The Church of St Mary consists of a Chancel 40ft x 18ft, a North Organ Chamber & Vestry and a South Chapel, a Nave 64ft x 17ft 6ins, North & South Aisles 9ft 6ins and 10ft wide respectively, a West Tower 13ft square, and North & South Porches. These measurements are all internal.
It is probable that previous to the middle of the 13th century the Church had a Nave with North & South Aisles and that at this date these were lengthened by 2-Bays and the Chancel & Chancel Arch rebuilt and widened. In the 1st half of the 14th century, the older Arcades and the Aisles were rebuilt and also the Arches of the 2 Western Bays, the Columns & Responds of which were retained, the Nave thus preserving its old width and probably its old length. At the same time the Chancel was again widened, but only towards the North, and the Chancel Arch and its Responds were rebuilt, though probably the old width of the opening was retained. A North Vestry was also added. The Tower may possibly have been begun when the old Aisles were lengthened, but if this was the case the Tower Arch was rebuilt with the Aisles, and the Tower itself may have been added to at the same time, but modern restorations have destroyed nearly all traces of the early history of this part of the Church. A Clearstory was probably added in the 15th century, but the present Clearstory in 14th century style is a part of the restorations and additions of Architect G E Street in 1869, when the Chancel Arcades, the North Organ Chamber, South Chapel and both Porches were carried out. A considerable amount of work was also done in every part of the Church, and not a single window remains in its original state.
The East window of the Chancel is of 3 Lights. The opening is of 14th-century date, but the tracery is modern and of the ‘net‘ type. On either side, in the North & South walls, is a window with 2 trefoiled Lights and flowing tracery over. Only a few stones of that on the North are old, but the window on the South is in the main of 14th-century date, to which period the opening at least of that on the North belongs. On the South is also a 13th-century double piscina with a roll-moulded shouldered head. West of these windows are 2 small 14th-century Doorways, that on the North, which was originally the Vestry Door, now opening into the Organ Chamber, while that on the South is external. They are identical in internal design, with double wave moulds and 2-centred heads, but the Vestry Door is plain on the North side, while the other is similarly moulded on both Jambs. To the West of these doorways on both sides are modern Arcades of 2-Bays in the decorated style, opening on the North to the Organ Chamber and on the South to the Chapel. The Chancel Arch, which is of 14th-century date, is 2-centred and of 2 plain chamfered Orders without a label and is central with neither the Nave nor the Chancel. The Jambs are shafted, each having 3 engaged Columns with circular moulded Capitals. The Bases, which are circular and common to all 3 shafts, are of 14th-century date much restored.
The Nave is of 5-Bays. The 2-centred Arches of the Arcades are of 2 moulded Orders and have ogee labels with grótesque heads as Stops and the Columns are of 4 rather less than half-round shafts with square fillets between. The 1st 3 Columns on both sides and the East Responds have Bell Capitals enriched with deeply undercut foliage and grotesques, and the moulded Abaci and Bases are of the same Plan as the Columns. The Western Columns & Responds have plain Capitals & Abaci more elaborately moulded; these in the case of the Columns are Octagonal in Plan and common to the 4 shafts. The Bases also are of different section from those of the rest of the Arcade and earlier. They are circular, are common to the 4 shafts and have an Octagonal Plinth upon a low square sub-Plinth.
At the East end of the North Aisle is a modern Arch to the Organ Chamber of 14th-century detail, and in the North wall are 4 windows, each of 2 uncusped Lights with a Quatrefoil over. The rear Arches are old and are moulded with an ogee and a sunk chamfer, and the external splays are of 2 moulded orders. The North Doorway in the 4th Bay is wholly modern and of 14th-century detail, and is covered by a modern traceried wooden Porch on a dwarf wall of Stone.
