I’ve been photographing churches for several years, especially since my retirement in 2011. In December 2012 as I had a good number of photos of churches in the county it seemed a good idea to share them, especially as there seemed to be no comprehensive site for Hertfordshire’s churches. From a fairly casual state it has now grown into a systematic coverage of the county.
Rather than building a new website I decided to use the WordPress blogging software that seemed to offer a very quick and efficient way to build what is basically a reference directory, even though the software is designed to produce an online diary. Each page is built using a simple template into which text, pictures and links can easily be added. Using the category feature it is also easy to add some indexing for each church, enabling simple pages for a location or architect to be displayed at a click.
At first, I just included up to four representative pictures of the outside and if, if possible, the interiors. As time has progressed I have added more pictures for each church. Some of the original pages still exist but these will have extras added as I get round to going back through the collection or re-visit churches. The original descriptions were also very short and these are now a bit longer and all the pages will be brought up to the same standard.
From the start I wanted to link to the church’s own websites and the directories available for the Church of England and Roman Catholic church.Where applicable a link to information for buildings on the Statutory List of protected buildings is also included. For Roman Catholic churches there is a link to the excellent English Heritage sponsored “Taking Stock” site.
My other main source of information is the Hertfordshire volume of the Buildings of England. This is now quite old, the second edition having been published in 1977. Other information comes from church guides, local authority local lists, Victoria County History and the parish folders at Hertfordshire Libraries and Archives, County Hall, Hertford. For stained glass there is Robert Eberhard’s Church Stained Glass Windows site. A useful source for non Anglican/Roman Catholic churches is the out of print “An inventory of non-conformist chapels and meeting houses in Eastern England by Christopher Stell published by English Heritage in 2002.
Historical information comes from several sources:
Victoria History of Hertfordshire volumes 2-4, each of which covers a different area of the county, all are available online:
Volume 2 south and west Herts edited by William Page, 1908
Volume 3 north and east Herts edited by William Page, 1912
For Primitive Methodist chapels My Primitive Methodist Ancestors has provided useful information.
I am aware of two books on Hertfordshire churches published in relatively recent times and both out of print.
1. A Guide to Hertfordshire Parish Churches in Pictures by Christopher James Lunnon. Letchworth, Privately Published, 1987. B&W exterior pictures of all existing Anglican parish churches taken during 1986. No text apart from a brief introduction and the captions giving the names of the churches. A few captions are transposed. Available in Hertfordshire Libraries and Archives, County Hall, Hertford.
2. Hertfordshire Churches and other Places of Worship by Jeffrey W. Whitelaw. Harpenden. Oldcastle Books, 1990. There are 86 B&W photographs, some general introductory chapters and a gazetteer. It includes all religions and denominations but is noticeably less detailed about non-medieval and non-Anglican churches. There are some omissions. In my own collection and available in Hertfordshire Libraries and Archives, County Hall, Hertford.
For Non-conformist buildings a source is Christopher Sell’s “An inventory of Non-conformist Chapels and Meeting Houses in Eastern England”. English Heritage, 2002.