A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of St. Stephen covers 7,325 acres. The ground in the west is high, reaching to 447 ft. above ordnance datum, but from there it slopes gradually to the plain, which has an average height of about 240 ft., and comprises the chief part of the parish. In the south and east run the River Colne and its winding tributary the Ver, forming in some parts the parish boundaries. There are good means of communication with the north and south both by road and rail.
The St. Albans branch of the London and North Western Railway runs right through the centre of St. Stephen's, with stations at Park Street and Bricket Wood, while the main line of the Midland Railway cuts through the east, and there is a short line called Old Railway, now disused, connecting the two. The nearest station to the village is at the terminus of the London and North Western in St. Albans parish.
The county is well wooded in the south, where woods and plantations, including Bricket Wood and Blackboy Woods, much frequented by school feasts and picnics, cover some 452 acres. There are 3,726 acres of arable land, and about one-third of this area is pasture. The subsoil is chalk, and the surface a light and excellent land for corn, which is extensively grown.
The village lies to the south of St. Albans, immediately outside the borough limits, at the top of the hill known as St. Stephen's Hill, where the road to Watford crosses Watling Street. The church stands in a large churchyard, shaded by trees on the north-east, at the intersection of these roads. On the opposite side is the King Harry Inn, from which hangs the portrait of Henry VIII. There is mention of the predecessor of this house in the sixteenth century. To the west, along the continuation of Watling Street, called King Harry Lane, are several new houses. The main part of the village, however, consisting of small houses and cottages, lies eastward along Watling Street and southward on the road to Watford. About a mile to the south-east is the hamlet of Park Street, and practically adjoining it is the hamlet of Frogmore, now formed into a separate parish with a small red-brick church of the Holy Trinity, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott in thirteenthcentury style. Further south-east along Watling Street is the hamlet of Colney Street.
Offa king of Mercia made a large grant of lands and towns to the monastery of St. Albans about 795, (fn. 1) which probably included the whole of this parish. The grant names Burston, but there appears to be no record of PARK till about the middle of the thirteenth century, when the abbot of Westminster brought a complaint against the abbot of St. Albans for seizing his cattle in the manor of Aldenham and driving them to his own manor of 'Parcbiri.' (fn. 2) About the same time Abbot John appealed to law to punish trespassers in his free warren in Park, (fn. 3) and in 1247–8 the question arose as to his right there, but judgement was withheld. (fn. 4)
In 1290, at the time of a vacancy, the king's escheator seized on several manors and other property of the abbey in spite of a writ to respect its possessions, and the prior and convent had to pay heavily to buy back these stolen possessions. (fn. 5)
Abbot John de la Moote rebuilt the manor-house of Parkbury about the year 1400. (fn. 6)
This manor was held by the monastery of St. Albans until the Dissolution, and in 1547 the king granted it to Sir Anthony Denny, knt., one of his Privy Council, for himself and his heirs for ever. (fn. 7) From him it passed to his son Henry, who died seised of it in 1574, and left a will directing that all his lands in Hertfordshire should be taken by his executors for fourteen years for payment of his debts and the advancement of his younger children. (fn. 8) Henry Denny's eldest son and heir Robert dying while a minor two years later, the manor passed to the next son Edward, (fn. 9) afterwards Sir Edward Denny, knt., of Waltham Cross, who conveyed the whole manor in 1607 to Robert Briscoe. (fn. 10) He sold it the same year to Sir Baptist Hicks, bart., of Ilmington, Viscount Campden, and William Toperley of London, mercer. (fn. 11) The next year they conveyed the manor to Sir Charles Morrison, knt., and Mary his wife, to hold in tail male. In the same year a settlement of this property was made on Mary, who was a daughter of Sir Baptist, and in 1627 a further settlement of the manor was made on Elizabeth, the only daughter and heir of Sir Charles and Mary, on her marriage with Arthur Capell, grand-nephew of Sir Arthur Capell of Little Hadham, knt. (fn. 12) Arthur Capell was created Lord Capell in 1641 and his son became earl of Essex in 1661, since which time the manor of Park followed the descent of that title. (fn. 13)
In the middle of the fifteenth century Abbot John Stoke leased the site of the manor of Park called PARKBURY to certain persons by the advice of Master John of Wheathampstead for a term of fifty years, (fn. 14) and the site was held separately from the manor till the nineteenth century. In 1528 Robert Bremyng farmed it, and he sublet to Robert Turvyle. (fn. 15) In 1542 it was included in the grant of the whole manor of Park to Sir Anthony Denny, knt., (fn. 16) and his nephew Edward sold it in 1607 to William Coles and James Mayne jointly. (fn. 17) After William's death in 1619 (fn. 18) James Mayne made over his interest in the property to William's widow Susan, daughter of —— Mayne, (fn. 19) and their son William. (fn. 20) The site of the manor was sold by Edmund, another of the Coles family, to Sir Samuel Thompson. (fn. 21) From him it passed to his great-grandson Samuel Thompson. (fn. 22) Sir Samuel had leased the site in 1700 for his lifetime and that of his son William to Joshua Lomax and others. (fn. 23) In 1712, Sir Samuel and William both being dead, Samuel sold the site of Parkbury to John duke of Montagu, Scroop earl of Bridgewater, and others as trustees for John duke of Marlborough. In 1812 George duke of Marlborough granted it to trustees to pay off some annuities. In 1819 it was put up for sale, and was bought by the Thellusson trustees under the name of Parkbury Lodge Estate, (fn. 24) and is now owned by Lord Rendlesham, descendant of Peter Thellusson.
