A History of the County of Hertford: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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Brachinges (xi cent.); Bracking, Braughinge, Brawyng (xiii cent.); Broughhynge (xvi cent.), and many other variants.
Braughing is a parish of 4,368 acres, of which 15 acres are water. Rather less than three-quarters of the area is arable land, about one-quarter grass, and a small proportion, about 252 acres, woods and plantations. (fn. 1) The parish lies high, the level for the most part being between 300 ft. and 400 ft. above the ordnance datum, and the valleys of the rivers about 100 ft. lower. The country is undulating and well wooded. The soil is mixed, the subsoil clay over chalk and gravel. Here and there the sand outcrops at the surface, and where this is the case springs of good water exist.
In 1812 an Act was passed for inclosing the common lands, then estimated at 1,300 acres, and certain Lammas lands consisting of 50 acres, also for freeing all lands within the parish from tithes by allotments to the rectors and vicar. Lammas Piece and Lammas Mead, adjoining the vicarage, were allotted to the vicar, whilst Lammas land in Langrey Mead and Sow Mead was allotted to the lord of Hamels, to whom a portion of the great tithes belonged. (fn. 2) The copyhold land has now been nearly all enfranchised.
The River Quin joins the Rib a little to the southwest of the village. To the north of this point the road to Cambridge crosses the Quin by a brick bridge of three arches, called Griggs Bridge, (fn. 3) built in 1769. Further on the road crosses the Rib on Ford Bridge, a county bridge, which in the 17th century was of wood, (fn. 4) was rebuilt in 1766 (fn. 5) probably in brick, repaired in 1773, (fn. 6) and now consists of two brick arches. The New Bridge on the road to Buntingford crossing the River Rib on the west of the parish is also a county bridge. (fn. 7)
The Roman road called Stane Street, after passing through Little Hadham and then forming for a little way the boundary between Braughing and Standon, comes to an abrupt end at Horse Cross (fn. 8) in this parish. The course of the road, however, can be traced westward along the parish boundary, which follows a straight line as far as the River Rib. A little further to the west it must have crossed Ermine Street. There was a Roman settlement to the south-west of the village. (fn. 9) That Braughing was a place of importance in Saxon times is evidenced by the fact that it was the head of a hundred and also of a deanery. The Domesday Survey shows that the greater part of Braughing was held 'in alms' by a man of King Edward, and had been so held under his predecessors. There is, therefore, some reason to think that it was once royal domain, as the meeting-place of the hundred court very often seems to have been. (fn. 10) In the 10th century the church of Braughing is called 'monasterium,' (fn. 11) which possibly suggests a church of unusual importance.
The village of Braughing is situated a little to the east of Ermine Street in the valley of the River Quin. It is built on both sides of the river in the angle formed by the junction of the road to Cambridge and a road running north-east towards Furneux Pelham. The parish church of St. Mary stands about midway between these two roads, along which lie the two main streets of the village, Green End on the Cambridge road and The Street on the Pelham road. At the further end of The Street is a group of houses called Powell's Green. Green End is the main street of Braughing. At the south end of it is the village smithy. Braughing Hall close by was built in 1889; it is attached to the Congregational chapel and is used for social purposes. The rest of the village is grouped irregularly round the church, and owing to its trees and old houses and varying levels is very picturesque. Between the two main streets run three lanes, all of which cross the River Quin. These are called Malting Lane or Bridge, Fleece Lane or Bridge, and Ships Bridge. (fn. 12) Malting Lane, the southernmost, is so called from a malting at one end of it, and is also called Bell Lane from the Bell Inn at the other. The names of the other two lanes evidently recall the sheep washing which took place in the shallow part of the river here. Close to the church on the north-west is Braughing Bury, the old manor-house, now divided into two houses. The house is approached by a fine avenue of trees. A moat to the east of it probably incloses the site of an older house. The vicarage is situated to the north of the church. Pentlows is a farm lying above it to the south, which takes its name from a 14th-century owner (see manor of Queenbury). To the west of the church is a house now divided into two, which was built about 1600, and was formerly the Rose and Crown Inn. It is a rectangular timber-framed building covered with plaster, with a projecting upper story and three brick chimney stacks. The plaster in front is divided into square and circular panels which are decorated in low relief. Another house south of the church, known as the 'Old Boys' School,' of similar date, is rectangular in plan, with herringbone brick nogging and tiled roof. It is gabled and the upper story projects. In the lane called the Causeway, to the south-west of the church, is another house of the same date. It is of red brick and timber with a plastered front with rusticated quoins in plaster, and still has its original window frames and fastenings.
The church hall at the end of the Causeway is a red brick building used for a men's club and similar purposes. It was built by Mr. H. Shepherd Cross in 1903 in place of a Memorial Hall which he had built in Ford Street in 1893 and which is now converted into cottages. The public elementary school was built in 1877 on a piece of ground called the Orchard (see under Charities). The north chapel of the church was used for a school, (fn. 13) which was carried on there until its removal to a building now used as a bakehouse at the end of Fleece Lane. It was again moved to the old house on the south of the church described above, and remained there until taken to its present site. There is a Congregational chapel to the north-west of the church dating back in origin to 1691, when Robert Billio, preacher, certified a place for Divine worship. (fn. 14) There is also a Wesleyan chapel to the south of the church. A fair was held at Braughing within living memory, at which earthenware was one of the commodities sold.
