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. xiii. N.E.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on high ground W. of the village, near Aspenden Hall, and is built of flint rubble with stone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The Nave and Chancel are probably of late 11th-century date, but the chancel was partly re-built and enlarged in the 13th century, the new work being slightly out of line with the old. The South Aisle is of c. 1340, and about half a century later the West Tower was built. In the 15th century the South Chapel was added, the E. wall of the nave destroyed to make room for the rood-loft, and the other walls of the nave were heightened. At the end of the century the aisle was widened and the South Porch built by Sir Robert Clifford. In 1622 the chapel was remodelled and the arcade built by Ralph Freman. The church has been much restored recently.
The chapel arcade is of especial interest as an unusual example of early 17th-century ecclesiastical architecture.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (16 ft. by 22 ft.) has a 15th-century E. window, restored. In the N. wall is a lancet window of early 13th-century date, a small round-headed window constructed entirely of flint rubble, which is the only 11th-century detail remaining in the church, and an early 16th-century low-side window of grotesque detail. On the S.E. is a 13th-century lancet window and the chapel arcade of 1622. The arcade has two-semi circular arches and octagonal columns, ornamented with flat arabesque work; the capitals are moulded and of semi-classical design. There is no chancel arch. The South Chapel (16½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a window in the E. wall and another in the S. wall, which, although probably original, were altered in the 17th century and have been much restored. Over the arcade to the chancel is a small shield with azure three lozenges argent (for Freman) and the date 1622. The Nave (39 ft. by 18½ ft.) has, on the N., two windows of the 15th century, much restored, with a blocked door of that date between them. The S. arcade, of c. 1340, has three arches of three chamfered orders on heavy octagonal columns with moulded capitals. Above the arcade is a modern clearstorey with dormer windows. The South Aisle (14½ ft. wide) has a S. and a W. window of late 15th-century date. The S. doorway, of the same date, is two-centred with a square outer order and spandrel cusping; over it is a shield with Clyfford impaling quarterly 1 and 4, a saltire engrailed on a chief two molets, a martlet for difference; 2 and 3 a cross engrailed, a martlet for difference. The West Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three stages with an embattled parapet restored with brick, and a lead-covered spirelet dated 1721. The tower arch, of late 14th-century date, is of two moulded orders with moulded and shafted jambs. The original W. window has been almost completely restored; under it is a small modern doorway The bell-chamber lights, also original, are much defaced. The South Porch (10 ft. by 9 ft.) has a two-centred, moulded and shafted entrance archway with a square outer order; in the spandrels are shields with the arms of Clyfford and Barley. The Roof of the nave is of early 15th-century date with plain queen-post trusses and curved strutting. The chapel and aisle roofs have moulded wall plates, principals, purlins, etc., all of late 15th-century date.
Fittings—Bells: eight; 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th, 1681. Brasses: on N. wall of nave, of civilian and his wife, with imperfect inscription, 1500 (see also below). Door: in S. aisle, oak, 17th-century. Font: octagonal, much scraped, probably late 15th-century. Monuments: in S. chapel, on S.E., altar tomb of Purbeck marble somewhat crudely worked, sides decorated with quatrefoil panels, canopy crested, frieze of quatrefoils, soffit panelled, a slab at back with brass of Sir Robert Clyfford, 1508, his wife and two daughters, indents of a religious emblem, figures of four sons, two shields with the arms of Clyfford and Barley, and scrolls; traces of coloured inlay; imperfect brass marginal inscription on the top slab: on E. wall of chapel, small tablets to Ralph Freman, 1665: Mrs. Elizabeth (Crouch) Freman, 1635: on S. wall of aisle, to Ralph Freman, 1634, and to William Freman, 1623, large, with half effigies: on S. wall of chapel, at E. end, outside, erected by Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, to his parents, in 1669.
Condition—Fairly good, except the spire and the top of the tower. Danger of serious damage owing to the roots of ivy growing in the lower courses of the walls.
(2). Homestead Moat, at Tannis Court, fragment.
(3). The Rectory, about 200 yds. S. of the church, is a timber-framed and plastered building of two storeys, the upper projecting. The dining room has moulded oak ceiling joists, probably of the 16th century.
Condition—Good; much restored.
(4). Aspenden Hall, N. of the church, was re-built in the middle of the 19th century. The entrance hall is linea with late 17th or early 18th-century oak panelling taken from the former house.
(5). Cottage, in the village, about 500 yds. E. of the church, on the N. side of the road, has timber-framed and plastered walls, with an overhanging upper storey; it is probably of the 17th century; the roofs are tiled.