Offa king of Mercia is said to have granted the land of BURSTON (Byrston, ix cent.; Byrstane, x cent.; Burstow, xiii cent.) to St. Albans monastery about the end of the eighth century, (fn. 25) and in 1225 Robert Fitz Hamo made the additional grant of one hide, which he held in the same place. (fn. 26) Nothing further seems to be known of this place till 1306, when it was held by Roger de Brok, (fn. 27) probably of John de Cherleton of London, to whom it was shown to belong in 1333, (fn. 28) William son of Roger de Brok holding the life interest with reversion to John. This reversion John granted to his son John and his wife Matilda, with remainder to John de Triple of London. (fn. 29) It is said that William de Brok was insane, and that on one occasion, John Golape, his groom, doubtless taking advantage of his imbecility, bound him to a post in his own hall. (fn. 30) In 1346 it was alleged that John son of William de Brok did wilful damage to the trees and other property in the manor of Burston, (fn. 31) and in 1348–9 John son of John de Cherleton released to William all his claims to the manor. (fn. 32) Some fifty years later Abbot Heyworth purchased the estate, (fn. 33) but apparently re-enfeoffed the Cherletons, for in 1436 Sir Thomas, probably a son of Sir John de Cherleton and Elizabeth his wife, conveyed the manor to John Fray, chief baron of the Exchequer, and Alice his wife. (fn. 34) In 1438 it was re-bought from the Frays by the monastery by licence of the king, (fn. 35) the purchase being enumerated among the extraordinary expenses of John of Wheathampstead during his first abbacy. (fn. 36) Later, Thomas de Cherleton tried to assert a claim to the manor, and Abbot Stoke (1440–51) could not make terms with him, (fn. 37) and an inquisition of 1455 says Thomas de Cherleton died seised of Burston leaving a son and heir Thomas. (fn. 38) This son tried to follow up his father's claim, but Abbot John of Wheathampstead (1451–64) obtained judgement against Thomas, (fn. 39) who was forced to admit that he had unjustly disseised the abbot of his tenement. (fn. 40) In 1518 the site of the manor lately held by William Skipwith, and then under lease to John Kyng, was granted by indenture to Roger Roysse for a term of thirty-one years. (fn. 41) Twenty years later the site with all courts and perquisites was demised to Ralph Rowlatt for a term of forty years, (fn. 42) but the next year, with the dissolution of the greater monasteries, St. Albans and all its possessions became the property of the king, and he granted the manor of Burston in 1545 to Nicholas Bacon, possibly as trustee, and Thomas Skipwith and the heirs of Thomas for the annual rent of one-sixtieth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 43) In 1556 Skipwith leased the whole manor to Martin Veale (fn. 44) to the use of Dorothy Maynarde, widow, for life, and shortly afterwards it was conveyed to Nicholas Bacon by the above Dorothy and her second husband Francis Rogers. (fn. 45) In 1566 Sir Nicholas Bacon received licence to alienate the manor, and it passed from his family before 1642, for William Kentish died seised of it in that year, having settled it some fifteen years previously on his wife Rose, daughter of Robert Nicoll, on their marriage. (fn. 46) Kentish left a son and heir William, from whom the manor passed by will to his daughters Sarah, wife of Godman Jenkyn, and Mary, wife of Thomas Nicoll. (fn. 47)
Godman Jenkyn died in 1746, and left one daughter Sarah, who married first George Newdigate and secondly Samuel Nicoll. (fn. 48) Sarah outlived both her husbands, and died in 1767, and the manor passed to Sarah wife of Robert Hucks of Aldenham, her mother being Anne, née Nicoll, cousin and heirat-law to the above Samuel Nicoll. Mrs. Hucks died in 1771, and the manor came to her son Robert, who, dying unmarried in 1814, was succeeded by his nieces Sarah and Anne Noyes. They both died in 1841, and Burston passed to George Henry Gibbs of Aldenham, who was cousin of the above Robert Hucks. After the deaths of George Henry Gibbs and his wife Caroline in 1850 the manor came to their son Henry Hucks Gibbs of Aldenham, (fn. 49) created Lord Aldenham, and at his death in September, 1907, it passed to his son the present Lord Aldenham.
