Hitchin, Urban

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

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'Hitchin, Urban', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire, (London, 1910) pp. 117-125. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/herts/pp117-125 [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section

65. HITCHIN, Urban.

(O.S. 6 in. xii. N.W.)


(1). Kiln, on a hill near Stevenage Road. The many graves, etc., found near Hitchin, point to other remains yet undetermined.

Condition—Nothing above ground.


(2). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands N.E. of the market place; the churchyard is bounded on the E. by the river Hiz. The church is built of flint rubble with stone dressings, and has been heavily cemented; the tower has some Roman bricks in the walls, and has been repaired with 16th or 17th-century brick. The roofs are covered with lead. The Nave and at least the lower stages of the West Tower are of the 12th century; about the middle of the 13th century the present tower arch was inserted, the S.E. stair-turret was built, and the tower probably completed. In the first half of the 14th century the North Aisle and then the South Aisle were built, and probably about the same time, or possibly later, the Chancel was enlarged to about two-thirds its present length, and, perhaps, to its present width; the foundation of the E. wall of this enlargement now forms the W. wall of the Charnel, constructed in the 15th century, when the chancel was increased to its present length, and the North and South Chapels, with their arcades, were built. At the same time windows were inserted throughout the church, and the clearstorey and North Porch were added; the South Porch was built towards the end of the century.

The church is unusually large, and contains much woodwork of the 14th and 15th centuries, including the chapel screens, of elaborate design, and the mid 14th-century roof of the N. aisle, which is exceptionally early work of its kind.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (71½ ft. by 19½ ft.) has a 15th-century traceried E. window of five lights, much restored. On the N. and S. are 15th-century arcades of four bays; the easternmost arch in each arcade is of slightly wider span than the others, and is four-centred, of two continuous moulded orders; the remaining arches are two-centred, of two moulded orders, and have columns of engaged shafts, with foliated capitals and moulded bases. Above the arcades and contemporary with them, is a clearstorey, with four windows on each side. The chancel arch is four-centred, very high, having been raised in the 15th century; the half-octagonal jambs belong to an earlier arch, probably of mid 14th-century date. The Charnel is under the E. bay of the chancel, and has two barred mullioned windows on the E., one converted into a door; at the W. end of the N. wall is a moulded four-centred door and the remains of winding stairs to the chancel, now replaced by modern brick steps; the roof is vaulted with brick. The North Chapel (22½ ft. wide) has an original traceried E. window, of five lights, and five windows of three lights in the N. wall, also original. The South Chapel (21 ft. wide) is similarly lighted, except that the E. window is of four lights; at the E. end of the S. wall is a small doorway. The chancel and chapels have embattled parapets and are buttressed. The Nave (74½ ft. by 22 ft.) is of four bays, with 14th-century arcades on the N. and S.; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders, with octagonal columns, and moulded capitals. The 15th-century clearstorey windows are of three lights, and above the chancel arch is a window of five lights. Over the E. respond of the N. arcade is the blocked doorway to the rood-loft. The North Aisle (20 ft. wide) has four traceried windows of three lights on the N., and one on the W., all inserted in the 15th century, the walls being of the same date as the arcades, though the embattled parapets are also of the 15th century. The 14th-century N. doorway is of two chamfered orders, and at the E. end of the aisle is a moulded 15th-century arch. The South Aisle (19½ ft. wide) is similar to the N. aisle in every respect, except that the S. doorway is of late 15th-century date. The West Tower is of two stages, with embattled parapet and small Iead-covered spire. It has deep square buttresses, which, during recent repairs, were found to be built against the remains of the 12th-century pilaster buttresses. At the S.E. corner, built against the wall without bonding, is a square stair-turret, which rises above the parapet of the tower; the lower part is lighted by small lancet windows; the upper part has cross-loops, and, with its parapet, has been repaired with 16th or 17th-century brick. The tower arch is of three chamfered orders, with half-octagonal responds, moulded capitals and bases. The 13th-century W. door is much decayed; on the N. is a 13th-century lancet window, much restored. The second stage is lighted by two pointed windows in each wall, much restored with brick in the 17th and 19th centuries. The North Porch (11½ ft. by 9½ ft.) is of two storeys, and has a two-centred entrance arch of two chamfered orders and an E. and a W. window of three lights. The upper storey has a window of three lights, and is reached by a polygonal stair-turret with a four-centred door in the aisle. The South Porch (14 ft. by 11 ft.) is an elaborate structure of two storeys, with an embattled parapet and angle pinnacles; the entrance is of two moulded and shafted orders, the inner two-centred and the outer square, with tracery in the spandrels; on each side of the doorway is a niche, with a shield below it bearing a merchant's mark. In each side wall there are two traceried windows of three lights. The ground storey is elaborately vaulted, with moulded ribs and wall shafts, and carved bosses at the junction of the ribs. The upper storey is ornamented with panels on the S. side, and has two niches on each side of a small three-light window; it is reached by an octagonal stair-turret at the N.E. corner. The Roof of the nave, though much repaired, is of 15th-century date, with moulded principals, tie beams, etc. The chapel roofs are of the 15th century, much repaired, and have moulded principals, purlins, wall plates, etc., with carved figures of angels at the feet of the principals. The roofs of the S. aisle and of the W. part of the N. aisle are of the 15th century, and plainer than the others, but over the E. part of the N. aisle is an elaborate flat wooden roof of mid 14th-century date, which, from its measurements, would appear to have been the roof of the 14th-century chancel; this is divided by moulded beams into square panels, elaborately foiled and cusped.

