A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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Ridge parish contains 3,615 acres and consists of two long and narrow parallel strips of land running north-west and south-east, and lying on either side of the parish of Shenley. The larger of these strips, which is about three times the size of the smaller, lies to the east of Shenley, and is partly bordered on its eastern side by the county of Middlesex. The high road from London to St. Albans runs across the larger strip, but there is no other important road in the parish nor any railway. The village of Ridge, which is in the larger strip, is about a mile south of the high road and some three miles from the nearest station, which is at Potters Bar, on the main line of the Great Northern Railway.
The village consists merely of a few houses on a ridge of land some 400 ft. above ordnance datum. The rest of the parish is thinly scattered with isolated houses and farms. The land is slightly undulating, except in the north, which is a plain of an average height of about 230 ft. This part of the parish is chiefly arable land of which in 1905 there were 1,203 acres.
The rest is almost entirely grass land, which is used for hay, and there are also 229 acres of wood-land. (fn. 1) The soil is mostly of clay. On the northern border is a common called Colney Heath, and a hamlet of that name in the parish of St. Peter's, which is creeping over the border.
There is a small hamlet called Rabley Heath about half a mile north of the village, which comprises Rabley Park, the residence of Mrs. Hobart, and Rabley Farm. Between Rabley Farm and Ridge is a stone pillar a few feet high, by tradition marking the spot where Warwick died after the battle of Barnet.
The manor of RIDGE or TYTTENHANGER (Tidehangra, Thederhanger, xiii cent.; Titenhangar, xiv cent.) is not mentioned in Domesday, but it is probable that that part of Shenley which is set down in the Survey as lying in Cashio Hundred and belonging to the abbot of St. Albans (fn. 2) became afterwards the manor of Ridge, or Tyttenhanger as it is always called. The holding in Titburst held at the time of the Domesday Survey by Geoffrey de Bech of the abbot of St. Albans may refer to the strip of Ridge between Aldenham and Shenley. (fn. 3) Shenley was granted to St. Albans by Thurfleda, a pious matron, (fn. 4) but in charters of Henry II, John, and Edward IV confirming and enumerating previous grants to the abbey, no mention is made of Shenley, though a grant of 'Tidehangra' is confirmed. (fn. 5)
A manor-house had been built at Tyttenhanger by Abbot Richard (1326–35), (fn. 6) but his successor, Abbot Michael, finding that owing to its proximity to the high road from London this house was invaded by an inconvenient number of guests, removed to the manor of Bradway, where he repaired the manor-house and built a chapel. (fn. 7) He demolished the mansion at Tyttenhanger and sold the materials, (fn. 8) but it is probable that Bradway was found inconveniently far from St. Albans, for Abbot John de la Moot (1396–1401) built two barns at Tyttenhanger and began to rebuild the mansion house, but his death in 1401 prevented his seeing the completion of the work. (fn. 9) Other reasons for a return to this manor were the wonderful fertility of the soil, the beauty of the woods, and the plentiful supply of water for fishponds. (fn. 10)
The building was continued by John's successor, Abbot William, and finished in 1411. (fn. 11) The mansion became a favourite resort of succeeding abbots, and there they entertained many distinguished guests.