The manor of NEWLAND was acquired by the abbots of St. Albans at about the same time as that of Newland Squillers (q.v.), (fn. 50) and remained in possession of that monastery till its dissolution. (fn. 51) In 1545 it was granted to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 52) who settled it in 1555–6 to his own use for his lifetime, and afterwards to the use of Edward Savell, husband of his daughter Mary, (fn. 53) and in 1588 Sir Richard granted it to Mary's second husband Humphrey Coningsby. (fn. 54)
Later it was purchased by Robert Sadler, grandson of Sir Richard's younger daughter Anne. (fn. 55) It apparently descended to Helen, Robert's daughter, who married Thomas Saunders, and was conveyed by the latter to Harbottle Grimston, (fn. 56) and in 1768 it was owned by the Right Honourable James Grimston. (fn. 57)
The earliest reference to WALLHALL (Whalehall), now called ALDENHAM ABBEY, is of about the middle of the thirteenth century, when Guy de Walehale granted to Godwin son of Sampson 'all that land which divides the fees of the abbot of Westminster and the abbot of St. Albans and extends by the way that leads from the court of Walehale towards le Su upon the river and all that land which lies between the said hedge and the land of Christemann in the other side in which land is a well called Fildwell, and extends from the said way upon the said river.'
Godwin granted all the above lands to Saer son of Henry, (fn. 58) who had also other land in Wallhall by gift of William son of Adam de Aldenham. (fn. 59) And Saer in turn made a grant of land in Wallhall to William son of William. (fn. 60)
For about a hundred years after this nothing is known of Wallhall, the next record of it being in 1349, when the so-called manor was the property of Clementia Eccleshall. After her death it was said she had left a will desiring that the estate should be sold and the money from the sale devoted to founding a chantry and paying off debts which her husband Richard had incurred during the time he was (fn. 61) treasurer to King Edward III at Calais. (fn. 62) Apparently the manor was sold to Geoffery Somery, who re-leased it in 1349 to John son and heir of Richard Somery. (fn. 63) Eight years later this John and Margery his wife conveyed the manor to John Golde and William de Farnyngho, chaplains, (fn. 64) possibly for purposes of a trust or settlement.
In 1392 the king made a grant enabling John Mirfelde and John Harpesfelde, probably as trustees, to give this manor with its appurtenances to the prior and convent of St. Bartholomew, Smithfield. (fn. 65) The site of the manor and other appurtenances were held of the abbot of St. Albans by knight's service and rent and suit at the hundred court of the abbot at Cashio every three weeks, and suit at his court under the ash tree at St. Albans every three weeks. This manor continued in the possession of St. Bartholomew's, Smithfield, until the Dissolution. (fn. 66)
In 1544 the king granted this manor to Edward Elryngton and Humphrey Metcalf, who conveyed it in the same year to Sir John Williams, knt., (fn. 67) treasurer of the Court of Augmentations, and Christopher Edmondes, for the use of the said John. Only nine years later a certain James Jacob laid claim to this property, and stated that Sir John Williams had enfeoffed Richard Bowman, clerk, (fn. 68) of the estate, and he in turn had granted it to Jacob. (fn. 69) At his death in 1561 James Jacob left the whole estate with frankpledge and court leet to his son Polidore, (fn. 70) who alienated it to John Saintsome, yeoman. (fn. 71) Saintsome died in 1587, and left the manor to his wife Helen, who survived him three years. The property then appears to have passed to John's son and heir John, (fn. 72) who sold it in 1619 to Sir Henry Carey, knt., (fn. 73) comptroller of the king's household, Knight of the Bath, Lord-Deputy of Ireland, and in 1620 created Viscount Falkland (fn. 74) in the kingdom of Scotland. Seven years before the sale Saintsome had leased the manor to William Ewer of Aldenham for 550 years, and he in 1621 conveyed it to Falkland for the remainder of the lease. Viscount Falkland died in 1633, leaving a son and heir Lucius, (fn. 75) and from this date the property descended with the manor of Aldenham (q.v.), (fn. 76) until it was sold in 1812 by George Woodford Thellusson to Admiral Sir Charles Morice Pole, K.C.B. (fn. 77) He died in 1830, leaving two daughters, to the elder of whom, Henrietta Maria Sarah, wife of William Stuart, this property passed under the will of her father. On the death of Mr. Stuart in 1874 it passed to his son Col. William Stuart, (fn. 78) who was succeeded in 1893 by his eldest son William Dugald Stuart of Tempsford Hall, co. Bedford, (fn. 79) the present owner of the estate.
