Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 48500 14822


CHURCH STREET 1. 5253 (East End) Parish Church of Great St Mary's TL 4849 1481:3/61 6.6.52 GV 2. C13, C14 and C15 with C19 restorations notably by G E Pritchett (1824-1912) in 1856-59. Medieval parish church now C of E. Built of flint rubble with flint facing, stone quoins and dressings, smooth render to chancel and C16 red brick stair turret to tower. Lead roofs generally but N aisle re-covered in copper in 1951. Chancel, nave and lower part of W tower C13. N and S aisles and SE chapel early C14. Clerestory, raised nave roof, S porch and upper part of tower C15. Large square tower of 3 stages with crenellated moulded parapet surmounted by octagonal Hertfordshire Spike, its raised lead ribs forming a lozenge diaper pattern below a ball and slender wind vane. String courses at each stage with polygonal C16 brick stair on S side with crenellated top rising only to 2nd stage. C14 W doorway, C15 Perpendicular 3 light window over. C13 lancet in N and S walls of 2nd stage. C15,2-light windows with Y-tracery to 3rd stage with belfry louvres and clock dial on W face below cill. Plain parapets and buttresses elsewhere on church. N wall of chancel has blocked C15 door and RCHM (1911) 203 records 2 centred arch in S wall c.1300. C13 chancel arch. 5 light E window, 1 window in N wall and 2 in S wall. SE chapel has E window, blocked C14 window on S and rood stair in NW corner. Nave has 3-bay C14 arcades of 2-centred arches on quatrefoil pillars with moulded caps and bases. Upper door to rood loft to S of chancel arch. Narrower N aisle is C14 but probably some 20 years earlier than S aisle. 3-light windows to E and W ends and 2,2-light windows on N,all with rear arches and moulded jambs. C14 N doorway. Piscina by altar. Wider S aisle has 2 S windows and C14 doorway with traceried medieval S door with decorative ironwork. C14 tower arch. Chancel oak ceiling put up in 1872. Beams inscribed '1662. Thomas Russel repaired this chancel' and 'W Sharpe 1884'. Nave roof is C15 with moulded members, traceried spandrels and stone corbels. Both C15 aisle roofs have mouldings and carved bosses. The easternmost stone corbels in the S aisle have symbols of the Evangelists. Plaster removed from between the ribs of the aisle roofs in 1951. C15 timber roof to S porch. Octagonal font c.1400 with panelled stem and quatrefoil panels around bowl. C15 oak chancel screen of 3 bays traceried above and panelled below. Panelled oak pulpit in Jacobean style inscribed 'Christe is all in all. 1652'. Oak poor box with 3 locks c.1600. C17 large oak parish chest with 5 locks. Several early C16 bench ends. There are a great many funeral brasses and sculptured monuments of the very highest quality. According to Mrs Esdaile 'The Church in fact is a museum of English sculpture by great artists'. This is corroborated by Pevsner who also notes the C18 gravestones in the churchyard. The church is of special interest as a substantially unaltered large medieval parish church, typical of the Hertfordshire type, and with an outstanding collection of memorials of the highest artistic quality. (RCHM (1911) 202-3: VCH III (1912) 344-6: Pevsner 2nd Ed Rev (1977) 233-5: WEA II (1967) 37-46: Church Guide (1975)).

Listing NGR: TL4850014822


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
The Parish Church of Great St Marys Sawbridgeworth, (1975)
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912), 344-6
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 233-5
'The Story of Sawbridgeworth' in The Churches and the People, , Vol. 2, (1967), 37-46
Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Hertfordshire, (1910)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 10 Aug 2003
Reference: IOE01/05163/32
Rights: Copyright IoE Ms Elaine Allen . Source Historic England Archive
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