'Tough stuff' and it needs to be

JCA Team:
Rory Duncan
Project type:

Quinquennial inspections, Conservation and Repairs

Project year: 2015

Described in Pevsner as 'Tough stuff….. stridently coloured with flint and copious red brick and stone dressings' , St Mary’s Church, Stoke Mandeville near Aylesbury was built in 1865-6 by T.P.Fitkin of Weston Turville, to designs by James Medland Taylor, a Manchester Architect.

It replaced the original Norman parish church, some distance to the south of the village, that had fallen into disrepair and ruin.

What remained of the old church; including a fine octagonal 15th Century font, 15th century along with a c. 1600 Brudenwell monument to three lost children, was moved into the new St Mary’s. Similarly, the large boarded chest, possibly 14th century, now sits in the porch and a William III Coat of Arms, dated 1700, hangs over the nave doorway.

More recently, there has been a programme of re-roofing, underpinning, redecorations, installation of sanitary facilities and a sound system. However the church was substantially underpinned in the 1930s, although not to a great enough depth - which is now showing.

Johnston Cave Associates were appointed church architects in 2015. As church architects, we plan and carry out work to the church as well as undertaking quinquennial inspections and advising the parish council about the care and repair of the church and churchyard.

The most pressing task for the long-term future of the church is to solve the underpinning problem. But having stood for 150 years the church is not going to fall down tomorrow.

Tough stuff indeed.