A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of Caddington was formerly partly in Hertfordshire and partly in Bedfordshire, but under the provisions of the Local Government Act of 1888, confirmed in 1897, it was transferred wholly to Bedfordshire. In 1877 Markyate was formed into a new ecclesiastical district, (fn. 1) and by Local Government Act of 1888, confirmed in 1897, into a parish. It lies to the south-east of Caddington, comprising a portion of the parish of Flamstead, part of Caddington, the detached hamlet of Humbershoe in the parish of Studham, and a detached portion of Houghton Regis. (fn. 2)
Caddington is a portion of bare table land with an average height of about 550 ft., the edge of which drops gradually to the parish of Luton on the east. The area of the parish, which was inclosed in 1800, (fn. 3) was formerly 4,500 acres, but some 2,000 acres were withdrawn when the parish of Markyate was formed. In 1905 the parish of Caddington comprised 2,691 acres of arable, 852 acres of permanent grass, and 56 acres of woodland, and that of Markyate 874 acres of arable, 283 acres of permanent grass, and 60 acres of woodland. (fn. 4) The soil is clay with flints, and the subsoil chalk, and the chief crops are wheat, barley, beans, and turnips.
The Watling Street, which is here the main road from Saint Albans to Dunstable, forms the boundary between Kensworth and Caddington; a road from Luton passes through Slip End and joins the Watling Street at Markyate, and there is also a road running north-west from Caddington village which meets the Icknield Way a little to the east of Dunstable.
The church and vicarage and most of the cottages are grouped round a green on which are a few pollard trees. The village is in the middle of the parish, and there are four hamlets. (fn. 5) In the north at the highest point is that of Chaul End, which consists of one new farm-house and a few cottages. In the extreme south is (fn. 6) the uninteresting but growing district called Slip End, with a population of about 800 people. This hamlet was endowed as a perpetual curacy a few years ago by the dean and chapter of St. Paul's and a house of residence built. The other two hamlets, Woodside and Aley Green, at which there is a cemetery, are to the north and west of Slip End.
At Markyate Street the surface of the land is fairly uniform, rising to the west. The River Ver rises in the parish and runs near the Watling Street. The church stands in the park of Markyate Cell at one end of the village, which consists of long rows of small houses built close to the Watling Street on either side.
There is no railway station within the parish, but the Luton and Dunstable branch of the Great Northern Railway has a station at Church Street, just beyond the boundary, and there are stations at Luton on the same line and on the Midland Railway, two miles west from Caddington village.
The following place-names occur in Court Rolls of the manor and elsewhere: Haireway, Le Lake, Whisegrove, Puttangrenewey, le Wassyngpute, Salweycroft, Waudeneshill, Castellcroft, Phipittewey, Stonardesdene, le Shiremarc, Dameglynelane, Heywardes Grene, Fellendenswaye, Gosemereweye, Pullingslane, Houghton Woodway, and Thefewey. Interesting discoveries of palaeolithic implements have been made in the neighbourhood of Caddington, and British hut floors have been unearthed at Buncers Farm. (fn. 7) It is said that on high ground half a mile to the south of the church there was once an ancient camp. Pottery and other relics have been found there, but now the site of the camp is a ploughed field, and the only evidence of its existence is in the names of two grass roads near, which are called Upper Camp and Lower Camp Lane respectively.
Thomas Pickford, the founder of the well-known firm of carriers, resided at Markyate in the farm-house called Mayfield, now occupied by Mrs. Partridge. The name still survives in the locality, Mayfield being situated in Pickford Road. The 'Old Vicarage,' now occupied by Mrs. Fatt, was formerly a boarding school. It was here that the poet William Cowper received the first elements of his classical education. 'Coppin's Room' adjoining the old vicarage was used as the schoolroom at that time, and it is now the Parish Room.