Fittings—Brasses: in chancel, slab with indents of priest, late 15th-century, marginal inscription with roses at corners, and two hearts with scrolls: brass of priest in cope, late 15th-century, with brass of wounded heart and indent of another, indents of two inscriptions and small plate, possibly a symbol of the Holy Trinity: brasses of a man and his wife, shrouded figures, three sons and five daughters, shield with a bend and a border engrailed, indents of inscription and four roses: brasses of man in civilian dress (merchant of the Staple of Calais), 1452, his wife, four sons, and six daughters, imperfect inscription with date, a shield (now illegible), indents of four other shields, and of four square plates: brass, of woman, late 15th-century, much worn, indents of man and inscription: brasses of civilian, early 16th-century, and his three wives: of civilian, late 15th-century, and his wife, with indents of marginal inscription and scrolls: in N. chapel, slab with indents of inscription and shield, 16th-century, used as gravestone in 18th century (see also Monuments, below): in S. chapel, indents of civilian, late 15th-century, his wife and inscription; brasses of four sons and four daughters, partly covered by pews: indent of John Parker, 1578; half-figure, with square plate and brass inscription: indent, with brass feet remaining, of John Pulter, 1421, and brass of his wife Lucia, 1420, with square plate, worn smooth; imperfect inscription, much worn; indents of two roundels: brasses of woman, shrouded figure, four sons and four daughters; indents of inscription and seven scrolls, undated: at W. end of nave, brasses of civilian, and his wife, mid 15th-century: in tower, indents of woman and two men: indents of a man and woman, late 15th-century, with inscription, scroll and four roses, much worn. Communion Table: in the N. chapel, small, 17th-century. Door: in the S. doorway, with cusped panels, late 15th-century; the pointed head has been sawn off and fixed. Font: 15th-century, twelve-sided, set with richly ornamented canopies over defaced figures of saints. Lockers: in N. chapel, and at E. end of N. wall of aisle, both plain, square-headed. Monuments: in N. chapel, Purbeck marble altar tomb, early 15th-century, quatre-foiled panels in sides, slab at the top, with indent of marginal inscription, and brass plate of later date, with inscription to John Pulter, 1485; floor slab, 14th-century, with incised marginal inscription, illegible and partly covered by the organ: indent of William Pulter, 1549, brass inscription and shield: altar tomb, of c. 1500, of clunch, with panelled sides, and slab with brass of the same date, of a man and his wife, shrouded figures: altar tomb, late 15th-century, panelled side with shields marked G. A. and T. A., and slab with brasses of man in civilian dress and his wife: three mural monuments in plain architectural settings to John Skinner, 1669; Ralph Skinner, 1697; and Edward Docwra, 1610: in the S. chapel, large 17th-century monument to Ralph Radcliffe, 1559, Ralph Radcliffe, 1621, Sir Edward Radcliffe, 1631, and Edward Radcliffe, 1660: other monuments to the same family: in the N. aisle, in window sills, Purbeck marble effigy of knight in mail hauberk, with coif, mail chausses and a long surcoat, mid 13th-century, much defaced: effigies of knight and lady, late 14th-century, much defaced. Niche: in first column of arcade, in N. chapel, tall, moulded, with low projecting bracket, 15th-century. Piscina: in the N. chapel, 15th-century. Plate: includes two cups and two flagons of 1705, patens of 1625 and 1634, salver of 1635. Pulpit: with traceried panels, of c. 1500, much restored. Screens: between the chapels and aisles, richly carved, with traceried panels and moulded, enriched and crested beams, late 15th-century: between the chancel and chapels, remains of parclose screens, 15th-century. Seating: in the chancel, some bench ends, late 15th-century. Stoup: in N. porch, remains, in a pointed recess.

