Ashwell Church, Hertfordshire

Ashwell Church is a superb example of 14th Century “Early English” church architecture. The Tower, which Sir John Betjeman mentions in glowing terms, was first built up to the crenellations which are now around halfway up it. The top half of the tower was added after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and the archetypical Hertfordshire ‘spike’ was added sometime between then and 1562. The Tower is now the tallest in Hertfordshire at 176 feet.

The vast majority of the church was finished in the 15th Century and it is one of the finest in the county with surprisingly little Victorian renovation having occurred.

St. Mary’s is famous for its medieval graffiti which can be found all over the church, but the best and fruitest can be found around the base of the Tower inside including such gems as “Barbara is a regular young vixen”, “The Archdeacon is an ass” and an early architectural critic who says “The corners are not jointed correctly. I spit on them”.

Ashwell is a fine village and is one of those little hidden gems that one stumbles across in this part of England.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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