In 1427–8 a dispute arose between the abbot and Thomas Knolles, lord of North Mimms, as to rights of chase in Tyttenhanger Heath or Colney Heath. An agreement was made by which the abbot and Thomas in alternate years were to have the 'drive' (fugatio) called 'le Indrove,' and the imparking at their free will of all animals found in the heath, and fines for all those animals for which the possessors had no right of common. It was also agreed that the abbot might inclose a corner of the heath near the mansion of Tyttenhanger called 'le Conyngere,' or coney-warren, containing 30 acres, and that Thomas might inclose 10 acres called 'le Hoke.' The abbot took the first year of these rights, and made a footpath over the heath, removed the shrubs on the western side, and turned the ground into pasture land. He obtained a surrender from the tenants of meadows and pastures near the manor-house of Tyttenhanger, and inclosed this land apparently as a park, and stocked it with deer. (fn. 12) Some such arrangement was continued after the Dissolution, for in 1657 the lord of Tyttenhanger had the right of driving all cattle on the common once a year for two years together, and the lord of North Mimms had this right in the third year. All cattle taken in the said drifts were brought to the pound of Tyttenhanger. (fn. 13) In 1440 Abbot John of Wheathampstead resigned the abbacy, and was succeeded by John Stoke. Shortly afterwards difficulties arose between them as to the possession of the manor of Tyttenhanger. Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, to whom the dispute was referred, decided that the abbot should hold the manor, but John was to have all brewing vessels set up by him in the manor, and was also to have the use of all granges there, but he had no right to reside at Tyttenhanger. (fn. 14)
The manor of Tyttenhanger was held from an early date by the almoner of St. Albans Abbey, (fn. 15) and remained in the possession of the abbey till the Dissolution. In 1532 the warren of the manor of Tyttenhanger was leased for forty-one years to John Bowman of Colney. The warren adjoined Crowche-field and Smartsclose, the Key ground, Selwood, and Catland on the west, the farm of Ridge Hill on the south, the farm of Corsers on the east, and North Mimms on the north. John was allowed to have firebote in the warren, and sufficient timber for hutches and traps for destroying all manner of vermin, and to cover, ditch, plassh, and lay the burrows. He was allowed pasture for one gelding and four kine, and every year received a coat worth 14s. of the gift and livery of the abbot, and meat and drink for himself or his deputy when the abbot came to Tyttenhanger. John undertook to leave the warren at the end of the term stored with 1,000 coneys. (fn. 16) In 1525 the keepership of Tyttenhanger with 4d. a day was granted by Wolsey as abbot of St. Albans to John Saintclere. (fn. 17) Henry VIII and his queen stayed for a fortnight at Tyttenhanger during the sweating sickness which prevailed in London in 1528. (fn. 18) The king seems to have found Tyttenhanger a pleasant residence, and was relieved of much of his anxiety as to infection. (fn. 19) On 30 June he wrote suggesting that it would be well for Wolsey, then at Hampton Court, to remove to St. Albans, where they might hear one from the other every hour, and where the king's physicians could attend upon Wolsey if anything happened. The king expressed himself as pleased with Wolsey's 'mynone house' of Tyttenhanger. (fn. 20)
In 1531 the prior of St. Albans signed an obligation to the effect that if he should be elected abbot, within twenty days after his election he would assure to the king the manors of Moor and Tyttenhanger. (fn. 21) As regards Tyttenhanger this grant seems never to have been made, for the manor is enumerated amongst the possessions of the abbey at the time of its suppression. (fn. 22)
The office of keeper of the manor-house and park was granted by Henry VIII in 1543 to Nicholas Briscowe. (fn. 23)
In 1547 the manor of Tyttenhanger, and the park of Tyttenhanger in the parishes of St. Peter and Ridge and the farm of a ruinous tile-house (fn. 24) there, were granted to Sir Thomas Pope and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 25) Sir Thomas, though not a regular commissioner for the suppression of the monasteries, received the surrender of St. Albans from Richard Stevenache on 5 December, 1539, and had exceptional facilities for obtaining grants of the abbey lands, of which he seems to have fully availed himself, for he shortly became one of the richest commoners of his time. Like others of his contemporaries he was prompted to devote some part of his vast wealth to a semi-religious purpose, and in 1554–5 he purchased the site and buildings of Durham College, Oxford. He was empowered by a royal charter to establish a college 'of the Holy and Undivided Trinity,' to consist of a president, twelve fellows, and eight scholars, and in 1555 obtained licence to grant this manor and that of Black Hide or Corsers in this parish to this college. (fn. 26) These manors were reconveyed to the donor on condition that he and his heirs should present yearly to the college a fat buck and a hogshead of claret, and this rent is still continued. (fn. 27)
