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Hambleden

Turville Fingest Frieth Fawley Medmenham U.R.C.

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St Peter & St Paul, Medmenham

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Porch and Norman South Door

 

 

 

 

Church History

Possibly built as a wooden construction about 640AD by Birinus, a missionary bishop, and rebuilt in stone some 500 years later under the patronage of Hugh de Bolebec (1100 - 1165) who also endowed Woburn Abbey and founded Medmenham Abbey.

The current church dates from the 12th century with the tower and chancel from late 14th century. The Norman nave walls, built of chalk blocks and flint rubble, have been underpinned with modern brickwork and are supported by two external buttresses.

Inside the mid-19th century porch stands the Norman south door made from oak with iron studs.

The tower and chancel were added around 1400-50 during a religious revival following the Black Death. The roof of the nave was replaced at this time also. The tower is constructed in three stages with a battlemented parapet, diagonal buttresses and a stair projection. There is staging for 4 bells but only 3 in place. An old tradition, recorded in 1717, stated the the 4th bell had been sold to raise funds to help ransom Richard 1 taken prisoner on his return from the holy lands.

Remains of a blocked north door can be seen - it is thought that this led to a transept, long since disappeared. A 20th century transept and vestry is now located on the north of the aisle

       Blocked north door

Internally the church has an unusual roof. The nave rafters are supported by ashlar pieces within the wall, and date from about the 14th century. Separating the nave and the chancel is a massive hammerbeam screen - this in place of the more usual chancel arch. The chancel roof has a red and gilt painted and carved ceilure, which is the same height as the roof of the nave.

There is some interesting stained glass in the nave - on the south side, to the west of the door is a modern window commemorating Colonel Arthur Murray who fell in Palestine in 1917. In the north windows close to the transept there are some unusual Flemish glass inserts.

For a more detailed history, pamphlets are for sale within the church which is open every day between about 9am and dusk.

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