A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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This parish consists of two parts, St. Michael's Urban, and St. Michael's Rural. The former comprises the western part of the town of St. Albans and is 289 acres in extent. The latter lies to the north and west of St. Albans, and is 6,269 acres in area. Leverstock Green was formerly partly in St. Michael's, but was in 1850 formed into an ecclesiastical parish out of St. Michael's, Abbots Langley, and Hemel Hempstead. (fn. 1) Hamlets in the parish are Childwick Green on the northern boundary of Childwickbury Park, and Potterscrouch in the south of the parish.
There are large parks at Gorhambury, the seat of the earl of Verulam, and at Childwickbury, the residence of Mr. J. B. Joel, and smaller ones at Hawkswick, the residence of Mr. Walter Reynolds, and at Batchwood. Childwick Hall, tenanted by Mr. Bricker, is north of Childwick Green, and near it at Beesonend there is a stud-farm. The Pré, an early nineteenth-century house belonging to Lord Verulam, is the residence of Mr. H. J. Toulmin, J.P. Darrowfield House, the dower house of the earls of Verulam, is a red-brick eighteenth-century house near the church, now the residence of the Rev. the Hon. Robert Grimston. The wrought-iron entrance gates are said to be of Sussex iron. The Westwick estate, which is now included in Gorhambury, comprises the greater part of the west side of the parish, and Westwick Row is a small and scattered hamlet lying along each side of a street called Westwick Row, about three-quarters of a mile in length, and contains some interesting old plastered houses. St. Michael's manor, the property of Mr. Wm. N. W. Gape, is in Fishpool Street. Verulam House, near the Pondyards, stood on the Watling Street, close to its junction with the present high road from Dunstable to St. Albans. This high road branches off from the Watling Street at the boundary of the parish of St. Michael, and follows a course on the northern side of the River Ver, while Watling Street passes to the south. The high road from Luton to St. Albans also passes through this parish, skirting the eastern side of Childwickbury.
The parish in 1905 contained 3,128 acres of arable land, 2,099 acres of permanent grass, and 659 acres of woodland. (fn. 2) The soil is mixed clay, sand, and gravel, and an old lime kiln in Gorhambury Park indicates that the chalk was once worked there. The chief crops produced are corn and roots.
This parish contains many antiquities, especially near the town of St. Albans, where traces of the Roman town of Verulam and the earthworks of Kingsbury Castle are still to be seen. The site of the priory of St. Mary de Pré is between Watling Street and the Ver, about three-quarters of a mile to the north-west of the church of St. Michael. A small entrenchment called Devil's Ditch lies near Maynes Farm northeast of Gorhambury, and there are traces of a small camp in Pré Wood. North-east of it is 'Lord Bacon's Mount,' said to be the site of an observatory built by Lord Bacon.
Place-names which occur are Dorwolds, Tynker Hill, Wodreddinges, Dorrells, le Breche, Conyworth, Frear-denfelde, Evesdenbusshes, Lyttelbroke Felde, Salliputtes, Dussemeris, Plasshfeld, Denyslond, Ferynges, Pray-marslaydes, and Pitwiches.
There was a water-mill at Childwick in the thirteenth century, which was probably annexed to the manor of Childwick, as both were held at that time by Geoffrey de Childwick. (fn. 3) Kingsbury mill was among the possessions of the abbey of St. Albans at the time of the Dissolution, (fn. 4) and was granted by Queen Elizabeth to William Preston. (fn. 5) A water-mill and free fishery in St. Michael's were conveyed in 1568 by John Machell and Frances his wife to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Anne his wife. (fn. 6) The 'Malt Mylne' in St. Michael's was granted in 1577–8 to Edward Fairchilde, and was at that time held under a lease for thirty-one years by Hugh Story. (fn. 7) A lawsuit of 1601 shows that in the previous year Lady Anne Bacon of Gorhambury, widow of Sir Nicholas, had erected a water-mill about half a mile above the Abbey Mill, and that she also possessed another mill, probably the one mentioned above as sold to her and her husband by John Machell. She leased the New Mill to George Olebye, who thereupon tried to withdraw 'suit, soken, court and grist' from the Abbey Mill, the lessees of which claimed that the corn of all the inhabitants of St. Albans ought to be ground at their mill. On the site of the New Mill there had formerly been a 'force' to bring the water to Gorhambury House, but after the death of Sir Nicholas, Lady Bacon, not requiring the water, had converted the force into a mill, which Olebye asserted had bettered the flow of the water both to the Abbey Mill and to the Kingsbury Mill which lay between the two. Childwick Mill also existed at this time. Above the New Mill there was a fifth mill, which had once been part of the inheritance of Anthony Bacon, and was then in the possession of William Preston, the owner of Kingsbury Mill. A deponent in the suit stated that this mill had been built by a Londoner whose name he could not remember, and was afterwards tenanted by a miller called Butler, when it became known as Butler's Mill. (fn. 8) Kingsbury Mill still exists, and Praemill House perhaps marks the site of the New Mill. A windmill probably existed at Gorhambury, as a copse in the north of the park is still called Windmill Hill Wood.
The manor of WESTWICK (Westwica xi cent, Westwic xiii cent., Westwyche xiv cent.) or GORHAMBURY takes its alternative name from the family of Gorham of Norman extraction, of whom a very full account will be found in Collectanea Topographica et Genealogica, (fn. 9) and by whom it was held during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The manor was bequeathed by Æthelgifu to Queen Ælfgifu about 942–6, (fn. 10) and was granted by King Ethelred in 996 to the monastery of St. Albans. (fn. 11) Abbot Paul (1077–93) at the request of his kinsman Archbishop Lanfranc granted it to Humbald, a kinsman of the Abbot Richard de Albini, successor of Paul to the abbacy, for life, (fn. 12) and Abbot Geoffrey de Gorham built a hall at Westwick for the use of one of his friends and kinsmen, a benefactor of the church. (fn. 13) This relative was no doubt Hugh son of Humbald, for Geoffrey granted it without the consent of the convent, though it belonged to the monks' refectory, to Hugh on his marriage with the sister of Geoffrey. (fn. 14) Hugh appears to have taken the name of 'de Gorham,' (fn. 15) and to have obtained a confirmation of the grant from Abbot Robert de Gorham, (fn. 16) nephew of Geoffrey (1151–66). He seems to have been succeeded by Ivo de Gorham, perhaps the heir of Geoffrey's sister. (fn. 17) Geoffrey de Gorham held the manor in 1166 of the abbot of St. Albans for two-thirds of a knight's fee and suit at the hundred of Cashio every three weeks. (fn. 18) Geoffrey was succeeded by Henry de Gorham, who held four hides and a half of the abbot for the service of two-thirds of a knight's fee in 1212. (fn. 19) Sir William de Gorham succeeded Henry, (fn. 20) and died about 1230. (fn. 21) He married Cecilia de Sanford, whose 'learning, wit, and eloquence' obtained for her an appointment as governess to Eleanor, sister of Henry III. She took a vow of celibacy after she had been for some years a widow, and died in 1251 universally regretted. She was buried with much honour at St. Albans in front of the altar of St. Andrew. (fn. 22) Her son William de Gorham succeeded to Westwick in the lifetime of his mother, and died in 1278 seised of half the manor, leaving two sons, William and John, both minors. (fn. 23) William survived his father only five months, and in 1292 Hugh de Cressingham conveyed the manor of Gorham, perhaps the other moiety, to John de Gorham and Isabella his wife, (fn. 24) who in 1307 settled the manor on themselves for life with remainder to Alphonsus de Vere and the heirs of his body, and upon failure of such heirs to Hawisia de Vere for life, with remainder to Hugh de Vere for life, and to Thomas de Vere and his heirs for ever. (fn. 25) John probably died before 1320, for at that date Alphonsus was in possession. (fn. 26) He died in 1328 (fn. 27) and his son John became seventh earl of Oxford on the death of his uncle Robert in 1331. (fn. 28) Free warren in his manor of Westwick was granted to John in 1329–30. (fn. 29) His son Thomas, the eighth earl, died in 1371, (fn. 30) having settled the manor on his wife Maud. (fn. 31) Robert, son and successor of Thomas, became cousin by marriage to Richard II, by whom he was loaded with honours though he had never distinguished himself by any special services. He was made marquess of Dublin in 1385, and duke of Ireland in the following year. These royal favours roused the jealousy of the barons, who demanded his dismissal from all his offices as a traitor. He was attainted in 1387–8 and all his lands were forfeited, (fn. 32) but his mother held the manor of Westwick for life, with reversion to the crown.