The manor of CADDINGTON was ancient demesne of the crown. (fn. 8) There is some evidence that it was granted to the monastery of St. Albans by Offa, king of Mercia (757–96), (fn. 9) but apparently no record exists of its subsequent history until the time of Edward the Confessor, when it seems to have been held by Edwin of Caddington, (fn. 10) and to have passed from him to his son Lewin. (fn. 11) From the Domesday entry Lewin appears to have given it to the canons of St. Paul's, London, (fn. 12) in whose possession it remained until 1649, when it was sold, under the 'Act for the sale of dean and chapter's lands,' to Henry Proby of London, and John Hammond of the same, draper. (fn. 13) At the Restoration the property returned to the canons, for whom it has been held, since 1872, (fn. 14) by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
Copies of manorial court rolls of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries are preserved in the library of St. Paul's, together with some early surveys and leases. From these it would appear that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the manor was usually farmed by an ecclesiastic, (fn. 15) but certainly as early as the reign of Edward IV the farmer was a layman. (fn. 16) The custom of farming out the manor seems to have continued through the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. The farmer lived at Caddington Bury, and was bound to keep a bull and a boar on the manorial farm for the use of the tenants. (fn. 17) A visitation of 1222 gives the stocking of the farm at two hundred sheep, four cows, and forty pigs, as well as two plough-teams of eight head. There was a windmill, which could be farmed for 20s. (fn. 18) The extent of land in demesne was 260 acres of arable; there was no pasture, but two small woods contained twelve acres between them, and there was also a great beechwood of 300 acres. In 1206 a dispute seems to have arisen between Roger de Tony and the canons of St. Paul's with regard to their right of common in the wood. It was finally agreed that the whole wood between Blikeslane as far as Bereford was to remain to the canons, and all the plain outside the wood to the south should belong to Roger. Further, that from Bereford to Papiatem all the wood should remain to the canons, and the rest of the wood, with the plain to the south, should remain to Roger; but neither party was to exclude Walter son of Walter of Luton, who came and claimed common of pasturage in both parts. (fn. 19) In the seventeenth century the dean and chapter of St. Paul's attempted to inclose the wood, and a commission was appointed to decide the dispute which arose in consequence. According to the award of the commissioners, the canons were to be allowed to inclose 150 acres, and the vicar of Caddington 10 acres. The remainder of the wood was to remain open, and the dean and chapter were to have no common of pasture there, except for such of their tenants as held lands under leases not yet expired. (fn. 20)
The dean and chapter of St. Paul's claimed most extensive liberties within their Hertfordshire manors. They held their estates quit of all suit at county and hundred courts, and were exempt from the fines there levied, as well as from all tolls and other mercantile dues. They had the fullest rights of jurisdiction over their tenants, and claimed to hold views of frankpledge and of the assize of bread and ale, to have their own gallows, pillory, and tumbril, and to have free warren in all their demesne lands. (fn. 21) The last liberty had been granted to the dean and chapter in their demesne lands at Caddington in 1248 (fn. 22)
From an inquisition of 1297 it would appear that among the services of the tenants that of carrying farm produce to London was of importance, holders of one virgate being bound to carry 35 quarters of corn annually, and holders of half a virgate five capons or ten hens 'against the feast of the Nativity.' (fn. 23) In the eighteenth century some question seems to have arisen as to the building rights of the tenants, for the jurors of the court baron frequently present that a free tenant may build or pull down his house and fell timber without the consent of the lord, but that a termor may not do so. (fn. 24)
Mention of the manor of DUNRIGGE occurs in the minister's accounts of Caddington for the year 1463–4. (fn. 25) John Herdyng was then farmer, but no further reference to it has been found.
