Buntingford, Hertfordshire

St. Richard's Church, Buntingford, Hertfordshire

Just as the finishing touches were being made to St. Peter’s Church – the Parish Church of Buntingford – the foundation stone was being laid for the Benson Memorial Church, the Catholic Church for the town. This was Spring 1914. In January the following year the Church, dedicated to St. Richard of Chichester, was opened for worship.

Large parts of the church were built using donations from an anonymous American lady – including the Lady Chapel of 1916, the porch in 1934 and the tower in 1939. This whole was consecrated in June 1940.

The tower contains a selection of interesting bits of stone inserted by Dr. E.C. Messenger, the parish priest of the time, including stones from St. John Lateran in Rome, stone from Colosseum in Rome, marble from the Roman Catacombs, stones from Athens and the Holy Land and a piece of wood from St. Albans Abbey.

The Buntingford Great Flood of 1968 got into the church and flood the presbytery to five feet.

It is odd that the younger Catholic Church is built to a more traditionally Anglican plan than the older Church of England Church – another thing that makes Buntingford a bit more out of the ordinary in its ecclesiastical ways.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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