Throgmorton (Nicholas Beste, also included in the original commission, apparently did not participate). The following twelve men of Winslow were sworn in:

Robert Wyllyatt, gent.
John Cowper
Richard Pereson
John Hopper

Richard Capenhurste
Benedict Holland
John Pytkyn
John Stevenes

John Graunt
William Glenester
Robert Ellyott
Robert Brimpton

They say on their oath that the barn of the Rectory of Winslow specified in the aforesaid commission is in decay for lack of repairs to a value of £35. Then the aforesaid jurors say on their oath that spoliation and waste have been committed and left in and around the houses and buildings belonging to the aforesaid Rectory and barn, namely: two "bayes" of the houses and buildings have been wasted and taken away from the Rectory; a structure called "a leanto" is in decay; and that the spoliation and waste committed in the said bayes of the houses and buildings and the decay on the structure amount to a value of £5. And furthermore the aforesaid jurors say on their oath that all necessary repairs of every sort in and around the houses and buildings belonging to the Rectory are to be performed and undertaken by our lady the Queen and the tenant of the above equally and in equal shares.

Clear records the following further leases of the Rectory:

The lease to Henry Best is found in Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1595-7, CCLI 5(6), p.5: 25 Jan 1595
Lease in reversion to Henry Best for 31 years of Winslow parsonage, the site of Whaddon manor, the herbage of Whaddon Park called Queen's Park, woods in Prince's Risborough and South Stoke (Somerset). Total rent £25 5s 4d p.a. No fine, in recompense of pay due to the late Captain David Powell for service in France and the Low Countries, at the suit of his widow Jane.

There is a later summary in in CBS, D/BAS/22/370/15 (a schedule of documents mainly concerning Whaddon and Biddlesden, apparently dated 1615):
The lease of the parsonage Wynslowe by lettres pattents 26 Eliz: to Henry Best and by him assigned to my La(dy) was for 31 yeares from the Annuntiacion of Our Lady 1605. At the Rent of 24 li. per annum payable at Michaelmas and Our Lady Day. There is to come of that lease 21 yeares at Our Lady Day last.
"My Lady" refers to Jane Sibilla, widow of Arthur 14th Baron Grey of Wilton, who died in 1615.

A separate list (370/55) of estimated values of the various holdings lists:
The lease of Winslowe parsonage for xxj yeares to come worth 100 li. per annum ultra repris[as] at eight yeares purchase but receaved yearly 80 .... 800 li.

TNA, PROB 11/126/40: will of Lady Jane Sibilla Grey of Wilton, Wilts, 1616
... And my will herein further ys and I do hereby further will limitt and appoynte that all my landes and leases vizt The lease and leases of ye demeasnes of Whaddon and of Whaddon Parke The lease of the mannor \& mannors/ of Whaddon and Nashe The lease of Olney The twoe leases of Whaddon parsonage The lease of the parsonage of Wynslowe ... shall remayne be and contynewe to the uses intents and purposes hereafter in these presents expressed & declared To the use of my sayed loving daughter Briget [wife of Rowland Egerton] for and during her naturall life And after her decease Then to the use of Thomas Egerton sonne of the sayed Briget for and during all the residue of the saied tearmes and leases ...

Bridget Egerton (a writer on religion) died in 1648, so it appears that she and her son (who predeceased her) sold the remainder of their lease to the 1st Duke of Buckingham. There is a letter from her to him dated 1616 in the British Library (Add MS 37069 f.202).

Sequestration of the Rectory, 1658

National Archives, E367/2368

The estates of the 2nd Duke of Buckingham were confiscated in 1647. The commissioners named below (some of the most prominent Parliamentarians in Bucks, including Bulstrode Whitelocke) treated the rectory of Winslow, i.e. the right to collect the tithes, separately from the manor, and gave Joseph Seare a lease of it.

A Perticuler of the lands & tenements of George Duke of Buckingham, a Delinquent lyinge in the County of Buck
The Farme of the Rectory of Winslowe in the County of Buck nowe or late in the occupac(i)on of )
Joseph Seare or of his Assignes the cleere yearely value in all issued over and beyond reprizes   )  C li [£100]

Bee it remembered That this Perticuler made by an Inquisic(i)on indented taken at Aylesbury in the County aforesaid the nyne and twentieth day of Aprill in the yeare of our Lord 1658 before Samuel Bedford Christofer Egleton Christofer Henn and Henry Phillipps Esqs by virtue of a Com(m)ission from his Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England &c to them and others directed whereby it is found by the oathes of Giles Child and other good and lawfull men of the Said County that George Duke of Buckingham heretofore Sequestred for his Delinquency and at the tyme of the takeing of the Said Inquisic(i)on was seized in his Demesne as of Fee of and in the Said Rectory And that the same was then or late in the occupac(i)on of the said Joseph Seare or his assignes and is of the yearely value above expressed
Bee it also remembered that by a Scedule to the said Com(m)ission and Inquisic(i)on annexed Symon Mayne Samuel Bedford and Christofer Henn Esquires three of the Com(m)issioners in the Said Com(m)ission named have certefied That by vertue of the Said Com(m)ission to the Said Scedule annexed to them and others directed, that they have seized the respective lands and estates found in  the Inquisic(i)on  to the Said Com(m)ission annexed And that they had made a Contract with the Said Joseph Seare for the Said Rectory for One hundred pounds per Annum cleere rent beyond reprizes for the tearme of one and twenty yeares payable halfe yearely by equall porcons to com(m)ence from Lady day then last past
Bee it also remembered That this Perticuler is made by virtue of an order from the Right Hono(ura)ble the Lordes Com(m)issioners of the Treasury made the nynth day June of 1658

xxjth day of October 1658  Exa(m)i(n)ed by Jo: Payne [signature]
                                                in absence of the Remembrancer

