A History of the County of Essex: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1983.
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Little Hallingbury is a rural parish 9 km. north-east of Harlow and 4 km. south of Bishop's Stortford (Herts.), within the metropolitan Green Belt. It is bounded by Great Hallingbury on the north, by Sawbridgeworth (Herts.) on the south and west, and by Hatfield Broad Oak on the south and east. The ancient parish comprised 1,656 a. (670 ha.). (fn. 1) In 1953 the north-east corner (194 a.), including Monkswood and the southern part of Woodside Green, was transferred to Great Hallingbury, while the south-west corner of Great Hallingbury (362 a.), including Wallbury, was transferred to Little Hallingbury. (fn. 2) The exchange moved the whole of Little Hallingbury's western boundary to the river Stort.
The terrain rises from 60 m. in the Stort valley to 84 m. in the north-east. The soil is mainly boulder clay, with sand and gravel in the valley. Several streams flow westward, converging to join the Stort near Hallingbury mill.
Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery have been found west of Little Hallingbury Hall, near the southern boundary of the parish. Further north, near a house called Romans, an Iron Age hut circle was found, underlying a Roman settlement. (fn. 3) Iron Age and Roman burials and a Roman villa have been found at South House farm. (fn. 4) Wallbury Camp is described under Great Hallingbury.
The recorded population of Little Hallingbury increased from 12 in 1066 to 31 in 1086. (fn. 5) Twenty-two persons were assessed to tax in 1327 and 26 in 1525. (fn. 6) There were 57 houses in 1662. (fn. 7) The population rose from 408 in 1801 to 611 in 1891. It fell to 538 in 1921 but rose to 865 in 1951. In 1971 the population of the enlarged parish was 1,255. (fn. 8)
The ancient pattern of roads and settlement has survived to the present. The road from Hatfield Heath to Bishop's Stortford runs northwest through the parish. The southern end of the road was called Longbottoms Green in the late 18th century. In the centre of the parish, near the church, it is joined by the road running northeast via Gaston Green from Sawbridgeworth and by Goose Lane, which runs eastwards to the southern end of Woodside Green. New Barn Lane runs from the Bishop's Stortford road eastwards to Great Hallingbury. Mill Lane runs from Gaston Green westwards to Little Hallingbury mill. The parish church, which dates from the 12th century, adjoins Monkbury manor house. Little Hallingbury manor house is near the southern boundary of the parish. By the 18th century the main settlement was at Bell End, now called Little Hallingbury village, north-west of the church. There were hamlets at Woodside Green in the north-east and Gaston Green in the south-west, and scattered cottages elsewhere, beside greens and on roadside wastes. (fn. 9) There was a little building in the 19th century. In 1932 the rural district council built 16 houses in Grinstead Lane. After 1945 building was concentrated in the north-west quarter of the parish. Many large houses were built along the Bishop's Stortford road, and along the lanes between Mott's, Wright's, and Church Greens. The R.D.C. built 42 more houses and flats at Hatch Green and Barker's Mead. (fn. 10)
The medieval manor houses of Little Hallingbury Hall and Monkbury were both replaced by later houses on adjoining sites. The oldest house now surviving is Romans, Wright's Green, which was built in the early 15th century as a hall house of two bays. A chimney and an upper floor were inserted in the 17th century, and a low, twostoreyed extension at the west end may have been added at the same time. Malting Farm, Church Green, is a late medieval house with hall and cross wings. The hall was remodelled and heightened in the 17th century, and the house was extended to the north in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mott's Green Cottage is the west wing, probably the solar wing, of a late medieval house.
