Parishes: Great Gaddesden

A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.

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'Parishes: Great Gaddesden', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2, ed. William Page( London, 1908), British History Online [accessed 13 July 2024].

'Parishes: Great Gaddesden', in A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Edited by William Page( London, 1908), British History Online, accessed July 13, 2024,

"Parishes: Great Gaddesden". A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Ed. William Page(London, 1908), , British History Online. Web. 13 July 2024.

In this section


Gatesdene (xi cent.).

Great Gaddesden parish lies to the north of Hemel Hempstead, on the south-east spur of the Chiltern Hills, and is intersected from north-west to south-east by the valley of the Gade, which rises in the north of the parish. In the valley is meadow-land, and the higher slopes are covered with beech and fir woods. The parish covers an area of 4,150 acres, and in 1905 comprised 2,262 acres of arable land, 1,183 acres of permanent grass and 310 acres of woodland. (fn. 1) It includes the hamlet of Gaddesden Row, two miles north-east of the village, which has a school and mission-room of its own, and Water End where, shaded by large trees and close to a broad pool of the river, are clustered a few old redbrick red-tiled cottages. There too is an old mill called Noak Mill, and at a little distance Gaddesden Hall Farm. This farm-house is apparently the manor-house belonging to the manor known as Southall or Oliver's Place. The land in the east is high, standing 500 ft. and more above the ordnance datum, and all around are somewhat steep rises and falls, there being a fall of at least 180 ft. to Great Gaddesden village. The subsoil is chalk, and consequently several chalk-pits exist in the neighbourhood, and there are also large watercress beds by the river side. The great feature of the parish, however, is its extensive parks and exceptionally fine timber. The park of Gaddesden Place, the seat of the Rt. Hon. T. F. Halsey, P.C., J.P., which was lately burnt, and is now being rebuilt, is about 150 acres in extent, and there are also large grounds belonging to Golden Parsonage, the residence of Mr. H. G. Tylecote, and at the Hoo there is a small piece of common land to the north of the parish, which is known by the name of Hedgeswood Common.

The little village of Gaddesden consists of the church, a farm-house and a group of cottages, and lies just off the high road between Leighton Buzzard and Hemel Hempstead.

At Golden Parsonage are the remains of a moat 350 ft. in length, but now dry, and of a small tumulus.

In 1665 the churchwardens and overseers brought before the justices of the peace a petition showing 'that the petitioners being very hard charged with numerous poore, are exceedingly straitened for the providing of habitations for some of them at very dear rates as inmates with other persons, whence they are frequently removed and the petitioners much troubled to place them again.' The petitioners had obtained licence from the earl of Bridgewater, lord of the manor, to erect habitations for them 'upon his wast,' and they therefore requested an order of the court for erecting such houses. (fn. 2) The result of the petition is not known.

Great Gaddesden Place (Built 1775, destroyed by fire 1905)

In 1681 the vill of Gaddesdon, which may have been this vill or that of Little Gaddesden, is said to have consisted of but fourteen housekeepers. (fn. 3)


The manor of GREAT GADDESDEN was bequeathed by will to Saint Albans Abbey by Ethelgifu, a noble matron, between 942 and 946. (fn. 4) The abbey leased the manor for lives, and Wlwen appears to have held it in this way at the time of the death of Edward the Confessor. (fn. 5) William the Conqueror seems to have ignored this arrangement and granted the manor to Edward of Salisbury, sheriff of Wiltshire, who held it in 1086. (fn. 6) His son or grandson Walter was living in 1136 and 1142, and left a son and heir, Patrick of Salisbury, who was created about 1149 earl of Salisbury or earl of Wiltshire, (fn. 7) and was slain while returning from a pilgrimage to Galicia in Spain. He was succeeded by his son William of Salisbury, or FitzPatrick, who died in 1196, and was succeeded by his only daughter Ela (fn. 8) or Isabella, who married William Longespee, an illegitimate son of Henry II who in right of his wife became earl of Salisbury. William Longespee died in 1226, and not long after his widow, who founded Lacock Abbey in 1232, became a nun there and was eventually elected abbess.

Longespee. Azure six lioncels or.

The title passed on Ela's death in 1261 to her great-granddaughter Margaret, who married Henry de Lacy earl of Lincoln. (fn. 9) The overlordship of Great Gaddesden evidently went with the title to Alice, daughter and heiress of Henry de Lacy, (fn. 10) and remained with the earls of Lincoln (fn. 11) until the earldom was merged in the crown, when Henry Plantagenet earl of Lancaster and Lincoln became king of England in 1399. The records as to service by which it was held seem to vary, for in 1303 it was stated to have been held for the service of one knight, (fn. 12) in 1314 for the service of one knight and rent of one pair of gloves furred with grey, worth 3s. at Christmas, at the manor of the earl of Lancaster at Holmere; (fn. 13) in 1324 for the service of a pair of gloves furred with grey yearly, (fn. 14) and in 1428 and 1521 for one knight's fee. (fn. 15)

Lacy. Or a lion purpure.