Sir Thomas died in 1559 without heirs, having settled the manor on his wife Elizabeth, with remainder to his niece Frances wife of William Blount, and remainders in tail male to his brother John and others. (fn. 28) Elizabeth relict of Sir Thomas afterwards married Hugh Paulet and died in 1593, (fn. 29) having outlived John, who died seised of the reversion in 1583, leaving as heir his son William, afterwards earl of Downe. (fn. 30) William Blount, husband of Frances the niece of Sir Thomas, was brother of Lady Elizabeth Paulet, (fn. 31) and on her death his son Sir Thomas Pope Blount succeeded to the manor under the above settlement. (fn. 32) Sir Thomas died seised of the manor in 1639 and was succeeded by his son Thomas Pope Blount, (fn. 33) on whose death without issue in 1654 the estate passed to his brother Henry. (fn. 34) Henry Blount was educated at the free school of St. Albans, and entered at Trinity College, Oxford, the foundation of his kinsman Sir Thomas Pope, before he was fourteen years of age. He was a great traveller, and published the results of his observations in Voyage to the Levant. He was knighted at Whitehall by Charles I in 1639–40. (fn. 35) During his term of possession the original manor-house was pulled down and the present mansion was erected in its place. (fn. 36) The manor was settled on his wife Hester, who dying in 1678 in the lifetime of her husband was succeeded by their eldest son Sir Thomas Pope Blount. (fn. 37) On his death in 1697 the manor came to his son of the same name, (fn. 38) who was in turn succeeded in 1731 by his son Sir Harry Pope Blount. (fn. 39) Under this tenant, who died in debt, the estate seems to have been allowed to fall to ruin. The park pales were kept in bad repair and the coneys escaped from the warren, its value in consequence deteriorating. (fn. 40) Sir Harry died in 1757 without issue, leaving his sister Katherine wife of Rev. William Freeman his heir. (fn. 41) She left an only daughter Catherine who married Charles Yorke, second son of Philip Yorke, first earl of Hardwicke. (fn. 42) Their son Philip, third earl of Hardwicke, on his death in 1834 left four daughters, to the second of whom, Catherine wife of Dupré, second earl of Caledon, came the manor of Tyttenhanger. (fn. 43) Their only son James Dupré married Lady Jane Frederica Harriet Mary daughter of James Walter, first earl of Verulam, by whom he had three sons and one daughter. The dowager countess Catherine died in 1863, having bequeathed Tyttenhanger to her daughter-in-law Jane, with an entail upon her four children. (fn. 44) The estate descended to her eldest son James, fourth earl of Caledon, who died in 1898. His widow is now lady of the manor and she holds it in trust for her children.
No description of the old house of the abbots appears to be in existence, and, curiously enough, none of the remains of what must have been a fairly extensive building have been brought to light. It is probable that it was built of flint and Totternhoe stone.
The present house is said to have been built in 1654, but the style of the brickwork, and the wooden hood over the doorway, bear a close resemblance to work done in the beginning of the eighteenth century.
The house is rectangular in plan, with slightly projecting portions on each flank, and consists of three stories and attics. It is built entirely of red brick, with the exception of a stone base course up to the level of the ground floor line. The house is covered with a tiled roof, with a projecting coved cornice under the caves, formed in plaster. The principal or garden front, which faces the south, has square-headed windows with moulded brick architraves on the ground story, the first floor windows being finished with brick pediments, some of which are arcs of circles and others triangular. Over the garden entrance, in the centre of the front, is a fine wooden projecting hood with pediment, resting on brackets; it is all richly carved and moulded. The chimneys are plain and massive, with sunk panels in their sides. On the ridge of the roof, over the centre of the building, is a large square wooden clock turret, surmounted by an open octagonal bell turret. The effect of the whole building is simple and somewhat heavy. The north front, in which is the main entrance, is very plain.
Within the house, the main staircase is the principal object of interest. It is of oak and is very elaborately carved, and goes up from the ground floor to the attics. The newels are large and square, with sunk panels carved with fruit and foliage, and each is surmounted by a vase filled with carvings of fruit. The handrail is moulded and is very wide and massive, supported on very richly carved and pierced foliage and flowers in the place of the usual balusters. Some of the doorways opening on to the landings on the various floors have heavy-looking overdoors and architraves, richly carved. Nearly all the principal rooms on the three lower stories are panelled, some with the linen panel, others plain. It is said that some of the panelling belonged to the old house, which appears quite probable, as some of the work looks older than the rest. None of the chimney-pieces are elaborate, some being of wood and others of marble. The room at the south-west angle, on the first floor, is hung with tapestry representing country scenes with houses and figures.