The prebendal manor of GREAT CADDINGTON is attached to the prebend of that name. The stall was held in 1103 by Askyllus or Anskyldus. (fn. 26) In 1649, when the chapter of London was abolished, this estate was sold to Richard Somers of London, (fn. 27) but at the Restoration was recovered by the Church. Newcourt, writing in the first years of the eighteenth century, states that this manor was then called Aston Bury. (fn. 28) The manor-house which stood some quarter of a mile east of the church was pulled down about fifty years ago, and a farm-house, now known as the Prebendal Farm, was built on the site. (fn. 29)
To the prebend of Caddington Minor the manor of LITTLE CADDINGTON is attached. The stall was held in 1103 by Theobald or Tethbald. (fn. 30) The manor was purchased in 1649 by John Streeter, (fn. 31) and is mentioned by Newcourt as the manor or farm of Provenden. He states that in a terrier then lately made it was found that there were on the estate thirteen tenants owing quit-rents, but that they refused payment on the ground that the lands for which the rents were due were unidentified. (fn. 32) This manor and that of Great Caddington were taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1872. (fn. 33) The manor-house belonging to Caddington Minor formerly stood on the village green, and was known as Aston Bury. It was pulled down about forty years ago, and its site is now occupied by two cottages which stand opposite the vicarage gates. (fn. 34)
ZOUCHES or SOWCHES
ZOUCHES or SOWCHES seems to have been a manor held of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's by the family of la Zouche of Harringworth. It is possible that it was, like the Wheathampstead manor of the same name, originally in the possession of the Inges, one of whom married Eudo la Zouche, for there is extant a grant of 1310–11 to one Edward Inge of free warren in all his demesne lands in Caddington, and also a cancelled patent dated 1322–3 to Richard Inge, chaplain, granting a licence to alienate his manor of Caddington. (fn. 35) In 1395 William de la Zouche held 'the manor of Cadindon' in fee tail of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's. He had inherited it from his father William, and it descended to his son, a third William, (fn. 36) who in 1396–7 conveyed his interest in the estate, probably for the purpose of a settlement, to Sir John Lovell, kt., his kinsman. (fn. 37) The Zouche family continued to be tenants of some estate, probably this manor, in Caddington parish as late as the year 1535, (fn. 38) but there seems to be no further mention of the manor until the reign of Queen Elizabeth. In that reign Thomas Franck brought an action in the court of Chancery against Richard Marshe of Kensworth for ejecting him from the manor of Zouches in Caddington. Thomas claimed that John, Lord Zouche, about twenty-eight years previously conveyed the manor to Thomas Franck of Hatfield, his father, and to Anne his wife, and to Thomas the present claimant. Thomas the father and Anne died, and Thomas the son held the manor until he was ejected by Richard Marshe. Richard claimed the manor under the terms of the will of his father Thomas, who, Richard declared, was lawfully seised of the manor. He denied that it was ever conveyed by Lord Zouche to Thomas Franck. In 1573 Thomas Marshe conveyed the manor to Richard Marshe, and it is probable that these are the father and son mentioned above. (fn. 39) From Richard it subsequently passed to his brother Henry, who conveyed it in 1583 to Thomas Marshe. (fn. 40) In the following year Robert Barbour and Agnes his wife released to Henry Marshe all claim which they had in the manor for the life of Agnes. (fn. 41) Later the manor came to Henry's son Rotherham, who sold it in 1605 to John Clerke of London. (fn. 42) Clerke died the following year, leaving a son John under age, who at the time of his death, in 1664, was seised of 360 acres of land in the parish. (fn. 43) In 1673 the manor was conveyed by Robert Strode to William Strode, (fn. 44) of whose family there is some trace in the court rolls as late as 1703, and in 1750 John Shirley and his wife conveyed the manor by fine to Nicholas Coulthirst, against whom it was recovered in the same term by Robert Joyce. (fn. 46) In 1781 Thomas Smith recovered this manor against James Wildman, William Beckford being vouchee. (fn. 47) There is a farm known as Zouches in the west of the parish which was owned by the Pedley family till 1804, when, by a special Act of Parliament, they were enabled to exchange the farm for the estate of Caddington Hall, the possession of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's. Zouches Farm now belongs to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 48)
