A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1908.
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The parish of St. Peter originally included as chapelries the present parishes of Sandridge, Ridge, Northaw, and St. Andrew, now the abbey parish of St. Albans, (fn. 1) and comprised about 13,000 acres. These chapelries were made into separate parishes during the fourteenth century, and St. Peter's parish now contains 6,673 acres. The parish adjoins St. Albans in the east, and a part of it is within the city boundaries. The surface of the land varies little in height, being on an average about 300 ft. above ordnance datum, but in places reaches 400 ft. The south is rather lower than the north. Two high roads, that from London to the north-west, and the Watford and Hitchin Road, cross within the town, and other good roads give communication with Hatfield and Luton and the surrounding district. The Midland Railway main line also passes through the parish of St. Peter and has a station there, and a branch of the Great Northern Railway which terminates at St. Albans has a station called Smallford, though about three-quarter-mile distant from that hamlet. There are some woods in the parish, and these lie chiefly about the Hatfield Road, especially on its northern side. In 1905 the total area of woodland was only 159 acres, while arable land covered 3,381 acres, and permanent grass 2,076 acres. (fn. 2) The subsoil is chalk with some Woolwich and Reading Beds in the northwest, (fn. 3) the surface soil is chalk and gravel with some pockets of clay.
That part of the parish of St. Peter's which is within the city of St. Albans is described under that section. Its chief street, called St. Peter's Street, a part of the road to Hitchin and Luton, is very wide and lined with trees. There are several hamlets in the parish of which Smallford and Sleap lie some three miles to the east. Hill End near to Smallford has a growing population on account of the county asylum lately built there. Nearer St. Albans are the districts called the Camp and Fleetville, inhabited by workmen and others engaged at the printing and other works established in the neighbourhood. Hall Heath along Sandpit Lane consists of a few cottages with some larger residences now being erected. London Colney to the east of the parish on the London Road is shortly to be made into an ecclesiastical parish; it has the church of St. Peter and a Baptist chapel; there are several old inns here and some picturesque half-timbered and plastered houses. Napsbury lies to the south of London Colney and has an increasing population in connexion with the Middlesex County Asylum, a series of plain red brick buildings with slate roofs, of which the foundationstone was laid in 1901. Colney Heath lies to the north-east of London Colney, and is now an ecclesiastical parish with the church of St. Mark. There are other smaller hamlets, such as Wilkins Green, which is near the Hatfield Road, but none are of much importance. There are several good houses other than manorial houses in the parish. New Barnes, called also Sopwell House, is a large brick house, plastered and painted, with extensive grounds, the greater part of which is occupied by the Verulam Golf Club. It was formerly the seat of Mrs. Worley, then of Lord Verulam, and was at one time the residence of Edward Strong, master builder of St. Paul's Cathedral. It is now the residence of Mr. A. T. Buller. It belonged to Sir Ralph Sadler in the sixteenth century, and followed the descent of the Sopwell estate. (fn. 4) Hedges, a farm to the south of New Barnes, also belongs to Lord Verulam, and followed the descent of the Sopwell estate. (fn. 5) It is now the residence of Dr. C. G. Pearse. New Birklands, formerly Newhouse Park, a large red-brick building on the London Road, is now a girls' school, of which the heads are Miss Cox and Miss Smith. Further along the London Road is Highfield Hall, a modern house, the residence of Mr. C. Morris. Oaklands, a large house in thicklywooded grounds, lies on the Hatfield Road, and is the residence of Mr. Graham Fish.
The manor of NEWLAND SQUILLERS (Squillers, xv cent.; Newlane, xvi cent.) lies partly within the city of St. Albans and to the north-east of the town. It was bought by Abbot William Heyworth (fn. 6) (1401–20), and his successor John of Wheathampstead obtained licence to hold it in mortmain in 1429. (fn. 7) The site of the manor is said to be in the Hatfield Road, St. Albans, where the Marlborough Buildings now stand. This estate remained in the possession of St. Albans monastery till the Dissolution, about which time it seems to have acquired the name of Newlane. (fn. 8) In 1544 Henry VIII granted to Sir Richard Lee the manor of Newland Squillers alias Newlane, (fn. 9) and in 1555 Sir Richard alienated the estate to Richard Grace. (fn. 10) At the death of Grace the manor became the property of his wife Mary for life, with remainder to his daughter Margaret, (fn. 11) who married John Robotham. Margaret and her husband held courts there jointly (fn. 12) till her death in 1585, and at John's death some thirty years (fn. 13) later he was succeeded by their son John, (fn. 14) and he in turn by his son Robert, who conveyed the manor in 1654 to William Farr and Aquila Skynner, possibly for the purposes of a settlement. (fn. 15) The manor afterwards passed to the Jennings family, (fn. 16) and followed the de scent of Sandridge (q.v.). John Poyntz, the present Earl Spencer, is now lord of the manor.
The manor or rather estate of SOPWELL was originally that of Sopwell Priory, which was a cell of the monastery of St. Albans. After the dissolution of the priory it was given by the king in 1540 to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 17) who was bailiff and farmer of the dissolved priory as early as 1534. (fn. 18) In 1557 Sir Richard conveyed this estate to trustees to the use of his daughter Anne and her heirs, (fn. 19) and three years later he leased it to his son-in-law Humphrey Coningsby for a term of forty-eight years. During this time the manor was sub-let to several tenants. (fn. 20) The original settlement must have been altered, for at Sir Richard's death his daughter Mary and her husband Humphrey Coningsby inherited Sopwell. Mary married her second husband Ralph Pemberton in 1600, and they held the manor together (fn. 21) till her death in 1610. (fn. 22)
Mary's heir was her sister Anne Norwich formerly wife of Edward Sadler, but she settled Sopwell on Anne's son Richard Sadler on his marriage with Joyce Honeywood in 1603. (fn. 23) Richard died seised of the property in 1624, and Robert his eldest son came into possession. (fn. 24) Through the marriage of his daughter Helen with Thomas Saunders (fn. 25) the manor came to the latter, who sold it in 1669 to Harbottle Grimston. (fn. 26) It remained in the Grimston family, (fn. 27) and is now the property of his descendant the present earl of Verulam.
The site of Sopwell Nunnery is supposed to be marked by the ruins of a house and adjacent inclosures. This house was built by Sir Richard Lee, a favourite at the court of Henry VIII, who received a grant of the site of the priory in 1540, and made his will, in which he mentions this house which he calls Lee Hall or Sopwell Hall in 1570. (fn. 28) The house must therefore have been built between these dates. Sir Richard Lee diverted the London Road leading out of St. Albans in order to make a park to his house, (fn. 29) which he surrounded with a wall, the remains of which, composed of pieces of moulded stone, principally of clunch, from the priory church and buildings, are to be seen along the south side of the old London Road, St. Albans, near to its junction with the present London Road, and eastward along the London Road on the east side of the Midland Railway bridge which crosses it.