In the meantime the manor had been settled on Stephen the younger son of William and Ela de Longespee and had passed to his daughter and heir Ela wife of Roger la Zouche. (fn. 16) From Roger la Zouche it passed in 1284 to Alan his son, (fn. 17) who died in 1314, leaving two daughters Ellen, the wife of Nicholas St. Maur, and Maud, the wife of Robert Holand. (fn. 18) Each sister took a moiety of the manor. (fn. 19) Ellen afterwards married Alan de Cherleton, and in 1325, at the desire of her husband, a partition of this manor was made, (fn. 20) probably on account of Robert de Holand's complicity in the earl of Lancaster's insurrection, for which he forfeited his lands, (fn. 21) and was afterwards beheaded in 1328, but the moiety of the manor of Great Gaddesden being the inheritance of his wife was not forfeited, and descended to Robert his son and heir. (fn. 22) Probably by some settlement we find that Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, widow of Thomas de Holand, was holding the whole manor, and in 1361 settled it upon John de Holand earl of Huntingdon, her younger son and his heirs. (fn. 23) He forfeited his lands in 1385 for the murder of Ralph, eldest son of Hugh earl of Stafford. Most of the chroniclers of the time state that his mother implored the king's pardon, and died from grief at its refusal. In 1386 it was arranged that Holand should find three chaplains to celebrate divine service for ever for Ralph Stafford's soul. Holand soon obtained the restitution of his property, and married Elizabeth daughter of John of Gaunt, and for complicity in a plot against Henry IV he was beheaded by the people of Essex in 1400 and later attainted. He had, however, previously settled the manor in tail upon his daughter Constance and her husband Thomas Mowbray, Earl Marshal, son of the duke of Norfolk. (fn. 24) The latter, however, was beheaded in 1405, and as he left no heirs, (fn. 25) his wife Constance held it for life, and at her death in 1437, it reverted to her brother John de Holand earl of Huntingdon and duke of Exeter, who had been restored in blood and to the earldom of Huntingdon in 1416. (fn. 26) Constance married as her second husband John Lord Grey de Ruthyn, and in 1428 he was holding the manor jointly with her. (fn. 27) John fourteenth earl of Huntingdon died in 1447 seised of this manor, (fn. 28) and Henry earl of Huntingdon and duke of Exeter, his son and heir, succeeded him, and being a zealous adherent to the Lancastrian cause he was attainted on the accession of Edward IV, and forfeited all his lands in 1461.

Zouche. Gules bezanty and a quarter ermine.

Holand, Earl of Kent. The arms of England in a border argent.

On 1 May, 1461, the manor was granted to Thomas archbishop of Canterbury and others, (fn. 29) as trustees for the use of Anne, duchess of Exeter, wife of the last-named duke of Exeter and sister of Edward IV for life, and on 22 December following it was settled on her and the heirs of her body. (fn. 30) Again on 26 August, 1467, it was granted to Anne, with remainder to her daughter Anne and her heirs, and the heirs of the body of the duchess. (fn. 31) Anne the mother married Sir Thomas St. Leger or Selenger, and died in 1476. She had a daughter Anne by the duke of Exeter, who died in her lifelife, and another daughter Anne by Sir Thomas St. Leger. (fn. 32) By a private Act of 1484 the king resumed the possessions of Henry duke of Exeter and Anne his duchess, (fn. 33) and on 17 September in the same year granted the manor of Great Gaddesden to Thomas, Lord Stanley and George Lord le Strange, his son, and the heirs male of Thomas. (fn. 34) In 1485 Thomas Lord Stanley was created earl of Derby, and on 25 February, 1489, he received a fresh grant of this manor. (fn. 35) The manor passed with the title of earl of Derby till 1598, (fn. 36) when William earl of Derby conveyed it by fine to George Anton and Thomas Stanley, (fn. 37) and they in 1601 conveyed it to Richard Perceval and Richard Langley. (fn. 38) The manor having been granted by Henry VII to the earl of Derby and his heirs male, which grant seeming in 1600 likely to terminate by failure of such heirs, William Brereton and John Duddon obtained a grant of the reversion of the manor. (fn. 39) Perceval and Langley seem to have conveyed it to Robert Cecil, afterwards earl of Salisbury, who on 8 February, 1602, sold it for £3,000 to Adolphus Carey of Berkhampstead. (fn. 40) In 1606 Adolphus Carey settled the manor on his brother Philip, and died in 1609. (fn. 41) Philip Carey in 1611 conveyed the manor to Sir Thomas Egerton, (fn. 42) afterwards Lord Ellesmere and Viscount Brackley, from whom it descended to his son John, who in 1617 was created earl of Bridgewater, and the manor descended with this title till its extinction by the death of Francis Henry earl of Bridgewater in 1829, when according to the will of John William seventh earl of Bridgewater, the estates went to his widow Charlotte, who died in 1849, and by the same will they passed to his great nephew John Hume Cust, Viscount Alford, (fn. 43) son and heirapparent of Earl Brownlow, from whom it has descended to the present Earl Brownlow.

Stanley. Argent a bend azure with three barts' beads caboshed or thereon.

Egerton. Argent a lion gules between three pheons sable.

Cust. Ermine a cheveron sable and thereon three fountains.

