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Church of St John the Baptist, Great Gaddesden

Description: Church of St John the Baptist

Grade: I
Date Listed: 26 January 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 157878

OS Grid Reference: TL0286811263
OS Grid Coordinates: 502868, 211263
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7906, -0.5099

Location: Piper's Hill, Great Gaddesden, Hertfordshire HP2 6HJ

Locality: Great Gaddesden
Local Authority: Dacorum Borough Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: HP2 6HJ

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Listing Text

TL 01 SW
(North side)
3/99 Church of St. John
26.1.67 the Baptist


Parish church. Chancel and E wall of nave early C12; S aisle and S porch
c.1230; N aisle late C13 but N arcade early C14; clearstorey, nave and
aisle roofs, W tower and alterations to porch C15; NE chapel 1730 as
mortuary chapel for Halsey family; church restored 1863, tower in great
part rebuilt 1866, chancel restored and opened to N chapel 1877-9, porch
restored 1895 (plaque in porch), roof restored and stonework of many
windows renewed 1912-14 by Paul Waterhouse (plaque on N wall of nave);
heating chamber in angle of S aisle and tower dated 1961. Flint rubble
walls roughcast with wavy incised patterning of several periods, Roman
brick exposed at E end of chancel as quoins to corners and to 2 shallow
buttresses, uncoursed knapped flint facing to tower, limestone
dressings. Exposed puddingstone foundations to many buttresses. Red
brick, chequered with black headers to NE chapel in Flemish-bond.
Low-pitched metal roofs to porch, nave and aisles but steep old red tile
roofs to chancel and NE chapel. A medieval church with square ends of
chancel and NE chapel in line, taller nave with low aisles, long
projecting S porch, and large W tower (recessed spire shown on Buckler
dwg of 1832 not replaced in 1866 rebuild). Chancel has boarded waggon
roof with deep crested cornice at springing, 3-light E window in C14
style but much renewed and with stained glass 1869 by Burlinson &
Grylls, below its sill outside are the Roman brick jambs of the lower
part of an earlier window, with 2 dressed stones in middle one with
'ihs' cut twice on it. In N wall a 2-bays C13 style arcade (of 1877)
opens into N chapel. At E end of S wall is a C13 lancet window with deep
internal splays. Late C14 pointed cinquefoil piscina below. C15 low-side
window near W end of 2 cinquefoil lights, with sill raised externally.
C17 communion table. Arts and Crafts Style Commandment Boards with
painted angels flank E window. Red and black chequered tile floor set
with C17 black marble floor slabs of Halsey family, also monumental
brass to William Croke d.1506 and his wife with 3 shields and indents of
3 children and a shield. On S wall a vigorous baroque gadrooned monument
to John Halsey d.1670 with cartouche and bust on top, attributed to
Bushnell. Heavy Gothick wall monument to N of altar for T.P. Halsey
1854. Chancel arch C13 with 2 chamfered orders, the lower part of the
inner order cut away to make a wider opening. The nave has arcades of 4
bays of similar pointed arches of 2 hollow chamfered orders with
dripmoulds and octagonal piers but the S arcade large stiff-leaf
capitals typical of the C13 while the N arcade has moulded capitals of
the early C14. One or both of the arcades was probably rebuilt in the
C14. C15 clearstorey with 3-light cinquefoil windows with square heads,
4 on N side, 3 on S. In SE corner is the narrow upper doorway of the
rood-stair, and there is a blocked external slit window. C15 4-bays open
timber roof of low pitch with heavy cambered moulded tie-beams, short
king-posts, sub-principals, ridge-beam and one purlin to each slope, all
moulded with central roll intersecting at floral bosses. Long wallposts
fronted by figures of angels (renewed). Next to tower arch is part of a
stone base of early C12 possibly belonging to original nave. Early C19
font octagonal with quatrefoil panel on each face. N aisle has an
unglazed E window of c.1280 with 2 uncusped lights and trefoil over.
W window c.1500 of 2 trefoil lights under 4-centred head. In N wall, 2
windows of C15 type renewed, one of 3 cinquefoil lights under a square
head, plain N door below. There is a large external brick and flint
buttress and attached on the E a C15/C16 projecting chantry with 3-light
trefoil window, flat 4-centred arch inside, and a finely carved wall
monument central over of c.1700 with draped bellied cartouche with putti
and armorial crest. 4-bays C15 open timber aisle roof with hollow
chamfered principals, curved braces to wallposts, moulded longitudinal
timbers, and hollow chamfered flat-laid joists. Organ in W part of aisle
partly covers floor brass of a woman c.1520 with indents of husband,
children and inscription. Small ancient chest cut out of a log. Wall
monument 1656 to Stephen Munne. Piscina at E end. S aisle has 3-light E
window of late C15 type with stained glass by Wailes c.1863. C15 bracket
for image, with traces of colour. C15 piscina with square head,
restored. 2 C15 2-light cinquefoil windows on S restored. Early C14
window of 2 lights with quatrefoil over under a label to W of C15 S door
with moulded 4-centred door head but C13 moulded rear arch. Open timber
roof of 4 bays with plain flat rafters, moulded purlin, and curved knee
braces to principals from wallposts. Long S porch has C13 moulded rear
arches to its side windows but is otherwise of C15 with original low
pitched timbered roof. Continuous moulding to outer arch and C15
trefoilheaded single-light side windows. Tall buttressed W tower in C15
style (largely rebuilt) is embattled with half-octagonal stair turret on
N running the full height. 3 stages with stone string courses, gargoyles
at foot of parapet, and diagonal buttresses founded on mabel of
puddingstone. Trefoil lights to 2nd stage and 2-light belfry openings
with quatrefoil circles in heads. W doorway and 2-lights window over
with fragments of old stained glass in the trefoil heads. Bath-stone
tower arch in French C13 style with foliate caps to jamb shafts. 3
round-headed benefactions boards in lower stage of tower and another
recording that the clock was brought from one of the pavilions of
Gaddesden Place (q.v.) in 1955. C17 scratch-moulded panelling in screen
under tower arch, set up in 1936. Early C18 NE mortuary chapel has
original 2-light pointed E window, 2-bays arcade to chancel and pointed
stone N door down steps both inserted c.1877, and a large number of
splendid carved black and white wall monuments of the Halsey family:
William Halsey (d.1637) and Letitia Halsey (d.1649) erected 1650 of
alabaster and marble; 4 separate monuments to the same design each with
a bust under a draped baldachino with open segmental pediment on
pilasters, Thomas Halsey d.1715, Anne Halsey d.1719, and Jane Halsey
d.1725, all attributed to Guelfi, Henshaw Halsey d.1739 attributed to
Rysbrack. Charles Halsey d.1748 a white epitaph with bust against
obelisk, and Frederick Halsey d.1762, white epitaph with profile
medallion against obelisk, both attributed to William Tyler. On W wall
an assymetrical monument to Agatha Halsey d.1782 signed by Flaxman, with
an angel holding a book. Thomas Halsey d.1788 and wife, an obelisk with
oval medallion of Mrs. Halsey taken up to heaven. C12 billet and zigzag
carved stones built into S wall of chapel. 2 C17 chests. This church is
a prominent landscape feature in the Gade Valley and is of outstanding
interest for its C13 arcade, C15 roofs, and series of Halsey monuments.
(VCH (1908)205-6: RCHM (1911)100-1: Kelly (1914)103: Pevsner

Listing NGR: TL0286811263

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.