The ruins, at present in a decidedly unstable condition, consist of a series of fragmentary walls, two stories in height, and a number of slighter and more extensive remains which suggest the inclosure of courts or gardens, but their differing thickness and varied construction go to show that they represent parts of several successive developments, now difficult to trace. The main block of the buildings runs roughly north and south, the better preserved walls being on the east side, where they still show, in the three-light transomed window, the plain shallow moulding of the door jambs, and the portion of a string course, the style of decoration employed in the whole building. On this side also are two inclosures measuring together about 280 ft. from north to south, divided by a wall about 80 ft. in length running east from the main buildings. This wall is thicker than those of the rest of the inclosures, and is pierced by a doorway admitting from one court to the other.
In the north-east corner of the south inclosure is a small building with raking vaults running east and south, and provided with numerous recesses in the interior walls; it seems to have been the lower part of a staircase. Beyond these inclosures is another, larger in size, but of more doubtful origin, which is formed by continuing the north and south walls of the smaller inclosures towards the river, where it is bounded for about 390 ft. by a brick wall. On the west side of the building several lines of grass-covered foundations are visible, as well as some light walls which form an inclosure at the north-west corner, entered from the south by a doorway showing traces of the same mouldings as elsewhere. There is also a small fragment remaining of a stone pilaster about 90 ft. west of the main building, suggesting the position of the chief entrance, which must have been from the present Sopwell Road, but no further traces are visible to confirm this.
The general arrangement and appearance of Sopwell House and its surroundings are fortunately recorded on a sixteenth-century plan preserved at Gorhambury, here in part produced by kind permission of the earl of Verulam. The house is shown as a long building with north and south wings, the main block carried through the wings, and ending in gables at east and west. It appears to be of two stories with an attic, and has a formal garden to the west, and a forecourt with low buildings to the east, in front of which is an outer courtyard entered through the main gateway on the road. To the north of the house is a garden or orchard, and a stream flows close by on the west and south. On the rising ground north of the house is a warren, with a second warren adjoining it, its inhabitants, rabbits and deer, being shown on a colossal scale. To the north-west is a water-mill, marked 'Paper-Mill,' and an inclosure called 'Lawne-Meade,' by the side of the stream, with the warren meadow to the west across the stream, and in front of the house are the 'Litle Lawne' and 'Pond Meade.'
CELLBARNES lies along the London Road on the north side, opposite to the lands of Sopwell. In 1517 there were two woods on the property, one called Cellewood, and the other Kadman's Grove. (fn. 30) Cellbarnes belonged to the nuns of Sopwell, and they leased the herbage and pannage of Cellewood in 1531 to Thomas duke of Norfolk for twenty-one years, (fn. 31) and about the same time leased the rest of the estate, except Kadman's Grove, to John and Nicholas Aylewarde. (fn. 32) Shortly after the Dissolution, Henry VIII granted the whole property to Sir Richard Lee, who was already farming the estate, (fn. 33) and his wife Margaret. (fn. 34) Sir Richard conveyed it in 1557 to trustees, to the use of his younger daughter Anne, (fn. 35) and leased it in 1574 to his daughter Mary's husband, Humphrey Coningsby. (fn. 36) Previously to 1678 it had been in the tenure of Thomas Elnor, (fn. 37) and some hundred years later it had passed into the possession of Caesar Broke. (fn. 38) It later became incorporated in the Sopwell Estate, and is now the property of the earl of Verulam. There are two houses, Little Cellbarnes, a farmhouse; and Great Cellbarnes, a square brick house, the residence of the Hon. F. W. Anson.
In the fifteenth century Abbot William Heyworth bought BUTTERWICK, (fn. 39) and the profits from it were devoted to the office of master of the works. (fn. 40) It was later appropriated to the office of sub-cellarer. (fn. 41) In 1533 the abbot granted a lease of the manor to Richard Grubbe, (fn. 42) and in 1550 the king gave it to Sir Anthony Denny, (fn. 43) and at some date before 1624 it came into the possession of Sir Richard Coxe, for he died seised of it that year, leaving as heir his brother John, (fn. 44) who settled it on his nephew Alban. (fn. 45) For the next two hundred years no trace appears of this property, but in 1813 Butterwick was the subject of a fine between Samuel and Robert Gaussen, and George Wilson and Elizabeth (fn. 46) his wife. The present owner is Mrs. Emilia Christian Gaussen, wife of Mr. Herbert Loftus Gaussen (formerly named Tottenham, but who has recently taken the name of Gaussen.) (fn. 47)
The earliest record of HARPESFIELD is in a charter of King John, by which he confirmed to St. Albans the lands of Nicholas son of William; and of Ralph de Harpesfield. (fn. 48) In the time of Henry III, John (fn. 49) son of Roger de Harpesfield held of the abbot of St. Albans (fn. 50) I hide 43 acres of land, and paid for the hide fealty and the service of finding one horse to carry a 'groom' to Tynemouth, (fn. 51) every time the abbot went there, with the proviso that the abbot should pay a reasonable compensation if the horse died on the way. (fn. 52) Service due for the 43 acres, which was called 'le Braches,' was fealty and a rent of 13s. 4d. (fn. 53)
John son of Roger appears to have married Emma, and they had a daughter Joan, (fn. 54) who married John de Harpesfield. (fn. 55) In 1316 the manor was divided. One part remained with the Harpesfield family, and was held by the descendants of Joan, while that portion which Emma had held in dower was conveyed by her four daughters to John Benstede and his wife Petronilla. (fn. 56) Emma's dower would appear to have been the house only, as later the property of the Benstedes is called Harpesfield Hall, and the hide and 'le Braches,' which is all the land mentioned, continued to be held by the Harpesfields. (fn. 57) About 1400 the one hide and 'le Braches' came into the king's hands through the idiocy of John son of Joan and John de Harpesfield, (fn. 58) and was passed over to the abbot as escheat, (fn. 59) and at the death of this John son of John in 1429 without heirs, the king granted that these lands might still be held by the abbot. (fn. 60)
But the abbot's rights were not uncontested, for towards the middle of the fifteenth century a youth appeared and claimed to be heir, but he died before he could make good his case. (fn. 61) About the same time another John de Harpesfield came forward and unjustly disseised the abbot, as was shown at the assize when judgement was given against him. (fn. 62) Some twenty years later a messuage and a carucate of land were confirmed to Nicholas de Harpesfield son of Thomas by the abbot, and a settlement was made of this property in 1463 on Nicholas and his heirs, with remainder to his sister, wife of Giles Southran, and then to John Ferrers, a kinsman. (fn. 63) At the end of the fifteenth century the manor had descended to John son of Nicholas, and he appeared in court to demand the deeds of entail which he alleged were in the possession of the abbot. (fn. 64) There appears to be no separate history of the two estates after this date, so that it would seem probable that this John Harpesfield and Elen Southran died without heirs, and Ferrers inherited the manor, which henceforth descended with Harpesfield Hall (q.v.).