The alienation of Westwick by Abbot Geoffrey had always been looked upon by the convent as a serious loss, and this appeared to be a good opportunity of recovering it to the abbey, so Thomas the abbot, with the help of John the prior, bought the reversion, for which he paid more than 800 marks to the countess, (fn. 33) part of which sum was subscribed by friends of the abbot. (fn. 34) The conveyances in connexion with this acquisition were completed in 1395, (fn. 35) but to secure an undisputed possession of the manor a charter was obtained in 1401 from Richard earl of Oxford (fn. 36) releasing all his right in the manor to the abbey, and a similar charter was obtained in 1446 from his successor John. (fn. 37) The manor remained the property of the abbey of St. Albans until the dissolution of the monastery on 5 December, 1539, when it passed to the crown, and was granted by Henry VIII on 12 March, 1540–1, to Ralph Rowlatt. (fn. 38) He died in 1542, leaving Ralph his son and heir, (fn. 39) who died in the following year, when the manor passed to his son Amphibalus Rowlatt, who settled the manor on Mary his wife, and died in 1546. (fn. 40) Mary his widow married George Horsey, and they together held courts for the manor in 1547 and 1550. (fn. 41) Ralph, brother of Amphibalus Rowlatt, held courts for the manor in 1551, possibly after the death of Mary, widow of Amphibalus. (fn. 42) This Ralph settled the manor in 1549 on his brother-in-law John Maynard, with remainder to Ralph Maynard his nephew, (fn. 43) and in 1557 he conveyed it to John Byll and Robert Bryckett, (fn. 44) probably as trustees. Ralph Rowlatt conveyed the manor in 1560–1 to Sir Nicholas Bacon, lord keeper of the great seal, (fn. 45) and in 1570 Ralph Maynard conveyed his interest in the manor to Sir Nicholas, (fn. 46) who in 1563 pulled down the ancient hall built by Geoffrey de Gorham, (fn. 47) and built his famous house, which he completed in 1568. Of this house, the walls and porch of the hall and part of the west wing of the main courtyard remain. Fortunately a plan is preserved in a manuscript history of Gorhambury written by the Hon. Charlotte Grimston in 1821, and with its aid the annexed plan of the entire buildings has been set out. The main court was about 70 ft. square, with an entrance in the middle of the south side, and at the angles projecting octagonal turrets. The hall took up the west half of the north side of the court, having an office court behind it, on the east side of which was the kitchen, with what seems to be the principal staircase adjoining it on the south. West of the hall was the chapel, with the clock tower in the angle between it and the west wing of the court, containing a newel stair. In the west wing were the dining saloon, anteroom, and drawing-room, and in the east the north dining-room with an ante-room, next to which on the south were the 'sense room' and the 'armor hall,' with a large bedroom at the south-east angle, through which, as it seems, was the only access to a large detached ballroom on the east. The dairy and offices lay round another court to the north of the main court, having the stables on the north-east, and to the west of the main court was an L-shaped wing, with an open cloister below, and a long gallery above. On the site of this part of the house an arched recess remains containing a mutilated statue of Henry VIII, which may be that mentioned in an account of some hasty additions made to the house in view of an impending visit of Elizabeth. The best-preserved piece of the building now remaining is the porch of the hall, which stood on the centre line of the main court. Though now in a very shaky condition, underbuilt with brickwork, and tied together with iron bands, it is a beautiful piece of Renaissance detail. It is of two stories, the lower open on three sides with semicircular arches, and the upper having a square-headed window, now without mullions, flanked by circular marble medallions with busts. Over the window is a low pediment, and the porch is finished with a coping having pedestals at the angles, on one of which a fragmentary figure still remains. The general design of the hall and court seems to have been of late Gothic type, with tall mullioned windows and no trace of Renaissance detail, and this was probably the case with all the original work here except the hall porch. The L-shaped wing was evidently a later addition, and the cloister had classic columns and round-headed arches, as shown in existing drawings. An interesting table of the money spent in building the house is extant, showing that it was begun on 1 March, 1563, and the cost in the successive years from 1563 to 1568 was £315 9d., £461 7s. 1d., £177 6s. 7½d., £568 3s. 9d., £171 8s. 8½d., and £204 16s. 8d., or in all £1,998 11s. 10d.
Queen Elizabeth visited Sir Nicholas there in 1572 and again in 1577, (fn. 48) 'coming thither on Saturday, 18 May, before supper, and continuing till Wednesday after dinner following.' A list of all the expenses incurred during the visit, including a cup presented to the queen, amounting to £577 6s. 7d., is preserved. (fn. 49) The queen in return for this entertainment gave Sir Nicholas her portrait painted by Hilliard, which still remains at Gorhambury.
On the death of Sir Nicholas in 1578–9 the manor came to his eldest son by his second marriage, Anthony, chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, who died without issue in 1601, (fn. 50) when he was succeeded by his brother, Sir Francis. Sir Francis built a new residence which he called Verulam House, now the Pondyards, near the ponds which supplied the old house with water. On the beautifying and enlarging of these ponds Sir Francis spent large sums of money, but they are now overgrown with rushes and half filled up. (fn. 51) Aubrey in his Letters gives an account of Verulam House, which he describes as 'the most ingeniosely contrived little pile that ever I saw.' He conjectures that the ponds covered about four acres, and they 'were pitched at the bottomes with pebbles of several colours which were worked into several figures as of fishes, &c., which in his Lordship's time were clearly to be seen through the clear water.' In the middle of the middlemost pond was a curious banqueting-house of Roman architecture, paved with black and white marble, covered with Cornish slate, and neatly wainscoted. (fn. 52)
Of this house several views are extant, though it was almost entirely demolished in the latter part of the seventeenth century. It was no doubt to the old house of Gorhambury what Wothorpe House was to Burghley House by Stamford—a secondary house, but still of very good size, whither, as Lord Burghley is reported by Fuller to have said, he could retire while his great house was a-sweeping. It was of three stories, four-square with pairs of rounded turrets at each angle, rows of three-light square-headed windows, and doorways in the middle of each side. In the centre was a higher block than the rest, somewhat like the room over the hall at Wollaton, but not so conspicuous. The house was demolished in 1663, (fn. 53) and now one fragment only remains and is used as a cottage.
