Services are held in St. Edmund's church every Sunday at 10.30 am, in addition there are services at 8.00 am on the first and third Sunday of the month and 6.00 pm on the fourth Sunday. Please refer to the Parish Calendar for details of this month's services.
Maids Moreton’s church, St. Edmund’s, proudly stands in our village for more than 600 years and is by far the oldest building of the village. The church building protects the village identity of Maids Moreton, which is encroached by the expansion of Buckingham town and threatened by proposed large new housing estates nearby.
The church in the village represents different things to different people. St. Edmund’s is more than a place of Christianity, because it is part of our history as a village. It is a landmark and a structure of beauty. It is a place for Christian rituals, like baptisms, conformations, marriages and life. The church represents our cultural heritage, but is also a centre for community and sharing village life.
As church wardens of St. Edmund’s, we are responsible for looking after the fabric of the building on your behalf. These positions, like everyone else who lends their support to the church, are unpaid. We all do what we do so both current and future generations can enjoy our wonderful historic building. We need your support to continue the activities of the church. On average the costs for our church are about £4,000 a Month. Regular giving would enable us to better manage cash-flow, hence our request whether you want to support us with a regular donation. The church has acquired a card-reader, which makes it also possible to donate electronically when visiting the building.
Nina and Michael
From Victoria County History (1927)
The church of ST. EDMUND consists of a chancel measuring internally about 25 ft. 11 in. by 15 ft. 11 in., south vestry 6 ft. 8 in. square, with a modern westward extension, nave 40 ft. 3 in. by 23 ft. 11 in., west tower 13 ft. 3 in. by 12 ft. 3 in., north porch 9 ft. by 6 ft. 5 in. and south porch 6 ft. 10 in. by 7 ft.
The most notable feature of the church are the four fan vaults which are contemporary with the building and among the earliest to be seen today.
The present church was entirely rebuilt about 1390 by Thomas Peyvre and his wife Margaret, daughter of Sir Nigel Loryng. The only remains from the former church are the late 12thcentury font and some 12th-century moulded stones, re-used in the rear arches of the windows of the north porch. As might be expected in the case of a building erected at a single period, the whole work is carried out in a most complete and elaborate manner, and may challenge comparison with any existing examples of contemporary date in the country. The vestry, porches, and ground stage of the tower are fan-vaulted, and the design of the tower itself is especially remarkable for the boldness and originality displayed in the design of the two upper stages. The walling throughout is of limestone rubble, the south wall of the chancel and the walls of the original vestry being covered with rough-cast. The building was restored in 1882–7, when the vestry was enlarged by the westward extension, which touches the south-east angle of the nave.
The east window of the chancel is of five cinquefoiled lights with transomed vertical tracery in an elliptical head; internally the jambs are brought down to the ground, and the inner fillets of the mullions, interrupted only by a transom-like moulding at the sill, are continued below the foot of the lights and stopped upon a blocking of stone extending beneath the three middle lights, and probably intended for fixing the high altar. The tracery is set near the middle of the wall, and the jambs are moulded with wide casements on both faces, the casement being stopped internally at the sill level, below which the jambs have a plain splay. The rear arch is concentric with the outer head, and is continuously moulded with the jambs. To the north of the window is a moulded image bracket. A similar treatment is adopted in the case of all the other windows of the chancel and nave, the fillets of the mullions being stopped upon stone benches set back about 3 in. from the internal face of the wall. At the east end of the north wall is a window of three trefoiled lights with floreated cusping and vertical tracery in a segmental two-centred head with almost straight sides. To the west of this window are two narrow recesses with segmental two-centred heads, the western recess, in the lower part of which is the north doorway, extending nearly the whole height of the chancel, while the head of the eastern recess, which is now blocked by a monument, is placed lower to clear the foot of the wall-post of the adjacent roof-truss. At the east end of the wall is a small window of two cinquefoiled lights with quatrefoil tracery in a two-centred head. In the south-east angle of the chancel is a shaft piscina with a moulded semi-hexagonal basin and a shaft of the same form. The south-east window is like the corresponding window in the opposite wall, but the bench in the recess below the sill is divided by buttressed mullions into three sedilia, each having a richly panelled semi-hexagonal projecting canopy with a cinquefoiled and sub-cusped ogee arch in each face and miniature pinnacled buttresses at the angles. The soffits of the canopies have mock vaulting, and the whole work is of great elaboration. It has been a good deal restored, the crowning cornice being apparently modern. To the west of the window are three narrow recesses, the whole height of the chancel, with straight-sided pointed heads and splayed jambs, hollow chamfered at the angles; the middle recess does not descend to the floor level, but is stopped above the head of the vestry doorway, while each of the others has a stone bench with two rectangular panels at the back, stopped at the general sill level to correspond with the treatment of the window recesses. At the west end of the wall, now looking into the vestry, is a window like the corresponding window in the opposite wall. The wide and lofty chancel arch is of two continuously moulded orders, separated by deep, narrow casements. In the east face of the south respond is a squint from the nave having an opening with a trefoiled head. Externally the walls of the chancel rise from a boldly moulded plinth, which is continued round the whole building, and are crowned by a moulded cornice and plain parapet with a weathered coping, the east wall having a lowpitched gable. All the windows are labelled, and there is a slight set-back at the level of their sills, capped by a heavy chamfered weather-course, which is utilized to form the label of the north doorway; at the eastern angles and in the centre of the north wall are slender buttresses of two offsets.