To the south The Street is continued as Ford Street. Ford Street Farm is a 17th-century building, altered in the 18th century, of timber and plaster, the latter being decorated with comb-work. About a quarter of a mile north of Green End, on the Cambridge road, is the hamlet of Hay Street. (fn. 15) Further north still lies the hamlet of Dassels. On the east side of the road here is a farm-house, now divided into three tenements, dating from the early 17th century. It is L-shaped in plan, and is built of timber and plaster, the latter being decorated with the usual combed pattern. The roofs are tiled, and the shorter wing is gabled at both ends, while the other is hipped. It has the remains of old chimney stacks. A few of the original casements of the windows remain. At Dassels there is a Methodist chapel. Bozen Green, in the north-east of the parish, seems to preserve the name of Bordesdene of the Domesday Survey, which lay for the most part within the parish of Little Hormead in Edwinstree Hundred, but which perhaps extended into Braughing. A little to the east of Bozen Green is a farm-house called Rotten Row. It is a two-storied building of timber and plaster, and was probably built in the 16th century, (fn. 16) but underwent considerable alteration in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. It was apparently of the half H-shaped plan with interior space inclosed. The roof of the main block is covered with slate, and the wings are tiled, with hipped ends. The entrance passage and the parlour, with a 17th-century fireplace, formed the original hall. There is some 17th-century oak panelling in one of the rooms on the ground floor.
Place-names that occur in this parish are Netherstokkying, Aldithelee, Kingesho or Kingshohull, Enneworth, Fordmad (xiii cent.) (fn. 17); Pumps Land and Sportlowfield (xvii cent.). (fn. 18) Near Sportlowfield was a loam-pit in the road to Furneux Pelham, for which the inhabitants of Braughing were indicted in 1683. (fn. 19)
Before the Conquest Braughing was held by two thegns; one, a man of King Edward, held 4 hides, and the other, a man of Asgar the Staller, 1 hide. In 1086 these holdings were united in the hands of Count Eustace of Boulogne. They were assessed at 5 hides, but there was land for eleven ploughs. A mill is mentioned in the extent. (fn. 20) The lands of the honour of Boulogne came by inheritance to Queen Maud, wife of Stephen, and the manor of Braughing was divided among several grantees. Between 1146 and 1148 Stephen granted 100s. rent in the manor to the priory of Holy Trinity, London, and at the same time he granted them 6 librates of land there in exchange for the mill and land which the queen had granted them near the Tower of London, where she had afterwards founded the hospital of St. Katherine; these 6 librates, as the charter explains, being that part of the manor left over after the rest had been granted away and including the site of the church and the market. (fn. 21) This charter was confirmed by the queen (fn. 22) and by her son Eustace Count of Boulogne. (fn. 23) Other 4 librates of land in the manor were given to Holy Trinity by Hubert the queen's chamberlain, to whom 16 librates had been granted by the king and queen. (fn. 24) The priory's lands formed the manor of BRAUGHING or BRAUGHINGBURY. The mill of Braughing was also given to the canons by Henry de Furneaux and Theobald de Braughing. (fn. 25) In 1291 their lands, rent and mill at Braughing were taxed at £37 6s. 5½d. (fn. 26) The prior had a grange there for the management of his estates. (fn. 27) By Stephen's charter he claimed to have soc, sac, toll, team and infangentheof over his tenants, and in that part of the manor held of the honour of Boulogne he claimed view of frankpledge 'by ancient custom of the honour, without charter,' each view being attended by the bailiff of the honour and the prior's bailiff, the former receiving 4s. as the part of the profits due to the royal officials. These liberties, together with gallows and assize of bread and ale, were allowed by the justices in 1278. (fn. 28)
In February 1531–2 the Prior of Holy Trinity surrendered to the Crown, (fn. 29) and in 1534 Braughing was granted to Sir Thomas Audley the chancellor, (fn. 30) afterwards Lord Audley of Walden. (fn. 31) In 1585 the manor was conveyed by Thomas Howard, second son of Lord Audley's daughter Margaret, who married Thomas Duke of Norfolk, (fn. 32) to John Steward of Marham, co. Norfolk. (fn. 33) John Steward died seised of the manor, with a mill, dovecote, and several fishery in Braughing, in February 1604–5. (fn. 34) John his son succeeded, but left no issue. (fn. 35) The manor appears to have passed to his brothers Humphrey and Francis Steward, and to have been divided between their sons, for Hoo Steward, son of Francis (who married Roberta Hoo), conveyed a moiety in 1668 to John Spicer and John Paltock. (fn. 36) The object of this conveyance is not clear, but before 1695 the manor (for this moiety seems to have included all manorial rights) had been sold to William Harvey of Chigwell, co. Essex, (fn. 37) M.P. for Essex in 1722. It descended to his son William, who died in 1742, and to William, son of William, who died in 1763. (fn. 38) William the eldest son of the last-named William died single and the manor came to his brother Eliab Harvey, (fn. 39) afterwards Sir Eliab Harvey, G.C.B., of the Royal Navy. He greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Trafalgar, where he commanded the Temeraire, celebrated in naval history and in art as the 'fighting Temeraire.' For his services there he was made a rear-admiral. (fn. 40) He died in 1830, leaving four co-heirs, of whom Maria, the wife of the Rev. William Tower, inherited the manor. (fn. 41) Her daughter and co-heir Maria Louisa married Col. Edward Goulburn, and their son Col. Henry Goulburn is the present lord of the manor. There are now no copyhold lands left. (fn. 42)
The other moiety of the manor seems to have consisted of the capital messuage called Braughing Bury which had been divided into two tenements. (fn. 43) Humphrey Steward (see above) left a son Humphrey, (fn. 44) and Francis Steward, apparently his son, (fn. 45) sold it to William Delawood. (fn. 46) Part of the Bury came with Hamells into the possession of Miss Mellish and was sold with that manor to Mr. H. Shepherd Cross in 1884, (fn. 47) the other part descended with Uphall and Gatesbury and was bought by Mr. C. J. Longman in 1896. (fn. 48) Both parts are now farms with barns and other farm buildings attached, although Mr. Longman's part is now let as a private house. The whole is a 17th-century plastered brick house. It contains some old panelling in the south parlour and a good oak staircase.