Condition—Good; the S. porch requires attention. The whole church is being gradually and very carefully repaired.


(3). Hitchin Priory, on the S. side of the town, is of especial interest, as it incorporates part of a house of White Friars.

The building has been in the possession of the same family since the suppression of the monasteries, and appears to have been originally of flint rubble and clunch, with the Priory church on the S. All that now remains is part of the N. or Frater range and part of the W. range, and the only detail visible is of the 15th century. The rest of the present house, which encloses a small courtyard, is of plastered brick, built in the 17th and 18th centuries. The roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The S. wing is perhaps on the site of the church; it was completely re-built in the 18th century, and contains the principal rooms. The E. wing, possibly on the site of the Dorter range and Chapter House, contains a few rooms, the main staircase, and some cellars on the ground level; the domestic offices are in the W. wing. The N. wing contains some cellars and a loggia on the ground floor, which represent the cellarage under the Frater, and the N. walk of the cloister; the cloister openings have been blocked and a late 17th-century arcade has been inserted in the N. wall. The space originally occupied by the Frater on the first floor of this wing is now divided into several bed-rooms. The court is small for a cloister garth, but no traces of foundations appear to have been found further S. and E.; it is now almost filled by a modern conservatory. The E. and W. Elevations are much patched and repaired, and the latter is partly obscured by outbuildings, which have been added at different times. The S. Elevation is a somewhat elaborate Palladian design of late 18th-century date. The N. Elevation was completely altered late in the 17th century. The ground storey has an open arcade of five semi-circular arches, with moulded imposts and a frieze of rosettes between cable mouldings; the central arch is set in a slight projection and has spandrels decorated with strapwork, a shield with the Radcliffe arms, the initials RRS and the date 1679. The windows above the arcade and the moulded cornice were inserted at a later date, all the detail being in plaster. The walls of the courtyard have been much renewed; in the N. and W. wings facing the courtyard are many of the arches, now blocked, of the original cloister arcade, and part of the inner wall, showing that the cloister walk was 9 ft. wide; the arches are 6 ft. in span and are two-centred, continuously moulded with double ogees and chamfers, but the tracery has disappeared; the piers between them are 4 ft. 6 in. wide. Only one arch remains open, and is now the main entrance of the house, but at least three are visible inside the N. wing, and two inside the W. wing, while others are said to be bricked up and plastered. In the W. wing is some early 17th-century panelling, and in a small N. room is a plaster ceiling, of the same date, decorated with cable and foliate designs.

Condition—Good; much altered.

Sun Street

(4). The Street contains, in addition to those specified below, several buildings of the 17th century, and possibly two or three of earlier date; but most of the houses were re-built or re-fronted in the 18th century.

