An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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20. BISHOP'S HATFIELD.
b (1). Parish Church of St. Etheldreda, stands on high ground on the E. side of the town. It is built chiefly of flint rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and the North and South Transepts are of early 13th-century date, and appear to have formed part of a cruciform church with a central tower, as indicated by the thickened E. wall of the nave, and a flying arch on the N. side. Late in the 13th century a South Chapel and the small Chapels W. of the transepts were built; the South Chapel was widened late in the 15th century. The Nave, of which the N. wall probably stands on the 13th-century foundations, was widened towards the S. in the 15th century, when the central tower was destroyed and the present West Tower built. The North (or Salisbury) Chapel was added c. 1610. The walls of the nave were re-built, and the Porches added in the 19th century, when all the window tracery and most of the external stonework was renewed.
Architectural Description— The Chancel (41 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a three-light E. window with 13th-century inner jambs; the N. arcade, of c. 1610, has three round-arched bays with red granite columns; on the S. side is a two-light window and a 15th-century arcade of two bays, with angels bearing shields carved in the capitals; over the middle pier are shields charged with the arms:—on a bend, engrailed and ootised, a molet. The chancel arch is modern. The North Chapel (40 ft. by 21½ ft.) has a three-light E. window, and three similar windows and a doorway in the N. wall, all of c. 1610; the two arches on the W., opening into the transept, are modern. The South Chapel (25½ ft. by 17 ft.) has a five-light E. window, and two windows, of four lights each, and a small doorway in the S. wall; all the windows are probably of late 15th-century date, but much restored; a 13th-century arch at the W. end opens into the S. transept, and next to it is a 15th-century doorway, inserted when the chapel was widened. The Nave (100 ft. by 29½ ft.) has its axial line about 6 ft. S. of that of the chancel. An archway of 13th-century detail with modern bases and capitals opens into the chapel W. of each transept; there are three modern traceried windows in the N. wall, and three in the S. wall; the N. doorway is of the 15th century, much repaired; the S. doorway is modern. The North Transept (25 ft. by 15½ ft.) has a four-light N. window, possibly of the 15th century, but completely restored, and below it is a doorway; in the W. wall is a 15th-century doorway with a pointed head, opening into the modern vestry, and S. of it a 13th-century semi-arch or flying buttress. The Chapel has a modern W. window of two lights. The South Transept (19 ft. by 15½ ft.) contains the oldest details in the building; in the E. wall is a blocked lancet window, and N. of it a large trefoiled recess; both of the 13th century, and set high in the wall; on the S. side is a four-light window similar to that in the N. transept; the arch in the W. wall is a fine example of work of c. 1240, and appears to have been re-built in its present position; it is of two orders, moulded with deeply undercut rolls and hollows; the responds are of three engaged round shafts separated by dog tooth ornament, which has been much restored; the capitals are enriched with foliage, and the bases are modern. The Chapel W. of the transept has S. and W. windows of two lights. The Tower (16 ft. square) is of four stages with square angle buttresses, an embattled parapet and a tall shingled spire; the tower arch, built c. 1440, is of three moulded orders. The W. doorway, with a pointed arch in a square head, and the window over it, of four lights with tracery, are original. The Roofs of the S. chapel and transepts retain much late 15th-century woodwork; the other roofs are modern.
Fittings—Brackets for images: two, in the E. wall of the S. chapel, each carved with an angel bearing a shield. Brasses: in the chancel, to Fulke Onslowe, 1602, and his wife; with arms and inscription: in the tower, another inscription to Fulke Onslowe. Chest: in the tower, iron bound, dated 1692. Monuments: in the N. chapel, large marble altar tomb with effigy of the founder of the chapel, Robert, first Earl of Salisbury, 1612; in a recess below, representation of a recumbent skeleton: N. of the tomb, a small slab with figure in low relief of a knight in armour, early 13th-century: on other side of the chapel, slab with recumbent effigy of a man, life-sized, c. 1560, thought to be that of Sir Richard Kyrle: in S. chapel, large monument with effigies of Dame Elizabeth Brockett, 1612, and Dame Agnes Sanders, 1588: to John Brockett, 1598. Piscinae: in chancel, 13th-century, with modern arch: in nave, N. of chancel arch, late 14th - century. Screen: between chancel and N. chapel, iron, 18th-century.