The manor of QUEENBURY (fn. 49) seems to have taken its name from Queen Maud and to have been the 16 librates of land which Stephen and Maud granted to Hubert de Anstey the queen's chamberlain. (fn. 50) Four of these he gave to the priory of Holy Trinity. (fn. 51) Richard and John, sons of Hubert de Anstey, (fn. 52) seem to have died without issue, (fn. 53) and his lands to have descended to his daughter Denise, who married Warin de Munchensey. (fn. 54) From her granddaughter Denise, who married Hugh de Veer, (fn. 55) the fee in Braughing passed to the former's cousin and heir Aymer de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, on whose death in 1324 it was assigned to Elizabeth Comyn, one of his co-heirs. (fn. 56)
Under Denise Munchensey this fee was held by Matthew Furneaux and Henry Pentelow, who were assessed for it in 1303. (fn. 57) Matthew Furneaux in Hilary term 1288–9 granted his 'manor of Braughing' to David le Grand for life. (fn. 58) Henry Pentelow seems to have been holding his part of the fee as late as 1331, (fn. 59) but Furneaux's moiety had apparently passed before that date to John Peverel, (fn. 60) and it was the latter which was known as the manor of Queenbury. In 1324 John Peverel granted the manor to John de Preston and his wife Joan and Peter de Horseden for their lives. (fn. 61) In 1448 William Bradbury and his wife Margaret, holding in right of Margaret, conveyed it to Roger Ree and Thomas Gryme. (fn. 62) There seems to be no further record of the manor until 1527, when Richard Bishop of Norwich obtained licence to grant it to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. (fn. 63) The manor has since remained in the possession of the college. The house called Quinbury, now a farm, is situated to the south-east of Hay Street.
The manor of TURKS is first heard of at the beginning of the 15th century when it was in the possession of Robert Turk. (fn. 64) His daughter Joan married Roland Barley, who survived his wife and died seised of it in 1448, leaving a son Thomas. (fn. 65) Before 1527 this manor had come into the same hands as Queenbury and was given with that manor to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1527, (fn. 66) in whose possession it has since remained.
Turks Wood on the north-east of the parish marks the site of this manor. Within the wood is a nearly circular homestead moat with an entrance on the south-west side.
In 1086 Count Eustace of Boulogne had an estate at COCKHAMSTED which was held in the time of Edward the Confessor by Gouti, one of Harold's thegns, and was assessed at 2 hides, with land for six ploughs. For a considerable time after this date there seem to be no records relating to this manor, but during this interval it was apparently granted to the priory of Anglesey, co. Cambridge. In 1291 the prior was assessed at £6 for his property in Standon, and, as the prior is not otherwise known to have held land there, this entry may refer to Cockhamsted in Braughing, which perhaps extended into Standon. (fn. 67) In 1346 Thomas de Chedworth (fn. 68) by licence of the Earl of Pembroke granted a messuage and 180 acres of land, with meadow, pasture and wood, formerly belonging to Sir Robert Scales, to the prior and convent. (fn. 69) Before this, however, the prior seems to have sub-enfeoffed a tenant of his other lands there, for the manor appears in the hands of lay lords who held of the priory. In 1319 Geoffrey de la Lee had a grant of free warren in his demesne lands in Braughing. (fn. 70) John de la Lee his son (fn. 71) had a similar grant in 1366 and also licence to inclose and impark 300 acres of land in Braughing and Albury. (fn. 72) From Sir Walter de la Lee, son of John, the manor of Cockhamsted passed to one of his sisters, Joan, who married John Barley, (fn. 73) and in February 1445–6 their son John Barley died seised of the manor held jointly with his wife Katherine of the Prior of Anglesey. (fn. 74) Henry his son was his heir. Henry was succeeded in 1475 by his son William Barley, who died seised of the manor held as above in March 1521–2. (fn. 75) It descended to his son Henry, and in 1529 to the latter's son William, (fn. 76) whose daughter and co-heir Dorothy married Thomas Leventhorpe of Sawbridgeworth, (fn. 77) and they levied a fine of it in 1570. (fn. 78) Their son Thomas (fn. 79) died before 1594, when the manor was divided between his daughters and co-heirs. (fn. 80) Of these Dorothy wife of Simeon Brograve seems eventually to have inherited the whole manor. In August 1611 George and Thomas Whitmore, who were the informers as to defective titles usually called 'fishing grantees,' obtained a grant from the Crown of the manor as lately belonging to the priory of Anglesey. (fn. 81) They conveyed their title to William Millett and Paul Mason, who again conveyed it to Zachariah Blackstock of London. (fn. 82) Simeon Brograve and Dorothy his wife seem, however, to have been able to show that the king only had a rent issuing from the manor which had formerly been paid to the Prior of Anglesey, who had parted with the manor and land, and that the manor was rightly theirs. (fn. 83)
The manor was settled on their fourth son Edward, and he settled it on his third son Edward. (fn. 84) The latter died without issue, and his widow Susan conveyed the manor to the heir-at-law Thomas Brograve, (fn. 85) who in 1716 conveyed it to Robert Colman, apparently in trust for Jacob Houblon (fn. 86) of Hallingbury Place, co. Essex. The latter settled it in 1758 on his son Jacob. (fn. 87) John Archer Houblon, son of the latter, sold Cockhamsted to John Larken of Braughing, (fn. 88) who devised it to his nephew the Rev. William P. Larken. (fn. 89) It was bought from Mr. Larken's representatives in 1894 by Mr. Robert Lanyon of Spitsberg, Kansas, U.S.A., whose son now holds it.