By the Com(sione)r of the Trea(su)ry
October 29th 1658
Lett a Lease be made of the premisses  or soe much thereof as is conteyned in the above menc(i)oned Contract and noe more unto the above named Joseph Seare, for and under the yearely Rent for the terme in the said Contract expressed and according to the forme of the Lease and the Covenants to be observed in cases of this nature. And this shalbe your Warrant.
B Whitelocke [signature]                                                                              Thos Widdington [signature]
To our loving freind Sr Henry Croke knt
Clerke of the pipe or his deputy

Grant of the Rectory, 1658

National Archives, E367/2553

The document recites the commissioners' findings and agreement above. Richard Cromwell, Lord Protector, grants the Rectory to Joseph Seare, his executors, administrators and assigns, to hold for 21 years from Lady Day last past for £100 p.a. payable to the Exchequer or the Receiver-General in Bucks "if the right and interest of the Duke of Buckingham shall soe longe continue". Seare and his heirs will "at their proper costs and charges (great timber to bee had and taken in and upon the premisses by the assignment of the said Receiver excepted) all and singuler the Chancell of the parish Church of Winslowe aforesaid, as all houses, buildings ... in, by and with all needfull and necessary reparations whatsoever well and sufficiently from time to time ... as neede shall require repaire, amend, susteine and keepe." Seare will "lay and imploy all the dunge and other manure whatsoever made ... upon the said premisses respectively and not upon any other lands whatsoever and shall in due and husbandly manner plowe and manure ... or shall suffer the same to lye fallowe and shall leave possession of fallow grounds sheepe pastures and meadowes unto us" in the March or April before the end of the term.

Signed: B. Whitelocke, Th. Widdington. 22 Nov 1658.

Description of the church, early 18th century

British Library, Add. MS 5840, f.202r

William Cole’s transcription of Browne Willis’s notes and papers.  This is apparently a letter to Willis from Rev. John Croft, who died in 1716.

Winslow Church 42 f.b. 62 long, consists of 3 Isles, rooft with good Timber & coverd with Lead throwout.  The 2 westermost Pillers are very massive supporting the Towre, which at the Bottom opens by 2 great Arches into the N. & S. Isles.  There are newly made 2 Vestries & in the N. Vestry a Chimney. A 3d great Arch in the Towre opens into the Nave, where over the Seats & middle Space from the Bellfrey, is a small neat Gallery for promiscuous Men, Boys &c.  The West End Wall under the Towre, which answers to the 2 great Pillars, supports a great strong Towre, rising from the Ground 64 Foot, cover’d with Lead & neatly embatteled; built since the Invention of Guns, as I conceive, by the Loop Holes in the Battlements, such as you see on the Towre of the W. Church in St: Stratford.  The Bells you know.  The Chancell is the Breadth of the Nave of the Church, near 20 Foot, & near twice the Length within the Walls.  Mr. Secretary Lowndes purchasing this Mannor, with the Impropriation, found this Chancell in the same Pickle Cornelius Holland left it: the ground of it level & arable, the Roof a Colender.  He new run & laid the Lead throwout, pav’d it with Bister Stones rubb’d & broad: at the East End sunk a Vault for a Dormitory, o’re which he raisd the Altar-Place, 2 handsom Steeps compast it with a neat Rail, pav’d with Danish Marble; gave a new elegant Communion Table, behind which his eldest son Robert Esqr set up a handsom Wainscot, having the Creed, Decalogue & Lord’s Prayer curiously wrot with Gold upon Black.  He new glaz’d the Windows throwout.  In the old Glass remain’d only of Paint, an old Gothiq M. & a Starr: The Romanists call the B. Virgin, Stella Maris Maria, which remain in the East Window, over Mr. Lowndes’s Coat of Arms, sett up the Commencement of this Century, as appears by the Date.

There remains in the N. Wall of the Chancell the Marks of a Door stopt up, which opened, as I guess, into a Vestry there: ‘twas either actually built, or intended.  The stones in the outside Wall were left toothing: but forasmuch as the Out-Wall of the Chancell, which was the Inside of the Vestry, as far as the toothing reach’d, is plaister’d with White-Lime, I know it must have been built.  A narrow Hole in the Wall, on the Chancell Side, opening wider & wider into the Vestry, like a Hatch, is nerely filled up.  From this, I conceive, the Deacons in the Vestry, administred to the officiating Priest Wafers, Wine, Water, Candles, &c.  Or perhaps it might be likewise an Oratory, abus’d to superstitious Uses: & so they that hated Idolls, lov’d the Sacriledg of it.

[The Hole in the Wall probably was for those in the Vestry to see the Officiating Priest thro’.  Wm. Cole]

The great Porch entring the S. Isle of the Church deserves Attention.  ‘Tis built after the Manner of Sir John Shorn’s Chancell of Cotsgrove: Stone rooft with Timber well moulded, is cover’d with Lead: ‘tis neatly embattel’d & pinnacled.  Over the Porch Door remains a small Niech, in which perhaps formerly stood St. Laurence, the Saint to whom the Church is dedicated: but He, I believe, fell down with the Reformation; & the Battlements & Pinnacle over his Head rued the Misery of his Neibourhood.

