Old Manor House, Aldbury (Hertfordshire)

Despite its current name, the Old Manor House in Aldbury never was a manor house in the strict, legal sense of the term. Nonetheless, it is a handsome enough building, dating from the Tudor period. It was constructed around 1500 and presumably belonged to the demesne of Aldbury manor. Most likely it was built either for the Russell family, who were its tenants from 1495 onwards, or for Henry Winch, who held the lease of the manor at the time. A substantial extension was added on the north side in the mid-seventeenth century, resulting in an L-shaped floor plan. This was done by one Bennet Winch, whose initials appear on one of the chimneys, before 1663.

The eastern facade, overlooking the street and the still extant village pond, is determined by a simple timber frame structure with red brick infill. On two bays of the northern extension, however, the infills are plastered; with their ‘striped’ black and white look they stand out from the rest of the brick-dominated front, giving a certain pleasing irregularity to the building’s appearance. All in all, the impression is a rather picturesque one, and I must admit, the Old Manor House in Aldbury seems to me a perfect example of the kind of quintessentially English village architecture one is wont to see on Midsomer Murders. And sure enough, while I was researching the building’s history, I learned that it has indeed been featured in said TV show, and even quite early on, in the second episode of the series. I think it’s a nice coincidence that it has now also become the subject of the second post on this blog…


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