The moated house called Cockhamsted, situated on the east of the parish, is a farm occupied by Mr. Grigg.
GATESBURY seems to have originally formed part of the manor of Westmill (fn. 90) (q.v.), and to have been held under the Montfitchets and their successors by the family of Gatesbury. At the end of the 12th century it was held by John de Gatesbury, (fn. 91) who gave lands there to the monastery of Holywell in Middlesex. (fn. 92) Sir Richard de Gatesbury was holding about a century later. (fn. 93) His son Richard de Gatesbury (fn. 94) received a grant of free warren in 1320. (fn. 95) In 1323 he settled the manor on his son John and John's wife Elizabeth and their issue with remainder to John's brothers Adam, Ralph, and Roger. (fn. 96) Richard was living in 1324, (fn. 97) but John had succeeded before 1328. (fn. 98) A further settlement was made by John on his brothers Adam and Roger, failing his own issue, in Hilary term 1330–1. (fn. 99) The manor seems to have remained in this family until the beginning of the 15th century, when an Adam de Gatesbury appears to have left two sisters and heirs, Joan, who married John Elveden, and Elizabeth, who married John Tuwe. He also left a widow Agnes, who married Thomas Tuwe. (fn. 100) In 1456 John Joskyn and Elizabeth his wife, kinswoman and co-heir of Adam de Gatesbury (and probably the above Elizabeth Tuwe or her daughter), and Henry Elveden of Gyng Mounteney, co. Essex, kinsman and another heir of the same Adam, (fn. 101) levied a fine of the manor of Maisters in Westmill and of lands in Braughing. (fn. 102) Henry Elveden was outlawed for a murder in 1462, and in 1463 his moiety was granted to John Sturgeon. (fn. 103) In 1472, however, he received a general pardon, (fn. 104) and he died seised of Gatesbury in 1498. (fn. 105) His son Henry had predeceased him in 1493, (fn. 106) leaving Denise his daughter and heir, then aged one year. She was her grandfather's heir, and in 1515 was married to Humphrey Fitz Herbert of Uphall. (fn. 107)
The tenure of the Fitz Herberts is marked by a series of lawsuits resulting from quarrels among themselves and with their neighbours. About 1535 Humphrey brought a suit in the Court of Requests against Sir Henry Parker, lessee of the other half of Gatesbury, for entering tenements belonging to Uphall and for cutting down trees on his half of Gatesbury. (fn. 108) In 1520 the vicar took proceedings in the court of Star Chamber against Humphrey Fitz Herbert for an attack made upon him in church, the immediate cause of quarrel being the presence of John Fitz Herbert, a priest, the defendant's brother, whom the defendant had brought to arbitrate between the vicar and the parishioners, and on whom, by the defendant's account, the vicar had laid violent hands, the defendant retaliating by an attack on the vicar. (fn. 109) After the death of Humphrey several actions were brought against Denise by copyholders of the manor for her refusal to admit them to their lands, (fn. 110) the reason given in one case being that the tenant's predecessor had forfeited the land for not taking off his cap when he met Humphrey in the streets of London. (fn. 111) In 1578 Denise, who was then about eightyfour years of age, brought an action in the same court against her eldest son John for evading the settlements made by Humphrey on herself and younger sons. (fn. 112)
John son of Humphrey and Denise seems to have left a son Thomas, who was holding this moiety in 1589, and in that year conveyed it to Thomas Hanchett, who was already seised of the other. (fn. 113) Thomas Hanchett conveyed it by fine of Hilary term 1608–9 to Sir Arthur Heveningham and two others, (fn. 114) apparently in trust for John Stone, who died seised of it in 1640, leaving a son and heir Richard. (fn. 115) In March 1656–7 Richard Stone, described as of Stukeley, co. Hunts., and John Stone of Uphall, his son and heir, sold the manor with lands called Gatesbury Green, Broom Hill, Brickhill (now Brick Kiln Hill), Sacombe, the Mawne (now the Malm), &c., a warren in Braughing, a water-mill and fulling mill called Gatesbury (Gaddesbury) Mill to Robert Dicer of London. (fn. 116) Through Dorothy, daughter and heir of Robert Dicer, (fn. 117) the manor passed to William Harvey, (fn. 118) and thereafter descended with Braughing until about 1890, when it was bought from the executors of Mrs. Tower by Mr. Robert Lanyon, a Cornishman by birth, who emigrated to America and there made a fortune. In 1896 he sold Gatesbury Mill and Farm to Mr. C. J. Longman, who resides at Upp Hall. Gatesbury Mill, on the River Rib, was pulled down in 1906. The mill-house has been converted into two cottages. (fn. 119)
The other half of the manor which descended to John Joskyn was forfeited by him in 1461 (fn. 120) and granted to Nicholas Harpisfield. (fn. 121) Later it was restored to Edward Joskyn, son of John. (fn. 122) Through an heiress named Elizabeth, possibly daughter of Edward, this half came to Richard Braughing, who died seised of it in January 1517–18, Richard his son succeeding. (fn. 123) Richard seems to have left two coheiresses, for in 1559 Nicholas Fulham and Elizabeth his wife conveyed a fourth part of the manor to Thomas Hanchett. (fn. 124) A certain Thomas Braughing apparently also had some interest which he conveyed at the same time to Andrew Gray. (fn. 125) In 1583 Thomas Hanchett joined in a conveyance with Sir Arthur Heveningham and his wife Mary and Sir Thomas Barnardiston and his wife Elizabeth (Mary and Elizabeth being presumably the Braughing heiresses) and Andrew Gray to Andrew Paschall, sen., and Andrew Paschall, jun. (fn. 126) This was probably for assurance of title. Soon after Thomas Hanchett bought the other half (see above) and re-united the manor.