Antiquities that have escap’d your Knowledge are few.  Upon an old Herse Cloth, in a Circle about the Midle, since I came hither, I have seen written, Pray for the Souls of John & Jane Gadbury.  Here was likewise an old velvet Pulpit Cloath, with Abundance of Arms both in Escutcheon & Lozenge-wise: the same, self same, & in the same Posture they are placed on a Tomb Stone in Mursley Chancel.  Good Sir, perpetuate them for Winslow sake.  [v. p.184 W.C.]  The Fyges obtained the Pulpit Cloath of the Fortescues.  ‘Tis too long to write.  I’ll tell you the Reason why I think so.  One Mr. Tho: Lowndes, about 60 years since, gave a Communion Carpet: the widow Joan Ford a Chalice, & some Lands to be distributed in Doles; her maiden Name was Lowndes.  [Here seems to be an Hiatus. W.C.]

Description of the church in the 1840s

The Bucks historian George Lipscomb made a close inspection of Winslow church. His undated notebook contains more detail than his published account, and was presumably written some years earlier.

Lipscomb notebook (BAS Library, Lipscomb Box 1 Book 5)

[p.461] Winslow Church consists of a nave with a Chancel at the east End  a Tower at the west end and two side aisles reaching to the extremity of the Tower itself, having buttresses at the angles. On the south side is a large and handsome embattled porch in the front of which is a low pointed arched entrance the spandrils ornamented with quaterfoils lozenges and flutes and in the Tympanum of the Pediment above the door is an elegant canopied niche with groins and tracery.

The Chancel has \a/ very elegantly finished window of five lights: the central one con<s>iderably larger than the others, with o.g. arches and cinquefoil tracery in the lower division from the heads of which rises a small mullion which dividing forms and encloses four ovals (two above and two below) with a single quaterfoil in the central space between them another forms the apex and four triangles within the respective angles: the ovals ?being finished with cinquefoil borders within both at the summit and base of each.

On the south side of the Chancel [p.462] are two windows of unequal size with cinquefoil, arched heads and trefoil openings in the spandrils: and between these windows a small door leading up a flight of steps through the wall to a private pew. In the western of these two windows are five lights in the lower division, framed by mullions and a transome the latter parallel with the spring of the arch on which are smaller mullions forming sub divisions of the upper part of the window four with trefoil heads and two plain

There is a display of architectural taste in some parts of this building not very common in ordinary parish churches and amongst its decorations prodigiously large sculptured heads as water spouts issue from beneath the battlements of the Porch which has also elegant pinnacles upon its roof each with a trefoil headed ?pannel on the sides, and terminating in a delicate crocheted spire ?pad finial

[p.463] Between the nave and the side aisles are on each side three octagon pillars supporting four pointed arches: the Tower being separated by a lofty pointed arch. The roof of the Nave and Aisles is of wood ancient and profusely carved, being formed into numerous compartments by beams wreathed voluted and otherwise sculptured

The Pulpit has been of late years removed from its original situation and placed in the middle of the nave near the east end; with its \sustaining/ pillars of support and lofty flight of steps immediately upon a marble slab in the floor of which only a single word at the beginning of some of the lines remains legible: but the whole has been preserved by ?Willis and Cole, and is as follow
“Here lieth the body of Master Robert Lowndes who died the 26th of January [p.464] 1683 and is interred under this stone: his Father and other of his ancestors having formerly been buried in or near the same place

In the floor of the south aisle near the Church door on a large slab:
“Eliz. Tookey died Sep. 9. 1782 Aged 73 years.
John Tookey Esq. M.D. son of the above obiit 17 Decr. 1817  et. 69.

On a white stone in the floor of the S. aisle near the east end are ?large brass letters and date N.C. 1720. [Presumably Nicholas Cotton, who was buried in Feb 1720/1].

In a Pew in the s. aisle near the east end Brasses:- a shield of arms Quarterly
1 azure a fess between 3 fleures de lis.
[p.465] 2 A Bend charged with three mullets
3 on a Bend sinister three mullets
4 as 1
On a brass plate below a male and \a/ female figure both in gowns
“Here lieth under this stone the body of Thomas Fyge gent & Janne his wyfe who had Issue by her ij sonnes & 5 daughters & dyed the xxi of Nov. 1578.
Below are figures of two male children and three females.

On a sepulchral slab in the nave; John Markham Gent died May 29th 1746 aged 63
Philippa his wife died Aug 20 1723 aged 35. Also of Mary and Robert their Children who died in their infancy.

On another near the former:
In memory of Mrs Susan Bigg who departed this life the 28th June 1782 [p.466] aged 83 years
Also of Mrs Eliz(abe)th Bigg and Mr Rob(er)t Bigg who lieth near this place”

In the Chancel are four Atchievements for the family of Lowndes (two cited in MS. Biograph. of Bucks under Lowndes & Selby) and two others: viz near the west end
Argent Frette azure charged with a bezant at the several junctures. In a Dexter canton gules a Lion’s Head crazed or gorged with a wreath of Laurel proper. Lowndes
Impaling Gules Six Escalops 3-2-1 motto Mors janua vitae
The like for a widower \but/ with his crest; viz a Lion’s head crazed or gorget with a laurel wreath pique.
These were for William Lowndes Selby Esq. late of Winslow and [blank] his wife daughter of Thomas Goostrey Esq of [p.467] Great Missenden Abbey who were both interred in this church but without any other memorial besides these atchievements

In the several compartments or panes which make up the central portion of the East window of the chancel are the Crest and Arms of Lowndes as before particularzed in coloured glass and underneath  ‘Anno Dom MDCC. This was probably placed put up at the expense of the late William Lowndes Esq. who was Secretary of the Treasury and who built the Mansion ?House still belonging to that family [deletion] at Winslow.

