The original church of Long Marston was to the west of the village, at the end of chapel lane and was pulled down except for it’s embattled tower, in 1883. The church probably dates back to the twelfth century but when it was pulled down the oldest remaining part was from the 14th, century consisting of a Nave, Chancel, south porch and west Tower.
When Originally built the church had a high-pitched roof but this was changed during repairs in the 16th century to a flat pitched one when also the final stage of the tower was built. The tower housed three bells. In 1881 architects recommended that the site should be abandoned, as the church was in a dangerous state due to use of unseasoned oak in the roof and saturation of the foundations by water from lack of gutters and the mote on the northern side.
The present church was built on the north side of the village at a cost of £4000, on land given by the then lord of the manor, Lord Rothschild and the new building was built of stone in a Gothic style, using parts of the old church, including in the north aisle, fifteenth-century piscine and two fourteenth-century windows. The clustered columns, high molded bases and organ came from Tring Church. The Victorians replaced the columns at Tring church as they considered that they were not strong enough.
The new church was consecrated in 1883 but was left unfinished until 1888 due to lack of funds. A church tower on the west side of the church was planed but not built.
In 1898 Lord Rothschild gave to the parish the new cemetery.
In 1906 the church became dangerous due to foundations and the roof giving way, and was closed for two years for repairs.
Puttenham Church (St. Mary)
The church is to the north of the road and dates from at least 1300. The present building is in early Tudor style and consists of a nave, chancel, porch and north and south aisles. The aisles were built on to the earlier stone structure towards the end of the 14th century and the present porch was built in 1889. The chancel was re built in 1851 and is externally faced with flint. The upper tower and porch were re built, the south aisle roof renewed and a new floor laid down in the chancel in 1889. In 1911 The tower and parts of the church were shored up due to settlement and cracks. Between 1952 and 1963 the church was badly neglected. In 1962 lead from the north aisle roof was stolen. The south aisle suffered the same fate in 1972 and the north aisle again in 1979 when the thieves were interrupted and abandoned the lead and their stolen lorry.
The Long Marston Vicarage
In 1868 the vicar resided in what is now known as Cymric House but in 1871 the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church Oxford gave 2½ acres for a new rectory. Work commenced in 1882 and it was finished in 1883 at a cost of £2400. It consisted of 5 bedrooms, drawing room, dinning room Study, Kitchen, scullery up and down stairs WC and Bathroom. Outside there were stables and a garage. A May pole was erected in the grounds at some time, as its presence was reported in a Bucks Herald of 1888. The Vicarage was sold in 1971 and demolished to build the 17 houses of Church View. A new house was purchased for the Vicarage at the Wilstone end of Watery Lane in the same year, which was enlarged and blessed in 1974.
The Puttenham Rectory
The old rectory was re-built in 1689 by the then rector Edward Sculthorpe It was enlarged by two rooms in 1894 and at that time the grounds extended to 194 acres. The rectory was sold when the Long Marston and Puttenham parishes were combined in 1911 and it still stands as a private house.
The Long Marston Parish was formed in 1867 from separate civil and ecclesiastical parishes of Tring Herts and Drayten Beauchamp and Marsworth Bucks. Wilstone was added to form civil parish of Tring Rural in 1894.
The parishes of Long Marston and Puttenham were united in 1911.
Tiscot had a chapel that was pulled down in 1661. Until 1748 the hamlets of Tiscot, Betlow and Aldwick were in the parish of Marsworth.
Land Belonging To Bucks
As late as 1888 parts of Long Marston and Puttenham belonged to Bucks. The respective areas are shown on the LMPAGD map. Fields 116, 121, 53, 50, 49, 48, 47, 46, 43, 42, 41, 41a, 30 and 29m belonged to Drayton Beachom and fields 137, 147, 148, 149, 150 and ground (Loxley Farm) to north east of field 145 belonged to Marsworth.
These areas became part of Hertfordshire as a result of the Local Government Bill of 1888. This far-reaching Bill was introduced by the Conservatives to reformed Local Government. The aim of the bill was decentralisation of government, greater representation and to infuse a spirit of municipal life into rural populations. Each county was to be divided into electoral districts and voters would elect members of the council. Where towns or urban districts are situated in two or more counties these were to be included in the county in which the majority of the population is found. Not surprisingly there were worries that the new system would be more expensive and no more effective than the old that had been administered by country gentleman.