Wallhall appears to have ceased to be a manor before 1700 as Chauncy makes no mention of it. Towards the close of the eighteenth century Wallhall was but a farm-house belonging, with lands adjacent, to George Woodford Thellusson, who built the present principal front, about 1800, and called the house Aldenham Abbey. The library, the portico, and the conservatory were added by William Stuart. (fn. 80) In the grounds are some spurious ruins made up of fragments from various sources, some of which are said to have come from Aldenham church.
EYWOOD extends from the Watling Street and St. Julian's Hospital on the west to Sir Richard Lee's Lodge at Sopwell on the east. That part of the river which lay between Sopwell Mill and Stankfield Mill formed the boundary on the north-east, and to the extreme south lay the hamlet of Park Street.
The estate, which appears to have consisted chiefly of woods, was given to the monastery of St. Albans in the eleventh century by Odo, bishop of Bayeux. (fn. 81) In the fourteenth century there were paths both for foot and horse running through the wood, (fn. 82) but no record is found of any tenements there till two centuries later, when Eywood Grange was leased to William Bayley. (fn. 83) In the fifteenth century John Langley was appointed forester of Eywood. (fn. 84) The monastery held the wood till the Dissolution, (fn. 85) and in 1540 the king granted it to Sir Richard Lee. (fn. 86) He entrusted it to Richard Worsley and others to the use of his second daughter Anne and her descendants, (fn. 87) and leased it to Humphrey Coningsby for forty-eight years. (fn. 88) The property afterwards became incorporated with Sopwell.
The grant of lands made to Sir Richard Lee, knt., after the Dissolution (fn. 89) in 1545, included the site of the HOSPITAL OF ST. JULIAN, a house founded for poor lepers by Geoffrey de Gorham, sixteenth abbot of St. Albans (1119–46). (fn. 90) In 1570 Sir Richard sold or gave this estate to his son-in-law Humphrey Coningsby, husband of his daughter Mary. (fn. 91) The hospital was then on lease to Thomas Lee, who bequeathed the remainder of the lease to his wife Alice, who afterwards married Ralph Skipwith. (fn. 92) Humphrey Coningsby appears to have made several leases or mortgages of the property to John Comfort, (fn. 93) to William Sparke in 1577, (fn. 94) and to Henry Foxwell in 1579. (fn. 95) In 1581 he, with the consent of Henry Foxwell, mortgaged it for £2,000 to John Harrison, goldsmith, of London, and Thomas his son. (fn. 96) Humphrey still continued to have some interest in the estate till 1589, (fn. 97) but he was probably unable to meet the claim made by the Harrisons, for in 1604 Thomas Harrison conveyed it to Sir Edmund Anderson, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas. (fn. 98) This conveyance was made on the occasion of the marriage of Thomas Harrison's niece, Joan Essex, with William son of Edmund Anderson, and St. Julian's was settled on Thomas for life, with remainder to Joan and William and the heirs of William. (fn. 99) James Rosse, an official of the archdeaconry of St. Albans, appears to have been living at St. Julian's in 1630, (fn. 100) but whether as lessee or owner is not known.
