Details taken from
East Herts Archaeological Society Transactions Vol 9 Part 1 1934
In the church are a number of monuments to the Nodes family, who formerly lived at Shephalbury, the oldest being two brass inscriptions fixed to the walls below the sills of the north and south windows of the chancel to George Nodes and Margaret his wife. That of George Nodes is on the north wall. It is much cracked and broken. The inscription reads :
Here lyeth the body of George Nodes Gentylma Sargeante of ye bockehoundes to Kyng Henry viijth, Edward ye vjth Quene Mary and to Quene Elyzabeth which Dyed the xvij daye of May ano 1564 and Margaret his wyff dyed the -- daye of -- ano 15 --
The rest of the inscription which contained the invocatory words has been cut away.
The inscription to Margaret Nodes is placed on the south wall of the chancel. It reads :
Here under lyeth the bodye of Margaret Noodes ye wyfe of Gorge Noodes late of Shephall berey Sargyaunt of ye Bucke Houndes unto Kinge Henry Kinge Edward Quene Mary & Quene Elizabeth, which Margaret deceassed the vjtth daye of January in the yeare of our Lord God 1582.
It is amusing to note that this memorial need not have been erected, as space had been provided on her husband's brass for inserting the date of her death.
All that is known about the ancestry of George Nodes is that he came of an Essex family, his father being William Nodes of Barking. He spent the greater part of his life in the royal service. In September, 1524, he became a Yeoman of the Guard, at the salary of 6d. a day, taking the place vacated by William Heywode. Henceforward his name appears regularly among the royal servants in the King's book of payments. In 1526 he was classed among the Valets of the Crown at the same salary. By 1529 he had advanced to the post of Sergeant of the Buckhounds, a post he held for the rest of his life with wages and board‑wages of 15d. a day.
In addition, four years later on 4th July, 1533, he was given the keepership of Okeley Park, Gloucestershire, with a fee of 40s. a year which carried with it all the profits arising out of Berkeley manor and lordship, as had been enjoyed by the late Sir Antony Poyntz.
In 1539 on the dissolution of St. Albans Abbey, all the monastic property came into the hands of the Crown ; and thereafter Shephall manor ,vas occupied and farmed by George Nodes for a time, but in 1542 for the sum of £197 14s. 8d. the King granted him the manor together with its lands in Shephall, Aston, and Stevenage, together with a pension of 5s. out of Shephall rectory and 13s. out of Letchworth rectory both of which had been the property of St. Albans.
In 1544 in the muster of the army for the invasion of France which resulted in the capture of Boulogne is the entry‑" George Nodes and his two servants‑bills ".
George Nodes married Margaret, daughter of John Grimston of Oxborough, Norfolk, but there was no issue of the marriage and in 1564 he obtained licence to grant Shephall manor to his nephew Charles Nodes. On 17th May that year he died, leaving two natural daughters, Jane Kimpton and Joan Chapman, and the next day was buried at Shephall Church.
His will, made on 31st March 1564, leaves 10s. to Shephall church, and 6s. 8d. to the poor of each of the parishes of Shephall, Benington, Knebworth, Aston, Datchworth and Codicote. Each (natural) daughter Jane Kimpton and Joan Chapman - is to receive £10. William Nodes of Stevenage gets 20s. and Edmund Nodes 10s. Other relatives are Thomas Grimston, my brother 20s., George and William my eldest brother 's sons, 40s. each; and William and Francis Nodes, my youngest brother's sons, 40s. and 20s. respectively. Friends, namely Simonde Browne of Shephall, Croxton of Benington, Robert Kimpton, William Benn, Homer Borne (Humberstone) of Wanckhorne (Walkern) Park, Elizabeth Chapman, Edmund Dardes, William Oswell and Susan - receive mostly 6s. 8d. each. Cattle are left to others, namely a bullock to Richard Dardes, a ewe and lamb to William Mosse, two ewes and two lambs to John Bynckes and a ewe, each to Alice Whitbread, Alice Kimpton, Margaret Smithe, and Margarete Solles.
On 29th March, 1560, George Nodes had obtained a lease of Shephall manor and its lands from the Crown confirming his ownership for eighty years. He leaves the rest of this lease (i.e. for seventy‑six years) to his wife Margaret, for life, with reversion to his nephew Charles, the son of his brother John. It includes all the property except a tenement in Shephall with an acre of land called Sumpe, in the occupation of Lucy Hatton, widow. This he leaves to John Nodes of Shephall on his paying 4d. a year and the rent which the present occupier is paying. All his goods and chattels are left to his wife who is appointed sole executor. Rowland Lytton is to be overseer of the will, and the witnesses are R. Lytton. Thomas Grimston, Thomas Michell, and William Standsnoughte.
The will was produced for proof on 31st May, 1564, but the two natural daughters, Jane Kimpton and Joan Chapman, disputed it. Their objections, however, were overruled and sentence pronounced on 22nd November the same year. A further attempt to claim the manor from Charles Nodes was afterwards made by Jane Kimpton and Thomas Chapman the son of Joan, but the claim was not recognized and in 1571 Charles Nodes settled it upon himself and his brothers George and William in tail male.
Margaret Nodes survived her husband eighteen years and at her death the unexpired lease of Shephall Bury came to her nephew Charles.
There are marble mural tablets to other members of the Nodes family as follows. On the south wall of the chancel Jane Nodes, 1697, south wall of the nave, George, 1697 ; John, 1761 ; John 1748, and Elizabeth,
1731 on the north wall of the nave, George, 1713, and west wall of the north aisle Susan, 1695. On the floor of the nave are 2 stone slabs, one to John Nodes, gent., and Susannah, his wife, who died 20th May 1688, and the other to Georgius Nodes Armigr; ; died 7th April 1697, and his wife Elizabeth who died 2nd July, 1682 This has the arms of Nodes and Coppin above the inscription.