King's Langley

Pages 133-135

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. xxxviii. N.E.)


(1). Parish Church of All Saints stands at the S.E. end of the village. It is built of flint rubble and brick with Totternhoe stone dressings; the roofs of the nave, chancel and porch are tiled, those of the aisles and chapels are covered with lead. The walls of the Chancel are of the 13th century, and the plan of the nave is probably that of a still earlier building. The North Aisle was added probably in the first half of the 14th century, but the N. arcade is of early 15th-century date, when the nave and S. side of the church were practically re-built, the arcades opening into the South Aisle and South Chapel being of that period. The North Chapel was added, and the West Tower probably re-built later in the same century. During the 19th century the N. chapel was extended towards the E., the South Vestry and South Porch were built, the clearstorey of the nave and part of the tower were re-built and the whole church was repaired.

The 14th-century tomb of Edmund of Langley, son of Edward III., brought to the church from the Dominican Friary in the same parish in 1575, is especially interesting on account of the carved heraldic decoration.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (31 ft. by 17½ ft.) has a modern E. window, but traces of 13th-century lights were found in 1877, when the existing window was removed. On the N. the 15th-century arcade of two bays has four-centred arches and piers with engaged shafts; on the S. the arches with octagonal shafts are of earlier date in the same century. Near the E. end of the S. wall is a 13th-century lancet window, blocked. The chancel arch is modern. The North Chapel (31 ft. by 14 ft.) has the tomb of Edmund of Langley in the modern extension at the E. end. The original chapel has two square-headed windows of four cinque-foiled lights each, and one small window in the N. wall. The W. arch, opening into the aisle, is modern. The South Chapel (31 ft. by 13 ft.), now used as an organ chamber, has a modern E. window; part of the four-light S. window is of the 15th century; the W. arch is modern. The Nave (30 ft. by 15½ ft.) is of three bays with early 15th-century arcades of the same detail as those on the S. side of the chancel, and the modern clearstorey has six windows of two lights each. The North Aisle (16 ft. wide) has in the N. wall two square-headed windows with modern tracery, and in the W. wall a window of c. 1340, of two trefoiled lights with a quatre-foiled head. The N. doorway with moulded jambs and arch, may be of about the same date. The South Aisle (14½ ft. wide) has a S. window with three cinque-foiled lights and a 15th-century moulded S. doorway; the W. window is modern. The West Tower (13 ft. by 11 ft.) is of three stages, with an embattled parapet and a small leaded spire. The tower arch is of the 15th century, of later date than the nave arcades. The W. doorway is modern, except the rear arch; the W. window is of three lights with 15th-century tracery, and above it is the blocked arched head of an earlier window. In the N. and S. walls of the ground stage are 15th-century windows of two trefoiled lights with quatre-foiled heads; the four bell-chamber windows are of the same date and design, but are re-set in modern stone.

Fittings—Bells: six; 3rd 1657. Brasses and Indents: in the N. chapel, of John Carter, 1588, his two wives and eighteen children, with inscription: in the S. chapel, of a lady, late 15th-century: of a lady, c. 1600, palimpsest on the head of a female figure, with canopies in margin and part of inscription, of Flemish workmanship: to John Cheney, 1597, inscription: to William and Alice Carter, 1528, inscription, palimpsest on an inscription of 1477: in the chancel, to Mary Dixon, 1622, inscription: in the N. chapel, slab with indent of woman's figure, possibly the original coverstone of the Langley tomb (as the dimensions are the same) and the figure that of Isabel of Castile, the wife of Edmund, 1393. Chest: in the vestry, large, iron bound, mediæval. Glass: in the windows of the N. chapel, heraldic shields. Locker: (see Piscinae). Monuments and Floor Slabs: in the N. chapel, late 14th-century tomb of Edmund of Langley, son of Edward III., with alabaster sides, on a plinth of Purbeck marble; on three of the sides are carved shields of arms, now thirteen in number, seven on the E. side having been lost; the arms on the shields at the N. end are (1) St. Edward the Confessor, [azure] a cross paty between five martlets or; (2) Royal arms of Richard II., Old France quartered with England; (3) St. Edmund, [azure] three crowns [or]; the seven shields on the W. side have (1) the Empire [or] and eagle with two heads [sable]; (2) the Prince of Wales, the royal arms with the difference of a label [argent]; (3) Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the royal arms with a label [argent] having a quarter [gules] on each pendant; (4) Edmund, Duke of York, the royal arms with a label [argent] having three roundels [gules] on each pendant, impaled with Castile, [gules] a castle [or] quartering Leon [argent] a lion [purple]; (5) Edmund, Duke of York; (6) Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, the royal arms with a border argent; (7) Henry of Bolingbroke, the royal arms with the difference of a label of five pendants, two being of ermine and the other three [azure] with fleurs de lis [or]; the three shields at the S. end are (1) Holand, Earl of Kent, England, with a border [argent]; (2) Holand, Earl of Huntingdon, England, with a border [azure] with fleurs de lis [or] thereon; (3) Fitz Alan, Earl of Arundel, [gules] a lion [or]; the top of the tomb is part of an altar slab with three incised crosses on it; there is no inscription: in the same chapel, altar tomb of Sir William Glasscock, 1688, white marble with black marble slab (the mural inscription remains in the chancel): in the N. chapel, altar tomb of Sir Ralph Verney and his wife, late 15th or early 16th-century, of clunch, with mutilated effigies; panelled sides with carved heraldry: in the chancel floor, slabs to members of the families of Over, Cheyney, Sprague, and Dixon, 17th-century. Piscinae: in the S. wall of the chancel, 13th-century, with locker: in the S. aisle, 13th-century: in S. chapel behind the organ, not visible. Pulpit: hexagonal, carved and panelled body, with tester, 17th-century, one side modern.