The property passed before 1649 to Stephen Phesant and Sarah his wife, and Mary Phesant, relict of Peter Phesant, who sold it in that year to John Ellis. (fn. 101) He pulled down the house, and erected the present one upon its site. (fn. 102) By his will dated 1680 he left the site of the hospital, and the mansion house called St. Julian's, after the death of his wife Rebecca, to his son Thomas, (fn. 103) who, with his wife Mary, sold it in 1691 to Henry Killigrew of St. Germans in the parish of St. Michael. (fn. 104)
Killigrew appears to have left this estate with the advowson of the church of St. Stephen to his three daughters jointly, (fn. 105) through whom it passed to Edward Barker, son of Mary Killigrew, and Anne his wife. (fn. 106) In 1788 they mortgaged the property to Shute, bishop of Salisbury, (fn. 107) and it was sold by him in 1796 to Christian Frederick Charles Alexander, Margrave of Brandenburg, Anspach, and Bayreuth, who, in 1791, married Elizabeth daughter of Augustus fourth earl of Berkeley and widow of William sixth Baron Craven. In 1820 Elizabeth the Margravine sold the estate to William Wilshere, (fn. 108) uncle of Mr. Charles Willes Wilshere, whose daughter Miss Edith Main Wilshere is now the owner. (fn. 109)
There are two water-mills in St. Stephen's parish which can be traced back to the early part of the twelfth century, when they were called 'le Parkemyll' and le 'Moremyll.' At that time they were of value to the monastery kitchen on account of the number of eels the mill ponds supplied. (fn. 110) The abbey owned the mills, (fn. 111) and it is recorded that Richard II, the twenty-eighth abbot, repaired them and cleansed the mill dams. (fn. 112) Abbot John de la Moote built a new mill at the cost of £22. (fn. 113) These mills were leased by the monastery (fn. 114) before the Dissolution to John Wyndsore, (fn. 115) and, in 1542, were granted by the king to Edward Denny. Later, Sir Richard Lee owned the mills, (fn. 116) and leased Parkemylle to his son-in-law Humphrey Conings by, (fn. 117) who afterwards held it jointly with Mary his wife, and they conveyed it in 1600 (fn. 118) to Richard Franklin, who possessed it at his death in 1615. (fn. 119)
The church of ST. STEPHEN has a chancel 35 ft. by 17 ft. 6 in., with south chapel 34 ft. by 13 ft., nave 58 ft. by 25 ft., with south aisle 10 ft. wide, south porch, and wooden belfry over the west bay of the nave, and at the north-west of the nave a heating chamber, the west wall of which is the only remaining part of a former north aisle.
The first church of St. Stephen was built by Abbot Wulsin of St. Albans, in the middle of the tenth century. In the reign of Henry I, Gilbert bishop of Limerick (fn. 120) consecrated a church here, and it is to this time that the earliest work now existing must be attributed. This includes the west wall of an aisleless nave, part of the masonry of its north wall, and probably part of the north wall of the chancel. The walls are thick, as at St. Michael's, and built of flint with Roman brick quoins, but the original windows, if such they be, in the west wall of the nave are built with stone dressings. No original doorway remains. Later in the same century a north aisle was added to the nave, as at St. Michael's, but it has been pulled down, and only one bay of the arcade is now to be seen. It has a semicircular arch of a single square order, with a chamfered string at the springing, and is of the same character as the irregularly pierced arcades at St. Michael's. In the thirteenth century a chapel was built on the south side of the chancel, (fn. 121) and a south aisle added to the nave, and early in the fourteenth century the first two bays of the south arcade were rebuilt. The chancel was remodelled in the fifteenth century, and perhaps about the same time the north aisle of the nave was destroyed and the arcade walled up. The wooden belfry is probably of this date also, as is the west doorway of the nave. The church was repaired in 1861, most of the external stonework being renewed at the time, and the wooden belfry a good deal patched and altered. In 1840 a proposal to pull down the whole building and to make a new church at Frogmore with its materials was actually agreed to at a vestry meeting, but happily cancelled shortly afterwards.
The chancel has an east window of three lights with modern tracery, and two fifteenth-century two-light windows on the north, with a contemporary doorway between them, now blocked up. In the middle of the south wall is an arch, probably of late date, opening to the south chapel and partly filled by the organ. To the east of it is a squint from the chapel commanding the site of the high altar of the church, which, before the making of the arch, must have been the only opening in the wall.
The south chapel, which has been called that of St. Julian, and has been supposed to have belonged to the lepers' hospital of St. Julian near by, was probably the Lady Chapel. (fn. 122) It is apparently referred to in the record that within the church, but separated from it by a brick wall, was a chapel dedicated in honour of the Virgin, (fn. 123) and fears being entertained lest this division from the church might lead to irreverence, special regulations were made to preserve order among the communicants assembled there. (fn. 124)
It has two original lancet windows, c. 1220, with keeled rolls on the inner jambs, in the east wall, and in the middle of the south wall is another lancet of the same description. On either side of it are twolight windows of late fifteenth-century type, that to the east being cut away below for a doorway, and between the two lancets in the east wall is a modern circular window. The piscina at the south-east of the chapel is part of the thirteenth-century work, and is double with small pointed arches moulded with a roll. In the same wall near the west end is a recess fitted with an old wooden frame, of uncertain date, and now containing some Roman pottery and a glass burial urn dug up near by. At the west the chapel opens to the south aisle by a plain pointed arch which is difficult to date, and of small span. Both the chapel and the chancel have low pitched fifteenth - century roofs with moulded timbers, the chancel roof having blank tracery in the spandrels of the braces below the tie-beams, and a panelled ceiling with carved bosses at the intersections in the eastern bay. The place of the chancel arch is taken by a wooden framework of which the jambs are old, probably fifteenth-century work, but the arched head and tracery spandrels are modern.
