(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxv. N.E. (b)xxv. S.E.)
b (1). Parish Church of St. John the
Baptist stands near the centre of the village.
It is built of flint with stone dressings,
the latter chiefly modern; the roofs are
covered with lead. The narrow Nave probably retains the width of an original nave,
a break in the masonry of the S. arcade
marking its eastern limit. About 1220 the
present Chancel was built on the E. of the
older chancel, the area of which was thrown
into the nave. The nave arcades and probably
the Aisle walls are of early 14th-century date,
but may replace older work. The eastern part
of the N. aisle is wider than the rest, and this
may be connected with the foundation of a
chantry here in 1335. The North Chapel was
built probably early in the 14th century, but
has been much restored. The lower part of the
West Tower is of late 14th-century date; the
upper part was re-built in the 15th century. The
South Porch with upper chamber was completely restored in the 19th century.
The Whittingham monument, with effigies
and heraldic shields, and the screen enclosing
it are especially fine examples of 15th-century
work of this character.
Architectural Description—The Chancel
(27 ft. by 13½ ft.) has one 13th-century lancet
window in the N. wall, and a second, low in the
S. wall, restored outside. The N. arcade, the
E. window, and a window and doorway in the
S. wall, are modern. At the S.W. is a squint to
the S. aisle. The North Chapel (27 ft. by 13 ft.)
has an E. window of three lights, and a
N. window of two lights; in both the tracery
has been renewed. The Nave (56 ft. by 13½ ft.)
has arcades of five bays with arches of two
hollow-chamfered orders and octagonal pillars;
the two eastern bays of the N. arcade are
modern; only the interiors of the clearstorey
windows are old. The North Aisle (13 ft.
at the E. end and 10½ ft. at the W.)
has a 14th-century arch at the E. end
opening to the chapel, and on the N.E. a
window, originally of three trefoiled lights of
the 14th century, with a fourth light added in
the 15th century. In the N. wall are also two
square-headed windows, each of two lights, and
a plain doorway; in the W. wall is a window of
two lights with tracery; all the stone work of
windows and doorway is modern. In the
South Aisle (10½ ft. wide) the E. bay is
cut off by a 15th-century stone screen,
enclosing a tomb, both brought from Ashridge in 1575. In the S. wall is a window of
four lights, and on each side of the S. doorway
a window of two lights, with another in the W.
wall, all of modern stonework. The West
Tower (13 ft. by 11 ft.) is of three stages, with
embattled parapet; the tower arch is of the 14th
century; the windows of the bell-chamber are
modern. The South Porch retains its old stone
benches and pointed entrance, much restored.
Fittings—Bells: 1st 1634, 2nd 1655, tenor
1683; framework 1681. Brasses and Indents:
on E. respond of N. arcade in nave, of John
Davies (?), 1478, small figure with inscription:
in S. aisle, inscription recording the history of
the Whittingham monument (see below) and
its removal from Ashridge: in N. aisle,
slab with indents of a shield and inscription.
Glass: in window W. of N. doorway, remains
of canopies and figure subjects, 15th and
16th-century. Lectern: wooden, 16th-century.
Monuments: at E. end of S. aisle, raised tomb
with effigies of Sir Robert Whittingham, 1471,
and his wife, formerly at Ashridge; the knight
is in plate armour with mail skirt, and wears
a collar of SS and a short surcoat on which are
the arms of Whittingham; his head rests on a
helm. The sides of the tomb are panelled, and
contain the following shields:—on the W. end,
between female supporters, azure two cheverons
or and a quarter argent with a paschal lamb
gules, quartering Whittingham, argent a fesse
vert, over all a lion's gules; on the E. end, an
armed man between shields of Whittingham
and Verney, azure a cross argent with five
pierced molets gules thereon; on the N. side,
five shields; (1) Verney quartering the coat on
the W. end of the tomb, and Whittingham (2)
an armed man standing, (3) Whittingham impaling Bockland, sable a garter between three
square buckles or (4) as (2), (5) as (1); on the S.
side, (1) as (1) on N., (2) Verney, (3) as (3) on
N., (4) Verney, (5) Bray, argent a cheveron
between three eagles' legs razed sable, quartered
with another Bray, vair three bends gules,
with an escutcheon quarterly of Halliwell, or a
bend gules with three goats argent thereon,
Boteler, gules a fess checky argent and sable
between six crosslets or, Norbury, argent a
cheveron engrailed between three bulls' heads
cabossed sable, and Sudley, or two bends gules:
near the tomb are two funeral helms: in N.
chapel, Purbeck marble altar tomb, with brasses
of Sir Ralph Verney, 1546, his wife, twelve
children and four shields: on N. wall of
chapel, monument to Thomas Hyde, 1570, and
his son, 1580: in N. aisle, coffin lid, much
worn, with traces of a raised cross. Niches: at
E. end of N. aisle, canopied, 14th-century:
in outer wall at E. end of clearstorey, another,
containing a defaced carving. Painting: on
splay of N. window of chancel, slight traces of
diaper pattern. Piscina: in N. chapel at S.E.,
with cinque-foiled head, c. 1400. Plate: includes vase-shaped secular cup, 1514, used as
chalice. Screen: in S. aisle, enclosing the
Whittingham monument, of pierced stone, imperfect, 15th-century (see above). Seating:
incorporates a considerable amount of old
material. Sedile: adjoining piscina in chapel,
c. 1400; much scraped. Tiles: in floor of
various parts of the church, mediæval, glazed.
Miscellanea: in N. aisle, carved stone corbel,
apparently 13th-century: in N. wall of chancel
recess with four-centred head, 15th-century.
Sundial: in churchyard on wooden post, 17th-century.
b(2). House, about 100 yds. E. of the church,
opposite the pond, probably built in the 16th,
and altered in the 17th century. It is of two
storeys, the upper projecting. The walls are of
timber and brick; the roofs are tiled. A room
on the ground floor has a little 17th-century
panelling, and a stone fireplace with a four-centred head and, scratched in one spandrel,
the date 1516.
b(3). Cottages and Almshouses, in the
village, are of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Some of the cottages are of brick and timber;
others, including the almshouses, are pargetted.
The roofs are thatched.
b(4). Stocks and Whipping Post, E. of the
b(5). Denehole, ¾ mile S. of the church.
a(6). Lines of Entrenchment, at Aldbury
Nowers (or Ours); two, parallel.