Historic Buildings

There are many historic buildings in the Hartfield and District area other than the churches, schools and locations covered by other headings. Early original pictures and, hopefully, up to date comparison pictures will provide a time line of the passing years. The site will start with early original pictures that are generally available and, where possible the modern picture may be added. Several of these properties have important histories and many have illustrious occupants

Bolebroke or sometimes Bolebrook Castle


These two early pictures show Bolebroke or Bolebrook Castle with its magnificent Gatehouse in a very decrepit state. The main building can be seen to the right and behind the stable building with a substantial set of chimneys. In the first picture the building looks very much unused just one side of a farmyard whereas there are two figures standing by the entrance in the second



CP-Bolebroke reduced 001

This splendid picture has been provided more recently by Carolyn Proud. She tells me the postcard was posted in 1925 which doubtless provides an excellent guide to the age of the photo. Note that all the adjoining and farm buildings have entirely disappeared leaving the gatehouse in the somewhat isolated position it is today! The two towers have even gained weathervanes.

The picture below is a more recent picture taken from across the lake in front of the main building.



The Lychgate and Lychgate Cottage.

At the entrance to St Mary’s Church at the top of Church Street, is The Lychgate and Lychgate Cottage, another medieval building which was by tradition occupied by the Parish Clerk or Verger  A ‘lychgate’ was a covered space or passage which would allow the pall-bearers to pause out of the rain to allow the mourners to settle down in the Church. In the Hartfield case the area above the passage is a bedroom.

The date 1520 is shown on the building but it is considered that it may be as early as 1475. The lean-to extension was added in 1875


And some recent pictures. Note the ground floor window has been enlarged and the post in the centre of the passage has been removed.



Lychgate-passage-through-P1090874 Lychgate-towards-school-P1090875

Below you can see how the cottage bedroom rests on the lychgate.

P1110196-Lychgate-showing-bedroom  P1110197-Lychgate-1

If you look up as you pass through the lychgate you will see the inscription below which says:



19 Comments on “Historic Buildings

  1. Extremely interesting;one of my 5x great grandmothers (Mary Hudson) was baptized at St Mary parish church in 1731 and was married in the selfsame church to Samuel Richardson in 1749.
    I myself lived for 7 years in the late 1990s in Forest Row.

  2. I’m very interested in Newton Cottage, Hartfield which I believe still exists? My great great grandfather was Samuel Newton, and I believe his parents were John & Jane (nee Kenward) Newton. They lived in Newton Cottage in 1841 census. I’ve found it almost impossible to trace Samuel’s parents for certain, and any help would be most appreciated.

  3. Hello, I wonder if anyone knows anything about Hartfield House; Hartfield?
    On the 1939 Register my 2nd cousin was living there – his wife wasn’t! His occupation was listed as Shipping Department Manager. Seems to be mainly other chaps living there with occupations such as Buyer; Electrical Buyer; Junior Clerk General, etc – so was it lodgings for a large company or store?
    Do hope someone knows!
    Many thanks.

    • Hello Shirley, Hartfield House is now and has been for a long time called St Mary’s. It is the house immediately before the Lychgate at the top of Church Street. I believe it was also called – or perhaps known as – Church House for some period. I have heard it said that it is in fact a very old dwelling, despite not being obviously a Hall House like those in the High Street. It has for many years been used as a ‘Retreat House’ owned by Rose Moore. I will see if we can collect some more information regarding its earlier use in business.
      I have added this enquiry to the Parcell’s Postings page with a response from him although it still needs more input from anyone who knows more about it!

      • Hello,just updating my family tree and wondered if you had found out any more on the use of Hartfield House in 1939?
        Kind regards.

  4. My husbands 5 x grandfather was Church Warden at St Marys and his name was Fortunatus Slater born 1762, then followed by his 3 times g grandfather George Jenner he was born Church Gates Cottage in 1817, who took over the role. George was a local carpenter who also restored the school and St Marys Church in 1864. The architect was Charles Parsons. George wrote a rather long and very descriptive recollection of life in the village during his lifetime, all in pencil.My husbands ancestry is based in Hartfield and tells a long story.

