A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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King's Walden is a parish 4,392 acres in extent, lying on a spur of the Chilterns at a height of some 450 ft. above the ordnance datum. The surface of the land is slightly undulating, the subsoil chalk, (fn. 1) on which corn is largely grown. Arable land covers 2,755 acres, while the grass land extends over only about one-quarter of this area, and the woodland 137 acres. (fn. 2) The original settlement seems to have been of the Saxon type, having the church of St. Mary adjoining the manor-house of King's Waldenbury and the village near, the whole being off the road, as is usual in this type of settlement. At a later date the inhabitants migrated to the road, where the market would naturally be held, and eventually deserted the original settlement. Thus the village became established where we find it to-day, nearly a mile from the church and manor-house. It is uncertain when a market was first granted, possibly in the 13th century, when so many grants of market were made, but in 1795 a market was held here on Saturdays. (fn. 3) The village consists of two irregular lines of cottages.
Scattered over the parish are many farm-houses and cottages, and there are three small hamlets, Wandon End (fn. 4) and Wandon Green on the western and southern borders of the parish, and Ley Green (fn. 5) to the north of King's Waldenbury Park. The Inclosure Act is dated 1796—7, (fn. 6) and the common was inclosed by an award of 1802. (fn. 7)
From before the time of the Domesday Survey two manors were in existence in King's Walden. Each was estimated at 1 hide, and in the time of Earl Harold both were held of him, one by Leueva, the other by Asgar's widow. At the time of the Survey the former was in the king's hands, the latter was still held by Asgar's widow, of the king. (fn. 8) These two manors, both known by the name of King's Walden, existed as separate manors till the middle of the 15th century, (fn. 9) when they seem to have become united.
One manor of KING'S WALDEN, afterwards called DUXWORTH, was granted at an early date to the family of Delamare, (fn. 10) who were holding in the neighbouring parish of Offley. Early in the 13th century Robert son of Osbert Delamare (fn. 11) held King's Walden by the service of one knight's fee. (fn. 12) Robert forfeited his lands in 1224 as an ally of Falkes de Breauté, but they were afterwards restored to his wife Alice for herself and her heirs. (fn. 13) Her son John inherited his mother's estate (fn. 14) and held it till his death about 1276, leaving as heir his grandson John, a minor, (fn. 15) who was assessed for the fee in 1303. (fn. 16) It was then extended at a messuage and 60 acres of land, 2 acres of pasture, 2 acres of wood and rents of assize. In this year he alienated it to John de Dokesworth or Duxworth, (fn. 17) who settled it in 1316 on himself and his wife Parnel and their heirs. (fn. 18) John died in 1338, (fn. 19) leaving a son William, who held the manor (fn. 20) till his death in 1362, when he was succeeded by his son Elias. (fn. 21) He about 1380 alienated King's Walden to John Bixen and Walter Pulter, who enfeoffed John Wylkyn of the same. (fn. 22) John Wylkyn was convicted in July 1381 of felony and treason and forfeited his lands, which were granted in fee farm to Hugh Martyn, one of the king's servitors. (fn. 23) It would appear that Hugh lost his possessions about 1395 by his outlawry, (fn. 24) and they reverted to the Crown. The king made a fresh grant of them to Reginald Lord Cobham of Sterborough, who held a court in 1401. (fn. 25) The manor descended to his son Reginald Lord Cobham, (fn. 26) who died in 1446. His granddaughter Margaret (daughter of his eldest son Reginald), who succeeded him, (fn. 27) died without issue about 1460, and her husband Ralph Earl of Westmorland in 1485. The manor came to Anne daughter of Thomas second son of Reginald Lord Cobham, the wife of Sir Edward Burgh, and it descended to their son Thomas Lord Burgh, who died seised of King's Walden in 1551. (fn. 28) His son William Lord Burgh (fn. 29) conveyed it in 1576 to Richard Hale. (fn. 30) He died in 1621, having settled the property on his second son Richard and his heirs. The estate, however, came eventually to William, the eldest son. (fn. 31)
William Hale died in 1633, leaving a son William, whose heir at his death in 1643 (fn. 32) was his brother Rowland, (fn. 33) from whom the manor passed to his son William. (fn. 34) It descended in this family to Paggen Hale, who was holding in 1742. (fn. 35) He left no issue, so that at his death the property passed to a cousin, William Hale, (fn. 36) and from him to his son William, who was holding in 1815. (fn. 37) After the death of Charles Cholmondeley Hale in 1884 the property was purchased by Mrs. Hinds, and in 1891 it was bought from her by Mr. Thomas Fenwick Harrison, (fn. 38) who is the present lord of the manor and lives at King's Waldenbury.