MARKYATE priory was founded early in the twelfth century, and in 1145 the dean and chapter of St. Paul's granted to the prioress and nuns the site of the monastery and the surrounding woods. (fn. 49) The house appears to have been surrendered before 10 February, 1537, (fn. 50) probably to the satisfaction of the lords of Caddington manor, for the last prioress seems to have been an unruly tenant. There are complaints in the court rolls that she erected a pillory in the liberty of the church of St. Paul, that she refused to do suit for land called Rokett, (fn. 51) that she interfered with the fishing rights of the tenants of Caddington in a pool near the monastery, (fn. 52) and finally that she ordered that a great beech tree, 'growing upon the free ground opposite the house of the nuns of Markyate,' should be cut down, to the great loss of the cathedral church of St. Paul's. (fn. 53) The priory remained in the king's hands for about two years after the surrender, and on 29 March, 1539, was leased to Humphrey Bourchier of the king's household for twenty-one years. (fn. 54) This Humphrey subsequently tried to purchase the estate, but owing in part to his own heavy liabilities, and in part to the fraud perpetrated by his kinsman, Sir Francis Bryan, to whom the purchase money was entrusted, the transaction was not completed when Humphrey died without children in 1540. (fn. 55) His widow Elizabeth in the following year married George Ferrers, to whom Edward VI in 1548 granted the site of the late monastery with free warren, court leet, view of frankpledge and of the assize of bread and ale, and other manorial rights. (fn. 56) George Ferrers was the son of Thomas Ferrers of St. Albans, and in 1534 published an English translation of Magna Charta and other important statutes. He became a member of Lincoln's Inn and his oratory gained him a high reputation at the bar. He was elected M.P. for Plymouth in.1542, and in that year he was arrested on his way to the House of Commons. A rather famous dispute arose as to the privilege of members of Parliament of exemption from arrest, and he was released. He is said to have served in the war against Scotland and France, but he most probably attended Henry VIII in some civil capacity. Henry showed his attachment for him by bequeathing him 100 marks. At Christmas 1551 he was directed to prepare a series of pageants on a very gorgeous scale to distract the young king, who was reported to be sorrowing over the execution of his uncle Somerset. Ferrers assisted in suppressing Wyatt's rebellion, and held the office of escheator for the counties of Essex and Hertford in 1567. The manor remained in the family of Ferrers for about one hundred years, passing from George to his son Julius, and in 1596 to his grandson Sir John. (fn. 57) Knighton Ferrers, the son of Sir John and of Anne, daughter of Sir George Knighton of Bayford, knt., died before his father, (fn. 58) and the estate consequently passed on the death of Sir John in 1640 to Katherine, the only daughter of Knighton, who subsequently married Sir Thomas Fanshawe of Ware Park. (fn. 59) In 1655 Sir Thomas and Thomas his son sold the manor to John Meech, Edward Greene, and John Fullerton of London, (fn. 60) and in 1657, Meech, Greene, and Fullerton, together with Benjamin Andrews and Joan his wife, sold it to Thomas Coppin of Markyate Cell, son of Sir George Coppin. (fn. 61) Thomas by will dated 8 December, 1662, left £400 in trust for the purchase of a house in Markyate Street to serve as a schoolhouse. (fn. 62) He was succeeded in 1663 by his second son John, (fn. 63) who in fulfilment of his father's will purchased a messuage called the 'Mermaid' in Markyate Street for the purposes of a school. (fn. 64) His son John succeeded him, (fn. 65) and in 1734 built a chapel at Markyate Cell. (fn. 66) On his death in 1742 the estate passed under a settlement made in his lifetime to his son John. (fn. 67) At the death, without issue, of the latter John the estate came to his uncle Samuel, who died in 1766 without issue, having devised the estate to his nephew John Reynardson, son of his sister Anne by Joseph Reynardson, on the condition of his taking the name of Coppin. (fn. 68) John Reynardson Coppin died in 1781, and the manor came to the Rev. John Pittman, who thereupon took the name of Coppin. (fn. 69) He married Mary Pearce of Buckinghamshire, and died in 1794, leaving John Coppin Pittman-Coppin his only son and heir, and two daughters Susan and Mary. (fn. 70) John sold the estate to Joseph Howell, by whose executors it was sold in 1825 to Daniel Goodson Adey of St. Albans, J.P. (fn. 71) On his death in December, 1872, it came to his son Rev. Francis William Adye, who still holds it.
