Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 35364 28392


TL 3528 ASPENDEN THE STREET (north side)

8/2 Parish Church of St Mary (C of E) 22.2.67


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) 77-8).

Listing NGR: TL3536428392


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Doubleday, AH, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1914), 22-4
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 77-8
'Kellys Directory' in Hertfordshire, (1914), 26
Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Hertfordshire, (1910)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 27 May 2002
Reference: IOE01/07481/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Graham R. Heasman. Source Historic England Archive
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