The house called Gatesbury is situated a little to the east of the Cambridge road where it branches off at Puckeridge. A wood called Gatesbury Wood lies to the north-east.
The manor of UPHALL first appears in the 15th century. Its name is probably derived from its situation on the high land to the south-east of the village. In 1461 it appears in the possession of John Joskyn (see Gatesbury) and was forfeited by him and granted to Nicholas Harpisfield. (fn. 127) Edward Joskyn, who was reinstated, seems to have left one heiress Elizabeth (see above) and may have left a second Katherine, for by fine of Hilary term 1484–5 Thomas Grey and his wife Katherine (who were holding in her right) conveyed the manor to Ralph Josselin and others. (fn. 128) This seems to have been in trust for Robert Fitz Herbert, for he died seised in 1515. (fn. 129) His son was Humphrey Fitz Herbert, who married Denise Elveden, and Uphall then descended with the first half of Gatesbury (q.v.). With Gatesbury it was bought in 1896 by Mr. C. J. Longman. Mr. Longman's estate includes fields called the Malm, the Moad, Sibdale, Haven End Pasture, Old Field, Brick Kiln Field, (fn. 130) Hither and Further Tunnocks, Windmill Ley, Great and Little Readings and Hoare's Cross Field. (fn. 131)
Upp Hall, the residence of Mr. Longman, is situated on high ground about a mile south-east of the village, with which it is connected by a road. A considerable part of the late 16th or early 17thcentury house still exists, although much added to and modernized. The house is built of the early 2-in. bricks, and a brick outside plinth runs round the walls of the old house, appearing inside where modern work has been added, making it possible to obtain an accurate plan of the original house, so much of it, at least, as has survived, as there are clear indications that the principal or west front has been shortened. The old part of the house consists of a long building of the usual two stories with attics, running north and south. At the south end is a wing projecting eastwards, and near the north end is a smaller projection which probably contained the staircase. The old building to the north of this has been swept away, and modern kitchen offices substituted.
The west front has two steep brick gables, with copings above the roof, and connected at their bases with a parapet; there are gables, but no parapets, on the south and east fronts. All the windows have straight brick drips or hoods over them, and the wide front windows are of six lights, and have the original oak mullions and transoms. The window to the drawing room is partly blocked by the large fireplace, but, as both appear to belong to the same period, the large window was probably inserted for the sake of symmetry, as it comes in the centre of a gable. The chimneys appear to have been rebuilt. The principal entrance is on the west front, and retains the original door, though the wooden portico is comparatively modern. The head of the door is formed by a four-centred arch, the door itself being made of two thicknesses of oak planks, and on the outside are fixed narrow fillet and cavetto mouldings dividing the door into three vertical panels. Two plain iron strap hinges appear on the outside.
On entering the house the old hall is on the right. It is still used as a hall, but a modern screen takes the place of the old one. The fireplace is 10 ft. wide, and has a straight lintel. At the back, adjoining the seats, are two small niches, probably made to hold flagons. Similar niches in the ingle-nooks may be found in many old houses and cottages in the county. Beyond the hall is the drawing room, with the library forming the wing at the back. A modern passage, with staircase, has been formed behind the hall. To the left of the entrance is the dining room, in which is a very good but simple example of a wood chimney-piece of the time of Queen Anne. It is flanked by wide slightly-projecting plain pilasters carried up to the ceiling. The overmantel has a narrower plain pilaster in the centre. There is a moulded cornice at the top, broken round the pilaster. In the room over the dining room is a stone fireplace of the usual early 17th-century type.
The old gate piers which afforded entrance to the forecourt still stand facing the west entrance door, about 111 ft. west of the main building. The piers are built of brick, and are square on plan. They have stone cornices finished on the top with large stone balls. The southern inclosure of the forecourt, whether wall or buildings, has disappeared, and the modern avenue comes in on that side, but the inclosing building still remains on the north side. It is a very long and lofty barn of ten bays, built of brick, running east and west, the east end being within 50 ft. of the house itself. There appear at one time to have been two wide doorways with pointed arches on each side, but only one of those on the south side is in its original state, the others being built up in whole or part. The old window openings, of which a good number exist, are mere slits, 8 in. wide, splayed on the inner side.
On the north wall, outside, near the centre of the building, are two curious little aumbries, the use of which has not been satisfactorily explained. One is a plain sinking in the wall, about 13 in. wide and 15 in. deep, covered with a four-centred arch; the other is a little larger and has a curious little side cupboard or arm, 12 in. wide, running for about 2 ft. behind the brickwork.
The west end of the barn seems to have had a return building to the south, as the existing buttress has a partly built up narrow light in it, and has evidently been formed from the remains of a wall. Marks on the south wall of the barn show this returned building to have been 30 ft. wide. The barn is probably not earlier than the first half of the 17th century, though the burnedbrick diapers in it might suggest an earlier date.
The house and barn stand within a moated inclosure. A portion of the moat on the east side of the house is still filled with water, and is about 25 ft. wide. In length it is about 245 ft., and it has a return westwards at its north end. There are indications in the ground that the moat extended to some 335 ft. in length on the north side, then turned southward past the west end of the barn. The west side seems not to run parallel with the east side, and this probably accounts for the skew end to the barn, which is parallel to the sinking in the ground indicating the position of the moat.
HAMELLS seems to have been part of the manor of Milkley in Standon which extended into Braughing, and does not appear as a separate estate until a house was built there by John Brograve, (fn. 132) who was attorney for the duchy of Lancaster under Elizabeth and James I and was knighted by James I.