The manorial courts have ceased to be held since 1847.

The manor of SOUTHALL or GATESDEN or OLIVER'S PLACE was held of the lord of the manor of Great Gaddesden by the family of Malmain about 1200, and in 1204 Gilbert de Malmain forfeited it as a Norman. (fn. 44) In the thirteenth century it was in the hands of the family of Gaddesden or Gatesden, and in 1259 John de Gatesden, the younger died seised of the manor, (fn. 45) leaving a daughter Margaret his heir. Cussans states that Margaret married John de Gatesden, (fn. 46) who died seised of the manor in 1292, leaving Joan the wife of Richard Chamberlain his daughter and heir. (fn. 47) It is probable that the owners of Southall manor were relatives of John of Gaddesden the celebrated physician, who is supposed to have lived at Little Gaddesden in the manorhouse of Lucies. He was born about 1280, and his disposition and peculiarities as gathered from his writings are so precisely those of the 'Doctour of Phisick' in Chaucer's prologue, that it seems possible that Gaddesden is the contemporary from whom Chaucer drew the character. His name is mentioned in the 'Prologue.' He was in priest's orders, and was appointed to the stall of Wildland in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1342. A good account of his writings is found in Freind's History of Physick. The best known of his works is 'Rosa Medicinae.'

Richard Chamberlain was holding in 1303 and 1314, (fn. 48) and in 1323–4 the manor was settled upon John Chamberlain and Aubrey his wife. (fn. 49) It remained in the hands of the family of Chamberlain till 1369, when John son of John Chamberlain conveyed the reversion to John Courteys of Wymington, having already granted the manor to Alan Contestre for life and one year beyond, for a rent of 6 marks a year. (fn. 50) In 1448 the manor had apparently come to co-heirs who agreed by fine that it (under the name of Southall or Oliver's Place) should be held by Robert Oliver and Isabella his wife for life, with remainder to Walter Freeman and Alice his wife, and the heirs of Alice. (fn. 51) Cussans mentions that he had in his possession a power of attorney of the time of Henry VIII by Mary Bardwell to Richard Balard to deliver seisin of this manor to Edward Bardwell her husband, (fn. 52) and in 1523 Edward Bardwell and Mary conveyed the manor to Robert Bardwell and Thomas Story, for the purpose of a settlement upon Edward and Mary and the heirs of Mary. (fn. 53) From Edward and Mary the manor came to the family of Heigham or Higham, who were connected by marriage with the Bardwells. (fn. 54) It was held in the reign of Edward VI by Thomas Higham of Higham, co. Suffolk, when he with his son Thomas leased it to Gilbert Pace. (fn. 55) Thomas, the father, died in 1553, and his son Thomas married Martha daughter of Sir Thomas Jermyn. (fn. 56) In 1556 Thomas conveyed the manor to Edmund Jermyn, probably for the purpose of a settlement on his marriage with Martha, (fn. 57) by whom he had three daughters, Anne, Lucy, and Susan. He died in 1557. (fn. 58) Martha died in 1593, (fn. 59) leaving her daughters, Anne the wife of Thomas Clere, and Susan the wife of Sir Edward Lewkenor, her heirs. The manor seems to have passed to Henry Clerke of St. John's Street, Westminster, who died seised of it in 1609. (fn. 60) By his will he settled the manor after the death of his wife Catherine upon John Clerke son of his brother Michael, John Clerke son of his brother Thomas, and Henry Clerke son of his brother Richard. Simon Clerke, son of John son of Richard eldest brother of Henry, was his great-nephew and heir, (fn. 61) and in 1614, in accordance with the will of his great uncle, he granted the manor and mill to Simon Clerke of Flamstead, John Clerke of Black Friars, and Henry Clerke of Drayton Beauchamp, co. Bucks., for life, with remainder to Henry son and heir of the last-named Henry and his heirs male. (fn. 62) The manor was sold by Henry Clerke to Henry Lake of Buckland, co. Bucks., (fn. 63) from whom it descended to his son Henry, who sold it in 1658 to John Halsey of Great Gaddesden, and Thomas Bamford of Ashridge. (fn. 64) It passed from the family of Halsey to the earl of Bridgewater, and in 1673, John earl of Bridgewater and John Viscount Brackley, his son and heir, conveyed it to Anthony earl of Shaftesbury and others as trustees. (fn. 65)

Halsey. Argent a pile sable and thereon three griffons' heads razed argent.

After coming into the hands of the earls of Bridgewater this manor was probably merged in the principal manor, but the site of Southall, which became known as Gaddesden Hall, came into the possession of Thomas Smith, from whom it passed to Robert his son. (fn. 66) Robert left an only daughter Sarah, who married George Bassit, and she and her husband conveyed the manor to trustees, Thomas Osman, second husband of Sarah's mother Sarah, and Thomas Kellam, (fn. 67) who sold the site in 1792 to William Hulme. In this sale it is stated that the tenant of Gaddesden Hall before Thomas Smith had been William Tarbox, and before him Edmund Sibley. (fn. 68) Gaddesden Hall, now a farm-house, is occupied by Mr. Edward Sherman, farmer.