E. side

(5). House, near Bridge Street, appears to have been originally planned for a dwelling house, but is now used for business offices. It is a late 17th-century building of brick; the roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular, and the symmetrically designed street front has a good original wooden cornice and a small doorway of later date. At the N. end is a three-centred archway, opening into the yard at the back. The windows of the first floor have wood frames, mullions and transoms, with metal casements; the windows of the ground floor were altered in the 18th century.


(6). The Sun Inn is a two-storeyed house of brick and plastered timber, built c. 1600, or earlier, re-fronted with brick in the 18th century, and much repaired in the 19th century; the roof is tiled. The house, with its outbuildings, encloses three sides of a courtyard, and the entrance from the street is through an archway, high enough to admit a coach.


(7). The Angel Inn is a two-storeyed mediæval building, of plastered timber, much altered in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries; the roof is tiled. The original plan was probably L-shaped, the main wing facing W., with shops on the ground floor, and a hall and small chamber above them; the staircase in the angle between the wings was added in the 17th century, when a small block was also built at the back of the house. The upper storey of the main wing projects in front and at the back; under it, at the N. end of the street-front, an archway opens into the yard at the back, and has on each side remains of brackets, carved with bird and flower designs, of early 16th-century date. The ground floor of the shorter wing is open, and the gabled upper storey is carried on posts. The small 17th-century gabled wing is also carried on posts, the courtyard is thus partly covered in, and the open yard beyond is enclosed by other buildings. Both the gables at the back have carved barge-boards, one of the 15th century, with a cusped and pierced design of flowing character, the other, plainer, with a series of small ovals in relief, of early 17th-century date. The 17th-century staircase has a plain moulded handrail, turned balusters and a flat, carved outer string.

Condition—Fairly good; much altered.

Tilehouse Street

(8). The Street contains, in addition to the houses noted below, many 17th-century buildings, much altered in the 18th and 19th centuries.

S. side

(9). House, now Nos. 8 to 11, is an early 17th-century two-storeyed building, covered with modern plaster; the roof is tiled. The plan is of simple H shape; the wings are gabled, and have overhanging upper storeys. The whole building was repaired and sub-divided, and the windows were altered in the 19th century. An adjoining house, which, with No. 11, forms the Three Tuns Inn, is also of early 17th-century date, and has an archway opening into a yard at the back.

Condition—Fairly good.

(10). House, No. 19, is a small, early 17th-century building, of timber and rough-cast, with floated rustication, etc.; the roof is tiled. The timber-framed windows retain a few old metal casements, and some early 17th-century panelling, re-set, remains inside the house.

Plan of Hitchin. Shewing the Probable Extent of the Mediaeval Town.


N. side

(11). The Coopers' Arms Inn, supposed to have been originally the Tylers' Guildhall, was built in the middle of the 15th century, of stone, but was much re-faced and altered in the 19th century; the roof is tiled.

Although the house has been much altered it affords an interesting example of mediæval architecture.

The original plan was possibly of the courtyard type, but only parts of the S. and W. wings remain; in the internal angle, between them, is a small block, added in the 17th century. The S. wing faces the street and has an archway opening into the yard at the back. This wing contains the remains of the hall, which was originally open to the roof, but an upper floor was inserted, probably in the 17th century; and the overhanging part of the upper storey, which is carried higher than the rest of the building, was probably added at the same time. The W. wing projects about 3 ft. beyond the face of the S. wing, and the N. end seems to have formed a re-entering angle in the corner of the courtyard; a blocked door at the N.W. indicates a former extension of the building on the W. side of the court. The N. and S. ends of the wing are ornamented on the ground floor with moulded cinque-foiled panels in stone; at the S. end they are grouped in three bays under four-centred main heads, and the central bay appears to have been a window, but they are all much defaced and altered; at the N. end the panels are in better preservation. The windows throughout the building have been altered, and the interior has been completely changed. In the S. wing the open timber roof of the hall had principals about 21 ft. in span and 12½ ft. on centres, and two of the trusses and intermediates are still in existence; they are plainly moulded, and the trusses are of the queenpost type, with curved bracketting and windbracing. In the W. wing the moulded beams of the first floor remain, and the blocked door on the N.W. has a moulded four-centred head.

