Pages 238-240

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

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In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxvii. N.E. (b)xxvii. S.E. (c)xxviii. N.W. (d)xxviii. S.W.)


c(1). Parish Church of St. Helen, stands in the middle of the village. It is built of flint rubble with stone dressings; the roofs of the nave, transepts and chancel are covered with slate, and those of the aisles with lead. No exact date can be assigned to the first church which apparently consisted of an apsidal chancel, a central tower with transepts, and a nave. Of the walls of this church probably only those of the Nave remain, but the foundations of the apse have been discovered below the floor. The present Chancel was built c. 1230, and the central Tower was re-built towards the end of the 13th century. The South Aisle of the nave was added early in the 14th century. A little later in the century the west end of the Nave was re-built and the North Aisle was added. The North Transept was re-built c. 1330–40, and the South Transept soon afterwards. The South Porch was built c. 1350. The two-storeyed North Vestry was added c. 1380, but was altered and enlarged in 1897. The whole church was restored in 1865–6, and the N. porch re-built.

The church contains some excellent 14th-century detail, especially in the windows of the transepts. The carved reredos, in the N. transept, and other fittings are also of interest.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (45½ ft. by 20 ft.) has three large 13th-century lancet windows in the E. wall, with moulded rear arches and shafted jambs having moulded bases and capitals. The windows in the N. wall and the string course round the walls are of the same date, c. 1230. The S. windows were inserted c. 1380; two are of two lights and the third of three lights, all with tracery. The Central Tower (20½ ft. square) is of two stages, and has a broach spire covered with lead, restored in 1865. The four lofty arches are each of three chamfered orders with plain piers and moulded capitals. The bell-chamber windows of two lights are modern. The North Transept (27½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has a large N. window of five lights with net tracery, of c. 1335; in the E. wall is a similar window of three lights, with the sill carried down to support a reredos (see fittings). The South Transept (27 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a S. window of four lights with net tracery, of the same date as that in the opposite wall, and an E. window, also of the 14th century, of three lights with tracery and feathered cusping. The Nave (45 ft. by 21½ ft.) has a S. arcade of three bays with octagonal pillars, which have moulded bases and capitals, and arches of two chamfered orders, all of early 14th-century date. The N. arcade is of slightly later date, but is similar in design, except the mouldings of the capitals. The W. doorway has an arch of c. 1320, enriched with ball flower ornament; the jambs are modern. The W. window is modern. The clearstorey has four small quatrefoil windows on each side, with modern external stonework. The North Aisle (10½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, three 14th-century windows of two lights with restored tracery. The N. doorway has splayed jambs and a moulded arch, modern except the inner orders of the arch. The South Aisle (10½ ft. wide) has a window of c. 1430–40, with three cinque-foiled lights under a low arched head, a 14th-century window of two lights with tracery, and a S. doorway with shallow moulded jambs and arch. The South Porch has an entrance archway of two chamfered orders; the moulded capitals and bases of the jambs are modern.

Fittings—Brasses and Indents: in the N. transept, of Hugh Bostok and Margaret Macry, his wife, c. 1436, the parents of John Wheathampstead, Abbot of St. Albans; inscription, and one corner shield with arms of Heyworth, argent three bats sable; indents for six children, and three shields: of a civilian and his wife, c. 1510, and eight children, without inscription; the brasses of children do not fit the indents: of John Heyworth and his wife, 1520, nine children, four shields, and inscription: in the S. transept, of a lady, headless figure, indent of knight (one leg in brass), 15th-century, indents of inscription, etc.: in the chancel several indents. Font: with octagonal panelled and carved bowl, clustered shafts with moulded bases and capitals, early 14th-century. Glass: in E. window of N. transept, fragments, 14th-century. Monuments and Floor Slabs: in the chancel, mural tablet to Nicholas Bristow, 1584, servant of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth, also to his great grandson, Nicholas Bristow, 1626, and several children: mural tablet to Thomas Stubbinger, merchant, and Rector of the parish, 17th-century, with three shields: on the floor, N. side, to Elizabeth Hunsdon, 1695: in the N. transept, on E. wall, to John Heyworth, 1558, his wife, three children, white marble, incised kneeling figures, arms and inscription: on W. wall, large monument, in coloured marbles, with recumbent effigies of a knight in plate armour, c. 1637, and his wife; figures of six sons and eight daughters in high relief, arms and inscription to Elizabeth, wife of Sir John Garrard, Bart., 1632, and to Isabella Garrard, their grandchild, died 1677: mural tablet to Sir John Garrard, Bart., 1686, and Jane his wife, 1692, with inscription and arms: floor slab to Alice, wife of Jonas Bailey, of Mackerye End, 1642: in S. transept, altar tomb of Sir John Brocket, 1558, and his wife, recumbent alabaster figures, the knight in plate armour; sides of tomb panelled, eight small figures in relief and shields of arms; marginal inscription; traces of paint and gilding remain: floor slabs to Edward Brocket, 1669: to Mary, wife of John Brocket, 1669: in the N. aisle, recess, probably for the tomb of the founder or builder of the aisle, 14th-century. Piscinae: in the chancel, small, with crocketted canopy, 15th-century: in the S. transept, with projecting basin broken off, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover of 1648, the rim apparently added to the cover in 1841; flagon and paten given between 1673 and 1708. Pulpit: hexagonal, with panelled sides, 17th-century, originally belonged to the chapel in Lamer Park. Reredos: below E. window of N. transept, seven stone canopied niches, with leafy crockets, and foliage in the spandrels, carving not entirely finished. Screen: across the N. transept, early 17th-century, apparently made up from the W. gallery pulled down in 1865. Seating: in the N. transept, two seats, dated 1631, from the Lamer Park chapel. Tiles: at base of font, mediæval.