Sir Francis Bacon began his political career in 1576, was elected to Parliament 1584, and in 1584 or 1585 wrote a pamphlet called Letter of Advice to Queen Elizabeth, in which he showed a wisdom far in advance of his time. He was employed in 1604 as one of the commissioners to discuss the terms of the union with Scotland. On 25 June, 1607, Bacon was appointed solicitor-general, and in 1613 became attorney-general. He succeeded Lord Keeper Ellesmere as chancellor in 1617, and was made lord chancellor in 1618, and in the same year was raised to the peerage as Baron Verulam. Three years later he became Viscount St. Albans, but shortly after this honour had been conferred upon him he was accused of corrupt dealing in connexion with his office, and was deprived of the seal and sentenced to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure. He was detained in the Tower only a few days, but his political career was ended, and he devoted the remainder of his life to scientific work.
Before his death in 1626 Sir Francis conveyed the manor of Gorhambury to Francis Leigh, Lord Dunsmore, Henry Meautis and others as trustees, to the use of Sir Thomas Meautis, who had married Anne, daughter of Sir Nathaniel Bacon. (fn. 54) Sir Thomas had an only daughter Jane, on whose death without issue the manor came to Henry, brother of Sir Thomas. He sold the manor in 1652 to Sir Harbottle Grimston, who married Anne, widow of Sir Thomas Meautis. (fn. 55) Verulam House, or the Pondyards, was settled upon Harbottle's son George, after whose death in 1655 Sarah his wife held it for life. (fn. 56) The house was let to a Mr. Bigg, and its ruinous condition caused some friction between Sarah Grimston and her tenant. (fn. 57) Samuel son of Sir Harbottle died without issue in 1700, leaving Gorhambury to his great-nephew William Luckyn, grandson of his sister Mary and Sir Capel Luckyn. William became first Viscount Grimston in 1719, and died in 1756, when the manor descended to his second but eldest surviving son James, whose son James Bucknall was created Baron Verulam of Gorhambury in 1790, and was succeeded in 1809 by his son James Walter, created earl of Verulam in 1815. (fn. 58) From him the manor has descended to James Walter the present earl.
The present house of Gorhambury was first inhabited on 20 October, 1784, (fn. 59) and stands at no great distance north-east of the house which it superseded, that built by Sir Nicholas Bacon between 1563 and 1568. It has its principal rooms on the first floor, the ground floor being of the nature of a vaulted basement, and full of dark passages. A fine portico on the main front of the house, reached by a broad flight of steps, leads to a large entrance hall from which the principal rooms open on three sides, the dining-room to the right, and a fine library in the middle, out of which small ante-rooms lead to larger rooms in the angles of the main block. All the rooms, as usual in houses of the date, are passage rooms, opening one to another all round the house. There is a fine series of portraits, a number by Lely and Vandyck, but the most interesting include a picture by Hilliard, presented by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Nicholas Bacon, and a fulllength of Sir Francis Bacon by Van Somer.
The best picture in the house is the well-known portrait by Petrus Christus of Edward Grimston, ambassador to the court of Burgundy in 1441 and 1446. (fn. 60)
The manor of Westwick at the time of King Ethelred's grant consisted of 8 yokes (juga) of land. (fn. 61) A detailed rental and extent of the manor was made by John de Gorham in 1306. It then consisted of a messuage with a hall and chapel, and a second messuage called Newbery, with a dovecot. It included land in Langfordlonde, Gosemere, Layehull, Assecroft, Maningfeld, Aywynscroft, Bonnescroft, Whitwellbeth, Bradfeld, Brokfeld, Preymade, and Kyngesberrymade. Pleas and perquisites of court and heriots were worth 40s. a year, and there was a fishery valued at 2s. (fn. 62) In a lay subsidy of 1663 payment was made by Sir Harbottle Grimston for forty firehearths at Gorhambury. He was also rated for eleven firehearths at Verulam House, which had already been demolished, and on this account 11s. was allowed him. (fn. 63)
He repaired the old mansion built by Sir Nicholas Bacon, (fn. 64) and restored the chapel there in 1673. The marble steps in front of the communion table were brought from Sopwell. Extensive repairs were also undertaken in the old mansion at that date, (fn. 65) but during the next hundred years it fell into such a ruinous state that it could not be saved, and the new mansion was finished in 1784, having occupied seven years in building. (fn. 66)
In a survey of Gorhambury of the seventeenth century, it is stated that the 'park is enclosed with a very fair new pale, such as is seldom seen about any other park, which pale cost at least £800 within four years. There is a warren of conies well stored and burrows in good repair upon 72 acres in the park, which is well worth £60 per annum.' (fn. 67)
The exact date of the formation of Gorhambury Park is not known, but it was probably enlarged about 1551, for under that date there is a presentment in the court rolls that John Marston granted to Sir Ralph Rowlatt, lord of the manor, 'all that field called Bankefelde lying in Westwyke which now is imparked and is within the park of Gorhambury.' (fn. 68) In the same roll it was presented that the farmer of Gorhambury was accustomed to have free ingress and egress with his carts for carrying his hay from the meadows then called Goreham Meades to the farm called Gorehamburye Ferme, but the lord disputed this claim. (fn. 69)
The men of Westwick, like so many others of the tenants of the abbey, obtained a charter of liberties from the abbot at the time of the rebellion of Wat Tyler, (fn. 70) a charter which, like all the rest, was withdrawn at the suppression of the rebellion.
