Brent Pelham

Pages 69-71

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)ix. S.E. (b)xiv. N.E.)


a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on high ground N. of the village; the walls are of flint rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are tiled. The Nave and Chancel were built c. 1350, and the West Tower about a century later. In the 19th century a South Porch and a North Organ Chamber were added, and the whole church was much restored.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (26 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a modern E. window and two small two-light windows with simple tracery, of c. 1350, one in the S. wall, the other re-set in the N. wall of the organ chamber. In the S. wall is a small doorway which retains only a few original stones. The chancel arch, also of c. 1350, is of two moulded orders with triple-shafted jambs. The Nave (50½ ft. by 28 ft.) has three windows in the N. wall and three in the S. wall, of which only the internal openings are original; the N. and S. doorways, of two wave - moulded orders, are original, but the former is blocked. The West Tower (12 ft. by 10½ ft.) is of three stages, with moulded plinth, embattled parapet and small lead-covered spire. In the S.W. angle is a newel staircase. The tower arch, of two moulded orders with shafted jambs, the pointed W. doorway with square outer order and traceried spandrels, the three-light W. window with tracery, and the bell-chamber windows of two lights are all original.

Fittings—Bells: four, 1st and 2nd 1634, 4th 1637. Brass: in the nave, of Mary, 1625, and Anne, 1627, the wives of Francis Rowley, with inscription. The S. Door retains its original tracery (mid 14th-century), much scraped, and on a new backing. Monument: in a recess in N. wall of nave, large black marble slab, late 13th-century, decorated in high relief with a foliate cross, the symbols of the Evangelists, and other figures; an 18th-century inscription painted on the back of the recess ascribes it to Piers Shonks, 1086. Plate: includes a cup of 1628. Screen: at W. end of nave, modern, but incorporates some traceried heads from a 15th-century screen. Miscellanea: on a buttress on N. wall of nave, two deeply cut crosses, probably consecration crosses.

Condition—Good; much restored.


Homestead Moats

b(2). At Down Hall, consists of two ponds in the farmyard.

a(3). 'Chamberlain's' Moat, ¾ mile N. of the church, with wet ditch, and traces of an inner rectangular enclosure.

Condition—Good, except S.E. arm.

b(4). 'Shonks'' Moat, about a mile S.E. of the church, encloses two islands. The ditch of one is wet, that of the other is dry and much denuded.

a(5). Brent Pelham Hall, E. of the church, is of two storeys and an attic, built in 1608, as indicated by a dated stone still remaining; it was then timber-framed, but a brick casing was added later in the 17th century; a print of 1698 shows the house in its present condition. The roofs are tiled. The plan is E-shaped; the slightly projecting middle bay, in which is the principal entrance with a porch, has a pediment head, and the shallow wings at each end have hipped roofs. A plain brick string-course marks the first floor level, and the eaves and pediment have moulded wood cornices with modillions. The windows have "outside" sash frames. The ends of the house resemble the front, but modern additions have been made at the back. The chimney stacks are original, and have octagonal and round shafts, moulded in twisted, honeycomb, and other patterns, with moulded caps and bases. The porch opens into a large hall, which occupies the whole space between the wings, and has a stone fireplace with a Tudor arch, and an early 17th-century oak mantelpiece; the walls are lined with oak panelling of that date. The drawing room in the wing at the S. end has similar panelling and fireplace. In the dining room, at the other end of the building, is a later 17th-century fireplace on which are the arms of Floyer, a cheveron between three arrows, impaling Boothby, on a canton a lion's paw, a crescent for difference. Another fireplace in the upper storey has the Floyer arms, and on the stairs at the N. end of the house is a shield with Floyer impaling Boothby. About 1640 the house passed into the possession of Francis Floyer, who married Martha Boothby. Two other mid 17th-century fireplaces, of clunch, with oak overmantels, have recently been brought to this house, with some of the panelling, from the 'Beeches.'


b(6). The Beeches, formerly the Manorhouse, now a farmhouse, about 1 mile E. by S. of the church, was built early in the 17th century of plastered timber with brick foundations; the roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped, but not of the normal type. The main block, facing S.S.E., originally contained a hall and parlour, but was much altered, both inside and out, in the 18th and 19th centuries. The short wing contains the kitchen and offices, and the original newel stairs are in a square weather-boarded turret in the re-entering angle. The first floor contains a number of bedrooms opening into each other; the attic is open throughout. At each end of the main block is a large chimney stack with octagonal shafts and moulded caps; in both stacks are small brickmoulded, mullioned windows which light the attic. At the back is a third chimney stack, and E.N.E. of the kitchen wing is a fourth. Many of the windows are original, with wood frames and mullions, and metal casements. Part of the original ceiling of the hall, with raised moulding in a honeycomb pattern, also remains. In the attic is a 17th-century fire-place with a plain four-centred head. All the original panelling and mantelpieces were removed to Brent Pelham Hall in the 19th century.

Condition—Fairly good; interior defaced; kitchen chimney stack has settled badly.

a(7). The Stocks and Whipping Post, near the S. gate of the churchyard, are of the usual type, with six holes; the post is at one end, and has an iron staple with three wrist holes, bound by a padlock.


a (8). Tumulus, moated, W. of Cole Green.

Condition—Fairly good.