The other manor of KING'S WALDEN mentioned in the Survey (fn. 39) extended into the hamlet of Wandon End. It was apparently granted at an early date to the family of Valoines, of which barony it was held as one knight's fee. (fn. 40) On the death (before November 1220) of Gunnora wife of Robert Fitz Walter, daughter and heir of Robert de Valoines, the manor descended to her daughter Christine, who married, first, William de Mandeville Earl of Essex, and, secondly, Raymund de Burgh, and died without issue in 1233. King's Walden then went to Isabel wife of David Comyn, one of the heirs of Christine. (fn. 41) In 1310 it was granted by Edmund Comyn to John de Dokesworth, (fn. 42) lord of the other manor of King's Walden (q.v.), and the overlordship remained with his successors in that manor. (fn. 43)
This fee, together with other lands held of the Delamares' manor of King's Walden, was held in the first half of the 13th century by John de Nevill. (fn. 44) He was succeeded by John de Nevill, who was holding in 1259. (fn. 45) He died in 1286, leaving a son John, (fn. 46) who with his wife Denise held the estate (fn. 47) till his death in 1313. (fn. 48) A windmill and a water mill are mentioned in the extent of the manor at this date. Walter, John's son, succeeded him. (fn. 49) He obtained a grant of free warren in 1318 (fn. 50) and died in 1329, leaving as heir his daughter Agnes, (fn. 51) who married Thomas Fytlyng. (fn. 52) They apparently had no issue. The reversion of the third of the manor held by Katherine widow of Walter de Nevill was granted by them in 1356 to Reginald de Cobham, (fn. 53) on whom evidently a settlement of the other two parts was also made, for the manor subsequently descended with Duxworth, and the two manors became amalgamated.
In 1613 a messuage called WANDE MEADE, probably situated in the hamlet of Wandon End, was held by Thomas Rudd, who died in that year. (fn. 54) His son Thomas, who succeeded him, held it till his death in 1636, when he left a son Thomas, aged four years. (fn. 55) This last Thomas was holding in 1657. (fn. 56)
Among the possessions of the Crown enumerated in Domesday Book is 'Leglega.' (fn. 57) The extent was I virgate, and it was held by three sokemen. (fn. 58) This estate may possibly be the lands called LYE, which in the 15th century were held by the family of Brograve, (fn. 59) and the name may survive in Ley Green.
In 1540 there was a RECTORY MANOR in this parish attached to the church which had formed part of the possessions of the priory of Old Malton, Yorkshire. (fn. 60) There is no previous record of this manor, which had probably been granted to this priory by Walter de Nevill with the advowson of the church. (fn. 61) After the Dissolution it was granted in 1550 by the king to Ralph Sadleir, (fn. 62) and from that date was held with the advowson of the vicarage (q.v.).
The parish church of ST. MARY, lying to the west of King's Waldenbury, is faced with flint; the dressings are of stone. The chancel and north vestry are tiled, and the rest of the church is roofed with lead. The nave and tower have embattled parapets. The church consists of a chancel, nave and aisles, south porch, north vestry and west tower.
The original church, dating from the late 11th or early 12th century, probably consisted of a nave and chancel only, now represented by the present walls of the nave, in which the nave arcades were inserted and the aisles added about 1190. The chancel as it now stands probably preserves the plan of that which was built in the 13th century, but has been very much altered. About 1380 the west tower was added, and in the 15th century the clearstory was made and the aisles were partially or wholly rebuilt. The north vestry, of brick, was built early in the 17th century, and the south porch is of the 19th century, when the walls of the whole church were refaced externally and the chancel and aisles were partly rebuilt.
All the windows in the chancel have been renewed. There are a few 15th-century stones in the east window and in the west window of the south wall. Both these windows are of three lights with tracery. There are possibly also a few original stones in the east window of the south wall, which is a lancet. In the chancel is a double piscina of the 13th century. The screen is 15th-century work, with two two-light upper panels with tracery on each side of the central opening. It has a cornice and 'Tudor-flower' cresting. The whole screen is much patched and thickly painted.