On the North side of the Chancel on a slap [sic] in the pavement:
“Here lieth the body of Edw. Baswell Gent who departed this life Aug(us)t ye 30 1689.
[p.468] There is a popular tradition that he was King of the Gipsies.

At the West End of the nave is a large gallery supported by fluted columns, and in it an organ.

From the roof of the nave are suspended two small brass chandeliers.

The notes also include a description of Winslow and the church from the Gentleman's Magazine [volume 66, 1796] with the comment: The above incorrect in various particulars.

G. Lipscomb, History and Antiquities of the County of Buckingham, vol.3 (1847), p.548

The Church stands in a cemetery, enclosed by a low wall, which separates it from the public street or road, leading to Buckingham. The building consists of a square tower at the west end; a nave with two aisles, extending to the extremity or western face of the tower; and a chancel. On the south side is a handsome porch, and the whole of the walls of the tower, nave, aisles, chancel, and porch, are finished with perforated coped battlements. The principal doorway has a low pointed bracket arch, having foliated ornaments in the spandrils and quaterfoils, lozenges and other sculptured decorations. In the tympanum of the pediment, above the doorway, is an elegantly-shaped Gothic niche, with a groined canopy and rich tracery. At the east end of the chancel is a large window of five lights, in the basement story, divided by a cross mullion from smaller lights above, terminated in trefoils: the lower series having bracket arches with cinquefoils beneath them, and triangular, octagonal, and other perforations and ornaments. Sculptured heads of enormous size, with monstrously exaggerated features, project from under the battlements of the porch, which has a range of pinacles on its roof, each faced with a trefoil-headed pannel, crowned with a flowered pinnacle or finial.

The Church has been recently re-paved, painted, and has undergone a thorough repair. The old porch on the south, to which a Gothic door has been attached, is converted into a temporary Chapel.

In the tower, which is sixty-four feet high, hang six modern bells, recast out of five, in June 1668. Weight of the old bells: treble, 700 lb. 2d 1100 lb. 3rd 1300 4th 1800 lb. tenor, 2700 lb. total, 7500 lb. Weight of the new bells: treble, 600 lb. 2d 700 lb. 3rd 800 lb. 4th 1200 lb. 5th 1500 lb. tenor, 2000 lb. total, 6800 lb. It may be presumed that 700 lb was lost in the operation of recasting. Mr. Keene, of Woodstock, was the Founder.

Engraving of the church before restoration
Engraving from Lipscomb, p.548

The church in the 1960s
Similar view in the ?1960s

Replacement of the pews, 1836

Bucks Herald, 4 June 1836

To Builders.

THE Churchwardens are desirous of receiving Tenders for Pewing the Church, and erecting an additional Gallery, agreeably to the plan and specification, which may be inspected at the offices of Messrs. WILLIS and SON, solicitors in Winslow, on Wednesday, 8th June, or any subsequent day.

The Committee of management will meet at Church on Wednesday, 15th inst., at 11 o’clock, to open the Tenders, but they will not consider themselves pledged to accept the lowest offer.

Winslow, 2d June, 1836.

Arthur Clear: In 1885, a new Clock with Chimes, was fixed in the Church tower, and the Bells re-hung, in accordance with a bequest of the late D. T. Willis, Esq.

Installation of organ, 1851

Bucks Chronicle, 29 Nov 1851
We are happy to find that a very important addition has just been made to our church here – that of an organ.  No doubt it will be the means of increasing greatly the congregation, which was numerous before.   It may be justly said, taking into consideration the progressive improvement of the age, and the continually increasing number of the population of this town, that the time had arrived when this agreeable and useful instrument should be introduced into our principal place of worship   It is much to be regretted, however, that pew accommodation should be so short, and it is to be hoped that something will be done in this direction as well.

Meeting about church rate, 1854

Church rates were controversial because they were levied for the use of the parish church but everyone (including nonconformists) was legally obliged to pay. Rev. Attenborough and the deacons were Congregationalists.

Oxford Chronicle, 29 April 1854
The usual Easter meeting for the appointment of churchwardens was held on Friday, 21st instant.  Expecting a church rate would be proposed, the dissenters assembled in considerable strength, resolved to offer their most determined opposition, amongst whom were the Rev. T. B. Attenborough, the two deacons, Messrs. J. L.  French and J. Morgan, Mr. T. Lomath, Mr. Badrick, Mr. Rivett, &c.  So unusual an event in this parish evidently turned the current.  The accounts presented a balance of 39l. in hand, and with a certain prospect of a collision of parties, should a rate be proposed, the church-rate advocates showed that “discretion was the better part of valour,” and they, for the sake of peace and order, abandoned their purpose.  Messrs. Cross and Maydon were re-elected as churchwardens.