The manor of CHILDWICK, Childwica (xi cent.); Childewick Magna (xiv cent.) or CHILDWICKBURY, was held by the fourteenth part of a knight's fee, (fn. 71) and was given to the abbot and monks of St. Albans Abbey by Ailwin Niger and Ailfleda his wife at the instigation of King Ethelred II, in the later part of the tenth century. (fn. 72) William Rufus is said to have seized this manor, but shortly afterwards restored it to the abbey, (fn. 73) and it was confirmed to the monastery by John. (fn. 74) Again, after the death of Abbot Roger de Norton in 1290, the king's escheator seized the manor, and it would seem from the proceedings touching the seizure that it was allotted towards the maintenance of the prior and convent, but that Abbot Roger had assigned it for an anniversary for his soul, and for the provision of bread for the monastery. Upon a composition with the escheator the manor was returned to the prior and convent, but John de Berkhamsted, the succeeding abbot, withheld it from them. (fn. 75) In 1302 Abbot John de Maryns restored this manor to the prior and convent, and assigned it to the use of the office of the refectory for the provision and improvement of the bread and ale of the monastery, and to provide one loaf and two herrings each for 300 poor persons at the feast of All Souls, for the souls of Pope Boniface VIII and Abbot Roger de Norton. (fn. 76) The abbot in this grant reserved to himself homage, wards, marriages, reliefs, &c., belonging to the manor, and view of frankpledge there. (fn. 77)
The manor appears to have belonged in the thirteenth century, probably during the seizure by the crown, to Geoffrey de Childwick, a person of some note at St. Albans, who held the office of bailiff of St. Albans for some time. (fn. 78) He was probably, if not identical with, a relative of the Geoffrey de Childwick who is described in the middle of the thirteenth century as an enemy of the abbey of St. Albans. He maltreated the abbot's servants, and for this he was excommunicated, but when attached the appeal was withdrawn at the intercession of the king, who afterwards granted to Geoffrey free warren in his lands which he held of the abbot contrary to the ancient charters of the abbey. (fn. 79) For the manor Geoffrey paid a rent of two quarters of wheat to the convent. This rent is said to have been bought by John Maryns the abbot of William Beneyt, to whom it was given by Geoffrey de Childwick. (fn. 80) In 1346 Thomas, prior of Tynemouth, was entertained at the manor of Childwick, when he came to take part in the election to the abbacy, an office for which he was afterwards chosen. (fn. 81) A large barn and other necessary buildings were constructed at Childwick by John de la Moote (1396-1401). (fn. 82) The manor was leased out from time to time, and a little before the dissolution of the monastery Henry Stonham was the farmer. (fn. 83)
After the suppression of St. Albans Abbey, this manor was granted on 26 February, 1540, to Sir William Cavendish, and Margaret his wife. (fn. 84) In 1550 Sir William Cavendish and Elizabeth his wife conveyed the manor to Thomas Rowce or Rouse, of Ayot St. Lawrence. (fn. 85) This alienation was made without the royal licence, but this was shortly afterwards obtained, confirming Thomas's estate in the manor. (fn. 86) Thomas Rouse died seised of the manor in 1562, having bequeathed it to his son Nicholas and his heirs with remainder to the daughters of Thomas. (fn. 87) Nicholas died a minor two years after his father, and his heirs were his sisters, Frances, Anne, Dorothy, and Joan. (fn. 88) Joan married Thomas Kere, and with her husband conveyed her quarter of the manor in 1575 to John Puckering and Jane his wife, (fn. 89) who together with John Manchell and Ursula his wife sold it in 1579–80 to William Preston. (fn. 90) The other three sisters of Nicholas, Dorothy wife of Edward Smith, Anne wife of Humphrey Meade, and Frances wife of William Preston, conveyed their three parts of the manor in 1578 to George Rotheram and William Toocke, trustees for William Preston, (fn. 91) who died in 1592 seised of the manor and the reversion of certain land in the manor after the death of Mary, relict of Thomas Rouse, then wife of Roger Arnold, who held it in dower. (fn. 92) William Preston, his son and heir, died in 1644, when the manor came to his son William, (fn. 93) who sold it about 1666 to Joshua Lomax of Bolton, co. Lancashire. (fn. 94) Joshua died in 1685, and was succeeded by his son Joshua, who was M.P. for St. Albans in 1708, and died in 1724 (fn. 95) His eldest son, Joshua, died in infancy, and Childwickbury came to the second son Caleb, after whose death in 1729 a chancery suit was started by his widow Mary against the executors of his will. On account of divorce proceedings which had taken place against Mary, the executors refused to allow her dower in the manor. (fn. 96) The result of the suit is not given, but the manor came to Caleb, son of Caleb and Mary, an infant at the time of his father's death, whose grandson, Joshua Lomax, sold it in 1854 to Henry Heyman Toulmin. (fn. 97) On his death in 1871 it passed to his son Henry Joseph Toulmin, (fn. 98) who sold it to Sir John Blundell Maple, of the wellknown firm of Maple & Co., upholsterers, in Tottenham Court Road, London. Sir John died in 1903, and left the property to his widow, who afterwards married Mr. Montagu Ballard. The property has now been sold to Mr. J. Joel.
The manor-house appears to have been built in the reign of James II, perhaps by Joshua Lomax. Henry Heyman Toulmin enlarged the mansion by adding two wings, (fn. 99) and Sir John Blundell Maple made various alterations and additions, and erected several stud-farms on the estate.
The site of the manor of Childwicksay or Child-wykeshay called Bachesworth, is probably at BATCHWOOD, some half a mile south of Childwickbury. It was perhaps included in the grant of Childwick to St. Albans by Ailwin Niger and Ailfleda his wife, (fn. 100) and was held by the abbot for the service of oneeighth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 101) At the close of the thirteenth century it was in the possession of the Bachesworth family, from whom it doubtless got its alternative name. John de Bachesworth shortly before his death in 1293 sold to Abbot Roger a meadow in Childwick, (fn. 102) and the manor of Childwicksay descended to his son Roger, an idiot. (fn. 103) On this account the manor was in the hands of the king in 1303, Sibyl wife of John holding a third as her dower. (fn. 104) Roger de Bachesworth died in 1308–9, leaving Richard his brother and heir. (fn. 105) The manor was in 1320–1 in the possession of John son of John de Dene and Margaret his wife, probably daughter of Richard son of Roger de Bachesworth, whose relationship to Roger and Richard de Bachesworth mentioned above is not clear. (fn. 106) In 1336 Andrew Pynnere, a merchant of Coventry, and Margaret daughter and heir of Richard de Bachesworth released to Robert son of Adam Albyn of Hemel Hempstead and Margaret his wife and the heirs of Robert all their right in the manor of Childwicksay near the vill of St. Albans. (fn. 107) The manor soon passed from Robert Albyn to Margaret relict of William Wotton, who may have been the widow of Robert Albyn. Of her it was bought under the name of the manor of Childwicksay called Bachesworth about the middle of the fourteenth century by John Whitwell, the steward of St. Albans, for himself and his mother for their lives, with remainder to the abbey. (fn. 108) In 1429 Roger Husewyff and Richard Byngham granted to the abbey a toft, land, and wood in St. Albans and Childwicksay. (fn. 109) Land and pasture called Bacheworth and Countes were held under lease by Edward Smith in 1535, (fn. 110) and in 1550 Batcheworth meade was parcel of the manor of Childwick and had lately been in the tenure of John Carpenter. (fn. 111) Batchworth or Batchwood was held in 1556 by Edward Smith under a lease from Richard Weste. (fn. 112) The wood called 'Bathewood' was in the middle of the sixteenth century annexed to the manor of Kingsbury. (fn. 113) Batchwood was the seat of the late Lord Grimthorpe, who on his death in 1905 left the estate to his nephew, Edmund Beckett Faber.
