The Victoria History of the Counties of England

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

There are several cottages at the north end of High Street, on the west side, of late 16th and early I7th-century date; they are chiefly of timber framing plastered, with portions weather-boarded.

On the east side of High Street, at the south end, in a yard behind a china shop, is a two-storied building of timber and plaster with tiled roof; it is probably of late 16th-century date and is in a poor state of repair. The wooden doorway has a moulded four-centred arch under a square head. There are some good plain roof trusses. The oak mullioned window frames with diamond quarries are original.

The Court, originally the Buntingford Grammar School, founded about 1625, is now a private house. The building is L-shaped and is probably of early 17th-century date. The wing running north and south is the old school building and originally consisted of one room of one story ; a modern floor has been inserted and attic windows added and the front considerably modernized. The front is plastered and the entrance doorway has a semicircular arch with shallow pediment over ; the jambs are rusticated. On the north gable is a chimney stack with two octagonal shafts. Some of the windows have the original plastered brick mullions and transoms ; some plain old queen-post roof trusses still remain. The north wing is a plain plastered building of 18th-century date. The property was sold in 1902, after the failure of the school, and the endowments were used to found a technical school opened in 1903 in Baldock Lane.

A house next the George and Dragon Hotel is a plain timber and plaster building with overhanging upper story and tiled roof. The George and Dragon Hotel(28) has a modern front, but the interior is probably of 17th-century date. On the front is an elaborate wrought-iron sign-bracket of early 18th-century date.

Towards the northern end of High Street, on the east side, is a cottage, now divided into two dwell¬ings, which may be of early 16th-century date. It is a rectangular building of two stories with a plain central chimney; the - walls are of timber framing with plaster between the timbers. In the centre of the front is a blocked doorway of oak with three-centred arch ; the upper story projects on the ends of the floor joists. The windows with diamond quarries are original.

The boys elementary school at Newtown was built in 1845 and the Adams Memorial School for girls and infants in 1879. Buntingford Congregational Chapel was founded in 1776.(29) Hope's Chapel in Farrington Yard, High Street, belongs to the Particular Baptists.

The railway station of Buntingford is on the west side of Ermine Street, about half a mile south of the bridge across the Rib. It is a terminal station on the Ware and Buntingford branch of the Great Eastern railway.

The house called Littlecourt which stands on the east bank of the Rib, on the north side of the Causeway, is on the site of a house built at the end of the 16th century by John Gyll.(30) By will proved in 1600 John Gyll left this house to his wife Joan, with the provision that his younger son John Gyll was to have the use of it during her life as her farmer and that after her death he was to occupy it for seven years.(31) John's elder son Sir George Gyll died seised of it in 1619.(32) His son John (33) died without issue in 1651, (34) when Littlecourt was probably sold. It was afterwards acquired by Bernard Turner, who died in 1696, and it descended through his son Thomas to Anne Turner, who took it in marriage to Thomas Crouch of Layston.(35) Littlecourt passed from the Crouches about 1726 and finally came to Viscount Falkland, who sold it in 1760 to Butler Chauncy, son of the historian.(36) After his death in 1766 the estate passed through many hands until it finally became the property of Captain Henry Harman Young in 1819. Captain Young pulled the old house down. On his death he left the estate to his two daughters, Matilda wife of John Dendy Pilcher and Mary Heathfield, wife of Andrew Walls.(37) Littlecourt has recently been bought and is now occupied by Mr. Pinckney.

Sir Frederick Abbott (1805—92), major-general in the Royal (late Bengal) Engineers, was born at Littlecourt in 1805. He had a distinguished Indian career, taking part in the forcing of the Khaibar Pass and in the occupation of Bengal. For some years he was superintending engineer of the North-West Provinces and was in charge of the military bridging establishment. He retired in 1847 and was appointed lieutenant-governor of the military college of East India, which was closed in 1861.(38)

Beauchamps stands on a moated site about 1 mile north-east of the church ; it is now a farmhouse. Three arms of the moat are wet. The house is E-shaped on plan, and was originally built of timber-framing covered with plaster. The wings consist of two stories, the central part of one only. The roofs are tiled ; the wings have plain gables, and at each end of the central block is a brick chimney stack of three square shafts, the central shaft being larger than the flanking ones. The front is of modern brickwork, but the house itself dates from the early part of the 17th century. The house contains some 17th-century oak panelling and a panelled door with carving.

Alswick Hall, the old manor-house, now a farm, and the site of the chapel of Alswick are situated about 1 mile east of Buntingford. The hall stands on a moated site, but only a small part of the moat remains on the west side. The house, now divided into two dwellings, is of two stories. It is T-shaped on plan, the south arm of the cross being much shorter than the north ; the east wing forms the vertical portion of the cross. The walls are timber-framed and plastered, with foundations of thin bricks ; the roofs are tiled. The house is of early 17th-century date.

28 The 'George' is mentioned in 1605 (Chan.
Inq. p.m. [Ser. 2], ccxciv, 18). Other names of
inns are the 'Bell,' mentioned in 1545 (L. and P.
Hen. VIII, xx [I], p. 681), the ' Chekere of the
Hoope' of an earlier date (Early Chan. Proc
bdle. 11, no. 533) and the ' Falcon of the
Woope,' i.e. the Falcon on the hoop
or barrel (Ct. of Req. bdle. 77, no. 48).

29 Conventicles were held in the house of a
family called Gates in 1675 and later (Sess. R.
[Herts. Co. Rec], i, 257, 319, 320, 331, 342).
30 P.C.C. 60 Wallopp.
31 Ibid.
32 Chan. Inq. p.m. (Ser. 2), ccccvii, 95.
33 Ibid.

34 Cussans, Hist. of Herts. Edwinstree
Hund. 82.
35 Ibid.
36 Ibid.
37 Ibid.
38 Dict. Nat. Biog. Supplement.


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