In 1278 it was presented that the manor of Gaddesden was ancient demesne of the crown, and that the township used to come to the sheriff's turn, but had been withdrawn by Stephen Longespee. (fn. 69) The lords of the manor claimed to have free warren, gallows, pillory and tumbril within the vill, and to hold view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and ale. (fn. 70) In the seventeenth century, in a suit between certain copyhold tenants of the manor and their lord various customs of the manor were settled. (fn. 71) The copyholders might alienate their tenements, wholly or in parcels, for terms of years or otherwise, without the lord's licence, and only in the case when the whole tenement was surrendered was a heriot due to the lord at the time of the surrender. Though a copyholder held more than one messuage in his tenement, only one heriot was due at his death; this heriot was valued by two copyholders, and the lord might choose between taking the heriot or the price. Tenants might pull down their houses on their copyhold land, and commit any waste, without impeachment by the lord. Every year at the court, the homage chose two messuagers or hedborowes, one of whom was afterwards elected by the lord's steward to the office of reeve for the year following. The reeve was to have 9s. and to seize all heriots. (fn. 72)

In 1369 a water-mill called Okmill is mentioned in a record of the sale of the manor of Southall. This is probably identical with the modern Noake mill in the south-east of the parish. (fn. 73)

The GOLDEN PARSONAGE lies at the hamlet of Gaddesden Row. There is no record showing the origin of its name. The rectory and advowson of Great Gaddesden belonged to the priory of Dartford, and the Golden Parsonage appears to have passed to William Halsey or Hawse, otherwise Chambers, under the grant to him from Henry VIII of the rectory and advowson in 1544. (fn. 74) The estate remained in the Halsey family till 1788, when Thomas Halsey left an only surviving daughter Sarah, who married Joseph Thompson Whately, and who took the name and arms of Halsey. Their grandson, Mr. Thomas Frederick Halsey, is now the owner, but the family removed from the Golden Parsonage in 1774, when Gaddesden Place, the present seat of the family, about a mile south-west in the park, was completed, and a part of the Golden Parsonage was pulled down. The Golden Parsonage is now occupied by Mr. G. Tylecote, who has here a preparatory school for boys.

The present building consists of the old wing, measuring about 100 ft. by 50 ft., with some modern additions at its north-eastern end. This wing is built of red brick, with large brick pilasters at the angles, and a moulded brick cornice. The bonding of the brickwork of the outside walls is somewhat curious, as all the visible bricks, except at windows and angles, are 'headers,' that is, their ends only show outside. The present front faces north-west, and above the coping in the centre of the front is an iron vane with the date 1705. From the general style of the architecture one is led to conclude that the whole of the wing must have been erected about that date, and it may be inferred that the whole of the sixteenth-century mansion of the Halseys was pulled down in 1774, leaving only the then most modern part standing. In the cellarage below the house, however, there is evidence of the older building, as in several places the old flint walls remain, and there is a built-up window at one end. It is evident, therefore, that the present wing was erected on the old foundations. In the front wall of the cellar is the entrance to an underground passage of brick, lately discovered by Mr. Tylecote, the present occupier. The entrance is now bricked up, but the hinges of the old door are still visible.

There is nothing of architectural interest inside the house. The stair is very plain, and although one of the rooms is panelled, it is not of oak, and the panels are very large and plain. The roof is flat, or almost so, and is covered with lead, and the oak or chestnut timbers which support it are of large dimensions, some of them being 12 in. square.

The old mansion is said to have been very extensive, and on the south-eastern side of the present house many foundations of walls can still be traced, extending to a considerable distance. Beyond these foundations were three fish-ponds, which have now been joined together, and form a pond about 110 yards long. Not far from the pond is a curious small artificial mound, or tumulus. This has been opened up, but found to contain nothing, so far as the excavation went. Its origin is unknown. A long avenue of trees extends from the site of the old house across the park towards the Home Farm of Gaddesden Place. This would seem to show that the principal entrance of old was on the south-east side instead of the north-west, as at present.

To the east of the house are two old walled gardens, the bricks of which the walls are built being old bricks about two inches thick, probably of the sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Among the out-buildings is an old brick house which contains the well. The water was formerly raised by means of a donkey-wheel, which has now disappeared, but the timber supports still show the marks where the wheel worked.


The church of ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST has a chancel 22 ft. 9 in. by 15 ft. 10 in. with north chapel, nave 41 ft. 9 in. by 22 ft. with north and south aisles and south porch, and west tower 14 ft. by 13 ft., all measurements being internal. The whole building, except the tower, is plastered externally, and has low-pitched leaded roofs without parapets on the nave and aisles, the chancel roof being tiled. The east wall of the chancel is the oldest part of the building, with Roman brick angles and two broad and shallow brick buttresses on the face, between which is the lower part of a small window-opening with brick jambs. This work can hardly be later than the early part of the twelfth century, and the plan of the chancel, and of the nave without the aisles, is probably contemporary with it. The east wall of the nave, 3 ft. 6 in. thick, and probably the side walls of the chancel, may contain masonry of this date, but there are no signs of the western angles of the aisleless nave. A few pieces of twelfth-century detail, consisting of an early moulded base, some later billet and zigzag ornament, and what looks like the bowl of a pillar piscina, are now preserved in the north chapel, and are the only record, beside that already noted, of the history of the building during this century.

