A brief history of the Parish of Great Munden

The Parish of Great Munden is one of the smallest parishes in East Hertfordshire, although it covers a very large land area. It has always been sparsely populated comprising the four hamlets of Great Munden, Levens Green, Nasty and Rush Green, as well as several isolated farms. There are a total of 36 listed buildings in the Parish including many old cottages nestling in the hamlets and some old and interesting farmsteads and barns.

The Parish Church of St Nicholas stands on high ground and is built of flint rubble with stone dressings. The nave and chancel of of the 12th century and the South Aisle was added around 1350. Towards the end of the 15th century the West Tower was built and soon after the chancel arch was widened. In the 19th century the South Porch was built.

Four homestead moats are historically recorded in the Parish, namely at Mill Farm, Rush Green, the Old Parsonage and at Brockholds Farm. The moat at the Old Parsonage enclosed a small house of that name and recently parts of the original moat have been restored. Some rights of way pass by this location and it is in an extremely tranquil and inspiring setting.

Many of the listed cottages in the hamlets are between 300 and 500 hundred years old, many thatched and, although renovated, are still extremely attractive. There are some very old listed farmhouses dating from around the 17th century. In the hamlet of Nasty is the 17th century flintstone forge with the pudding stone once used as a mounting block still in-situ and an old chapel, both now converted into living accommodation.

Libury Hall was erected in 1902 to provide accommodation for German speaking unemployed and destitute men. It was surrounded by Libury Farm and Libury Hall Fruit Farm. It was erected on the site of an old deserted village and later became a residential home. Its full history can be found in a booklet “Libury Hall Past and Present -1900-2000 – Residential Care Home”.

It is interesting that most of the countryside within the Parish has remained very much unchanged for many years apart from the removal of some field boundary hedgerows and trees in the 1950s. This was Government Policy at the time, but now fortunately, people are being encouraged and rewarded to reinstate hedgerows, plant more trees and restore wildlife corridors. Unfortunately, all of the orchards on Libury Hall Fruit Farm were also removed under a slightly later agricultural policy of the time. However, the Parish still has many small wooded areas, copses, ditches and ponds remaining and the hedge lined byways and roads follow the same winding routes as recorded on the ancient maps available to peruse in the County Archives.