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Parish Church of St Mary and St Giles

A Grade II* Listed Building in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes

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Latitude: 52.057 / 52°3'25"N

Longitude: -0.8535 / 0°51'12"W

OS Eastings: 478702

OS Northings: 240464

OS Grid: SP787404

Mapcode National: GBR BYN.113

Mapcode Global: VHDSZ.5K3G

Plus Code: 9C4X344W+QH

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Mary and St Giles

Listing Date: 12 June 1953

Last Amended: 28 October 1976

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1125375

English Heritage Legacy ID: 45555

Location: Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, MK11

County: Milton Keynes

Civil Parish: Stony Stratford

Built-Up Area: Milton Keynes

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Stony Stratford St Mary and Giles

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

Tagged with: Church building

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891/1/54 HIGH STREET
(Southwest side)

(Formerly listed as:


The tower is late C15. The rest of the church was entirely rebuilt in 1776 by Francis Hiorne of Warwick. Restored in 1876-8 by E Swinfen Harris, who put new tracery in the windows and added N and S galleries. N vestries added 1891, also by Harris. The chancel was rebuilt on an entirely different plan by C G Hare in 1928. Restored in the late 1960s after a fire in 1964, to designs by H A Rolls and Peter Foster. Plans to rebuild and extend vestry and church hall in 2009/10 to designs by Julian Limentani, of Marshall Sisson architects.

Squared stone with tiles and slated roofs. Nave arcade piers of cast iron, covered in wood.

Chancel, hall church nave with N and S aisles, N vestry complex and W tower.

Four stage W tower with clasping buttresses and an embattled parapet. Late C15 W door, C19 W window and two light tracery windows with transoms in the bell stage. The nave windows have unusual C19 plate tracery, with three lancets under three foiled circles at the top, a blind area in the middle, and three short, trefoiled lights at the bottom. The sills are said to have been raised in the C19, but this is not visible externally. The nave has a hipped roof to the E. The chancel of 1928 is gabled, and is in an early Italian Gothic style. It has an E window of three plate tracery lancets flanked by gabled, pilaster buttresses and pairs of trefoiled lights in the N and S walls.

The interior is light and spacious, in a late C18 Gothick style. Very tall, thin N and S nave arcades with clustered shafts, made of iron clad in wood, with high, plain square bases to rise above the former pews. The ceiling is a quadripartite rib vault, the ribs of each bay descending to the piers where they are carried down as shafts. The sills of the aisle windows are very low, forming seats, and the rerearches have a continuous moulding. Plain chancel arch flanked by tall recesses at the E end of each aisle. The chancel has a barrel-vaulted ceiling with inter-penetrations above the N and S windows. The E window is framed within a full height rerearch with a four-centered head. N, S and W galleries carried on shafts copying those in the arcades; the N and S galleries are C19, the W gallery C20. Late C15 tower arch of two moulded orders with shafted responds, largely hidden behind the W gallery.

The church was reordered in 1968 following a fire, and has a semi-circular platform at the E end of the nave with altar rails designed to match the arcades. Fibreglass crucifix by Anthony Weller of 1968. The seating is modern chairs. Good C19 font in a Perpendicular style. In the nave a polygonal pulpit with Arts-and-Crafts Gothic blind tracery with an inscription recording its gift as a memorial for WWI. Probably from the same set, and now in the S aisle, a fine lectern with a delicate buttressed stem and openwork tracery ends; one kneeling bench with vine scrolls; a credence table with openwork front; and a carved timber altar frontal with floral designs. Above the S aisle altar a reredos of the Crucifixion by Ninian Comper. All are probably c.1928.

The small trefoiled lower lights in the nave windows have very fine glass of 1889-97 by N H J Westlake. W window by Kempe, 1903. Figures of saints in the upper lights of the nave windows came from the former apse, and are mid C19.

Lychgate of 1928 at the High Street entrance.

The church, formerly known as St Giles, was one of two churches in Stony Stratford by the late middle ages, the other being the now ruined St Mary┬┐s. A church with several priests is recorded in Stony Stratford in the early C13, but it is not clear which was meant, and the earliest surviving fabric at St Giles is the C15 tower. By the 1530s, St Giles had a Lady Chapel and a vestry. St Giles was a chapel of Calverton, St Mary's a chapel of Wolverton. They became independent parishes in the mid C17, but were united in 1742 after St Mary's burnt down. St Giles was too small for the population, and, except for the tower, was rebuilt in 1776 in a Gothick style by Francis Hiorne of Warwick (1744-1789), notable Georgian church architect, especially noted for his elegant, early Gothick revival style seen to best effect at Tetbury, Gloucestershire. His elegant polygonal chancel, which had very tall, pointed windows with fanciful pinnacled, ogee tracery, was unfortunately demolished and rebuilt in 1928 to allow the High Street to be widened. His nave windows had previously been altered by E Swinfen Harris, a local architect, to allow the insertion of galleries. The interior of the church was damaged by fire in 1964, and was restored and reordered, reopening in 1968.

Pevsner, N., Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (1994), 552-3
VCH Buckinghamshire, IV (1927), 476-482

The church of St Mary and St Giles, Stony Stratford, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Mid to late C15 W tower, the rest of the church rebuilt 1776-7 by Francis Hiorne of Warwick with a fine Gothic interior including a plaster vault, possessing great spatial quality.
* For its interesting construction: an early employment of structural cast iron, enabling a soaring interior to be created.
* Excellent glass by Westlake.

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