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5 miles east of Stevenage
Perhaps the liveliest and most picturesque part of this small village is centred on its neat green. surrounded on three sides by fine black-and-white and thatched cottages overlooking a red-tiled well-head, and a village hall with a curiously arched doorway and wooden pillars
The village is actually very old, and was known in early medieval times for its malt, a supply of which was sent regularly to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral
These clergymen were so impressed, so it is said, that in 1240 they provided the funds to build the Church of St Lawrence that stands
opposite the green Parts of this original structure were incorporated in the larger, present building, which dates mostly from a century later To see the church, it is necessary to obtain a key from the vicarage next door.
The interior of the church is a delight, a record of the quiet continuity of village life over the centuries The roof is supported by 12 carved wooden angels, all playing musical instruments and gazing down upon the many monuments and memorials. Especially touching is the monument to Mary Markham, a girl with a fine-boned, sensitive face who died in 1673 at the age of 24. The effigy of her dead infant son lies in front of her The brass to the Shotbolt family, dressed in the rich robes of 1599, is also worth seeing
On the road out of the village towards Walkern it is possible to catch a glimpse, over the treetops, of the turrets and battlements of Ardeley Bury.
A manor has stood on this site since the year 900, but its present resemblance to ‘many tower’d Camelot’ dates only from 1820 There is a lake in the grounds with a Tudor boathouse, but these are not open to the public