Pages 81-83

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)xx. N.E. (b)xx. S.W. (c)xx. S.E.)

b(1). Parish Church of St. Giles, ⅓ mile N.E. of the village, is built of flint rubble with stone dressings; the roofs are partly of lead and partly of tiles. The early history cannot be traced with certainty, as the church was completely restored in 1853, when the S. aisle was lengthened westwards to form a vestry. The ground stage of the West Tower and the old S. wall of the South Aisle may be part of the church dedicated by Ralph, Bishop of Rochester (1109–14). The Nave was possibly re-built in the 13th century, and the nave arcade c. 1312, when, it is said, the South or Dacre Chapel was added; the arcade between the Chancel and chapel and the chancel arch may also be of this date. The upper stages of the tower are of the 15th century, and the South Porch is modern.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. by 12 ft.) has modern E. and N. windows; on the S. the arcade opening into the chapel is of two bays with arches of two chamfered orders, and octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The South Chapel (17 ft. by 15½ ft.), now used as an organ chamber, has a modern E. window and S. doorway; the W. arch and the arch opening into the nave resemble the chancel arcade in detail. The Nave (46 ft. by 17½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, a lancet window which may be of early 13th-century date, much restored; the other windows, with those of the clearstorey, which was probably built in the 15th century, are of modern stonework. The S. arcade of four bays has similar detail to that of the chancel arcade, but the bases are apparently of the 13th century. The South Aisle (63½ ft. by 13 ft.) has three windows and a doorway of the 19th century in the S. wall, which is 3 ft. 8 in. thick, except at the western extension. The West Tower (14 ft. by 13 ft.) is of three stages, with a stair-turret at the S.W. angle rising only to the top of the ground stage, which has walls 5 ft. 2 in. thick. The heavy, 15th-century tower arch is of two orders; the W. doorway and the three-light window above it are of 19th-century stonework, and the windows of the bell-chamber are much restored.

Fittings—Doors: on the S. door, iron scroll work, possibly 12th-century: on stair turret door in the tower, old strap hinges. Plate: small engraved cup, 1558, cover paten, 1568. Pulpit: hexagonal, with carved panelling, early 17th-century.

Condition—Good, owing to extensive restorations.


b(2). The Bury, about 200 yards S. of the church, is a red brick house, of three storeys and basement, with a plain parapet and a low-pitched roof, built about the middle of the 17th century. On the S.W., or main front, the walling of the lower storeys is divided into large arched panels, and the doorway is flanked by brick pilasters and niches, now covered with cement. The rest of the walling is quite plain. The plan is almost square, and has a room on each side of the entrance lobby, which leads into a square hall, enlarged by a third room being thrown into it. At the back are the kitchen, offices, etc.

Interior—Two rooms on the ground floor and one on the first floor have 17th-century panelling and carved overmantels. One fireplace has a cast-iron fire-back ornamented with fleurs-de-lis; some of the rooms have original doors, and in the ceilings are some rough beams. The staircase, reaching from the ground to the second floor, is of the 17th century, and has square newals with ornamented tops and pendants, and a massive moulded handrail with flat carved and moulded balusters; these are all repeated on the side against the wall.


b(3). The George and Dragon Inn, on the main road about ½ mile S.W. of the church, is a narrow rectangular building of the 17th century; the walls are of brick and timber; the roofs are tiled. The upper storey projects at each end of the front, which is covered with modern rough-cast, and has three gables; the back, also with three gables, retains some of the original plaster. The two brick chimney stacks have square clustered shafts, partly restored. All the windows have been restored. Inside the house are a few old beams and, in the parlour, a large open fireplace.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(4). Cottage, adjoining the S. end of the 'George and Dragon,' originally one of a group, is a small, 17th-century building, one room wide, with an overhanging upper storey; the front is plastered, and the roof is tiled. The shafts of the two chimney stacks are built of thin roofing tiles; one is square, the other octagonal with concave sides.

Condition—Both the chimney stacks need repointing, and one is in danger of falling over.

b(5). Two Cottages, on the W. side of the main street, almost opposite the 'George and Dragon,' are two-storeyed, 17th-century buildings of brick and timber, with modern brick bases; the front of one cottage is plastered; the roofs are tiled. The only original chimney stack has two square shafts set diagonally, built of thin bricks.

Condition—Fairly good.

c(6). Drivers End Farm, about ¾ mile N. of the church, is a small, 17th-century building of two storeys, the lower of brick, the upper of plastered timber. It is of rectangular plan, with a central chimney stack, built of thin bricks. On the ground floor are two rooms with lobby, chimney stack and staircase between them. The kitchen has an original fireplace, now reduced to take a modern grate, and with its chimney-corner seats inside small cupboards; in the ceiling is an old, heavy beam.


c(7). Lower Farm (formerly 'Troopers Stables'), nearly a mile N. of the church, is a small, two-storeyed house of late 16th-century date, facing S.E.; the lower storey is built of flint with brick quoins and a brick plinth, except the N.E. end, which is of modern brick; the S.W. wall of the upper storey is covered with rough-cast, and the other walls are of timber with brick filling; the roofs are tiled. The plan is rectangular, with a projecting porch wing on the S.E. face, and a small wing containing the staircase at the back; the central chimney stack carries a rectangular shaft, built of thin bricks, with pilasters on both faces. A blocked doorway on the first floor and the modern brick facing on the ground floor, at the N.E. end, suggest that the building once extended further in this direction. Inside, the house retains the original fireplaces, though all, except one, are partly filled in; oak doors, some with the old strap hinges; wide oak floor boards, and two heavy beams in the ceilings. The newel staircase is of oak, and is also of the 16th century.

In the farmyard is an old barn, timber-framed, partly brick-nogged, partly weather-boarded, with two original trusses in the roof.

Condition—Of house and barn, poor.

a(8). The West Lodge of Knebworth Park is largely constructed of old material taken from Knebworth House in 1811 (see also Knebworth). It is of brick with stone dressings, and consists of two small blocks connected by arches spanning the drive. A stone tablet records the re-setting of these arches from the old gate house; they are four-centred, of two continuously moulded orders, and of early 16th-century date, much restored. Two windows of the same date have also been re-set, and are of two pointed lights under a square label. At one corner of the building an octagonal turret has a door with a four-centred moulded head, and what appears to be a rebus on the name of Lytton in one of the spandrels.

Condition—Fairly good; much defaced with cement.