The nave has three windows on the north, all of fifteenth-century style, the stonework being entirely modern. The first from the east is a single cinquefoiled light, while the others are of two similar lights, and between the second and third windows, the latter of which is at a lower level than the others, is the blocked twelfth-century arch already noted, with a doorway, now also built up, in the blocking.
Near the western angle of the wall is a modern doorway opening to the remains of the destroyed north aisle, now used as a heating chamber; only the west wall is old, and contains a small lancet light of thirteenth-century date.
On the south side of the nave is an arcade of five irregularly spaced bays, the two eastern of which are the widest, and of early fourteenth-century date, with arches of two chamfered orders, and octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases of this date on the eastern respond and first pillar. The rest of the arcade is of thirteenth-century date, the two western arches being narrower than the remaining arch, which in itself is of less span than those in the two eastern bays. The western respond and the first pillar from the west are set out on the line of the outer part of the original south wall of the nave, while the rest are approximately on the line of the inner part, so that there is a twist in the arcade in the second bay from the west. The reasons for these irregularities are not clear. The twist in the arcade may have arisen from a mistake in the setting out of the thirteenth-century arcade, if this was begun at both ends simultaneously; but in this case it must be concluded that the two fourteenth-century bays replace an earlier arcade, perhaps of twelfth-century date like the remaining arch on the north side, as otherwise there seems no adequate reason for the irregular spacing. The two narrow western bays may have been balanced by two like bays on the north side, pointing to a westward extension in the thirteenth century of twelfth-century aisles not of the full length of the nave.
The west bay of the nave is taken up by the wooden supports of the belfry, of which there are three pairs, carrying beams with arched braces beneath them, the spandrels of the eastern pair being filled with tracery. The west doorway is of fifteenth-century date, with a square hood over the arched head and shields in the spandrels, and above it is a contemporary window of two cinquefoiled lights. On either side are small round-headed lights of early twelfth-century date, probably co-eval with the wall in which they are set, and the only surviving architectural features of the church consecrated here between 1101 and 1118.
The nave has a late fifteenth-century clearstory, (fn. 125) with two square-headed windows a side, each of two cinquefoiled lights; they are set out evenly between the chancel arch and the east face of the belfry, and may be contemporary with the latter.
In the south aisle are three south windows of fifteenth-century style, each of two lights, a single-light west window, and a south doorway under a modern wooden porch between the second and third windows—the stonework of all is for the most part modern.
At the west end of the south aisle is an interesting fifteenth-century font; on its octagonal bowl are figures of angels holding scrolls, alternating with blank shields, and on the stem eight images—our Lady and Child, St. Barbara, St. Margaret, St. George, St. John Baptist, St. Philip, St. Katherine, and St. Mary Magdalen.
Between the words are two lions (referring to the arms of the bishop—Argent a lion azure) and a mitre. The lectern was by tradition brought as loot from the chapel of Holyrood in Edinburgh by Sir Richard Lee in 1544, together with the brass font formerly in St. Albans Abbey, which was afterwards stolen during the Civil Wars, and melted down. George Crichton was abbot of Holyrood 1515–24, and Bishop of Dunkeld 1524–43, (fn. 126) so that the date of the lectern must fall within the latter space of time. It was found buried in the chancel here in the year 1750, and it may be that it had been thus hidden in the seventeenth century to escape the fate of the font.
There are six bells by Thomas Mears of London, 1803. It appears from the parish books that there were four bells until 1803, when they were cast into six. (fn. 127)
The plate consists of an Elizabethan cup, a cup of 1833, a paten of 1896, a plated salver, and a flagon of 1718, given by John Fothergill in that year, and a salver of 1789. There are also two silver spoons, a silver-mounted glass cruet, a strainer, a box for bread, and a church seal.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms from 1597 to 1656, burials from 1558 to 1653, and marriages from 1552 to 1660; the second baptisms from 1717 to 1725, burials from 1679 to 1691, marriages from 1697 to 1723; the third baptisms from 1726 to 1794, burials from 1724 to 1793, marriages from 1728 to 1753; the fourth baptisms and burials from 1794 to 1812; the fifth marriages from 1754 to 1800; the sixth marriages from 1801 to 1812. (fn. 128)
The church of St. Stephen, according to the chronicles of the monastery of St. Albans, belonged to that abbey (fn. 129) until its dissolution in 1539. Abbot Warin (1188–95) obtained permission from Pope Clement III to grant the income from St. Stephen's to the use of the monastery kitchen, (fn. 130) and his successor John de Cella confirmed this arrangement. (fn. 131)
In the time of Abbot John III (1290–1301) St. Stephen's was laid under an interdict for refusing to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the archbishop of Canterbury, who wished to be entertained at the abbey, but was prevented by the endeavours of the abbot to make conditions which were not acceptable to the archbishop. The abbot and convent ignored the sentence and continued to hold services in the church as before. (fn. 132)
The King Harry Inn was given by Nicholas Geffre to support lights in the church of St. Stephen, apparently in the early part of the sixteenth century. (fn. 133)
In 1539 the church of St. Stephen came to the crown and remained in the king's hands till 1545 when Henry VIII granted the rectory and advowson to Sir Richard Lee, knt., of Sopwell. At his death the presentation passed to his eldest daughter Mary wife of Humphrey Coningsby. Twenty years later she and her second husband Ralph Pemberton having no children settled the advowson on her nephew Richard Sadler on his marriage with Joyce Honeywood.
