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St Faiths Church,

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         1150, A.D. and THEREAFTER


Newton Longville 750th Anniversary 1236-1986 In order to commemorate the Anniversary, Rev. Butler's booklet has been reproduced in its original form. Some of the items described here may have meanwhile been moved from their positions. Newton Longville PCC May 1986


“In the Name of Jesus Christ, My lord, not only will I not sacrifice, but I am ready to suffer all kind of torment."

Faith, before her Accusers. (Martyrology of France).

The Church is dedicated to St. Faith of Aquitaine, the child Martyr, who suffered for her faith under Dacian, Governor of Spain, during the Diocietian persecution about 303 A.D. She was martyred, with the Bishop and several of her companions, in her home town of Agen, southern France.

There is an early 14th-century figure of her carved in stone on the east wall outside the church, and she is also seen with her gridiron in the west window under the tower.

 Lych Gate 1953Lytch Gate 2009Oak Finial

After 56 years the lych-gate has had a new roof thanks to the generosity of those villagers who support the various events which donate money to the church restoration fund.

Our thanks must go to John Ward, John Clarke, Murray Rutherford and Steve Ramsay who gave their time and energy to install new cedarwood shingles (tiles). The result is there for all to see and should last until 2060 at the least.



1964.  transferred on to Microsoft Word by R. Noy, May 2003

From Domesday Book, 1087

M. Walter himself holds Neutone. It is assessed at 10 hides*. There is land for 12 ploughs**. In the demesne are 4 hides, and on it are 4 ploughs; and 20 villeins with 8 bordars*** have 8 ploughs. There are 11 serfs and meadow for 6 ploughs. In all it is worth 12 pounds ; when received 10 pounds; and as much T.R.E.**** This Manor Edward Cilt held."* Hide 120 acres** Plough Team of 8 Oxen*** Bordars Under Serf****T.R.E. Tempus Regis Edwardii. Latin Time of King Edward the Confessor. Date of

Valuation was fixed by the date of the King’s death, January 6th 1066

Sources of Information

History of the County of Buckingham Lipscomb

Victoria History of the County of Buckingham

History & Topography of the County of Buckingham Sheahan.

The Roval Commission on Historic Monuments.

Chuch Bells of Buckinghamshire. Cocks

Parochial Records, 1875-1903. Blagden.

History & Guide.

Early History

The Manor of Neutone, Newenton or Newinton, consisting of ten hides (1,200 acres) was given by William the Conqueror to Walter de Giffard, the founder of the Abbey of Santa Foy (St. Faith), Longueville, Normandy.

Before he died in 1104, he endowed the Abbey with lands in Buckinghamshire of which Neutone formed a part. His son, also Sir Walter, confirmed these gifts and founded an Alien Priory, or Cell, in Neutone, subordinate to the Abbey in Longueville, on condition that the Prior would send monks to Neutone to build a church and teach the Faith to the inhabitants of the village. The church was built on its present site in the latter half of the 12th. century between 1150 to 1200.

It is thought that the church was originally built as a chancel and nave and that the two aisles ware added later. In 1320, the chancel was rebuilt and the North chapel added, to be followed in 1370 with the reconstruction of naves and aisles.

In 1291, a pension of 1 6s 9d was ordered to be paid to the Abbey in Longueville by the Priory at Neutone. After 1535 this pension was paid to Maw College, and the same pension - at the same figure - is still paid to New College by the present Rector.

In 1390, Sir Gilbert Talbot and his wife obtained a grant, or license, to hold the Manor, by which they had to provide 80 annually to maintain two Cluniac monks (if available at the time), or two Religious (that is, monks of any other Order), or Secular Chaplains, to celebrate Divine Service and minister to the village, paying ten marks to each. They were also bound by the terms of the license to maintain the monks in fuel and lodging. Later the grant was reduced to one monk.

The Suppression of the Priory

In 1415, the Priory was suppressed by Henry V. Being an Alien Priory, that is, a Priory under the control of a foreign Abbey and bearing no allegiance to any authority in this country, it came under suspicion during the war with France as being a possible danger what we should regard today as a 'Fifth Column '. Most of the Alien Priories in Britain were suppressed in Henry's reign for the same reason.

In 1442, Henry VI gave the Priory and most of its lands, including the Manor, to the Warden and Fellows of New College, Oxford, at a rental of ' One Red Rose in Summer reserved to the Crown.' This actual rent was paid as late as 1731 to Charles, Earl of Tankerville and his wife, Camilla.