John de Benstede, to whom Emma's four daughters conveyed property in Harpesfield, identified with HARPESFIELD HALL, (fn. 65) died in 1324 (fn. 66) seised of a tenement there and left it as dower to his wife Petronilla, with reversion to their grandson John. (fn. 67) He died in 1376 leaving the estate to his brother Edward, (fn. 68) afterwards Sir Edward, who was succeeded by his second son Edward. He died in 1431, and was succeeded by his son Edward who was unjustly disseised by Sir John Benstede, grandson of Sir Edward's eldest son Sir Edmund. Sir John died in 1471, leaving a son and heir William (fn. 69) who apparently married Joyce Dudley, and the manor was settled on her after her husband's death with remainder to their son Edward and his heirs. (fn. 70) This Edward dying in 1518 left all his property to his wife Joyce with remainder to his kinsman John Ferrers. (fn. 71)
This manor at the Dissolution was held under the monastery of St. Albans, (fn. 72) and in 1547 it was conveyed by Francis Ferrers to Sir John Brocket, knt., and Margaret his wife, (fn. 73) who was daughter of William Benstede. (fn. 74) John Brocket died in 1556 leaving the manor to his son Bensted, (fn. 75) and in 1565 John Brocket of Brocket Hall, probably son of Bensted, conveyed Harpesfield Hall (fn. 76) to Robert Wolley of St. Albans, (fn. 77) who in 1639 settled a moiety of it upon his son Robert on his marriage with Anne Pettie. (fn. 78) This property remained in the hands of the Wolley family for some thirty years. (fn. 79) In 1666 Robert Wolley of Denton in Lincolnshire and John Wolley of Harpesfield Hall mortgaged the property to John Ferrers of Shoreditch, who in 1669 assigned the mortgage to William Welby of Denton. In 1676 Welby assigned his interest to John Gape, (fn. 80) and in the same year the Wolley family conveyed the property to John Gape. (fn. 81) It has descended with this family (fn. 82) and is now owned by Mr. Nugent Gape. (fn. 83)
The earliest document containing any history of the manor of BEAUMONTS, which lies in the north of the parish near Sandpit Lane, is a grant of this property in 1528 by Henry VIII (fn. 84) to Thomas archbishop of York. (fn. 85) It was shown at that time that previous to its dissolution the property had been held by the Benedictine house of St. Mary (fn. 86) of Pré, a cell of St. Albans. Thomas Wolsey held the manor till his downfall and death, (fn. 87) when it returned to the king, who regranted it in 1540 to John Cox and Eleanor his wife. (fn. 88) In 1556 John Cox granted the manor to his son Thomas. (fn. 89) It remained in the family of Cox for over one hundred and fifty years. (fn. 90)
The last heir male of the family who held it was a Thomas Cox who died in 1722 and bequeathed it to his two sisters, Elizabeth wife of the Rev. John Cole and Susanna a spinster. (fn. 91) After her sister's death Elizabeth became possessed of the whole. (fn. 92) And after the death of her husband John Cole she married Thomas Kinder, and the manor descended with his family, and in 1880 was held by his great grandson Thomas Kinder of Sandridge Bury. (fn. 93) The present owner is Mr. Graham Fish of Oaklands.
At the time of the Dissolution the grange called LE BECHE was part of the possession of St. Albans (fn. 94) and was under a lease to John Forster. (fn. 95) It was granted by Henry VIII in 1550 to Sir Anthony Denny. (fn. 96) In the next century the capital messuage called the Beech or the Beech Farm was held by John Clarke, who died in 1624–5 leaving as heirs his four sons. (fn. 97) The property appears to have been conveyed by Anthony Denny to John Dell, whose family was still in possession of it at the beginning of the eighteenth century. (fn. 98)
NAPSBURY (Absa, Apse, xi cent.; Nappysbury, Apsabury, xv, xvi cent.) was held at the time of the Domesday Survey of the abbot of St. Albans by Godric a vassal of Archbishop Stigand. (fn. 99) Later it fell into the hands of Odo, bishop of Bayeux, and at the request of Abbot Paul de Caen (1077–93) he restored to St. Albans the three hides which 'Absa' originally comprised. (fn. 100) Just before the dissolution of the monastery the abbot leased Napsbury to William Marston for ninety years. He was to hold all the manor 'saving to the abbot and his successors a house called "Tylehouse," and the land where they dug clay for making tiles and bricks,' and all the perquisites of court, woods, etc. and cartbote, haybote, ploughbote, and firebote in the manor woods. But if the rent were in arrear the abbot was to be allowed to re-enter the manor within one month. (fn. 101) Little else is known of the manor during the time that the monks held it.
The almoner received the whole of the tithes, (fn. 102) and the manor itself belonged to the office of the kitchener. At the latter end of the fourteenth century the house had totally collapsed, and John V, thirty-first abbot, had it rebuilt. (fn. 103) After the Dissolution the king granted it in 1540 to Ralph Rowlatt, (fn. 104) and he, dying seised of it in 1543, (fn. 105) left it as an inheritance to his son Sir Ralph, (fn. 106) who, after holding it for thirty-nine years, left it on his death in 1571 alienated to Sir Nicholas Bacon. (fn. 107)
In 1597 his son Anthony conveyed the manor to Edward Briscoe, (fn. 108) who died in 1608 and left it to his son Edward, who married Jane a daughter of Sir Ralph Coningsby. (fn. 109) He died in 1638 and was succeeded by his son Edward. The manor was at this time held for one-tenth part of a knight's fee. (fn. 110) Later Martha, a descendant of this family of Briscoe, married Thomas Gee, and it would appear that through this marriage the property was conveyed to the family of Gee about the year 1723, (fn. 111) and descended to Thomas Jenkin Gee, (fn. 112) who had two daughters, Judith and Elizabeth. The latter died in 1862 and Judith, who married Thomas Castle, conveyed the manor to him. He afterwards took the name of Gee (fn. 113) and the estate was vested in him in 1880. The present owner of Napsbury manor is Mr. G. Newington. (fn. 114) The greater part of Napsbury has been purchased for the erection of the Middlesex County Asylum, the foundation-stone of which was laid in 1901.
FAUNTON (Thuangtune, (fn. 115) Thuantone, (fn. 116) Tawntone, Thuanetona, (fn. 117) Twangton, Phawnton, Fauntonwode) was a small wooded estate near St. Albans, in the parish of St. Peter. This territory was given to the monastery by Ethelwine the Swart and his wife Wynfleda in the time of Edward the Confessor, (fn. 118) and other gifts of land in the same place were made later by Geoffrey son of Roger de Tauetune (fn. 119) and John son of Richard Maunsel. After the Dissolution Faunton Wood was granted to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 120) and descended with the manor of Sopwell (fn. 121) (q.v.)
