Furneux Pelham

Pages 90-91

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. xiv. N.E.)


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary, stands on high ground in the village. It is built chiefly of flint with oolite dressings; the N. aisle is coated with cement, and the porch has clunch dressings. The Chancel was built c. 1260–80; it leans to the S. which may indicate that it is an enlargement of an earlier chancel attached to a Nave of about the same size as the present nave. The West Tower was added c. 1370, and the North and South Aisles, with the arcades and clearstorey of the nave, were built c. 1400. The South Porch was added in the 15th century, and the S. aisle was probably lengthened at the same time to enclose the side of the tower. The South Chapel was built by Robert Newport c. 1518, according to an inscription given in Weever's Funeral Monuments. Many of the windows of the church were entirely renewed in the 19th century.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (34ft. by 19 ft.) has a 13th-century E. window with engaged inner shafts, moulded rear arch, and label with foliage stops; the tracery is modern. In the N. wall are three lancets of the 13th century, the westernmost being a low side window with rebates and hooks for shutter; in the S. wall are two lancets of the 13th century; in both walls the easternmost window is of richer detail than the others, having engaged inner shafts with moulded capitals and bases, and a moulded rear arch with a plain label which has mask stops. In the S. wall is also a modern archway and a small cinque-foiled opening into the S. chapel. In the South Chapel (26 ft. by 19½ ft.) only the inner jambs and rear arch of the three-light E. window and two stones in the S. doorway are old. The Nave (40 ft. by 19 ft.) has 15th-century N. and S. arcades of three bays with pointed arches; the piers each have four semi-octagonal shafts separated by a hollow chamfered order; the labels mitre at the apices with the string course below the clearstorey, which has three windows of two lights in both walls. The North Aisle (11 ft. wide) has an E. and a W. window and two N. windows, of three lights each, of modern stonework; the N. door is original, and has moulded jambs and a pointed arch in a square head with traceried spandrels and moulded label. The South Aisle (11 ft. wide) has three windows similar to those in the N. aisle; only the inner jambs of the easternmost are original; the S. doorway resembles that opposite, but the traceried spandrels contain shields; W. of it a small doorway opens into the staircase leading to the room above the porch. The moulded string of the parapet outside is badly decayed. Nearly all the stonework of the South Porch has been renewed in the 19th century, but some of the external quoins are original; on two of them are scratched ancient circular sundials, one with Roman numerals; the porch is lighted by side windows and has a modern entrance archway; in the E. wall of the upper chamber is an original single light, much decayed, with a trefoiled head; the S. and W. windows are modern. The West Tower (9 ft. square) is of three stages with an embattled parapet and a leaded needle spire; a plain archway opens into it from the nave; the W. window, of three lights, has been repaired with cement; the windows of the bell-chamber, of two lights each with tracery, are original, but have decayed jambs and restored heads. The high-pitched Roof of the chancel has a few old timbers; the nave has a fine, low-pitched roof of three bays of early 15th-century date; the moulded tie-beams have struts with traceried spandrels; the ceiling is divided into panels and at the feet of the principal rafters are angels carved in wood, holding shields, of which two, on the S. side of the E. bay, are painted with coats of arms; on one of the tie-beams is the original colour decoration. The roofs of the aisle are similar in character but plainer. The chapel roof is similar but of later workmanship; it also has angels with shields, carved bosses, etc., and retains some of the original painted ornament.

Fittings—Bells: six; 3rd, 1662; 4th, apparently by William Culverden, 1513–1522; 5th, 1618. Brasses and Indents: in floor of S. chapel, indent of man in civilian costume, half-figure, with inscription, probably 15th-century: indent of knight in armour, early 16th-century, part of brass inscription to John Newport, date incomplete, and shield with his arms: two other slabs with indents much defaced (see Monuments below). Easter Sepulchre: in N. wall of chancel, recess with modern arch. Font: Purbeck marble bowl, 13th-century. Glass: in E. window of N. aisle, fragments, 15th-century. Monuments: at W. end of S. aisle, altar tomb of Purbeck marble, sides of base panelled, originally with shields; in the covering slab, brasses of man in civilian dress, and his widow, under a double canopy, with indents of pinnacled buttresses, c. 1425; also indents of daughter, inscription and four shields: in S. chapel, altar tomb of white stone with black marble slab, marble pilasters and shields with arms of Cason and others; on the wall above it, inscription to Edward Cason, 1624, and on an iron bracket, helmet of c. 1570–80: on N. wall of N. aisle, Purbeck marble tablet, probably to Robert Newport, dated 1518, with brasses of man in armour, his wife, two sons and three daughters, all kneeling, and shield with arms of Newport, a lion rampant, impaling Alington, a bend between six billets; indents of two other shields, Virgin and Child, and two scrolls: in floor of S. chapel, marble coffin lid, much worn, probably 14th-century. Piscinae: in chancel, with moulded jambs, pointed arch and label, quatre-foiled bowl. 13th-century: in S. chapel, with cinque-foiled head, sex-foiled bowl, early 16th-century. Royal Arms: on screen at W. end of S. aisle, carved in wood, with supporters and shield, double faced: bearing the dates 1634, 1660, and 1831. Sedilia: three, in S. wall of chancel, shafted jambs with moulded bases and capitals, moulded trefoiled heads with labels, 13th-century. Stoup: in porch, E. of S. doorway, with sub-cusped trefoiled head and mutilated bowl.

Condition—Generally good, except a few external details; much of the stonework outside is modern; the ivy on the tower may cause damage in future.


(2). Homestead Moat, at St. John's Pelham, fragment.

(3). Furneux Peuham Hall, about 1½ furlongs W. of the church, is a brick house of two storeys with an attic, built late in the 16th century, much altered in the second half of the 17th century, and considerably repaired in the 19th century; the roofs are tiled. The plan is L-shaped: one wing faces S. and contains the principal rooms, in the other wing are the kitchen and offices. The S. and W. elevations have each three curvilinear gables, part of the 17th-century alterations, traces of the original crow-stepped gables being still visible; on the N. and E. the original gables remain, and the attic windows throughout retain their plastered brick mullions, which have been replaced in all the other windows by 'flush' sashes. The chimney stacks have been partly re-built, but traces remain of the moulded bases of separate octagonal shafts. Interior—One room on the ground floor is lined with fine panelling of late 17th-century date in large bolection-moulded panels. Another room, on the first floor, retains much of its original panelling, with fluted pilasters and a frieze of strap-work arabesques.