Condition—Much defaced within and without; covered with plaster and paint; structurally sound.

(12). House, formerly the Free School, was built c. 1640–60, but has been completely altered, although the structure is old. It is a two-storeyed building of plastered timber and brick; the roof is tiled. The original plan cannot be traced, but it is now L-shaped, one wing being very short. A few metal casements, with original furniture, and one original door, of moulded battens, remain.

Condition—Good; much altered.

Bridge Street

(13). The Street includes one or two late 17th-century houses of plain brick, and others of plastered timber, much altered, but showing traces of work of an earlier date. In addition are the following:—

N. side

(14). Cottages (Nos. 21–23), are two-storeyed buildings of plastered timber, built c. 1600, and considerably altered in the 18th and 19th centuries. The roofs are tiled. No. 22 has an old bay window carried up to the roof, and the entrance door is of moulded battens.

Condition—Fairly good.

(15). House, now divided into a shop and cottages (Nos. 18 and 19), is a 16th-century building of timber, with plaster filling; the roof is tiled. The upper storey projects on the W. side over the river Hiz, and also on the N. front, facing the street; the W. end of this front has been covered with modern plaster, but at the other end the close-set timbers are exposed; the windows have been altered. A yard at the back is entered through a timber-framed archway.


S. side

(16). Cottage (No. 2), a small, 16th-century building covered with rough-cast, is probably of timber construction; the roof is tiled. The cottage has been much altered, but two early 16th-century barge-boards remain; one is carved with a form of guilloche pattern, the other with dragons in low relief.

Condition—Of the cottage, good; of the barge-boards, much weathered, and covered with paint.

The Triangle

(17). House, on the S. side, is of two storeys and an attic, built of plastered timber in the 15th century, much altered and repaired in the 19th century, and now divided into several houses. The roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped, with an archway opening into a yard at the back. The overhanging upper storey was originally open to the roof, of which the trusses, enclosed in the construction of the attic, appear to be of the king-post type. The windows have been altered.

Condition—Good; much altered.


(18). This short Street connects the W. side of the market place with Tilehouse Street. It contains many houses, in addition to those mentioned below, which show traces of 16th and 17th-century and earlier origin, though they are much altered, re-fronted and re-plastered.

W. side

(19). The George Inn, is a two-storeyed plastered timber house, built in the 16th century, or possibly earlier, re-roofed, re-plastered and much repaired in the first half of the 19th century. The roof is covered with slate. The upper storey projects, and in the middle of the front, facing the street, is a high archway, opening into a yard at the back; above it is an overhanging, gabled structure carried higher than the rest of the house.

Condition—Fairly good.

(20). The Red Hart Inn, is a two-storeyed house of plastered timber, built c. 1600 or earlier, but much altered and repaired in the 19th century. The roof is tiled. The building faces E. and is rectangular, with a projecting upper storey. In the gabled N. end is an archway with a pair of early 17th-century gates, which have open upper panels set with pierced balusters. The archway opens into an irregularly shaped yard at the back, in which are ranges of rough-plastered timber outbuildings with overhanging upper storeys.

Condition—Fairly good.

The Market Place

(21). The Market Place has been considerably altered, but many of the houses show traces of 17th-century, or possibly mediæval, work; some of them were re-fronted in the 18th century, and on the N. and W. sides there has been much modern rebuilding.

N.E. corner, S. of the church

(22). House, includes part of a 15th-century building of courtyard plan, and is now divided into a dwelling house and shops. The walls are of brick and plastered timber; the roof is tiled. The house, on the site of the former E. wing, was completely re-built in the 17th century, and much altered in the 18th century. The 15th-century W. wing is nearly intact, and retains the overhanging gatehouse, and an entrance archway framed in heavy moulded timbers with curved bracketting. The N. and S. wings no longer exist, but traces of the N. wing were found recently.


High Street, W. side

(23). The Cock Hotel, is a building of timber, with plaster and brick filling, and is probably of the 16th century. The plan is L-shaped, and the house with its outbuildings encloses a large yard on three sides. The heavy, close-set constructional timbers of the street front have recently been exposed by the removal of modern plaster, but no detail is visible. Many additions have been made and the whole building has been re-arranged.