On the third floor at the north-east angle of the house is the chapel. There is a certificate dated 15 October, 1684, by Thomas Lant, rector of Hornsey (co. Middlesex), that the chapel in Sir Thomas Pope Blount's house called Tyttenhanger was consecrated by Ralph bishop of Exeter in the time of the late rebellion. (fn. 45) The chapel is still in its original state. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with 'linen' panels. In the north-east angle is an oak-panelled pulpit, with an old iron bracket for an hour-glass. The bracket is gilded, and in its design it resembles the one in St. Michael's Church, St. Albans. These are the only two still in their original positions in the county, though a disused bracket lies in the vestry at Sacombe. Beside the pulpit is a reading desk with panelled front, and at the west end of the chapel are two rows of pews, with panels having arched heads. On the north side, under a picture of the Last Supper, is a small communion table, and against the opposite wall is a vestment cupboard, on the doors of which are written the Lord's Prayer and the Commandments. There was formerly some screenwork in the private chapel at Luton Hoo, said to have come from the chapel in Tyttenhanger House. (fn. 46)
In 1500 the area of Tyttenhanger Park was 244 acres, and in a survey of the manor its measurements, with the court called the Woodyard inclosed within the park pales, is given. Colney Heath, which contained 400 acres, lay between Tyttenhanger Park and Knollys ground, and abutted at one end upon 'Newlond,' and at the other upon 'Steersfylde.' The bridge of Colney was repaired by the lords of Tyttenhanger and Salisburies jointly, as the manor of Tyttenhanger extended to mid-stream as far as the bridge of London Colney. (fn. 47) The lord of Tyttenhanger had all profits of coneys in the common, (fn. 48) and had also fishing rights which seem to have been of considerable value, as is shown from proceedings in Chancery between Lady Paulet and the lord of Salisburies in 1585. Dace, carp, roach, tench, pike, and eels were taken in the fishery, and in 1682 it extended from a pond next the garden of William Brock, where the stocks and new posts were placed, to the middle way for carts near the messuage of John Brock next the meadow in the tenure of John Felttas. (fn. 49) In the court rolls the bounds of the west and south parts of the leet of Tyttenhanger in 1657 are given. They extended from a messuage called the Swan in London Colney to Mounsditch adjoining 'to the backside belonging to St. Albans,' and along in the said ditch by Mr. Robotham's wall to Cocklane; down the said lane to a house called Red Cross Croft, and along the lane between Cudmerwood and Mamefeld to a close called Little Heath, and also between Pondfield and Churchfield and to the corner of Colney Heath, over the hedge in Lane End which leads from St. Albans to North Mimms, and so along the highway to High Bank, and thence through the said Heath, . . . at a stile called the Hatfield Stile.
In 1403–4 the lord of Tyttenhanger, at the instance and supplication of his tenants, ordained that they during the term of twenty years should do works of weeding and mowing called 'bederepes' for one day, and for the rest of the works they should pay to the lord yearly, at the feast of St. Peter ad Vincula or on the Sunday next following that feast, for every work 2s. The tenants agreed that if any should be in default of payment at the said term he should pay to the lord for every work 3s. 4d. (fn. 50)
The soke of Tyttenhanger is mentioned in a deed assigned to the reign of Stephen, (fn. 51) and again several times in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. (fn. 52) The latest mention of it occurs in 1433–4. (fn. 53) It was identical with the soke of Park, in which Tyttenhanger was the principal manor.
