(O.S. 6 in. vii. N.E.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, in the centre
of the town, is built of flint rubble with stone
dressings; pieces of moulding and columns of
an earlier building are used in the walls.
The roofs are of lead with the exception of those
of the N. chapel and N. aisle, which are of slate.
The E. end of the Chancel is of the 13th century;
the W. end of the chancel, the North Chapel,
Nave, North and South Aisles, West Tower, and
probably the lower part of the South Porch are
of c. 1330; the South Chapel was begun in the
14th and completed in the 15th century; the
clearstorey and the parvise were also built in
the 15th century, and the church re-roofed.
In the 19th century the whole building was
repaired, the N. aisle and chapel re-roofed, and
a North Porch built, and recently the bell-chamber of the tower has been restored.
The church is especially interesting as it
belongs almost entirely to one period, and also
on account of the examples of 14th and 15th-century carving in stone and wood, such as the
niches, sedilia, piscinae and screens.
Architectural Description—The Chancel
(50½ ft. by 22 ft.) has a modern E. window of
five lights, and a S. window of three lights, with
restored tracery: in the E. and N. walls, outside, are traces of windows, probably of early
13th-century date. Two bays of an unbroken
arcade, continued from the nave, form the W.
half of the chancel, and a break in the thickness
of the N. wall marks the junction of the 13th
with the 14th-century work. The arcades have
two-centred arches of two chamfered orders,
moulded labels on both sides with head stops at
the junctions, and clustered shafts with
moulded bases and capitals. The North Chapel
(36 ft. by 22 ft.) has an E. window of five
lights in modern stone and, in the N. wall,
two 15th-century windows with repaired
tracery, and 14th-century labels re-used inside; on the E. wall is a 14th-century string
course, elaborately carved. The rood-loft
staircase on the N.W. is replaced by a small
modern porch, but the upper doorway, blocked,
and part of the lower one remain in the aisle.
In the South Chapel (28½ ft. by 19 ft.) the floor
seems to have been lowered: the lower part
of the walls is of the 14th, and the
upper part is of the 15th century: the E.
window of five lights, and the two S. windows
of three lights have modern tracery. The Nave
(71½ ft. by 22 ft.) is of six bays with 14th-century arcades continued from the chancel.
They differ slightly in detail from the bays in
the chancel, the first two being lower than the
others. In the N. wall is another rood-loft
doorway, now blocked. The 15th-century
clearstorey windows are of two lights, and are
continued in the chancel. The North Aisle
(72 ft. by 22 ft.) has three 15th-century windows
with restored tracery in the N. wall: the N.
doorway is modern. The W. window is of
modern stonework. The South Aisle (71½ ft.
by 18 ft.) has windows resembling those of the
N. aisle, a 14th-century S. doorway, and a 15th-century doorway to the parvise staircase. A
break in the line of the S. wall indicates the
probable junction of the aisle with an earlier
transept. The West Tower (16½ ft. by 16 ft.)
is of three stages, with an embattled parapet,
and a lead spire on an octagonal drum, and is
now coated with Roman cement. The 14th-century tower arch is two-centred, and of four
moulded orders; the W. window of three lights
with tracery is of the 14th century, but has
been restored, and the tracery of the bell-chamber windows is repaired with cement. The
South Porch has been restored: the turret in
the N.W. angle and the parvise are of the 15th
century; the parvise floor has been removed and
the porch is now open to the roof. The Roofs
of the chancel, nave, S. chapel and S. aisle are
of the 15th century.
Fittings—Bracket: over the first pillar on N.
side of S. chapel, carved, early 15th-century.
Brasses and Indents: in the nave, at W. end,
three-quarter figure of a nun, c. 1400, the name
plate being replaced by an inscription to a
Rector of Radwell, dated 1807: slab with
indent for a floriated cross: in N. chapel, on
N. wall, of a man and his wife, c. 1400; the
man is in the dress of a forester; the lower part
of his figure, the dog at his feet, and inscription
are missing: also on N. wall, of a man and his
wife, shrouded figures, c. 1520: on the floor, of a
man and his wife, c. 1470: inscription to
Margaret Benett, 1587: in S. aisle, indents
of a man and his two wives, 15th-century.
Communion Table: in N. chapel, 17th-century.
Chests: near the pulpit, strong, iron-bound,
mediæval: in the vestry, two, of carved oak,
17th-century. Door: to parvise staircase,
oak, with scutcheon for ring, 15th-century.