When, in 1442, the advowsons of the church were given to New College, the Warden and Fellows built the tower and both porches, and also raised the nave by the addition of the clerestory.

No sign of the old Priory remains, but it stood on the site of the present Manor. The Priory Estates were valued at 44 13s. 9d at its suppression.

The original Endowments of the Priory were as follows: The Manors of Great Horwood, Newton Longville, Whaddon and Akeley, with their churches. Tithes of other lands, fishpools, free pasture for stock, as well as all the monks might need for building.

The Manorial Courts

The Priory at Neutone enjoyed Manorial rights, which included the power to hold the 'Court Leet' for the trial of criminals. Although King Edward I removed the jurisdiction of most Courts Leet and Courts Baron, and transferred it to the General Assizes for Counties, it could not be done in the case of Neutone, owing to the foreign jurisdiction of the Abbey in Normandy. The power of trial and execution remained with the Priory up to its suppression, after which it was transferred to the New College Manorial Court. The Gallows stood just outside the village until about a century ago.

An old map of the district, based on a survey in 1776 – 1778, and engraved by Thomas Jeffreys, shows the gallows in the South-East bend of Drayton Road opposite Cowpasture Turn.

A relic of the old Manorial Courts is revealed in the Blagden Parochial Records: " 1896. July 7th. (Tuesday). Manorial Court held by New College, the Warden (Rev. Dr. Sewell), the Steward (J. F. Wickham Esq.), and H. A. Fisher, Esq. ("Outrider") Fellow & Sub-Warden of New College, being on Progress." Reference to this Court occurs each year.

In 1229, Edward I sent a gift of 2 tuns of wine to the Priory.

In 1331, the Prior of Newton Longville obtained a license to travel to Cluny, in France, with his suite, to attend the General Chapter of the Order at the Mother House at Cluny.

In 1377 there were 90 inhabited houses in the village and 95 families, making a population of 459. At the 1841 census there were 110 inhabited houses, 107 families, a population of 565, and 4 males, 2 females, slept in 'barns, sheds, and the like'.

Architectural Details

The Nave

From the west end of the church one looks towards the fine chancel arch, and notice should be taken of the 12th-century work in the two capitals and pillars which support it. The north capital shows carvings of grotesque animals and foliage, and the south capital stiff-leaf foliage. On either side of the arch are two piers, north and south, which jut out into the nave. In the north pier is a staircase, and in the south a small arch with its base well above ground level.

The nave was rebuilt using the original arcades in 1370, and after the suppression of the Priory, it was raised in 1441 by the addition of the clerestory, which is lighted by eight windows. The roof, which is flat pitched of four bays, is 15th-century and is supported by corbels, some carved as faces and some as shields. The two east trusses show signs of original coloured decoration.

Above the arch is a triptych (a three paneled picture) showing the Crucifixion with Our Lady and St. John either side, which now takes the place of the " Rood", long ago destroyed. This triptych was originally set up behind the Altar, and a note in the Blagdon Parochial records tells us: 1879, July 1st. Altar piece (picture of the Crucifixion; preserved to the Church by A. R. Whiteway. Esq., residing at Manor House". Probably placed in its present position when the sanctuary was panelled in oak in 1902. The pulpit is modern and replaced the old "Three-decker" which Stood near the south pier up to 1879,

The Chancel

The chancel as it now stands was rebuilt on the old foundations in 1320.

Passing into the chancel itself, behind the two capitals of the arch can be seen carved stone brackets, which are original 12th century work incorporated at the later rebuilding. These two brackets probably supported the Rood Screen, which spanned the arch in days gone by.

On the front of the Rector's stall there is some ancient tracery carved in oak, which is thought to have formed part of the 14th-century screen.

The three windows, to the east and south, contain 15th-century tracery but the glass is modern, each window being a memorial to members of the Blagdon family who carried out the late 19th-century restoration.

The roof is 15th century and is flat-pitched of two bays. At the centre of the roof trusses can be seen four bosses carved in oak. One of these, that over the Altar, contains the arms of William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, and the Founder of New College, Oxford. The corbels supporting the roof at the east end are original 12th-century figures but the rest are modern.