In 1607 POPES or POPEFIELD, composed of lands partly freehold and partly copyhold of the manor of Sopwell, was in the hands of Andrew Duffy of the 'Cross of the Oke,' St. Peter's, who in 1610 sold it to Nicholas Audley of London, grocer. Audley in 1615 sold it to William Exelby of North Mimms, who in 1618 settled it upon his son on his marriage with Elizabeth daughter of Sir George Peryent.
The property seems to have been subject to several mortgages, and we find William Barker of London, Robert Barclay of Kimpton, and William Oxtell of Shenley, dealing with it during the middle of the seventeenth century. Eventually it seems to have come into the hands of William Oxtell, who died in 1663 and left his property to his mother, Anne Briscoe, and his half-brothers and sisters, who seem to have conbined and conveyed this property in 1664 to John Gape, who held in 1672. (fn. 122) It descended with the Gape fámily, and is now held by Mr. Nugent Gape. (fn. 123)
Little is known of the history of the old mansion of GREAT NASTHYDE which stands to the south of the main road between Hatfield and St. Albans, and was formerly in St. Peter's parish, but is now included in the ecclesiastical parish of Colney Heath.
It is not a large house, but is interesting from the fact of its internal arrangements having undergone comparatively little alteration since it was built. The walls are of red brick, with stone mullioned windows and mouldings, and, though considerably smaller, it bears a close resemblance, in many of its external features, to Waterend House in the parish of Sandridge, about 5 miles to the northward, and was probably built about the same time, during the early years of James I. It has similar wide bay windows, with slight projection, finished on the top with small tile-covered offsets; it has also similarly proportioned stone mullioned windows, though in many of the windows the stone mullions, traces of which still remain, have here given place to more modern sashes. The bold string courses, which at Water End are of moulded brick, are here made of stone, and there is a very similar arrangement of tiled roofs, with high-pitched gables, and groups of brick chimneys, with their octagonal shafts and moulded caps and bases. Nasthyde has a fine brick porch of two stories in the middle of the south front, the doorway having a moulded stone arch with moulded imposts, flanked by stone pilasters with moulded caps and bases, but ivy covers most of the stonework. Over the entrance to the porch is a large three-light window with stone mullions; a moulded transom divides the window, horizontally, into nearly equal portions. Most of the windows have been built up.
The plan of the house somewhat resembles the letter H, the wings forming the vertical lines. These wings project 10 ft. at the back, but only 3 ft. in front. The house has two stories with attics, and cellarage under the western end. The front porch enters directly into a large hall, about 20 ft. by 18 ft., lighted from both sides. Entering off the hall, on the east side, is the parlour, a fine room panelled up to the ceiling with old oak, the styles and rails of the panels being moulded. There is a wide slightly projecting bay window on the south side which has been filled with eighteenth-century sashes, but in the east wall are two of the old two-light stone mullioned windows, now, however, built up.
Behind the parlour, and opening both from it and from the hall, is the principal stair, which goes up only to the first floor. It is 5 ft. in width and the ascent is very easy. The woodwork is all of black oak.
On the west side of the hall, opposite to the door to the staircase, is a similar door opening into a short passage leading to the kitchen and back stair. The kitchen is a very large and lofty apartment measuring about 23 ft. 6 in by 19 ft. and is paved with large red tiles. Between the hall and the kitchen is a small room nearly filled with the brickwork projecting behind the hall fire-place, and further space is occupied by a large wooden bulkhead covering the stair to the cellar which is entered from the kitchen. This room is lighted by a wide stone-mullioned window of five lights, placed high up in the south wall. The room was probably used as a still-room or servery.
The plan of the first floor follows very closely that of the ground floor, except that a corridor, probably of later work, has been formed out of the northern side of the room over the hall. This corridor connects the principal stair in the east wing with the rooms and stair in the west wing. The small room over the porch is entered from the room over the hall, the doorway being of stone with splayed and stopped angles and three-centred arch. Most of the other old doorways are similar to this, though some have been lined with oak panelling.
The room over the kitchen is panelled with oak similar to the panelling in the parlour, and the fire-place has a heavy moulded oak border round it. In this room, and in some of the others, are some very good examples of old cast-iron eighteenth-century grates, but the chimney-pieces are nearly all modern and poor.
The rooms in the attics follow the plan of those below, but the corridor is absent, the rooms opening one from another. Two of the rooms have the original stone fire-places, with three-centred arches, and splayed angles with moulded stops. There are two doorways on the north side of the house, one from the principal staircase, which appears to be modern, the other from the passage between the hall and kitchen, which dates from the eighteenth century, and has a large elaborately panelled door.
Towards the end of the twelfth century, Robert son of Richard de Walemund granted to Roger abbot of St. Albans all his claim to a tenement lately held by his father in the vill of Sandridge. (fn. 124) This tenement was probably the same which was later called ST. PETER'S GRANGE alias WALMON'S FEE, in the parish of St. Peter. (fn. 125) It was burnt in the Wat Tyler riots (fn. 126) and rebuilt in the fourteenth century by Abbot John V. (fn. 127) In this same insurrection the rebels burnt many rolls belonging to the archdeacon and books of the vicar of St. Peter's. (fn. 128)
Just before the Dissolution, this Grange, with the rectory of St. Peter's, was leased by the abbot to John Bigg of Hounslow for a term of fifty years. (fn. 129)
In 1544 Henry VIII granted this estate and the rectory of St. Peter's to Nicholas Bacon and Thomas Skipwith. (fn. 130) Later they passed to Lord Seymour of Sudley and were held by him till his attainder. (fn. 131) In 1586 a fresh grant was made, and they were leased to Sir William Drury for a term of twenty-one years. (fn. 132) Two years later the same properties had been conveyed to Thomas Dockwra, who surrendered the lease so that the premises might be granted to himself for life with remainder to his wife Helen and their daughter Jane. (fn. 133) In 1600 the two estates were again in the hands of the crown, and Queen Elizabeth granted them to the bishop of Ely. (fn. 134)
Land was held in the hamlet of SLEAP in the fourteenth century of the crown by William Slape; the abbot seized it and also took land there belonging to Alexander Slape. (fn. 135) In the fifteenth century the abbot granted land in Sleap to the hospital of St. Anthony, London, for the enlargement of their buildings. (fn. 136) During the first half of the next century it was held by Thomas and Richard West, who owed an assize rent for it of 8s. 2½d. to the sub-cellarer of St. Albans. It had previously passed through the hands of William Este and Robert Herpsefield. (fn. 137)
The hamlet of SMALLFORD dates back at any rate to the end of the fifteenth century. Among the holders there at that time were William Este, Robert de Harpesfelde, and Thomas Weste. (fn. 138) In 1549–50 the king ordered his sheriff 'to distrain Sir Richard Lee, tenant of a portion of the tithes of sheaves of Smallford in the parishes of St. Peter and St. Stephen late in tenure of John Aylewarde, now in tenure of Thomas Vaughan who holds of us, in chief, to do homage and fealty to us for the premises. Which premises the said Richard had to himself his heirs and assigns of the gift of Thomas Skipwith.' (fn. 139)
There were two mills in the parish of St. Peter from the beginning of the twelfth century. They were called Sopwell or Cowley Mill and Stankfield Mill, (fn. 140) and belonged to the monastery of St. Albans till its dissolution. (fn. 141) After this Henry VIII granted these two and Cowley Mill to Sir Richard Lee, (fn. 142) and they descended with his other property to his daughter Mary. (fn. 143) Sopwell Mill, apparently later, took the name of Newbarns, by which it is known now, and Stankfield Mill has become Cotton Mill.