He served as custos rotulorum for the county of Hertford for thirty years. He died in 1613 and was buried at Braughing. (fn. 133) His son Simeon Brograve, who succeeded him, obtained a grant of free warren for his several fisheries within his Hertfordshire lands in 1617. (fn. 134) His brother John Brograve rebuilt the house at Hamells for him at his own expense. (fn. 135) Simeon Brograve, who was also attorney for the duchy of Lancaster and custos rotulorum for thirty-three years, died in January 1638–9 seised of the manors of Hamells alias Milkley Hamells and Cockhamsted. (fn. 136) He was succeeded by his son John, who was one of Cromwell's commissioners for the county of Hertford. (fn. 137) Thomas Brograve, son of John, was created a baronet in Maroh 1662–3. He was Sheriff of Hertfordshire from 1664 to 1665 and died in 1670 and was buried at Braughing. John his eldest son died unmarried in 1691 and was also buried at Braughing, and Thomas brother of John died without issue and was buried there in 1707. (fn. 138)
The entail on the estates had been barred by Sir Thomas Brograve in 1691, and the manors had been settled to the use of himself and his heirs. (fn. 139)
These heirs were his sisters Jemima Brograve and Honoria wife of John Stevenson. Jemima died before 1712. In that year the manor of Hamells with Masters, Mentley alias Milkley, and Westmillbury with Berkesdon, the capital messuage called Hamells with four pews in the churches of Braughing and Westmill, the water-mill in Braughing and the tenement called Pentlows there were sold by order of the Court of Chancery to Ralph Freeman, one of Sir Thomas Brograve's creditors. (fn. 140) Ralph Freeman, who was M.P. for the county in 1722, made extensive additions to the house and grounds at Hamells. (fn. 141) In the latter he planted great numbers of trees brought from Aspenden and other places; he made a bowling-green, fenced in a warren, built a greenhouse, pigeon-house and beehouse, dug a pond in the park, re-fronted the east side of the house, set up iron gates before the west front, built a chapel, set up a great gate and a hunting gate in Langram Mead, and otherwise altered and 'improved' the estate. (fn. 142) Ralph Freeman died in 1742. His son William died in 1749, when the manors passed to the latter's brother, the Rev. Dr. Ralph Freeman, (fn. 143) prebendary of Salisbury. He devised them to his greatnephew Philip Yorke, son of Catherine daughter of William Freeman, who had married the Hon. Charles Yorke, for three days Lord Chancellor of England, (fn. 144) and had died in 1763. Philip Yorke, third Earl of Hardwicke, sold the property in 1796 to John Mellish of Albemarle Street, (fn. 145) who two years afterwards fell a victim to an assault by footpads on Hounslow Heath. (fn. 146) His daughter Catherine Martha Mellish (fn. 147) survived until 1880. She left the estate to the Rt. Hon. C. P. Villiers with reversion to Mr. H. F. Gladwin, and they in 1884 combined in a sale of the manors of Hamells cum Masters, Milkley and Westmill to Mr. H. Shepherd Cross, the present owner, who resides at Hamells Park. (fn. 148) The house stands in a park of 200 acres, which lies partly in Westmill and partly in Braughing. The mill at Braughing mentioned above as part of the estate is no longer working.
The origin of the manor of FRIARS in Braughing is obscure, as no continuity can be traced between it and any monastic estate. It seems possible, however, that it represents the land held by the Priory of Haliwell in Braughing. Lands at Gatesbury were given to the nuns there in the reign of Richard I by John de Gatesbury, (fn. 149) and by a deed witnessed by John de Gatesbury Ralph de Langeford gave them all his land lying in the field called Sibbedellersfield. (fn. 150) In 1200 Henry Furneaux was in mercy for having unjustly disseised the prioress of her free tenement in Gatesbury. (fn. 151) The prioress contributed 10s. 4¼d., assessed on her goods at Braughing, towards a lay subsidy in 1307. (fn. 152) At the time of the Dissolution the convent had property at Braughing assessed at £4. (fn. 153) There seems to be no grant of this estate by Henry VIII, but if it may be identified with the manor of Friars (fn. 154) it had come by the end of the 16th century into the possession of the Newport family. Robert Newport suffered a recovery of Friars in 1580 (fn. 155) and Edward Newport in 1586. (fn. 156) In 1603 Thomas Hanchett of Uphall was holding it and mortgaged it in that year to William Whettell of Thetford, co. Norfolk. (fn. 157) It is then described as the manor of Friars in Braughing and Albury, and as including a water corn-mill with the stream belonging to it in Braughing and inter alia 1½ acres in a field named Sibdale. The latter is evidently the 'Sibbedellersfield' of the grant mentioned above, which forms one link in the identification of Friars with the land held by Haliwell. The manor seems to have been conveyed by Thomas Hanchett to John Stone together with Gatesbury, for John Stone died seised of it in 1640, (fn. 158) and it then descended with Gatesbury (q.v.). The house called Braughing Friars is situated on the south-east of the parish.
The manor of HOTOFTS. was the holding of the family of Hotoft, who had lands in Braughing in the 13th and 14th centuries. (fn. 159) In the 16th century it was held by a family named Greene. Richard Greene, son and heir of a John Greene, died in 1561 and was buried in the church. (fn. 160) Richard Greene, also buried in the church, died in 1610 seised of the manor of Hotofts, a capital messuage called Hotofts and another called Rotten Row, and 200 acres of land. (fn. 161) He was a bachelor, aged seventy-eight at the time of his death, and had bequeathed his property to his brother Henry Greene, with remainder to Ralph his brother and Francis Harvey, Justice of the King's Bench, his kinsman. These were both dead before the death of Henry in 1635, and Sir Stephen Harvey, son of Francis, had also died in 1630, so that the title descended to Francis son of Sir Stephen Harvey, then aged seven. (fn. 162) Francis died seised in 1644, when the manor passed to his brother Richard. (fn. 163) It was sold soon afterwards to Sir Hoo Steward, who was holding it in 1668, (fn. 164) and remained with the Stewards until 1704, when Francis Steward conveyed it to Samuel Mason. (fn. 165) In 1733 John Mason conveyed it to Margaret Long, widow, (fn. 166) but possibly for life only, for in the settlement by Jacob Houblon of his property in Braughing on his son Jacob in 1758 Hotofts is included and is said to have been purchased of John Mason. (fn. 167) It then descended with Cockhamsted.