The South Aisle is also lighted by 2-light windows which have even less old work than those on the North. The external Jambs are like those of the North windows, but the rear Arches are of 2 wave-moulded Orders. The tracery is later in design than in the case of the North-Aisle windows, and is similar to that in the North & south windows of the Chancel; but, as all the tracery is modern, there is no reason to suppose that the windows of the 2 Aisles are of different dates, since such old work as remains is approximately the same in both cases. The head of the South Doorway is a good piece of 14th-century work elaborately moulded and enriched with a String of alternating Ball flowers and 4-leaved flowers. Like everything else in the Church, it is much restored, and the Western carved Stop of the label and some of the Voussoirs are modern, and the Jambs are entirely so.
The North Organ Chamber has 2 modern windows on the East similar to those in the North Aisle, and another on the North in which are a few old Stones, probably reset from an old Chancel window displaced when the Chancel Arcades were formed. This is also probably the history of a 4th window in the Organ Chamber, a much-restored 15th-century single Light, and of the East window of the South Chapel, which is of the same detail as the windows of the South Aisle.
The Tower Arch is of fairly late 14th-century date and of 3 chamfered Orders, the outer being continuous and the 2 inner resting upon 3 nearly detached circular shafts with circular moulded Capitals. The Arches are of 2-centred form and the inner is stilted. There is no West Doorway. The West window of 3 Lights retains its 14th-century Rear Arch of 3 moulded Orders, but the tracery is modern. The Tower is of 3-Stages with a modern embattled Parapet. The Belfry openings are of 2 Lights with modern tracery. There is a much restored small window with shafted Jambs in the North wall of the 2nd-Stage, and on the East is a square-blocked opening visible only internally. A square Turret Staircase on the South-East leads to the Belfry, and there are curiously planned angle Buttresses, which, however, appear to be largely modern.
The fittings throughout the Church are modern, including the Font, which is Octagonal and designed in 14th-century style, and the Roofs are also modern. In the South Aisle there is a portion of a curious Brass to William Bradshaw, who died in 1537, and his wife Alice with their kneeling figures and those of their 2 sons & 7 daughters, while the names of 23 grandchildren are engraved below. There are also Slabs to William Hakewill, ‘sometime Solicitor to Queen Anne,‘ who died in 1655, Mrs Elizabeth Hakewill, 1652, John Stace (?), 1661, Henry Playstow, 1675, Thomas Machell, 1698.
The Tower contains a Ring of 6-Bells: the Treble & 4th dated 1633, the 3rd dated 1651, and the Tenor 1623, are all by Ellis Knight; the 2nd was cast by Chandler in 1722. There is also a Sanctus inscribed ‘R Wells Albourne fecit.‘
The Church Plate consists of an Elizabethan Cup of 1569, gilt inside, with a cleverly imitated modern cover to match it, and a Cup & Cover Paten dated 1571. The Bowl has been altered and a new rim added. There is also a modern set consisting of a Chalice, Salver & 2 standing Patens dated 1838.
The Registers before 1812 are as follows:
(i) Marriages from 1678 and Baptisms from 1629, both to 1726;
(ii) Marriages 1726 to 1754, Baptisms 1726 to 1791 and Burials in Woollen Shrouds 1732 to 1791;
(iii) Burials & Baptisms 1792 to 1812;
(iv) (v) & (vi) Marriages 1754 to 1778, 1778 to 1809, & 1809 to 1812 respectively.
There is also a separate Book of Burials in Woollen Shrouds with a printed Title-page dated 1678 and the Act itself printed in Black letters at the beginning. This contains Burials & Notes of the Affidavits between 1678 & 1731. It also contains an apparent transcript of previous Burials from 1671 to 1677.