In a survey of Tyttenhanger made in 1331–2, certain of the tenants are mentioned as paying rent for hand mills (mola); (fn. 54) others had to thresh four thraves of sheaves (a thrave containing thirty sheaves), to pay a rent called 'Quernepanes,' and attend at the great precaria called 'Alebederipe.' The customary tenants were entitled to have, at Madesepe twice a year, twenty-two white loaves, a large dish of oat flour, another large dish of salt, one sheep, and a cheese worth 6d., and every horse which did ploughing was to have its fill of oats. (fn. 55) At that time the ancient fines of the manor were worth 13s. 4d., and the perquisites of court 20s. (fn. 56)
The manor of BLACK HIDE or CORSERS or COSSERS, now existing as Coursers Farm, lies to the south of the road from Colney to North Mimms on the border of North Mimms parish. By an undated charter, assigned to the reign of Stephen, Richard de Tany granted to the nuns of Sopwell all his land which Roger Niger held in the soke of 'Tidenhanger' called 'la Blakhide,' quit of all services, customs, and exactions; (fn. 57) and Ralph Pirot gave the nuns half a hide of land at Black Hide. (fn. 58) In 1508 the farm of the manor was leased by the nuns to Agnes Brok, widow, for life, for a rent of £4 10s. and 4,000 tiles and two quarters of stone lime per annum; (fn. 59) and in 1532 the reversion after the death of Agnes was granted to Thomas duke of Norfolk for twenty-one years at the same rent. (fn. 60)
In 1542 the manor was granted to Sir Richard Lee and Margaret his wife, (fn. 61) who sold it in 1547 to Sir Thomas Pope and Elizabeth his wife. (fn. 62) From this time it has followed the same descent as the manor of Tyttenhanger to the present day. Coursers is now the residence of Mr. Beverley Blare McKean.
Attached to this manor was a tile kiln, from which no doubt the rent of bricks and stone lime mentioned in 1508 was supplied. (fn. 63) It was leased with the manor to Thomas duke of Norfolk, and was apparently situated in a croft called Cobbis. (fn. 64) After the dissolution of Sopwell Priory it appears to have been granted to the abbot of St. Albans, and became annexed to the manor of Tyttenhanger, (fn. 65) with which it was granted to Sir Thomas Pope, (fn. 66) and at the time of this grant it was said to be in decay and ruinous, and no profit came therefrom from the time of the dissolution of the monastery of St. Albans, when it was arrented at 3s. 4d. by the year. (fn. 67) The kiln was probably repaired by Sir Thomas, for Sir Thomas Pope Blount leased it in 1594 to Harry Brocke for a rent of £5, (fn. 68) and it is enumerated among the possessions of Sir Thomas at his death in 1639. (fn. 69)
A messuage called RAVENS or RAVYNS in Ridge was held as of the manor of Tyttenhanger. (fn. 70) At the end of the sixteenth and in the seventeenth century this tenement was held by the family of Nicolls. John Nicolls died seised of it in 1592, leaving William his heir a minor, and a second son John. (fn. 71) William died seised of it in 1644, and was succeeded by his son William. (fn. 72) It is possible that the site of this tenement still exists as Ravenscroft Farm north-west of the village of Ridge, which was held in 1784 by Edward Seagrave as tenant under — Harman. (fn. 73)
A capital messuage called NEWMANS in Green Street in the parish of Ridge was sold in 1628 by Henry Ewer to Henry Coningsby and Ralph Coningsby his son. (fn. 74) This estate is perhaps the same as a messuage and a virgate of land which was held by Robert Newman, and descended to his son John in 1549. (fn. 75) All trace of this estate has now disappeared.
