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)xxviii. N.E. (b)xxix. N.W.)
a(1) Parish Church of St. Peter, stands in an isolated position about ¼ mile S.W. of the village; the walls are built of flint treated with thin cement; the roofs are tiled. In the 11th century the building consisted probably of a nave and chancel only; the Nave remains, but early in the 13th century the Chancel was re-built or lengthened, and later in the same century the South Aisle was added and a range of small clearstorey windows inserted above the arcade. In the 15th century the roof of the nave was renewed, and that of the aisle raised. The Tower appears to be of late 15th-century date, and the South Porch of the 16th century. The North Vestry is modern.
The church is interesting on account of the unusually early date of the clearstorey.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (28½ ft. by 15 ft.) has a late 15th or early 16th-century E. window of three lights, repaired, but with an original label outside. In the N. wall a modern doorway opens into the vestry, and in the S. wall are two early 13th-century lancet windows and a late 15th-century window of two lights under a square head. The chancel arch, possibly of the 14th century, is of two chamfered orders dying into the splayed jambs. The Nave (36½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has, high up in the N. wall, a small blocked window, with a round head of c. 1080, on each side of it is a late 15th-century window of two lights under a square head, and next to the chancel arch is the E. jamb and part of the rear arch of a blocked window, probably of the 13th century, destroyed when the 15th-century windows were inserted. The N. doorway, with a pointed arch, is almost entirely modern; over it is a small square window, probably inserted to light an 18th-century gallery which no longer exists. On the S. side is a 13th-century arcade of three bays; it has octagonal pillars and responds, with moulded bases and capitals, and pointed arches of two chamfered orders; over the pillars are the remains of two clearstorey windows of the same date, circular outside, and with round-headed rear-arches; they are now blocked and enclosed by the roof of the aisle. The South Aisle (7 ft. wide) has a late 15th-century E. window of two lights under a square head, and in the S. wall are two 13th-century lancets; the S. doorway was inserted in the middle of the 14th century, and has moulded jambs and a pointed arch, with a label outside, of which the stops are much defaced. The West Tower (12 ft. sq.) is of two stages, with diagonal buttresses on the W. side, an embattled parapet and a shingled spire; the centre is N. of the central line of the nave, the two N. walls being almost in a line; the tower arch is plain, of two chamfered orders dying into square jambs; the W. doorway is modern; over it is a single light, possibly a 13th-century lancet, re-used; the bell-chamber has original windows of two lights. The South Porch is built of timber and brick; the entrance is blocked by an 18th-century monument. The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century; it is ceiled with plaster below the rafters and collars, but the moulded tie-beams are exposed.
Fittings—Bells: six; five of 1673. Brass: in the S. aisle, of Thomas Pygott, 1610, with inscription, and arms. Communion Table: probably late 17th-century. Floor Slabs: in the chancel, part of Purbeck marble slab to Walter de Louthe, Rector, early 14th-century: in recess on S. side of chancel, fragments. Niche: in first pillar of nave arcade, probably for image. Piscina: in chancel, with trefoiled pointed head and scroll-moulded label, the bowl partly cut away, early 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1564, paten of 1662, paten of 1687, flagon of 1688, alms-dish of 1702, all silver. Stoup: near the S. doorway, deep oval recess, of rude workmanship. Miscellanea: sundial, scratched on a quoin S.E. of the chancel.
b(2) Queen Hoo, stands on high ground 1¼ miles N.N.E. of the church; it is of two storeys and attics, and was built c. 1560–70; the walls are of red brick with diamond patterns picked out in blue brick on the S. front, in the W. wall above the windows of the first floor and less distinctly in the E. wall; the bricks vary from 2¼ to 2¾ inches in thickness; the plinth round the building has at the top a course of moulded brickwork covered with cement; the roofs are tiled.
The building is a good specimen of a 16th-century country house, almost unaltered. The original mural painting is especially interesting.
The plan is roughly rectangular, but the S. front has a very shallow, projecting wing at each end; and the N. front has a larger wing E. of the centre, containing the stairs, and a low, modern addition on the E. The E. and W. walls are gabled, and the roof of the staircase wing is hipped. The small S. wings also have gables which rise well above the main eaves; each gable has three tall, round pinnacles, with moulded bases, and sides enriched with small triangular facets; the caps have disappeared. On the N. side are three projecting chimney stacks, with square detached shafts, set diagonally. All the windows are mullioned and have dressings of cement. There is an entrance in the N. wall, with a modern porch, another in the E. wall, to the kitchen, and two on the S. front, one opening into a passage which leads to the staircase. The kitchen, with a large, open fireplace, is on the E., and on the W. is the hall, or dining-room, with an original fireplace of dark brown stone, having moulded jambs and a flattened Tudor arch, with straight sides, in a square, moulded head. The parlour, or drawing-room, W. of the hall, has a similar fireplace. The partitions between these rooms have visible oak beams, varnished and apparently re-worked. In the small S.W. wing is a lobby leading to the parlour. The staircase has oak treads and a timber-framed central newel about 2 ft. 6 in. square, in which are several recesses. Two of the four rooms on the first floor have fireplaces like that in the hall, and one (over the kitchen) has a stone fireplace, with a moulded four-centred arch. Over the fireplace in the room above the parlour are the remains of a mural painting, in which the figure of a bearded man, in a long robe with a lace tippet, is kneeling before a bishop, in a mitre; behind him are several ladies in Elizabethan dress and ruffs, also kneeling, and in the background are two almost nude figures; the larger has a halo round his head, and his hand rests on what appears to be a large viola, the other is holding up his arms; the figures are painted red and part of the background is green.
An old wall surrounds a small, square garden S. of the house.
b(3). The Rectory, near the road N. of the church, is an 18th-century brick house, which has, on the E. side, part of a 17th-century timber building of two storeys, coated outside with 18th-century cement; the roof is tiled, and the central chimney stack is old, but is repaired at the top. The kitchen on the ground floor has a wide fireplace and a recess on the S. side. A room on the first floor is panelled in high and narrow divisions, partly of the 17th century, and above the fireplace are some moulded panels of the same date.
A Tithe Barn and a Stable, N.E. and E. of the house, are probably of the 17th century. The barn is of timber, covered with weather-boarding, and has a thatched roof. The stable is a brick and timber building, of two storeys; the roof is tiled.
Condition—Good, but the S. wall of the stable is covered with ivy.