A south aisle was added to the nave about 1230, the south arcade being of that date, and if the rear arch of the south doorway is in situ, the outer walls of the aisle may be also in part contemporary. The north arcade is of the first half of the fourteenth century, but the east window of the north aisle dates from c. 1280, and the arcade may have had a thirteenth-century predecessor.

The west tower was added in the fifteenth century, and the north chapel in 1730.

The church has undergone much modern repair, the tower being in great part rebuilt in 1866, and the chancel repaired in 1878. The chancel has an east window of three lights with fourteenth-century tracery, but only a few stones in the jambs are ancient. On the north side are two modern arches—1877—opening to the north chapel, built as a mortuary chapel of the Halsey family in 1730, and containing a number of monuments, the earliest being of alabaster and marble, put up by John Halsey in 1650 in memory of William and Lettice Halsey, 1637 and 1649.

In the south wall of the chancel is a small thirteenth-century lancet window, its outer stonework being renewed, and to the east of it a cinquefoiled piscina with a modern head, though the drain is ancient. Near the west angle is a fifteenth-century window of two cinquefoiled lights, low in the wall, and with a flat sill, and between the two windows is a large and elaborate mural monument to John Halsey, 1670.

The nave has arcades of four bays, that on the north having pointed arches of two hollow-chamfered orders with a moulded label, and octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases, c. 1340, while the south arcade, with similar arches, has beautiful foliate capitals of thirteenth-century style, and moulded bases of unusual character, if they are of the same date as the capitals. Above the arcades is a fifteenth-century clearstory with square-headed windows of three cinquefoiled lights, four on the north and three on the south, the west bay on the south being blank. The chancel arch is modern, of two chamfered orders, and in the south-east angle of the nave the upper rood-loft door remains.

The east window of the north aisle, c. 1280, has two uncusped lights with a trefoil above, and now opens to the Halsey chapel, its glass having been taken out. In the north wall are two windows, both of fifteenth-century type, but with modern masonry, that to the east having a square head and three cinquefoiled lights; beneath it is a plain blocked north doorway of uncertain date, its jambs patched with red brick. The buttresses supporting the north wall are also of brick. The west window of the aisle, c. 1500, has two trefoiled lights under a four-centred head. In the south aisle is a three-light east window of late fifteenth-century type, in new stonework, and two south windows, set high in the wall, each of two cinquefoiled lights, and dating from the end of the fifteenth century. West of them is the south doorway, with a four-centred moulded fifteenth-century outer arch under a square head, but a reararch of thirteenth-century detail, which may or may not be in situ. The jambs of the outer arch have been renewed in Bath stone.

West of the doorway is a two-light window of early fourteenth-century date, having a quatrefoil in the head, and a moulded label with mask dripstones.

The south porch is apparently of fifteenth-century date, and retains its original low-pitched roof. Its outer arch has continuous mouldings, and in the east and west walls are single trefoiled lights, square-headed outside, but having thirteenth-century moulded reararches, which are most probably re-used material, and suggest the existence of a former porch.

The tower, which is embattled, with a vice running up to the full height, preserves no ancient detail. Its masonry is composed of flints and puddingstone, and it has trefoiled lights in the second stage, and two-light belfry windows trefoiled with a quatrefoiled circle in the head. There is a west doorway, and above it a window of two trefoiled lights, and the east arch of the tower is a poor copy of French Gothic detail.

The nave roof, of low pitch with moulded timbers, was no doubt put on when the clearstory was added, and has foliate bosses at the intersections of the main timbers, and tenons on the jacklegs which mark the former existence of figures of angels or the like, now lost. The aisle roofs are probably contemporary, but of plainer detail. No other woodwork in the church is ancient, but in the vestry—the ground stage of the tower—are two chests, the smaller being cut out of a solid log, and a good seventeenth-century altar-table, now fitted with drawers; a wooden pitch pipe is also preserved, and the barrel of a former hand organ.

The font stands near the south door, and has a modern panelled octagonal bowl on a shaft.

In the chancel floor is the brass of William Croke, 1506, and his wife Alice, daughter of Sir William Faryngton. Below their figures are indents for the lost figures of their children, one son and three daughters, while at the head and foot of the slab are shields, three remaining of an original four, with the arms of Croke and Faryngton.

Croke. Argent a bend gules with three roses argent thereon.

Faryngton. Argent a cheveron gules between three leopards' heads sable.

In the north aisle are two indents of brasses, and near the north door a slab, retaining the figure of a woman in a 'kennel' head-dress, c. 1520, with indents of a male figure, two groups of children, and an inscription plate.

There are five bells, the first four of 1662, and the tenor of 1723. All are from the Chandlers' foundry at Drayton Parslow.

The plate consists of a silver cup of 1637, inscribed 'the chalice of the parish of Great Gaddesden in Hertfordshire, 1694'; two salvers of 1732, with the Halsey arms; a flagon without marks but with the Halsey arms; and a bread-holder of 1882, given in that year.

