Pages 30-31

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)xxv. N.E. (b)xxv. S.E.)


b (1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist stands near the centre of the village. It is built of flint with stone dressings, the latter chiefly modern; the roofs are covered with lead. The narrow Nave probably retains the width of an original nave, a break in the masonry of the S. arcade marking its eastern limit. About 1220 the present Chancel was built on the E. of the older chancel, the area of which was thrown into the nave. The nave arcades and probably the Aisle walls are of early 14th-century date, but may replace older work. The eastern part of the N. aisle is wider than the rest, and this may be connected with the foundation of a chantry here in 1335. The North Chapel was built probably early in the 14th century, but has been much restored. The lower part of the West Tower is of late 14th-century date; the upper part was re-built in the 15th century. The South Porch with upper chamber was completely restored in the 19th century.

The Whittingham monument, with effigies and heraldic shields, and the screen enclosing it are especially fine examples of 15th-century work of this character.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (27 ft. by 13½ ft.) has one 13th-century lancet window in the N. wall, and a second, low in the S. wall, restored outside. The N. arcade, the E. window, and a window and doorway in the S. wall, are modern. At the S.W. is a squint to the S. aisle. The North Chapel (27 ft. by 13 ft.) has an E. window of three lights, and a N. window of two lights; in both the tracery has been renewed. The Nave (56 ft. by 13½ ft.) has arcades of five bays with arches of two hollow-chamfered orders and octagonal pillars; the two eastern bays of the N. arcade are modern; only the interiors of the clearstorey windows are old. The North Aisle (13 ft. at the E. end and 10½ ft. at the W.) has a 14th-century arch at the E. end opening to the chapel, and on the N.E. a window, originally of three trefoiled lights of the 14th century, with a fourth light added in the 15th century. In the N. wall are also two square-headed windows, each of two lights, and a plain doorway; in the W. wall is a window of two lights with tracery; all the stone work of windows and doorway is modern. In the South Aisle (10½ ft. wide) the E. bay is cut off by a 15th-century stone screen, enclosing a tomb, both brought from Ashridge in 1575. In the S. wall is a window of four lights, and on each side of the S. doorway a window of two lights, with another in the W. wall, all of modern stonework. The West Tower (13 ft. by 11 ft.) is of three stages, with embattled parapet; the tower arch is of the 14th century; the windows of the bell-chamber are modern. The South Porch retains its old stone benches and pointed entrance, much restored.

Fittings—Bells: 1st 1634, 2nd 1655, tenor 1683; framework 1681. Brasses and Indents: on E. respond of N. arcade in nave, of John Davies (?), 1478, small figure with inscription: in S. aisle, inscription recording the history of the Whittingham monument (see below) and its removal from Ashridge: in N. aisle, slab with indents of a shield and inscription. Glass: in window W. of N. doorway, remains of canopies and figure subjects, 15th and 16th-century. Lectern: wooden, 16th-century. Monuments: at E. end of S. aisle, raised tomb with effigies of Sir Robert Whittingham, 1471, and his wife, formerly at Ashridge; the knight is in plate armour with mail skirt, and wears a collar of SS and a short surcoat on which are the arms of Whittingham; his head rests on a helm. The sides of the tomb are panelled, and contain the following shields:—on the W. end, between female supporters, azure two cheverons or and a quarter argent with a paschal lamb gules, quartering Whittingham, argent a fesse vert, over all a lion's gules; on the E. end, an armed man between shields of Whittingham and Verney, azure a cross argent with five pierced molets gules thereon; on the N. side, five shields; (1) Verney quartering the coat on the W. end of the tomb, and Whittingham (2) an armed man standing, (3) Whittingham impaling Bockland, sable a garter between three square buckles or (4) as (2), (5) as (1); on the S. side, (1) as (1) on N., (2) Verney, (3) as (3) on N., (4) Verney, (5) Bray, argent a cheveron between three eagles' legs razed sable, quartered with another Bray, vair three bends gules, with an escutcheon quarterly of Halliwell, or a bend gules with three goats argent thereon, Boteler, gules a fess checky argent and sable between six crosslets or, Norbury, argent a cheveron engrailed between three bulls' heads cabossed sable, and Sudley, or two bends gules: near the tomb are two funeral helms: in N. chapel, Purbeck marble altar tomb, with brasses of Sir Ralph Verney, 1546, his wife, twelve children and four shields: on N. wall of chapel, monument to Thomas Hyde, 1570, and his son, 1580: in N. aisle, coffin lid, much worn, with traces of a raised cross. Niches: at E. end of N. aisle, canopied, 14th-century: in outer wall at E. end of clearstorey, another, containing a defaced carving. Painting: on splay of N. window of chancel, slight traces of diaper pattern. Piscina: in N. chapel at S.E., with cinque-foiled head, c. 1400. Plate: includes vase-shaped secular cup, 1514, used as chalice. Screen: in S. aisle, enclosing the Whittingham monument, of pierced stone, imperfect, 15th-century (see above). Seating: incorporates a considerable amount of old material. Sedile: adjoining piscina in chapel, c. 1400; much scraped. Tiles: in floor of various parts of the church, mediæval, glazed. Miscellanea: in N. aisle, carved stone corbel, apparently 13th-century: in N. wall of chancel recess with four-centred head, 15th-century. Sundial: in churchyard on wooden post, 17th-century.

Condition—Good throughout.

b(2). House, about 100 yds. E. of the church, opposite the pond, probably built in the 16th, and altered in the 17th century. It is of two storeys, the upper projecting. The walls are of timber and brick; the roofs are tiled. A room on the ground floor has a little 17th-century panelling, and a stone fireplace with a four-centred head and, scratched in one spandrel, the date 1516.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(3). Cottages and Almshouses, in the village, are of the 16th and 17th centuries. Some of the cottages are of brick and timber; others, including the almshouses, are pargetted. The roofs are thatched.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(4). Stocks and Whipping Post, E. of the churchyard.



b(5). Denehole, ¾ mile S. of the church.

a(6). Lines of Entrenchment, at Aldbury Nowers (or Ours); two, parallel.