b (5). Hatfield House, stands on the W. side of the park, on rising ground close to the church. It is of three storeys, above the basement, and is built round three sides of a courtyard, of red brick with stone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead and tiles. James I. exchanged the Manor of Hatfield and the Palace, which was originally built by Morton, Bishop of Ely, for Theobalds (see under Cheshunt) in 1607, with Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, the son of Lord Burghley. Only the W. wing of the palace remains, now used as stables (see following account). The present house was begun by the Earl of Salisbury immediately he acquired the property, and it was finished c. 1611. The structure retains practically its original form; as all rebuilding and repairs have been carried out in careful imitation of the earlier work, and as old materials have been re-used, it is often difficult to distinguish the restorations from the original work. In 1835 the W. wing was gutted by fire, from the chapel wall to the S. end; in 1846 the cloister was glazed, and during 1868–9 the third floor was much altered internally. The forecourt on the N. front was enlarged in 1869, and is surrounded by modern walls pierced in imitation of the parapets of the house. The gardens also appear to be modern. In 1878 the great hall was re-decorated and the ceiling painted.
The building is on the scale of a palace rather than of a country house, and is one of the finest existing examples of early 17th-century architecture. Although not so ornate as some contemporary houses, the somewhat severe entrance elevation is a composition of the greatest dignity, and on a magnificent scale, and the court elevations are a fine study in the massing and gradation of ornament. The most noticeable features of the interior are: the great hall, with the screen and gallery; the grand staircase, and the long gallery with its panelling and ceiling.
The plan is E-shaped, though without a central projecting wing; the main building faces N. and S., and has at each end a square block, from which the E. and W. wings, of similar but irregular shape, project towards the S. The main building is entered from the N. by a small projecting porch giving access to the Screens, on the W. of which are some offices, and on the E. the Marble Hall, two storeys in height; on the S. the Cloisters extend from one end of the main building to the other, with an ante-room in the block at each end. The block at the E. end contains the Grand Staircase, the Summer Drawing Room and the Yew Drawing Room; and the W. block contains the Adam and Eve Staircase, the upper part of the Kitchen and some offices; in the E. wing are the Poplar Staircase and rooms used by the third Marquess of Salisbury; the W. wing contains the Chapel, two storeys high like the hall, the Elm Staircase, and various rooms of less importance. On the first floor, over the cloister, is the Long Gallery with ante-rooms at each end, and at this level the Hall has a Musicians' Gallery at the E. end. The Winter Dining Room and Ante-room are over the offices and screens respectively. Over the drawing rooms in the E. block is the King James's Drawing Room. On the first floor of the W. block is the Library, and at this level the Chapel has a gallery round three sides. The disposition of the remaining rooms in both wings is similar to that of the ground floor. The whole building stands on a brick basement containing most of the domestic offices; the Kitchens are at the N.W. of the building and are carried up to the ground floor. The S. half of the main block is roofed over the long gallery on the second floor, but the N. half is of three storeys, like the rest of the building.
The windows all have stone mullions and transoms, and are symmetrically placed throughout the house; some of them are blocked, and may have been built originally in this way for the sake of the design. The N. Elevation has a central projecting porch of three storeys, carried a little higher than the main building, with a pierced brick parapet surmounted by figures of lions holding shields; this parapet is repeated on the main building. The doorway, with steps leading up to it, is of stone, much restored: the opening has a semi-circular head, and is flanked by pairs of stone columns, supporting a complete Doric order, above which is a pierced curvilinear cresting, also in stone. Above the porch, but standing back from it, is a wooden clock-turret of three stages. The lowest stage has arches in each face, set in a complete Doric order; above it is an Ionic order in which is the clock; the third stage consists of an octagonal lantern and cupola. At each end of the main building is a bay window, carried up to the third storey; the square blocks beyond them project slightly and are a little higher than the main building; a projecting octagonal turret, of four storeys, with a pierced parapet, is in the centre of each block, and contains accommodation stairs.
