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Aldenham

"About two miles and a half N.N.E. from Watford, and in the same hundred, is the village of Aldenham. The parish is extensive, and the employment of most of the inhabitants is agricultural. The church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is in the early English architectural style, built of flint and rubble, with a tower at its western end; the interior is remarkably neat, and enshrines some handsome monuments: the benefice is a vicarage, of which Lord Rendlesham is patron, and the Rev. Edward Benbow the present incumbent. A free school for boys and girls, and some alms-houses, are the principal charities. Population of the parish, by the returns for 1831, 1,491."
[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]
"ALDENHAM (2 miles SW. from Radlett Station M.R.) is a village pleasantly situated near the river Colne, reached by way of Berry Grove at the W. end of the village. The churchyard is locally famous for the tombs of a man and woman named Hutchinson, which, singularly enough, have been riven apart and almost destroyed by three sycamore trees about a century old. The Church of St. John the Baptist is largely Perp. with earlier portions, and is worth a visit, if only for the oaken nave-roof, believed to date from about 1480, and for the font of Purbeck marble, probably 750 years old. An object of greater interest in some eyes is the fine parish chest, formed from one massive piece of oak nearly ten feet in length, and furnished with iron clamps and hinges of great size; there are few finer old parish chests in Fngland. Note also (1) the triple sedilia in chancel;(2) the many brasses dating from 1450, several of which are to the Cary family ; (3) two palimpsest brasses in the vestry, one of which bears a portion of a mutilated inscription to one Long, an alderman of London, who died in 1536. The church was restored in 1882 by Sir A. W. Blomfield, F.S.A.

"Aldenham House, the seat of Lord Aldenham, dates from the days of Charles II., and stands in a park of about 300 acres.

"Aldenham Abbey, once known as Wall Hall, stands close to the parish church ; it is about a century old, and belongs to the Stuart family."

[From Hertfordshire - Little Guide 1903, Methuen & Co., London, 1903]

Church History

There is a picture (83 kbytes) of the parish church of St. John the Baptist; supplied by Paul R. Joiner.

Church Records

The Parish Registers for the periods: -

are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P3]

Entries from the Marriage Registers for the period 1559-1837 are included in The Allen Index at Hertfordshire Record Office.

The period 1559-1827 is covered by the IGI.

Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1559-1659 and 1660-1812 are held at HALS.

Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1559-1895 are deposited at the Society of Genealogists, 14 Charterhouse Buildings, Goswell Road, LONDON, EC1M 7BA.

The following records for churches in the ancient parish of Aldenham are also available at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE.:-

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Description and Travel

"Less than two miles from North Watford are red tarmac lanes of cow-parsley and shapely horse-chestnuts, shaded hamlets of Tudor farmhouses (some playful Gothick), and wide views over woodland and river towards the motorway.
"Church (St. John the Baptist), former vicarage and farm, both Georgian, lie on a loop of lane which was once the main road. A village giant of a church with a lanky tower, having stair-turret and spike heads, a long nave, chancel and chapels. Early English work in the tower and chancel; the rest late Decorated and early perpendicular. Look at the stately aisle arcading's peculiarly grotesque masks and angel corbels above. A murky nave has stained glass in all its windows but two, and the walls are littered with barely seen tablets. Medieval stairs lead to a Victorian rood loft. One major monument: to Crowmer ladies, c. 1400. Two stone effigies on carved tomb-chests and under canopies are knit together by an embattled cornice featuring turrets like miniature church towers. Green Men in canopy spandrels. Each effigy is spot lit from the back by a lancet. Cade memorial (kneeling female in niche) is late (1650) for its type. In the north chapel corner is a life-like marble tableau of c. 1714 to Sir John Coghill and wife who appear to be debating a point of domestic etiquette.
"Opposite the church is a long drive through semi-parkland and past pleasant modern buildings and conversions of the present college of education, to Wall Hall, now the staff centre. It is castellated Gothick of 1802 and c. 1830 a la Knebworth with romantic grounds. Aldenham School, near Letchmore Heath, has some castellated bits from c. 1825. Chapel across the road boasts two paintings by Stanley Spencer, of 1958. Letchmore Heath is a cheery red-brick and half-timber hamlet luxuriating in horse-chestnut trees. The mansion was taken over by 'The Society for Krishna Consciousness'. More Gothickism in Wyatville's Hilfield Castle of c. 1805, with its gatehouse and portcullis. Shades of Walter Scott."
[From Hertfordshire (a Shell Guide), R. M. Healey , Faber & Faber, London, 1982]
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History

The Victoria County History pages for Aldenham offer a very complete history of the parish.
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