Pages 85-86

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. xxviii. N.E.)


(1). Parish Church of St. John, stands in the park E. of Digswell House. The walls are covered outside with cement; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave are probably of the 12th century; the North Aisle was built c. 1280–1300, but the arcade has been destroyed. The North Chapel was re-built and lengthened by one bay, and the Tower added W. of the aisle, c. 1510. The South Porch was probably built c. 1700. Many alterations were made in 1811, and in 1874 the church was restored.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (22 ft. by 20 ft.) has an arch in the N. wall, opening into the chapel, of c. 1200, with a modern face on the chancel side, and in the same wall is a deep, arched recess of the 15th century, which was probably open formerly on both sides. In the S. wall is a blocked window, probably of the 13th century; the other windows have modern tracery. The Nave (31 ft. by 22 ft.) has no detail of earlier date than the 15th century, part of the tracery in the two S. windows being of that period, but the walls are probably of the 12th century. A modern arch opening into the N. aisle replaces the original arcade of two bays. The North Chapel (21½ ft. by 9½ ft.) has two early 16th-century windows, and the North Aisle (25 ft. by 7½ ft.) has two windows of the same date, evidently inserted when the chapel was re-built. The Tower (7½ ft. square), of two stages, with embattled parapet, has walls no thicker than the adjoining walls of the church. The 16th-century single-light W. window is unglazed, but closed by a door; the four windows of the bell-chamber are of two lights under square heads, and are also of the 16th century. The Porch has an embattled parapet, and is covered with cement. The Roof of the nave has 15th-century tie-beams, and the low-pitched, panelled oak roof of the chapel is of early 16th-century date; the other roofs are modern.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st and 2nd, 1605. Brackets: on each side of E. window in chapel, moulded stone, with shields, charged with Peryent (three crescents) quartering a cross paty. Brasses: in the chancel, of John Peryent, standard bearer to Richard II., and his wife, who died in 1415, figures 5 ft. long, man in armour, with part of inscription and arms: of a knight in armour, said to be another John Peryent, c. 1430, with two symbols of the Evangelists; on the same slab, inscription to Thomas Robynson and his wife, 1492: of Thomas Hoore, 1495, his wife, four sons and eight daughters, with inscription and four shields with arms of the Mercers' Company, Hoore and a defaced coat: of Robert Battyll, 1557, his wife, four sons, and six daughters: of William Robert, auditor of the Bishop of Winchester, 14— (date not filled in), his wife, 1484, and two sons; shrouded figures, two shields and inscription: to John Peryent, small inscription, undated: to two daughters of Sir Alexander Cave, 1637. Monuments: in the chapel, mural tablets to William Sedley, 1658: Francis Shalcrosse, 1681: Eliza Shalcrosse, 1677: and some 17th-century floor slabs. Piscina: in the chancel, double, 13th-century. Plate: includes engraved cup, 1563, paten, 1673; flagon, 1672. Recess: in the N. aisle, between the windows, richly moulded two-centred arch, with tracery and the figure of a dove in the centre; of c. 1290; lower part destroyed, tracery and mouldings well preserved. Screens: between chancel and chapel, between chapel and aisle, lower part of both destroyed: below the tower, two doors, probably belonged to rood screen: all of oak, of c. 1540.