The E. and W. Elevations of the two Square Blocks are practically identical, and are each designed with three bay windows, carried up two floors, and finished, above the first storey, with stone cresting or pierced parapets. In the third storey are three transomed and mullioned windows, and above those on the W there is pierced stone cresting, set in the brickwork. The windows in these elevations are much altered, both transoms and mullions having been renewed and re-faced. The E. and W. Elevations of the projecting Wings are irregularly designed, with bay windows and coped gables. The S. face of each wing has a bay window in the middle, and, at the corners, square stair-turrets finished with lead cupolas.
The S. Elevation of the Main Building and the adjacent elevations of the projecting Wings, elaborately designed as three sides of a court, are the most highly ornamented parts of the building. The Main Building on this side is faced with stone, and is of nine bays. On the ground stage are the semi-circular arches of the cloister, now filled with modern pierced stone screens; they form part of a Doric arcade, with flat pilasters enriched with arabesques, and fluted. In the spandrels are strap-work cartouches and the metopes are set with ox skulls and carbuncles. The entablature is mitred and broken out over the pilasters; the middle bay projects slightly and has two detached circular columns on each side instead of pilasters. Above the ground stage is an Ionic order with a similar arrangement of pilasters and columns in the middle bay. The wall surface between the pilasters is ashlar-faced, and in each bay is a transomed window of two lights. On the pedestals warlike trophies, including firearms, are worked in high relief, and the frieze is carved with flowers, fruit and grotesque subjects. The central bay is carried a storey higher than the others, with a richly ornamented Corinthian order enclosing an achievement of the Cecil arms; above it is a solid parapet with the date 1611 in large figures, and surmounted by the Cecil crest and four lions holding shields. This third stage in the centre is only a screen, and the rest of the wing is finished with a pierced stone parapet above the first storey. As the N. half of the central wing is higher than the S. half, it is visible behind and above the parapet on this side, and is designed with curvilinear gables which serve to mask the chimneys. The clock turret also forms part of this elevation.
The Court Elevations of the Wings show a symmetry which is not in accordance with their plan. Each wing has three bay windows carried up two storeys; that on the N.W. is the chapel window, and is divided into three stages, each of four lights with round heads; the lower part of the middle bay on both sides of the court forms an entrance, and is flanked by Doric pilasters carrying a complete entablature, over which is pierced curvilinear cresting, all in stone; the windows over the entrances and in the other bays are double transomed, and in the third storey on each side are three mullioned windows finished with cresting. Both these elevations have pierced stone and brick parapets. The chimneys are all arranged in large internal stacks, and are finished with octagonal moulded and twisted shafts; probably all these have been re-built. On the E. elevation the bars forming the heads of some tie rods in the highest storey represent the letters R. and S. In the N.E. and N.W. corners of the court are lead rainwater heads with large ornamented tanks, dated 1610, and two on each side of the central bay are dated 1680.
