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Find Places, Architects & Themes

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

Volume 4 Religous houses of Herts 1971

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.

Andrew


10 Comments

  1. Webmaster says:

    stclements church website is now:- stclement-turnford.hol.es

  2. zoothorn says:

    Thanks, I have updated the page for St Clement’s

  3. Anthony Fensome says:

    Hello Andrew, This is a lovely website, full of interesting buildings. I would like to correct one entry, namely the architect for Harpenden, St John. The original Architect was Frederick Charles Eden (1864-1944) with the 1999 reordering undertaken by Martin Bragg Caroe (1933-1999) in 1999, not ‘Eden J Hodgson’ as noted in the entry. – Anthony ‘

    • zoothorn says:

      Thank you for commenting. The name I have used is from the Buildings of England, “Pevsner” for Hertfordshire which took it from Goodhart-Rendall’s index at RIBA and I must admit I had never heard of Hodgson, Eden is a familiar name.

  4. Kathy Contaris says:

    About 30 years ago I found an old photograph album in an antique shop in Northwood. The photos were mainly of two small boys, a lady I’d assume is their grandmother and others living or working in a grand house, probably at the turn of the century and seem to have been taken by a member of the family whose hobby was photography. The photos are amazing – really clear and I feel as though I am looking into the life of a loving and happy family in a bygone world. I’ve often wondered who the people are and how I could find their descendants, as I’d very much like to return the book to its rightful owners. I have noticed that in one photograph a church tower can be seen and having found your site I wonder if you may be prepared to take a look, as with your knowledge you may recognise it, or the house. I could email you some photos, if you would like to see them.
    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Kathy

  5. totham1821 says:

    Your website is a great achievement and a wonderful resource that I look forward to using over the coming years.
    Regarding Harpenden St John, Pevsner was almost right (just one character out): the architects were Eden & Hodgson, i.e. F. C. Eden in partnership with Victor Tylston Hodgson. See http://www.churchplansonline.org.
    James Bettley

  6. Hello Andrew
    I’ve only recently discovered your wonderful website; it’s a fantastic resource that I know I’ll be using frequently. Your table of locked/open churches is particularly useful – so far it’s been 100% accurate. I too have been trying to visit Hertfordshire churches – I started looking systematically in 1989, and I’m still far from done! (I stick to Anglican churches too, so my task is much smaller than yours.)

    You might like to have a look at my recently started blog, icknieldindagations.blogspot.co.uk, in which I write about Herts churches (among other things). Yesterday, encouraged by your website, I visited North Mymms; well worth the journey.

    Best wishes

    David

  7. Hi, Please note that Christ Church URC, Buntingford now has a new website: http://www.buntingfordurc.org.uk/
    Also please note that the page on your site for Christ Church (https://hertfordshirechurches.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/chist-church-united-reformed-church-buntingford/) has a typo in the url ‘chist-church’ not ‘christ-church’. Thanks, Peter (Secretary)

  8. Please note that Zion Baptist Church has changed its name to Waterside Baptist Church and the website is now http://www.watersidebaptistchurch.org
    Thanks,
    Paul, Secretary

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