In the north wall of the Sanctuary will be seen two piscinae, one now used as a credence table, the other under a cinquefoil headed arch having seven small shields, two of which are the arms of William of Wykeham. The present arms of New College are very similar and can be studied on the oak sanctuary chair. In the north wall, at ground level, is an oak lined locker with the original 15th century door and hinges. The oak panelling is modern, and was added in 1902.

To the north is a 14th century arch dividing the chancel from the north chapel, now used as a vestry.

The North Chapel

The north chapel was appropriated to New College and is Manorial. At one time it contained three manorial pews situated where the organ now stands. It was added in 1320 at the rebuilding, and is lighted by three 15th-century windows. On the walls are four 14th-century heads carved in stone and other brackets.

There are also certain memorials to past Incumbents and their families transferred here from the sanctuary at the 19th-century restoration.

The chapel has been variously called "College Aisle" or " New College Chapel", and was once totally enclosed with a carved oak screen, but of this only the west portion remains which is 17th century.

Sheahan tells us that in his day (1862) there was a large sepulchral slab deprived of its memorial brasses at the entrance to the manorial pew. This would now be covered by the organ, and is the only known brass to have existed in the church.

Notice should be taken of the two very fine oak chests in this chapel. The larger is late 17th-century, and the smaller, which has some fine carving, is early 17th-century

On the north wall will be seen the Royal Arms, undated but Set up by Order of Parliament early in 17th. century.

The fine old oak table is said to have been removed from the sanctuary during the Commonwealth, and. before that date. would have been in use as the Holy Table.

The vestment chest is modern and is a memorial to Lady Ada Welsford who gave devoted service to the church and Sanctuary during her twenty-two years residence at the Manor.

The North Aisle

Passing from the north chapel through the screen we come to the north aisle. Here some 12th-century work can be seen in the arcade separating this aisle from the nave Notice the capital (at the top of the pillar) carved in stone with animals, birds and foliage. The roof here is 15th-century In the pier, east of the arcade, will be seen a staircase rising in the wall.

These stairs originally gave access to the Rood-loft, which spanned the chancel arch above the screen, which before the Reformation formed the entrance to the chancel. This screen, beautifully carved in oak and most Probably highly coloured, would have totally enclosed the chancel with gates that opened and closed. The screen is thought to have been destroyed, like so many others during the Commonwealth, and only a very small portion remains.

The Rood-loft would have supported a large Crucifix flanked on either side by figures of Our Lady and St. John (this group is commonly known as "The Rood'). At Easter the clergy ascended the Rood-loft by the stairs to sing the Easter Anthem.

The north door is 13th-century reset in its present position when the aisle was rebuilt. The porch is 15th-century.

The South Aisle

We cross the nave to the south aisle. First, on our right, is the Font. The font has a 12th-century circular tapering bowl with comparatively modern carved ornament. The shafts of the stem are modern but the octagonal base is old. The cover is early 17th-century and is carved alternately with lions and unicorns amid foliage. Note the carved dove counterweight of similar date.

The south door and porch are 15th-century, and the roof is later than other parts—16th-century.

Notice the south arcade with water-leaf ornamentation on the pillar capital, also original 12th-century.

Next we see the Lady Altar, a memorial to the mother of a former Incumbent. In the pier to the north of the altar is the small 14th-century arch which may have been intended for a recumbent effigy, perhaps may once have contained one. The carved head of a knight in armour, now seen here, may have been part of it. The head is 13th-century and was found in the village. In the south wall is a very fine 15th century locker, or aumbry, with its original wood door, hinges and bolt. This aumbry is now used for Reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, and the white light reminds us that Jesus in the Holy Sacrament ever waits to be carried to those in sickness.

In the south wall is a 14th-century piscina now used as a credence table. The piscina was used for cleansing the priest's fingers and the holy vessels at Mass.

If we pass to the foot of the chancel arch and turn west, we see the grand west arch which forms the base of the tower,

The Tower

The tower was built in the 15th. century and is in two stages, the lower stage being two stories. At ground level is the ringing chamber ; first stage the clock chamber, and at the top the bell chamber. The embattled parapet is modern. There were, in 1897*, six bells. recast and rehung early in the 19th century to which two were added in 1907. Before the 19th-century restoration the tower contained a musicians' gallery.

" In 1818, Gilbert Flesher gave timber to construct a Musicians' Gallery, but the timber was destroyed in a disastrous fire which gutted several cottages in the village. He generously replaced the timber and the gallery was built.