Memorial window, 1867

Bucks Herald, 29 June 1867
  MEMORIAL WINDOW.- A very handsome stained glass window has been put into our old parish church to the memory of the Rev. John Miles, B.D., late incumbent of the Holy Trinity Church, Paddington, in affectionate remembrance, by his widow.  The rev. gentleman’s first appearance in the pulpit was in Winslow church, as curate to the Rev. J. Preedy, vicar, since which he has laboured unremittingly in London.  He contributed a large sum towards the expense of erecting Holy Trinity Church, Paddington, to which he was nominated by the Bishop of London, and where he resided twenty years.  Under his will he bequeathed upwards of £15,000 to St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, to the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and to the British and Foreign Bible Society, besides other charitable legacies.  His remains now rest in Winslow churchyard.  The window beautifully illustrates the agony, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of our Saviour, and reflects considerable credit upon the talents of the artist, Mr. Wingrave [=Mingaye], of London.

John Miles' wife Elizabeth was the daughter of the Winslow lawyer James Burnham.

Letter about church services, 1872

Bucks Herald, 24 Feb 1872


  SIR,- Can you find room in your paper for the grumble of a stranger?  If so, here is my grumble, and I shall feel obliged if you will give it publicity.  I am a stranger in your county of Bucks, but in the course of my travels this week it occurred to me to have to spend a night at Winslow.  The Bell Inn is a comfortable little old-fashioned place, as, no doubt, all its friends know, but the evening was long, and dark, and dreary, and Sir, I was glad to be awakened from a reverie, into which I had fallen over the Tichborne case [a dispute about a claim to a baronetcy], by the chimes of a beautiful peal of bells.  Oh, thought I, then I shall be able to go to evensong at the church, and off I went, guided by the sound of the bells, towards the church, but when I came close to the sound, I was astonished to find that I could not see the church.  It was a very dark evening, it is true, but, Sir, I expected to find the church lighted for prayers; but, no, I could see no light!  Then, I thought, “No doubt there is a side chapel where daily prayers are said for the greater convenience of a less congregation,” so I groped my way round the large churchyard, but in vain, there was no light until I got to the west window in the belfry, and found several hobbledehoys, of course, making the noise customary among bellringers. “Is there no service to-night?” I feebly asked. “Oh yes, there be.” Stranger still, a gloomy affair I should think! “They do have it in the girls’ school,” my informant proceeded, and then he went on to explain to me about the bells and the clock, whose mighty tick, echoing in the tower, seemed to say that the pulse of life was still beating, though the body of the church lay apparently dead.  Now, Sir, I did not go to the girls’ school to prayers.  I don’t like prayers in schools when the church is at hand, and I cannot understand why they should be held anywhere but in the church, and I cannot believe that in the town of Winslow a faithful few are not to be found to offer up the evening sacrifices of the lifting up of their hands in prayer.  Even for a stranger such opportunities ought to be provided in every town, to say the least of it, if not in every parish.  But unless I am (and I hope I am) mistaken, Thursday evening is the only evening on which there is a service at all at Winslow.  I shall be glad to find I am misinformed on this point, and I will not inquire how often other services of the church are there performed, but I will venture merely to notice that, as I went towards the station the next morning, I saw as I passed by, not exactly an altar “to the unknown God,” I could have almost wished it were, but a tabernacle, a large building for preaching, I presume, and which, I am informed, has quite recently raised its head.  And it is ever so, we know that “while men slept” an enemy sowed tares among the wheat.  “Oh you did hear our chimes,” I was told; and sweet enough they are, I doubt not, but it is in vain, and worse than in vain, that the piety of our forefathers should have given bells to ring out the knell of parting day, if their solemn tones serve only to amuse or to please, and not to summon to the evening sacrifice.  I inclose my card, but desire to remain unknown, and to subscribe myself, your obedient servant,                                                 EXPECTANS EXPECTAVI.

Unsuccessful proposal for restoration, 1877

1877: Buckingham Advertiser, 15 Dec
  CHURCH RESTORATION.- In compliance with a notice signed by the Vicar and Churchwardens, a public meeting was held at the Reading-room, Winslow, on Thursday, December 6th, to consider whether any and what steps should be taken to restore the nave of the Church.  Among those present were G. R. Greaves, Esq., R. M. [=R.W.] Jones, Esq., T. P. Willis, Esq., S. B. Dudley, Esq., Dr. Newham, J. St. Thomas Wynter, Esq., &c.  The chair was taken by the Vicar, who produced a plan drawn by Mr. Beesley, an architect for “clearing away the whole of the galleries, re-seating and re-flooring the nave, restoring the stone-work of the windows, and providing an efficient heating apparatus,” at an estimated cost of from £900 to £1000.  Considerable discussion amongst those chiefly interested in the subject then took place, Mr. John Grace strongly opposing the removal of his [sic] gallery, and Mr. T. P. Willis stating that his uncle (D. T. Willis, Esq.,) would not consent to the removal of his gallery unless the Church was thoroughly restored inside and out.  After hearing Dr. Newham, Mr. S. B. Dudley, Mr. T. P. Willis, and Mr. J. Jennings, the general opinion of the meeting seemed to be that it was useless to restore the interior without first repairing the exterior, and Dr. Newham moved “That the matter be adjourned for further consideration,” and “That the thanks of the meeting be given to the Vicar (the Rev. A. M. Preston) for the trouble he has incurred”. Both motions were carried.