The church of ST. MARY consists of chancel 34 ft. by 16 ft. 6 in., small north chapel now used as an organ chamber and vestry, nave 63 ft. by 16 ft. 6 in., north aisle 63 ft. by 12 ft. 6 in., south aisle 64 ft. by 15 ft., large south porch, west tower 14 ft. square, all internal dimensions. The walls are of flint, with stone dressings; the porch and tower are covered with cement, and the north chapel is built of red brick. The walls of the nave and south porch are embattled. The chancel belongs to the early part of the 13th century, about 1220; the nave with its aisles and porch and the west tower were rebuilt about 1416 (fn. 168) and the north chapel was added early in the 17th century. In 1888 the church was thoroughly restored, the stonework of most of the windows having been renewed, and in 1901 the chancel was repaired.
The window in the east wall of the chancel is modern, but in the north wall are two 13th-century lancet windows, repaired; one is open, the other is blocked, but can be seen in the vestry. The windows and blocked doorway in the south wall are mostly of modern stonework; there is a low-side window near the chancel arch. The chancel arch is of 15th-century work, and has two splayed orders, the outer order being continuous; the inner has jambs with modern moulded capitals and bases. The roof is chiefly modern, but contains some old trussed rafters.
The eastern and larger part of the north chapel has its floor raised to cover a vault; it is now used as a vestry; the western portion contains the organ. The windows are modern, but some old timbers remain in the flat roof. A painted inscription on the wall plate records the erection of the chapel by Simeon Brograve, who died in 1639.
The nave has arcades of four bays of the 15th century. The arches are of two orders; the piers have four engaged shafts separated by hollow chamfers, and have moulded capitals and bases. In the small portion of wall at the east end of the north arcade is a small trefoiled opening, about 5 ft. from the floor, with splayed jambs next the nave. In the south-east angle of the nave is the stair turret to the rood-loft and to the roof above; the doorway is in the south aisle; the doorway to the rood-loft is blocked, and there is an upper one on to the roof, the turret being carried some height above the nave wall and embattled round the top; a quatrefoil opening in the aisle to light the stair is now blocked. The three-light clearstory windows are of modern stonework, all but their inner jambs, which are original.
The 15th-century roof has moulded ribs with carved bosses, and figures of angels at the feet of the intermediate trusses; the panels are plastered. The eastern bay is more richly treated and with painted decorations; the painting, however, has been renewed.
The eastern part of the north aisle is raised 6 in. above the nave floor. In the east wall is a threelight window, unglazed, opening into the north chapel; the jambs are original but the tracery is modern. The three windows in the north wall and one in the west wall are of three lights, with modern tracery under four-centred arches; the jambs are original. The north doorway, now blocked, has an arch of two moulded orders, and label with grotesque heads, all much worn.
The windows in the south aisle are similar to those in the north aisle. The south doorway has a moulded arch under a square head with traceried spandrels, and a label with defaced head stops. The 15th-century roofs over the aisles are of similar detail to the nave roof and rest on stone corbels carved with angels bearing shields.
The south porch has a parvise over it, and is a lofty structure, standing well above the aisle roof; at each of its southern angles are two buttresses with cusped gablets, and at each of its four angles is a crocketed pinnacle; the walls are embattled. The doorway has a two-centred moulded arch under a square head, with traceried spandrels; the side windows in the porch are of two lights with traceried heads. In the south-east corner is a stoup with a round basin, slightly broken. The inner door is not central with the porch; the greater wall space is on the east side, which was possibly the position of the ladder to the room above, there being no trace of a stone stair. The room over, the floor of which has been removed, was lighted by a large two-light traceried window with a square head, flanked on either side by a niche with cusped arch under a square head.
The west tower is of four stages with embattled parapet, and a slight timber spire, covered with lead. The tower arch is of three moulded orders, the two outer orders being continuous, the inner resting on jambs with moulded capitals and bases. It is of early 15th-century date. The west doorway has a two-centred arch under a square head; the arch mouldings are continuous and die on the tower basecourse; the spandrels are traceried. The doorway is flanked on either side by a niche for an image having a cusped and ribbed canopy with a carved finial. These are somewhat unusual features beside west doorways of Hertfordshire churches. (fn. 169) The corbels which supported the figures show remains of tracery. The three-light window above has modern tracery. The third stage has a quatrefoil opening in each of its north, west and south walls. The belfry has on each side a window of two cinquefoiled lights, with a quatrefoil in its head. These have all been repaired.
The font is modern, but the old one stands at the east end of the north aisle, and is of early 14thcentury date. The sides of the octagonal basin have cusped panels, all much mutilated; the flat oak cover belongs to the early part of the 17th century.
In the nave are some 16th-century seats with buttressed bench ends.
