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.

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 9 June, 2017