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. ix. N.W.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands close to the village, on the W. side of the main road. It is built of flint with stone dressings, which were renewed in 1861, when, the church was restored and most of the internal stone re-worked and cleaned, if not also entirely renewed. The Chancel was built probably in the 13th century, and the chancel arch was widened c. 1400. The Nave appears to have been widened, and the Aisles added early in the 15th century, but the N. arcade was possibly re-built later. The West Tower was also built early in the 15th century, the clearstorey added, and the nave re-roofed. In 1861 the tower was re-built from its foundations, and the Organ Chamber and Vestry were added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35 ft. by 16 ft.) has an E. window with old inner jambs and rear arch, and modern tracery. In the N. wall are two blocked lancets and a three-light window, and in the S. wall, a lancet and a two-light low-side window; they are all probably copies of the old windows. The chancel arch, of early 15th-century date, is of two moulded orders, with moulded jambs, capitals and label. The Nave (67 ft. by 19 ft.) has 15th-century N. and S. arcades of six bays with carved label stops; the capitals in the two arcades differ slightly in detail: the corbels supporting the roof are also carved, most of them as angels with shields, while three are of men in a crouching posture, and another is of a woman's head. The clearstorey has five windows on each side. The rood-loft stairs in the S.W. angle have been destroyed, but the doorway remains. The North and South Aisles (16 ft. wide) have modern windows of 15th-century character, and the S. doorway has been re-worked; the roof corbels resemble those in the nave. The South Porch is modern. The West Tower (14 ft. square) retains its 15th-century archway opening into the nave. The Roofs are modern.
Fittings—Brasses: in the S. aisle, of Robert Poynard, 1561, his two wives and four daughters: in the chancel, inscription to Ann, wife of John Rowley, 1613. Glass: in the E. windows of aisles, fragments of Jesse window, 15th-century. Floor Slab: in the chancel, to Ann, second wife of John Rowley, 1650. Gravestones: in the churchyard, to Richard Mills, 1698, George Grout, 1678, and Ann Grout, 1684. Piscina: in the chancel, 13th-century.
Condition—Very good; much restored.
(2). Mount and Bailey Castle, at Periwinkle Hill, ½ mile W. of the village, stands about 500 ft. above O.D. It is now almost level with the surrounding soil, but the plan is that of a small moated mount with a bailey on the N.E., partly sub-divided by a branch from the ditch which surrounds the whole. No traces of ramparts remain.
Dimensions—Length through mount and bailey, S.W. to N.E., 280 ft.; width, 230 ft.
Condition—Poor; being on arable land gradual effacement by ploughing is inevitable.
(3). Homestead Moat, at Parsonage Farm.
(4). Newsells House, nearly a mile N. of the church, is a two-storeyed brick building, probably of late 17th-century date, with modern additions. The plan was apparently rectangular, with two wings projecting slightly to the S., but in the 19th century the ground floor space between them was enclosed to form a hall, and other wings were added. A moulded stone cornice, enriched with brackets, and a parapet are carried round the building. The windows have wood sash frames. Most of the principal rooms have white marble fireplaces and ornamented plaster ceilings. On the dining room walls are carvings in wood of fruit and flowers in the style of Grinling Gibbons, and the mouldings of the doors and windows are also carved.
A stone mortar with handles, probably of the 15th century, is kept in one of the outbuildings, and in the walls of a "grotto" or summer house are fragments of 17th and 18th-century carved stones; two of them represent goats' heads in low relief.
(5). The Manor House, about 100 yards S. of the church, is a three-storeyed building of early 17th-century date. The walls, originally of plastered timber, were partly re-built in brick about the middle of the 17th century. The plan was L-shaped, but the addition of a wing in the 19th century has made it nearly square. In the curvilinear gables on the E. and S., part of the 17th-century rebuilding, are brick mullioned and transomed windows; the elevations on the N. and W. retain some of the original plastered timber work, considerably altered, and a few wood-framed casement windows. The chimney stacks carry separate octagonal shafts. The interior has been completely altered, but retains a stone fireplace with, a moulded four-centred arch and some early 17th-century panelling.
(6). House, about 100 yards E. by S. of the church, built of plastered timber early in the 17th century; the roofs are tiled. The plan is of the central chimney type, but with an extra parlour on the N. and a further extension pierced by an arch opening into the yard at the back. The W., or street front, has three symmetrically designed overhanging gables carried on moulded bressumers, which are supported by carved brackets. The chimney stacks are finished with separate octagonal shafts. The windows and interior were much altered in the 18th and 19th centuries.
(7). Small Houses and Cottages, built of timber and plaster, are of late 16th and early 17th-century date; some of the roofs are tiled, and others thatched. All the buildings have been much repaired, and many of them refronted in the 18th century.