An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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54. GREAT MUNDEN.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xiii. S.E. (b)xxi. N.E. (c)xxi. S.E. (d)xxii. N.W.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands on high ground nearly two miles W. of Puckeridge, and has near it only a farm and a few cottages. It is built of flint rubble with stone dressings, and pudding-stone has been used in the foundations; the tower is plastered; the roofs are tiled. The Nave and Chancel are of the 12th century, and the South Aisle was added c. 1350. Towards the end of the 15th century the West Tower was built, and at the same time, or early in the 16th century, the chancel arch was widened to the S. In the 19th century the South Porch was built, the nave arcade almost completely restored, and the church generally repaired.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is an original single-light window, with a semi-circular head, much repaired. In the S. wall is a 14th-century doorway, almost entirely restored, and a 15th-century window of two lights. The N. jamb of the chancel arch is of c. 1120, and has a circular angle shaft with a crude voluted capital. The flat four-centred arch, of three roughly moulded orders, is of late 15th or early 16th-century date; it dies into the S. wall of the chancel, and is out of centre with the nave and chancel. The Nave (45 ft. by 22 ft.) has, on the N., three 15th-century windows of three lights, all much restored; between the westernmost windows is the N. doorway, now blocked; it is of the 12th century, and has a round head, shafted jambs and enriched cushion capitals. On the S. is a modern arcade of three bays, in which a few old stones are incorporated. At the W. end is a 14th-century doorway opening into the tower. The South Aisle (11 ft. wide) has an original E. window of three lights, with flowing tracery; in the S. wall are two windows, each of three lights, of which only the jambs are old, and an original door of two moulded orders; the W. window is also of c. 1350, but much restored. The West Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three stages, with an embattled parapet and a small needle spire. The W. window is probably modern. The bell-chamber windows are original, but much decayed, and at the angles of the tower are gargoyles.
Fittings—Bells: six; 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, by Robert Oldfeild, 1621. Chest: in the tower, of plain workmanship, probably 17th-century. Monuments: in the S. aisle, two tomb recesses, with moulded ogee arches, c. 1350. Niche: for image, in N. wall of nave, crocketted and finialled, with traces of decoration in blue, red and gold, 15th-century. Piscina: in the aisle, on S.E., with moulded trefoiled head, shelf and projecting drain, c. 1350. Plate: includes cup of 1696. Pulpit: small, hexagonal, arcaded and panelled in two stages, and enriched with strap ornament, early 17th-century. Reredos: at E. end of aisle, five trefoiled niches, with ogee heads, surmounted by embattled moulding, early 15th-century. Seating: in the chancel, a few stalls and bench ends, with the initials "R.K." carved on some of them, early 16th-century. Miscellanea: in the churchyard, base of old churchyard cross.
Condition—Good, except tower, the bell-chamber windows being much decayed.
a(2). At Mill Farm; only three arms remain.
a(3). At Rush Green, fragments; farm buildings occupy the site.
a(4). Encloses a small house known as the 'Old Parsonage.'
d(5). At Brockhold's Farm, with outbuildings on the site.
c(6). Rowney Priory, about 3½ miles N. of Ware, stands on the site of a house founded for Benedictine nuns in the 12th century by Conan, Earl of Brittany and Richmond; the building is practically modern, but inside it there is a wall which may have been part of the former house; it is about 3 ft. 6 in. thick, and is faced on one side with brick, and on the other with flint, filled in with a mixture of flint, stone and loose material.
In the grounds is an ancient stone coffin, 6 ft. 6 in. long, broken in two, dug up some years ago near the house; there is also a round stone mortar, bottomless, with two handles and a grooved spout, probably of the 15th century.
a(7). Cottage, W. of the church, was built early in the 17th century, of weather-boarded timber framing; the roof is thatched. The plan is rectangular, and the large central chimney stack is of brick, with four shafts set diagonally; all the windows are modern.
b(8). High Trees Farm, nearly 1½ miles S. of the church, is a plastered timber house of two storeys and an attic; the roof is tiled. It was built early in the 17th century, probably on an L-shaped plan, with the hall in the W. wing and the kitchen in the S. wing. Later, probably at the end of the century, a wing was added at the N. end of the main block, and a staircase in the angle between them, making the plan an irregular half-H shape. A large brewhouse has been added at the end of the S. wing. The W. front and S.W. corner were remodelled in the 19th century. The windows are modern, except one of three lights on the first floor on the S. side, which has original mullions and diamond-shaped quarries, with a few pieces of original glass remaining in them. On the E. front of the main block is a large chimney stack, of thin bricks, with two square engaged shafts, set diagonally, and the S. wing has a square stack, also probably original.
The hall is divided into two rooms, and the S. end is cut off by a heavy oak screen of c. 1650, now painted; it has small panels, with ovolo-moulded framing, mitred at the angles; the head has a moulded rail, frieze and cornice with dentils; a cresting of strapwork, originally open, is fixed against the modern boarding which fills the space between the screen and ceiling; the opening, W. of the middle of the screen, has been reduced to fit a modern doorway. The ceiling of the hall is divided into panels by heavy beams; the principals are chamfered, and have stopped ends. The house also contains some 17th-century panelling, the original large fireplace and ceiling beams in the kitchen, oak floor boards, and oak panelled doors, one with an ornamental hinge. In the S. wing there is an original oak staircase.