HILLSIDE, formerly known as WATERLANDS with DOGGETTS, is an estate lying in the three parishes of Ridge, Shenley, and Aldenham. An estate called Walters, Waters, or Walkers in or near Green Street in the parishes of Shenley, Ridge, and Aldenham was sold in 1621 by Roger Glover of Hackney, to Abel, Henry, and Jonathan Ewer. (fn. 76) Mary daughter of Henry Ewer married William Ashton, whose daughter Mary by her marriage brought this manor to her husband, Sir John Buck, first baronet, of Hamby Grange in Leverton, Lincolnshire, whose second wife she became in 1652. (fn. 77) Their son, Sir William Buck, of the Grove, Watford, in September, 1712, conveyed it to his nephew James Vernon, younger son of his sister Mary. (fn. 78) It afterwards came into the possession of Samuel Joynes, who by will dated June, 1770, gave it to Edward Roberts of Shenley. (fn. 79)
Another portion of Hillside was devised by Sydenham Malthus in 1747 to his son Daniel, who sold it in September, 1790, to Edward Roberts, mentioned above. (fn. 80) Edward died in 1825, and by his will gave the whole estate to his wife Anne. She sold it in 1835 to Rev. John Morris, D.D. He died in 1848, and Anna Frederica his widow ten years later, whereupon their five surviving children joined in selling it on 8 October, 1858, to John Halliday, of the firm of Halliday, Fox & Co., of Leadenhall Street, London. (fn. 81) John Halliday sold the estate in 1865 to Mr. William Müller of Southwick Crescent, Hyde Park. (fn. 82)
KITWELLS is an estate of about 190 acres lying in the parishes of Ridge and Shenley. It probably took its name from a family of that name, for we find Robert and Peter Kyttewylde holding land at Shenley in the thirteenth century (fn. 83) It was sold in 1792 by Lord Verulam as a freehold estate of 146 acres called Kitwells alias Green Street, and came into the possession of Dorothea widow of George Gustavus Tinte, who died in 1875, when it was sold to William Müller, who afterwards sold it to Richard Farmer Chattock. (fn. 84) In 1899 it was the residence of Mr. H. T. Riches, who still lives there, and now owns the property.
The church of ST. MARGARET (fn. 85) is a small structure consisting of a chancel 26 ft. 10 in. by 14 ft. 2 in., with north organ chamber, a nave 46 ft. 2 in. by 17 ft. 10 in. with wooden south porch, and a western tower 8 ft. 7 in. square. The earliest detail now visible is a thirteenth-century piscina in the south wall of the chancel, but there is nothing else in the church of the same period and the structure appears to have been completely rebuilt in the fifteenth century. Modern pointing and plastering make it difficult to be certain of the later history of the building. The east window of the chancel is modern of three trefoiled lights, with trefoiled heads and tracery over. There is only one window in the north wall of the chancel, a single trefoiled light of fifteenth-century date, and west of this is the opening to the modern organ chamber. At the east end of the south wall is the piscina already referred to; it has an arched head and jambs moulded with a filleted roll. West of this is a single light, similar in character to that on the north, but wider and for the most part modern. Next to it is a small priest's door, with internal jambs and rear arch of old masonry, but the outer head and jambs of new stonework of fifteenth-century style. At the west end of the wall is a single light similar to the other, but almost entirely new, the head alone being old. The chancel arch is modern, of fifteenth-century detail and two-centred form and is of two moulded orders, the outer being continuous while the inner has engaged shafts with circular moulded bases and octagonal moulded capitals.
In the north wall of the nave are two square-headed windows, each with two cinquefoiled lights, and four smaller trefoiled lights over. The heads are formed of an oak lintel, the tops of the windows being under the eaves; only the eastern of the two windows is old, and of fifteenth-century date.
Of the two windows in the south wall one is like those on the north side, and the other, west of the south door, is a modern single light of the same general detail. The south door, of late fifteenth-century date, has a three-centred head moulded, as are the jambs, in two hollow-chamfered orders. It opens from a modern south porch of wood on dwarf stone walls, with a red-tiled roof. The tower arch is two-centred, of three chamfered orders, the innermost having coarsely-moulded octagonal capitals.
The tower is of three stages, much modernized, but probably belonging to the fifteenth-century rebuilding. The embattled parapet is modern, and the north-west and south-west angle buttresses have been much restored. The two-light belfry openings have square heads, and are probably of seventeenth-century date, while the west window is modern, of three lights, and similar detail to the east window of the chancel. Below it is a west doorway, of which the jambs only are old.