A modern extension occupies the site of the former hall. Old Forge, Mott's Green, has at its centre a northern service cross wing of late medieval date. The hall range was reconstructed in the 17th century, but parts of the medieval walls survive. There are 20th-century additions to the north and east. Little Hallingbury Park is a late 16th-century house of three-roomed plan greatly extended in the 17th century, and remodelled internally in the 18th century. There was further remodelling in the 1920s, when some features from Hallingbury Place were incorporated. (fn. 11) The house was badly damaged by fire in 1982. There is a large barn of the 17th or early 18th century. Pynchon Hall (formerly Wright's Green Farm), was built in the mid 17th century, probably on a two-roomed plan with staircase turret. It was enlarged at the east end in the 19th century, and greatly extended in the early 20th century. The farm buildings were converted c. 1978 into separate dwellings round a courtyard. Woodfold, Woodside Green, was also built in the mid-17th century. It has a two-roomed plan, with a central chimney and a lean-to, possibly contemporary, at the back. A 19th-century extension at the north end included a former bakehouse. Old Farm, Gaston Green, and Little Bursteads, Sawbridgeworth Road, have 17th-century chimneys.
Gaston House, formerly Watermans, which dominates Gaston Green, was built c. 1730 as a plain, three-storeyed, red brick house with a south front of five bays. (fn. 12) In the mid and later 18th century a service wing was built at the north-west corner. In 1777 Gaston House was the seat of Mrs. M. Emerson. (fn. 13) Early in the 19th century the main block was refenestrated, and the main rooms were refitted. In 1906 the house, with 52 a., was bought from the Pelly family by Robert L. Barclay (d. 1939), banker, whose widow sold it, with 11 a., to (Sir) Eric Berthoud in 1949. (fn. 14) By 1981 it was in divided ownership. The main block was then being extensively renovated.
The Bell Inn, recorded from 1754, gave its name to Bell End. (fn. 15) It was closed c. 1833. (fn. 16) The Sutton Arms, Hall Green, opened in 1833, survived in 1981. (fn. 17) The Hop Poles inn, Gaston Green, recorded as a beerhouse from the 1830s, (fn. 18) was closed in the 1960s. (fn. 19).
In the 18th century coaches from Hatfield Heath to Bishop's Stortford passed through Little Hallingbury. (fn. 20) The Northern and Eastern Railway line from London, completed to Bishop's Stortford in 1842, skirted the western edge of the parish, with a station at Sawbridgeworth, 3 km. south-west of the village. (fn. 21) The LondonCambridge motorway (M11), completed in 1980, crosses the parish without access. A post office had been established in the village by 1845. (fn. 22)
The manor of LITTLE HALLINGBURY or HALLINGBURY NEVILLE, or HALLINGBURY BOURCHIER, lying in the centre and south of the parish, consisted in 1066 of 2½ hides, held by Godric, a free man. In 1086 Walter held it of Swein of Essex. (fn. 25) Silvester son of Simon, who was patron of Little Hallingbury rectory c. 1160, was probably a successor of Walter. (fn. 26) The tenancy in demesne was soon afterwards merged with the tenancy in chief, which descended like Theydon Mount as part of the honor of Rayleigh and was forfeited to the Crown in 1163. (fn. 27) In 1181 the manor was being let to farm by Henry II. (fn. 28) Richard I granted it in 1189 to Hugh de Neville for ½ knight's fee. (fn. 29)