The church of ST. PETER has a chancel with south vestries, a tower between nave and chancel, and a nave of seven bays with north and south aisles and a south porch.
The first church on the site was that built, together with those of St. Michael and St. Stephen, by Abbot Wulsin in the middle of the tenth century, but all traces of it have long since disappeared.
In later times, perhaps during the thirteenth century, the church took the form which it retained till the eighteenth century, of a cruciform building with a central tower. A west doorway of thirteenth-century detail survived till 1893 (when Lord Grimthorpe destroyed it), showing that the length of the nave had probably remained unaltered for some 650 years.
The existence of the central tower in 1254 is to be deduced from a record that it was damaged by lightning in that year, and four years later the ankress who lived at St. Peter's saw in a vision an old man with a long beard crying, 'Woe to all the inhabitants of the earth,' from the top of the tower. Much late twelfth-century detail was found used as walling in 1893, pointing to the former existence of work of that date in the church, and that a good deal of building was done in the fourteenth century is evident from the record that the parishioners were fined at some date between 1335 and 1349 for cutting down trees in the churchyard for the work of the church. Two eighteenth-century sketches of the south and east views of St. Peter's in Baskerfield's collection in the British Museum appear to show fourteenth-century windows in the chancel and south transept, the tower being of plain fifteenth-century work with a small leaded spire and a large stair turret at the north-east angle. The chancel had a fine east window of six lights, and a small vestry on the south side, while the south transept had a large five-light south window.
The nave arcades, and probably the greater part of the aisle walls, were rebuilt in the fifteenth century, the south and west doorways of thirteenth-century date being preserved. The south transept probably contained the Lady altar, and the north transept that of St. John the Baptist, connected with the gild of that name which existed in the parish. Besides the high altar of St. Peter, altars of the Holy Trinity and of St. Giles are mentioned; they may have been at the rood screen. The rood-loft is named in the fifteenth century, and the earliest mention of the dedication of an altar is c. 1160, when that of St. Nicholas was dedicated by Godfrey, bishop of St. Asaph. References to the following images or paintings of saints are found in the St. Albans wills: St. Christopher, St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Nicholas, St. James, St. Clement, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Osyth, St. Ursula, our Lady of Pity, St. John the Baptist, St. Erasmus, St. Giles, St. Katherine, and the blessed Henry (King Henry VI).
The later history of the church, given at length in an admirable paper by W. Carey Morgan, (fn. 144) may be summarized as follows. In 1756 the tower arches were taken out and loftier ones inserted, and the tower heightened, and in consequence it soon fell into a dangerous state. In 1785 it was underpinned with upright baulks of timber, nine in the lower part of each pier, a makeshift arrangement which began to fail almost at once. The vestry showed the greatest reluctance to amend this piece of jerry building, which had cost no less than £2,790, and could only agree to patch the failing beams with plaster. By 1799 the tower had become so dangerous that it was at last taken down to the top of the crossing arches, and in 1801 the belfry floor fell, a final disaster which brought about the desired rebuilding. The transepts were then taken down and the chancel shortened, and in this state the church remained till 1893, when Lord Grimthorpe rebuilt and lengthened the chancel, remodelled the tower, and pulled down the north and west walls of the nave, building a new north wall just outside the line of the old wall, and lengthening the nave one bay. The south porch was also rebuilt at this time, and the old clearstory, with its curious square-headed windows cut out of single stones, gave way to that now existing.
The old west front of the nave had octagonal turrets abutting the arcades, an arrangement which has been imitated in the new work.
The chancel has an east window of five lights, filled with glass by Capronnier of Brussels, dated 1862, and has two modern lancet windows on the north and south.
The tower is of red brick with stone dressings, the brickwork being that of 1801–3, retained, and the arches which carry its east and west walls are pointed, of four continuous chamfered orders, and seem to belong to the same date. Over the western arch is the mark of the flat pitched nave roof removed by Lord Grimthorpe when the present high-pitched roof was put on. The nave is of seven bays, all of fifteenth-century date except the west bay, which, as already said, is a modern addition. The arcades are fine and stately, and all the details excellent, with tall pointed arches of two moulded orders, semi-octagonal moulded capitals on piers of four engaged round shafts, and moulded bases. In the western responds the capitals are old, having been moved from their former position one bay further to the east. From the evidence of wills, work was going on at the church between 1435 and 1440, and this may very well be the approximate date of the old work in the nave. The clearstory is modern, but the angel corbels of a former flat-pitched roof remain in the walls, and are probably of the date of the arcades. The south aisle is also of the same date, and, like the rebuilt north aisle, has tall three-light windows with fifteenth-century tracery. Between each pair of windows is an engaged shaft with a moulded capital of the same type as those in the nave arcades, suggesting that the original intention was to vault the aisles in stone, but the capitals of the shafts are at a much lower level than those of the arcades, and if the idea of a vault was ever proposed, it must have been abandoned at an early stage of the work. The shafts have remains of painted decoration, a running pattern of foliage, red on white and white on red alternately. The south doorway is in the fourth bay of the aisle, and has a moulded outer arch with pairs of shafts in the jambs, and a moulded segmental rear-arch, all apparently in new stonework. In the north-east angle of the porch is a recess for holy water, with a four-centred head and an embattled cornice over.
The west end of the nave is a characteristic specimen of Lord Grimthorpe's work, having a large rose window flanked by turrets; below the window is a west doorway.
There is no old woodwork in the church except the organ case, on the north side of the tower, which is a pretty piece of eighteenth-century design, dating from 1723. There is a good chancel screen, set up in 1905. In the vestry is a funeral helm and some shackles, the former of sixteenth-century date. The font is at the west end of the south aisle, and is modern. In the windows of the north aisle are several pieces of old glass, jumbled together in a senseless manner at the time of the rebuilding. Before 1893 there remained a figure of an ecclesiastic holding a church, probably Abbot Wulsin, in a heraldic border checky charged with horseshoes, marking its gift by a member of the Ferrers family, who once owned land in the parish. There were formerly here represented the martyrdom of St. Alban and of St. Amphibal, the arms of Edmund de Langley, and other subjects, including a supposed portrait of Abbot John of Wheathampstead.
