An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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a(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, near the middle of the village, is built of flint rubble with stone dressings, and is covered with cement; red brick is used in the N. wall of the vestry; the roofs are of lead and tiles. The Chancel, Nave, West Tower and South Porch were all built c. 1350; the North Chapel and the windows and roof of the nave are of the 15th century. In the 16th century the North Vestry was added, and the chancel windows renewed. The church was thoroughly restored, and the chancel re-roofed in the 19th century.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a modern E. window; on the N. is a 15th-century arcade with much of its stonework renewed, and in the S. wall are two square-headed windows, probably of early 16th-century date, but one is inserted in a wide 15th-century window, partly blocked; in the same wall is a blocked doorway; the chancel arch, of c. 1350, has been repaired, and its responds thrust out of the perpendicular. The North Chapel (22½ ft. by 13 ft.) has two wide 15th-century windows with modern tracery, and a doorway, also of the 15th century, but with a modern arch. In the S.W. corner about 6 ft. above the ground is an opening into the nave; it is probably of the 14th century, but has a modern arch. The Vestry (13 ft. by 12½ ft.), E. of the chapel, has an E. window of early 16th-century date, with original iron stanchions. The Nave (60 ft. by 25 ft.) has three lofty 15th-century windows in the N. wall, and three in the S. wall; the tracery is repaired. Both N. and S. doorways are of c. 1350; the N. doorway is blocked, and its label and stops defaced. On the N.E., the rood-loft stair turret projects from the outer face of the wall and is continued to the roof; only the head, now blocked, of the lower inner doorway remains, and the upper doorway is also blocked. The Tower (12½ ft. by 12 ft.) is of three stages with an embattled parapet and an octagonal lead spire; the tower arch and the W. window of c. 1350 have been restored. The windows of the bell-chamber are single cusped lights, with slightly decayed stonework. The South Porch (11½ ft. by 10½ ft.) has two-light windows on the E. and W., probably of early 16th-century date; the entrance archway is coated with cement. The Roof of the nave, the beams of the chapel roof, and some of the trusses in the chancel roof are of the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: five; 4th 1651, 5th by Miles Graye, 1650. Brasses and Indents: in the chapel, to Litton Pulter, 1608, inscription: in the porch, slab with three indents, probably 15th-century. Chest: in the vestry, probably late 16th-century. Doors: in the nave S. door, heavy, panelled oak, probably 15th-century; N. door of same date, still in situ behind the blocking: in the vestry, inner door and ironwork, probably of c. 1525. Font: of grey Derbyshire marble, c. 1700. Glass: in the heads of two N. windows in the nave. painted, 15th-century. Painting: on N. wall of nave, a large indistinct figure of St. Christopher. Piscinae: in the chancel, 14th-century: in the chapel, 15th-century: in the nave, E. jamb and bowl, 14th-century. Plate: cup and cover paten, 1711. Slabs: in the chapel floor, several, inscribed, 17th-century. Stoup: in the porch, damaged. Sedile: in the chancel, with two-centred arch, 14th-century. Table: in the vestry, 17th-century.
The house is of mid 15th-century date and of unusual interest as an example both of a mediæval building and of the form of renovation considered necessary at the beginning of the 17th century, when it was much altered.
To understand the present remains it is necessary to compare them with what was almost certainly the original plan. It was probably of the H type, with the hall in the central wing, facing N. and S., and the buttery, pantry and kitchen in the E. wing; on the W. was a "solar" wing, in the destruction of which the hall may have been shortened. Early in the 17th century an upper floor was inserted in the hall, which was then divided into several rooms, a staircase was built in "the screens," the E. wing probably enlarged, and rooms were constructed over the buttery and pantry. In the 19th century two staircases were built, one to replace the 17th-century staircase, and the other in the W. end of the hall; a lean-to structure was also added on the S., and the whole house restored and patched. The upper storey of the E. wing projects, and is gabled on the N., and in the 17th century a smaller gable was added, of which the projection forms a porch to the front entrance; the original door remains, and has panels with cinque-foiled heads. The windows are all of the 17th century or of later date, and the chimney stacks have been partly re-built. The original doorways to the kitchen passage, buttery and pantry also remain, and have chamfered, four-centred heads and chamfered jambs. The buttery is lined with 17th-century mitred panelling, and has a carved oak overmantel. The room over the buttery has panelling of early 17th-century date, cut up and re-set; the ceiling is plastered and has moulded oak ribs to represent principals and purlins. In a room over the hall are some linenfold panels, now covered by the wall paper. Parts of two trusses of the hall roof remain, with moulded cambered tie-beams, and octagonal king posts which have moulded capitals and bases, and curved struts; only the tie-beams can be seen below the ceiling of the first floor; as the timbers show no traces of soot the chimney stack on the S. of the hall may be original, though the fireplace is modern.
b (5). Broom Farm, on the N. side of the road in the hamlet of Hare Street, about a mile S.W. of the church, is a timber and brick house built late in the 16th century; the roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped; the long wing, facing S., contains the hall with a room on each side of it, and has a brick front, with three gables, which was added c. 1700; the main entrance, with an oak door, now painted, is on the S. In the shorter wing, facing W., the one room was probably the kitchen and has a cellar beneath it. The main staircase is between the wings, and there are two small staircases from the upper storey to the attic. The N. and S. windows, with square leaded lights and iron fastenings, are of c. 1700; two of the attic windows in the gables, and two oval openings near the main entrance are now blocked. On the W. is a window of early 16th-century date, not in situ; it is of three lights with four-centred heads, and has moulded, oak mullions. The chimney stacks have square shafts set diagonally; the stack at the N. end of the shorter wing seems to have projected beyond the wall, which is now built out to the same level, with the old narrow bricks re-used on the E. side of the chimney. A fireplace and many of the oak boards and beams inside the house are original.