An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxvi. S.E. (b)xli. N.E. (c)xli. S.E. (d)xlii. N.W.)
Despite the old name of Cestrehunt, no trace of permanent Roman occupation has been proved here.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on the W. side of the town. The tower is built of ashlar, and the E. wall of the chancel is of flint rubble; the other walls, except in the modern parts, are also probably of flint rubble, but are coated with cement. The church was entirely re-built between 1418 and 1448, by Nicholas Dixon, Rector, as recorded on a brass in the chancel, and no details of the earlier building remain. The North Chapel (or Vestry) has some re-used 17th-century brickwork, but is practically modern, as are the South Chapel and South Porch. Much restoration was carried out between 1872 and 1892.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (45 ft. by 21 ft.) has a large traceried E. window, modern except the inner jambs; the side walls and arcades are also of the 19th century; the 15th-century chancel arch has shafted jambs with moulded bases and capitals. The Nave (74 ft. by 22 ft.) has N. and S. arcades of five bays with piers having engaged shafts of Purbeck marble; in the E. respond of the N. arcade is a small low 15th-century archway, with open tracery, which gave a view of the nave altar under the rood-loft; in the opposite wall is a modern copy of the archway, and above it an opening to the former rood-loft. The clearstorey has two-light windows with some modern stonework. The North Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has five 15th-century N. windows of three lights with tracery, all repaired with cement; the W. window has been blocked by an 18th-century monument. The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has two 15th-century, and two modern S. windows resembling those opposite. The West Tower (16 ft. square) is of three stages with low buttresses, and an octagonal turret at the S.E. angle rising above the embattled parapet, and entered from the nave: the lofty tower arch has central engaged shafts with moulded capitals and bases: the lowest stage has two side windows of two lights, and a W. doorway with a square head, over which is a three-light traceried window; the stone vaulting is modern, but springs from the original 15th-century shafts; the second and third stages have windows of two lights with square heads. The Roofs are apparently all modern, but the corbels— carved angels carrying shields—which support the trusses, are original.
Fittings—Bells: five; two of 1636; a third, 17th-century. Brasses: below the communion table, to Nicholas Dixon, Rector, died 1448, part of a canopy, two shields, and a Latin inscription which records his rebuilding the church: in nave, at N.E., of William Parke or Pyke, 1449 (head missing), and Ellen, his wife: in nave, at S.E., to Agnes Luthyngton, 1468, inscription only: at E. end of N. aisle, in floor slabs, of Elizabeth Garnett, wife of Edward Collen, 1609, kneeling figure: of a woman, late 15th-century, with indents of man, inscription, and children: of another woman, 15th-century, no inscription: indent of a knight, and shields, late 15th-century: on the N. wall above these slabs, to Constance, wife of John Parre, 1502, inscription possibly belonging to one of the brasses. Chest: in the tower, iron bound, with three locks, probably of late 16th-century date. Font: late 12th-century bowl, with trefoiled panels, apparently modern, cut in the sides; stem and base modern. Glass: in the tracery of a window in N. aisle, white and gold roses, 15th-century. Monuments: on N. side of chancel, large tomb with recess to Robert Dacres, erected 1543; altered and repaired by Sir Thomas Dacres, 1641; other names on the tomb are George Dacres, 1580, and Sir Thomas Dacres, 1615: in E. wall of S. chapel, to Henry Atkins, physician to James I. and Charles I., 1638: on S. wall of S. aisle, to John Robinson, 1661: on W. wall, to William Robinson, 1686, and his two wives, 1676 and 1694. Piscinae: in the chancel, with part of the bowl cut away, 15th-century: in the S. aisle, of rougher workmanship, date uncertain. Plate: includes a silver cup and flagon of 1638, and a paten of 1672. Sedilia: in first bay of S. arcade of chancel, formerly in the wall, now detached; with 15th-century arches under modern heads. Miscellanea: in the churchyard, ancient stone coffin.
Condition—Good, except the windows of the tower, which are all much decayed outside, and the N.E. buttress of the chancel.
a(2). S. of Factory Farm.
b(3). In Hell Wood, with deep ditches and high outer ramparts, enclosing two islands; the stream has cut through the island on the N.