Among the St. Albans wills is one of 1473, leaving a bequest to the window of the protomartyr St. Alban, in this church, and the companion subject of the martyrdom of St. Amphibal may well have formed part of this window, or of another of the same date. At the east end of the south aisle are the brass figures of Roger Pemberton, 1627, founder of the almshouses which stand to the west of the church, and of Elizabeth his wife, and their three sons and three daughters. Below is an inscription copied from the now lost original, and set up here in 1905. At the east end of the north aisle is a fine white marble monument to Edward Strong, 1723, and his wife, 1725. He was for many years chief mason under Sir Christopher Wren, and died in the same year as his old master. Ivy House, opposite the church, and Romeland House, opposite the great gate of the abbey, are by tradition his work. At the south-west angle of the churchyard the plinth of the west end and part of the south side of a mediaeval building yet remain, forming a base to the churchyard wall. This was no doubt the charnel chapel, dedicated in honour of All Saints, and serving as the chapel of a gild, that of All Saints of the Charnel. The earliest mention of it is in 1416, a gift to its fabric, but it may well have been of older foundation than this. It seems to have been rebuilt early in the sixteenth century, a legacy being left in 1517 for that purpose. In 1586, in the churchwardens' accounts, it is called the corner chapel. It seems to have fallen gradually into decay, and in 1751 its south wall, then standing to some height, was taken down to the level of the rest of the churchyard wall. There was also another chapel in the churchyard called Cornwall's Chapel, mentioned in a will of 1440, and in 1458 William Datis wished to be buried by the cross of Cornewayle, otherwise called the West Cross. Whether this cross was the same as that set up in 1342 by Master Roger de Stoke is not clear. In 1459 John Purchas wished to be buried near the chapel of the cross called the Rood of Cornwaile. In 1471 it is called the chapel of the Holy Cross of Cornwaylle, and in 1488 money was left for its rebuilding. Its site is not known, nor is that of the site of the ankerhold, where the ankers of St. Peter's lived. A small chapel of St. Appollonia in the churchyard is mentioned in 1479 and 1524.
There are ten bells, the treble and second by Briant of Hertford, 1787; the third, sixth, and tenor by Richard Phelps, 1729; the fourth by Briant, 1812; the fifth by Warner, 1887, formerly one of those cast by Phelps in 1729; the seventh by Briant, 1805; and the eighth and ninth by Taylor of Loughborough, 1883.
The church plate is all silver-gilt, comprising a chalice and paten, a flagon, and a covered bowl, given about 1667 by the Duchess Dudley, a small paten of similar workmanship, a chalice and paten given in 1785 by Thomas Whitham, a spoon given by Rev. Robert Rumney, D.D., a chalice given in 1844 by Mrs. Elizabeth Bacon, and a brass almsdish. The Dudley plate is of very beautiful workmanship, without any plate marks, and probably of foreign make. Duchess Dudley was wife of Sir Robert Dudley, natural son of the earl of Leicester, created a duke by Ferdinand II of Germany.
The first book of the registers contains baptisms and marriages from 1558 to 1721, and burials from 1558 to 1678; the second, burials from 1678 to 1812; the third, baptisms from 1722 to 1795 and marriages from 1727 to 1753; the fourth, baptisms from 1796 to 1812; the fifth, marriages from 1754 to 1786; the sixth, marriages from 1787 to 1812. (fn. 145)
The original church of St. Peter was built in the tenth century by Wulsin, sixth abbot of St. Albans. (fn. 146) Geoffrey, the sixteenth abbot, (1119–46), granted it to the use of the infirmary, (fn. 147) and Abbot John de Hertford instituted a vicarage there in 1252. (fn. 148) The infirmarer then became rector, (fn. 149) and as such was required to supply wine for the monks of the convent from the revenue he obtained from St. Peter's. He was fined 8s. for any day on which he failed in this duty. (fn. 150)
It is said that this church was given by Edward VI to the college of Fotheringhay in Northamptonshire, at the dissolution of which it returned to the crown. (fn. 151) After the dissolution of St. Albans Abbey Henry VIII granted the advowson to Sir Nicholas Bacon and Thomas Skipwith, reserving out of it a yearly pension. (fn. 152)
It seems to have soon again reverted to the crown, (fn. 153) as in 1600 Queen Elizabeth granted it to the bishop of Ely, (fn. 154) and it remained a possession of that see till 1852, (fn. 155) when an order in council was made authorizing a sale of property by the bishop of Ely, and the advowson of St. Peter's was transferred to the bishop of Oxford. (fn. 156) Two years later the patronage was transferred to the crown, (fn. 157) the present patron.
In the fourteenth century Roger de Stoke made a cross while keeping his Friday fasts and erected it in the churchyard of St. Peter's on the spot where he wished to be buried. Miracles were said to be performed near this cross, and a dispute arose between the infirmarer and the vicar as to who had the right to the offerings which people brought there. (fn. 158)
About 1426 the abbot, hearing rumours that certain persons were secretly hostile to the then existing forms of religion, held a synod at St. Peter's and ordered the suspects to appear before him. Some of them confessed their error, and the abbot ordered them to do penance and their books to be burnt. (fn. 159)
About the same time the bishop of Lincoln held a visitation at this church to make inquisition as to heresy. But he found no one guilty, so preached warning the people against the errors of Lollardism and left them. (fn. 160) Reference has already been made to the vision which appeared to the ankress of St. Peter's in 1258, foretelling a terrible famine of that year. Immediately afterwards the fruits of the earth lacked, and the flocks failed, and 15,000 people perished from want in London alone. (fn. 161)
The church of St. Peter, London Colney, erected in 1825 by Philip third earl of Hardwicke, is a square room built of red brick and slated, with roundheaded windows, a gallery at the west end, a poorly carved oak pulpit, and a font with plaster details similar to that at Shenley. (fn. 162) The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the countess of Caledon. There was a chapel here in the sixteenth century.