The first book of the registers contains baptisms 1559–1711, burials 1558–1695, and marriages 1559–1689. The second has burials in woollen, 1678–1713, and also includes entries of burials at Nettleden; the third has baptisms and burials 1740–1769, and marriages 1740–1753; the fourth has baptisms and burials 1766–1812, and the fifth and sixth marriages 1754–1812.


It would appear that there was a church here at the date of the Domesday Survey, as a priest is there mentioned, who, with fifteen villeins, had six ploughs. (fn. 75)

The rectory and advowson of the vicarage were appendant to the manor till 1382, when John, earl of Huntingdon, brother of Richard II, granted the advowson to John, bishop of Salisbury, and Warin Waldegrave, in trust for the prioress of Dartford, (fn. 76) who was to hold it to the uses of the prior and convent of King's Langley, the friars by the rule of their order being forbidden to acquire lands to themselves in perpetuity. Licence for the grant to the prioress of Dartford was obtained in 1393, (fn. 77) and the church was appropriated to her by Pope Boniface. (fn. 78) A composition was made with the vicar, that he and his successors should have all manner of tithes belonging to the church, and the parsonage for his dwelling, and that he should pay yearly to the prioress and convent a pension of 20 marks, for the use of the friars of King's Langley. (fn. 79) This grant was confirmed by Henry IV in 1399, (fn. 80) and by Henry VI in 1424. (fn. 81) At the Dissolution the church came to the crown, and was granted in 1544 to William Hawse or Chambers, (fn. 82) and has remained in his family (now called Halsey) down to the present time. It descended to Robert his son, who settled it in 1547 upon his brother William Halsey and his heirs male. (fn. 83) William died in 1596, leaving Robert his son and heir, to whom seisin of the rectory was delivered in the same year. (fn. 84) He died in 1618, having settled the rectory and advowson of the vicarage on his son and heir William on the occasion of his marriage with Lettice Williams in 1611. (fn. 85) William died in 1637, and the rectory passed to his son John, (fn. 86) who died in 1670. (fn. 87) Thomas, the seventh son of John, was his heir, and he married Anne, daughter and heir of Thomas Henshawe, and died in 1715 leaving a son Charles. (fn. 88) From Charles the rectory passed at his death in 1748 to his son Thomas, (fn. 89) and from him in 1788 to his daughter Sarah, his only surviving child. (fn. 90) She married Joseph Thompson Whately in 1804, who thereupon took the name of Halsey, and died in 1818. (fn. 91) Sarah afterwards married Rev. John Fitz Moore, who also adopted the name Halsey upon his marriage. (fn. 92) She had children by both husbands, but only one son, Thomas Plumer, by her first husband. (fn. 93) He and his wife Frederica and their youngest son Ethelbert were drowned in 1854 on the passage from Genoa to Marseilles, (fn. 94) and on the death of Mrs. Sarah Moore Halsey in 1869 the rectory descended to Thomas Frederick Halsey her grandson, who now holds it. (fn. 95)

There was a brotherhood at Great Gaddesden called St. John's Brotherhood, and the brothers and sisters yearly kept their feast and meeting in a house then called Brotherhood House adjoining the churchyard of the parish church. The yearly feast and meeting was kept upon Sunday next after the feast of St. Michael, but it had not been kept for thirty years in 1577. The building, the greater part of which lay in the churchyard, had been erected by the townsmen in the memory of a deponent in 1577. He also remembered a priest, a Mr. Joseph, who was maintained by the brethren and sisters. The house was sometimes called the 'Brotherhood House,' sometimes the 'Church House,' and sometimes the 'Towne House.' The priest was called the 'morrow mass priest.' (fn. 96) The Brotherhood House was granted in 1574–5 to John Herbert and others, and it was then in the tenure of Leonard Stepneth, the vicar of Great Gaddesden. (fn. 97) The house afterwards came into the hands of Thomas Stepney, who demised it in 1585 to William Allen, (fn. 98) and during his tenancy Leonard Stepneth and Stephen Oypkyn forcibly entered and ejected him from the tenement, which was then known as the Church House, or the Clarke's House, or the Gayte House. (fn. 99)

In 1506 there seems also to have been a brotherhood of St. Sepulchre, (fn. 100) and Robert Hayward of Redbourn mentioned in his will the Gild of St. Mary of Great Gaddesden. (fn. 101)

Places of worship in Great Gaddesden were certified for Protestant Dissenters in 1691, 1822, 1826, and 1830. In 1703 a house for Anabaptists was licensed, (fn. 102) and in 1726 Protestant Dissenters of the Baptist persuasion gave notice that they intended to meet for religious worship at the dwelling-house of George Rose in Gaddesden Row. (fn. 103) Independents first appear in Great Gaddesden in 1704. (fn. 104) There are now Baptist and Wesleyan chapels in the parish.


In 1633 John Halsey by his will charged his messuage in St. Mary Magdalen, in Old Fish Street, London, with the yearly payment of £2 12s. to be applied in the distribution of bread of the value of 1s. every Sabbath day.

