Widford Church, Hertfordshire

This is one of the most handsome of Hertfordshire’s small village churches with a Hertfordshire spike so large it is almost a proper spire in its own right.

It may be that the reason it is so pleasant is that it owes its existence to those great church builders the Cluniac monks who founded Bermondsey Abbey in 1082 and were granted this land in 1118.

The earliest surviving parts of the church today seem to come from the early 13th Century, followed by extensions in the late 13th and 14th Centuries. The tower is quite early, probably 14th Century, although the copper spire is a Victorian replacement put there in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee.

The south and north doors are very ancient dating to about 1286.

There are 14th Century wall paintings inside that are rather faded, one of who is supposed to be the Abbot of Cluny, but who holds a Bishop’s crozier, so presumably is not.

A rather attractive Elizabethan gateway leads into the old churchyard and it is said that traces of the Cluniac monastic building can be seen in the walls surrounding it. The new churchyard, across the road, was added in 1903.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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