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Parish Church of St Mary (Church of England), Aspenden

Description: Parish Church of St Mary (Church of England)

Grade: I
Date Listed: 22 February 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 159712

OS Grid Reference: TL3536428392
OS Grid Coordinates: 535364, 228392
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9376, -0.0323

Location: Aspenden, Hertfordshire SG9 9PD

Locality: Aspenden
Local Authority: East Hertfordshire District Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: SG9 9PD

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Listing Text

(north side)

8/2 Parish Church of St Mary
(C of E)


Parish church. Cll chancel on different alignment from late Cll
nave; chancel part-rebuilt and lengthened to E in C13. S aisle
c1340; W tower c1390; in late C15 SE chapel added, S aisle
altered, nave heightened, new roofs to nave and aisle, and E wall
of nave removed for a rood-screen; S porch built c1525 for
widow of Sir Robert Clifford; SE Chapel altered 1622 for Ralph
Freman of Aspenden Hall. Restored 1873 by Sir Arthur Blomfield
who added a steep red tiled pitched roof over the old roof of the
SE Chapel, and 3 gabled dormers on S with quatrefoil clear storey
lights to the nave. Plastered flint rubble with stone dressings.
Steep pitched old red tile roofs but copper lean-to roof to S
aisle and truncated lead spike to tower. Tile-hung gables to SE
Chapel. A small picturesque medieval church with chancel, nave,
W tower, S aisle. SE chapel, and S porch. Windows and roofs
largely perpendicular but deeply splayed small round-headed Cll
window in N wall of chancel, 2 early C13 lancets flanking the
altar, and an early C16 low-side window at NW of chancel with
grotesque external detail. The chancel has a 4-light C15 E
window, a boarded waggon ceiling with moulded battens, elaborate
Easter Sepulchre to N of altar with quatrefoil spandrels between
crocketed ogee arch and embattled cresting with panelled
buttresses, 8-foiled piscina to S of altar, and polychrome
encaustic tiled floor. An arcade of 2 round arches of 2 splayed
orders opens into the SE chapel. The faces of the octagonal
piers and the arch soffits are decorated with sunk panels of
arabesque ornament with bosses, and the date 1622 under the
Freeman arms is in the central spandrel on the S side. The
chapel is enclosed by a contemporary panelled oak screen, with
open-arcaded top, which returns to form box-pews on each side of
a central aisle. C15 moulded roof, 3-light cinquefoil C15 E
window under low eliptical head, and 2-light S window altered in
C17. Blocked entrance to rood stair said to be in NW corner
behind organ. The nave has a steep pitched C15 open timber roof
of 3 bays with moulded members, queen-post trusses supported by
curved braces form wallposts to cambered tie-beams, arched braces
from queen-posts to collars, 3 butt-purlins to each slope and 2
ranges of arched wind-bracing. N wall has 2 C15 3-light windows
flanking the blocked C15 N door with continuously moulded
opening. Ogee arched niche under square head in E jamb of window
to E of door. Mid C14 3-bay S arcade with octagonal piers,
moulded capitals and 2-centred arches. Late C14 tower arch of 2
moulded orders has semi-octagonal jamb shafts and the capitals
extended to E as moulded bands. 3 quatrefoil C19 openings below
the moulded wallplae and gabled dormers outside, form the S clear
storey. The S-aisle has 2-light late C15 S and W windows and S
door with armorial shields in cusped spandrels, externally,
between a 2-centred arch and square outer order. Sloping moulded
C15 lean-to roof to aisle. 3-stage W-tower c1390, embattled with
pointed bell-chamber openings on each face, 3-light W window, and
small C19 W door below. The S-porch c1525 has a 2-centred arched
entrance, with heraldic spandrels, 2-light side windows, low-
pitched open timber roof with moulding to ridge, wallplates and
central principal. Stained glass in porch c1913 by Morris and Co
of 4 evangelists. Late C15 octagonal font with plain cardinal
faces but shield-in-quatrefoil on angled faces. C17 poorbox in
form of a short square oak pillar. Stock-lock to heavy C17 oak S
door. Fine canopied altar-tomb in Purbeck (or Bethersden) marble
c1508 to Sir Robert Clifford in SE chapel with brass inlay
figures, still retaining some coloured infillat back under a
depressed arch with quatrefoil frieze and top cresting. Brass
c1500 on N wall of nave. Wall monuments: on E wall of chapel to
Elizabeth Freman d.1623 a marble aedicule, pilastered, with
hatchment in panel above; also to Ralph Freman d.1665 amarble
aedicule on brackets with black tablet, Ionic flanking columns,
full entablature and swans-neck pediment with central urn; on S
wall of aisle a wall monument erected in 1702 incorporating twin
frontal bronze busts of brothers Sir Ralph Freman d.1634 and
William d.1623 saved from St Martin's Cornhill after the great
fire of London; and also a neo-classical wall monument to John
Boldero d.1789 of inlaid marble with an urn. Externally, on the
S wall of the chapel a monument to his parents d.1645 and 1665 by
Seth Ward Bishop of Salisbury, on the W wall of the aisle a
tablet to Mary Cator who left money for a free school. A small
medieval church, little altered, of outstanding interest for the
SE chapel, roofs, Easter Sepulchre, and fine monuments. (RCHM
(1911) 41-2: VCH (1914) 22-4: Kelly (1914) 26: Pevsner (1977)

Listing NGR: TL3536428392

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.