Church Defence Society, 1881

1881: Buckingham Advertiser, 7 Nov
On Monday evening, November 2nd, a public meeting was held in the Bell Assembly Rooms, to hear an address from Mr. Starkey, from the above Society.  The Room was densely packed and the proceedings throughout were extremely orderly.  Egerton Hubbard, Esq., occupied the chair, and amongst the company were the Revs. W. M. Myres, F. R Pinhorn, D. Greig, A. Newcombe, H. A. D. Hamilton, and Admiral Fremantle, Dr. Newham, Miss Rose Hubbard, Miss Hamilton, Mrs. Greig, Miss Selby Lowndes, Mrs. Egerton Hubbard, Mrs. Lambton, Miss Dockray, Mrs. Pinhorn, and Messrs. Ridgway, C. Colegrove, Curtis, J. Linnell, Grant King, Geo. King, Jennings, G. Ingram, Starkey, Vaisey Mathison, G. George,, H. Bullock, &c., &c.  The room had been decorated with flags and bunting, and over the chair were the words “Church and Queen.”
   The Vicar rose and said they had a grievous disappointment in not having as their Chairman, the Right Hon. J. G. Hubbard, M.P., who, however, had sent a letter stating that the work entailed in the contest in the City of London demanded all the time he had at his disposal.  They had, however, (said the Vicar) in the son, an able representative of the father (applause) ...

[The Church Defence Society was the Anglican response to the strong movement for the Disestablishment of the Church of England led by the Liberation Society and supported by many Liberals.]

Memorial window for Edward Selby-Lowndes, 1887

1887: Buckingham Advertiser, 20 Aug
  PARISH CHURCH.- The dedication festival and third commemoration of the restoration of the church was held on St. Lawrence’s Day, August 10th.  There was an early celebration of the Holy Communion, followed by Matins, and Holy Communion again at 11.  At the conclusion of the second lesson, the memorial window to the late Edward William Selby Lowndes, Esq., J.P., was unveiled by Mr. Meyrick Selby Lowndes, there being also present Mrs. Hall and the Misses Lowndes.  A memorial to Mr. Lowndes was decided upon at a public meeting held shortly after his decease, it being left to his family to say what form it should take.  They decided upon a stained window in the Parish Church and hence came the present memorial window, purchased by voluntary subscription amongst all classes in the town and neighbourhood.  The window is in the centre of the tower over the west door, and is the work of Messrs. Burlison & Grylls, of London, and is generally admired both for softness and richness of its colouring as well as for its artistic design.  It represents St. Lawrence (to whom the church is dedicated) distributing alms to the poor.

There is a photo on the Stained Glass of Buckinghamshire Churches website.

Churchwardens' meeting, 1891

1891: Buckingham Advertiser, 7 Nov
   At a meeting of the churchwardens and sidesmen, held at the Vicarage, on October the 22nd, it was decided that:- 1, steps should be taken to remind those members of the congregation to whom seats had been allocated by the Churchwardens that directly the single bell ceases ringing every seat in the Church is free and unappropriated.- 2, that the Vicar be asked to remember that the work of the parish requires really two clergymen, and that except in very urgent and necessary cases assistance should not be given to neighbouring parishes, as by so doing it entailed too much work for one person.- 3, that the fund for providing a curate for the parish especially needs the support of more parishioners in the coming year.- Owing to the reduction of the grant from the Diocesan Spiritual Help Society from £35 to £20, and the loss of some subscribers, either through leaving the town or death, the Churchwardens find that unless more parishioners take their share in subscriptions during the coming year, the expenditure of £135 will only be met by an income of £100.

Choirboys' strike, 1896

1896: Bucks Herald, 25 July
A Northampton contemporary is responsible for the following:- CHOIR BOYS ON STRIKE.- Some amusement was caused by the action of the boys belonging to the Choir of the Winslow Parish Church, who, after the service on Sunday evening, handed in the following notification to the Churchwardens:- “Sirs,- We, the undersigned, have agreed that we shall attend no more services or practices until an outing is agreed to.  A definite answer must be given.”  Here followed eleven signatures.  It appears that the boys, whose services are voluntary, consider they ought to be treated to an outing as a recognition of their services, and, it is now some years since anything of the sort occurred, have taken these measures to air their grievance.
  I am informed by the Vicar that the foregoing statement of the facts is fairly accurate so far as it goes, but some additions need to be made.  It seems that the boys were encouraged by the action of other choirs of which they had heard and read, to think that the most effectual way to bring their wishes to pass, was to present the above to the Vicar in the hope, according to their own statement, that it would be handed to the Churchwardens.  It would have been unjust to the parents of the boys, and detrimental to the boys’ own interests, to have permitted such exceptional action to pass unnoticed and without careful investigation.  Accordingly, the Vicar, Churchwardens, and choirmen met together, and, animated only with the principles of equity and justice, thoroughly sifted the whole matter.  The boys were at this meeting reminded of the prizes they could win twice a year; the periodical teas to which they had been invited, the entertainments to which they had been given free admission, and other forms of encouragement they had received, and of which in their desire for more they were quite unmindful.  They were informed also that they had the opportunities of good instruction in music by note.  Whilst every boy who did his duty ought to receive, had received, and should receive due recognition, their behaviour of late led to the conclusion that they were members of the choir for what they could get, and not for the purpose of lending the service of God.  Although the choir boys generally repudiated the idea of there being ringleaders in the matter, it was considered that the elder boys must be held responsible, and the five boys who appeared to have been the principals have been dismissed from the choir.  It is sincerely hoped that the right boys have been punished, and thereby the best interests of the boys, the parents and the community at large have been served.  I think I shall content myself with the bare narrative of these facts, and leave your readers to form their own opinion on the matter.