The Ancient Chapelry of All Saints Long Marston, Tring
By Cyril Chandler, Tring
The manor of Long Marston (Merschtone) consisted of half a knights fee and was held of the honour of Berkhampstead. In 1428 it is said to be held of the honour of Leicester and in the seventeenth century of the manor of Tring. In the thirteenth century Alice daughter of Adam Bassett and relict of Thomas de Merston granted land in Merston to Euphemin, widow of John Bassett, and on of the witnesses of this conveyance was Ralph lord of Merston. In 1337 the manor was granted by John de Merschtone of Tring to John Bisschop of Luton, Chaplin, and John Germayn, rector of Drayton. Robert Stratford, parson, granted the manor the Christian Bardolfe for life in 1370, with remainder to Sir Roger de Puttenham and Margery his wife. From this point it follows the descent of Puttenham manor until 1628, when Thomas Saunders sold it to Sir Arthur Wilmot of Wilde or Wield, in Hampshire. Sir Arthur died without issue, and was succeeded by his nephew Charles Wilmot, first Viscount Wilmot of Athlone, from whom it appears to have gone to his son Henry, afterwards earl of Rochester. It subsequently passed to Thomas Bromley from whom it descended to his son Nathaniel. On his death Nathaniel left the manor to his widow for life, and after her death to a trustee to distribute the rent to necessitous ministers in the country. Mrs. Bromley died about 1729 and the trustee under the will of Mr. Bromley in 1745 being advanced in years, made application to convey the trust to others for the same purpose. This was done and the produce of the estate has since been distributed according to the will above mentioned.
The old chapel, dedicated to All Saints, which had in all probability stood for some seven hundred years or more, a number of fragments of this chiefly 12th century date are built into a recess at the north end of the present Church, was a small building in the Decorative style with an aisless nave and chancel, a wooden south porch with the first three letters of a date 179_ and a west tower.
The building which dated in part from the 12th century and was taken down 1882-1883 with the exception of the tower which is late 15th century strongly built of flints and large square blocks of stone.
It is embattled and the upper portion has been restored in brickwork. It is about 40ft high and about 15ft square and has a buttress at three of its angles to a height of about 25 feet. At two feet from the ground is a stone plinth on each side and a string course level with the top of the buttresses.
In the west wall of the tower is a large stone window of three lights with Gothic tracery. Up to a few years back this was in a very fair condition. It had three cinquefoil lights and small single lights with uncusped four centre heads.
The head of the east window consists of a brick segmental arch, probably replacing a stone head and done at the same time as the battlements.
Below the south window is a small square headed light, the tower arch was blocked in and a door provided at the time the chapel was pulled down 1882-1883.
A stone with two incised sundials is built into the north jamb of the tower arch, and must have been from the south wall of the chapel.
From the Church Bells of Hertfordshire by Thomas North 1886 Marston Long All Saints:
1 Bell (diameter 17 inches)
In 1552 the ancient church here possed:-
Imprimus iii Small Bells in the Steple:
Itm a handbell
That ancient church is now (1882) being demolished all but the tower, in which is still the old bell frame for the above three bells, which tradition asserts were many years ago taken to other churches.
Again according to the Edwardian Inventory taken in 1552, this church possessed “three small belles in the steple”.
Chauncy says; “In this hamlet is a church of fair chappell”, and in the list of parochial charities it is stated that a benefactor “gave twenty nobles to the chapelwardens”, the interest of which is given to the poor.
The Old Church Long Marston (H.A.N. and QS) May 1900.
Pridmore gives a view of this church from the south east. It shows a rather low chancel with east and south windows much “churchwardened”. The nave shows a traceried two-lighted decorated window in the south wall near the east end, and a little to the west, but above the level of the head of it a square headed two light traceried window.
The wooden porch has displayed upon it the first three figures of a date 179_. The western tower and walls of nave were much patched with brickwork. H.R. WILTON HALL (A description from the Hertfordshire Mercury of May 5th 1906).
Coming back to the old Chapel we read (inta alia) “that it was plain in the interior and somewhat dark, owing to the small size of the windows. There is an ancient pulpit of carved oak and a font and the remains of a carved oak screen. The walls in some places have vestiges of rude drawings, one of which is supposed to represent St. Christopher. The timber roof is flat and the seats very rude and massive in there construction. (A C.C. Tradition has it that this roof was a fine piece of work). There is a curious relic in the wall of the chancel with small graduated shelves of a peculiar appearance and the whole church has an air of dim antiquity”.
The old Jacobian pulpit and the font were placed in the new church and the old relic before mentioned was fixed in the north aisle.
1872 It contains an organ. It also contains 2 piscina and some remains of a second alter. Some features from the old Chapel were built into the new church. In the south wall of the chancel is set a 14th century piscina with a stone shelf and moulded trefoiled arch, and in the north wall a 13th century recess with a pointed arch, with a line of dog-tooth on it. The south doorway has a plain 14th century arch and moulded label. On the jambs are two incised crosses. In the north aisle are a 15th century piscina with trefoiled head and stone shelf. The recess (containing the 12th century fragments before mentioned) has a head formed of a drop Gothic arch of two orders of 14th century date said to have been part of the chancel arch of the old chapel. A plain door west of the recess perhaps of 14th century.
