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 30974 08840



5/17 Church of St. Mary 24.11.66 (C of E)


Parish church. 1870-71 by Henry Woodyer for William Robert Baker of Bayfordbury, incorporating font and monuments from medieval church demolished 1803 and replaced by yellow brick church in 1804 on site to N of present church, demolished 1870. Carving of pulpit completed 1872. In Chancel E end and roof decorated 1890 by Heaton Butler and Bayne to designs of Sidney Gambier Parry. Squared coursed Kentish ragstone with red back for quoins, eaves band and plinth offset. Bath stone window dressings, doorways, and string courses. Very steep pitched handmade tile roofs, and lead covering to fleche. A tall cruciform building in Early English Style with roof continuous over unaisled nave and slightly narrower buttressed chancel with canted apsidal E end. Roof extends down over transeptal S chapel and N organ chamber and vestry. Gabled S porch possibly a little later. A tall slender 6-sided oak belfry and fleche with vane over the chancel screen, row of small triangular dormer vents on roofslope, and large triangular dormer with circular grid-pattern wooden window surrounded by tilehanging to each transept. Paired lancet windows to nave, tall single lancets between buttresses of chancel. Gabled S porch with pointed arched entrance, double doors, polychrome tile floor, side benches, purlin roof with ashlar pieces to feet of rafter couples, and 3-lights trefoil window in each side. Outside of S door EE style with trefoil arch, jamb shafts with annulets and dog-tooth band carving, vigorous flower carving to drip stops. 4-bays open timber roof to nave on scissor-braced trusses with tie-beams and one purlin to each slope. Ashlar pieces to rafter feet. 3 twin-lancet windows in each side wall of nave, each with a single pointed rear arch and chamfered jambs. Moulded stone string links bottoms of windows. W wall has 2 lancets, a large wheel window above, and a small window in the top of the gable. On an iron crane fixed to the W wall a very tall C19 wooden font-cover in the form of an EE spire with carved stages, crockets and finial. Late C15 octagonal clunch font on heavy moulded base. Panelled sides of bowl alternately a Tudor rose in a quatrefoil, and trefoil panels. Moulded under edge. Vivid stained glass by Clayton and Bell to all nave windows except those in N wall of which the middle and western windows are by the Kemp Brothers for the Clinton Baker family 1901, and 1904. Coloured tile floor. War memorial tablet on N wall of alabaster referring to memorial cross at crossroads outside church. Memorial tablets on S wall: to William Robert Baker d.1896 in alabaster recording that he built this church 1871 which is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin: to Charles Robert Barclay d.1900 in repousee copper Arts and Crafts Style with inset armorial escutcheon and rectangular enamelled panel of St. George and the Dragon and motto QUO FATA VOCANT: to William Clinton Baker d.1903 on black marble panel in white marble frame lettered in gold and armorial achievement carved with drapes on upper part. Framed black panel lettered in gold a Board of Fees to minister, clerk and sexton formerly in church built in 1803. Token slight narrowing to Chancel by lft. side piers with prominent quoins. Arcaded oak EE chancel screen with very attenuated shafts with annulets, 2 bays each side of central entrance which has a heavy 2-centred dog-tooth ornamented arch and a pair of black embattled ironwork gates picked out in gold. Overhanging panelled rood loft, giant crucifix with angular gabled canopy fixed back to roof truss and with heavy convex curved down braces on each side. Chancel has similar arcaded openwork EE screens in openings to transeptal S chapel and N organ chamber. Open timber roof similar to nave but of 4 narrower bays and decorated 3-sided apse at E with wallpaintings and wall shafts. Trefoil rear arches to windows. Stained glass by Clayton and Bell. Broad aumbry with square head and Caernarvon arch. Bold stone 2-seat sedilia with stone gable and grey circular shafts, trefoil heads, and quatrefoil above. In large arched niche on N side on alabaster tomb-chest panelled and inscribed with recumbent figure of a man in half armour wearing a ruff, trunk hose and jack boots lying on a straw mattress, Sir George Knighton d.1612. Brasses fixed to the rear of the recess c.1545 are all palimpsest cut from a Flemish brass of a bishop or abbot of c.1480, 2 more pieces of which are said to be the Wayte brasses at Upminster, Essex. The brasses were found in a box in the church in 1870 and are thought to be to the Knighton family. Painted arcaded reredos. Steps to altar in polychrome tiles with some encaustic. Simple altar rail on gilded ironwork standards. Lighting by 6 candle lamps hung on chains. S chapel has many memorial wall tablets some moved from older church: one to William Baker 1824 with a white marble portrait medallion: to John Mayo d.1675 white marble, draped with cartouches: to William Yarrell 1784-1856 an eminent Victorian zoologist. There are other wall monuments to the Baker family and others here and in the N transept. (RCHM (1911)49: VCH (1912)422-3: Kelly (1914)50: Pevsner (1977)90: Robert B S J Watson The Church of Bayford St. Mary (1971), church guide).

Listing NGR: TL3097408840

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 27 October 2017.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912), 422 423
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 90
Watson, R, The Church Of Bayford St Mary Church Guide, (1971)
'Kellys Directory' in Hertfordshire, (1914), 50
War Memorials Register, accessed 27 October 2017 from
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: 23 Mar 2006
Reference: IOE01/15297/05
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr A. Gude. Source Historic England Archive
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