Pages 107-109

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

57. HARPENDEN, Urban and Rural.

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxvii. N.E. (b)xxvii. N.W. (c)xxvii. S.E.)


a, c(1). Fragments, consisting of some worked stones and the base of a pillar were discovered built into an old chimney at Upper Farm, Top Street.

Sarcophagus, found in 1827 near Pickford Mill.

Condition—Of stones, fragmentary. The sarcophagus is now in the British Museum.


a(2). Parish Church of St. Nicholas, at the N.W. corner of the town, is a modern stone building, on the site of the former church, of which the W. Tower, of c. 1470, alone remains; it is of three stages, built of plastered flint with bond-stones, and has stone quoins, a modern brick parapet and a S.W. stair-turret. The W. doorway has continuous mouldings to the jambs and a pointed arch, and the window above it is of three cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred arch. The windows of the bell-chamber are of two trefoiled lights under four-centred heads.

Fittings from the old Church—Bells: eight; 5th by Robert Oldfeild, 1612. Brasses and Indents: at E. end of nave, of William Anabull, 1456, and his wife, with indents of four shields; the figures are worn smooth: on E. wall of N. transept, panelled stone, with brasses of William Cressye, 1559, and his wife, 1571. Chest: in the tower, iron-bound. Font: Purbeck marble, panelled bowl of c. 1200, on modern shafts. Monuments: in the tower, to Robert Rudston, 1642: in the nave, slab to Nathan Cotton, 1661.

Condition—Fairly good; some of the stonework is decaying and the plaster is scaling off.


c(3). Rothamsted, about ½ mile S. of the church, is a large gabled house, of two storeys and an attic, built of brick; the roofs are tiled. It is of mediæval origin, and part of the original house remains, but it was faced with brick c. 1600, and between 1630–1660 was considerably altered and enlarged; the house then assumed practically its present form, although it was further repaired and enlarged during the 18th and 19th centuries. The general plan of the main building forms an L, the longer wing facing S., and the shorter wing W. At the back the kitchen and offices are built round three sides of a rectangular courtyard, the long wing of the L forming the fourth side. The hall, in the middle of the main block of the L, facing S., is the oldest part of the building, and belonged to the mediæval house, which was of timber construction on a flint foundation; there is no detail to show the exact date, but it is evidently earlier than the brick facing of c. 1600. E. of the hall is the original buttery (now a morning-room), and beyond it is the 'Oak room', on the site of the original kitchen. W. of the hall are the dining room, the original small chamber, and a cloister built late in the 17th century. In a recess N.W. of the hall is the principal staircase, and N. of the original buttery is a small enclosed staircase, both of the 17th century. In the shorter wing of the L is a small drawing room, of late 17th-century date, with a large modern room beyond it. The kitchen and offices are of late 17th-century date, but the brewhouse on the N. side of the courtyard is earlier; much of this part of the house has been faced with 18th-century brick. The S. Elevation has four curvilinear gables, and a central three-storeyed porch, on each side of which the wall is set back; the space between the gabled walls and porch is filled up on the ground floor by a bay window added to the hall. This front has cornices and string courses in moulded brick, and is of mid 17th-century design, but the original form of c. 1600 with its pointed gables (shown in a rough drawing dated 1624, preserved in the house), can still be traced in the walling. There is a contemporary stone panel over the door of the porch, with crest and shield showing the arms of Wittewronge: bendy argent and gules a chief sable with a bar dancetty or therein; the door is of oak, with original iron furniture. Over the porch, but set back from it, is an octagonal bell-turret of wood and lead. All the windows have mullioned and transomed wooden frames and leaded lights, many of them restored. The W. Elevation has three curvilinear gables of a slightly more elaborate type than those on the S. front, and two modern gables, copied from the others, at the N. end. The string course and cornice are of moulded brick, and the whole design resembles that of the S. front; the three round arches of the cloister are at the S. end. A large chimney stack, dated 1654, has five octagonal shafts with moulded caps and bases. Interior—The hall is lined with panelling of c. 1550, brought from elsewhere; on the N. side is a wide stone fireplace, much restored, with late 16th-century fire-back and dogs. At the W. end are some mural paintings of late 16th-century date, somewhat mutilated and now covered by the panelling. In the dining room the panelling is of c. 1650, divided into bays by fluted Ionic pilasters; on the E. wall is a painting of a battle scene of late 16th-century date, also hidden by the panelling; the mantelpiece is of clunch, elaborately carved, and inlaid with black marble, and the overmantel is of carved oak; the ceiling beams are ornamented with moulded plaster. The morning room, formerly the buttery, has early 17th-century panelling, a richly carved 17th-century mantelpiece, of clunch, brought from St. Monica's Priory (Rawdon House), Hoddesdon (see also below), and an inlaid oak overmantel. The main staircase was put up in 1678, and is of oak; it has plain newels with pendants and finials, and square raked moulded balusters; the doors of the landing have Doric pilasters enriched with strap-work, and in one window is an old oval shield of stained glass, showing the Mackery arms. The smaller staircase is of similar but plainer design. The gallery, on the first floor, over the dining room, is panelled and hung with tapestry; a door from the staircase retains the original iron furniture under the tapestry, and in the windows are some 17th-century coats of arms. Many of the bedrooms are panelled and have original fireplaces, and two have stone fireplaces from Rawdon House. The house also contains numerous elaborate wrought-iron window catches, door latches, bolts, plates, etc., of the 17th century.


