St. Mary's, Leckhampstead:
Just before Christmas we were visited by a storm of Biblical proportions. Our little river Leck which normally flows at about 4 metres wide suddenly expanded to 80-100 metres wide in various places. Water flowed off the fields, down the church path and the road became a river. The flood boards were quickly dropped into place by the Spraggs. Sadly the church along with 6 other houses in the village were well and truly flooded. The next morning whilst the river had fallen back to its normal size the church floor was very wet. The floor had a covering of silt and was as slippery as an ice rink. On Saturday Jan 2nd we mustered a group of 23 people who worked hard to move everything that could be lifted to the chancel which escaped the flooding. Sadly the church will be closed for a few weeks until we get it cleaned up.
Services are normally held at 10:30 am on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. Please see the Parish Calendar for this month's arrangements
From the Victoria County History (1927)
The church of the ASSUMPTION OF THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel measuring internally 27 ft. by 15 ft., north vestry, nave 56 ft. 6 in. by 19 ft., north aisle 9 ft. wide, south porch, and west tower 11 ft. square; it is built of rubble.
The church dates from the early years of the 12th century, and originally consisted of the eastern part of the present nave to within 16 ft. of the west end, and probably a small chancel; the nave seems to have been lengthened westward about 1180, when the north aisle was built, the tower was added in the late 13th century, and the chancel was rebuilt and widened about 1350, while the south porch was added late in the 15th century. The whole fabric has been restored at a modern period.
The axis of the chancel does not line with that of the nave, the widening having been effected towards the north only. In the east wall is a modern three light traceried window and there are two windows in each of the side walls; that at the south-east, of two lights with flowing tracery, is of about 1350, and opposite to it on the north is a window of similar character, but its tracery has been entirely renewed. The north-west window is also original, and is of two trefoiled lights with tracery in the head composed practically of one large multifoiled opening; the south-west window, entirely modern except the head, which dates from about 1500, is of three trefoiled lights in a four-centred head. On the north is a narrow 14th-century doorway with an ogee head and a label with head-stops and foliated finial, and on the south are two plain round-headed sedilia, one of which is much wider than the other. The pointed chancel arch and the open timber roof of the chancel are modern.
The nave is lighted by two modern windows in the south wall, each of three pointed lights. The south doorway, which dates from about 1120, has a round head of one order with a large edge roll supported by jamb shafts with carved bird-like capitals and chamfered abaci. Both shafts are enriched with scale and cheveron ornament, that on the east, which terminates below the capital in a monstrous head, having the appearance of a serpent. The tympanum, which rests on a flat lintel with diaper ornament, has a sculptured representation of two dragons which appear to dispute the possession of a long-eared human figure standing between them, and on the infilling above is some mediaeval paint. On the nave wall inside is a large pointed stoup with a modern round bowl. Opening to the aisle on the north is a late 12th-century arcade of four pointed arches supported by square piers and responds with moulded abaci and double-chamfered plinths, the latter extensively repaired. The arches are single chamfered on the side towards the aisle, but on the nave side are recessed in two moulded orders with engrailed labels. There are large grotesque stops at the junctions of the labels over the piers, and carved heads or flower ornament at their apexes, two of the heads having their faces turned towards the altar. Traces of 13th-century painting remain on the piers, including cheveron ornaments and other designs, and two inscriptions, 'Hic sedet Isabella' on the central pier and 'Ave Maria' on the easternmost pier, the last four letters being almost obliterated. The late 13th-century pointed tower arch in the west wall is the full width of the tower, and is of three chamfered orders which die into the walls on both sides. At the north-east of the nave is a 15th-century doorway to the rood-loft, and built into the wall below its sill is a piece of 12th-century stonework with diaper ornament.
