St Laurence Church

Postcard of the church and new churchyard

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

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.

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 in the 1840s

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.

Copyright 20 February, 2018