The chancel arch is of the early 14th century, and has two chamfered orders and half-octagonal responds, moulded capitals and half-octagonal jambs. The nave arcades are of three bays, of late 12th-century date, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders. The columns are circular and have capitals of scalloped, trefoil and water-leaf designs. The clearstory has three three-light windows with low two-centred heads on either side, of which the tracery is restored. At the level of the responds of the chancel arch the door to the former rood-loft opens in the east end of the north wall, and is now partly blocked. Two large carved corbels which support the eastern truss of the roof are of the 15th century.
The north aisle has three windows—one at each end and one in the north wall. The last is of three lights and has a four-centred head. The west window is a single trefoiled light. Almost the whole of the exterior stonework and the windows themselves have been renewed. The north door, to the west of the north window, is of the 14th century much restored.
On the east wall, to the north of the east window, is an image bracket, much defaced. On the north wall, at the north-east, is a piscina with a square head. A few 15th-century timbers remain in the roof.
The south aisle extends eastwards beyond the line of the chancel arch and formerly communicated with the chancel by a doorway at the north, which is now blocked. The east window and the south-east window are of three lights, of the 15th century, much restored, and the south-west window, of the same date, and also much restored, has two lights. The south door is also of the 15th century, and has a four-centred arch in a square head with tracery in the spandrels. It is of two moulded orders. At the east end of the aisle, in the north spur wall, is a locker, with a rebate for a door. There is also a late 14th-century piscina, with a cinquefoiled head, in the south wall at the east end. The roof of the aisle is of the 15th century.
The west tower is of three stages, with an embattled parapet and a projecting stair-turret at the south-east corner. It has buttresses, very badly weathered, at the angles, in pairs at the north-west and south-west, and single at the north-east, at the junction with the nave. The tower arch is of the end of the 14th century, and has two chamfered orders. It is two-centred and the jambs are shafted. In the west doorway is an old door. The west window and the four bell-chamber windows are all of two lights, of the late 14th century, with tracery and pointed heads, and all are repaired.
The monuments in the chancel are: a brass, consisting of an inscription only, is to Sybil wife of Robert Barber, 1614, and a mural monument in alabaster, dated 1613, to Timothy Sheppard. In the north aisle are two mural tablets, one to Roland Hale, 1688, and one to Richard Hale, 1689.
The registers are contained in four books, of which the first includes baptisms from 1558 to 1720 and burials and marriages from 1559 to 1721; the second contains baptisms and burials from 1722 to 1781 and marriages from 1722 to 1753; the third contains baptisms and burials from 1782 to 1812 and marriages from 1754 to 1796; the fourth contains marriages from 1796 to 1812.
In the middle of the 13th century Walter de Nevill, then holding the manor of King's Walden, granted the advowson of the church to John, Prior of Malton in Yorkshire. (fn. 63) It remained in the possession of the priory of Malton, who appropriated the church, until the Dissolution. (fn. 64) In 1550 the king granted the rectory and advowson to Ralph Sadleir, (fn. 65) who conveyed them in 1570 to his brother Edward Sadleir and Anne his wife, reserving a life interest. (fn. 66) They held till 1582, when they conveyed them to Richard Hale, (fn. 67) in whose family they descended with the manor (q.v.) till 1884, when they were purchased by Mrs. Hinds. She sold in 1891 to Mr. Thomas Fenwick Harrison, the present patron. (fn. 68)
In 1506 Thomas Pyrden of King's Walden left in his will bequests to the High Rood Light and the Low Rood Light, to Our Lady's Light, St. Thomas's Light and St. Katherine's Light in the parish church. (fn. 69)
In 1616 Richard Hale, citizen and grocer of London, by his will charged land known as Holland's Farm at Codicote with an annuity of £5, of which £1 was payable to the vicar for sermons on certain Sundays and £4 to be distributed amongst the neediest inhabitants.
William Smith—as appears from a deed of appointment of trustees dated in 1771—by his will devised to trustees 2 a. 2 r. in the parish of Studham in the county of Bedford, the rents thereof to be applied—subject to the payment of 5s. to the poor of Studham—for the benefit of the most necessitous and distressed poor of King's Walden. The land is let at £3 a year.