Little Hallingbury descended for almost two centuries in Hugh de Neville's family, Neville of Essex. John de Neville, Lord Neville, died in 1335. The manor was then in the hands of his mother Margaret de Neville (d. by 1338), who had held it since the death of her husband John in 1282. (fn. 30) It passed after her death to her grandson John de Neville, Lord Neville (d. 1358), who, with his wife Alice (d. 1394), in 1357 conveyed the reversion of the manor to William de Bohun (d. 1360), earl of Northampton. Alice continued to receive a rent charged on the manor after her husband's death. The earl of Northampton was succeeded by his son Humphrey de Bohun, earl of Hereford and Essex (d. 1373). (fn. 31) Humphrey's coheirs were his daughters Eleanor and Mary de Bohun. In 1377 custody of Little Hallingbury was granted to Thomas of Woodstock, earl of Buckingham, later duke of Gloucester, on his marriage to Eleanor de Bohun, but in 1384 the manor was assigned to her sister Mary, by then wife of Henry of Bolingbroke, later King Henry IV. (fn. 32)
Under Henry IV and Henry V the manor remained with the Crown, subject to the dower of Joan de Bohun, countess of Hereford (d. 1419), but when the Bohun estates were partitioned in 1421 it was assigned to Anne (d. 1438), daughter of Eleanor de Bohun and wife successively of Edmund Stafford, earl of Stafford, and Sir William Bourchier, count of Eu. She was succeeded by her son Henry Bourchier, later earl of Essex (d. 1483). Henry Bourchier, grandson and heir of the last, died in 1540, leaving Little Hallingbury to his daughter Anne, who in 1541 married Sir William Parr, later earl of Essex and marquess of Northampton. (fn. 33) Anne was repudiated by her husband in 1543, but in 1553, after his attainder, she was granted lands, including Little Hallingbury, for her support. (fn. 34) At her death in 1571 the manor passed to her cousin Walter Devereux, Viscount Hereford and later earl of Essex (d. 1576). (fn. 35) Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, son of the last, sold Little Hallingbury in 1588 to Thomas Sutton, who planned to build Charterhouse hospital there. When the hospital was eventually built in London the manor became part of its endowments. (fn. 36) In 1839 the Charterhouse estate in Little Hallingbury comprised two farms and four houses, totalling 646 a. (fn. 37) The hospital sold it off piecemeal between 1919 and 1924. (fn. 38)
Little Hallingbury Hall, at Hall Green, was bought c. 1925 by Francis Gilbey, whose family sold it in 1947 to Mr. Guy Wright, the owner in 1981. (fn. 39) It is a yellow brick house of c. 1820 incorporating at its north end part of an older, timber-framed building, probably a cottage. The farm buildings include a large timber-framed and thatched barn of c. 1500. The earlier manor house, which lay north-east of the barn, had been demolished by 1839. (fn. 40)
The manor of MONKBURY, in the northwest quarter of the parish, originated as a hide of land held in 1066 by Esgar and in 1086 by Geoffrey Martel as tenant of Geoffrey de Mandeville. (fn. 41) In 1093 Martel, with Mandeville's consent, granted it to Bermondsey priory (Surr.). (fn. 42) The priory, later an abbey, held the manor until the Dissolution. Bermondsey may also have acquired the estate of ½ hide less 8 a. held in 1066 by Godid, a free woman, and in 1086 by Hugh as tenant of Geoffrey de Mandeville. (fn. 43) From 1274 to 1290 Monkbury, like Quickbury in Sheering, was on lease to Adam of Stratton, the fraudulent Exchequer official. (fn. 44)
Monkbury was granted by the Crown in 1544 to Sir Henry Parker, Lord Morley, (fn. 45) and subsequently descended with the manor of Great Hallingbury until the Archer-Houblon estate was broken up in the 1920s. It comprised 180 a. in 1639, but only 138 a. in 1839. (fn. 46) A mortgage on the manor, taken out in 1639, was not redeemed until 1737. (fn. 47)
Monkbury farm was in 1981 occupied by Mr. Stuart Padfield. The house, in Wright's Green Lane, was rebuilt in red brick in 1888. (fn. 48)