The present mansion house, known as Markyate Cell, stands on the eastern side of Watling Street, a little north of the hamlet of Markyate Street. Leland, who must have seen it shortly after the suppression of Markyate Cell, says in his Itinerary that one Humphrey Bourchier 'did much coste in translating of the priorie into a maner-place.' This took place during Bourchier's tenancy in 1539–40, and it is most likely that the oldest portions of the existing house belong to that date, the work being in the style of that period. The house has been burned down several times, the last rebuilding having been done in 1840. The only portions left of the sixteenth-century house are the walls of the kitchen offices at the east end, consisting of two stories and the lower part of a chimney, and probably parts of the old garden walls date from this period. The old walling is built of flint, with the windows and the angles of the walls of Totternhoe stone, that portion of the wall inclosing the scullery and the room over being faced with flint and stone in alternating squares, averaging about 9 in. square, but varying a good deal. This form of walling is found, not only in fourteenth and fifteenth-century work, as in the churches of Abbots Langley, Redbourn, and Puttenham, but also in much later work, as in the Castle House, Berkhampstead, which was built in 1560, and Oxhey Chapel, erected in 1612. The west wall of the scullery is 3 ft. 9 in. thick and contains a large arched opening, now built up on one side; the arch is low and pointed, the outer and inner orders on either side being splayed, and the order between hollow-chamfered. It does not seem ever to have had a door, and was most likely an opening into a hall or corridor. On the east wall of the kitchen, outside, is a projecting chimney, the upper part of which is modern, but the lower part contains a secret chamber in the thickness of the chimney, which is about 5 ft. Access to the chamber was obtained by a circular stair from an opening over the chimney-piece in the room over the kitchen. This was opened and investigated some years ago, but the opening has now been closed. This part of the chimney seems to be coeval with the rest of the old work. The window to the kitchen is of stone, consisting of five lights, each 18 in. wide, divided by moulded stone mullions, each light having a flat fourcentred arch. Over the window is a square moulded perpendicular hood, with returned ends. The window is clearly of sixteenth-century work. The scullery window consists of two lights, similar to those of the kitchen, but there is no hood over. The eastern wall of the scullery has been rebuilt and a chimney added, probably in 1840, and the wall has been refaced externally with flint and stone to match the north front, the stone used being old fragments from the priory church. These old stones have mouldings of thirteenth-century character. An interesting outline plan, showing the old walling which existed in 1805, may be found in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1846. The house at that time was much larger than the present one, and some of the old walling existing in 1805 has now disappeared. The plan also shows the site of the priory church, the foundations of the eastern wall being then discovered. The church stood in the park, about 40 ft. from the terrace on the west side of the house.
About 100 yds. east of the house, and on a higher level, due to the natural slope of the ground, is the old bowling-green bounded on the west by the remains of a fine yew hedge. The old kitchen garden adjoins this on the north, separated from it by a wall of flint and Totternhoe stone, which seems to be the original wall. In the garden are some ancient appletrees, with long branches carefully trained on wooden stakes, and still bearing fruit. The stem of one of these trees measured 18 in. in diameter, one foot from the ground.
In the old inn called the 'Five Horse Shoes' in Markyate Street there was in the bar-parlour a beam spanning from front to back walls, about 12 ft. long, which was literally a tree as felled, with only the lower segments roughly axed off, leaving the trunk about 1 ft. 6 in. across, and gradually widening out to about 3 ft. at the base of the root. The building in 1900 was in a state of decay, and the licence was renewed to new premises. (fn. 72) It has since been pulled down, and 'Cell Dene,' now occupied by Mr. Henry Simons, was built upon the site.