On the east wall of the south aisle are brasses of a civilian and his wife, without inscription, but of about 1485; on the floor is a brass inscription to Richard Grene, died 1561; another, with arms, to Richard Grene, died 1610; an inscription to Barbara Hanchett, died 1561, and the lower part of a lady's figure, probably of the late 15th century. On the north side of the chancel is a large monument to John Brograve, who died in 1625, and his younger brother Charles, who died in 1602. The monument is of marble and alabaster; on the panelled tomb, under a canopy supported by Corinthian columns, lie the two effigies in armour; on the cornice above is a cartouche bearing their arms, and behind the figures is an inscription. On the same side of the chancel is a mural monument to Simeon Brograve, who died in 1639, and his wife Dorothy, who died in 1645. On the south side of the chancel are mural monuments to Augustin Steward, with his bust in armour, with his arms above, who died in 1597, and to Sir John Brograve, who died in 1593, with arms above.
In the north aisle is a large painting of the Resurrection, probably of 17th-century work; it has only been recently discovered, and may have formed part of an altar-piece.
There are eight bells: the first three by Robert Catlin, 1745, presented by William Freman; the fourth by William Harbert, 1628; the fifth inscribed 'Deus in adiutorium meum intende I C,' 1562; the sixth, seventh and tenor by Miles Graye, 1615, 1653 and 1631 respectively.
The communion plate consists of cup, large paten, and flagon, 1718, and modern paten.
The registers of baptisms, marriages and burials begin in 1563.
The church was granted to the priory of Holy Trinity by Queen Maud about the same time as the manor. (fn. 170) In 1217 the legate Gualo signified the approval of the Holy See for the papal sympathies shown by the priory during the Barons' War by confirming the church of Braughing, (fn. 171) and this was followed by a confirmation of William Bishop of London, whose charter reserved a vicarial portion for a priest, who was to be presented by the canons and to serve the parish with the help of a chaplain. (fn. 172) After the Dissolution the rectory and advowson descended with the manor of Braughing. On the division of the manor between Humphrey and Francis Steward, one-half descended with the manor of Braughing. The other half was sold by Francis Steward, grandson probably of Humphrey, to William Delawood, (fn. 173) who presented in 1680. (fn. 174) He bequeathed his property to Isaac and Abraham Houblon of London, merchants. (fn. 175) The families of these two brothers died out before 1758, when this moiety of the rectory and advowson had come to Jacob Houblon, grandson of their brother Jacob, who in that year made a settlement on his son Jacob. (fn. 176) The presentations were made by the Harveys and Houblons alternately until 1832, when the Rev. William Tower (see Braughing) bought the second moiety of the advowson. (fn. 177)
St. James, Gatesbury
The chapel of ST. JAMES, GATESBURY, was probably founded by one of the Gatesbury family. It was granted by Richard de Gatesbury to the canons of Holy Trinity with its tithes and appurtenances, except the tithes of land called 'Little Reding' held by the nuns of Haliwell, (fn. 178) on condition that the canons celebrated four masses weekly in the chapel. (fn. 179) In 1487 Henry Elveden, successor of Richard de Gatesbury, commuted the masses to two, to be celebrated weekly in the chapel of Holy Trinity within the nave of the conventual church. (fn. 180) Probably the chapel fell into decay after this. The advowson was still mentioned in an inquisition on Henry Elveden in 1515. (fn. 181)
The charity of Thomas Jenyns, founded by will, 1579, is regulated by scheme of the Charity Commissioners 2 April 1867. The endowment consists of a yearly payment of £8 13s. 4d. by the Fishmongers' Company, a rent-charge of £3 issuing out of Ford Street Farm, and a piece of land called 'The Orchard' with the school thereon. By an order of the Charity Commissioners 30 September 1904 it was determined that the Orchard and school together with a yearly sum of £3 15s. should form the endowment of 'Jenyns School Foundation.' The residue of the income is applied as follows: £2 12s. in bread to twelve poor widows, £1 to the parish council towards the repair of bridges, £1 to poor girls getting married, and the remainder in small sums to the poor on Old Christmas Day.
Thomas Blossom, as stated in the Parliamentary returns of 1786, gave a rent-charge of 10s. to the poor. This sum is paid out of land called Austen Wells and distributed in small sums to the poor on Old Christmas Day.
In 1595 Matthew Wall by his will gave a rentcharge of 20s. out of a house and about 12 acres of land at Green End in Braughing. This sum is applied as follows: 3s. 6d. to poor, 6s. 8d. to twenty school children, 4s. 10d. to sexton and clerk, and 5s. to the vicar and churchwardens for their trouble.
In 1612 William Bonest by will devised his tenement in Overbury to the churchwardens upon trust that they should place not more than four widows to dwell there rent free; and he also gave £1 yearly out of a field called Dassel Field to be distributed equally among the four poor widows.
In 1663 Edward Younge, D.D., by his will gave a yearly sum of 40s. to the poor. The annuity was redeemed in 1869 by the transfer to the official trustees of stock, now £67 consols, producing £1 13s. 4d. yearly, which is distributed to the poor in the same manner as Blossom's Charity.
In 1694 William Delawood by his will gave £5 yearly to the poor. The annuity is paid out of an estate called Hormead Hall, and is distributed to the poor in the same manner as Blossom's Charity.
By an award made in pursuance of an inclosure in 1812 (fn. 182) a piece of land containing 2 a. 36 p. was allotted for a public stone and gravel-pit. The land was sold in 1854 and the proceeds invested in £109 14s. consols in the names of four trustees.
The annual dividends, amounting to £2 14s. 8d., are applied towards the repair of the roads.
In 1710 Marmaduke Tenant, by his will dated 7 February, gave £4 yearly out of a farm called High Street Farm for instructing eight poor boys. This sum is received by the school managers.
The Congregational Chapel Manse and Trust Property comprised in indentures of 18 May 1803 and 13 November 1844, and indenture of 21 June 1888, is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 3 June 1908.