Between 1066 and 1086 the population of Little Hallingbury manor increased from 12 (8 villeins, 4 serfs) to 31 (10 villeins, 17 bordars, 4 serfs). The bordars were probably pioneers, clearing the forest, which could support 150 swine in 1066 but only 100 in 1086. The tenants' ploughteams increased from 3 in 1066 to 4 in 1086; there were two demesne teams at both dates. Demesne livestock, except swine, had also increased. In 1086 there were 7 'beasts' (6 in 1066), 50 sheep (30), 13 swine (24), 32 goats (30), 2 colts (2 rounceys), and 7 hives of bees (none in 1066). Between 1066 and 1086 thirty acres of meadow had been added to the manor, and a mill, shared with Monkbury manor, had been built. (fn. 49) Monkbury was a small forest hamlet with no livestock except for ploughteams. It changed little between 1066 and 1086. There were 5 tenants in 1066 (a priest, a villein, 3 serfs) and 6 in 1086 (4 bordars, 2 serfs). The demesne ploughteams decreased from 2 to 1, but the manor acquired 20 a. of meadow and the half share of the mill already mentioned. There was woodland for 100 swine. (fn. 50)
A belt of woodland along the eastern border of the parish survived in 1981. Fields named Readings, (fn. 51) north of Little Hallingbury Hall, may be evidence of forest clearance in the early Middle Ages. By the end of the 12th century Little Hallingbury park had been inclosed, (fn. 52) and in 1278 it was enlarged by the addition of Corringale wood in Hatfield Broad Oak. (fn. 53) In 1572 the keeper, John Morgan, was deprived of his privileges for allowing the park to be 'laid waste'. (fn. 54) Park farm may have been established at about that time. By c. 1650 it comprised 302 a., including Morgan's Great field (22 a.) and Morgan's Lawn field (25 a.), and had only 4 a. of coppice. (fn. 55) Monkswood, in the north-east, was royal demesne within the forest of Essex in 1298 and 1301, but was excluded in 1641. (fn. 56) A park in Monkswood survived until 1648 or later. (fn. 57) In 1838, when there were 48 a. of woodland in the parish, Monkswood, with Wallis's Spring adjoining, contained 45 a. (fn. 58) The wood survived in 1981.
Several greens, including Longbottoms, Hall, Mott's, Wright's, Gastonho (later Gaston), and Woodside, provided common pasture. (fn. 59) The largest of them was Woodside green or Monkswood common, which was said in 1657 to be a third of the wood where tenants, but not the lord, had pasture rights. (fn. 60) Part of Hall green was inclosed in 1831. (fn. 61) In 1838 there remained 34 a. of roadside waste used as common pasture, (fn. 62) but by 1865 it had been reduced to 22 a. (fn. 63) In 1981 six greens survived: Woodside (owned by the National Trust), (fn. 64) Gaston, and School were registered commons; Wright's (also owned by the Trust), Hall, and Mott's were registered village greens. (fn. 65)
In the Middle Ages there were open fields in the south and north-west, and common meadows by the Stort in the south-west. The open fields included Latchmore, Beadle, Millhide, Gaston, West, South, Barr, and Katesmore fields. (fn. 66) Latchmore and Beadle lay north-west of Monkbury manor house, Millhide north-west of Gaston green, and Gaston between Church Road and Grinstead Lane. (fn. 67) Katesmore has not been located. Inclosure had begun in the south by the 14th century, (fn. 68) and was far advanced by the 17th century. In 1621 apparently only one open field, Gaston common, survived on Little Hallingbury manor. (fn. 69) By 1628 West field had been inclosed. (fn. 70) In 1650 West and South fields were part of South House farm. Barr field (67 a.), lying farther east, then comprised seven fields. (fn. 71) Inclosure was slower in the north. In 1838 intermixed strips survived in Latchmore, Beadle, Millhide, and Gaston commons. (fn. 72) An award of 1844 inclosed 88 a. of arable land in those commons. (fn. 73)