The St Agnes Mission Room in Dobbin’s Lane was worked in connection with the Parish Church. In 1918/19 the influenza epidemic known as the Spanish Flu killed over 50 million people worldwide and more than 228,000 in Britain. Despite the label ‘Spanish Flu’ the first cases were not in Spain but as a Neutral Country with a Free Press the news of the pandemic and numbers of casualties was not suppressed as in other European Countries. At home Mr Molineux wrote in the School Log Book: Influenza made its appearance in the school and the schools were closed on Thursday, Oct 17th till Oct 28th and then again till Nov 4th.’ Many meetings in the Town had to be postponed because of illness and some Church Services moved from St Mary’s to the smaller St Agnes Mission Church in Dobbins Lane.
The Church of Wendover appears to have been attached to the Manor (qv) until the time of Faramus of Boulogne, who gave it to the Priory of St Mary Overy in Southwark during the Reign of Henry II, whose Charter of Confirmation is Recited in 1389 by Richard II. There seems to have been some dispute between the Priory and the King at this time, since very shortly after the Grant of the Charter an Inquiry was held which returned that the King was the true Patron of Wendover Rectory. The Priory, however, seems to have retained the Church until the Dissolution, when the Rent of the Rectory was £20 a year. Henry VIII Granted the Rectory of St Mary in Wendover in 1543 to Henry Bradshaw, formerly in the Tenure of William & Henry Bradshaw. Henry obtained it for himself, his heirs and Executors, but he seems to have surrendered it to the Crown before his death. Queen Elizabeth gave Leases of the Rectory for various terms, but it does not appear to have been alienated from the Crown in her Reign. James I gave it in 1609 to Francis Morris & Francis Phillips, but it shortly came into the possession of Sir Thomas Lake. In 1624 Sir Thomas, together with Sir Nicholas Fortescue, Richard Cooper, Francis Phillips & William Lake, appears to have leased it for 20 years to Sir John Trevor, but in 1629 he died Seised of Wendover Rectory, which he had Settled on his 3rd son Lancelot. His grandson Sir Lancelot Lake sold it in 1676 to Joshua Lomax, who resold it before 1680 to Edward Jolley, Clerk. During the following century the Tithes appear to have come into various Ownership, and in 1795, on the occasion of the Inclosure of the Open-fields of the Parish, Allotments in lieu of the Rectorial Tithes were made to Thomas Lord Hampden, the Lord of the Manors of Wendover, Sarah Geary, Matthew Raper, Mary Town, Sir John Russel, bart., Joseph Smith & John Stace.
The Vicarage of Wendover was ordained during, or possibly before, the Episcopate of Hugh of Wells, and in 1291 its yearly value was estimated at £5 6s 8d. After the Dissolution of the Priory of St Mary Overy the Advowson of the Vicarage was granted to Henry Bradshaw together with the Rectory, but it was not included in the later Grants of the Rectory. The Crown presented as the Owner of the Advowson in 1660 and the Lord Chancellor is Patron of the Living at the present day.
At the Visitation of 1519 it was Presented that Beasts Pastured in the Churchyard and that the Vicar had neglected for 2 years to give the Parishioners a yearly Dinner (prandium) on Easter Day, as he ought.
The Parochial Charities are administered together, viz, the Charities of:
Alice Bradshaw, Will dated in 1553, being an Annuity of 13s 4d issuing out of a Farm at Dagnall.
Joan Bradshaw, founded by Deed 12th July 1578, the Endowment consisting of a half-share of the George Inn, Wendover, amounting to £20 yearly.
Thomas Hunt, Will proved in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 17th June 1599, being an annuity of 20s issuing out of Wendover Dean Farm.
Nicholas Almond, Deed 21st July 1629, Trust Fund, £632 8s 2d Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £15 16s yearly, arising from the Sale in 1867 of a Messuage in New Thame in the County of Oxford. Out of the Income, a yearly sum of 6s 8d is paid to the Vicar for a Sermon in Easter Week.
William Sanderson, Will proved in PCC 28th July 1660, Trust Fund, £377 19s 7d Consols in the High Court, arising from the Sale of Property in St James’s, Clerkenwell, originally devised, producing £9 8s 8d yearly.
