The manor of Tyttenhanger was an early possession of St
Albans Abbey. It was here that the Abbots rested away from
the official duties in the Abbey.
Abbot Michel, 1336, a gentle and devout man, found it not
quiet enough, due to the proximity of the main road to London
and the important visitors traveling to and from St Albans.
The disturbance, to the otherwise quite retreat, was so
great that Abbot Michel pulled down the building and sold
the materials to pay for the relocation of the retreat to
the more remote manor of Bradway.
His successors were more amenable to visitors and John
de la Moot was involved in the construction of a new house
when he died in 1401. The mediaeval Tyttenhanger house was
completed 10 years later by his successors.
In 1528 Henry VIII visited the house to avoid the "sweating
sickness". Previously the king had always left some
of his entourage behind, sick of the plagues and illnesses
that he greatly feared. This constant changing of his location,
may have been to keep ahead of and escape the plagues himself.
However, this time there were no cases of sickness and it
was reported that he was greatly comforted.
After a decade of troubles, the Abbey was heavily in debt.
Then at the end of 1539, Thomas Pope was among the party
that approached St Albans Abbey to receive its surrender.
Later, in 1547, it was granted to him as Henry VIII was
dying. Thomas Pope died without heir in 1559, during another
epidemic at his house in Clerkenwell. His third wife survived
him and lived at Tyttenhanger until 1593 when she also passed
away. She had one child by a previous marriage, but he had
died in 1591, so the house passed to her brother's son,
Thomas Pope Blount, who was knighted by James I at his accession
Thomas Blount's elder son succeeded him in 1639, and died
a bachelor 15 years later, so the House then became the
possession of the younger son, Sir Henry Blount. Sir Henry
had become famous due to his travels, and had been knighted
in 1640. When he acquired the property he retired from his
travels and the house was still mediaeval in character,
dating from the time it had passed from the Abbey at the
Dissolution of the Monasteries. Sir Henry had visited Italy
more than once, and felt that the character of the place
was not unsympathetic to such a traveler. He therefore pulled
down the exising house and built the present one.
The Hertfordshire county historian records with certainty,
that the mediaeval house was demolished in 1654 and the
current house was erected. But he then goes on to state
that the new house was built "from designs furnished
by Inigo Jones". Unfortunately Inigo Jones had just
died (15 July 1573 - 21 June 1652) at the age of 78, a couple
of years earlier and the plans and elevations are not typical
of the known work by Inigo Jones. However some of the internal
features may have been copied from designs by Inigo Jones.
Tyttenhanger is one of 3 houses that are quite similar,
however only 2 have survived to the present day.
Externally the best features are the rubbed brickwork around
the doors and windows. However although the construction
of the house probably dates from 1654, this type of detailing
would be typical of a later period.
In 1973 the practice moved out of London to Tyttenhanger
and the current John S Bonnington Partnership was formed
in 1974, from the earlier Sir Basil Spence, Bonnington and