A deponent of sixty years of age in a commission taken in 1585 knew of a chapel standing on the causeway of the bridge at London Colney towards Tyttenhanger, where divine service was celebrated. He remembered that this chapel had been built in the time when the duke of Norfolk was lord of Tyttenhanger (1532–42). (fn. 163) He also remembered that the wife of John Bowman, who had the keeping of the warren of Tyttenhanger under the said duke, had great doings in and about the building of the same chapel and did place a priest in the same, but whether she was at any charges in the building or certainly by whom it was built he did not know. The duchess of Norfolk was living at Tyttenhanger while the chapel was being built. (fn. 164)
In 1672 the house of Robert Pemberton in St. Peter's parish was licensed for a meeting-place for Congregationalists. (fn. 165) Between 1783 and 1850 places were registered for religious worship in Longbutt Lane, St. Peter's Street, and in other parts of St. Peter's parish, and at the hamlets of Colney Heath and Roe Green, for Independents, Particular Baptists, and Protestant Dissenters. (fn. 166) Since 1852 there has been certified in this parish a Wesleyan chapel at Sleapshide. (fn. 167)
In 1605 John Clarke erected almshouses for six poor persons, three of the parish of St. Albans and the other three of that part of the parish of St. Peter which was within the borough on land in St. Peter's Street conveyed to him by the corporation for the purpose. In 1830, the site being required for the erection of a new court-house, the old almshouses were under an Act of 1 & 2 Geo. IV exchanged for new almshouses and premises in Catherine Lane, now Catherine Street. The charity now possesses no endowment, but each of the six inmates receives 1s. a week out of the dividends on the funds given by the late Rev. Horatio Nelson Dudding, formerly vicar of St. Peter's (see below); they also receive other gifts from time to time, including gifts of coal from the Cross Keys Charity (see the Abbey parish), and are in receipt of parish relief.
In 1627 Roger Pemberton by his will proved in the P.C.C. on 5 December directed that almshouses should be erected on land at Bowgate St. Peter's for six poor widows, to be chosen two from the parish of St. Peter, two from St. Stephen's, one from St. Michael's, and one from the parish of Shenley, and by a codicil to his said will the testator endowed the same with £30 a year out of his manor of Shelton in Wootton, co. Bedford. The sum of £30 a year is paid by Mr. Dimmock, lord of the manor of Shelton. The administration of the charity is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 18 November, 1884. The almshouses, which are situated nearly opposite St. Peter's parish church, have been repaired and enlarged by Mr. Willoughby Pemberton. In addition to the endowment fund, each inmate receives an annual gift of coal or of 5s. in money from St. Peter's share of the Cross Keys Charity.
The following charities are included in a scheme established by order of the Charity Commissioners dated 29 July, 1881, namely—
(1) The Church Lands (date of foundation unknown), the endowment of which consisted in 1900 of land in Sandridge known as 'Thorpe's' containing 40 acres, 6 a. 1r. 12 p. and cottages in London Colney, 4 acres or thereabouts known as Plaish Meadow, and Lambs Close in St. Peter's with eight cottages and the Pine Apple beer-house. Also two houses (now numbered 91 and 93) in St. Peter's Street with land and cottages at rear, the whole producing about £258 a year. The scheme provides that the net yearly income be applied primarily in defraying the cost of maintenance and repair of the fabric of St. Peter's church.
(2) Church and Poor's Land (date unknown).— The endowment formerly consisted of 2½ acres in St. Stephen's called Woad Mead, let on a building lease for ninety-nine years from Midsummer 1831, which became vested in the St. Albans Gas Company, who erected their works thereupon, and in 1872 purchased the freehold for a yearly rent-charge of £20, which is applicable under the scheme one moiety in augmentation of the preceding charity, and the other moiety in augmentation of the charity next mentioned.
(3) Sir Richard Coxe's Charity (1632).—Its property is now a house and garden adjoining the churchyard let at £18 a year, which is applicable for the benefit of necessitous persons resident in St. Peter's parish in one or more of the ways indicated in this scheme.
(4) Charity of Robert Robotham (will 1670).— 6 a. or. 26 p. known as the Palfrey Closes in St. Peter's parish let in allotments bringing in about £21, rent-charge of £5 issuing out of Culver Mead in same parish, and £10 6s. 6d. consols with the official trustees arising from sale of timber; after payment of £5 to the minister for divine service and sermon on 6 March, and 2s. 6d. apiece to the parish clerk and sexton, the residue of net yearly income to be applied in augmentation of Sir Richard Coxe's Charity.
(5) The Keyfield rent-charge, otherwise Ball's Charity, of 10s. a year, and an annual sum of 10s. formerly issuing out of a close called 'The Lawn' in St. Stephen's parish (when received), also to be applied in augmentation of Sir Richard Coxe's Charity. The Pine Apple public-house and cottage and land in rear belonging to the charity first named have been sold and proceeds invested in the purchase of £1,634 10s. Midland Railway 2½ per cent stock with the official trustees. Most of the stock has been realized to provide funds for the re-erection of cottages in Catherine Street.
Another portion of land belonging to the firstnamed charity has recently been sold to the corporation for a perpetual annual rent-charge of £12.
In 1645 Thomas Knowlton by will bequeathed £3 9s. 4d. to provide sixteen penny wheaten loaves to be given to as many poor people of the parish every Lord's Day after morning prayer, for ever. This bequest is charged upon certain lands commonly called Oyster Hills in St. Michael's parish, the property of the earl of Verulam, by whom the charge is regularly paid, and is distributed in bread at the same time as Richard Hale's Charity next mentioned.
Charity of Sir Richard Hale (see the Abbey parish).—The sum of £5 4s. is received annually by the vicar and churchwardens and is distributed with the income of Knowlton's Charity in the form of orders, each for one penny loaf, to needy and deserving persons belonging to the ecclesiastical parish of St. Peter.
Charity of Joshua Lomax (see the Abbey parish).— The share of this parish is now represented by £66 15s. consols with the official trustees.
This parish is entitled to share in the distributions made to the poor under the Cross Keys Charity and also to mominate two widows for annuities under Jane Nicholas's Charity (see the Abbey parish). The parish formerly possessed six poor houses in Cock Lane near St. Peter's Street occupied rent free by six poor families. These houses were sold by the guardians of St. Albans Union in 1836 under order of the Poor Law Commissioners and proceeds applied towards cost of the Union Workhouse.
In 1736 Sarah, duchess dowager of Marlborough, by deed dated 2 June (enrolled), conveyed to trustees the almshouse then newly erected by her, with the appurtenance thereunto belonging, and all her lands and hereditaments in Crowhurst and other parishes in the counties of Surrey, Sussex, and Kent, and also all her lands and hereditaments in Marston Jabbett, co. Warwick, upon trust to apply the net rents and profits of the said premises in the maintenance of eighteen almsmen and eighteen almswomen, for the time being occupants in the said almshouse, and to pay £20 a year to a clergyman for overlooking the poor in the said almshouse. The donor reserved certain visitorial rights to herself and her successors or other the owner of the Sandridge estate.
The charity estates situated in the hamlet of Marston Jabbett in the parish of Bulkington, county of Warwick, consisted of 350 a. 3 r. 33 p. or thereabouts, and those in Crowhurst, Tandridge, and Lingfield, county of Surrey, of 812 acres or thereabouts. The administration of the charity is governed by a Chancery scheme of 3 June, 1867, supplemented by by-laws passed by the trustees on 2 May, 1876, under which the almspeople are to be eighteen men (married or single) and eighteen women (spinsters or widows) of sixty years of age or upwards, to have an income of £20 a year, subject, however, as therein mentioned, to a stipend of 5s. a week to be paid to each alms-person.