In the Middle Ages most of the land on Little Hallingbury manor was held in villeinage by labour service, but some small pieces of land were held by villeins paying money rent. (fn. 74) Some customary services appear to have been due as late as 1571. (fn. 75) Commoners' cattle grazed in the open fields after harvest, and the farmer of Monkbury could put tethered beasts in the fields of that manor before harvest. (fn. 76) The tenants of Monkbury in 1587 claimed herbage on Monkswood common, and the rights to cut bushes there between 2 November and 23 April and to dig clay in Bare field for house repair. (fn. 77) In 1657 they repeated their claims, adding the right to rebuild houses within a year and a day of collapse, to demolish outhouses, to have a bull, a boar, and a pound, and to sell wood within the manor. (fn. 78). The tenants of Little Hallingbury manor claimed the right to a pound in 1575, 1600, and 1659. (fn. 79) In the 1730s neither manor had an adequate pound. (fn. 80)
Arable farming seems to have predominated from the 14th century. (fn. 81) In 1838 the parish was estimated to contain 1,560 a., of which 370 a. were meadow and pasture. (fn. 82) The proportion of arable fell in the later 19th century, but has risen in the later 20th century. Returns for 1866 include 870 a. of cereals, 268 a. of vegetables, and 552 a. of grass. Those for 1906 list 642 a. of cereals, 195 a. of vegetables, and 746 a. of grass. At both dates wheat and barley were the main cereals. The largest vegetable crop was turnips in 1866 and beans in 1906. The 1926 returns include 549 a. of cereals, mainly wheat and barley, 123 a. of vegetables, mainly beans, and 935 a. of grass. (fn. 83) The 1977 returns, for the enlarged parish, list 384 ha. (948 a.) of cereals, almost equally divided between wheat and barley, 82 ha. (202 a.) of vegetables, mainly sugar beet and fodder crops, and 104 ha. (256 a.) of grass. (fn. 84) Hop growing was carried on in the 17th century, but was declining by 1743. (fn. 85) An osier ground was recorded throughout the 18th century. In 1708 it was leased for 10s. a year to a basket maker. (fn. 86) There was an osier bed of 3 a. by the Stort in 1924. (fn. 87)
In the early 19th century John Archer Houblon, owner of Hallingbury Place in Great Hallingbury and of Monkbury, had 300 ewes on his estate and laid down pasture for sheep. (fn. 88) The returns of 1866 listed 42 cows, 78 other cattle, 440 sheep, and 247 pigs. Those for 1906 listed 85 horses, 70 cows and heifers, 105 other cattle, 523 sheep, and 138 pigs. By 1916 there were only 36 sheep, all at Monkbury, and by 1926 there were none. Pigs increased as sheep declined. The 1926 returns listed 149 cows, 122 other cattle, 389 pigs, and 59 horses, with 1,183 poultry, 94 ducks, and a few geese and turkeys. The 1977 returns included 184 cattle, 575 pigs, and 21 fowls. (fn. 89) A chicken farm in New Barn Lane was converted c. 1970 to boarding kennels, which survived in 1981. (fn. 90)
In 1839 there were two farms (Hall and Park) with over 200 a., four with 100–200 a., and two with 50–100 a. (fn. 91) In 1926 there were two with over 300 a., two with 100–300 a., and three with 50–100 a. In 1977 one farm had over 200 ha. (494 a.), one had over 100 ha. (247 a.), two between 50 ha. (124 a.) and 100 ha., and two between 20 ha. (49 a.) and 50 ha. (fn. 92)
A water-mill, built soon after the Conquest, was shared by Little Hallingbury and Monkbury manors. (fn. 93) Its site is not known. A mill belonging to Little Hallingbury manor was recorded from the early 15th century. (fn. 94) Little Hallingbury mill, recorded from 1641, was originally called Tednam mill because it was near Tednambury manor in Sawbridgeworth. (fn. 95) In 1693 Charterhouse leased the mill to Edward Ettrick and John Barlstead, London merchants, who rebuilt it as a silk mill. (fn. 96) Silk manufacture, employing many local women, seems to have continued until c. 1770. (fn. 97) In 1778 the mill was converted by James Pavitt and Richard Martin for corn grinding. (fn. 98) It was sold in 1800 to George Pavitt, whose family owned it in 1838, (fn. 99) and may have closed soon after. (fn. 100) A new mill was built in 1874, and in 1885 the old mill, on the site of the present granary, was demolished. The mill of 1874 was used as a corn mill until 1952. In 1966 it became the headquarters of Lea and Stort Cruises Ltd. (fn. 101) The building and machinery were restored between 1967 and 1971. (fn. 102) A windmill, which stood south-east of the water-mill, was apparently worked with it for a short time in the 19th century. (fn. 103)