The manor of WINDRIDGE (Wenrige xi cent.; Wanrugge xiii cent.; Wyndrynge xiv cent.) was held before the time of the Domesday Survey in two parts, the one by Osbern, a monk, and Goding his man, which had passed at the time of that survey to Geoffrey de Bech, who held it of the abbot of St. Albans. (fn. 114) The other portion had been held in the time of King Edward the Confessor by Ailmer one of Earl Lewin's men, and was at the time of the Survey held by Ralph of Geoffrey de Bech. (fn. 115) The manor seems to have remained divided for some time. The latter portion apparently passed to the family of Weyland, and Sir William Weyland died seised of it in 1276, leaving a brother and heir Sir Thomas, whose son John died in 1318 leaving three daughters and co-heirs, this portion of the manor of Windridge falling to the share of Maud, who married John Pecok of Redbourn. (fn. 116)
The other portion of the manor went to Richard Pirot, whose brother Ralph recovered it in a suit against Ranulph Brito in 1228–32. (fn. 117) In 1287 Ralph Pirot claimed free warren in his demesne lands at Windridge, and in 1277–8 he claimed the right of presenting a leper to the hospital of St. Julian, and on the death of one to present another. (fn. 118) Joan daughter of Ralph Pirot held a fourth and a fortieth part of a knight's fee in Windridge in 1303. (fn. 119) In 1321 Reginald son of Ralph Pirot of Herlingdon conveyed the manor to John son of Robert Pecok of Redbourn, (fn. 120) bringing the two portions of the manor together. John Pecok in 1327 conveyed the whole manor by fine to John le Turnour of Redbourn, chaplain, for the purpose of settling it upon himself and his wife Maud and the heirs of their bodies. (fn. 121) From John Pecok it passed to Edmund Pecok, who died without issue, leaving his sister married to John Somersham his heir. (fn. 122) John Somersham and his wife had two daughters, Margery who married Nicholas Laurence, and Alice married to John Swanborne. Robert Dykeswell and Agnes his wife, probably the relict of John Somersham, in 1377 conveyed a third of the manor of Windridge to Nicholas Laurence and Margery, and John Swanborne and Alice, and the heirs of Margery and Alice. (fn. 123) Margery afterwards married William Ashe, and in 1399 she and her husband conveyed their moiety of the manor to John Swanborne and Alice. (fn. 124) Margery eventually became heiress of her sister, and her only daughter Elizabeth married Thomas Frowick, in whose family the manor remained till their descendant, Henry Frowick, sold it in 1478 to Sir John Fortescue, (fn. 125) who seems to have forfeited it under Richard III, perhaps as a Lancastrian, for in 1484 the manor was granted by Richard III to Richard Decons for life. (fn. 126) It must shortly afterwards have been restored to John, for he died seised of it in 1500, leaving John his son and heir, (fn. 127) who died in 1518, leaving his son Henry his heir, aged two years. (fn. 128) In 1538 Henry Fortescue conveyed the manor to Sir Thomas Seymour, (fn. 129) afterwards Lord Seymour of Sudeley, who leased it to Richard Raynshawe. (fn. 130) Lord Seymour was attainted and beheaded in 1549, when the manor reverted to the crown. The site and capital messuage of the manor were leased on 26 May, 1549, to Edmund Foster, (fn. 131) and he in 1553 sold the remainder of the lease to Raynold Carte. (fn. 132) In 1552 Edward VI granted the manor to Sir Edward Fynes, Lord Clinton, (fn. 133) who conveyed it on the following day to John Cock of Broxborne. (fn. 134) Upon the death of John Cock, about 1558–9, (fn. 135) litigation took place between his son Henry and Anne his widow, who had married George Penruddocke, as to waste committed upon this and other manors. (fn. 136) In 1574 Henry Cock and Ursula his wife conveyed the manor to Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper. (fn. 137) Anthony Bacon and Francis Bacon, sons of Sir Nicholas, in 1593 conveyed it to Robert Prentice, probably for the purposes of some trust, (fn. 138) and in 1599 Anthony Bacon sold it to John Crosby. (fn. 139) It was confirmed to John by letters patent in 1614, (fn. 140) and he sold it in 1623 to Francis Fuller, (fn. 141) who died in 1637, having bequeathed the manor to Francis Osbaston, son of his sister Barbara, the wife of Henry Osbaston of Aldersbrooke in Essex. (fn. 142) Francis died without leaving issue, (fn. 143) and his brother and heir Henry sold it in 1679 to Samuel son of Sir Harbottle Grimston, (fn. 144) and from this point its descent is identical with that of Gorhambury (q.v.).
The manor of KINGSBURY (Chingesbiri xiii cent.) anciently belonged to the Saxon kings and was bought by Alfric afterwards abbot of St. Albans, then the king's chancellor, of King Ethelred, with the ponds and wood belonging to it. (fn. 145) The manor was afterwards given by Alfric and Leofric his brother to the abbey of St. Albans. (fn. 146) Alfric had previously bought a large fishpond called 'Fischpol' near the castle of Kingsbury, which was very obnoxious to the abbey, and as part of the price of this pond gave the king the cup given to the monastery by Abbot Eadfrith, besides many other valuable presents. (fn. 147) The fishpond was drained, with the exception of a small pond surrounded with reeds, and the rest of the land was converted into gardens. (fn. 148) This pond is perhaps identical with that mentioned in the Domesday Survey as existing at St. Albans. (fn. 149)
The manor of Kingsbury was confirmed to the abbey by King John in 1199, (fn. 150) and in 1258 the proceeds of the manor were assigned to improve the victuals of the abbey. (fn. 151) A composition was made in 1535 between the abbot and the vicar of St. Michael's by which a pension of 20s. became payable to the vicar from this manor. (fn. 152)
During the insurrection under Wat Tyler the manor-house of Kingsbury had a narrow escape from being burnt down by the insurgents. A certain farmer of the manor who owed money to the prior joined the rebels, and threatened that if the abbot did not pay him 100 marks he would burn down both the manor-house of Kingsbury and the Grange of St. Peter. To save his property the prior gave £20 of the required sum. (fn. 153) The manor remained in the possession of the abbey until the Dissolution, when it came to the crown.
The manorial rights appear to have become annexed to the manor of Pré, which is usually called Prée cum Kingsbury, and the courts of the three manors of Westwick, Pré, and Kingsbury were held together. (fn. 154) The manor of Kingsbury, by which the site of the manor is probably meant, was granted in 1553 to Thomas Wendy, (fn. 155) one of the royal physicians. He had to pay 10s. per annum to the collector of rents in the manor, and 20s. to the vicar of the church. Thomas died seised of the manor in 1612, leaving William his son and heir. (fn. 156) He settled it upon his wife Blanche in 1615, (fn. 157) and died in 1623 without leaving issue, when he was succeeded by his nephew Thomas, son of Francis Wendy, then a minor. (fn. 158) The manor belonged to Sir Samuel Grimston in 1688, (fn. 159) and from him it has descended to the present earl of Verulam.
The hallmote of the manor of Kingsbury was held sometimes at Childwick and sometimes at Westwick. The court rolls of the manor between 31 Henry III and 5 Edward III are preserved among the manuscripts of the earl of Verulam at Gorhambury. (fn. 160)
The manor of LEVESLESTOCKE, MARKET OAK, MARKET DOLE or LANGLEY with WESTWICK was part of the possession of the priory of Markyate, (fn. 161) and at the Dissolution was probably included under rent of customary tenants in Westwick. (fn. 162) In 1619 the manor was conveyed by William Hatche and Pleasance his wife to John Field, (fn. 163) and in 1634 John Field conveyed it to his son John, (fn. 164) and in the same year John Field died seised of the manor, leaving Benjamin his son and heir. (fn. 165) John Field and Mary his wife sold the manor in 1666 to Harbottle Grimston, (fn. 166) and from that point its descent has been identical with that of Gorhambury, with which its manorial rights have now become merged. Its site is probably at Leverstock Green, now an ecclesiastical parish, formerly partly in the parish of St. Michael's.
