An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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34. CHIPPING BARNET.
(O.S. 6 in. xlv. N.E.)
(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, stands on a hill near the middle of the town. The walls are of flint with stone dressings; the roofs are covered with slate and lead. The church was much altered and enlarged in 1875, when the Chancel was pulled down and an Organ Chamber built on the site, the plan of the chancel being preserved: the Nave, retaining its own North Aisle, was converted into the N. aisle of the present nave: and all the early work was restored. Part of the old West Tower also remains, and is of early 15th-century date; the nave arcades and clearstorey were re-built by John Beauchamp, who died in 1453, the width of the nave being increased at the E. end to that of the chancel, which had been re-built probably c. 1450.
Architectural Description—The old Nave (63½ ft. by 19 ft. at the E. end, tapering to 16 ft. at the W. end) has 15th-century N. and S. arcades of five bays with moulded arches of two orders, slender clustered columns, and moulded half-octagonal capitals. In one of the spandrels of the S. arcade is a contemporary tablet inscribed "Ora[te p aīa] Johīs beuchamp fudatoris hui' operis." The clearstorey windows are of three cinque-foiled lights, with modern tracery; those on the S. are unglazed, and open into the present nave. The Organ Chamber has, set in the E. wall, the 15th-century S. doorway from the old chancel, with an embattled string course over it. The old North Aisle (11 ft. wide) has a window in the E. wall, two in the N. wall, and a doorway, all modern. The old West Tower (12 ft. square) retains only the side walls of the ground stage, with arches of hollow-chamfered orders opening N. and S.; most of the stones have masons' marks, which are unusually conspicuous for work of early 15th-century date; the W. wall is modern and a new tower has been built on the S.W. The Roofs are modern, but that of the old nave rests on 15th-century corbels carved with the Arms of the see of Canterbury, St. Albans, France and England quarterly, and a cheveron between three roses.
Fittings—Brass: on N. wall of N. aisle, to Elinor Palmer, 1558, inscription. Chest; in N. aisle, large, iron bound, probably 17th-century. Door: at E. end of organ chamber, with traceried panels, 15th-century, restored; lock and iron handle original. Font: modern; the old font, of c. 1452, has been removed to the Mission Church of St. Stephen, a modern building. Monuments and Floor Slabs: in S.E. chapel, large canopied altar tomb with effigy of Thomas Ravenscroft, ob. 1630, shields bearing his arms and those of his two wives, and six scrolls commemorating his children: in N. aisle, large slab to George Ravenscroft, 1683. Niches: in side walls of modern tower, two, with canopies, 15th-century, defaced. Piscinae: in E. wall of old chancel, 15th-century, restored head: in N.E. angle of N. aisle, without basin. Plate: includes small cup, 1679.
Condition—Good; all old work much restored.
(3). Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, opposite the church, now used as a dining hall for the modern school, is a rectangular, 16th-century building of brick, with octagonal stairturrets at the N.E. and S.E. angles; the E. wall was re-built in the 19th century; the roof is tiled. The N. windows have moulded wood frames with mullions and transoms. An oak post which supports the roof is the only original feature inside the building.
Condition—Good, but with much ivy on the N. wall.
(4). The Jesus Hospital or Ravenscroft Almshouses, on the N. side of the street, about ¼ mile W. of the church, forms a long rectangular building of one storey; the walls are of red brick; the roof is tiled. The central porch has a pediment, and over the doorway is a stone with an inscription recording that the almshouses were built, and endowed by James Ravenscroft in 1672, but little detail of that date remains. All the windows and the roof are of the 19th century. In the modern gate posts are two old stones carved with a crest, the initials J.R. and the date 1679.