Interior—On the W. side of the Screens is a stone arcade of three bays of the Doric order, modern or much restored. On the S. a doorway, with pilasters and pediment, opens into the cloisters, and over it are the Cecil arms and quarterings in painted wood, dated 1575. On the E. is the hall screen, which is of oak, and of five bays; on this side the posts form a plain Doric arcade, filled with large moulded panels and pierced lunettes, and the frieze has pierced strap-work, apparently modern; the central bay has doors opening into the marble hall. On the Hall side the screen is elaborately carved and ornamented; the posts form grotesque Caryatid columns and the panels have cartouches in high relief; the pierced lunettes on this side are carved as shells and above them are brackets of grotesque design, which support an overhanging upper stage, which was perhaps originally an open balcony; in it each bay has a semi-circular arch, now filled in with modern arabesque work; the posts are grotesque Caryatid balusters and the spandrels are carved; in the middle bay, which projects slightly, are two small "sight-holes" opening into the ante-room of the Winter Dining Room; above and below these openings are carved and painted crests, and shields with the Cecil arms. The gallery at the E. end of the hall is of similar design to the screen; it is supported on grotesque brackets, and the coved soffit is plastered and was painted in 1878; the front forms an open arcade of twelve bays, with grotesque pilasters, cornice, etc., and a balustrade of pierced strapwork; over the centre is an achievement of the Cecil arms. Both screen and gallery are much restored, but the constructional members with their ornament are original. The hall is lined with panelling divided into bays by Doric pilasters, much restored or modern; the fire-place and overmantel on the S. side are modern. Above the panelling the S. wall is hung with 17th-century tapestry. Under the gallery are two doorways with semi-circular heads and square architraves of stone; one door is among the few original doors in the house and has small rectangular and oval panels with moulded styles and rails. The plastered ceiling is decorated with bands of ornament in low relief, enclosing panels, which were filled with paintings in 1878; it is coved, and divided into four bays by moulded principals, ornamented with scroll work and pendants, at the feet of which are carved lions holding shields and resting on a moulded wall plate. On the E. and W. walls the lunettes formed by the coved ceiling are ornamented with flat arabesques in low relief. The floor was constructed without a daïs, laid with squares of black and white marble; the furniture includes two long oak tables, of early 17th-century date, with pierced square baluster legs. In the Cloisters are four panels of early 16th-century tapestry and a quantity of late 16th-century armour, much of which has been restored. The Grand Staircase is of open newel construction with quarter landings at every six steps. The moulded balusters are square-raked and in the form of herms; between them are arches with carved spandrels, and both balusters and newels are carved in high relief with war trophies and grotesque designs; on the newels are figures of lions holding shields, and nude amorini playing musical instruments; the handrail is moulded and the soffit and string are ornamented with pendants and strap-work. On the other side of the steps, against the wall, is a similar balustrade, with newels, figures, etc., and on the first landing is a pair of carved doggates.
At the foot of the stairs is the doorway of the Summer Drawing Room, which retains its original stone architrave and semi-circular head with moulded abaci and stopped jambs of a semi-classical character; the room is lined with elaborately mitred original panelling, divided into bays by fluted Doric pilasters, which support a heavy cornice and a small order of Ionic balusters; the panels are enriched with inlaid and "planted" arabesque work. The mantelpiece is a modern copy in marble of the original one in oak, which has been moved to the King James's Bedroom. The ceiling is either completely restored or modern. The Yew Room is modern. The Morning Room contains a large 17th-century mantelpiece of coloured marbles with flanking Caryatides and herms and some figure subjects in high relief, brought from elsewhere. The remaining five rooms in the W. wing are modern, but contain mantelpieces made up of 16th and 17th-century carving, probably Dutch. The Poplar Staircase is modern. The Adam and Eve Staircase is much restored, if not re-modelled, and the walls are lined with panelling made up of old material. In the Chapel the bay window forms the sanctuary, and is filled with early 17th-century stained glass, representing various Biblical subjects, which, from the original building accounts, appear to be of French, Flemish and English workmanship; the walls are covered to the soffit of the gallery with much-restored panelling; the front of the gallery is arcaded, with close lower panels, above which are round-headed openings, and enriched pilasters, moulded cornice, etc.; the ceiling is coved and set with grotesque brackets of late 16th-century date, brought from the old Market House at Hoddesdon; the painting of the ceiling and gallery is modern; the seating and the W. screen are also modern; the floor is of marble. The rest of the W. wing is modern.