Condition—Good; much altered.


(24). The Street, is composed almost entirely of old houses, many evidently of the 17th century, but there are also indications of mediæval buildings. A considerable number were refronted and enlarged, and a few were re-built in the 18th century; all have been much patched and repaired in the 19th century.

The houses of especial interest are the following:—

W. side

(25). The Brotherhood was built in the middle of the 15th century; it is covered with rough-cast, and has a tiled roof.

This building, although much altered, is of especial interest on account of its early date, and retains a fine open timber roof, now ceiled in, but otherwise unchanged.

The original plan was rectangular, with the ground floor divided by transverse partitions, and the first floor, forming a large hall, open to the roof, and about 48 ft. by 17 ft. internally. At subsequent dates additions have been made at the back, the outer walls have been renewed, the hall divided into a number of rooms, and shop windows inserted on the ground floor. Nothing remains to show the original position of the stairs. The street front has four first floor windows of two lights with wooden mullions and transoms, apparently modern, but possibly restorations. On the apices of the two gables are small figures in coarse terracotta of a man on horseback, copied from the original figures preserved in one of the shops. Inside the house some ogee-moulded beams remain, and the four trusses of the open roof of the hall are still in position, partly covered by the plaster ceiling; the roof has moulded wall-posts with moulded capitals and bases, moulded wall-plates and purlins, cambered tie-beams, and queen-posts with curved spandrel pieces and wind braces, all of oak.

Condition—Good; much repaired.

(26). The Croft was built in the first half of the 15th century, probably of plastered timber; the roof is tiled. The house was much altered in the 17th and 19th centuries. The original plan appears to have been of half-H shape; the large hall with open roof was in the central block, a solar wing on the S., and a kitchen wing on the N. The N. wing no longer exists, and the S. wing has been completely re-faced, within and without. Parts of two trusses of the hall roof remain, and one of the large moulded wall-posts which carried them. The trusses (about 10 ft. centre to centre) are of the king-post type with moulded tie-beams, and the octagonal king-posts have moulded bases, embattled capitals and four-way curved strutting. The present roof is built over the old one, and to a lower pitch. One room on the ground floor is lined with early 17th-century panelling.

Condition—Good; considerably altered.

E. side

(27). House, now divided into two dwellings (Nos. 83–84), is probably of the 15th century. The walls are of plastered timber; the roof is tiled. The plan appears to have been originally L-shaped, with the hall in the main wing facing W., and a small solar wing on the N. On the N. side of the solar wing is a high archway with a room over it. In the second half of the 16th century a floor was inserted in the hall to form an upper storey, which projects on the W. front; to give sufficient head-room a gable was built at the N. end, and the S. half of the roof was raised; the solar wall was not altered. A chimney stack was also inserted at the N. end of the main wing. Only one tie-beam of the original open roof of the hall remains, in which mortice holes for curved angle-brackets are visible. One moulded beam of the 16th-century floor also remains.

Condition—Good; much altered.

(28). The Hermitage is a building of irregular plan which incorporates a large barn, probably of the 16th century, converted into part of a dwelling house in the 18th century, the rest of the house being re-built or added at the same time. The barn is of plastered timber with two large disused archways.

In the garden there are traces of cultivation terraces, and the remains of what is supposed to be a gravel pit.

Condition—Good; much altered.

(29). The Skynner Almshouses are two brick buildings, dated 1670 and 1698, and divided into small, single-room tenements; the roofs are tiled. The windows in front and at the back are wood-framed and the external doors have four-centred brick heads; they are much restored, but many metal casements remain. A wall pierced by arches encloses the strip of garden in front, and in it are stones recording the foundation of the buildings.


(30). House, with outbuildings, of late 15th-century date, now forms three dwelling houses (Nos. 86, 87 and 88), with a builder's yard. The house is of two storeys, timber-framed, partly plaster filled, partly rough-cast and partly weather-boarded, with some modern brickwork; the roofs are tiled. The whole building was much altered in the 19th century.

