An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
50. GREAT AMWELL.
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxix. S.E. (b)xxx. S.W. (c)xxxvii. N.W.)
b (1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist, stands in the middle of the village; the walls are of flint; the dressings are of chalk, some being hard and full of shells; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built towards the end of the 11th century, though most of the windows and the doorways are of a later date. The West Tower was added c. 1420; the Vestry is modern, and much of the stonework has been renewed outside.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (25 ft. by 16 ft.) has a round apsidal E. end; in the N. wall is an 11th-century window with splayed jambs of equal depth inside and out, and a round head altered outside to a point; the other windows, all lancets, are modern; a doorway with a 15th-century oak frame opens into the N. vestry. The chancel arch, probably also of the 11th century, is of two plain square orders on the W. face, with grooved and chamfered abaci and a round arch; on each side of the archway is a round-headed squint inserted later, but with little detail to show the date. The Nave (39 ft. by 22 ft.) has four windows, all renewed outside, but with old inner jambs; the first in the N. wall is of three lights of 14th-century character, the second is a traceried single light; the first S. window is a 13th-century lancet with widely splayed jambs; the second is a three-light window of the 15th century. A sloping recess in the N. wall at the E. end shows the position of the former stairs to the rood-loft. The Tower (12 ft. by 10 ft.) is of three stages, with an embattled parapet and modern spire; the tower arch is of the 15th century; in the W. wall is an arched and square-headed doorway, which retains the holes for the original draw-bar; over it is a three-light window with modern mullions; the second stage is lighted by loops, the third by traceried two-light windows with repaired mullions. The Roof of the chancel has one 15th-century tie-beam; above the round apse is a gable end to the roof; the roof of the nave is modern.
Fittings—Bells: three, two undated, the third 1612. Brasses: on E. wall of nave, of a priest in alb and hood, mid 15th-century; no inscription: on N. wall, of a civilian (the head missing), his two wives and seven children; no inscription. There are said to be other brasses in the church, probably hidden under the pews, which have a raised wooden floor. Communion Table: oak, of c. 1620. Door: at W. entrance, 15th-century, with a traceried head. Piscinae: in the chancel, modern, with old basin, partly cut away: in S. wall of nave, with about half its original basin, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover paten of 1620. Pulpit: oak, early 17th-century, with a later cornice dated 1696; said to have been brought from the Archiepiscopal Palace at Croydon. Screen: in the tower, modern, with traceried doors of a 15th-century rood-screen, re-used. Sedilia: on each side of the E. window, recess, possibly original opening, stonework entirely modern.
c (2). Homestead Moat, at Hailey Hall, fragment.
a (3). Pigeon House, at Amwellbury, about ½ mile N.W. of the church, is of octagonal plan, about 18 ft. wide, and has walls of modern brick with cemented angles; they appear to encase a building probably of the second half of the 17th century; the octagonal roof is tiled. The cots inside, now disused, are of wood.
Condition—Exterior, much altered; cots, dilapidated.
b (4). Home Farm, 300 yards S.S.W. of the church, has, set in a modern building, a stone on which is carved a triangular panel surrounded by scroll work, enclosing the date 1606 below a royal crown, and surmounted by a small thistle; above it are the letters and figure, I.R. 6, A.R., and over that, "God save the King," while below it are the words, "Beati pacifici."
b(5). Stocks, S.W. of the church, old, but with modern side-posts.
a (6). Tumulus, in Barrow Field, E. of Hertford.