The walls of the Long Gallery are covered with panelling, which is divided into bays by fluted Ionic pilasters, replaced at each end of the gallery, where it opens into the ante-rooms, by square columns. The cornice is heavy and enriched, and above it is a small Corinthian order, with detached columns and a dentil cornice. The upper part of the panelling of the lower order forms rusticated arcading, decorated with arabesques, all worked in thin planking. Below the arcading and in the bays of the upper order the panels, square and L-shaped, are elaborately mitred and moulded; this panelling is said to have been entirely renewed in the old style in the earlier part of the 19th century, but much of the old material has been re-used. The mantelpieces are not original; the ceiling, original but considerably restored, is decorated with pendants and flat arabesques. The Ante-rooms at each end of the gallery and the ante-room of the winter dining-room have modern decoration, copied from the gallery. The Summer Dining Room is lined with modern or re-worked panelling, and has a large mantelpiece of marble with figures in high relief, and an achievement of the Cecil arms made up of parts of two 17th-century mantelpieces. The doorway which opens from the landing of the Adam and Eve staircase into the W. ante-room of the gallery is set in a complete Corinthian order with double flanking columns, curved pediment, etc., carved in wood, and apparently of late 17th-century date. The Library is of the 18th century, or modern, except the large black and white marble mantelpiece, which is original, and is of two orders, Doric and Ionic, with detached circular columns, and, in the panel over the fireplace, a picture in mosaic of Sir Robert Cecil, dated 1608. In the King James's Bedroom is the oak mantelpiece originally in the summer drawing-room; it has square, moulded and enriched baluster columns, with three small Ionic columns above a heavy mantel shelf, and a deep enriched cornice over moulded panels with arabesques. In this room is some late 17th-century furniture completely covered with yellow damask, glued to the woodwork. In the Wellington Room are some panels of 17th-century tapestry. The King James's Drawing Room contains a large original mantelpiece of black, white and veined marble; the lower part forms a complete Doric order; above it is a Corinthian order of three bays; the middle bay projects slightly, and contains a domed niche, in which is a statue of James I., painted to resemble bronze.
b (6). The Palace is situated a little N.W. of the present house; the remaining buildings consist of one long range, now used as stables, built of brick and roofed with tiles, facing E. and W., and a brick gatehouse on the N.W., both of c. 1480. In the library at the house is a plan on vellum of the Park c. 1608, showing the original arrangement of the Palace, which was the property of James I. before he exchanged it for Theobalds. It was built about the four sides of a large square courtyard, with square blocks in the corners, containing staircases. The State entrance was on the E.; an elaborate gatehouse gave access to the forecourt, which occupied about the same position as the forecourt of the present house; an archway in the E. wing of the palace opened into the courtyard opposite the main entrance to the screens and great hall in the W. wing. On the W. was another court, with a gatehouse on the N.W. side, and a second entrance in the W. wing to the screens; an archway in an extension of this wing to the N. opened into a small kitchen-court. The State apartments were probably in the S. wing. Only the W. wing of this palace and the N.W. gatehouse remain, though the position of the other wings may be traced in the sunk garden which lies between the forecourt of the present house and the remaining W. wing. This building contained, on the S. of the screens, the great hall and the solar with rooms under it; the kitchen, butteries and pantries were on the N., and over them was a great chamber. The open timber roof constructed in one range over the great hall and great chamber, still remains, but the partitions forming the butteries and pantries and the floor over them have been removed, and the whole wing, between the solar and kitchen, has been fitted as stables. The kitchen has been divided into harness-rooms, laundries, etc., but the solar remains, though the rooms under it have been sub-divided. Many of these alterations were made c. 1628, when the building was first used as stables.
The E. Elevation has been much restored and altered. The wall at each end, originally covered by the N. and S. wings and staircase blocks, was re-faced late in the 17th century, and, with the rest of the building, much repaired at a later date. In the middle is the projecting porch, forming a small tower of three stages; the floors have been destroyed, and the door is not used, but the moulded four-centred doorway remains. The walls of the hall and great chamber were buttressed in the 19th century, and the windows, if not modern, have been entirely restored. The W. Elevation is more complete, though the wall has been buttressed in the same way as that on the E., and the windows have also been restored. In the wall of the hall are straight joints indicating the position of a bay window and a fireplace, shown in the old plan, but no longer existing. The porch in the middle forms a more massive tower than the E. porch; it is buttressed at the angles, and is of three stages, with patterns in the walls in black bricks, a brick corbel-table, and small semi-circular arches carrying a plain parapet, above which are octagonal moulded chimney shafts; these belong to fireplaces in the small rooms on each stage, which are intact, and are lighted by small brick windows with four-centred moulded heads and square labels; the doorway is also four-centred, of two moulded orders with a label. The newel stairs are in a quarter-octagonal turret on the N.E. Both ends of the elevation are gabled; at the kitchen end the gable has been probably re-built, and the windows in both storeys are modern or restored, but the gable at the solar end has been little altered; it is stepped and coped, and at the apex is a twisted chimney shaft. The door and windows of the ground floor at this end are probably made up of old and new materials; the first floor windows appear to be original, though restored; the middle window is of three pointed lights under a four-centred main head of two moulded orders with a moulded label, all in brick; on each side are single-light windows similar to those in the porch. The S. End of the building is a blind wall. The N. End has a stepped gable and is covered by the small extension in which is the archway to the former kitchen court; the arch is four-centred, of two moulded orders, and the windows resemble those in the main building; the roof is ridged a little below the main roof.