In 1651 Stephen Munn by his will left £100 income to be applied, one-half to the minister of the parish, and the other half among six poor inhabitants. The sum of £5 is received annually in respect of this charity.

In 1686 Dorothea Abdy by her will left £20 income to be distributed in half-crowns among poor widows of the parish, in respect of which the sum of £1 is annually received.

In 1728 Thomas Halsey by his will left £2 12s. a year for the distribution of bread to the poor after divine service.

The Bishop's Pension.

—It appears from the table of benefactions that a bishop of London, for the augmentation of the vicarage, gave a sum of money sufficient to produce annually to the vicar £3 6s. 8d., also that by an ancient custom 11s. 8d. was annually paid to the poor by the Halsey family.

The above-mentioned charges, amounting to £15 2s. 4d., are paid out of the Halsey estates.

The table of benefactions also records that there were 10 acres of land in the parish of Northchurch purchased by Anne Halsey, widow of Henshaw Halsey, esq., with £200 deposited in her hands by her husband for the augmentation of the vicarage. The land was sold in 1874, and proceeds applied in the purchase of the site and in the building of the present vicarage.

In 1788 Thomas Halsey left £40 for the poor, which, together with arrears, was invested in £100 consols. The stock was augmented in 1796 by a legacy of £40 by Mary Hester, and by legacies of £30 and £50 by Thomas Lines and Samuel Lines respectively (dates unknown), whereby the stock in 1832 (fn. 105) was increased to £282 13s. 6d. consols.

In 1864 the Rev. J. F. Moore Halsey by his will left £100 consols, and in 1872 the Rev. J. B. Bingham left £106 13s. 4d. consols to the same fund, bringing up the total amount to £489 6s. 10d. consols, producing £12 4s. a year, which, together with the income of the next-mentioned charity, is applicable in the distribution of articles in kind and in money.

In 1894 Joseph Chennell by will left £200 consols (with the official trustees), income to be applied in articles in kind.