Maltings were built in the 17th century at a house north of the church, later called Maltings Farm. (fn. 104) They apparently closed soon after 1838. (fn. 105) The buildings survived in 1981. A malting at Woodside Green, recorded in the 18th century, had ceased by 1838. (fn. 106) Barns at Little Hallingbury Hall were used as paint works during the Second World War, and in 1981 were being used by Hayters Ltd. to store mowers awaiting export. (fn. 107)
In 1274 or 1275 the lord of Little Hallingbury manor claimed view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and of ale. (fn. 108) Court rolls and books of Little Hallingbury manor survive for the period 1380–1934, except for the years 1421–63 and 1536–63. (fn. 109) Courts leet were held on the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul (29 June) until the early 16th century, when the date began to vary. By the later 17th century they had ceased to be held annually, and from the early 18th century only courts baron were recorded. The leet's main concern was the maintenance of highways, hedges, ditches, and commons, and the assize of bread and of ale. In the 15th and 16th centuries millers were presented for charging excessive tolls and using false weights. In the late 16th and the early 17th century the court repeatedly stated tenants' rights. In the Middle Ages it appointed a reeve of the commons, two aletasters, and, from 1420 or earlier, a constable. By the later 15th century there was only one aletaster. A constable was last appointed by the leet in 1735. (fn. 110)
A joint court leet for Monkbury manor and Quickbury manor in Sheering was held in the later 13th century. (fn. 111) There are court rolls and books of Monkbury from 1578 to 1922, with gaps in the 17th and the early 18th century. Courts leet, held at various times of the year, were recorded up to 1717. Their business was similar to that of Little Hallingbury court. Monkbury appointed a constable until 1700. It appointed a hayward in 1653. (fn. 112)
Parish records include vestry minutes for 1681–1835, churchwardens' accounts for 1744– 63, and overseers' accounts for 1782–1835. (fn. 113) The vestry always met at Easter. Until 1754 it often met again at Christmas, and sometimes also in late summer, but after 1754 only Easter meetings were recorded. Attendance, as indicated by signatures in the minutes, was rarely more than six. John Sherwill, rector 1669–1710, and John Emerson, rector 1734–66, attended regularly and took the chair. Later rectors, up to 1835, rarely attended, and a churchwarden usually chaired the meeting. The vestry appointed two churchwardens, who usually served for several consecutive years. In the early 18th century there were several years when only one warden was appointed. John Emerson nominated one warden, as did a later rector, John Stewart, 1812–35. There were two overseers of the poor in 1614. (fn. 114) By 1681 there seems to have been only one, and in 1695, when the overseer left the parish, 'the care and charge of the poor' were temporarily shouldered by the churchwardens. There were two surveyors of highways, who usually served for several years. By 1681 the two constables appointed by the manor courts were accounting to the vestry. In 1688 the vestry agreed that one of the constables might hire a deputy. The vestry nominated both constables in 1690, and that probably became the normal practice after 1735, when the last appointment was made by the Little Hallingbury leet, though nominations were rarely recorded in the vestry minutes. A parish clerk was mentioned in 1696, when the vestry resolved to pay him a quarterly honorarium.