Condition—Good, except on the N.
b(4). E. of Goff's Oak.
b(5). At Cheshunt Manor House, with outer platforms on three sides; on the W. the island is revetted with a brick wall, and the abutments of a bridge are traceable.
c(6.) S.W. of Theobalds Park Farm.
d(7). At Nunnery Farm, fragment.
d(8). ¼ mile S.S.E. of Cheshunt Station, small dry moat.
b(9). Cheshunt Great House and Moat, about ¼ mile N.W. of the church. The house is a rectangular two-storeyed structure of red brick, with a tiled roof. It is all that remains of a large building of courtyard type and late 15th-century date, and originally formed part of the E. wing. A stone mullioned window in the N. gable, now blocked, indicates work of c. 1600, but the house has been much altered in the 18th century, and little can be made of its history.
The hall is especially interesting as it retains a fine example of an open timber roof of late 15th-century date.
The hall, occupying the S. half of the existing building, is encased on the E. and W. with 18th-century walls to form additional rooms, and the interior has been considerably altered in the 19th century; the roof, ceiled with plaster, is of collar-beam construction with curved moulded angle-braces on the trusses, and curved wind-bracing; the trusses are carried down on to carved stone corbels. The N. half of the house is divided into several rooms in both storeys. Under the whole building is a range of cellars, with an 18th-century addition on the E.; the two rooms on the N. have large fireplaces, and in the second room two circular brick columns and a wooden post support the oak beams of the floor above it. The third room is covered by a flat, four-centred, barrel vault, and in the E. wall a wide four-centred archwav, partly blocked, leads into a passage. The fourth room has a brick vault, divided into nine compartments by moulded ribs, and supported by octagonal columns, two of clunch, the others of brick, with moulded capitals; on the E. two brick mullioned windows, of three lights, with four-centred main heads, now open into a passage, part of the 18th-century additions; on the S. is a partly built-up fireplace, and on the W. a blocked window; the N.E. compartment is partly occupied by a closet of irregular shape. Only a fragment of the moat remains.
Condition—Hall roof, good; the rest of the building poor.
b(10). Waltham Cross, at the junction of Eleanor Cross Road with the High Street, was erected by Edward I., c. 1294, to the memory of his first queen, Eleanor of Castile.
It is of great historic interest, being one of the three remaining 'Eleanor' crosses, and is a beautiful example of late 13th-century architecture, as, although the figures and the upper part of the monument have been restored, much of the original work remains.
The cross stands on modern basement steps, and is built of stone, in three diminishing stages; the first stage is original, the second and third, with a pinnacle and cross at the top, were re-built in 1833–4, and again in 1887–9. The first stage is hexagonal, with traceried sides, small buttresses at the angles, and a much-worn sculptured cornice; the tracery on each side consists of two trefoiled panels below a quatrefoil, and a crocketted triangular label with foliated finial: in the head of each panel a shield, suspended from a knot of foliage, bears the arms of England, Ponthieu or Castile quartering Leon. The second stage is elaborately decorated, and has canopies with crocketted finials, under which are three statues of the queen, said to be original, except the head of the statue on the W., which has been renewed. All the restorations have been copied from the original work.
Condition—Good, much restored. In 1906 the custody of the cross was taken over by the Hertfordshire County Council.
c(11). Theobalds Palace, remains of, on the W. side of the road from London to Cheshunt. Theobalds was built by Lord Burghley c. 1564, and was afterwards converted into a royal palace by James I., who gave Hatfield House in exchange for it in 1607. It was dismantled and most of it pulled down in 1651. On the S. side of the gardener's cottage at Old Palace House, one of the three houses erected on the site, a fragment still remains; it is a vertical strip about 15 ft. high and 2 ft. wide; the lower half is of clunch with a moulded plinth and, at the top, a moulded string course, worn and broken; the upper half is of red brick with clunch quoins, and has a moulded entablature. From investigations carried out by the present tenant of Old Palace House, this fragment appears to have been the extreme S.W. corner of the palace. Immediately N.E. of it, set in a wall of old brickwork, is a wide window of three lights with a four-centred brick arch, and moulded stone jambs and mullions; it is uncertain whether this is in situ, or, as in the case of two moulded stonemullioned windows in Old Palace House, re-used material from the palace.
Considerable lengths of the original garden walls, built of red brick, also remain. The most perfect enclose the gardens of Old Palace House and of Grove House on the N.; in the dividing wall is a rectangular opening or peephole, 1 ft. 9 in. by 1 ft., with chamfered brick jambs and head, and a rebate for a shutter: in the W. wall of Old Palace House garden are a number of small niches, and there is one in the S. wall; they are about 2 ft. 6 in. above the ground, 1 ft. 9 in. high, 1 ft. wide and 10 in. deep, with triangular heads, and some of them have small holes at the bottom; the mortar joints over them appear to be smoke-blackened, which may indicate that they were used for charcoal fires. The W. wall is continued to the N. in the garden of Grove House, and has remains of circular angle-turrets at the N. and S. ends. Other walls still stand S.E. of 'The Cedars,' the third house on the site of the palace, with returns for the central E. gateway; a length of wall runs E. towards the London road and a few other pieces also remain.
