The Victoria History of the Counties of England

A History of the County of Hertfordshire Volume 4 - Layston pages 77 to 88

John Crouch, lord of the manor of Corneybury, who died in January 1605-6, bequeathed 20s. a year from his stalls in Buntingford market-place for the repair of the highways and of Corney Bridge21 and in 1738 the tolls of Buntingford market are again mentioned as attached to the manor of Corneybury,(22) but this seems to be the last reference to a market being held in Buntingford. One fair is still held there every year on St. Peter's Day, 29 June.(23)

The justices of the peace for Hertfordshire were holding sessions at Buntingford in 1631,(24) and there was a house of correction there as early as 1638,(25) which remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century.(26) A small brick lock-up probably of 18th-century date stands on the road to Layston Church. Buntingford is now the head of a petty sessional district consisting of parts of the hundreds of Edwinstree, Odsey and Braughing. In 1835 became the union town for the district, the work-house being built in 1836.

The town of Buntingford begins north of the bridge across the Rib and extends for about half a mile up the ascent of Ermine Street. At the south end of the town Ermine Street broadens out into Market Hill. There are anumber of old houses in High Street, Buntingford. Beginning at the south end, on the west side, adjoining the chapel of St. Peter, is Ward's Hospital, founded and built by Seth Ward, Bishop of Salisbury, in 1684. The buildings form three sides of a quadrangle, being open on the east side next the street. They are of two stories and are built of brick with rusticated quoins and dressings of Portland stone. Awooden cornice with modillions and carved moulding is carried round the building. The roofs are tiled and the wing gables are hipped. The central part of the east face of the main block projects slightly and has a pediment with the modillion cornice carried round. Underneath is the principal doorway, of stone with moulded architrave and cornice with carved brackets, over which is a broken pediment with a shield containing the arms of the founder. Over the door is an inscription commemorating the foundation of the hospital. The buildings consist of eight separate dwellings, each having two rooms on the ground floor and two on the upper floor. The doorways to these dwellings have shouldered stone architraves with small moulded cornices above.

Further up the street, beyond the Market Hill, are two dwellings, formerly the Angel Inn, with late 17th-century plastered fronts, tiled roofs and plain brick chimneys. The ground story has rusticated quoins and an entrance door with moulded and rusticated jambs and moulded pediment above. The upper story projects on a plain coved cornice with foliated brackets at intervals; the upper story is ornamented with flush plaster panels filled with combed work, much worn. At the north end of the house is a large gateway to the yard.

Another house, now partly a butcher's shop, has a plain plastered front, part of which has an overhanging upper story ; the roofs are tiled. Adjoining it is a large gateway of late 16th-century date, with low three-centred wooden arches with carved spandrels. A rain-water head bears the date 1741, but the house itself is older. A house nearly opposite the George and Dragon Hotel has a plain plastered front with overhanging upper story ; the roofs are tiled. The adjoining gateway has a gable over; it is probably of early 17th-century date. The fronts of the adjoining houses have their original gables, but the facings have been modernized.

The Clock Turret, which is built over a yard entrance next a stationer's shop, has modern facing of wood and plaster, but the main timbers are old and are said to date from the 16th century. A house next the Globe Inn probably belongs to the latter part of the 17th century; it has a plastered front with shallow bay window. Beside it is a low gateway, over which is a small oriel window. Over the doorway is a wooden pediment on brackets. The White Hart Inn (27) has been much modernized, but the north gable is of early 17th-century date. It is of timber and plaster and the upper story overhangs. The Cock Inn has a timber and plastered front and overhanging upper story ; it is of 17th-century date.

21 P.C.C. 22 Stafford.
22 Ibid. 354 Trenley.
23 East Herts. Arch. Soct. Trans, ii, 1.
24 Cal S. P. Dom. 1631-3, p. 18 ; see

ibid. 1633-4, pp. 232, 305 ; 1637, p. 272 ;
1625-49, P. 583 ; Sess. R. (Herts. Co, Rec), ii,
180, 289, 300, 347, 352.
25 Cal S.P Dom. 1625-49, p. 583.

26 Sess.R. (Herts. Co. Rec], ii, 82, 90,
133, 165, 214, 233, 290, 344, 413, 418.
27 It was held by John Bownest in 1615
(Chan. Inq. p.m. [Ser. 2], cccxlvii, 77).

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