Condition—Good throughout.


c(2). Lamer House, stands in a park, about 1¼ miles N. of the church. It is an 18th-century building, but in the garden is an early 17th-century Arch which belonged to the main entrance of the original house, and in the windows of the dairy, formerly the chapel, is some 17th-century Glass. The semi-circular moulded arch is of stone with shields in the spandrels; in the left shield, arms of Garrard, a fesse with a lion passant thereon and a crescent for difference; the right shield has a cheveron between three crescents. On each side of the arch is a fluted column with moulded capitals and bases, supporting an entablature with circular flower ornaments in the frieze. The glass in the dairy windows is heraldic, the shields being as follows:—(1) Garrard, argent a fesse sable with a lion passant argent thereon. Badge of Ulster and a crescent for difference. Above is a mantled helm and crest, and below is the date 1632. (2) The royal arms of the Stuarts impaling a coat of five pieces; over all an escutcheon of two pieces within another of four pieces. (3) Garrard impaling argent three pales gules, over all a cheveron or; dated 1632. (4) Quarterly 1 and 4 Garrard, 2 and 3 argent a fesse azure between three crescents azure with a molet for difference. (5) Garrard impaling gules a cheveron vair between three lambs argent. (6) Garrard impaling argent two cheverons gules; dated 1610.

Condition—Of arch, damaged at base, restored at top, otherwise fairly good. Of glass, fairly good.

a(3). Mackerye End, about 1½ miles N.W. of the village, is a red brick house of two storeys and attics, built late in the 16th century. The roofs are tiled. It consists of a main block, running nearly N. and S., with a wing at each end projecting towards the E. The S. wing also once projected towards the W., as there is an original wide fireplace, now disused, in the W. wall, on the side towards a late 17th-century T-shaped extension; this extension is built of plastered timber with brick filling. S. of it is a modern kitchen wing, and the corridor, etc., at the back of the main block is also modern. The wings of the E. front are finished with curvilinear pedimented gables; the N. gable contains the date 1665, probably recording the time when the gables were altered; they possibly originally resembled the gable at the W. end of the N. wing, which is straight. All the principal windows have a slightly projecting brick margin. The wings on the E. front have two large 16th-century chimney stacks with octagonal shafts and moulded bases and capitals. Interior: The principal entrance is through a brick porch in the centre of the E. front, opening into the 16th-century hall, now divided by a passage into two rooms; in one room is the original fireplace, and the other is panelled in oak and has a richly carved 17th-century overmantel. In the library a similar overmantel has been grained and varnished; one of the bedrooms also contains a little panelling. The main staircase, at the N. end of the house, is of massive oak, and probably of early 18th-century date.


c(4). Wheathampstead Place, now known as Place Farm, about 300 yards N.E. of the church, is a two-storeyed house, built in the 16th century, and considerably altered in the 19th century. The W. front faces the road and is covered with cement, but the other old walls are of thin bricks. The roofs are tiled. At the S. end are two chimney stacks with tall octagonal shafts, moulded bases and re-built caps. Much of the panelling inside the house has been removed, but in the kitchen is a late 16th-century carved overmantel and a shield charged with the Brocket arms. On the first floor is another overmantel of about the same date but plainer, and there are some remains of panelling in two rooms. Part of the staircase is also original.

The boundary wall near the road is of brick, and in it is a blocked doorway with moulded stone jambs and a four-centred head. In another brick wall are several small recesses.

Condition—Fairly good.

c(5). The Bull Inn, about 160 yards N.E. of the church, is a long, two-storeyed building of the 17th century. The walls are of plastered timber with brick filling; the roof is tiled.


c, d(6). Cottages, several, near the church, and two cottages near the schools are of the 17th century, built of plastered timber and brick.

Condition—Fairly good.

a(7). Creswell Farm, about a mile from Wheathampstead, on the road to Batford Mill, is a small 17th-century house of two storeys and an attic, and has an extension of one storey on the S.W. The old walls are of timber covered with basket-work pargetting; the roofs are tiled. All the windows are modern. In the kitchen, and also in the extension, are wide, open fireplaces and some 17th-century oak panelling.


b(8). Cross Farm, about ¾ of a mile E. of Harpenden Common, is a long, rectangular brick building of two storeys, with gables and a projecting porch on the N.W. front. It was probably built in the 16th century of timber and plaster, but was re-faced with brick late in the 17th century. A small block at the S.W. end, built of timber with brick filling, was apparently added in the 17th century before the rest of the house was re-faced. The roofs are tiled. The casement windows are glazed with square and diamond-shaped panes, and the gables have brick coping. There are three chimney stacks with square shafts built of thin bricks. The porch has a late 17th-century panelled door. A room at the N.E. end has early 17th-century panelling with a carved frieze, and in the ceiling is a 16th-century beam with moulded edges and stops; the fireplace is partly original, and has chamfered brick jambs. Another room, at the S.W. end, has a wide, open fireplace. The stairs are of plain oak. At the back of the house is a small outbuilding of brick and timber, and in front is a long narrow range of timber buildings on a brick base, terminating at the N.E. end in a small two-storeyed brick and timber house; all are of the 17th century, much restored.