In front of 'The Cedars' two large cedar trees are probably contemporary with the palace; they may have been in line with the original avenue on the S.
At Aldbury Farm, about ½ mile to the N., is part of another original brick wall, which is said to have enclosed the royal park, and to have been 10 miles in circumference; a stone in it is inscribed with a large 8 and the date 1621.
Condition—Good, where the walls are in use; elsewhere they are falling into decay.
c(12). Old Temple Bar, now one of the gateways of Theobalds Park, was originally erected in Fleet Street in 1672, from the design by Sir Christopher Wren, and was removed from London in 1878. It is built of stone with rusticated joints: the large middle gateway, flanked by smaller round-headed doorways, has a three-centred arch with moulded imposts and a carved projecting keystone; both inner and outer sides are the same. Over it is an upper storey with frieze and cornice, surmounted by a round pediment, and divided on both faces into three bays by shallow pilasters with Corinthian capitals; in the two end bays are round-headed niches which contain, on the side facing the road, statues of Charles II. and Queen Anne, and, on the inner side, of James I. and Charles I.: in the middle bays and at each end there are round-headed windows.
b(13). Dewhurst School, N.E. of the church, is a two-storeyed house of brick; the roof is tiled. It was built in 1640 as a charity school by Robert Dewhurst, whose arms and initials, with the date, are on the E. wall, which is buttressed, and has three gables and original brickmullioned windows; on the upper floor the windows have been restored. The interior has been altered, and a large modern school has been built on to the house on the N. side.
b(14). The Almshouses, on the W. side of the road at Turner's Hill, a range of ten red brick cottages, of one storey, were built in the 17th century; the roof is tiled. The original doors and door-frames remain.
b(15). Water Lane Farm, College Road, is a two-storeyed house of rough-cast, brick, and timber, built about the middle of the 16th century; the roof is tiled. The original plan, consisting of a central block facing N. and S., with a wing at each end, formed a modified H; this form is now obscured by a 19th-century addition on the N., and the whole building has been much altered, the interior being entirely modern; the central part appears to have contained the hall, which was probably open to the roof. At each end of the central block is a large brick chimney stack with square shafts set diagonally.
Condition—Good, much altered.
b(16). House, on the E. side of Cheshunt Street, built of red brick, is of two storeys and an attic, with twin gables at one end; the roof is tiled. Over the shop window in front is a brick panel with a moulded architrave, which bears the date 1689 and the initials G.H.K.
b(17). No. 4, Blind Man's Lane, a house and shop, formerly a farmhouse, is a two-storeyed, red brick building of c. 1675; the roof is tiled, and at each end of the main front is a gable. There are two chimney stacks at the back.
b(18). Cottages, a row at the E. end of Church Lane, possibly of the 17th century, have chimney stacks built of the thin bricks of that period.
b(19). House, about 100 yds. E. of the church, built of brick in the second half of the 17th century, forms three tenements; the roof is tiled. The gables at the ends have plain copings and small moulded brick kneelers. The windows, with flat wooden frames and transoms, have metal casements, which retain their original furniture.
Condition—Fairly good; much altered.
b(20). Houses, several, on both sides of the road, E. of the church, probably of the 17th century, are timber-framed and plastered, and have overhanging upper storeys.
b(21). The Green Dragon Inn, E. of the church, probably built in the 17th century, is timber-framed, but the outside is now encased with brick; a few of the original beams are visible inside the house.
b(22). The Plough Inn, at Flamstead End, on the W. side of the road, built in the 17th century, is a long, timber-framed house, plastered externally; it is of two storeys, the upper projecting on the S. side; the roof is tiled. The central chimney stack has four square shafts in a line, set diagonally. The interior has been altered, but retains some original exposed ceiling beams.
c(23). The Four Swans Inn, near Waltham Cross, built early in the 17th century, has been much restored and altered; the only original detail which remains is the entrance to the courtyard, with a square-headed doorway of original moulded beams, now much defaced.
c(24). Boundary Bank, known as 'Above and Below Bank,' runs through Theobalds Park, over Beaumont Green to Nine Acres Wood, and is now hardly distinguishable from the field banks.