BHO

Hexton

Pages 114-116

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

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Citation:

In this section

63. HEXTON.

(O.S. 6 in. (a)vi. S.W. (b)xi. N.W.)

Pre-historic

b(1). Ravensburgh Castle (Hill Fort) lies on a spur of the Barton Hills, 1 mile S.W. of Hexton, and occupies the W. half of a plateau surrounded by deep coombes on every side but the N.W. The height is from 460 to 500 feet above O.D.

Ravensburgh Castle (Parish of Hexton)

This fine example of a hill fort compares favourably with many of those to be found in counties notable for their earthworks, such as Sussex or Dorset.

Detailed Description—The work consists of a large, nearly oval enclosure, which covers 16¼ acres, and with its defences, 22 acres, the major axis lying N. and S. It is protected on the E. side by a single rampart, about 18 ft. above the external ground, the ditch and counter-scarp bank having been nearly levelled; width of the ditch, from crest to crest, 55 ft. On the S. side is a single rampart, with ditch and counter-scarp bank, beyond which the steep hillside forms a natural glacis. Height of inner rampart, from 16 ft. to 18 ft., and of counter-scarp, from 3 ft. to 7 ft. above the ditch; width of ditch, from crest to crest, 40–60 ft. The defences of the W. side are made stronger by a second outer rampart and ditch, with the steep hillside as a glacis. Height of inner rampart above inner ditch, 18 ft., and above outer ditch, 25 ft.; height of middle rampart above outer ditch, 9 ft. Width of inner ditch, from crest to crest, 46 ft.; of outer ditch, 22 ft. The N. side has an inner rampart, beyond which are two sloping platforms and two slight banks, with a small outer ditch and bank, and steep glacis to the valley. Height of inner rampart above outer ditch, 22 ft.; width of defences, from crest to crest, 80 ft.; width of platforms, 16 ft. to 20 ft.

Entrances—The main entrance, which is about 90 ft. wide, is at the N.W. angle, where a neck of land joins the plateau to the body of the hill. There is a second entrance at the S.E. angle, 40 ft. wide, and also slightly flanked. There are no inner or subsidiary enclosures.

Dimensions—Greatest length, S. to N., 1,435 ft.; width, W. to E., 695 ft.

Condition—Good, but the trees recently planted may do considerable damage in the future.

Ecclesiastical

a(2). Parish Church of St. Faith, stands at the foot of the Barton Hills, at the S.W. end of the village. The walls are covered with cement, and the roofs are of lead and slate. The Chancel, North Chapel, Nave of three bays, and North and South Aisles have been completely restored. The ground stage of the West Tower, the roof of the nave, and possibly the roofs of the aisles are of the 15th century; no other old work can be seen, but a church in this parish was dedicated to St. Faith, by Ralph, Bishop of Rochester (1108–14).

Architectural Description—The West Tower is of three stages, with a stair-turret in the S.W. angle. The 15th-century tower arch is of three chamfered orders; the W. doorway and the window over it are modern. The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century, with moulded beams, carved bosses and half-length figures of angels supporting the intermediate rafters. The roofs of the aisles are possibly of the same date, but plainer.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st 1697, 3rd 1688, both by Chandler; 2nd apparently early 14th-century, inscribed 'Ave Maria'. Monument: in the chancel, to Peter Taverner, 1601, and his wife, arched panel of Purbeck marble, inscription and two brass shields with arms of Taverner and Docwra.

Condition—Good; completely restored.

a(3). Base of Cross, stone, in the grounds of Hexton House, about 350 yards E. of the church, is of the 15th century, and is 2 ft. 3 in. square by 11 in. high. The upper part is half-octagonal, and has a moulded edge, and stops with a convex upper surface; in it is a square opening for the shaft of the cross.

Condition—Weather worn; covered with moss.