An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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95. NORTH MIMMS.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxv. S.W. (b)xxxv. S.E. (c)xl. N.W.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands in North Mymms Park, 2¾ miles S.W. of Hatfield, and is built of flint with patches of modern brick; the dressings are of stone. The roofs are of tiles and lead. The earliest part is the Chancel, of which the walls are possibly of the 13th century. The North Chapel appears to have been built for a chantry founded in 1328; the Nave and probably the Aisles were entirely re-built c. 1340, and at that time a central tower with transepts was planned, but not completed; the West Tower was built in the 15th century. The church was restored in 1860 and the North Vestry and South Porch are modern.
The church is especially interesting on account of the abandoned scheme for the central tower; the 14th-century detail of the windows, etc., is also noticeable.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (32 ft. by 18½ ft.) has an E. window of three lights with modern tracery. In the S. wall are two windows, one of two lights, the other of three lights, with tracery; the head and jambs of the easternmost window are old. The S. doorway has modern external stonework. On the N. side is a modern arcade of two bays opening into the chapel. The chancel arch, originally intended for the W. arch of the 14th-century central tower, is of three chamfered orders, and the jambs have moulded capitals and bases. Parts of the jambs of the N. and S. arches of the central tower also remain. On each side of the chancel arch, at the E. end of each aisle, is a smaller arch built as an opening into the projected transepts; the arch on the S. is blocked, that on the N. opens into the N. chapel. The North Chapel (23½ ft. by 13 ft.) has two 14th-century windows in the N. wall, each of two trefoiled lights with quatre-foiled heads. The Nave (43 ft. by 18 ft.) is of three bays with N. and S. arcades which have octagonal shafts and arches of two orders with details similar to those of the chancel arch. The Aisles (each 10 ft. wide) have windows of three lights with net tracery, of c. 1340, partly restored; there are three in the N. wall, two in the S. wall, and one at the W. end of each aisle. The S. doorway is also of the 14th century, with continuously moulded jambs and arch. The West Tower is of three stages with diagonal buttresses at each angle, a plastered parapet, and copper-covered spire. The 15th-century tower arch is of two orders with engaged shafts and moulded capitals to the inner order. The W. doorway and the window over it are of the 14th century, and must have been moved from the old W. wall; the jambs of the doorway have richly carved capitals, and the arch is of three moulded orders, with carved flowers in the hollows; the window is of three trefoiled lights with net tracery.
Fittings—Brasses: in the chancel, of a priest, said to be Thomas de Horton, vicar, c. 1360, in Eucharistic vestments, with chalice and paten, under an enriched canopy, similar in design and workmanship to that of Abbot de la Mare (see St. Albans), with figures of Christ, saints and angels in panels above it; a shield below is charged with a saltire between four crosslets fitchy; of Flemish workmanship: to Thomas Hewes, 1587, and his wife, 1590, inscription only: of a knight in armour, said to be Henry Covert, c. 1488: of a civilian, his wife and ten children, c. 1490: of Richard Butler, figure in armour, and his wife, c. 1560, with two shields and inscription: of woman, two children with heads missing, and inscription to Robert Knowles, 14—, and Elizabeth, his wife, 1458. All the brasses were removed from the floor to the walls of the chancel in 1860. Communion Table: with baluster legs, 17th-century. Glass: in the chapel windows, fragments, 15th and 17th-century. Monuments: in the N. chapel, partly hidden by the organ, panelled altar tomb, said to be of Elizabeth Coningsby; 15th-century: in the N. aisle, alabaster altar tomb of a lady of the Barford family, 16th-century; her figure incised on a slab at the top, the lines filled with black composition, marginal inscription in raised black-letter, much worn. Panelling: in the vestry, 17th-century. Piscina: in the chancel, 14th-century. Plate: includes a cup of c. 1570 and a covered cup of c. 1610. A 17th-century German tankard made of amber and mounted with silver gilt, now in the British Museum, also belongs to this parish. Pulpit: hexagonal, carved and panelled, 17th-century. Sedilia: under one of the S. windows in chancel arched recess. Miscellanea: on the S.E. buttress of the nave, sun dial with mutilated inscription, and apparently the date 1584.
Condition—Good, except the stonework of some of the aisle windows; one is badly decayed.
b(2). Homestead Moats, two; one at Welham Green, the other about ½ mile S. of it.
c(4). North Mymms Park, W. of the church, is a large three-storeyed house of red brick with diaper pattern in blue brick, stone dressings and a stone plinth; the coping and parapets are covered with modern cement, and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600, and considerably enlarged in the 19th century.
The house, although much altered inside, is an interesting example of the domestic architecture of the period, and on three sides at least its external appearance is little changed.
The plan is H-shaped, but on the N. front the wings are of shallow projection, and there is a small porch wing containing the principal entrance. The original hall is in the central block, but is now divided into two galleries with a modern chimney stack opposite the main entrance. On the S. is a large courtyard, enclosed on the E. and W. sides by modern two-storeyed additions built on to the wings; the room at the S. end of each wing is also modern. N. Elevation: the entrance to the porch is of stone, and has a semi-circular arch, with a carved ogee keystone; the carving in the spandrels is probably modern; on each side are fluted pillars which support an entablature with trigylphs, carved flowers and a moulded cornice; over the entrance is a narrow horizontal stone panel with three plain shields and surrounding ornament, and above the window on the first floor is a stone shield bearing the arms of Coningsby. The wings have gables with pinnacles. Many of the stone quoins on this front are original, but the mullions and transoms and the moulded labels of the windows have been restored. In the plinth, E. of the porch wing, are two small original windows, which evidently lighted a cellar below the hall. W. Elevation: the five windows on the first floor have stone mullions, transoms and labels, and are original, but repaired. There are also two original gabled dormer windows of brick with stone quoins and copings. E. Elevation: the windows on the first floor and the three brick dormer windows are original, but have been restored. The S. Elevation has three shallow gabled projections on the face of the central block; in the middle projection is a modern window of two storeys, inserted in place of a former doorway. The projection on the E. has, on the first floor, an original transomed window, with a label. Between the original courtyard face of each wing and the modern additions there are four rectangular chimney stacks; the northernmost in the W. wing is original, but the four octagonal shafts with moulded caps and bases have been re-built with old material; three stacks in the E. wing are original below the roof; the others are modern. The house has been entirely remodelled inside, and the old fittings it contains have been brought from elsewhere.
b(5). Brookmans, ruins, and the stables, which are now used as a dwelling house, in a park 1¾ miles E. of the church. The original house was built c. 1680, but was burnt down in 1892, and only a few bare brick walls remain. The stables consist of a long rectangular red brick building, of two storeys, with a low-pitched slate roof. In one of the rooms is a 17th-century carved overmantel, with the date 1527 cut on it, which came from 'Gobions,' a house in the neighbourhood, pulled down early in the 19th century. On the W. side of the park is a brick gateway, with semi-circular arch, flanked by turrets, apparently of the same date as the house.
Condition—Of stables, good; the ruined walls of the house are to be pulled down.