It is said that in 1804 the Pedleys by exchange with the dean and chapter of St. Paul's received the estate of CADDINGTON HALL for Zouches Farm. At the date of the exchange there was, it appears, a small house on the property which the Pedleys pulled down, and built the present residence on the site. (fn. 73) In 1873 it belonged to Anne wife of Arthur Macnamara who had inherited from John Pedley. Anne died in 1876, when the estate came to her eldest son Arthur, who sold it about 1902 to Mr. Arthur Collings Wells who had been residing at Caddington some five years before it passed into his possession. John Macnamara, half-brother of Arthur, who died issueless in 1906, still owns a considerable amount of property in Caddington. (fn. 74)
The hamlet of HUMBERSHOE (Humbrichesho, xiii cent.) was in the thirteenth century included in the vill of Chalgrave, which was held in 1284 and 1316 by Peter de Lorenge or Loring. (fn. 75) In 1260–1 William Lorenge granted a messuage, land and rent in Humbershoe to Bartholomew le Jeuene or Jeune and Isabella his wife, to be held by them and their heirs of William and his heirs for ever. (fn. 76) This tenement appears to have subsequently become known as the manor of Humbershoe, and remained in the family of Le Jeune or Juveni until the middle of the fourteenth century. Bartholomew Juveni held it in 1273, and he and his son Richard obtained licence from the prior of Dunstable to have a chantry in their chapel at Humbershoe. 'This chantry,' the chronicler remarks, 'will soon cease after their death.' (fn. 77) Bartholomew died in 1277, (fn. 78) and was succeeded by his son Richard, who held the manor in 1290. (fn. 79) Giles le Jeune and Agnes his wife held it in 1347–8, and settled it upon themselves and the heirs of their bodies. (fn. 80) A Giles le Jeune, living in 1366–7, probably held the manor at this time, as he is called Giles le Jeune of Humbershoe. (fn. 81) The priory of Markyate at the time of the Dissolution held certain rents of assize in Humbershoe, which were afterwards granted to George Ferrers, with the manor of Markyate, (fn. 82) in 1548, and from this time the descent of the manor is identical with that of Markyate (q.v.) until it was bought of the Coppins, in 1794, by Mr. Lambert. (fn. 83) He devised it to his wife Jane and his son John, who sold it in 1802 to William Shone, of whom it was afterwards purchased in 1804 by Edmund Thomas Waters. It was sold by his assigns in 1814 to Thomas Stirling. (fn. 84)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of chancel with modern north vestry, nave with aisles, and west tower. The western angles of an aisleless nave are to be seen in the west wall, and represent the earliest state of which any evidences remain. Whether they are older than the jambs of the chancel arch or the masonry of the south doorway, c. 1180–1200, it is impossible to say; but the church to which they belonged had a nave 23 ft. wide with walls 3 ft. thick, and probably of the same length as at present, 52 ft. within the walls. Nothing remains of its chancel, but it was probably of much the same width (15 ft. 4 in.) as that now existing, which seems to have been built in the second half of the thirteenth century, c. 1270, and has a very marked inclination to the south, about 2 ft. 4 in. in a length of 35 ft.
There is no evidence of an enlargement of the aisleless nave before c. 1330, when a north chapel of two bays was added to it, and in the fifteenth century the west tower was built, the north chapel lengthened westward to make a north aisle, and the south aisle added. The tower was in existence by 1458, being mentioned in the report (fn. 85) of the visitation by the dean of St. Paul's and Master Richard Ewen on 20 September of that year. The south aisle is apparently the latest part of the fifteenth-century work, and belongs to the closing years of the century. (fn. 86) At its building the twelfth-century doorway was reset in its present position, and the window next to it on the west probably also came from the old south wall of the nave. The south arcade is not set on the line of the old south wall, but within it, and is consequently out of centre with both the chancel and tower arches. Its eastern arch, which springs from the wall without a respond, is thus in line with the south wall of the chancel, and the abutment so obtained may have dictated its position. The church was much repaired in 1876, and most of the external masonry is new. The chancel has in the east wall three lancet windows under one arch, with a moulded rear-arch with a label and mask stops, and at the springing moulded capitals without shafts. The stonework is much patched, but the window is coeval with the chancel. In the north wall is a single cinquefoiled light of the fifteenth century, perhaps taking the place of a thirteenth-century lancet, and towards the west end of the chancel a fifteenth-century window of two cinquefoiled lights, now looking into the modern vestry. Between the windows is the vestry door, also modern. In the south wall are two fifteenth-century windows, one near the west angle of two trefoiled lights, and the other of two cinquefoiled lights over the sedilia and piscina. These latter are of the date of the chancel, the piscina being double, with pointed arches intersecting in the head, and having a central corbel in place of a shaft; while the sedilia, three in number, the westernmost of which was discovered in 1876, have shafts with moulded circular capitals and bases, the western seat being at a lower level than the other two. The arches are pointed, and both they and those over the piscina have soffit cusps, and above them is a moulded string. Between the two south windows is a pointed doorway with a thirteenth-century label.
