Historical Antiquities of Hertfordshire


by Sir Henry Chauncy Vol I pages 260 to 263 first published in 1700


IS a small Market Town, situated upon Ermine Street, somewhat like Royston, in four several Parishes; Layston, Aspeden, Throcking and Widiall; 'tis not ratable by itself, but in the four several Parishes, and there is a Tradition among the Inhabitants, that it was denominated from one Bunt a Smith, who kept a Shop near the Ford.

This Town is of small Antiquity, for there is no mention of it in Domesdei Book, neither can I find any thing of it before Anno 21. Edw. III. when that King did grant one Market every Week, and one Fair every Year in Buntingford, to Elizabeth de Burgo and her Heirs, reserving the Yearly Rent of 6d. And in Anno 41 Regni sui the same King granted a Market to be held in the Highway in this Vill, on Saturday in every Week, and a Fair there every Year on the Day and Morrow of the Apostles of Peter and Paul, to hold from the 17th Day of July, in the one and fortieth Year of Edward the III. to the Lord and Tenants, and their Heirs, reserving and paying to the King his Heirs and Successors, the Yearly Rent of 13s. and 4d.

King Henry VIII. upon the Dissolution of Monasteries by Letters Patents, dated the first Day of February, Anno 33 Regni sui, granted (among other things) to Thomas Lord Audley, Lord of the Mannor of Corneybury, and the Tenants of the same Mannor, and to the Inhabitants of the Vill of Buntingford, That they should have a Market in the High Street, in the Town of Buntingford, on Monday in every Week of the Year, and two Fairs in every Year, to continue four Days ; The first Fair on the Day and the Morrow of St. Peter, and St. Paul the Apostles, the 29 and 30th Days of June; and the other on the Day and Morrow of the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, the 30th Day of November, and the first of December; with all Liberties, Free Customs, and Profits, belonging to any Fair or Market, rendring to the King 13s. lOd. every Year, to be paid to the Sheriff of the County, at the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.

And the King farther granted, That Thomas Lord Audley and his Heirs, Lords of the Mannors, shall yearly choose two Men out of the Tenants and Inhabitants, who shall govern the Market and the Fairs, and shall receive and account for the Profits of them to six other Tenants and Inhabitants of the Town, whom Thomas Lord Audley, his Heirs and Assigns, shall also choose; so that the Profit and Issues of the Market and Fairs shall be paid to the King for the public Good of the Town, at the Discretion of Thomas Lord Audley, his Heirs and Assigns, and the major Part of the honest Men of the Town, and Tenants of the Mannor, to be expended so often as shall be needful.

At the South End of this Town Alexander Strange, Vicar of this Parish, erected a fair Chapel, which he began Anno 1614, and finisht Anno 1626. The Receipts which he received from several Gentlemen, who encouraged this pious Work, by their free and voluntary Contributions, came to 418l. 13s. and 8d. And the Disbursements did amount to 418l. 10s. 1d.

Chapel, Capella, cometh of the French Word Chapell, that is AEdicula, and is of two Sorts; either adjoyning to a Church, which Men of worth do often build for a Burial place for their Family, or else separate from the Mother Church, where the Parish is large, and is commonly called a Chapel of Ease, because it is erected for the Ease of one or more Parishioners, that dwell far from the Church, and is supplied by some inferior Curate, provided at the Charge of the Rector, or those that have the Benefit thereof, as the Composition or Custom is.

The Emperor Justinian, in the fifth Collation of his novel Constitutions, called the Authenticks, ordained that no Man shall build a Chapel in his House without the leave of the Bishop, before he consecrate the Place by Prayer, set up the Cross, and make Procession there. But by the Common Law, and general Custom of England, it was lawful for Bishops, Earls, and Barons to build Chapels; at this day every Man may have a Chapel or Place in his House for Prayer; and if any thing shall be acted there against the Catholick and Apostplick Faith, the House shall be confiscated, and the Owner punisht at the Discretion of the Prince. But


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