St. Paul's Walden

Pages 196-198

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

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(O.S. 6 in. (a)xix. N.E. (b)xx. N.W. (c)xx. S.W.)


b(1). Parish Church of All Saints, stands on a hill 4½ miles S. of Hitchin, in an almost isolated position. It is faced with flint and has stone dressings, the chancel and chapel are plastered, and all the walls have embattled parapets. The roofs of different parts are of lead, slate, and tiles. The early history of the church has been obscured by later alterations; the oldest existing detail is a window of c. 1300 in the South Aisle. The West Tower is out of axis with the Nave, and this suggests certain developments in the building: the N. wall of the Nave is probably older than the windows, which are of c. 1320, while the S. arcade is contemporary with them, and the South Porch is possibly also of the 14th century. The walls of the S. aisle have been almost entirely re-built. The lower stage of the tower contains 14th-century details, but some of the walling may be of earlier date; the upper stage was built in the 15th century. The South Chapel was added early in the 16th century, and the Chancel was entirely re-built in the 18th century.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (30½ ft. by 16 ft.) is of Renaissance character, and is said to have been designed by Wren. The outer order of the chancel arch is probably of the 14th century, but the inner order has been replaced by 18th-century plaster work. The South Chapel (30½ ft. by 15 ft.) has an E. window of four cinque-foiled lights under a square head, and in the S. wall are three windows, each of three plain lights and square heads, partly restored, and a small four-centred doorway. In the N. wall is an arcade, blocked by 18th-century panelling, of four bays with clustered columns and four-centred arches. The W. arch is of similar detail. The Nave (55 ft. by 20 ft.) has a S. arcade of five bays of c. 1320, with octagonal shafts, moulded bases and capitals and pointed arches of two orders with a label; in the N. wall are three windows, also of c. 1320, each of two trefoiled lights with tracery, and a N. doorway, probably of the same date, but much restored. The 15th-century clearstorey has three windows on each side, of two cinque-foiled lights with modern tracery. The South Aisle (12½ ft. wide) has a window of c. 1300 in the S. wall, of three trefoiled lights with tracery and moulded rear-arch and label. E. of this window is a plain 14th-century doorway and two 15th-century windows, each of three cinque-foiled lights under segmental heads. In the W. wall is a blocked window of the same type, and in the N.W. angle is a four-centred doorway, leading to the stair-turret in the tower. The South Porch has an outer arch of two continuous chamfered orders, possibly of 14th-century date. The West Tower (12½ ft. square) is of two stages, and has large angle buttresses, a S.E. stair-turret and an embattled parapet. The tower arch is of two moulded orders springing from half-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases; the trefoiled single-light W. window, rebated internally for a wooden shutter, and the plain W. doorway, with two continuous hollow chamfers, are of the 14th century, as are the plain uncusped lancet lights on three sides, higher up in the ground stage. The four bell-chamber windows are of 15th-century style, probably copies of the original windows, and are of two lights with quatrefoil heads. All the Roofs are modern.

Fittings—Bells: six; five by Chandler, 1665. Font: octagonal embattled bowl with band of foliage in the middle; octagonal panelled shaft and moulded base; 15th-century. Glass: in W. window of tower, fragment, representing the Virgin and Child; heads and background 14th-century. Indents: at W. end of nave, floor slab with indents of two small shields and a partly defaced French inscription, 14th-century: slab with traces of indent: in the S. chapel, slab with indents of inscription plate and shield. Monuments: on W. wall of S. chapel, to Henry Stapleford, 1631, and his wife, 1620, kneeling figures, with shield and inscription. Piscina: at W. end of S. aisle, bowl, lying loose. Plate: includes standing paten and flagon of 1680. Screen: at W end of S. chapel, 15th-century, made up with modern work. Miscellanea: in the vestry, Desk and Bible-box, both 17th-century: in the S. aisle, pieces of Stone Coffin, the rest in the churchyard.

Condition—Good, owing to restorations. Most of the external stonework is modern.


b (2). Farm House, in the hamlet of Easthall, about ½ a mile E.N.E. of the church, is of late 17th-century date; the walls are of plastered brick, with a brick and timber addition at the W. end; the old bricks are 2½ inches thick. The roofs are tiled. There are two chimney stacks with panelled sides and over-sailing courses at the top. Inside the house there are some old ceiling beams.

Condition—Fairly good.

c (3). Leggats End, or Hoo End Grange, stands on a hill about 1¾ miles S.W. of the church. It is a 17th-century building, of two storeys, covered with rough-cast; the roof is tiled. The plan is rectangular, facing N., with a central hall, the living rooms on one side, the kitchen and offices on the other. The N. front has a large gable at each end and three smaller gables in the middle. One upper window has original wood mullions. The interior has been much altered, but there is some 17th-century panelling in the dining room and in one of the bedrooms, and two original doors on the first floor. Until lately the hall had a large open fireplace.


c (4). Hoo End Farm, about 1¾ miles S.W. of the church, is a long, two-storeyed building, probably of late 16th-century date; the upper storey is of timber, and almost the whole house is covered with rough-cast. The roof is tiled. The chimney stacks have plain brick shafts. The plan is rectangular, with a small wing at the S.W. end, which has an overhanging upper storey resting on two carved brackets. The front has four gables, and the windows are modern. One room on the ground floor is panelled, but has been painted.

Condition—Fairly good.

b (5). The Village Hall, on the E. side of the main street of the village of Whitwell, nearly a mile S.W. of the church, is a small rectangular two-storeyed building of the 17th century; the lower storey is faced with modern brick and the upper storey is timber-framed with pebble-dash filling. The roof is tiled. There are two dormer windows in front with diamond pattern glazing. At the N.W. end is a large projecting chimney stack with a plain shaft.


a(6). Farm House and Cottages, in the hamlet of Bendish, about 1¾ miles W. of the church. The Farm House is a small two-storeyed rectangular building of brick and timber; the front of the upper storey and the end gables are covered with rough-cast; the roof is tiled. A panel in the front bears the date 1663 and the initials T. V. At the W. end is a chimney stack with a moulded cap. It is said that John Bunyan used to preach in this house. The Cottages are of brick and timber, and probably of the 17th century.

Condition—Of Cottages, fairly good; the Farm House is unoccupied and in a dilapidated state. All the glass of the windows is broken and the rough-cast is falling off.