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"A respectable and populous village, in the parish of its name and hundred of Braughin, is 24 miles N.N.E. from London, 11 1/2 E. from Hertford, and about 5 S. from Bishops Stortford - situated near the navigable river Stort, and on the line of the Northern and Eastern railway. Though deprived of the consequence formerly attached to it as a market town, this place maintains that of a prosperous village and within the last twenty years it has considerably increased in size and population. It enjoys a trade in malt of some importance, with the facility of water conveyance by the river above mentioned; and its home trade is assisted by its local position as a continual thoroughfare for travellers: this advantage, however, must necessarily be impaired, in some degree, when the railway referred to becomes the medium of transit. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, contains several elegant monuments; one to Sir Ralph Jocelyn is rich and merits inspection, as also does that to Sir John Leventhorpe. The benefice is a vicarage, in the incumbency of the Rev. Thos. Hutchinson. There are places of worship for independents and Wesleyan methodists. Fairs are held here on the 23rd of April and 20th of October. The parish of Sawbridgeworth contained. In 1831, 2,231 inhabitants."
[From Royal National and Commercial Directory and Topography of Herts, Pigot & Co., London, 1839]

Church History

There is a picture (84 kbytes) of the parish church of Great St. Mary, Sawbridgeworth; supplied by Ian Rose.

There is a link for the Parish Church of Gt St Mary, Sawbridgeworth. It features pictures of monuments, brasses etc. and features several local families.

Church Records

The Parish Registers for the periods:-

are deposited at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE. [D/P98]

Entries from the Marriage Registers for the period 1558-1837 are included in The Allen Index at Hertfordshire Record Office.

The period 1558-1875 is covered by the IGI.

Transcripts of the parish registers for the period 1558-1929 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 Sawbridgeworth are also available at Hertfordshire Record Office, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE.:-

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Description and Travel

"Small, mainly residential town. Malting is still carried on near the railway station and the River Stort, and there are big old weather-boarded mills near by. The town is perched on a cliff above the valley and consists of four narrow streets intersecting near the church. Immediately to the west the old high road now acts as a sort of bypass, leaving the old centre virtually traffic-free. But who at the crossroads of The Square, Bell Street, Knight Street, and Church Street would imagine Sawbridgeworth to be the size (population some 8,000) it is?
"The buildings are of the familiar yellow-and-white brick with weather-boarding and plastering common - the former seen at its best in the overhanging upper storey of the old maltings(?) in Bell Street - plaster pargeting near by. But they are predominately plain, two-storeyed, dormer-windowed village buildings, an Essex village maybe, a village which stopped growing here in the early 19th century but continued to develop along its high road (a congregational church of 1863). Only a couple of small red-brick Georgian houses in Knight Street, some large plastered houses of a similar date around the villagey Fair Green, and the handsome Red House in Bell Street, compare with the prosperous country-town character of say Hertford's Fore Street or Ware's High Street. And as a modern dormitory town it truly sleeps. Old-fashioned shops, a supermarket mimicking a village store, comfortable old inns like the Bell, with its Georgian bow windows, unchanged since Griggs drew it in 1901. The encircling suburbia is at a respectful distance and curtained off, thanks to trees and stopped views.
"Church of St. Mary the Great, in a leafy churchyard surrounded by houses, is a swanky, dully restored Decorated building containing monuments that must be seen. Best if the opulent Jacobean wall monument to John Leventhorpe (d. 1625) and wife by Royal Mason William Cure. Burnished black and white marble. Fourteen kneeling children below - some females recessed to save space. Second best, though far more interesting, is a canopied sanctuary tomb smothered in crockets, ogees, panels of quatrefoils, and with brasses removed. Early Tudor. Mutilated figures on a near-by chest (0f 1525). In an arch flanked by accoutrements of war - drums, pistols, daggers, sabres, trumpets, clutches of spears, all brilliantly realized - is the standing figure of soldierly Viscount Hewyt, d. 1689. Against chancel arch shiny busts set in grey bowls of Jacobean period, are extraordinarily unconventional, recalling the portrait style of Peter Lely. The Viscount Jocelyn bust looks carved from plasticine or butter. Quality brasses include 15th-century nave types and Tudor Leventhorpe examples. Brasses of Beardsleyish lady, and pulpit of 1632. A vast oak chest with five locks.
"Pishiobury, to the south, and Hyde Hall, to the north, are Tudor houses re-modelled respectively by James Wyatt in 1782, and nephew Jeffry Wyatville in 1803. Pishiobury is mildly Gothick, the more inpressive Hyde Hall distinctly 'Soanian@ (Pevsner) in its stuccoed details. The clan of farms with intriguing names like Crumps, Tharbies, Jefffs, Hoskins, are named after their medieval owners."
[From Hertfordshire (a Shell Guide), R. M. Healey , Faber & Faber, London, 1982]
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