Font: octagonal bowl with beaded edges, and
circular stem flanked by octagonal shafts with
moulded bases, 13th-century. Glass: in E.
window of N. chapel, fragments of coloured
glass, probably early 15th-century. Monuments: near the doorway of N. aisle, slab with
inscription in Gothic capitals, 14th-century:
in N. chapel, Purbeck marble coffin lid
with a cross in relief, 13th-century: in
wall of N. aisle, outside, recess with ogee
arch, 14th-century, jambs restored; in the
recess, 14th-century coffin lid with cross in
relief: in wall of S. aisle, outside, two recesses,
probably 15th-century, with renewed stonework. Niches: in N.E. corner of N. chapel, 14th-century, elaborately carved, evidently moved to
present position in the 15th century, when wider
E. window was inserted and the N. wall recessed:
under E. window of chancel, outside, trefoiled,
with rebated edge and remains of iron hinges,
14th-century. Piscinae: in the chancel,
double, 13th-century, with flat head, probably
modern: in N. chapel, with ogee head, crockets
and foliated finials, 14th-century; no bowl
visible; modern slab at back: in S. chapel,
double, 14th-century, much defaced. Plate:
includes a cup and cover paten, 1629. Screens:
between chancel and nave, and between chapels
and aisles, three, in one line from N. to S. of the
church, 15th-century, repaired, of traceried
oak, with different designs; the central screen
retains the original doors, those of N. screen are
repaired, S. screen is designed without doors;
central cornice is modern. Sedilia: under a
window in S. chapel, two seats, forming group
with the piscina, 14th-century, carving much
Condition—Good. The church has been
thoroughly restored; much of the window
tracery is of the 19th century.
High Street, W. side
(2). Wynne's Almshouses, S. of the church,
built in 1621, a range of six red brick two-storeyed houses, each with a small porch, a
mullioned window on the ground floor, and a
dormer window in the tiled roof. Under the six
dormers is the date:—AN—NO—DO—MI—NI
—1621; and on a stone panel in the middle is
the inscription:—"Theis almes howeses are
the gieft of M. John Wynne cittezen and mercer
of London latelye deceased who hath left a
yearely stipend to everey poore of either howses
to the worldes end September Anno Domine
1620." On a stone panel at the S. end are the
arms:—Vair, and in chief a lion passant
quartered with two roses; at the N. end
are the arms of the Mercers' Company. The
three original chimney stacks have modern
(3). House, about 200 yards S. of the church,
is modern, but has a low S. wing with an overhanging upper storey carried on old, projecting
timbers. A gateway in this wing has a
pair of 15th-century large oak gates, said to
have belonged to the Hospital of St. Mary
Magdalene at Clothall; they were placed
in their present position in the 19th century.
Each gate is square-headed and panelled; the
panels, both above and below a moulded
transom, have trefoiled heads; the moulded
cornice, similar in section to the transom, is
finished at the ends with carved leaves; in the
right gate is a modern wicket.
Hitchin Street (S. side)
(4). House, E. of the church, is an early 17th-century building of two storeys, with timber-framed and plastered walls; the roof is tiled.
The chimney stack is built of the thin bricks of
the period, and in the overhanging upper storey
are two original oriel windows with oak frames
and gabled heads. A large covered gateway
leads to the yard at the back, where, until
recently, was a malting chimney. Inside the
house is some 17th-century panelling.
(5). Old Malthouse, a small two-storeyed
building with a round malting chimney. The
large gates are inscribed SDE 1632.
Norton and Church Streets
(6). Small Houses and Cottages, almost all of
the 17th century. One house at the S. end of
Norton Street is of two storeys, and has overhanging flanking gables and wooden-framed
windows; the roofs are tiled. On the opposite
side are several cottages with dormered roofs.
The 'Bull's Head' inn on the E. side is built
of timber and plaster, and has a projecting
upper storey. Near the church is a 17th-century
house, partly re-built in the 18th century, with
an overhanging upper storey, and a timber
archway leading into a courtyard.
Condition—Most of the buildings are in good
(7). House, at the corner of the Royston and
Biggleswade roads, probably once an inn, but
now divided into several cottages, was built
early in the 17th century. It is timber-framed
and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The projecting upper storey has curved brackets and a
moulded sill; the large gateway in the S. front
has been heightened, probably in the 18th century, to admit stage coaches, and now cuts into
the first floor. Two original chimney stacks
are built of the thin bricks of the period.
(8). Houses, two, adjoining, now occupied
by the post-master, on the S. side of White
Horse Street. The westernmost house was built
c. 1560, but has a modern brick front. The back
of the building is of two storeys and an attic,
and has red brick walls, the S. end being gabled;
the roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular, and the
central chimney stack is square and plain. A
recently discovered window on the ground floor
looks into an open passage-way on the W. side
of the house; it is of three lights with chamfered
brick jambs, mullions and lintel. Several of
the original beams are visible in the ceilings,
and in the attic is an original stone fireplace
with a four-centred arch.
The other house, E. of the above, was built a
little later, probably early in the 17th century,
but has been much altered and repaired, and is
also faced with modern brick. The back is
timber-framed, and there is an original
chimney stack. The wide fireplaces remain,
though reduced for modern grates, and in the
ceilings are a few old beams.
Condition—Of both houses, good.