The roofs of both nave and chancel are old, but being devoid of detail cannot be dated with any certainty. That over the chancel is of a double collar type, with struts to the lower collar, and the nave roof is similar, with the addition of tie-beams. On the north wall of the nave are the remains of a fifteenth-century painting of St. Christopher. The pulpit and font are both of stone and modern, the latter of octagonal form and plain fifteenth-century design. Over the chancel arch are the royal arms of eighteenth-century date, and in the nave and tower are hatchments with the Hearn arms, sable two cheverons or between three herns, with several quarterings. There is also a small board in the tower recording that 'a compleat peal of 520 bells was rung here Dec. 9th 1777.' The fittings of the church are all modern, but there are some fragments of fifteenth-century glass in the old window in the north wall of the nave, with portions of borders, four complete trefoiled heads, and some portions of figures, &c.
There are three bells; the treble inscribed 'Anno domini, 1685'; the second by Lester & Pack, of London, 1765; and the tenor by William Carter, of Whitechapel, 1613. (fn. 86)
The registers begin in 1558. The first book contains baptisms and burials from 1558 to 1707 and marriages from 1561 to 1710; the second book, baptisms and burials from 1707 to 1789, and marriages from 1707 to 1761; the third book contains baptisms and burials from 1789 to 1812, and the fourth, marriages from 1761 to 1812. (fn. 87)
The church of Ridge, originally a chapel annexed to St. Peter's, (fn. 88) belonged to the monastery of St. Albans until the Dissolution. (fn. 89) The date of the constitution of Ridge as a vicarage is not known, but it was a chapel in 1291, and Henry Lake was presented to the vicarage in 1349. (fn. 90) The tithes which belonged to the office of almoner were leased by the abbot in 1538 to Thomas Greve for forty-one years. They had previously been held by Sir John Cutte. (fn. 91) In 1543 the advowson and rectory of Ridge were granted amongst others to Henry Cartwright, in exchange for other estates. (fn. 92) He was succeeded by William Cartwright, who sold the rectory and advowson in 1544 to Nicholas Bacon of London. (fn. 93) He in the same year sold it to Henry Audeley of London, (fn. 94) who died seised of it in 1545, leaving his nephew Thomas, son of his brother Thomas, his heir, a minor. (fn. 95) Seisin of the advowson and rectory was delivered to Thomas in 1561, (fn. 96) and in 1566 he obtained licence to alienate it to Robert Harris and Rowland his brother. (fn. 97) They in 1571 conveyed it to William Fleetwood and John Savell, (fn. 98) who in 1579 sold it to Richard Smith, M.D. (fn. 99) Ten years later Richard conveyed it to Lady Elizabeth Paulet, (fn. 100) who leased it in 1589 for eighty years to Sir Thomas Pope Blount, and in the following year to the master and fellows of Trinity College, Oxford, for ninety-nine years, (fn. 101) and they re-let it to Sir Thomas. (fn. 102) Lady Paulet set aside £5 from the rectory for the maintenance of an exhibitioner, and 5 marks to increase the wages of the philosophy and rhetoric readers, and the residue for fuel for the kitchen. (fn. 103) After this time the rectory and advowson seem to have been leased by the master and fellows of Trinity College to the lords of Tyttenhanger, from ten years to ten years until the expiration of 100 years, so that the advowson should always be attached to the mansion of Tyttenhanger. (fn. 104) On the death of Lady Paulet in 1593 it came to her nephew, Sir Thomas Pope Blount, (fn. 105) and from this time the advowson has been vested in the lords of the manor of Tyttenhanger. In 1634 the vicar of Ridge complained to the king that his vicarage was both before and after the Dissolution endowed with £100 per annum; that in 1543–4 the advowson had been sold, but the patentee concealed the vicarage, hired stipendiary curates, sold the vicarage land, pulled down the barn, and took all the hay and corn anciently belonging to the vicarage, although the petitioner paid tenths and found armour and did all ecclesiastical duty. The issue of this petition is not known. (fn. 106)
Conventicles were held in Ridge in 1669 at the houses of John Clarke and John Nicholls, and in 1791 the house of Anne Horne at Ridge was registered as a place of worship for Independents, who erected a chapel there in 1829. (fn. 107) There is now no chapel in the parish, but the Baptists have a chapel at London Colney, which lies partly in Ridge.