In 1900 the Surrey estates were sold with the sanction of the Charity Commissioners for £18,390, which was invested in the purchase, in the name of the official trustees, of three sums of £4,000 debenture stocks of the London and North Western (3 per cent), Great Eastern (4 per cent), and Great Western Railways (4 per cent), and in £3,454 Midland Railway (2 per cent) debenture stock, producing in dividends £526 7s. annually, the gross annual rental of the Warwickshire estates amounting to £405 or thereabouts. A yearly payment of £2 13s. 4d. is made by the earl of Cottenham.
Trustees were appointed by order of Charity Commissioners dated 3 March, 1905, and by the same order the trustees were authorized to purchase for £250 a piece of land known as Hardiman's Close, in Marston Jabbett, containing 3a. 3r.
The official trustees also held a sum of £1,843 11s. 2d. consols in trust for the charity.
In 1831 Mary Barker by her will, proved in the P.C.C. on April 14, gave (subject to a life interest) the interest of £200 3½ per cent annuities to the churchwardens and overseers of St. Peter's to be laid out in bread to be distributed to resident poor on the last day of October at 1 o'clock in the parish church. The charity came into operation in 1866, and the trust fund is now represented by £181 4s. 9d. consols with the official trustees. The charity is administered with Catherine Massey's Charity. (See below.)
In 1864 Catherine Massey by her will, proved 24 November, bequeathed £100 to the vicar and churchwardens for the relief of the poor. A sum of £100 5s. 7d. consols, representing the bequest, was transferred to the official trustees in 1878. This charity and Mary Barker's Charity (see above) are administered together by the vicar and churchwardens, and the income is distributed in the form of orders for 1s. worth of bread to needy persons for the most part during the winter.
In 1840 Catherine Thompson by her will, proved in the P.C.C. on 3 April, bequeathed £666 13s. 4d. consols to the incumbent of St. Peter's upon trust to lay out the dividends in purchase of coals or other fuel to be distributed among poor residents. The stock is now held by the official trustees, by whom the dividends are remitted to the vicar and applied by him in gifts of coal, generally 2 cwt. at a time, to the poor of the district attached to the mother church.
In 1850 James Walter, earl of Verulam, by deed (enrolled) granted a piece of land in the old London Road in St. Peter's parish to the minister and churchwardens upon trust to permit the same, and the buildings to be erected thereon, to be used as a Church of England School. A school was established on this site, and a sum of money raised by subscription was invested in £400 consols, which was transferred in 1867 to the official trustees. The dividends are carried to the general account of the school.
In 1884 Harriet Cannon by her will, proved at London on 20 August, gave to her trustees £300 upon trust to invest the same, and to pay income thereof to the inmates of the two almshouses in the Hatfield Road known as Bennett's Almshouses in equal shares. The legacy known as 'The Cannon Gift' is represented by a sum of £296 5s. 11d. consols with the official trustees.
The Bennett Almshouses were claimed by the Rev. Edward Herbert Bennett, vicar of St. James's, Doncaster, as the property of his family. They form part of a block of four houses, the other two being known as the Dudding Almshouses (see below).
The Dudding Charities.—It appears that the late Rev. Horatio Nelson Dudding, formerly vicar of St. Peter's, who died in 1895, built at his own cost two almshouses known as the Dudding Almshouses, adjoining the Bennett Almshouses (see above, 'The Cannon Gift'), two other almshouses known as St. Peter's Almshouses, at the east end of the churchyard, and an infant school in Bernard Street, the sites of which are understood to have been purchased out of Mr. Dudding's private funds.
It further appears that Mr. Dudding gave to his two daughters certain stock and bonds producing £30 10s. a year upon trust out of the dividends to pay is. a week to each married couple or single inmate in the four almshouses above mentioned, and 1s. a week to each of the six old women in Clarke's Almshouses in Catherine Street (see above under John Clarke's Almshouses), and to apply the residue in the repairs of the almshouses built by himself. The income of these trust funds is duly applied.
The infant school above referred to was opened in 1881, and a sum of £21 5s. a year arising from certain shares in the Grand Junction Waterworks also given by Mr. Dudding to his two daughters is applied towards its support.
In May, 1905, the sum of £400 Cape of Good Hope 3½ per cent stock, a bond for £100 Chilian 4½ per cent loan of 1886, and three bonds of £100 each of Royal Hungarian 4 per cent, being the stock and bonds above referred to, were transferred to the official trustees.
In 1834 John Jacques by his will, proved in the P.C.C. on 14 August, bequeathed £200 consols, the dividends to be applied by the minister and chapel-wardens in the distribution of bread among the poor people residing at London Colney, and in the neighbourhood of that place within the parish of St. Peter, to widows and working men with families, on the last day of February and on 9 November in each year. The stock is held by the official trustees and the dividends are applied in accordance with the trusts.
In 1852 the Rev. Lewis Walker Venables by his will, proved in the P.C.C. on 30 March, bequeathed £100 to Mrs. Georgiana Oddie of Colney House 'so as to enable her to add to the benefits she confers annually on the poor in the place where she lives.' The legacy is now represented by £98 4s. 6d. consols with the official trustees, the dividends being distributed at Christmas time in blankets to about ten poor persons, a preference being given, in accordance with the former practice, to the poor of that part of Colney St. Peter which lies in the ancient parish of Shenley.
In 1850 Elizabeth Countess Dowager of Hardwicke by deed (enrolled) declared the trusts of a sum of £779 4s. 5d. consols, which had been transferred by her into the names of trustees, the dividends thereof to be applied towards the payment of salaries for the teachers of London Colney School. The dividends are applied towards the general expenses of the Colney National Public Elementary School.
In 1813 and 1841 a school site, copyhold of the manor of Park, was acquired by admittance, and used for the benefit of the district and its vicinity, to which a sum of £200 5s. 8d. stock, said to have arisen from subscriptions, was attached by way of endowment. By memorandum of arrangement made in 1881, the exclusive use of the school premises on every weekday was granted to the School Board for the district, at the nominal rent of 1s. yearly. By a scheme (supplemental to a previous scheme of 1869) established by an order of the Charity Commissioners, dated 16 January, 1894, it was provided that the income of the charity might be applied towards the purposes of a Sunday school.
The charity is administered by the rector and churchwardens, and the dividends of the stock (now £200 5s. 8d. consols with the official trustees), together with the rent of 1s. a year, are applied for purposes in connexion with the Sunday school, e.g. prizes and certificates, and school treats.
In 1844 St. Mark's church was erected on a site voluntarily conveyed by deed of 18 March, 1844, and a sum of £1,387 18s. 10d. consols purchased by subscription for its endowment was transferred in 1872 to the governors of Queen Anne's Bounty. A sum of £202 11s. 9d. consols, constituting the Repair Fund, is also held by the official trustees of charitable funds.