High Street, E. side

a(4). Bowers House, about 200 yards E. of the church, is a rectangular two-storeyed building, of early 16th-century date, altered in the 17th and 19th centuries. It was originally of timber, but was faced with brick in the 17th century; the roof is tiled. The main chimney stack has two square shafts, set diagonally, and a circular shaft with a spiral pattern, re-built at the top without the pattern. Another stack has plain square shafts of 17th-century brickwork. All the windows are modern. The entrance passage, part of the original hall, has moulded oak beams in the ceiling. A room, S. of the entrance, has early 16th-century linen pattern panelling and a fireplace with moulded stone jambs and a four-centred head. Another room has unmoulded oak panelling and square beams or wall plates at the floor level, which form the base of the timber framing; a 17th-century overmantel has carved panels and moulded balusters, and there are moulded beams in the ceiling. Many of the floors have wide oak boards.


a(5). Houses, two, towards the N. end of the town, built of brick and timber, are of the 17th century; the roofs are tiled. One house has a projecting porch with a slightly overhanging upper storey; the lower storey is partly of modern brick and partly plastered. The second house has the lower storey faced with modern brick, and the upper storey plastered; the central chimney stack is of 17th-century brick. In some of the ceilings are old beams.

Condition—Good; much restored.

a(6). House, formerly 'The Bull' inn, on the W. side of the green, about 600 yards S. of the church, is a two-storeyed building of timber with brick and plaster filling; the roofs are tiled. The original plan appears to have consisted of a small rectangular block, facing S., which contained a room on each side of the central chimney stack, and a small staircase wing at the back, built late in the 15th century; a short S. wing and a barn were added, apparently in the 17th century, and during the 19th century additions were made to the S. wing, and the barn was converted into a billiard room. At the E. end of the 15th-century block the lower storey is plastered, and the projecting upper storey and gable are covered with rough-cast; at the W. end is a doorway about 4 ft. from the ground, now disused. The other doorways and the windows are modern. The large central chimney stack has four octagonal engaged shafts with moulded bases and caps. The S. wing has a plain 17th-century chimney stack. Both the 15th-century rooms on the ground floor have wide fireplaces with massive moulded oak lintels; the doorways, opening from what was probably the original entrance lobby, have solid oak jambs, four-centred heads and carved spandrels, and in the ceilings there are oak beams. In the S. wing there is an open fire-place in the hall; the billiard room retains the open timber trusses of the barn roof and has a 17th-century overmantel, brought from elsewhere. Many of the rooms have wide oak floor boards, and two trusses of the roof show in rooms on the first floor.


c(7). Gable End, on the W. side of the green, about ½ mile S.E. of the church, is a small rectangular house of two storeys, built in the 17th century, of brick and timber, with a central chimney stack of thin bricks; the roof is tiled. One window in the front retains part of the original frame and a moulded mullion; the other windows have been renewed. Inside the house are two open fireplaces; many of the constructional timbers of walls and ceilings are exposed, and the floors have wide oak boards.

Condition—Good; well preserved.

a(8). Cottages, four, near the S. entrance of the churchyard, are two-storeyed, 17th-century buildings, of vertical timber-framing with brick filling; the walls at the back are plastered. Two of the roofs are thatched and two are tiled. The chimney stacks have been restored, but retain some 17th-century brickwork. At the back is an outbuilding of timber with a thatched roof.

Condition—Somewhat dilapidated in spite of restorations.

b(9). Turner's Hall, 2¼ miles N.W. of the church, and nearly 1½ miles N.E. of Flamstead, is a two-storeyed house of red brick, with an attic in the main block; the roof is tiled. The plan is F-shaped; the main block, facing S.E., has two rooms on each floor, with a staircase between them. The N.E. end of this block is of late 16th-century date, with three octagonal chimneys built of bricks 2 in. thick; the rest of the house, which has been much altered, is of c. 1650. In the ceiling of one room is a plain beam with small panels in plaster on each side, containing designs of a Tudor rose and a hart; two rooms are panelled, one having a carved frieze and an overmantel with the Cotton arms, dated 1655; one door has moulded panels and a carved frieze panel, and a cupboard door has old iron hinges. The garden wall, N.E. of the house, is built of late 16th-century bricks, and the gate piers have panelled sides with balls of stone at the top.

Condition—Good; but some of the walls are thickly covered with ivy.

b(10). Annable's Farm, S.W. of Kinsbourne Green, is modern, but in the garden is part of a flint rubble wall, in which is a 16th-century window of five lights, with moulded stone mullions and a square head, belonging to a former manor house. Built into the wall are several small terra-cotta bricks modelled with figures, etc. Some of the adjoining garden walls are probably built on the foundations of the original house.

Condition—Of wall, fairly good; one end is covered with thick ivy.

c(11). The White Horse Inn, at Hatching Green, about a mile S. of the church, is a two-storeyed 17th-century building, of brick and timber, partly covered with rough-cast; the roof is tiled. The plan is L-shaped, the principal wing facing S.; the other wing faces W. and is divided into cottages. The rough-cast on the W. front is original, and has in the centre a Tudor rose and crown of plaster in relief. At the junction of the two wings a large brick chimney stack has attached square shafts. The interior has been completely altered.

Condition—Fairly good; much restored and altered.