BHO

Westmill

Pages 236-237

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

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Citation:

In this section

142. WESTMILL.

(O.S. 6 in. xiv. S.W.)

Ecclesiastical

(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands at the E. end of the village. It is built of flint rubble with clunch dressings, and has longand-short work, of Barnack stone, at the S.E. angle of the nave; in the E. gable is some Roman brick. The tower is coated with cement. The Nave is pre-Conquest; the plan of the Chancel and possibly parts of the walls are of the same period, although the earliest details are of the 13th century. The North Aisle was added c. 1190, and the chancel arch re-built c. 1330–40. The West Tower was built late in the 15th century. In 1875 the church was thoroughly restored, the chancel re-roofed, and a Vestry and South Porch were added.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (25 ft. by 15 ft.) has a modern E. window; the lancet windows in the N. and S. walls are modern, but may replace the 13th-century lights. The internal jambs of the S. doorway are probably of the 14th century; above it is a single-light window of the 13th century, with rebated jambs and a square head. The two-centred chancel arch is of the 14th century; it is of two moulded orders with a label on both sides, and is supported on responds with three large engaged shafts. The Nave (41 ft. by 21 ft.) retains, on the S.E., an angle of pre-Conquest long-and-short work in perfect preservation. In the N. wall are two late 12th-century pointed arches with single splayed edges, labels and moulded abaci; between them is a rectangular pier, cut flush with the face of the wall; at the E. end of the wall there is a modern opening, over which is a blocked doorway to the former rood-loft. The stonework of the S. window and doorway is modern. The North Aisle (12 ft. wide) has two modern windows in the N. walls. The brick jambs, head and label of the W. window are of c. 1530; in a buttress are some re-used 'long-and-short' stones. The Tower (14 ft. square) is of three stages, with embattled parapet and small lead spire, and has buttresses at the angles. The tower arch, of late 15th-century date, reaches to the roof of the high nave; it is two-centred and of three splayed orders, the mouldings being continued down the jambs without capitals. The W. doorway has canopied niches in the moulded splays and figures of angels with censers in the spandrels, all much decayed and repaired with cement. The three-light W. window and the four windows of the bell-chamber, each of two lights, are also repaired with cement. There are gargoyles in the centre of the string courses below the parapet. The Roof of the nave is probably of the 15th century.

Fittings—Bells: five; 3rd early 15th-century, inscribed "Sancta Margareta Ora Pro Nobis," 4th by William Rofford, probably c. 1350, 5th 1616. Communion Rail: with twisted balusters, late 17th-century. Font: of clunch, octagonal, with panelled sides, late 15th-century. Niche: in E. respond of nave arcade. Plate: includes cup of 1562, cover paten without hall marks, dated 1630, and a large paten of 1713. Seating: in the chancel, with early 16th-century standards: in the aisle, several benches with buttressed ends and moulded rails, 16th-century; in the nave, a similar bench.

Condition—Good; much restored.

Secular

(2). Westmill Bury, S.E. of the church, has a mediæval barn, of ten bays, each of 16 ft.; it is timber-framed and covered with weather-boarding; the roof is thatched. The large queen-post trusses are of oak, and reach from the floor to the roof.

Condition—Good.