Manor of PRÉ (Pray, de Prato). The house of St. Mary de Pré was founded as a Benedictine nunnery about 1194 by Warin, abbot of St. Albans. (fn. 167) Rents from the churches of Walden and Newnham and all tithes from the demesne of Luton besides other revenues were granted to the nuns in the foundation charter. (fn. 168) King John in 1199 granted to the nuns of Préafair to be held in the manor on the vigil and feast of the nativity of B. V. Mary. (fn. 169) This fair was held at Romeland or in Keyfield. (fn. 170) In 1204 30 acres of assart in Estbrok were granted to the foundation, (fn. 171) and land in Westwick was given them in 1248 by Alexander son of Richard de Langel, (fn. 172) and in 1278 Joan daughter of John Howeles granted to the nuns land and wood in Westwick. (fn. 173)
The last prioress died in 1527, having under her at that time only three nuns, who deserted the convent on her death. The possessions of the nunnery, which included the manors of Pré, Playdell, and Beaumond, and tithe rents in Redbourn, Sarratt, and Codicote, and land in St. Albans and elsewhere to the yearly value of £33, (fn. 174) were granted to Cardinal Wolsey, who gave them to his foundation called Cardinal's College at Oxford. (fn. 175) On Wolsey's disgrace in 1529, his college was dissolved and the manor of Pré was leased for thirty years in 1530 to Richard Raynshawe, a yeoman of the guard. (fn. 176) The possessions of the priory had previously been annexed to the abbey of St. Albans by a papal bull, but Wolsey obtained another bull for their annexation to his college at Oxford. (fn. 177) In 1531 the site of the monastery of Pré, together with the manor of Pré, and all the other possessions of the nunnery, were granted by the king to the abbey of St. Albans in exchange for other manors. (fn. 178) The abbot leased the manor in the following year to Richard Raynshawe, who already held a lease from the king. (fn. 179)
On the suppression of the monastery of St. Albans the site of the nunnery and the manor of Pré again came to the crown, and were granted in 1540 to Ralph Rowlatt. (fn. 180) From this point it descended with Gorhambury.
The Pré which marks the site of the ancient manor is now the residence of Mr. Henry Joseph Toulmin, J.P. In the house are some carvings by Grinling Gibbons brought from Childwickbury by Mr. Toulmin.
A property called DIXIES in Westwick belonged in 1493 to Robert Stodley. It was demised in 1500 by William Stepneth and John Marchall, schoolmaster, and others to Thomas West of Tygheley. In 1531 Henry Bestney sold to William Sharpe land called Tyghele, Dykes, and Bushecroft which had lately belonged to Thomas West, of whom Bestney purchased them. (fn. 181)
A tenement called MAYNES in the lordship of Gorhambury was surrendered in 1551 by Isabel widow of John Marston of Hillend to Thomas Marston, one of the tenants of Gorhambury appointed to receive surrenders in extremis. This surrender was made to the use of John Marston the younger, her son, and of her three daughters Margaret, Florence, and Isabel. (fn. 182) At the next court it was presented that the lane called Maynes Lane and le Dyche lying next Brokefylde was parcel of the customary land called Maynes belonging to George son of John Marston. (fn. 183) George Marston died in 1622 seised of the reversion of various closes in the parish of St. Michael, by conveyance from Francis Bacon in 1616. His heirs were his sisters Joan Gape, widow, and Alice Marston. (fn. 184) John Gape died in 1625 seised of tenements in the parish of St. Michael, leaving John his son and heir. (fn. 185)
In an undated extract from a court roll the homage testified that they found that 'Maynes lond with the apertense hathe behoden as ytt ys nowe wytheoutt remembrans of man, also we fynde that Maynes dyche is pessell of the lond of Georgy Marston cayllyd Maynes, allso we fynd that all the copyehollders of thys maner may falle and sell all maner of tymber and underwodes acordyng to the custum of the maner.' (fn. 186) The site of this tenement is probably to be found at Mayne's Farm.
An oratory of ST. MARY MAGDALENE was built not far from that of St. Germain by Wulsin, the sixth abbot of St. Albans, (fn. 187) and a chapel of St. Mary Magdalene was dedicated by Herbert, bishop of Norwich (1094–1119). (fn. 188) In 1530 Helen Atkynson, widow, left a bequest to Sir Nicholas Insley the hermit at St. Mary Magdalene's to sing a trental of masses. (fn. 189)
The reversion, after the expiry of a lease for twentyone years granted in 1541 to Sir Francis Bryan, of this chapel, with a mansion and land adjoining, was granted in 1547 to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 190) who sold it in the same year to John Maynard and Dorothy his wife. (fn. 191) Dorothy outlived John, who died in 1556–7, and married Francis Rogers as her second husband. Francis died in 1571 seised of a capital messuage called Mary Magdalene or Verilondes, which he held in right of Dorothy. (fn. 192) He was succeeded by Sir Henry Maynard, a son of John and Dorothy, who died in 1610, when the property came to Henry Maynard his second son. On his death in the same year without issue the chapel passed to his brother John, the fourth son of Sir Henry. (fn. 193) The site of the chapel now belongs to the earl of Verulam.
An oratory of ST. GERMAIN of Auxerre was built at St. Albans in the time of Eadfrith, the fifth abbot. (fn. 194) There had formerly been a chapel dedicated to this saint founded by Ulf, prior of St. Albans, as it was supposed on the site of the house in which St. Germain dwelt when he visited Verulam to refute the Pelagian heresy, (fn. 195) but it had been allowed to fall into a ruinous state, and was quite deserted in the time of Eadfrith. Wulf, a Dane, was established as a hermit in the newly-built chapel, and at his death 'in reverence for his virtue,' he was buried among the abbots. (fn. 196) Eadfrith, after his resignation of the abbacy, succeeded Wulf as a hermit at St. Germain's, where he died. (fn. 197)
The chapel was dedicated by Ralph, bishop of Rochester (1108–15), and Geoffrey Agnus was ordained priest there. (fn. 198) Various repairs and improvements were made at St. Germain's by Abbot Richard (1326–35). (fn. 199) This chapel, under the name of St. Jermayne's, with a house and land and a dovecote and inclosure called St. Jermyn's Pricks, was included in the grant of the chapel of St. Mary Magdalene to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 200) and passed in the same way to the Maynards. No further mention of it has been found until 1691, when Henry Killigrew, the purchaser of St. Julian's, is described as of St. Germain's. (fn. 201) Joseph Aldridge of St. German's Farm died in 1873. (fn. 202) The farm now forms part of the property of the earl of Verulam, and is the residence of Mr. James A. Mousley. Traces of the chapel still exist, the piece of the Roman wall of Verulam called St. Germain's block having probably been used as a part of the chapel and so preserved.
ST. MICHAEL'S MANOR.