The north aisle is lighted by three windows in the north wall and one in the west wall, all modern, except perhaps the head of the latter, which is a single trefoiled light. The north doorway, a good example of late 12th-century works, has a round arch of two moulded orders; the inner order is enriched with cheveron and foliated ornament, and the jambs are moulded with keeled edge rolls, while the outer order has attached jamb shafts, both rolls and shafts having rudimentary foliated capitals and moulded abaci; the label has enrichment like that of the inner order of the arch and has head-stops at the springing and the apex. The south porch has an original four-centred entrance archway, which has been repaired, and a restored two-light window in each side wall. A stone over the entrance is inscribed 'W.C. 1688,' and circles have been scratched on the south wall. Standing near the porch is the base of the mediaeval churchyard cross.
The tower is of three stages with buttresses at the angles of the ground stage, and is surmounted by an embattled parapet with a moulded string-course and gargoyles. The west doorway, which dates from about 1280, though slightly restored, has a pointed arch of two richly moulded orders, the inner continuous down the jambs and the outer supported by attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. Above is a restored round-headed light of about 1180, which has been reset in the wall; the arch is of two orders, the outer being supported by attached jamb shafts with foliated capitals and moulded bases. The second stage is lighted by loopholes, and the bell-chamber by four windows, each of two lancet lights in an unpierced pointed head, all probably dating from the late 13th century.
The font has an early 14th-century octagonal bowl, four sides of which have sculptured representations of the Crucifixion, the Virgin and Child below a crocketed canopy, St. Catherine, and a bishop; the other four sides are embellished with conventional foliage, the leaves on the south-east side being connected by a strap-like ornament which might be confounded with earlier work but for the typical 14th-century foliage with which it occurs and in the design of which it obviously forms a part. The stem and base are modern. On the floor at the east end of the north aisle is a brass figure of a man in a fur-lined cloak with the inscription 'Hic jacet Regenoldus Tylney gentylman filius secundus Radulfi Tylney civis et aldermani londinii et unicus heres istius manerii qui obiit tercio die maii anno dñi MCCCCCVI.' Below are small figures of his three daughters and above are the arms of Tylney impaling Gernon; there is also an early 16th-century brass figure of a lady in a gabled head-dress, which was recently recovered from a house near by, and is now affixed to the south wall. Under the westernmost arch of the arcade is a table tomb, probably commemorating Hugh Chastillon, who died between 1316 and 1323, with the recumbent effigy of a knight in armour wearing a bascinet, cyclas, and long sword, and a shield on the left arm. On the north wall of the chancel is a tablet to Sir Anthony Greenway, who died in 1619. There is a 17th-century carved chair in the chancel.
The tower contains a ring of five bells; the treble and second were added in 1897; the third, inscribed 'Gaude Virgo mat(e)r,' dates from the first half of the 16th century; the fourth is inscribed 'Chandler made me 1664,' and the tenor 'Chandler made me 1662'; there is also a mediaeval sanctus, now in a framework at the west of the north aisle, inscribed 'Crestit me firi fecit.'
The village lies near the centre of the parish on a road branching north-west from the422 Buckingham to Milton Keynes road. It is divided into Church End at the north, where are the church of St. Mary and the village hall, Middle End and South End, and is watered by a stream called the Leck, which rises in Whittlebury Forest, and is spanned here by South End Bridge. About a quarter of a mile east of Church End is Limes End with Limes End Bridge, formerly the manor of Little Leckhampstead, Great Leckhampstead occupying the north of the parish, and the space between being called Tween Towns.
West of the church, adjoining the churchyard is a plain stone building of the 17th century. Toye Court or Lower Farm is a modern house about half a mile south-east of the church, but it has two early 17thcentury windows.
Home Farm at South End is a 17th-century house. A wing at the back is dated 1762, and built into the east wall are two stone windows with moulded jambs and mullions, said to have been brought from a house which stood near the farm.
The Old Rectory, about a quarter of a mile north-east of the church, is a handsome house, pleasantly situated on a hill, and surrounded by shrubbery and meadow.
The extreme north of the parish is occupied by Leckhampstead Wood, with Notamore Copse, Libby Wood and part of Wicken Wood. South of these woods are Hill Farm Wood House, Brook House and Lodge Farm.