The Bells

There is a peal of eight bells in the tower of some historic interest. In 1637 the church possessed four bells, a Sanctus**, and a clock. In 1714 there were five bells and clock, but the Sanctus is not mentioned.


Newton Longville Bells.




Bell No

Maker and Inscription

Diameter in Inches


Mears & Stainbank. London.



Mears & Stainbank, London. 'In Memoriarn, E. H.’



Recast by the munificence of Gilbert Fiesher, Esq, who adds Honours to the Honour of his Ancestors of A.D. 1066. The noblest motive Is the public good."



W. & J. Taytor, Oxford. Fecitt 1824



W. & J. T. Oxford. Founders. 1824



Mears & Stainbank London



John Bryant, Hartford. Fecit 1800



R. Taylor & Son. Founders, Oxford, MDCCCXXVI.






Fecit.Latin made



*The Church Bells of Buckinghamshire, Cocks.

**The Sanctus Bell was installed in days gone by and rung at the Consecration at the Eucharist, being reserved for that purpose only. Hence its name, (Sanctus. Latin – Holy)

Gilbert Flesher, Towcester, Northants, Mentioned by Lipscomb as being very active in road making and improving the neighbourhood. He was descended from a follower of William the Conqueror. He gave a piece of land to the parish for charitable purposes now known as the ‘Flesher Charity’, as well as his other benefactions.

‘At the solicitation of the inhabitants who had long been celebrated for harmonious ringing on five bells, he (Gilbert Flesher) consented to bear expense of recasting old bells into six.’

A ‘Pancake Bell’ to warn people to finish up their butter etc. before Lent by making pancakes, or ' Shriving Bell ' to urge them to confession, used to be rung on Shrove Tuesday.

The ‘Sermon Bell’ was rung early on Sermon Sunday, to inform the village that a sermon would be preached at Morning Service.

The bell frame is 17th-century.

The Clocks

The old clock mechanism is still in existence and is typical of 16th-century ‘blacksmith’ design. It is known that there was a clock in the tower in 1637 and this may be the original. Certain features are almost identical with the old clock at Whaddon church which, according to an old wall brass, was made by Anthony Chandler of Drayton Parslow, in 1673, and there is good reason to believe that the Newton clock was made by a member of the same family at an earlier date, approximately 1635.

The present clock was given by Mrs. Emma Blagden in 1891, and was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Oxford, Dr. Stubbs, on December 29th of that year. The bells were also retuned and rehung by Gillett & Johnson, the makers of the clock, at the same time.

Church Plate

Amongst several items of church plate the church possesses a small undated Elizabethan chalice cover which would suggest that there was once an Elizabethan chalice now unhappily lost. There is a private Communion set comprising a small chalice, paten and cruet, presented by the widow of Robert Wetherall. in 1845. Inscription: “The gift of Ann Wetherall, relict of the Revd. Robert Wetherall, to the Rector of Newton Longville for the time being." At the other extreme the church also possesses a very large chalice, stand paten, flagon, all in silver, given by Margaret Alden in 1685. Inscription: “The gift of Mrs. Margaret Alden. Daughter of Mr. Paul Alden, of Newnton Longvill in the County of Bucks, who deceased April ye 25th, 1685”


Dimensions in inches
















There is a protective silk cloth (66 x 32 inches) embroidered, “M. A. 1685” provided with this chalice and flagon, but being old and rather fragile now, it is preserved separately.

The silver chalice and paten in present use were given by Mrs. Emma Blagden and Miss Tupman in 1892.

Outstanding Rectors

WILLIAM GROCYN. Rector 1479. A profound scholar who was tutor and friend of the celebrated Erasmus. He taught Greek and Latin at the University of Oxford. There is a memorial to him in the north aisle.

JOHN YOUNG. Rector 1525. A Newton boy, born and bred in the village. He was Dean of Chichester, Bishop of Gallipoli, and finally Warden of New College.

HENRY COLE. Rector 1545 the last under the old religion. After a short compliance with the new teaching of the Reformation he changed his mind and resigned. his Wardenship of New College and the benefice of Newton Longville At Mary's accession he became Archdeacon of Ely, and later Provost of Eton College and St. Paul’s Cathedral. He refused to comply again with the new religion restored under Elizabeth 1, and was heavily fined. Unable to pay, he was thrown into the Fleet Prison where he died in confinement in 1579.