The family of Gape (fn. 203) have held property in St. Albans since the latter part of the fifteenth century. John Gape, whose will was proved in 1495, left a tenement in Sopwell Lane to his son Henry. (fn. 204) Henry Gape, who may have been this son, possessed two tenements in Salipath, and died in 1558. (fn. 205) John Gape, the eldest son of Henry, who was mayor of St. Albans in 1564, 1572 and 1579, (fn. 206) may have been the builder of the manor-house, for the date 1568 is carved on some of the oak ceilings of the house. The property has descended in the family to William Nugent Walter, (fn. 207) the present representative, and the house is now occupied by Mrs. Haviland.
The church of ST. MICHAEL has a chancel 24 ft. 6 in. by 14 ft. 6 in., a nave 76 ft. 9 in. by 20 ft. 9 in., with north aisle 9 ft. 3 in. wide, south chapel 30 ft. by 18 ft. 6 in., and modern south porch, south-west vestries, and north-west tower. The west end of the church was destroyed by Lord Grimthorpe a few years ago, and rebuilt as it now appears. Before this time it had a tower at the west, mainly of fifteenth-century date, though in the process of its destruction evidence is said to have been found of an older tower incorporated in its walls.
The history of the church is a long one. The first building on the site was due to Wulsin, abbot of St. Albans in the middle of the tenth century, who founded at the same time the churches of St. Peter and St. Stephen. There are points of resemblance between these two churches of St. Stephen and St. Michael which are too marked to be accidental, and they form a valuable commentary on each other. Both have developed their present plans from aisleless buildings consisting of a chancel and nave, with thick walls of flint and Roman brick, and both have been enlarged in the second half of the twelfth century by the addition of aisles to the nave; in the case of St. Stephen's circumstantial evidence only is available as to the addition of a south aisle at this date. Much more is left at St. Michael's of the aisleless church than at St. Stephen's, the only parts entirely destroyed being the east wall of the chancel, the chancel arch, and the west wall of the nave. Enough remains of the side walls of the chancel to show that there was a doorway on the north, and in the nave the arrangement of the north and south windows can be recovered with practical certainty; there were four on each side equally spaced. All the details are worked in Roman brick, and are of the simplest character. The north doorway of the chancel has a plain semicircular head and is cut straight through the wall without a reveal, the windows are small round-headed openings with no external rebate, the splayed jambs and head running through to the outer face of the wall, and the bricks in the window heads are, in one case at least, not set radially with their curve, but overlap at the crown of the arch in herring-bone fashion. These details undoubtedly point to a pre-Conquest date for the work, but the thickness of the walls is a rather serious obstacle to the theory, and the analogy of St. Stephen's church, where the walls are equally thick, tells in the same direction. In the absence of actual proof, it may perhaps be allowable to give the very early-looking details of windows and doorway the benefit of the doubt, and hazard the opinion that they are of early eleventh-century date. The nave arcades belong to the latter part of the twelfth century, and are very irregularly cut through the thick walls. On the north side are three bays, and on the south four, the eastern arch on the south having been widened at a later date by cutting away half its western pier. All have angle dressings of small pieces of Totternhoe stone in the arches, which are of a single square order, and in the jambs, and at the springing are square abaci with a quirk and a hollow chamfer below. The line of the original west wall of the church, as given by the west wall of the former tower, would allow some 60ft. for the old nave, the regular length of the nave in the larger pre-Conquest churches.
The addition of a clearstory to the nave was probably some twenty years later than the addition of the aisles, and the Lady chapel on the south side of the nave belongs to the first decade of the thirteenth century. The chancel was much altered, but not entirely rebuilt, except as regards its east wall, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and the now destroyed west tower was for the greater part, if not entirely, of the latter date. The rood stair, at the north-east angle of the Lady chapel, is a fifteenth-century addition. The early chancel arch, which was no doubt narrow and round-headed, was cut away and widened as it now appears at a date which cannot be definitely fixed, perhaps late in the fourteenth century, and the wall itself is thinned on the eastern side to give more room in the chancel.
The chancel has an east window of three trefoiled lights with net tracery of fourteenth-century style. In the north wall the only window is a small single pointed light, much modernized, if any part of it is mediaeval. It is near the north-west angle, and immediately east of it is the early blocked round-headed doorway in Roman brick already noted. Internally it is perfect, but externally only part of its west jamb remains, the wall from this point eastward having been rebuilt. The early masonry is here easily to be seen, the north-east angle of the nave being quoined with Roman brick, which is also freely used in the walling, with some attempt at banding as in Roman work. The flint masonry is of large scale, as in early flintwork elsewhere, and a curious but not original feature is a half-arch of brick in the north wall of the chancel, the reason for which is not now apparent. The south wall of the chancel is too much cut up with later insertions to show any early features, but part of the south-east angle of the early nave is still to be seen. The south doorway of the chancel is entirely modern outside; to the east of it is a square-headed fifteenth-century window of three cinquefoiled lights, and to the west a mid-fourteenth-century two-light window, trefoiled under a square head, having beneath it a beautiful ogee tomb-recess with cinquefoiled feathered cusping, of somewhat earlier style than the window. It contains a fourteenth-century coffin lid which, however, does not seem to be in position. In the angle formed by the nave and chancel is a narrow square-headed light, blocked up a little within the wall face, but showing unequally splayed plastered jambs, and at the east end of the chancel wall is a small fifteenth-century four-centred recess, like a small locker. It is impossible not to connect some at least of these unusual features with the succession of anchorites who were attached to St. Michael's. (fn. 208) The chancel has a small piscina at the south-east, with a fifteenth-century uncusped head, and the altar table is a very fine carved specimen of late sixteenth-century date. The chancel arch is segmental of two chamfered orders, with plain rectangular jambs, into which the arch dies.
The nave arcades have been already noticed, and the remains of earlier windows into which they cut. The east end of the north aisle has been used as à vestry or perhaps a chapel, and for some reason the first 10 ft. of the nave wall here have been left unpierced, except for a small fifteenth-century doorway. The nave clearstory is of six lights a side, spaced without regard to the arches below; the windows were originally thirteenth-century lancets, but on the north side the first, second, and fourth from the east have been replaced by square-headed windows of two cinquefoiled lights, c. 1500. On the south side the first three lancets are in perfect preservation, being covered by the roof of the Lady chapel, and show external rebates for frames, and the other three to the west are also old but less perfect.
A modern lancet, making seven in all, has been added by Lord Grimthorpe on this side at the west. The nave roof is of late fifteenth-century date, of low pitch with moulded timbers and stone corbels carved as angels with shields; on some the saltire of the abbey occurs.
The north aisle has an east wall as thick as those of the early nave, though there seems no reason to suppose that it is older than the latter part of the twelfth century; it contains a wide round-headed window, much modernized and of doubtful date. In the north wall are four windows and a blocked doorway, three of the windows being square-headed, of two cinquefoiled lights, but of different size and proportions; all are of fifteenth-century date. (fn. 209) The doorway only shows on the inside, being blocked and partly destroyed, and to the east of it is a small two-light arched window, c. 1340, with very pretty flowing tracery on a curiously small scale. At the west end of the aisle a door opens to the new tower.
