Pages 41-42

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

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10. ASTON.

(O.S. 6 in. xxi. N.W.)


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands on high ground W. of the village. It is built of flint with stone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead The Chancel and Nave are of c. 1230, the West Tower was added late in the 14th or early in the 15th century, and towards the end of the 15th century the church was repaired and re-roofed, and windows were inserted. It was again restored in 1850 and in 1883, when a North Vestry, North Aisle, and South Porch were built, and the walls re-faced with flint.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (28½ ft. by 13½ ft.) has in the N. wall the jambs and rear arch of a 13th-century lancet window, and in the S. wall two 16th-century windows, repaired. The E. window is modern. The chancel arch, with capitals much mutilated to admit the rood screen, is probably of the 16th century. The Nave (45 ft. by 22 ft.) has few original details; the N. arcade and the S. windows are modern, but the walls are probably of the 13th century. The Tower (16½ ft. square) is of two stages, and retains the original arch opening to the nave, a repaired W. doorway, and a large traceried window above it, also original. The windows of the bell-chamber have wood frames and mullions. The Roofs of the chancel and nave are of the 15th century, and low pitched.

Fittings—Bells: six, 2nd and 3rd by Miles Gray, 1629, 5th 1629, re-cast 1840. Brass: on floor of nave, of John Kent and his wife, 1592, with inscription. Communion Table: 17th-century. Glass: in the W. window, a little white and gold glass, 15th-century. Piscina: in the chancel, large, double, divided by a central pillar, with single drain, c. 1230. Plate: includes cup, cover paten, and paten, of 1571: and cup of 1612. Pulpit: octagonal, panelled oak, c. 1630. Screen: a good example of c. 1520, with head tracery.

Condition—Good; much modern work.


(2). Aston Bury, house and moat, about a mile S.E. of the church. The house is three-storeyed, built of red brick in the second half of the 16th century, on the site of a mediæval building, of which some of the walling remains; the roofs are tiled.

It is a fine example of an Elizabethan house, and the external walls remain practically intact; the detail of the chimneys is unusually rich, and there are two good 16th-century staircases.

The plan is rectangular, with two projections on the S. front, and a modern addition on the S.W. There are two chimney stacks at each end of the house, and two more near the inner angles of the S. projections; the circular shafts are moulded in various designs, twisted, honeycombed, zig-zag, etc., and have moulded caps with projecting spurs, and octagonal bases; one pair on the W. has been re-built, the second pair restored at the top, and many of the spurs have been renewed.

The North Elevation, is unbroken; in the 17th century the four gables were made curvilinear, the original lines being visible on the brick facing; the windows have double splayed brick jambs, square lintel's, and moulded oak frames with mullions and transoms. Above the ground floor windows is a moulded string-course, and above the first floor windows a deep brick cornice. The third storey windows are in the gables. The South Elevation has two large projections which contain the staircases; they are of the same height as the main building and have pointed gables corbelled at the feet; old windows in the staircases have been opened recently and the brickwork restored. The flint rubble walling of the original building can be seen in situ in the base of the N. wall and in the centre of the S. front, where it comes up to the lintels of the ground floor windows. There is also a built up arch in clunch, and indications of other arches. Flint rubble has been re-used in the S. projections, and clunch stones, probably quoins, in the S.E. wall.

Interior—During the 18th and 19th centuries the internal plan of the building was much altered, but it is now being restored to its original condition as far as it can be ascertained. The main entrance in the centre of the N. front retains only one original door post. The old oak door, repaired, is now in the porch. The hall on the E. has an original wide four-centred brick fireplace. There are rooms E. and W. of the hall, and the kitchen at the extreme W. has a large open fireplace and an original doorway and oak door. In the cellar directly below the hall is a well. The plan of the first floor has been altered, and the attic, now divided by partitions, has old passages on both sides, and two four-centred brick fireplaces. The staircases in the projecting wings are of solid oak, and have wide moulded handrails, and turned balusters; the E. staircase has obelisk finials; the W. staircase has pierced newel finials and mouldings of different detail from the other. Both are in excellent preservation. The panelling and most of the internal fittings have been recently inserted.

The moat consists of three disconnected ponds; during recent excavations a brick wall was discovered which may have formed the revetment to the island.

Condition—Of house, good. Of moat, poor.