The chancel arch is of two orders, with hollow chamfers, and belongs to the fourteenth century; but its jambs are good work of the latter part of the twelfth century, with a keeled respond to the inner order, and engaged jamb-shafts to the outer, all having foliate capitals and square abaci. The north jamb is partly overlapped on the east by the wall of the chancel, perhaps as a result of a widening of the opening in the fourteenth century, when the existing arch was set on the older jambs. Its span is now about 12 ft. 6 in. in the clear. The nave arcades are of four bays, with octagonal shafts, moulded capitals and bases, and pointed arches of two chamfered orders. In the north arcade the first two bays date from the first half of the fourteenth century, and have high pointed arches and small four-leaved flowers on the capitals, while the remaining two are more than a century later, the arches being lower and the details plainer. The respond formerly at the west of the two fourteenth-century bays has been re-used as the west respond of the arcade. In the south arcade the shafts are taller than those in the north, but the details of the moulded capitals are inferior. The east arch of the arcade springs directly from the wall without a respond, perhaps to give more room for a southern nave altar.
The east window of the north aisle is a traceried circle, contemporary with the two east bays of the arcade, but now blocked by a modern vestry. In the north wall of the aisle is a large three-light window with fifteenth-century tracery, and to the west two smaller windows of three cinquefoiled lights of the date of the later bays of the arcade. The south aisle has no east window, but three three-light south windows contemporary with the south arcade, the eastern of the three distinguished by having tracery openings above each light, while the other two have tracery over the middle light only. To the west of the windows is the south doorway, of two orders, with zigzag on the outer order and a keeled roll between two hollows on the inner, and jamb shafts with foliate capitals. It is of the same date as the jambs of the chancel arch, and has been reset here at the building of the aisle, in company with the two-light window immediately to the west, which has a fourteenth-century rear arch and modern tracery, and probably also came from the south wall of the aisleless nave. The tower has a plain east arch of two chamfered orders, and a west doorway with a four-centred arch under a square head, while over it is a window of three cinquefoiled lights. In the south-east angle is a vice. Externally the tower is covered with roughcast, and is finished with plain battlements.
The chancel roof is modern, but the nave and aisles have simple but good roofs of late fifteenth-century style, with some modern timbers. On the east wall of the nave, at the level of the corbels of the roof, is a moulded beam, from which a coved canopy over the rood sprang to the east tie-beam, which is a few feet west of the east wall. The ridge and purlins running from the tie-beam to the east wall are plain, and not moulded as elsewhere, as they would have been hidden by the canopy. At the west end of the nave, on both sides of the central passage, are three rows of benches with linen-pattern ends and buttresses, c. 1500, and the pulpit in the north-east angle of the nave is hexagonal with moulded panels, c. 1600. In the chancel is a Jacobean chair, within the altar-rails. The rood-loft door remains to the south of the chancel arch, and in the east end of the south aisle is a piscina discovered in 1876, under a round arch of doubtful date.
The font stands at the west end of the south aisle, and is of the fifteenth century, with an octagonal bowl, each face having a cusped panel with roses, fir cones, acorns or oak leaves at the points of the cusps.
