Bishops Stortford Things to Do

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    United Reformed Church

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    The site of this wonderful looking church has been religious since 1706 when a barn, here, was bought and converted into a Meeting House. This was then replaced in 1767 by a brick-built chapel. By 1858 the structure of the brick-built chapel was in urgent need of attention, but when repairs were estimated at £1,200 it was decided the money would be better spent on a completely new church. The old chapel was demolished in 1859 and in its place was built the church you see today, designed by WF Poulton in the Italianate style at a cost of £2,500. Named the Congregational church, it opened in 1860.

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    Former White Horse Inn

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    Currently a modern restaurant but once the White Horse Inn, this is, arguably, the finest building in North Street. The modern rendered exterior with pargetting decoration covers a timber and plaster framework thought to have been constructed around 1550, and its history can be traced back to 1572. An inn for more than 300 years it has since undergone much renovation and alteration, especially inside, but externally looks much as it did when built.

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    Boardmans

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    This magnificent double-fronted building, originally built as a private house, stands on the former site of the Falcon public house, itself demolished in the 1750s as a result of a local road-widening scheme. Boardmans took over the shop in 1982, but since the early 1800s the premises had been a chemists, first occupied by Speechley and Milbank and latterly by Kingswood's. Prominent above the shop’s entrance stands the original *White Hart emblem of the 1st Herts Light Horse regiment, especially made in 1862 for the regiment’s barracks at Silver Leys. It's also the symbol of the county of Hertfordshire.

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    The George Hotel

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    The George Hotel competes with Tissiman's in the High Street for the mantle of oldest building in Bishop’s Stortford – though much of what you see is 17th, 18th and 19th century modernisation. It is, however, the town’s oldest recorded inn and the third oldest in Hertfordshire. The original foundations were laid down at the end of the 14th century and first mention of the inn was in 1417 when one Thomas Petworth kept it. Ownership later transferred to the Hawkins family of the Manor of Piggotts at Thorley (See Thorley), who regularly held their manorial courts here in the 15th century. It remained in their ownership for 300 years. The four gables along the High Street were built in the 19th century. King Charles I is said to have dined here and King Charles II made it his stopping off point on his way from London to Newmarket. The hotel is often frequented by a ghost known as the 'Grey Lady'.

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    Tissiman's

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    Tissiman's the tailors is the oldest business in Bishop's Stortford. It is in fact, according to Family Business Magazine, the 26th oldest family business in the world and the third oldest family business in the UK. Legend has it that the firm was founded in 1601 by William Tissiman, a man of Swedish stock whose name in Swedish means 'fabric man'. Built around 1500 it is the town's earliest known timber-frame building, the first floor originally being jettied to the west and south above the pavement but subsequently cut back. The bow windows are thought to be early 19th century.

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    St Michael's Church

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    This church was built around 1400 on the site of an earlier 7th century Saxon church and 12th century Norman church. The last church was pulled down as it was in a poor state of repair. The current church was built in the Perpendicular Style of English Gothic – far less decorative and having many more windows than usual – and at 171 ft (52 metres) in length was much larger than most parish churches. The probable reason for this was that it was the central parish church serving a large area of east Hertfordshire and west Essex.

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    The Boar's Head Pub

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    Records first mention this inn in 1630 but it was certainly here in the 15th century – the west wing having been dated at around 1420. This being the case, it was very likely the original Church House for St Michael’s and first used for the brewing of Church ales – a fund-raising event whereby wardens begged or bought malt to produce beer, and then sold it to the public to raise funds. During the mid 17th century the diarist Samuel Pepys regularly passed through Bishop’s Stortford and is known to have stayed at the Reindeer Inn at Market Square. However, after a ‘falling out’ with the landlady, Betty Aynsworth, he later frequented the Boar’s Head and is recorded as having dined here on 26 May 1668.

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    St Joseph and the English Martyrs Church

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    This Roman Catholic Church was built in 1905. Renowned church architect, Doran Webb of Salisbury was hired to design the church and apparently visited Florence for his inspiration. He wanted it to blend in with its surroundings, as all small-town Italian churches do, and locals immediately dubbed the resulting Italian style church the ‘Italian Mission’. A church in San Miniato designed by Michelangelo inspired the interior, and for this Webb created a star-studded ceiling with scrolls around the arches. He also included a baldachin (a canopy over the pulpit).

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    The Old Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    The present three-storey building on this site was erected in the 17th century as a private residence called Windhill House, but has since undergone a great deal of alteration leaving very little of the original building intact. In the 18th century the timber and plaster walls were encased with bricks, and modernisation of the interior has left only the Jacobean staircase and plaster-work decoration on the dining room ceiling. The existing Georgian front was added in 1806 and one hundred years later the rear of the house was greatly extended to form the monastery.

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    The Chantry

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    Although called The Chantry, this 16th century rather too pink building replaced the original Chantry house which was built in the 15th century.

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    Guardians of the Union Workhouse

    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    This mock Tudor building was built in 1926 as headquarters for the Guardians of the Union Workhouse on the site of a former cottage and corn shop.

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Bishops Stortford Things to Do

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