An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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86. LITTLE WYMONDLEY.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xii. N.E. (b)xii. N.W.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on rising ground in a somewhat isolated position about ¼ mile from the village. It is built of flint rubble covered with cement; the dressings are of stone; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel, Nave, and West Tower are of the 15th century, probably the second half, but this is uncertain, as in the 19th century the chancel was lengthened, a North Aisle, North Vestry and South Porch were added, and the church was completely restored.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (31 ft. by 14½ ft.) has, in the S. wall, two single-light windows, possibly of the 15th century, much restored; the westernmost is set with a fairly low sill. The E. and N. windows and the chancel arch are modern. The Nave (28½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has a modern N. arcade; the wall on the S. side is thickened at the E. end, probably in connection with former stairs to the rood-loft. In the S. wall are two windows, one of two lights, the other a single light, both possibly of the 15th century, much defaced with cement. The S. doorway is of the 15th century. The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of two stages with a brick parapet. The tower arch, of the 15th century, is two-centred, of two chamfered orders and has shafted jambs with capitals of crude detail. The W. window and the bell-chamber windows are original and each of two lights.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st, by John Dier, 1595; 3rd, without marks. Brass: on N. wall of chancel, inscription plate to James Nedham, who came into the county in 1536, and his son, with arms; inscription records erection of monument by grandson of the one and son of the other in 1605. Niche: for image, in the vestry, re-set, early 16th-century. Piscina: in E. wall of chancel, 15th-century.
Condition—Fairly good, but much defaced with cement where not re-built.
a(2). Wymondley Priory, house, barn and moat, about ½ mile N. of the church.
The house is of interest as it incorporates remains of buildings which belonged to an establishment of Augustinian Canons founded in the 13th century. The barn is noticeable on account of its great size and early date.
The central block of the present building, now a farmhouse, is probably part of the aisleless nave of the conventual church, with the cloisters on the N., as indicated by a range of shafted arcading found in the inner or S. wall of the present drawing room, formerly the N. wall of the cloisters; the arcading is now hidden by plaster. The ranges of buildings N. and S. of the central block, added at the end of the 16th century and later, are of brick and timber; the pre-Reformation work is of flint rubble with clunch dressings. The only original detail visible is part of one of the S. windows of the church, now forming a doorway to a bedroom on the first floor; the moulded rear arch and the shafted jambs remain, though somewhat defaced, and are of mid 13th-century date. Two 15th or 16th-century doorways have been re-set on the ground floor, and several rooms have early 17th-century panelling. There are many worked stones in the garden walls, etc. The moat is dry and much denuded, except the S.W. corner. A large Barn (about 100 ft. by 40 ft.) S.E. of the house, is probably of mediæval date. The walls are on masonry foundations, and are weather-boarded; the roof is tiled. The interior is of nine bays with a central space, or nave, and aisles, separated by rows of posts. The roof is elaborately framed, with curved braces and struts in plain squared timbers. A Conduit Head, about 600 yards N.E. of the Priory, is a small ruined structure, of mediæval date, built of flint rubble. Only the foundations and about 1 ft. of the N., S. and W. walls remain; the E. wall has been re-built with a gable, partly in 16th-century brick.
Condition—Of house, fairly good; of barn, good; of moat, poor.
b(3). Wymondley Hall Farm, about ¼ mile N.W. of the church, is a two-storeyed house, built early in the 17th century of plastered timber on brick foundations; the roofs are tiled. It consists of a rectangular block, of the central chimney type, facing N.W., with a small original extension at the S.W. end; a second extension, projecting slightly to the S.E., was added at the N.E. end later in the century. The main entrance is on the N.W. front, and opens into a small lobby, the width of the central chimney stack; at the back of the stack is a plain, enclosed staircase. The domestic offices are N.E. of the lobby, and the hall and parlour are on the S.W. The original part of the N.W. Elevation has two overhanging bay windows on the upper storey, finished by gables and carried on carved brackets; at each end the upper storey projects, and is gabled. The chimney stacks have square shafts set diagonally. The interior of the house is modern.
a(4). Wymondley Bury, house, moat, and dovecote, are on rising ground S. of the church, The house is of late 16th-century date, and is built of brick and timber; the roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped, though the main wing, facing N., is of the central chimney type; the other wing, containing the domestic offices, is small. The interior of the house has been much altered, and only the wide fireplace in the hall now remains, with chimney corner seats and, at the head, a moulded beam. The dovecote, S.W. of the house, is built of brick with a half-hipped gabled roof.
Of the moat only a fragment remains.
b(5). The Buck's Head Inn, in the main street of the village, is a two-storeyed house built of plastered timber on masonry foundations early in the 17th century; the roofs are tiled. The front elevation has an overhanging gable at each end. The plan is of the central chimney type; the entrance is on the N., and opens into a lobby the width of the chimney stack; the hall and a room beyond it, possibly partitioned off at a later date, are on the W.; the kitchen, now used as the bar, is on the E.; the staircase at the back of the stack corresponds in position with the lobby.