The south vestry is lighted by small square-headed windows in the east and south walls, each being of a single trefoiled light, rebated for a shutter, with plain pierced spandrels in the head. At the south-east is a rectangular recess possibly intended for a piscina. An archway on the west opens to the modern extension. The cones of the fan-vault have trefoiled panelling and spring without corbels from the four angles of the vestry, while the centre of the vault is occupied by a multifoiled circle with floreated cusping inclosing a large four-leaved flower.
The nave is divided into four bays by the spacing of the roof trusses, and in each of the first, second, and fourth bays on either side is a tall, finely-proportioned window of three transomed lights, cinquefoiled in both stages, with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. In the third bay on either side are the north and south doorways, each set within a recess of the same character as those in the chancel, and rising to the same height as the heads of the windows. The north doorway is of two moulded orders separated by a casement, the head of the outer order being brought to a septfoiled form by pierced cusping with trefoiled sub-cusping. The south doorway is less elaborate and has a four-centred head moulded continuously with the jambs. Placed in the casement mould of the east jamb of the south-east window is a moulded image bracket supported by a carved angel. Though it does not quite fit its position, the presence of a broken piscina in the back of the window recess suggests that it has never been moved, but was probably placed here at some time subsequent to the building of the church as an additional ornament to the altar, which must have occupied this corner of the nave. Immediately to the south of the chancel arch is the squint to the chancel, which has an opening with a cinquefoiled four-centred head towards the nave. The walls are crowned externally by a moulded cornice and plain parapet, and there is a buttress of two offsets between the two eastern windows on each side, the angles being emphasized by diagonal buttresses of the same number of offsets.
The west tower has an embattled parapet and is of three slightly receding stages with diagonally set buttresses at the angles and a vice at the north-west. The ground stage opens to the nave by a four-centred arch of three orders with continuously moulded jambs towards the nave. The orders are separated by casements, the inner being moulded with a swelled chamfer on each face and the outer orders with hollow chamfers. The fan-vaulted ceiling of the ground stage has a central circular opening and the cones, which have trefoiled panelling with floreated cusps, spring from quartercircular corbels supported by carved angels and enriched with flowers; the work, though bold and vigorous, is somewhat coarse and the mouldings are heavy. The west doorway has a four-centred head and an elaborate external canopy supported by two richly panelled cones of fan-vaulting springing from roll shafts which form the outermost members of the suite of jamb mouldings. The canopy itself is flat, and, as the supporting cones do not meet, the intervening portion of the soffit is divided into plain rectangular panels. The cornice of the canopy is enriched with flowers and crowned by an embattled parapet with triangular-headed merlons having trefoiled panels. Immediately above is a window of four cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. A single large recess in each face of the tower includes the windows of the two upper stages, that on the north being made narrower to clear the stair-turret. Each recess has splayed jambs and a two-centred segmental head with pierced septfoil cusping, the cusps terminating in a large trefoiled flower, and is subdivided by a central pier of V-shaped plan rising into the apex of the head; the string-course dividing the stages, with the wall off-set above it, is continued round the recess and the central pier. In each of the two upper compartments thus formed is a single trefoiled light to the bell-chamber (the eastern light on the north side is now blocked), while the ringing chamber is lighted by one smaller trefoiled light only in the lower stage of the recess, the blank compartment containing a trefoiled panel. The crowning cornice has gargoyles at the four angles of the tower, and the merlons of the embattled parapet have circular piercings.
The north porch has a buttress in the centre of each side wall and diagonal buttresses at the northern angles, the walls being crowned by an embattled parapet and moulded cornice with gargoyles at the angles. The outer entrance has a four-centred head continuously moulded with the jambs and rising into the cornice which is lifted to clear it. The ceiling is formed by a fan-vault of elaborate character arranged in two bays and springing from vaulting shafts with moulded capitals and bases placed in the angles and at the centres of the north and south walls. The cones of the vault have trefoiled panelling, and each bay has a sculptured boss, that of the southern bay having vine foliage, while the northern boss has a wreath of roses. The porch is lighted from each side by a pair of trefoiled lights placed on either side of the central shaft; some moulded 12th-century stones from the former church have been re-used in the rear arches of these lights.
The south porch is smaller and less elaborate, being without buttresses and having a plain parapet in place of battlements. In the centre of the parapet, over the outer entrance, which has moulded jambs and a three-centred head inclosed by a label, is a small niche with a trefoiled head under an ogee canopy with flanking pinnacles, crockets and finial. The ceiling has a fan-vault of the same character as that of the vestry, but the cones spring from shafts in the angles.