Condition—Good on the whole, but the stonework in some of the windows is decaying.


(2). Friary, remains, known as 'King John's Bakehouse,' now converted into a cottage and storehouse, on a hill about ½ mile N.W. of the church. The house was founded c. 1312 for friars of the Dominican Order; the remains form a long two-storeyed rectangular building (76½ ft. by 18 ft.) facing E. and W., of flint rubble with stone dressings, and appear to be of the 14th century, with a few later alterations. The roofs are tiled. It is not known what part of the friary the building represents, but doors and windows of early date on every side show that it stood practically by itself, though a wall evidently abutted on the S. side, all the angles being buttressed except on the S.E. In the E. Wall are five small original windows on the ground floor and four on the first floor; they are splayed within and have arched heads, and rear arches with hollow chamfered edges; on the ground floor two of them are blocked, and there are also two modern windows. At the S. end of this wall is an original entrance, and beyond it the wall projects about a foot, and has a steep gable. In the W. Wall, on the ground floor, are three wide arches with plain external splays, and buttresses between the arches, a small original window and a modern doorway; on the first floor are three small arched windows, one blocked, and a modern doorway. The N. Wall has a 14th-century doorway on the ground floor, and a doorway with a square head on the upper floor, which may have had external wooden steps leading to it. The S. Wall has on the ground floor a small original window and a blocked doorway; the window on the upper floor is modern. Internally the house is divided into two nearly equal parts on each floor by a thick partition wall, built, on the ground floor, of flint like the external walls; on the S. side, in the kitchen, is an original open fireplace with splayed stone jambs and four-centred arch; above it on the first floor is a 17th-century stone fireplace with a three-centred head. At the S. end of the kitchen is a curved recess, evidently for the newel stairs, now replaced by a modern staircase. The small room at the S. end of the house has an arched recess in the W. wall, and in the N. wall a blocked 15th-century doorway, with a flat four-centred head and splayed jambs. On the first floor one doorway has a solid oak frame and a four-centred head; the roof is of oak, probably original. S. of the building is a flint and stone wall, originally either another part of the Friary, or to mark the boundary. On the N., incorporated in a modern farm building, is part of another wall, in which is a blocked door or gateway with continuous moulded jambs and three-centred arch.

Condition—Bad; all the stonework is much decayed, the buttresses are defaced, some of them have disappeared, and the whole building needs repair.

(3). King's Langley Palace, ruins, standing on a hill about ½ mile W. of the church, near the Friary: a palace existed on the site as early as 1299, and was the birthplace of Edmund of Langley in 1341; it remained Crown property until given to the Duchess of York in 1469. All that now remains is a fragment of flint wall with brick quoins, and part of the moulded brick jambs of a window.


(4). The Old Cottage, on the W. side of the main street, about 400 yards N.E. of the church, is a small two-storeyed building of the 17th century; the roof is tiled. On the E. front the lower storey is of brick, and the upper storey covered with plaster in large panels; a small gable near the N. end has modern tile-hanging. The date 1509 is painted under the sill of a first floor window, but there is no evidence of work of that period. At the S. end of the building is a chimney stack with two square shafts set diagonally; the space between them is filled up on one side.


(5). Pale Farm, on the N. side of the hamlet of Chipperfield, 2 miles W. of King's Langley, is a rectangular, 16th-century building with an overhanging upper storey. The walls are of brick and timber; the roof is tiled. Near the centre is a square chimney, built of brick. Later additions have been made at the W. end.

Condition—Fairly good.

(6). French's Farm, ½ mile N.W. of the hamlet of Chipperfield, is a house of red brick and timber, built in the 17th century.

Condition—Fairly good.