An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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84. LITTLE HORMEAD.
(O.S. 6 in. xiv. N.W.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands in a somewhat isolated position on high, ground about 2 miles E. of Buntingford. The chancel is built of flint and stone, and the nave is cemented; the roofs are tiled. The Nave is of c. 1140, but the Chancel, which leans to the N., was re-built c. 1220. In the 15th century several windows were inserted; in the 17th century a large buttress was built against the S. wall of the nave, and the small South Porch of brick was added in the 18th century. The building was restored in 1888 when the chancel was shortened a few feet, and the east wall re-built.
The 12th-century ornamental ironwork on the N. doorway is a rare survival (see Fittings below and illustration).
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24 ft. by 13 ft.) has three modern lancet windows in the E. wall, and the N. wall is blank; in the S. wall are two 13th-century lancets, the westernmost of slightly later date than the other; between them is a modern, cemented doorway, and further W. is a 15th-century window of two lights under a square head. The chancel arch is of the 12th century, and has a flattened round arch; the jambs are square and have shafts with scalloped capitals; the S. jamb is mutilated. The Nave (27½ ft. by 15½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, a 12th-century window with a round head, and a 12th-century doorway with a moulded round arch, a cemented tympanum, and shafted jambs; in the S. wall is a 15th-century window of two lights with tracery, and E. of it, under the cement, are signs of another blocked window; the 12th-century S. doorway is plainer than that on the N., and has a round head; the W. window is modern. The Roof of the chancel appears to be of the 18th century; the nave roof has three old, plain tie-beams and shaped rafter feet, but is otherwise modern; over the W. end is a modern wood bell-turret.
Fittings—Bells: two, inaccessible (one said by Stahlschmidt to be of early 15th-century date). Door: in the N. doorway, old, oak, with unusually fine 12th-century ironwork, in two bays, one above the other, of interlacing patterns formed with one inch straps, a wavy horizontal band with small sprigs or tendrils shooting from it, and vertical borders with similar tendrils; most of it is purely ornamental. Font: of oolite, c. 1310; sides of bowl have panels of tracery alternating with circular foiled panels: in the E. face, a shield with a fleur-de-lis. Piscina: in S. wall of chancel, partly covered by modern E. wall, with pointed chamfered arch, old; basin missing. Plate: used at Great Hormead Church (q. v.). Royal Arms: over the chancel arch, an achievement of the arms of Charles II. and the date MDCLX. Stoup: in the porch, a round-headed recess.
Condition—Fairly good, but damp inside, probably because the building is little used except in the summer; much ivy on the N. wall of the chancel. The ironwork on N. doorway has suffered from age and rust, and parts are missing, but it is now being properly preserved.
(2). At Mutford's Farm, fragment.
(3). At Stonebury Farm, fragment.
(4). Ballons Farm, S.E. of the church, originally a single house, now divided into three tenements, is a two-storeyed building, of the 17th century, with timber-framed and plastered walls; the roof is thatched. The plan is of a half-H shape, with the wings projecting from the N. front. Two of the chimney stacks, one central, the other at the W. end, are original, with diagonal shafts; the third, at the E. end, is modern. The windows are mullioned. The original doorway, now much altered, is on the N. side next to the E. wing, and opposite the central chimney stack. In the middle cottage is a very large fireplace, with chimney corners; the cottage on the W. has also a large fireplace, with a flat three-centred arch, reduced to fit a modern grate.
Condition—The E. wing is used as a chicken house, and is much dilapidated. The rest is inhabited, and in better condition.
(5). Tumulus, on Bummers Hill.