Netteleyden, xiv cent.; Netylden, xvi cent.; Netledon and Notleden, xvii cent.
Nettleden was originally a chapelry in the parish of
Pylesthorne or Pitstone in Buckinghamshire, but was
formed into a parish in 1895 from parts of the
parishes of Ivinghoe and Pitstone, and at the same
time transferred from the county of Buckinghamshire
to that of Hertfordshire. (fn. 1) It is in Cottesloe Hundred
in Buckinghamshire, but it is locally situated in the
hundred of Dacorum. St. Margaret's, formerly
a hamlet in Ivinghoe, now forms a part of Nettleden, and lies in the east of the parish. Ivinghoe
nunnery or St. Margaret's de Bosco or Mursley
nunnery, was founded in this hamlet about 1160
by Henry de Blois, bishop of Winchester, (fn. 2) and
traces of its site still remain near St. Margaret's
Farm. The buildings in 1802 were almost entire,
and the refectory remained till the early nineteenth
Nettleden is a small parish containing 781 acres,
the greater part of which is grass land. The village,
which is about three-quarters of a mile south-west
of Great Gaddesden, and consists of the church
and a few houses, stands in a valley, which, running
south, meets that of the Gade. The land slopes up from
the village to the north and west.
Nettleden is connected by road with Great and
Little Gaddesden. The nearest railway station is
about two and a half miles from the village at Great
Berkhampstead on the main line of the London and
North Western Railway. The soil is flinty loam and
the subsoil clay with flints, and the chief crops are
wheat and beans.
The parsonage house at Nettleden was built in
1856, and designed by Lady Marian Alford, mother
of the present Earl Brownlow. It is now inhabited
by Mrs. Charlton Lane, a cousin of Lady Brownlow.
When the parish of Potten End was formed in 1894
Nettleden was united with it, and a vicarage provided
at Potten End.
The other houses here are all old, but none of
There is no separate manor in this
parish, but the manors of Ivinghoe, Pitstone, and Missenden extend into it. (fn. 3)
In 1309 a grant of free warren in Nettleden was
made to the rector and brethren of Ashridge, (fn. 4) who
held rents from farms there and perquisites of court at
the time of the suppression of their house. (fn. 4a) A grant
of free warren in Nettleden was made in 1664–5
to the earl of Bridgewater, (fn. 5) whose descendant, Earl
Brownlow, is now the sole landowner in this parish.
The church of ST. LAWRENCE is
practically modern, having been almost
wholly rebuilt in brick by John earl
of Bridgewater in 1811. It consists of a chancel,
nave, western tower, and north porch, the tower being
almost the only part of the structure in which there
is any old walling.
All windows are of fifteenth-century design, and
in a few cases a little tracery of this date has been
re-used. The chancel has an east window of three
lights and two two-light windows on north and south.
The chancel arch is four-centred, of two orders, the
inner resting on engaged octagonal shafts with moulded
capitals, and there is an oak chancel screen.
The nave is lit by four three-light windows in
which some of the stonework appears to be old.
There are north and south doorways with chamfered
jambs and hollow chamfered four-centred heads, and
over the north doorway a shallow porch.
The tower, though much restored, seems to be in
part old and is of three stages with an embattled
parapet, the latter largely of modern brickwork. The
belfry openings are of two trefoiled lights with fourcentred heads. In the ground stage are square
headed north and south windows, each of two trefoiled lights, the north window being blocked up;
both are of the sixteenth century, and this may be the
date of the old work in the tower. The west door is
modern and the whole exterior, including the angle
buttresses, is covered with rough-cast.
The chancel has a panelled and painted wagon
roof, while that of the nave is open timbered, both
being modern. The small octagonal font is also
modern. On the south wall of the nave is a mural
monument to 'Edmund Bressy, esqr., late of London,'
1612, Lucretia (Anderson) his wife, 1610, and their
four sons and one daughter. The effigies of the
husband and wife kneel on either side of a desk under
an entablature carried by Corinthian columns, and
the children, in lower relief and to a smaller scale,
are represented in a row below them. In the floor
of the chancel is a handsome brass to George Cotton,
1545, with the figure of a man in armour and an
inscription in black letter with the date in arabic
numerals. There are four shields with the arms
of Cotton, a cheveron between three hanks of cotton,
differenced with a molet. The church plate is
modern and consists of a silver chalice, paten, and
The registers of Nettleden are with those of Great
Gaddesden, and are partly mixed with those of that
parish. They comprise burials 1687–1713 and
1740–69, and baptisms, burials, and marriages
1784–1812. (fn. 5a) Other entries will be found in the
registers of Pitstone.
As there is no mention of the
church or chapel of Nettleden in the
taxation of churches under Pope
Nicholas in 1291 it is probable that it was built after
this date. In 1381 it is mentioned as annexed to
the church of Pitstone, (fn. 6) and a licence was granted in
1470 to John Hunden, bishop of Llandaff, to consecrate altars in the chapel. (fn. 7) The advowson probably
passed with that of Pitstone to the earl of Bridgewater. The living is a vicarage annexed to Potten
End, a hamlet in Great Berkhampstead, with which
it was formed into an ecclesiastical district in
1894, (fn. 8) and is now in the gift of Earl Brownlow.