Henry Benning, Will proved in PCC 7th February 1728, Trust Fund, £160 6s 9d Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £4 yearly, arising from Sale of land in Kensworth (Herts), originally devised.
Thomas Mallison by Indenture of 21st November 1801 Conveyed ½ an acre of Land to Trustees, the Rents to be distributed every alternate year in Bibles & Prayer-books and every other alternate year in Bread to the Poor. The Land was sold in 1891 and the proceeds invested in £123 14s 3d Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £3 1s 4d yearly, of which one Moiety constitutes the Ecclesiastical Charity of Thomas Mallison and is applicable for the distribution of Bibles, etc, and the other Moiety for the Poor.
The Proportion of the Income of these Charities applicable for the Benefit of the Poor is distributed Chiefly in Gifts of Money, also in Bread.
The Charity of William Hill, founded by will 3rd June 1723, is regulated by a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners of 10th March 1911. The Property consists of a Farm containing 64 acres at Burcott, in the Parish of Bierton, producing £160 yearly. The Beneficial Area comprises the Parishes of Bierton, Buckland, Marsworth Oving, Thornborough & Wendover. Wendover is entitled to £4 yearly, to be applied in Coats to 2 Poor men, and a yearly sum of £2 for distribution to the Poor. The residue of the income, after deducting £16 due to the Parishes of Bierton, Buckland, Marsworth Oving & Thornborough, for Coats and for distribution to the Poor, is applicable equally between the Parishes of Bierton & Wendover. One-3rd of the Moiety belonging to Wendover is for Educational purposes and called William Hill’s Educational Foundation, another 3rd is applicable for Apprenticing, and the remaining 3rd for the benefit of the Poor.
In 1849 Caroline Whitchurch, by her Will proved in PCC 6th November, gave £500 to the Vicar to be distributed in Charity at his discretion. The Legacy is now represented by £342 17s 10d Consols in the High Court, producing £8 11s 4d yearly. By Direction of the Court, the Annual sum of £6 6s is paid to the Royal Bucks Hospital, Aylesbury, and the remainder to Scrubwood School.
The Organ and Choir Fund
In 1870 a sum of £1,000 was given by an anonymous Donor, the income arising therefrom to be applied towards the Organist’s Salary, in Music and other necessary Books for the Choir, in surplices for the Choir, and any surplus towards such other objects of Parochial Charity as the Trustees might think fit, subject to certain conditions. The Endowment consists of £1,080 London, Brighton & South Coast Railway 5% Consolidated Preference Stock, in the names of the Rev A Smith and 2 others, producing £54 a year. In 1910 £34 was paid to the Organist and £10 towards the expenses of an Excursion, and the balance for other Expenses in connection with the Choir.
Scrubwood School, founded in 1849, is Endowed with £100 17s 8d Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £2 10s 4d yearly, arising from a gift in 1862 of Miss Ann Lovell. (See also under charity of Caroline Whitchurch, above.)
By Deed dated 26 August 1862, Archdeacon Thomas Hill gave £6 yearly issuing out of lands in Bierton & Hulcott, one Moiety to be distributed in Bibles or New Testaments in equal proportions to Children of Bierton & Wendover and the remaining Moiety to be applied in the Education of Poor Children in the said Parishes.
In 1910 Allen Juson, by his Will proved at Oxford, bequeathed £50 for the benefit of Scholars of the Sunday School in connection with the Baptist Chapel, Wendover. The Legacy was invested in £62 15s 7d Consols with the Official Trustees, producing £1 11s 4d yearly.
The same Donor gave his Freehold House, Garden & Premises situate in Tring Road, Wendover, as a Residence & Garden for the Ordained Minister of the Congregational Church in Wendover. (Above Congregational Church. Demolished in 1985)
The Town of Wendover also participates in the Charity of Lord Wharton for the distribution of Religious Books.