In the pavement at the east of the nave is a slab with the brass figures of John Hawtt, otherwise called Cryscyan, 1505, his wife Elizabeth, four sons, and four daughters; and at the east end of the north aisle is the brass of Edward Dormer, 'yoman,' 1518, his two wives, and their children. There are no mural monuments of importance, but a helm with a crest of a cock is set against the south wall of the chancel.
There are six bells, the treble by Taylor, 1881; the second, third, and fifth by Chapman & Mears, 1782; the fourth by Thomas Mears, 1800; and the tenor by the same founder, 1819. The plate consists of a chalice, a paten, a flagon, and two standing patens, all of silver, and presented in 1740.
The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, MARKYATE, a brick building, was erected in 1734 by John Coppin on the waste land near Markyate Cell. It was enlarged by Joseph Howell in 1811, (fn. 87) and in 1842 Mr. Adey added the north aisle. The building was thoroughly restored in 1874 by the Rev. Francis William Adye. Within the church is a part of an old stone coffin lid, on which is carved in relief a very fine foliate cross of thirteenth-century work, but there is no inscription.
The church of Caddington was granted to the dean and chapter of St. Paul's by Walter, bishop of Lincoln, in 1183–4, (fn. 88) and this grant was confirmed in 1254 by Henry, bishop of Lincoln, (fn. 89) and again in 1406 by Philip, bishop of Lincoln. (fn. 90) The advowson seems to have belonged to the chapter of St. Paul's before this first grant, for in the time of Gilbert, bishop of London, and Hugh the dean (1163–81) there is an acknowledgement by Paris, archdeacon of Rochester, and Alexander de Sacchevilla that the advowson of the church of Caddington belonged to the chapter. (fn. 91) The living is a vicarage, and the advowson, annexed to the manor, has always been held by the dean and chapter.
The chapel built by John Coppin, which has now become the church of St. John the Baptist, Markyate, was endowed by him with an annuity of £10 vested in the curate and his successors, and other annuities vested in trustees, charged upon his estate of Markyate Cell. John also obtained grants of two sums of £200 from the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty for the augmentation of the curacy. (fn. 92) The school founded by Thomas Coppin is annexed to the curacy, and the right of nomination belongs to the owner of Markyate Cell. (fn. 93)
In 1683 many persons were convicted for being present at an unlawful conventicle in the house of Benjamin Andrew at Caddington. (fn. 94) At Markyate Street there appears to have been a strong Puritan and Nonconformist element at a very early date. Houses for Quakers were registered there in 1690 and 1699, and a dwelling house in Caddington in the occupation of John Squire was certified in 1781 as a place of worship for Protestant Dissenters, and a newly-erected chapel for them was licensed in 1809. There are now two Wesleyan chapels and a Baptist Union chapel at Caddington, and Wesleyan, Baptist, and Primitive Methodist chapels at Markyate. In 1860 the Baptists, who were very strong in the parish, demanded the election of one of the members of their sect as a trustee of the school founded by Thomas Coppin at Markyate Street, but it was in law decided against them. (fn. 95)
In 1684 Martha Coppin by her will charged her house and land in Markyate Street with an annuity of £6 for the use of six poor aged widows, housekeepers that frequent divine service, to buy them clothes, share and share alike. The payment is made by Mr. Obed Thorne, and is applied by the vicar in accordance with the trusts. (fn. 96)
This parish was in possession of land and cottages, the origin of which is unknown, called the church land and cottages, now consisting of two acres of meadow land adjoining the churchyard, let at £5 a year, which, after payment of 30s. in alms to the poor, under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners (1885), is applied by the vicar and churchwardens in repairs to the church, together with the rent of four acres known as the Pest House Fields.
In 1832 David Foullerton by his will bequeathed £300 in trust after defraying the expense of laying down slabs, etc., over the family grave, to invest the balance and to apply the income in the distribution of wearing apparel amongst six poor persons at the least, residing in that portion of the parish situated in the county of Hertford. The legacy is represented by £276 3s. 7d. consols with the official trustees, the dividends of which, amounting to £6 18s., are applied in aid of the clothing club.
St. John, Markyate Street. Coppin's Scholarship Foundations. (fn. 97)