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North Mymms Church - 140 Years of History

The Churchwardens’ Accounts of North Mymms
by H.M. Alderman

Chapter 5
Tower, Beadle & Church Shed

From 1806 to 1811 there is considerable detail of the expenditure incurred in repairing the tower, building the copper-covered spire and re-casting and re-hanging the hells. The total cost was £720 5s 6d plus £72 5s 3d architect’s fees. Of this amount £148 19s 0d was spent on the bells. Coppersmiths’ work cost £82 9s 5d; carpenter’s work, Salmon and Hall, £285 10s 9d. The architect was Mr. Ashpitel. Subscriptions towards the charges for re-casting the bells amounted to £120, plus a credit of £11 6s 3d allowed by the bell-founder for old metal.

Mr. Ashpitel appears in the accounts once more, viz.:-

1818. Mar. 20th: "Mr. Ashpitils account as Surveyor £37 7s 0d"
Feb. 6th: "For the Map of Churchyard etc. £5 15s 0d"

The Parish Beadle

We now have a series of interesting entries concerning the beadle’s uniform:-

1820. "Browne - Beedles New Coat as per Bill £3 0s 0d"
1836 Apr 1st "Paid Mr Giles for Beadles Coat and Waist Coat £4 3s 0d"
1854. Jan. 12th: "Paid Mr Hankin for Beadles Coat & Hat £4 2s 6d"
1859. Jan. 10th: "Hankin for Beadles’s Coat £3 10s 0d"
1878. "New Coat for Beadle £3 10s 0d"

The year 1821 has a reference to the "Parish Pall" - used at funerals, the Churchwardens paying £2 17s 6d for repairs

Curious Entries

1823. Feb. 11th: "Sack of Shavings and one truss of Strawe 2s 0d"
1823. July 19th: "Clayton paid for watching Church 2s 6d"
1846. "Paid Mary Smith sweeping Church Chimney 1s 6d"

The first mention of insuring the church against fire risk is made in 1834:- 1834. Mar. 25th: "Paid for Inshurance on Church £2 10s 0d"

Here is an entry which tells of a tragedy that happened at Water End:- 1847. Apr. 2nd: "Paid to Persons engaged in the recovery of the bodies drowned at Water End and to John Massey for refreshments £3 17s 9d"

On February 16th of that year a man, his wife and two children were crossing the frozen ford with a horse and cart when the ice gave way; the man was saved but the woman and children were drowned. It was several days ere the bodies were recovered. Of the amount paid, 18s 5d was for refreshments supplied by Massey, landlord of the "Maypole." The vouchers are intact, these give the names of the men engaged on the rescue work as "Malbrow," Groom and Gower.

Furniture, Etc., For The Church

1847. Dec. 18th: "To the Hertford County Gaol for Matting £5 15s 0d"
1853. Mar. 24th: "John Maples bill for cover to font £1 1s 0d"
1857. "H. F. Harrison for 2 Communion Chairs £5 13s 0d"

The year 1859 saw the commencement of extensive repairs to the Church. On January 10th this entry was made:- "Churchwardens Expenses to London to sign Tenders for alterations to the Church 10-0"

Although Church Rates were still legal it had become increasingly difficult to collect them. The cost of these repairs and alterations were defrayed by subscription; entered against the year 1860 is a list of subscribers, of these the chief were:-

"Mr Gaussen £100, also for Pew and 2 windows in the Church £76 2s 4d"
"Balance £4 11s 3d"
"Mrs. Kemble £105 0s 0d".
"Mr. Lysley (of Mimwood) £100. Mr. Walker £100. Mr. Wheen (Potterels) £100. The font" (the present one) "given by Mr. John Daniel (of Frowick) £40.
"Lord Somers (to restore his Monument) £20 0s 0d"
"Sermon by the Bishop of Worcester £56 0s 0d"

This last item probably refers to the offertory taken at the re-opening service. Total amount expended: £1,186 18s 7d.

There was an amusing sequel to the re-opening; this is the record:- "On Friday Jan 13th 1860 the Archdeacon of St. Albans visited North Mymms Church to investigate Certain Complaints made by Mr Lysley on the subject of the allotment of pews. "Mr Lysley’s tenant at Mimwood Farm, Mr Milward Complained of his allotted pew being behind those occupied by Mrs Kembles and Mr Lysley’s servants - this complaint was sustained and a change made. "Churchwardens were warned to give precedence to resident occupiers and ratepayers over servants of private families when allotting pews."

The Church Shed

1882. "Repairs to Church Stable, Bates £3 19s 0d"

The building referred to is the shed adjacent to the open space in front of the churchyard. Used as a stable when worshippers came by means of horse and carriage, the ownership of this building has been the subject of much discussion and difference of opinion for many years, in fact the Easter Vestry of 1910 had a report before it, prepared by Mr. Wilson, a Churchwarden, which summarised, was to the effect the shed and the ground in front of it was parish property; he based his report on the opinions of "old inhabitants." But had the church deed boxes been searched, the following document would have been discovered, which places beyond doubt the ground was originally part of North Mymms Place estate.

Received on behalf of Col. Fulke-Grevilles owner of the North Mymms Estate the sum of five shillings "of the Surveyor of the Parish of North Mymms the amount of rent due for the Stable and Yard next the Church for 5 years to Lady Day 1851."

Prior to the building of Water End School about 1847 or soon after, the building now known as Church Cottages was the school and presumably the open ground in front would be the playground.

by H.M. Alderman

Chapter 6 - The Vestry Book
Index - North Mymms Church 140 Years of History
Foreword - Why H.M. Alderman wrote the book.

Editor's Note: The text has been left as it appeared in H.M Alderman's original work. For those too young to remember pounds, shillings and pence, the currency set out above as it was before we changed to a decimal system for currency in 1967. It works out as follows. £1 = 20 shillings (s) and 1 shilling = 12 pennies (d). So £1 10s 0d = £1.50 today and 1s = 5p.

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