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An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.

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In this section


(O.S. xviii. S.E.)


(1). Markyate Cell, stands in a park 3¼ miles S.W. of Luton. It is a large house which has been almost completely re-built several times on account of fires, the date of the last rebuilding being 1840. The site was originally occupied by a nunnery founded early in the 12th century; after the suppression of the monasteries it was leased to Humphrey Bourchier, of the King's household, who converted the monastic buildings into a house in 1539–40; the old work remaining is probably of this period, and consists of the walls of the two-storeyed kitchen offices at the E. end of the house, and the lower part of a chimney stack. The walls are of flint with Totternhoe stone dressings; the N. wall of the scullery and the room over it is of flint and stone in alternate squares. The E. wall has been re-built and faced in the same manner, the stones used being fragments from the monastic church, with mouldings of 13th-century character. The N. window of the scullery is of two lights, with four-centred heads, divided by a moulded stone mullion; the kitchen window is similar, but of five lights, and over it is a square moulded hood with returned ends. The chimney stack projects from the E. wall of the kitchen, and in the lower part is a secret chamber, formerly reached by an opening in an upper room. The W. or inner wall of the scullery is 3 ft. 9 in. thick, and in it is a large arched opening, now built up on one side; the arch is low and pointed, and of three orders.