A window of two lancet lights, of which only one head and the cills are original, C.1230 a round headed recess with small engaged shafts, of late12th century date, the head having a roll moulding between two lines of dog-tooth and the shaft, small scalloped capitols and square abaci. A square piscina drain is set on the cill of this recess. Two good 14th century windows each of two trefoiled lights, with a flowing quarter foil in the head. In the east jamb of one window is a square headed recess. In the West wall is a window of the same description only a small piece of the tracery being old. At the east end of the aisle is a screen part of 15th century date. In the two eastern bays of the roof are pairs of curved wind braces with feathered ousprings (of 15th century).
The alter, some old alter rails (at entrance to the choir) a very old chalice and two pewter alms dishes were taken to the New Church.
An old notice board containing a list of some charities is fixed over the south door of the present church.
The Old screen before mentioned is fixed at the east end of the north aisle.
The Chapelry of Long Marston consisted of the area north of the brook at Gubblegutt to the Landale brook, and was a hamlet in the ancient parish of Tring.
A question arose in 1636 as to whether the inhabitants of Long Marston were bound to contribute to the repair of Tring Church. It was proved that Long Marston was a hamlet of Tring, and that therefore they were so bound.
Entry under Chapel accounts paid, is December 27th 1833 a cloth pall £1-13s-6d.
The first burial in the old Chapel yard was in 1832.
On January 23rd 1833 a Vetry Meeting was held in the old Church to take into consideration certain repairs to the Chapelyard incurred by making it a burying ground. These repairs had been carried out a few months earlier, and the first burial was of an infant in November 1832. This burial begins the Long Marston burial registers, and opposite this first burial is a note by Mr. Lacey Vicar of Tring saying: “N.B. – The Chapel yard at Long Marston was not used as a burial ground till the time of the commencement of this register.” Curiously enough this first burial was followed during the next six months by the burial of seven more infants and no adults.
The first adult was buried here on October 27th 1833. There was another funeral Anne Rodwell aged 76 on All Saints Day, November 2nd 1833.
Until this time Long Marston were buried in Tring Churchyard, and their names are in Tring Registers. A further date of interest is May 1866 when the last burial in the old Churchyard took place. It was the burial of Joseph Gregory aged 14 years, so that burials in the Old Churchyard lasted only 34 years, i.e. from 1832 to 1866. The next burial was in the new Churchyard.
A few more dates and figures which may be of interest.
The register dates from the year 1820.
The first Sunday School anniversary was held in 1835.
Long Marston was formed into an ecclesiastical parish November 19th 1867 from the civil parishes of Tring, Hertfordshire, Drayton Beauchamp and Marsworth, Buckinghamshire.
In 1882 the architects declared the old chapel to be unsafe, and it was decided to build a new church.
From an old record written by the Rev. W.C. Masters “Edward Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler Was Married April 27th 1882″.
Only the contracting parties were allowed in the church.
The foundation stone of the new church (consisting of a stone from the old church) incised 1882-1883 was laid at the base of the north east buttress in August 1882.
July 31st 1883 the new church was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of St. Albans. The vicar at that time was the Rev. W.C. Masters.
At the west end of the chancel is a beam with arched braces (of the 15th century) and open tracerized spandrels, the carved heads forming the corbels representing Moses and Elias. Tradition has it that this came from Weston Turville.
The organ which was purchased from the parent church at Tring and until 1882 was fixed in the tower of the chapel and was sold to Long Marston for £50 is still serving its purpose in the new church.
1885 the Rev. H.M. Rowdon vicar.
In 1906 the building was in danger of collapse and was shored up with wooden shores, large cracks has appeared in all parts of the building, parts of the tracery in the east window were falling out.
In 1907 it was underpinned to a depth of nine feet, six new buttresses built, and the east end, in which there were cracks 3 inches wide, taken down and completely rebuilt and wooden tie beams placed in side to secure the roof.
The new west porch and vestry were built to the memory of Job Gregory 1908.
The tiles in the sacrarium were the offering of the Rev. H.M. Rowdon, minor canon of Lichfield Cathedral, and of Mrs. Rowdon late of Norcott Court. In the centre in the front of the alter, is a very fine memorial tile. In memory of George Augustus Telwyne, first Bishop of New Zealand, ninetieth Bishop of Lichfield.
At the dedication of these tiles Mrs. Rowdon sang the solo, “Christ is our corner stone”.