Poor relief was distributed in regular weekly doles or in 'extraordinaries' (special payments) over a limited period. Some of the poor were housed in an almshouse until it was pulled down in 1769; it may have been the former Marriage Feast room. (fn. 115)
Poor relief cost £3 5s. 1d. in 1614, (fn. 116) and £25 in 1681. It did not again reach that figure until 1697, when it rose to £39. In 1700 and 1701, two years of exceptional distress, the annual cost was about £60, of which £9 or £10 was met by the earnings of three parish children. By the 1740s the cost had risen to £80 or more. It was only £90 in 1776, but in the three years 1783–5 it averaged £188. (fn. 117) It rose to £500 in 1800 and £828 in 1801. During the next thirty years it usually ranged between £400 and £600, except in 1813, 1818, and 1819, when it exceeded £700. In 1835 it was £307. (fn. 118)
In 1066 Esgar's manor, later Monkbury, included a priest and a villein with 20 a. which belonged to the church. It was stated obscurely in 1086 that they did not then belong to the church. (fn. 119) Further evidence of an ancient connexion between Monkbury and the church is provided by the fact that Bermondsey priory, later abbey, which acquired Monkbury in 1093, had an interest in the rectory. In 1254 the prior was said to retain the tithes from his demesne. By 1291 that had been commuted to a portion of £2 a year, payable out of the rectory. (fn. 120) The present church, which dates from the early 12th century, is only 100 m. from Monkbury, but 1,400 m. from Little Hallingbury Hall. From the 12th century onwards, however, the advowson of the rectory seems to have been held by the lords of Little Hallingbury manor, of whom the first recorded was Silvester son of Simon, named as patron c. 1160. The Charterhouse hospital (Lond.), which sold the manor after the First World War, still held the advowson in 1980. (fn. 121)
The rectory was valued in 1254 at £6 13s. 4d., in 1291 at £4 13s. 4d., and in 1535 at £15. In 1254 there was said to be also a vicarage, valued at £5, but no other reference has been found to it. (fn. 122) In 1650 the rectory was valued at £92, including £80 from tithes and £12 from the house and 22 a. of glebe. (fn. 123) By the late 18th century the value had risen to £160. (fn. 124) The tithes were commuted in 1839 for £474; there were then 29 a. of glebe. (fn. 125) By 1967 the glebe had all been sold. (fn. 126)
The Rectory house, east of the church, was rebuilt in red brick early in the 18th century. It was thoroughly restored in 1866. (fn. 127) In 1929 it had eight bedrooms and extensive outbuildings. A new house was built c. 1960 at the eastern end of the old garden. A tithe barn, which probably stood at the north-west corner of the Rectory garden, was demolished in 1850. (fn. 128)
Between 1157 and 1162 Henry, son of Henry of London, was presented to the rectory of Little Hallingbury, which his father, possibly a canon of St. Paul's, had previously refused. (fn. 129) Several other rectors are known by name before the mid 14th century, but the list is far from complete until the 17th century. (fn. 130) The poverty of the living tended to result in pluralism and non-residence. Robert Neville, rector c. 1500–14, was also vicar of Henham. Martin Price, 1594–1610, and also rector of Balsham (Cambs.), was denounced c. 1607 as negligent and non-resident. (fn. 131) John Fish, presented in 1610, was sequestrated in 1644. He did not go quietly, for in 1647 John Wilson, a Carthusian who had been appointed minister by the Parliamentary commissioners, complained that Fish refused to surrender the Rectory house, and was obstructing the payment of tithes to Wilson. Fish was still claiming tithes in 1649, but Wilson remained minister until 1657. Thomas Waterhouse, another Carthusian, succeeded Wilson in 1658, but was ejected in 1660, when Fish recovered the living. (fn. 132) William Salisbury, rector 1766–96, was a non-resident pluralist. (fn. 133) Matthew Raine, rector 1810–11, was headmaster of Charterhouse and a friend of Samuel Parr and Richard Porson. (fn. 134) Charles Pritchett, 1835–49, was for 26 years reader at Charterhouse. (fn. 135) Stanley Pemberton, 1849–80, (fn. 136) restored the Rectory and the church.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN comprises nave with western bell turret, chancel, north aisle, south porch, and south vestry. (fn. 137) The walls are of flint rubble mixed with tiles and Roman brick. The turret, which is timberframed, is surmounted by a shingled spire.
