Hertingfordbury Church, Hertfordshire

This rather handsome church, typically Hertfordshire in its style and look, stands on high ground overlooking the River Mimram. The earliest church seems to date to the 13th Century, but there isn’t much to see of this kind of age.

The bulk of the church today is from extensive restorations in the second half of the 19th Century.

 More interesting is the collection of burials in the churchyard. An unmarked grave contains the remains of Jane Wenham, erroneously celebrated as the last woman to be sentenced to death for witchcraft in 1712. The court at Hertford issued her the dreaded edict of burning at the stake, but Queen Anne intervened, pardoned her and she lived the rest of her life at Panshanger Park under the protection of William Cowper, 1st Earl Cowper and Lord Chancellor of England at the time. The last witches to be put to death in England seem to be Mary and Elizabeth Hicks who were put to death in Huntingdon four years later. The last witchcraft trial in the UK was in 1944.

Various members of the Cowper family are interred here, as is Benjamin Truman, founder of the Truman Brewery. The artist Spencer Gore is also buried here as is Dorothy Paget the racehorse owner, whose funeral cortège was formed of a string of racehorses.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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