    • Thank you for contacting us. Are you still in the area? Rather a long time ago now the George Jenner story was included in two issues of ‘Hartfield Times’ and I have been thinking about re-printing it for the website. There are two reminiscences on the site at the moment, the Butler family and Mrs Hooker. In order to make these wonderful stories more readable to the modern digital orientated reader, I tend to split them up with headings and any photos or diagrams etc.but not change the text of course. It strikes me that a picture of the original pencil document would be a great addition to the story – does it still exist? You can send me an email using the info@hartfieldhistorygroup.org.uk address and perhaps we can meet.

  5. From reading an earlier comment, South Hartfield House is actually called St.Mary’s or Church House?

    At what time did this transition occur officially? I have been trying to track down census and electoral records of a relative who may have worked there in 1922 with no success. Perhaps I’ve been searching the wrong name of the abode.

    Many thanks for any assistance in this matter.

    • Hello Nic. I have added your enquiry to Parcell’s Postings but I have also received some information from Rose who has lived in the house she knows as St Mary’s for many years. Although not answering your particular query she has found some information about the house from a Community that used it as their first ‘guest house’ for the Community outside its own premises. From this information I understand that from 1917 the house was rented as a House of Prayer and Quiet with Sister Stella in charge. The work prospered and 10 years later it was moved to larger premises at Mayfield. So we have a small piece of the history of the house and it would appear that the House was a Retreat House until 1927.

      Finally,I am sure that it was never called South Hartfield House because that is the name of an entirely different house which is close to the Hatch Inn in Colemans Hatch. Mike Parcell has already commented on the wartime use of the house so perhaps we will build more of the story as time goes on.

      • I had a read of Parcell’s posting and definitely I believe I have the right name initially, South Hartfield House.
        I’ll do some more digging and see if I can come up with the owner a the time, perhaps that will help the woman who enquired about it previously.
        Thank you!

  6. Hi,
    I have just had the pleasure of visiting hartfield, and loved the place. My reason for visiting was to make a trip to st Mary’s church, to see the family grave, no. 33, The Atherfold’s. My family George Atherfold, was a millar in at Bolebroke mill circa 1780. The mill is still there and I managed to have a look around the outside. I wondered whether you had any other information about the Hartfield Atherfold’s? I would be most interested in hearing about it. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your note. I have added it to Parcell’s Postings to see if we can get more detail of the Atherfolds. I live close to Bolebroke Mill which as I am sure you know is actually made up of two mills, the early one which would have had a conventional wheel driven by the stream and a later mill built at the time the mill pond was constructed to supply water to an ‘overshot’ wheel providing much more power for grinding. Although the overshot wheel has been removed there is much of the original machinery still in place inside the building. David Cooper is the owner.

  7. When you look at the only shop in Hartfield then look to the right there is a house alongside, I knew the lady who lived there, I was told before it was turned into a living accommodation it was the old pump house, I have been reading information about the village but nothing seems to be said about the pump house .

    • The Pump House is opposite the Anchor Pub in Church street and belonged to the De La Warr family. My cousin lived there for a time (not sure of the dates). Her name was Jane Sharman (nee Chesson).

      The people who lived there during WW2 were Mr and Mrs Hudson.

  8. Fascinating to see those early pictures of the Gatehouse at Bolebrook. I grew up at the Gatehouse with my family who originally bought the property (I think in the early 60’s) in a derelict state and transformed it into the family home that it has become today. We lived there until the early 80’s when we moved up the road to Tye House.

  9. Very interesting site. I am a Kiwi and have been living in Canada now 59 years. My gr. Grandmother snd her sister emigrated to N.Z. from Hartfield in 1860. I was so happy to visit Hartfield to see where she came from. Her name was Harriet Buckman, and I found a Buckman relative living in Hartfield.. i enjoyed your beautiful village and my visit to St Mary’s Church where Harriet was baptized.

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