St Mary, Addington, Buckinghamshire

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Feature Sets (2)


Addington is a village towards the N of central Buckinghamshire, 4½ miles SE of Buckingham to the S of the main road to Aylesbury.  The village stands on rising land on the N bank of Claydon Brook, and consists of little more than Addington Manor and its grounds, with the church on their western edge.  St Mary’s consists of a W tower, a nave with N and S aisles extending westwards alongside the tower, and a S porch, and a chancel with a N vestry.  The tower is 13thc in its lower stages, and an upper bell-storey was added in the 15thc.  Aisles were added to the nave in the 14thc, and the 3-bay arcades (continuously moulded without capitals or imposts) and chancel arch are of this period.  The remainder of the church belongs to the restoration of 1856-58 by the diocesan architect, G. E. Street.  He demolished the old chancel, aisles, porch and clerestory (traceried oculi said to copy the old designs) leaving only the tower, nave arcades and chancel arch.  He then built a completely new chancel and vestry, and rebuilt the aisles, porch and clerestory to the original dimensions, reusing the old materials.  He also reinstalled the 12thc pillar piscina in the chancel, and this is the only Romanesque feature described here.


The manor of Addington was held by Godwine, a man of Earl Leofwine in 1066.  In 1086 it was held by Robert of Rumenel from Bishop Odo ofBayeux, and was assessed at 6 hides with meadow for 6 plough-teams.  A smaller holding of half a hide was held by Leofwig, a man of Eadwig before the Conquest, and by Eadwulf from Miles Crispin in 1086.  Robert of Rumenel’s manor was still in his family until the 12thc, when David de Rumenel died leaving two daughters, one of whom, Aubrey, inherited his estates which thus passed to her and her husband, William de Jarpenville. He died by 1204, leaving his daughter Alice as heir, and she married Thomas fitzBernard.  There must have been some financial problems at this stage, because their son Ralph had to recover his lands from the Jew, Isaac of Norwich in 1214.  The later history of the manor, and the passing of its lordship through the families of Blacket (from 1313), de Molyns (from 1328-29) andHastings(after 1440) is given in the VCH account of the manor of Aston Mullins in the parish of Dinton.

The church was given by Ralph fitzBernard to the Knights Hospitaller before 1220, the prior continuing to present to the rectory down to the Dissolution.  The church paid 40s a year to the nearby preceptory at Hogshaw.



Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae

Pillar piscina

Set against the S wall of the chancel, alongside the altar, it consists of a hollowed-out trefoil scallop capital supported on a cylindrical shaft in three en-delit sections, and this on a low bulbous base on a square plinth.  Only the capital is original, and this has flat shields, conical wedges between the cones, and the central cone of the front face has a vertical tuck in its centre.  The necking is a plain roll and the abacus, above the shields, is decorated with a row of sawtooth that survives on the N and E faces only.  The basin in the top is small and round with a drilled drain-hole, and is unusual in having a stone stopper, although it is not known whether this is original or Street’s contribution.  The capital is generally worn, the W face has been cut back and there is a large loss to the upper NW angle.  The necking is badly chipped. 

Depth of capital (projection from wall) 0.19m
Height of capital 0.20m
Width of capital (N face) 0.23m


Pillar piscinas are rare survivals in Buckinghamshire.  This one has only its bowl, while the other possibility is an octagonal shaft at Weston Turville.  Similarly trefoil capitals are not common.  A loose one at Wing is nothing like this one.


  • N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings ofEngland: Buckinghamshire.London1960, 2nd ed. 1994.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in theCountyofBuckingham. Volume 2 (north).London1913.

  • Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. II (1908), 271-81 (on Dinton and Aston Mullins)

  • Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 137-40 (on Addington).

Exterior from SE
Interior to E
Interior to W


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SP 743 285 
now: Buckinghamshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Buckinghamshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Oxford
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
18 June 2008