The original roofs of the chancel and nave remain. The wall-plates are moulded and the trusses are of the king-post type with chamfered tie-beams strutted from moulded wall-posts by curved braces, and all the spandrels are traceried. The chancel roof is of two bays and the wall-posts rest on moulded corbels, those on the north being of stone, while those on the south appear to be of wood. There are carved bosses at the intersections of the main timbers, and under the tie-beam of the central truss is a boss carved with a seated figure of our Lord with one hand raised. The nave roof is of four bays with carved bosses of the same character as those of the chancel roof, and the wallposts are supported by carved corbels of stone and wood.
The altar table, an elaborate piece of work, bears the date 1623 and the name, presumably of the donor, John Moore (More). The font has a circular bowl of the late 12th century, with a band of acanthus and pellet ornament, and stands on a modern base. The oak chancel screen is of original 15th-century date; it is divided into three bays by buttressed and pinnacled uprights standing on a heavy chamfered sill. The lower portion has cinquefoiled panelling with small piercings in the panels, while in each bay of the upper portion are four open lights with cinquefoiled ogee heads and tracery; the central bay opens in two leaves, and the screen is crowned by a moulded cornice originally surmounted by brattishing, of which the stumps alone remain. Upon the top of the screen, at either end against the jambs of the chancel arch, is placed the half-figure of an angel holding a passion shield; these may have been corbel fronts or bosses from the roof, but if so they had been removed from the church, to which they were restored by Lady Kinloss, into whose possession they had come. The north doorway of the nave retains its original richly traceried door, and the plain door in the north doorway of the chancel is probably also original. In the outer entrance of the north porch is an early 17thcentury double door set in a frame with a balustered 'fanlight' in the head, the balusters of which spring from a centre composed of a semi-elliptical block of wood bearing the date 1637 and the initials PR. IA. IN. WA. with a shield of the arms of Pever. In the lights of the tracery of the east window of the chancel is some fragmentary 15th-century glass, including some pieces of scrolls, one inscribed, 'miserere i . . . dns,' a second '[A]ve maria,' while a third has a heart with five wounds upon it. In one of the trefoiled upper lights of the north-east window is a figure with a halo in white and gold upon a blue background, perhaps an angel playing a harp, while in the quatrefoil in the head of the north-west window is a vernicle, also in white and gold. Fragments of figures and canopy work also remain in the west window of the tower. At the back of the sedilia is a late 15th-century painting of the Last Supper, much damaged by a coating of whitewash, and possibly painted over at a later period. Remains of painted decoration are still visible on the east truss of the nave roof, and eight incised consecration crosses contained in circles about 8 in. in diameter and coloured red, remain in the nave between the north and south windows and on either side of the chancel arch.
In the floor of the nave near the north doorway is a slab with three brass shields of the 15th century, charged with the arms, a cheveron with three fleurs de lis thereon, for Pever, and the indents of two female figures and an inscription plate. The indents now contain modern figures designed in the style of the period, and an inscription commemorating the two sisters Pever, whose memorial the slab is traditionally supposed to be. Above the north doorway is a 17thcentury painted inscription with the arms of Pever, commemorating the founding of the church in the following terms: 'Sisters and Maids Daughters Of The Lord Pruet (for Pever) The Pious And Munificent Founders of this Church.' On the south wall of the chancel over the vestry doorway is a tablet to Frances daughter of Thomas Attenbury, who died, aged seven years, in 1685. The inscription states that Thomas Attenbury was Alderman of Buckingham and servant to King Charles II and King James. Blocking the recess in the centre of the north wall is an elaborate monument to Edward Bate (d. 1717) and his wife Penelope (d. 1713). The monument is framed by marble columns with gilded bases and composite capitals supporting a curved pediment with a shield of arms. In the nave is a floor slab to John Birtwisle (d. 1697) and his wife Philippa (d. 1696).
There is a ring of six bells, four by Henry Bagley, 1717, and the tenor by John Briant of Hertford, 1806.
The village lies along, and to the south of, the A 413 Buckingham to Towcester road. It contains many 17th-century houses and cottages of timber frames with brick or plaster filling and thatched roofs. The church and old rectory stand at the southern end of the village, high among fine trees. They look down upon Buckingham at the foot of the hill below, the Ouse occupying the foreground. On its banks is a picturesque water-mill, and between it and the town the river winds along through the meadows. About half a mile south-east of the rectory is College Farm, the property of All Souls College Oxford. The Manor stands west of the church and rectory. A fine avenue, about three-quarters of a mile in length, leads south-west from here through plantations of fir down the hill-side to Buckingham.
Maids' Moreton House (now much extended and a care and nursing home), built near the site of the old manor lies off Church Street. It was formerly called Moreton House, and was the early home of the late Bishop Browne of Winchester and of Sir Thomas Gore Browne. From this street Main Street branches north-west through the village, passing the old school (built in 1854). At the northern end of the village is Moreton House, occupied by Vitalograph. Where Main Street joins the Towcester road the Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1869, stands, with Manor Farm, a 16th-century house of stone with modern additions in brick, a little to the south of it. Tradition marks it as once the home of the two maids of Moreton. Upper Farm, according to a date in a chimney stack, was built in 1624, and has later additions. It is of timber and plaster or brick and has tiled and slated roofs. Some of the windows still retain their mullions.