At Richard's death in 1624 his son Robert inherited his property and sold it in 1663 to John Ellis, draper, of St. Paul's Churchyard, London. (fn. 134) It passed in the same way as St. Julian's Hospital to his son Thomas, (fn. 135) who conveyed it to Henry Killigrew in 1690–1. (fn. 136) Killigrew bequeathed the advowson to Lucy his wife with remainder to their three daughters, Lucy who married James Cooke, Mary (fn. 137) wife of Edward Barker, and Judith, (fn. 138) conjointly. In 1729 Lucy dying without heirs left her third part to her husband for life and then to Edward Barker son of her sister Mary.
Judith died in 1731 and bequeathed her share to the same nephew, so that after the death of his parents Edward Barker became possessed of the whole advowson, (fn. 139) which he left in 1761 to his son Edward, from whom it passed to his grandson Edward, who was exercising the right of presentation in 1822. (fn. 140)
During the period 1712–1822 when the Barkers were owners, the right of the gift of the living was several times a matter of dispute. (fn. 141) Caleb Lomax of Childwickbury and his family presented (fn. 142) and the king too claimed the right several times. (fn. 143) In 1829 Alfred Fisher was patron. (fn. 144) By 1836 the patronage had passed to the Rev. M. R. Southwell, who was then the vicar. (fn. 145) On his death in 1880 his executors held the right, and the same year the Rev. William Dudley Waddell Dudley succeeded both as patron and vicar, (fn. 146) and he still holds these rights.
A patent roll of the sixteenth century (fn. 147) grants to William Gryce and Anthony Forster of Cumnor in Berkshire 'all that our tenement called the Churche house, in the parish of St. Stephens, in tenure of — Alexander, widow.'
There was a brotherhood called the Brotherhood of our Lady or Fraternity of the Blessed Mary founded in 1493 in connexion with the church. (fn. 148)
In 1713–14 two places were registered for Nonconformist worship; one was in the hamlet of Colney Street, and the other was the Mill House in St. Stephen's. (fn. 149)
In St. Stephen's there were certified between 1783 and 1850 places for dissenting worship in Park Street, Dagnall Lane and other parts, for Methodists, United Baptists and Independents, and Protestant Dissenters. Since 1852 a Baptist Chapel has been certified in Dagnall Lane. (fn. 150)
In 1712 Thomas Kentish by will proved in the P.C.C. devised to the poor of each of five parishes, including the parish of St. Stephen (and four parishes in the county of Bedford), a yearly rentcharge of 10s. issuing out of his lands and tenements in these five parishes to be laid out in bread to be distributed among the poor of the respective parishes yearly on every 5 April, the day of testator's birth. The 10s. is charged on a wood called Job's Wood forming part of the Serge Hill estate (see under Solly's charity below), and the charity is administered with the two charities next mentioned.
Unknown Donor's Charity.—The parish was formerly in possession of three tenements at Smallford and a tenement at Park Street (now in Holy Trinity, Frogmore, district) known as the Parish House. The property at Smallford was sold in 1836, and the proceeds were, it is stated, applied towards the erection of the union workhouse; the Park Street property was also sold in 1836 in pursuance of a resolution of the vestry for £200, and is now represented by £234 11s. India 3 per cent. stock. The sum of £8 10s. 8d., being the income of this and the two preceding charities, is applied in augmentation of the Coal Clubs of the ecclesiastical districts of St. Stephen's, Holy Trinity, Frogmore, Colney Heath, and Leavesden.
In 1816 John Paddey by a codicil to his will, proved in the P.C.C. on 4 December, directed his executors to put £200 Old South Sea Annuities into the names of the vicar and churchwardens of St. Stephen's, the dividends to be applied in keeping in good repair the tomb of testator's family in the churchyard, and in gifts of bread to poor widows living in the parish on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Ascension Day.
