Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire



as described in 1931





Continuing southward from Barley on the same highway is Barkway, a place of some size, high on the chalk. It was of importance in Saxon times, and boasted of a weekly market as far back as Henry IlI's reign, but this and the annual fair have long since ceased to be held. The place was devastated by fire towards the close of the sixteenth century. The long village street presents a perfect medley of cottage architecture ­ quaint buildings, many of them having thatched roofs. Those appearing in foreground of the sketch with coved cornice to centre part are dated 1687. In another part of the main street stands a large milestone about 6ft. in height; of this and others similar to it between Barkway and Cambridge there is interesting history. In 1586 a Dr. Mouse and Robert Hare, of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, left a sum of 1,600 the income from which (in 1725) enabled these stones to be erected. The crescent which appears on them is Trinity Hall badge.

Cottages in Barkway, Hertfordshire, by Alderman

The Perpendicular church, built of stone and flint, lies a little to the west from the main street. The west tower contains a "ring" of 8 bells, all cast by John Briant, of Hertford, in 1797. There are several memorials of interest. Cussans, in his "History of Hertfordshire," published in 1879-81, in a foot-note under Aldenham, makes a very interesting reference to Barkway Church: "It is in the recollection of young men how under the chancel arch of Barkway Church there was a pew extending from pier to pier, like the room over Temple Bar. There was a cosy fireplace in it, as there is still in the manor pew of Hexton. On either side were common sash frames to let up or down at pleasure. If the party within chose to do so, they might open the window and hear the drowsy service; if they were conversationally disposed, they might close the windows, pull down the blinds, roast chestnuts at the fire, smoke their pipes, and talk as much as they pleased."

The area of Barkway is 5,211 acres - a large parish.

A Pilgrimage in Hertfordshire, 1931