Edward Abbott, parish clerk (1819-1903)

1903: Buckingham Advertiser, 14 Feb (A.J. Clear)
  A BROKEN LINK.- By the death of its parish clerk, Winslow has lost one of its connecting links with the past.  Fourscore and three years of age, upright as a dart, and nimble as a young man, one who never complained of being tired or grumbled at his work.  He was familiarly known among the clergy of the district as “The Abbott of Winslow.”  For 43 years he had been parish clerk, during which time he had officiated at 1,127 funerals and 1,500 baptisms, and he was almost a walking directory of the parish as far as its older inhabitants went.  He succeeded his father in the post of clerk in 1860, but his father was an old man, having been born in 1780, so that the two men carry back over 120 years, and only giving up his duties with death at 79, and so Edward Abbott was then 40, and must have been for years familiar with the work; indeed, one of his remembrances was that of accompanying his father as apparitor to the Bishop of Lincoln, in the Bishop’s journey to some of the villages round. This could not have been later than 1845, as Winslow was separated from the Diocese of Lincoln in this year.  Faithful to his duties till the hand of death touched him, he went straight from the churchyard, where he had spent so many hours, to the sick bed, and in a few days was gathered to his fathers in a spot he had for 40 years reserved for himself.

1903: Buckingham Advertiser, 28 March
  A few further notes respecting the late Mr. Edward Abbott may be of interest to our Winslow readers.  Edward Abbott was born on June 2nd, 1819, in the house in Sheep Street where he died, which he and his father occupied for over 100 years.  When seven years old he commenced helping his father (who was clerk before him) in the church.  His first situation was at Whaddon Hall, where he lived for a few years.  Then, when he had saved a little money he apprenticed himself to a shoemaker at Aylesbury, and when he had served his time, set up for himself as bootmaker in Winslow.  He married in 1843, and had eight children, six of whom survive him.  His father and wife both died in 1860.  From the church’s accounts it appears that he was appointed as clerk in succession to his father, so had held this office for nearly 43 years.  In 1879 he was appointed sexton, and held the joint offices till his death.

1904: Buckingham Advertiser, 11 June
  ABBOTT MEMORIAL.- A meeting of the subscribers to the Abbott Memorial Fund was held in the Yeates’ Room on April 29th, the Vicar in the chair.  Mr. Bullock produced the list of subscribers, from which it appeared that the total sum collected was £16:9.  After some discussion it was resolved to erect a marble tombstone cross over the grave of our late Parish Clerk, and to enclose the three “Abbott” graves with a stone curb.  It was further resolved that the stone should bear the following inscription “In memory of Edward Abbott, born June 2nd, 1819, died February 4th 1903.  This stone is erected by the parishioners in recognition of his faithful service as Parish Clerk of Winslow for 43 years.”

Man shoveling snow in front of church
Edward Abbott in front of the church porch, 1900

1903: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 3 March
  The appointment of a Justice of the Peace, and a landed proprietor to the office of Parish Clerk, and sexton is so unusual that it is certain to attract some attention.  Mr. Norman Mc Corquodale, J.P. of Winslow Hall, has just been appointed Honorary Parish Clerk and Sexton, in the place of the late Mr. Edward Abbott, whose interesting obituary notice appeared in a recent issue.  It is understood the duties will be performed by Mr. F. Warner, under gardener at the Hall. A precedent is found in the case of the High Sheriff, who deputes the unpleasant duties of the office to the Sheriff’s officer.

The arrangement about the sexton's office doesn't seem to have lasted very long.

1906: Buckingham Advertiser, 10 Feb
  DISAPPEARANCE OF THE SEXTON.- Considerable interest has been created by the sudden disappearance of Mr. W. F. Grierson, the sexton and deputy parish clerk, without any reason, as far as could be ascertained.  Although he had some parish funds in hand, there was about as much due to him from the parish; and the fact that he has left a wife and children who are quite unaware of his whereabouts, makes it more strange.  He is an old Army man, and has only occupied the post a few months.  He had suffered at one time from sunstroke, and was a little strange in his manner at times.
Buckingham Advertiser, 17 Feb
  THE SEXTON.- Mr. Richard French has been appointed sexton and deputy parish clerk, in place of Mr. W. F. Grierson.

Church Lads' Brigade, 1903

1903: Bucks Herald, 16 May
  CHURCH LADS’ BRIGADE.- A preliminary meeting for the purpose of forming a Winslow Company was held in the Girls’ Old School, Church-street, on Wednesday, when a good number of lads were present.  In the absence of Mr. N. McCorquodale, the chair was taken by the Rev. W. F. Armstrong, who was supported by Mr. Hurrell (organising secretary), London, Capt. J. Hubbard, Rev. W. H. Shackel, and Mr. G. Pass.  The Organising Secretary gave a very instructive address, and explained what lads were required to do if they joined the Brigade.  Capt. J. Hubbard also addressed the meeting.  A hearty vote of thanks was accorded Mr. Hurrell.

Fixtures and fittings donated to the church in 1906-07

1906: Buckingham Advertiser, 7 April
Miss Lambton has most kindly presented to the Church a "Bishop's Chair," which was used for the first time at the Confirmation service last week. It is a handsome piece of work modelled on the fine old Jacobean pulpit, except that the arms of the diocese are carved on the back of it. The whole of the carving was done by Miss Lambton, assisted by two members of the Lads' Carving Class - W. Gaskins and W. Beerling

1906: Buckingham Advertiser, 21 April: Easter Vestry
Mr. McCorquodale asked if he might present the church with an old Bible which formerly belonged to it, and if he might be allowed to put all the old books in public view in a cupboard with sloping shelves, or something of that sort.  On the motion of Mr. Hawley, Mr. McCorquodale’s generous offer was accepted with thanks.