The panelled canopy of the daïs in the hall is an unusual instance of the survival of this fitting.

The original plan of the house was L-shaped, with the hall (of about 20 ft. span, and probably of four bays of 12 ft. each) in the long wing facing W., and now divided by partitions. The two-storeyed solar wing, N. of the hall, has an archway with a room over it at the N. end; beyond it is a small modern building on the site of an old malt kiln. In the angle of the wings a staircase led to the upper floor of the solar, and the modern staircase is almost in the same position. The elevation facing the street is gabled at each end, and the upper storey projects under the gables; between them is a modern bay window. Many of the constructional timbers are exposed, but most of them have been re-faced, and the back of the house has been much altered. Part of the open timber roof of the hall is visible above the ceiling in No. 87; it has moulded wall-plates, tie-beams, etc., and king-posts with curved struts. One of the moulded wall-posts and some intermediate studs remain at the N. end of the E. wall, and between them on the level of the first floor are traces of unglazed moulded openings with elaborate cinque-foiled traceried heads, of which one remains intact; they were probably between the solar staircase and the hall. Over the N. end of the hall is the coved canopy of the dais; it is wood, divided into square panels by ogee-moulded ribs, formerly with bosses at the junctions, of which some were in situ a few years ago. The solar contains a little panelling of early 17th-century date. At the back are long ranges of outbuildings with elaborate open roofs of rough-hewn timbers which have no detail, but are probably of the same date as the house.


(31). Houses (Nos. 89 and 90), appear to have been originally one building, similar to Nos. 87 and 88, but were completely altered and re-fronted in the 18th century.

Condition—Good; much altered.

(32). The Grange, Portmill Lane, was built at the beginning of the 17th century, if not earlier, but it was re-fronted with brick and much altered about the middle of the 18th century.


(33). The Biggin Almshouses, S.E. of the church, built early in the 17th century, probably of plastered timber and brick, are of two storeys and an attic. The roof is tiled. They are said to be on the site of a religious house, of which there are no visible remains, and consist of four wings built about a small courtyard, each wing containing small sets of rooms on both floors, and simple, enclosed staircases. Many alterations have been made and partitions inserted at various dates. On the W. side of the court is a colonnade, forming a cloister, with small wooden columns of the Tuscan order.


Queen Street

(34). The Street runs parallel with Bancroft and the High Street on the E. bank of the river Hiz, and appears to be of mediæval origin. The W. side is probably the older, and retains the original arrangement of houses with archways opening into yards, in which are rows of small tenements extending towards the river.

The houses of most interest are the following:—

E. side

(35). House (No. 6), is a small building of plastered timber, with a gabled front and overhanging upper storey, of early 17th-century date. It is of the simplest workmanship, and devoid of detail.


W. side

(36). House, originally a single building of the 15th century, now divided into two shops (Nos. 101 and 102), and covered with modern plaster. The upper storey projects, and the hall appears to have been on the first floor, but the roof and interior have been completely altered. Over the archway on the S. side of No. 101 is an overhanging gable with the date 1729 worked in the plaster, but the posts carrying the bressumer have the remains of 15th-century octagonal moulded capitals, supporting curved angle bracketting, which forms a four-centred head.


(37). House (Nos. 103 and 104), now divided into two buildings, was built at the end of the 14th or beginning of the 15th century. It is of plastered timber with masonry foundations; the roofs are tiled. The plan, of half-H shape and of the simplest mediæval type, consisted of a wing containing kitchen, buttery and pantry on the N., a solar wing of two storeys on the S., and a hall of one storey between them. The kitchen wing and, apparently, the N. end of the hall have disappeared; an upper floor has been inserted in the remaining part of the hall, which is now divided into several rooms, and the solar wing forms a separate tenement. The interior is quite plain, but the hall retains the original moulded wall-plate and parts of two trusses of the roof, one nearly complete. The trusses, about 19 ft. in span, are of a simplified hammer-beam type, moulded with a double ogee, the principals being of a trefoiled form.



(28). Cultivation Terraces, in the garden of the Hermitage (see above).