Interior—The roof of the hall and great chamber is continuous, of eleven bays, and of the same detail throughout. The trusses rest on carved corbels, probably restorations of early 19th-century date, and have moulded arched braces and short cambered collars, with cross trussing above them. The wall plates and purlins are moulded, and short, nearly vertical, struts are carried from each of them to each rafter. Between the trusses are ogee wind-braces. At each end of the hall (now fitted as stables) is a doorway with a four-centred head of two moulded orders; in the main doorway is a heavy door, perhaps original, of moulded, tongued and grooved battens. The solar floor (at the S. end of the hall) is carried on moulded beams, joists and wall-plates; the open timber roof is ridged from E. to W., and has a cambered collar beam and trusses with arched bracing; between the trusses are ogee wind-braces. The upper storeys of the W. porch contain part of the fine collection of documents connected with the house.
The Gatehouse stands N.W. of the W. front, at the end of the High Street, and is a rectangular brick building pierced by a wide archway near the N. end. On the N. side of this entrance is a small room for the porter, and on the S. the gatehouse forms two cottages, which have been repaired; on the E. is a long shallow projection containing staircases and offices. The roof is ridged from end to end, and the cottages are gabled. A few original windows remain, of two pointed lights, in moulded brick, but many of the windows, especially on the W., have wooden casement frames, inserted in the 17th century, and some are modern. The arch was re-built in a three-centred form on the W. side, in the 18th century; on the E. side the original cambered wood lintel remains; it has curved angle-brackets, which give the entrance a four-centred form. On the S. and W. walls of the room over the archway are remains of a late 16th-century tempera painting, representing a lion hunt.
b(7). House, in the Home Park, Hatfield, N. of the church, formerly the Ranger's cottage, was built of timber early in the 17th century, but re-faced with brick later in the same century; the roof is tiled. The plan is of the E type, with the wings projecting towards the S.; it is a modified example, as the central block is short, and without a porch; it contains the main staircase and a small hall of one storey, which was originally entered from the S. In the W. wing are two rooms; the room on the N. is now used as a hall, and a modern porch at the N. end opens into it; a small square projection on the E. face contained a second staircase, of which only the upper part remains; the lower part was destroyed when a drawing-room was added in the 19th century. The E. wing contains the kitchen and offices. There are three gables on the N. front, and the E. and W. wings are also gabled. Only one original window remains, with moulded wood frame and mullions, much restored. A few of the other windows are of the same date as the brick casing, and have transoms and high casements. Interior: The original main staircase has plain square newels with spherical heads, a plain handrail and turned balusters. The small staircase in the W. wing, also original, is steep and of "dog-leg" construction; part of the handrail remains, with flat balusters cut from boards.
b(8). House, now two shops, in Fore Street, N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, the upper overhanging; the walls are timber-framed and plastered; the roof is tiled. It was built probably in the 17th century, but has been much restored.
b(9). The Eight Bells Inn, in Park Street, N.W. of the church, is a small house, built early in the 17th century, of plastered timber; the roof is tiled. It is of one storey, with an attic lighted by dormer windows. The interior is modern.
d(11). Kentish Lane Farm, on the Essendon Road, about 2 miles S.E. of the church, is a small gabled timber-framed house, built in the 17th century, and covered with modern plaster; the back is of modern brick; the roof is tiled, with hipped ends. The plan is rectangular, and the single chimney stack is original, with four square engaged shafts, set diagonally.