The south chapel is of good proportion, with a tall round-headed light set centrally in its south wall, its inner jambs and head ornamented with an edge roll, and two similar lights, but with engaged shafts in the inner angles, in the east wall, with a blank shallow recess between them, at the top of which is a circular window. In the south wall two fifteenth-century windows have been inserted right and left of the original single window, that to the east being of three cinquefoiled lights under a square head, and the other a two-light window of rather earlier detail. The west wall is strongly buttressed at the south-west, and has no opening except a curious round opening low in the wall and giving on to the porch, but formerly to the south aisle. The chapel takes up two bays of the south arcade of the nave, the first arch having been widened, as already noted, and the second underbuilt with a thirteenth-century doorway of two chamfered orders, the door having opened towards the chapel. In the third bay is another arch of different detail, but probably much the same date, in which the south door of the nave is now hung. The door is itself old, with plain wrought-iron strap hinges, probably of the fifteenth century, and opens to an entirely modern south porch of thirteenth-century style. The fourth bay of the arcade is blocked, except for a modern opening at the west leading to the modern vestry, which stands west of the porch. In the vestry is preserved part of a fifteenth-century doom, painted on a board, showing the dead rising from their graves. The west end of the nave and the north-west tower are of Lord Grimthorpe's design, and call for no comment. (fn. 210)
The font at the west end of the nave is of the fifteenth century, with a panelled octagonal bowl, a good deal re-tooled.
A good deal of late fifteenth or early sixteenth-century linen panelling remains worked up in the nave pews, and the pulpit is a very fine specimen of Jacobean work, richly carved, with a tester over, and a bookboard carried on pierced brackets. An iron hourglass holder is fastened to it on the west side.
Considerable remains of a Doom were found at the east end of the nave in former repairs, but nothing is now left there. There are, however, some remains of colour on the east jamb of the south-east window of the clearstory.
The rood stair, a fifteenth-century addition, was at the south end of the nave, entered from the Lady chapel, where its blocked doorway, in a projecting pier of masonry, still remains.
The clock in the tower was presented in 1897 by Mrs. Hill, of Hawkswick, in memory of her late husband.
In the north wall of the chancel is the well-known monument of the great Lord Chancellor Bacon, showing him seated in a chair as in his lifetime he was accustomed to sit, according to the brief inscription below. It was set up by Sir Thomas Meautis to his memory, and though coming rather near the theatrical, is a fine and striking piece of work.
There are two brasses to the Pecok family, one in the south chapel of about 1330, with figures of John Pecok and Maud his wife, and another in the nave of about 1400. In the chapel there is also a beautiful fourteenth-century floriated cross with a figure in the open head of the cross; the inscription has unfortunately perished.
On the floor of the chancel there is a slab to the memory of George Grimston, son and heir-apparent of Sir Harbottle Grimston.
On the floor of the nave are brasses to the memory of Henry Gape (1558) and Florens his wife, and slabs to John Bressie (1691), Margaret Lowe (1672), Mrs. Mary Martin (1703), Amos Martin her husband (1675), and their son Amos Martin (1706).
On the south wall are the remains of a painted inscription to John Maynard, who married Mary, daughter of Ralph Rowlatt (1556).
There are six bells:— the treble, 2, 3, 4, and 5, by Samuel Knight, 1739, the last inscribed, Robert Catlin hung us all, 1739; the tenor was recast by C. and G. Mears in 1845.
The plate consists of a large cup and paten and flagon, and a large almsdish, all having the London date letter for 1736. All are inscribed: 'For the use of the altar of the parish church of St. Michael's in St. Albans, to be always kept in the dwelling house of the incumbent.' There is also a small almsdish of 1743.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms, burials, and marriages from 1643 to 1724; the second book, baptisms and burials from 1724 to 1812, and marriages from 1724 to 1755; book three contains marriages from 1754 to 1803; and book four, marriages from 1803 to 1812. (fn. 211) There are bishops' transcripts for 1572, 1581, 1584, 1592, 1598, 1599, and 1629. (fn. 212)
In 1502 there is mention of the Brotherhood of St. Michael in the parish. (fn. 213) In 1527–8 (fn. 214) there is mention of the Palm cross in the churchyard, and in 1485 and 1502 of a church-house in the churchyard, (fn. 215) possibly on the site of the present schoolroom in the north-east of the churchyard.
The church of St. Michael was built by Wulsin, sixth abbot of St. Albans, in the tenth century. (fn. 216) The church was confirmed to the abbey by Honorius III in 1219, (fn. 217) but in the time of Abbot John de Hertford (1235–60) some difficulty arose with regard to it which could only be settled by an expensive mission to Rome. (fn. 218) Two-thirds of the tithes were assigned by Abbot Geoffrey to the Hospital of St. Julian at its foundation. (fn. 219) Abbot John de Hertford in 1252 took the church from the convent and gave it to the sacrist, and at the same time instituted it as a vicarage. (fn. 220) The grant to the sacrist was confirmed by Innocent IV, and it is stated that the rectory was vacant at that time, and that the value scarcely exceeded 22 marks. (fn. 221) The king presented to this church in 1349, on account of the voidance of the abbey at the time. (fn. 222) The advowson of St. Michael's remained with the abbey till the Dissolution, at which time the rectory was valued at £10 0s. 14d. (fn. 223) It was granted in 1542 to Richard Andrews and Leonard Chamberlain, (fn. 224) who conveyed it in the same year to Ralph Rowlatt, (fn. 225) from which time its descent has been identical with that of Gorhambury (q.v.).
The rectory with the exception of the tithe corn of the third sheaf was granted in 1612 by James I to William Allen and Christopher Goodfellow. (fn. 226) Three-fourths of the rectory subsequently passed to Samuel Dagnall, Humphrey and James Rogers, and others, who sold it to Joshua Lomax of St. Albans. (fn. 227) He sold it in 1663 to Sir Harbottle Grimston, (fn. 228) whose descendant the earl of Verulam is the present impropriator of the great tithes.
There is a private chapel at Childwick Green, which is served by the clergy of St. Michael's. Christ Church was partly built in 1848 by Alexander Raphael, M.P. for St. Albans, as a Roman Catholic church, but at his death it was in an unfinished state, and was sold to Mrs. Isabella Worley of New Barnes in the parish of St. Peter. She completed it in 1856 as a Protestant church, and it was consecrated in 1859. The living is a vicarage in the gift of trustees.
The church of Holy Trinity, Leverstock Green, was built in 1849. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the earl of Verulam.
Places were certified for dissenting worship in the parish of St. Michael's between 1783 and 1850 and at Childwick Hedges in 1822 and Leverstock Green in 1834 and 1841. (fn. 229)
This parish is entitled to have one almswoman in Roger Pemberton's Almshouses (see parish of St. Peter), and to receive a tenth of the income of the Bray Norrice or Norris Charity for four widows, and to nominate two widows for annuities under Jane Nicholas's Charity (see the Abbey parish).
St. Michael's share of the charity of Joshua Lomax (fn. 230) is now represented by £66 15s. consols with the official trustees.
In 1713 John Ewer, by his will proved at London on 1 October, left £50 to be laid out for the help of the truly good and impoverished persons within one week next after 25 December in every year. In 1727 the legacy, with £13 added, was laid out in the purchase of a close in Shenley known as Maggot's Croft, now let at £5 a year, which is usually distributed in gifts of 1s. 6d. each to the poor.