Berkhamsted Church, Hertfordshire

St. Peter’s Church is the second oldest building in Berkhamsted (after the Castle) and dates to the early 13th Century. It is believed to have been founded in 1222 when the first Rector here, Robert de Tuardo, was installed by the Bishop of Lincoln. Little remains of the early church, although the basic layout is still very much in the Norman style with a crossing tower rather than a west one.

Inside are items dating from throughout the medieval period, a coffin top tomb believed to pre-date the church by around 20 years, a 14th Century stone tomb believed to be long to Henry of Berkhamsted and his wife, Henry was constable of Berkhamsted Castle for Edward, the Black Prince and various bits of stained glass and brass from the 14 and 1500s. The Lady Chapel is thought to be the only architectural remains from before the 19th Century.

The church building was almost entirely rebuilt during the 19th Century first by Jeffry Wyattville around 1820 when he was working on Ashridge House and then again around 1870 by William Butterfield – two of the pre-eminent architects of their time. Although both architects’ work on the church is sympathetic to the original design the feeling that you are left with is one of a Victorian gothic church far more than an ancient medieval one.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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