Great Hormead

Pages 102-103

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. 6 in. (a)ix. S.W. (b)ix. S.E. (c)xiv. N.W.)


c(1). The Parish Church of St. Nicholas, stands on high ground about ¼ mile S.W. of the village. It is built of flint rubble with stone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead and tiles. The oldest part of the church is the Nave, to which a North Aisle of three bays was added late in the 13th century. The nave was lengthened by a bay in the first half of the 14th century, and a South Aisle added, possibly of four bays, the N. aisle being also lengthened, but the work may not have been finished, as later in the century the Tower was built in the W. bay of the nave, and the whole building shortened to about its original length. In the 15th century the top stage of the tower was re-built or completed, and a clearstorey was constructed. In the 19th century the Chancel was completely re-built, an Organ Chamber and South Porch were added, and the whole church was restored, the window tracery being renewed and the interior practically re-faced.

Architectural Description—The Chancel, including the chancel arch, is modern. The Nave (39½ ft. by 17 ft.) has a late 13th-century N. arcade of three bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, and octagonal columns having moulded capitals and bases. The respond is replaced by a modern column and the short length of wall E. of it is pierced by a modern arch. At the W. end of the arcade are two responds, back to back; one is the respond of the late 13th-century arcade; the other is the respond of the arch added when the S. arcade and aisles were built, and is close against the tower wall. The S. arcade has the same arrangement of a modern column and arch at the E. end, but in place of a respond at the W. end is a column and the springing of the arch of the original fourth bay. The detail of this arcade is similar to that of the N. arcade, but is later in style, and corresponds to the respond of the additional bay on the N. The clearstorey has three, windows of two lights on each side, all modern externally, and six grotesque corbels support the roof. The North Aisle (9 ft. wide) has one window at the E. end, four windows and a doorway in the N. wall, all externally modern, but with original openings. The South Aisle (9 ft. wide) has, at the E. end, a modern arch opening into the organ chamber. In the S. wall at the E. end are three windows, externally modern; the S. doorway is of the 15th century, much restored. Some grotesque stone corbels support the roof. The West Tower (14 ft. by 10 ft.) is of three stages, with diagonal buttresses, embattled parapet and pyramidal tiled roof; the tower arch, of late 14th-century date, is of three chamfered orders with three shafts in the jambs; the W. window, a window in the second stage and the windows of the bell-chamber are all modern externally. In the S.W. angle is a circular staircase. The Roofs of the nave and S. aisle are low-pitched, with moulded principals and purlins, traceried brackets, etc. The ceiling of the ground stage of the tower is carried on heavy moulded beams and embattled wall-plates, and has a circular bell-way in the centre.

Fittings—Bells: six; 1st 1701, 3rd 1606, 4th 1626, 5th and 6th 1623. Brass: in the N. aisle, inscription recording a gift to the parish, by William Delamere, 1696. Font: plain octagonal basin on eight plain circular shafts, late 12th-century.

Condition—Good; much altered.


c(2). Hormead Hall, house and moat, nearly ¾ mile N.E. of the church. The building, now a farmhouse, of timber and plaster, is of late 16th or early 17th-century date, but has been much altered; the roof is tiled. The plan is L-shaped, but was originally of a modified central chimney type. The kitchen wing has been considerably altered, and is perhaps a late 17th-century addition; the entrance on the W. is modern. The brick chimney stacks have separate octagonal shafts with moulded caps. A room in the main wing contains an original fireplace with a four-centred moulded stone arch; in the spandrels are two shields with arms, a fesse dancetty, a label of three points, and a cheveron between three water bougets. There are a few pieces of the original panelling in various parts of the house.

Only a fragment of the moat remains.

Condition—Of house, good, much altered.

c(3). Hormead Bury, next to the church, was built probably in the 17th century, but, except an old door studded with nails, there is little left of that date.

Condition—Good; much re-built.

b(4). The Brick House, stands about 1¼ miles N.E. of the church in an isolated position. It is a three-storeyed farmhouse of brick, built probably in the 16th century; the roofs are tiled. The plan is unusual; the principal block (about 25 ft. by 20 ft., outside) is occupied by a hall, now divided into two rooms, with a small projecting bay, on the W. side, which probably contained the original stairs. At the N.E. and S.W. corners small wings (about 9 ft. square) project to the E. and S. respectively, but have also a 2 ft. projection to the N. and W. All the window openings are square, with mullions and moulded labels in brick. Both the main block and the wings have irregularly stepped gables, which originally had copings. A curious feature is the great number of small rectangular loops or peepholes (each about 9 in. by 3 in.) in the two wings and the projecting bay, which command a view of every side of the main building and of all points of the compass; these loops, of which there are nine or ten, are divided almost equally between the second and third storeys; one or two are glazed, but all are now filled in; there are no traces of any in the main block. Few of the original internal fittings remain; in the hall an oak door and part of a staircase screen are made up of 17th-century panelling.

Condition—Fairly good.

a(5). Parsonage Farm, about a mile N. of the church; only ruins remain, consisting of a large chimney stack, almost intact, and parts of timber-framed outbuildings. The stack is built of the thin bricks characteristic of the beginning of the 17th century; it has a large fireplace, with a wood lintel, for the ground floor, and smaller fireplaces for the upper floors; the six detached shafts are square, set diagonally. The remaining walls of the outbuildings are of timber and plaster, and stand on brick plinths; the roofs are tiled.


c(6). Cottage, next to the vicarage, is a timber-framed building of two storeys and an attic, of late 16th-century date. In the W. wall and the W. end of the N. wall the timbers of the upper storey are exposed, but the rest of the building is plastered; the upper storey projects on the S. side; the roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular, facing S., but the mark of a gabled roof and a blocked doorway in the N. wall on the first floor show that formerly a middle wing projected to the N. The central chimney stack has four detached octagonal shafts with moulded and spurred caps; the two S. shafts are original; a stack at the E. end has two similar shafts, re-built with the old materials, but with modern caps. The panelled entrance doorway in the S. front is original; the windows are modern. Inside the house are some old beams, late 16th-century oak doors with their old hinges, and a little original panelling; the fireplaces have four-centred openings, partly hidden by modern mantelpieces.


c(7). Cottage, in the village, probably of late 16th-century date, is of two storeys and an attic, and has timber-framed walls and a projecting upper storey; the roof is thatched.

Condition—Fairly good.

Village of Hare Street

c(8). Hare Street House, at the N. end of the village, was built probably early in the 17th century, and is of two storeys and an attic, with timber-framed walls; the roof is tiled. The W. front was re-faced with brick in the 18th century, and the windows are of that date, or later; there are three dormer windows facing W. The two fine chimney stacks have octagonal shafts, with moulded bases and plain oversailing caps. In one room on the first floor is a little panelling of early 17th-century date, with a fluted frieze, now painted; and in an attic are a few bolection-moulded panels of c. 1680. A former brewhouse, at the back of the house, has now been converted into a chapel; in the roof are some old timbers.


c(9). House, formerly 'The Swan' inn, now two cottages, at the S. end of the village, on the W. side of the road, is a 17th-century building of two storeys, with overhanging and gabled projections on the main front, at each end of the first floor. An original chimney stack remains, with a large open fireplace.


c(10). Cottages; several, of 17th-century origin, have plastered, timber-framed walls; the roofs are tiled or thatched; the windows, etc., are apparently all modern.

Condition—Fairly good.