  • 1. Information supplied by the Bd. of Agric.
  • 2. Herts. County Rec. i, 174.
  • 3. Ibid. i, 312.
  • 4. Matt. Paris, Chron. Maj. (Rolls Ser.), vi, 13; and Cott. MSS. Nero D. 7, fol. 90.
  • 5. V.C.H. Herts. i, 291 and 329–30.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. G.E.C. Complete Peerage.
  • 8. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), 284.
  • 9. See G.E.C. Complete Peerage, under 'earls of Salisbury.' In 1303 Great Gaddesden was said to be held of the earl of Lincoln, i.e. Henry de Lacy, evidently by right of his wife as countess of Salisbury (Feud. Aids, ii, 425).
  • 10. Hence in 1314 the manor was said to be held of Thomas earl of Lancaster, her first husband (Inq. p.m. 7 Edw. II, No. 36).
  • 11. On the attainder of Thomas earl of Lancaster, Alice was forced to surrender her lands and titles to the king in 1322 (G.E.C. Complete Peerage). In 1337 the title of earl of Salisbury was conferred on William de Montacute, but the overlordship of Great Gaddesden was erroneously considered as parcel of the earldom of Lincoln, and so passed to Henry Plantagenet when he was created earl in 1349. Hence in 1428 it was said to be held of the earl of Lincoln (Feud. Aids, ii, 452).
  • 12. Feud. Aids, ii, 425.
  • 13. Inq. p.m. 7 Edw. II, No. 36.
  • 14. Close, 18 Edw. II, m. 4.
  • 15. Feud. Aids, ii, 452, and Inq. p.m. 13 Hen. VIII, vol. 37, No. 77.
  • 16. Assize R. 323.
  • 17. Inq. p.m. 13 Edw. I, No. 30.
  • 18. Ibid. 7 Edw. II, No. 36.
  • 19. Cal. of Close, 1313–18, pp. 116, 155, 197.
  • 20. Ibid. 1323–7, p. 293.
  • 21. Parl. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 30b.
  • 22. Cal. of Close, 1327–30, p. 348, and Cal. Pat. 1327–30, p. 59.
  • 23. Inq. p.m. 16 Hen. VI, No. 60.
  • 24. Ibid. 16 Hen. VI, No. 60; Anct. Deeds (P.R.O.), A. 5925.
  • 25. Inq. p.m. 6 Hen. IV, No. 44.
  • 26. Ibid. 16 Hen. VI, No. 60.
  • 27. Feud. Aids, ii, 452.
  • 28. In the inquisitions taken upon the death of Constance and of John earl of Huntingdon, the manor is said to have been held of the rector of Ashridge, but it is possible that there was some confusion between the manor of Great Gaddesden and Lucies in Little Gaddesden, the latter of which was held of the rector of Ashridge (Inq. p.m. 16 Hen. VI, No. 60d.; ibid. 25 Hen. VI, No. 25.)
  • 29. Pat. 1 Edw. IV, pt. 1, m. 17, and 19.
  • 30. Ibid. 1 Edw. IV, pt. 4, m. 25.
  • 31. Ibid. 7 Edw. IV, pt. 2, m. 23. The reversion of the grant to the duchess of Exeter was, on 12 Feb. 1469, granted to Elizabeth, queen of Edw. IV (Pat. 8 Edw. IV, pt. 3, m. 3).
  • 32. Inq. p.m. 15 Edw. IV, No. 36.
  • 33. Parl. R. (Rec. Com.), vi, 242a.
  • 34. Pat. 2 Ric. III, pt. 1, m. 13.
  • 35. Pat. 4 Hen. VII m. 6.
  • 36. Inq. p.m. 13 Hen. VIII, vol. 37 No. 77; ibid. 15 Eliz. vol. 164, No. 67.
  • 37. Feet of F. Herts. Mich. 40 and 41 Eliz.
  • 38. Ibid. Hil. 43 Eliz.
  • 39. Pat. 42 Eliz. pt. vi.
  • 40. Feet of F. Herts. East. 44 Eliz. and Recov. R. D. Enr. Hil. 44 Eliz. m. 9.
  • 41. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), vol. 308, No. 107.
  • 42. Feet of F. Herts, Trin. 9 Jas. I.
  • 43. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, ii, 23.
  • 44. Rot. Norman (Rec. Com.), 129.
  • 45. Maitland, Bracton's Note Book, Cases 443 and 540; Inq. p.m. 43 Hen. III, No. 40.
  • 46. Cussans, Hist. of Herts. Dacorum Hundred, 120.
  • 47. Inq. p.m. 20 Edw. I, No. 22.
  • 48. Feud. Aids, ii, 425, and Close, 8 Edw. II, m. 32.
  • 49. Feet of F. Herts. 17 Edw. II, No. 371.
  • 50. Ibid. 6 Edw. III, No. 127, and Close, 43 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 30.
  • 51. Feet of F. divers cos. East. 26 Hen. VI.
  • 52. Cussans, Hist. of Herts. Dacorum Hundred, 120.
  • 53. Feet of F. Herts. Mich. 15 Hen. VIII.
  • 54. J. J. Howard, Visit. of Suff. ii, 210 et seq.
  • 55. Chan. Proc. (Ser. 2), bdle. 2, No. 57, and bdle. 4, No. 33.
  • 56. J. J. Howard, Visit of Suff. ii, 210 et seq.
  • 57. Recov. R. Mich. 3 and 4 Phil. and Mary, rot. 119.
  • 58. Inq. p.m. 12 Eliz. No. 90.
  • 59. Ibid. 36 Eliz. pt. 2, No. 119.
  • 60. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), vol. 329, No. 184.
  • 61. Ibid.
  • 62. Close, 12 Jas. I, pt. 28, No. 27.
  • 63. Close, 1658, pt. 1, No. 17.
  • 64. Ibid.
  • 65. Feet of F. divers cos. East. 25 Chas. II; Recov. R. East. 25 Chas. II, rot. 31.
  • 66. Recov. R. D. Enr. Trin. 33 Geo. III, m. 172.
  • 67. Ibid.
  • 68. Ibid. Mich. 34 Geo. III, m. 34.
  • 69. Assize R. 323.
  • 70. Ibid. 325, m. 27d.
  • 71. Chan. Decree R. 143, No. 13.
  • 72. Ibid.
  • 73. Close, 43 Edw. III, pt. 1, m. 30.
  • 74. Pat. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. 14.
  • 75. V.C.H. Herts. i, 330a.
  • 76. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 11, No. 177.
  • 77. Pat. 17 Ric. II, pt. 2, m. 35.
  • 78. Early Chan. Proc. bdle. 11, No. 177.
  • 79. Ibid.
  • 80. Pat. 1 Hen. IV, pt. 2, m. 24.
  • 81. Ibid. 3 Hen. VI, pt. 1, m. 10.
  • 82. Ibid. 36 Hen. VIII, pt. 14.
  • 83. Ibid. 1 Edw. VI, pt. 7, m. 5.
  • 84. Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), vol. 245, No. 7, and Fine R. 39 Eliz. pt. ii, No. 74.
  • 85. Inq. p.m. 17 Jas. I, pt. i, No. 102.
  • 86. Ibid. vol. 487, No. 46.
  • 87. Berry, Herts. Gen. 88.
  • 88. Ibid.
  • 89. Ibid.
  • 90. Berry, Herts. Gen. 88.
  • 91. Ibid.
  • 92. Ibid.
  • 93. Burke, Landed Gentry, 1902.
  • 94. Mon. Ins. in Great Gaddesden Church, printed in Cussan's Hist. of Herts. Dacorum, 124.
  • 95. Burke, Landed Gentry, 1906.
  • 96. Exch. Dep. 19–20 Eliz. No. 13.
  • 97. Pat. 17 Eliz. pt. 3, m. 9.
  • 98. Exch. of Pleas, Plea R. 27–28 Eliz. Mich. m. 34.
  • 99. Ibid.
  • 100. Wills, archdeaconry of St. Albans, Wallingford, 129d.
  • 101. Ibid. 56.
  • 102. Urwick, Nonconformity in Herts. 411.
  • 103. Herts. Co. Rec. ii, 61.
  • 104. Urwick, Nonconformity in Herts. 411.
  • 105. Date of Charity Commissioners' Report.