The legacy (less duty) is now represented by £191 19s. 3d. consols with the official trustees, and the trust for the repair of the tomb in the churchyard being invalid, the whole of the dividends is applied in gifts of bread to widows living in the four ecclesiastical districts constituting the ancient parish of St. Stephen on the four days named by the testator.
In 1862 Ann Ward by her will proved on 13 February bequeathed to the vicar of St. Stephen's £50 consols upon trust to divide the dividends yearly on St. Stephen's Day in equal shares among three of the oldest widowers and three of the oldest widows who should be resident inhabitants of the parish. The legacy is now represented by £50 18s. 7d. India 3 per cent stock; one half of the income is distributed to qualified recipients in the mother church district and the other half in the district of Holy Trinity, Frogmore.
Francis Wigg's Almshouses otherwise the Frogmore Almshouses.—In or about 1852 Francis Wigg transferred into the names of trustees £1,500 reduced £3 per cent. stock as an endowment of three almshouses erected by him at Frogmore in the parish of St. Stephen and conveyed by him to the same trustees by deed (enrolled) dated 31 December, 1852. The three inmates to be poor men or women inhabitants of the parish at least ten years and in the habit of frequenting the parish church, a married couple to be admitted as a single inmate of the age of sixty-five and upwards, who should receive £11 a year and one ton of good coal. The vicar of St. Stephen's for the time being always to be a trustee. The endowment fund now (1906) amounts to £2,095 1s. 9d. consols, the original endowment having been augmented by a gift in 1855 of £50 by the executors of the late Isabella Young, also by the investment from time to time of surplus income, and of a gift in 1898 of £500 by Mr. Carr Wigg.
The three inmates are elected by the trustees as a body, and are taken from the ancient parish of St. Stephen; making allowance for coal, the dividends from the endowment fund would provide about 6s. a week for each of the three inmates.
The New Almshouses founded by Carr Wigg and Elizabeth Ann Oliver:—In 1890 three almshouses were erected on a site immediately to the south of Francis Wigg's Almshouses and adjoining thereto, at the cost of Mr. Carr Wigg and Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Oliver, who also transferred to trustees a sum of £2,096 19s. 2d. to 2½ per cent. bank annuities as an endowment fund. The site with the buildings thereon was conveyed to trustees by a deed (enrolled) dated 10 March, 1891, upon trusts similar to those of Francis Wigg's Almshouses, the three inmates to be inhabitants of the parish of Holy Trinity, of not less than sixty years of age, frequenting the parish church of Holy Trinity, and to receive £13 a year and one ton of coal, the vicar of Holy Trinity to be always a trustee.
The endowment fund was augmented in 1898 by the investment of a sum of £500 given by the said Mr. Carr Wigg for the purpose of providing an extra weekly allowance to the three inmates, and the fund now amounts to £2,568 1s. 1d. 2½ per cent. annuities, sufficient to provide by the dividends a sum of 6s. a week, after allowing for coals and repairs.
In 1865 Samuel Reynolds Solly, of Serge Hill in this parish, by deed dated 19 June, declared the trusts of a sum of £1,500 consols, which he had transferred into the names of his son, Mr. William Hammond Solly of Serge Hill, and the then vicars of St. Stephen's and Abbots Langley, namely, that the dividends thereof should be applied as pensions for life among eight poor men of the parishes of Abbots Langley and St. Stephen, being Protestants, of good character and of the age of fifty at the least at the time of their selection; five to be chosen from the village of Bedmond in Abbots Langley, and three who should have resided or worked for twelve months at Serge Hill and other specified places within St. Stephen's parish, the owner of the Serge Hill estate, and the vicars of the said two parishes for the time being to be the three trustees of the charity. Eight poor men qualified according to the trusts now receive pensions of 2s. a week each.
In 1868 Francis Wigg, by his will proved on 17 June, bequeathed £300 consols to the vicar and churchwardens of St. Stephen's parish upon trust to apply the dividends towards the support of the National day and Sunday school in Park Street in the same parish. The sum of £300 consols is held by the official trustees, and the dividends are applied for the benefit of the school erected in 1899 on land in or near Park Street known as St. Stephen's School, in place of the original school in Park Street, and of the school known as the Watford Road School.
In 1898 Mary Flatt, by her will proved on 8 February, bequeathed to the vicar of St. Stephen's and his successors £70 consols upon trust (subject to an invalid trust for the repair of a grave) to apply the income for the benefit of poor widows of the parish not receiving alms or parochial relief as he might select. The said sum of £70 consols was in January, 1899, transferred to the official trustees.