The nave was built early in the 12th century, and has a south door of that date, with an arch of Roman brick. (fn. 138) The chancel was lengthened, perhaps entirely rebuilt, in the 13th century. The south porch is of late 14th-century timber, with carved tracery. (fn. 139) The age of the two earliest bells suggests that a bell turret had also been built by the 14th century. The chancel was reroofed in the 15th century and the nave in the 16th century. Repairs carried out in 1712–13 included the reconstruction of the bell turret. (fn. 140) In 1853 the church was restored and a north aisle built to the designs of G. E. Pritchett, whose father, Charles Pritchett, had been rector 1835–49. (fn. 141) A south vestry and organ chamber were added in 1885. A carved oak reredos was erected in 1898 in memory of Stanley Pemberton. (fn. 142) In 1901 the church was struck by lightning, which damaged the bell turret and the nave roof. Repairs were again directed by G. E. Pritchett. (fn. 143)
The church has three bells, of c. 1330, 1683, and c. 1400. (fn. 144) The plate includes a silver cup, paten, and flagon, all of 1729, given by Thomas Davies, later Bovey, rector 1711–33. (fn. 145) A 15thcentury mazer belonging to the church was sold in 1934. (fn. 146) Monuments include a tablet to John Emerson (d. 1766), rector 1734–66, and a brass to Justinian Pelly (d. 1893) of Gaston House.
In 1744 the parish vestry declared that the income from Church Mead should be used for the maintenance of the church and churchyard. (fn. 147) By 1839 the churchwardens owned only a field of 2 a., let as gardens, at the junction of the Bishop's Stortford road and Grinstead Lane. (fn. 148) Little Hallingbury once had a Marriage Feast room like that at Matching, but by c. 1720 it had been converted into dwellings. (fn. 149) It may have been the almshouse demolished in 1769. (fn. 150)
There were a few Quakers in the parish in the late 17th century. (fn. 151) In 1672 John Wilson, a former rector, (fn. 152) was licensed to conduct Independent meetings in William Taylor's house. Wilson died at Little Hallingbury in 1690. (fn. 153) By 1790 dissenters were increasing in number, and in 1810 there were 80 Independents, who apparently attended chapels in neighbouring parishes. (fn. 154) Gaston Green Free church was built in 1877 by the Christian Band, under the leadership of George Day and his wife. It was enlarged in 1887 and again in 1922. It had 12 members in 1982. (fn. 155)
Education. (fn. 156)
Little Hallingbury Church of England primary school originated in 1822, when Anne Phillips built a school, supported by subscription, at the approach to Church Green. (fn. 157) The total Sunday and weekday attendance rose from 49 in 1835 to 72 in 1838. (fn. 158) In 1841 a National school for 200 was built by subscription and a government grant on land adjoining the churchyard. It was badly constructed, and in 1869 it was replaced by a new school at the corner of Church Green and the Bishop's Stortford road. It received annual government grants from 1861. (fn. 159) The school was enlarged in 1884. It was reorganized in 1945 for juniors and infants, was granted Aided status in 1952, and was again enlarged in 1975. (fn. 160)
Samuel Page, by will proved 1862, gave £25 in trust to Little Hallingbury school. (fn. 161) Nothing was known of the charity in 1979. G. E. Garvey, by will proved 1938, gave £40 in trust for annual good conduct prizes to a boy and a girl pupil at the school. (fn. 162) In 1979 the income was used to buy books for the school library. (fn. 163)
Charities for the Poor.
William Hoy, by will dated 1686, gave a 6s. rent charge to the parish poor. It was received until 1751, but had been lost by 1786. (fn. 164)
William D. Pritchett of Bishop's Stortford, son of Charles Pritchett, rector of Little Hallingbury 1835–49, in 1882 gave £200 stock in trust in memory of his sisters, to provide gifts of money twice a year to poor, aged members of the Church of England living in the parish. In the 1970s the income was being distributed according to the trust. (fn. 165)