1907: Buckingham Advertiser, 7 Dec
  PARISH CHURCH.- Mr. McCorquodale has generously presented a beautiful coloured window, which has just been placed in the north side of the church, almost adjoining the vestry.  It consists of two lights- Christ as the Good Shepherd with a lamb in His arms on one, and the other the Saviour with a little child in His arms and others at his feet.  The colouring is very rich and effective.

Property assessment, 1914 (TNA, IR58/2347)

Situation              Church Yard
Extent                   AC 1 – 0 – 0               
Gross Value: Buildings   £3
Rateable Value: Buildings   £3
Occupier              Rev Thomas Hinkley       Winslow Vicarage
Estimated Rent                 £9
Who is liable for repairs                 The Churchwardens
Owners Estimate   [by] Small & Barker, Winslow
[red] PS 30/9/14
Particulars, description and note made on inspection     
Winslow Church. Stone with tiled roof latter added recently & whole restored
Chiefly Perpendicular, part interior 13th Century
Chancel, nave, aisles, chapel, vestry   Stone font                                                                               
400 sittings         1A 1R 24P
Valuation – Market Value of Fee Simple in possession of whole property in its present condition
400 sittings @ £10      4000
Tower & Church          3000
Site                              725
Deduct Market Value of Site under similar circumstances, but if divested of structures, timber, fruit trees, and other things growing on the land   £725
Difference Balance, being portion of market value attributable to structures, timber &c.                £7000

Gallery and harmonium

1930: Buckingham Advertiser, 15 Feb (notes by A.J. Clear)
Another curious thing there is no record of when the fine old oak singers’ gallery unfortunately swept away at the church Restoration was erected, but one of the beams bore the date 1682 and a document (not dat[ed?]) in the Abbey of St. Albans states “Whereas Sir Ralph Verney knight, Major Stafford and others did give certaine trees towards the making of a gallery in the parish Church of Winslow, therefore we the Archdeacon of St. Albans doe order and direct (as much as in us lyes) that the said trees be employed to that use, and the gallery be set before the Belfrey.”  Sir Ralph Verney died in 1696 and Major Stafford, of Tattenhoe died about the same time.  The writer of this paragraph is, perhaps, the only person living who used to sit in this gallery when Mr. Jesse Jennings played the harmonium and well remembers the old slides (about ¾ oak) used for the instrumentalists music.  He also remembers Mr. Jennings telling a story about the first harmonium coming and one or two of the singers thinking it was a kind of piano trying to play it without using the blowing pedal, the use of which they did not understand

1894: Bucks Herald, 28 April
…Take, for interest, the first harmonium coming into Winslow, and being set down outside the church against the present post-office [St Laurence Room site], where the worthy townspeople came to look at it and to press the keys like they would a piano’s, but extracting no sound owing to their ignorance of the purpose of the wind pedal, and consequently straightway pronounced it a take-in!...

Organ, 1890

1890: Bicester Herald, 13 June
  On Thursday evening, June 5, the dedication service of the organ, which had been placed in St. Laurence Church, Winslow, through the generosity of Mr. H. J. Chinnery, of Winslow Hall, took place.  The instrument formerly stood in Teddington old church.  Messrs. Bevington and Sons (the makers) have overhauled and somewhat enlarged it, and it is spoken of as being better than new.  It is a very powerful, and yet sweet toned instrument; particularly is this the case with the swell organ as will be seen by the specification [technical description follows]… It is in a plain case with front speaking pipes and faces the north aisle, being erected over the vestry which unfortunately drives it up rather too much in the roof.  The church was filled with a large congregation, who listened with great attention and joined in the singing, responses, &c., with much fervour…A collection was made on behalf of the organ and choir fund; the expenses incurred in receiving the instrument, altering the church for its reception etc., amounting in quite £100.  Mr. G. Herbert Thompson (associate of Trinity College, London), the newly-appointed organist, officiated with marked proficiency during the service, and played as solos, “Offertoire in C Minor”- Batiste, and “Barcarolle,” Bennett.

According to the 1891 Easter Vestry, the organ came from Leddington and was only on loan.

Pews, 1899-1900

1899: Buckingham Express, 24 June
  MRS. G. R. GREAVES, of Winslow, has most kindly offered to complete the restoration of Winslow Church by setting it with oak seats, to the memory of the late Mr. Greaves, J.P., who took a deep interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of the church,  The estimated cost is £500.

1900: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 13 Mar
  NEW SEATING THE CHURCH.- The Parish Church is closed during the present week in order to allow the new seats to be placed in by the contractors, Messrs. Matthews, Bros.  Ever since the restoration of the church in 1884 chairs have been used, but now, thanks to the generosity it is understood of a Winslow lady, these are to be replaced by oak seats.  This will necessitate some re-arrangement of the unallotted sittings but all seats in the south side of the Church and those in the chancel aisle will continue to be free and unappropriated.  The Church will be re-opened on Sunday next.

1900: Buckingham Advertiser, 27 March
  In addition to the new seats in Winslow Church, Mrs. Geo. R. Greaves has given a new faldstool, in memory of her late husband.

Copyright 31 January, 2024