ALL SAINTS CHURCH, BOW BRICKHILL
An architectural tour
(For general church news and information about
services click here.)
|The parish church of All Saints, Bow Brickhill,
is remarkable for the conspicuous position in which it
stands. it may be seen for many miles around like a castle
on a wooded hill. It was often spoken of as the 'beacon
church' and a beacon did exist about a quarter of a mile south
of the church. From the tower, a far-flung view of Milton
Keynes, Buckinghamshire and neighbouring counties is
obtained. During the Napoleonic wars, the tower was used
as a telegraph station and during the 1939-1945 war, the tower
was used by the Royal Observer Corps.
The Barden memorial east window - click
here for a larger image
The church is built of sandstone rubble, in large blocks, dug
from the Greensand escarpment on which it stands. Before
the fifteenth century the church probably consisted of an aisleless nave and a chancel dating from the twelfth
century. The first records of the church refer to a
transfer of the advowson in 1185.
The north and south aisles and the west tower were added in the
fifteenth century, when the arcades were added and the nave
lengthened. The chancel was probably built at the same
time. In 1630 the nave was re-roofed, but afterwards,
through neglect, became sadly dilapidated and the church is said
to have been disused for nearly 150 years. It was restored
in 1756-1757 by Browne Willis, a noted local antiquarian - further
The east wall of the chancel was rebuilt in brick at this
time. The church was restored again in 1883 when the south
porch was added.
|Several old photographs can be found
The chancel which measures 25 ft by 11 ft, was modern
windows on the east and south walls. The fifteenth century
chancel arch is of two orders: the chamfered outer order is
continuous, the hollow chamfered inner order dies into the
jambs. The stained glass in the east window is modern.
For more details click here
The nave, 34 ft by 15 ft, has fifteenth century north and
south arcades of three bays, the westernmost bay in each arcade
being wider than the others: the two-centred arches are of two
hollow chamfered orders: the pillars are octagonal with moulded
corbels. The two-centred tower arch in the west wall is of
three continuously chamfered orders, the innermost having
The north aisle has a fifteenth century east window of
two trefoiled lights in a two-centred head with a moulded
external label. The other windows in this aisle are modern.
|The south aisle has a fifteenth century window of three
trefoiled lights under a four trefoiled head and it is filled
with modern glass. In the south wall are three fifteenth century
windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head,
with an external label which has plain stops. The south
doorway is modern.
The west tower is of two stages, with diagonal
buttresses, a stair turret and an embattled parapet. In
the west wall is an original window of three uncusped lights in
a two-centred head with a deep external reveal. The
bell-chamber is lighted by plain windows of the fifteenth
century, each of two lights in a pointed head.
The south porch dates from the restoration of
1883. The porch itself was restored in 1907 when a fine
carving in stone by N Hitch was inserted above the door.
it depicted Christ and four Apostles. The Apostles were
destroyed a few years ago by vandals but not before they were
photographed - see a picture here.
|The roof of the nave is low pitched and of plain
chamfered beams, with king post trusses; one tie beam bears the
The font dates from the fifteenth century. It
has an octagonal bowl, with cusped circular and quatrefoil
panels. In one panel is a shield with arms, two tau
crosses or mallets. The bowl is supported by figures of
angels with outstretched wings. The stem is octagonal with
South of the chancel arch there is a niche with chamfered
The pulpit is a fine specimen of fifteenth century
workmanship. It is hexagonal with traceried panels, with
cinquefoil crocketed heads. This pulpit was brought from
the old parish church in Buckingham in 1777.
The piscina in the south east corner of the south aisle
dates from the fifteenth century. It is a pointed piscina
with a round bowl.
The tower contains four bells. The treble is
inscribed "God Save Our King 1634" and is by James
Keene of Woodstock. The second is by Anthony Chandler of
Drayton Parslow, 1670. The
third is of the sixteenth century and is inscribed "ABCD.QRS.DEFG.EG.W"
(Note: some of the letters are upside down - sorry, can't
reproduce them here!) The founder of this bell cannot be
identified. The tenor - weighing about 10 cwts in the
approximate key of A flat - bears the inscription
"Soli Deeo Gloria Pax Hominibus 1649" - (To God alone
be glory and to men peace), and is by Henry Bagley of Chacomb. The
framework is inscribed 1628 I.I. The bells and framework
are in poor condition and cannot be rung however three are
chimed before services.
The communion plate, (which is not kept in the church),
includes a cup and paten of 1626, both inscribed 1627. The
cup is inscribed "Bridget Hartawe of London, widow, being
the daughter of Richard Parret borne in this Parish doth frely
bestow this Cupp for the use of the Sacrament for ever. Anno
Domini 1627." The paten is inscribed "Bow
Brickhill in the Countie of Buckingham 1627".
The registers commence in 1653 and contain a record of
the appointment of John Pitts, sworn as registrar under the
Cromwell Act, signed by Henry Whitbread, Esq., one of the
magistrates of the County of Buckingham. These registers
have been transcribed by the Bletchley Archaeological and
Historical Society. (See genealogy
page for parish register resources.)
On the north side of the chancel is a mural tablet
of black marble inscribed:
"Here lieth William Watson, borne in
Buckland in Hertfordshire, of Yeoman race. He was a
bachelor of Artes. He continued Parson of this Church full
thirty and six yeares. He lived a single life, cleared of
all criminal offences. He was liberall to the needfull,
verie bountifull to his kindred: a zealous worshipper of God: an
Enemy to Schismes, Sectes and Heresies: a Lover of Equitie and
Hater of Discord: beloved of all (of me especially). He
died in the entrance of the threescore and fourth years of his
age, the last day of November 1608, in the sixth yeare of the
happy Raigne of Kinge James over England, being fully assured by
the Power of Christ to rise againe, and to live with Hevenly
||"Thou art to me, O Death, a Gaine, by dying
I am blest
Because that in ye Lord I die, thou art, O Death my rest.
Borne I was of mortalle seede to die: I die to rise againe;
The second life is eve'life, wch feeles no death nor payne.
Erected by John Utton, Executore."
The churchyard. The light sandy soil enables
unusual plants to grow. A recent (1983/5) botanical survey
of Buckinghamshire churchyards showed ours to be one of the most
interesting, with wild daffodil being one of the most beautiful
species; see a picture of