ANTHONY NOURSE SANDERSON. Rector 1763. Not so much outstanding as rather a character. He refused to live in Newton owing to the dilapidated state of the house, and did not come into residence until he had built the present rectory, 1767. During his incumbency he lived at Shenley, Broughton, Hammersmith and he even tried Bletchley. He employed curates to do his work. He gave a dinner to celebrate his coming into residence in his new rectory

ROBERT WETHERELL. Rector 1813 One may judge his character from a study of a memorial on the south wall of the vestry. He was outstanding in that he, with the aid of his wife, built the first school in the village in 1838. He provided land for the school and the two adjoining fields as a Trust for the welfare of scholars of the Day and Sunday School.

HENRY CHARLES BLAGDEN. Rector 1875. A devoted priest who built the present school in 1903 when the earlier building was condemned.

He was also responsible for:-

The 19th-Century Restoration

The Revd. H. C. Blagden, instituted March 1875, was inducted in June, and by August of the same year the Restoration Fund had been opened. On October 21st occurred a “Visit from Arthur W. Blomfield, Esq, Architect, to view the church and prepare estimates for restoring same." So no time was lost!

The first six years of his incumbency were spent in ‘tidying up' and fund raising. The work of restoration commenced in July 1881, and was completed by the following December. During that period all services were held in the school, and when the restoration was complete the church was re-opened and re-dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Oxford, Dr. Mackarness, on Thursday, December 29th.

The Bishop “preached at the Morning Service which was also attended by twenty Clergymen in surplices. A procession of Bishop, Clergy, and Choir marched from Rectory to the Church. The Choir wore surplices for the first time."

It was a stupendous task. and cost something like 1,200, a lot of money for those days. Bishop Claude Blagden, son of the Rector, tells us in his book, ‘Well Remembered’

“Floor, roof, and seating had all to be renewed, and a crazy gallery at the west end came crashing down as soon as ever the work began."

Church Registers

The Church Registers are almost intact from 1560 to the present time but some pages are missing or mutilated. The following are points of interest :

1645. Being the yeare of ye Visitason.' Probably an outbreak of the plague. Thirteen entries such as the following occur in August: ' Ralphe Paule & his wife & 2 daughters buryed.'

1752 According to an Act made last Session of Parliament ye New Year is now to commence on the first day of January.

1774 - 1794. On the flyleaf of one register is a list of Affidavits. Under a law of Parliament all burials had to be made ‘in wool ' to foster the wool trade. An affidavit had to be sworn by a relative that the corpse had been buried in a woollen shroud within eight days of the funeral. There are two columns, one for the funeral date, the other for the affidavits.

1785. Several entries are endorsed ‘Tax paid ' which refers to the Stamp Act of 1783 which was a tax levied on all register entries at 3d. an entry payable by relatives.

Churchwarden's Accounts

An astonishing amount was paid out by the Churchwardens a century or so ago for the extermination of vermin. For a:-














2d a dozen

gst other interesting charges on the accounts were:



Paid to Richard Chandler for working the clock,





For aile when the King com hom





Strings for the Base Viol.





John Bryant for the new Bell.




A Note on the Commonwealth Period

Newton suffered under the Commonwealth like most parishes.

Mention has already been made of damage done to the church. In 1642, when the Civil War began, Thomas Power had been Rector for twelve years but, it appears, he was dispossessed by the local Parliamentary Committee since Newton Longville is mentioned among the sequestered benefices in the Book of Plundered Ministers. What happened to him is not revealed, but many ejected clergy suffered acutely in poverty and prison.

His place was filled by a ‘godly, diligent and painful preacher,’ possibly 'Jasper Symands, Minister' who signed the registers from the year 1648 to 1653. Newton parishioners showed their resentment by refusing to pay tithes to this usurper.

From 1642 to 1648 the registers are signed by churchwardens: between 1653 and 1655 the signature is ‘Matthon King. Register'. perhaps a Parliamentary Official whose powers superseded those of Minister Symands. During these latter years Baptism was done away and births only are recorded. (Puritanism had driven out the Church, the Book of Common Prayer, Bishops and Clergy. Even Christmas was banned and a whole congregation in London was imprisoned for observing the Feast. Scottish Presbyterianism became the official religion enforced throughout England during the Commonwealth).

Newton had a parish priest again, however, by 1658 when Henry Wymington took charge of the parish. He became the official Rector three years later when the Church was fully restored to this country at the Accession of King Charles II. He devotes a whole page in the register to this notable event.