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


Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST PETER
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Statutory Address:

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

North Hertfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 11832 26370


LILLEY WEST STREET TL 1126 (West side)

11/79 Church of St. Peter 27.5.68 (C of E)


Parish church. Rebuilt 1870-72 by Thomas Jekyll for Rev A.C. Haviland incorporating bells, font, piscina, monuments and tufa arch from earlier church. Uncoursed knapped flint with limestone dressings. Tower parapet chequered in squares of stone and tile-on-edge. Steep red tile roofs. A tall church in the Early Decorated or Geometrical Style consisting of a chancel with gabled organ chamber and vestry on N and gabled chapel over Sowerby vault on S side, nave, and tower at SW angle of nave, the ground floor forming the entrance porch entered from the E. The exterior has gable parapets. N side has 4 lancet windows to nave and a pointed N door near W end with hoodmould and carved stops and sexfoil windows to right. Plank door with simple iron bands. Lower chancel has tiny lancet to right of a pointed moulded narrow N door in an ashlar projection in the angle with the projecting gabled organ-chamber and vestry. This has a 2-lights pointed plate-tracery window with alternating tile, flint, and stone voussoirs to outer arch. Circular window with swirling tracery to vestry's E side. Similar window with tinted glass in lowest stage of S face of tower. W wall of nave has several dark red bricks in the walling and a tall 5-lights pointed window with cusped circles in the head. Diagonal corner buttress to nave. 3 stages to tower with projecting turret at SE corner changing from square to octagonal before dying into middle stage. Lancet window to middle stage, and 2-light pointed bell-opening on each face with plate tracery, central shaft, and plain circle in the head. Upper part of 2nd stage batters-in. Clock face on E side of tower above main entrance. Pointed arched doorway with nook-shafts, foliate caps, and steep pointed arch of 2 recessed orders decorated with Romanesque interlaced circles with 'nail holes'. Circular opening in plain stone tympanum. Single leaf oak plank door with twin escutcheons and heavy bands. 3 lancets to S wall of nave and faceted projection for chapel stair in angle with tall gabled projecting S chapel. S gable has tall 3 lights pointed window with foiled circles in the head, deep band of stone panelling with shields and swirling circle motif alternately, between paired angle buttresses. Gable parapet coping carved with stiff-leaf ornament. External E entrance to vault below S chapel by round headed Romansque style doorway with nook-shafts, scallop caps, plain tympanum, and plank door protected by a grid of interlaced iron straps. Double-lancet window to S side of chancel projecting to E of chapel, and paired corner buttresses to E end. Tall pointed 3-lights E window with trefoil and sexfoil circles in the head. Alternate tile, flint and stone voussoirs. Low down at E end foundation stone with large central sunken circular cross and small crosses at each corner, inscribed '2nd August 1870'. Interior of the tall porch in red brick, English-bond, with 2 rows of stone blocks for future inscriptions. Lit by round arched high S window with deep splay showing great thickness of wall. Reset wall monuments to S, W, and E, and 2 heraldic black slabs on floor. Finest on W wall to Thomas Docwra and Thomas his son d:1620. White and grey veined marble with Corinthian columns and broken pediment with obelisks. Many heraldic shields in colour. On S wall a neat sarcophogus in white marble on grey ground to Rev William Wade d.1823. On N wall a square panel in moulded alabaster frame to Daniel Houghton d.1672. Floor slabs to Sir George Warburton d.1743, and to Sir Benjamin Rawling d.1775. S doorway said to have C15 stones from old church (RCHM (1911)142). Pointed doorway in 2 chamfered orders. Battened door with twin escutcheons and heavy plain iron bands. Framed account of rebuilding of church to left of door notes the last service held in the old church Easter Day 1870: new church opened for services 29 June 1871: tower completed 1872. Tall unaisled nave with scissor-braced open rafter roof divided into 3 bays by cusped arch braced moulded tie-beam trusses. The stencil decoration to the walling of the nave and chancel have been painted over, as have the brick walls of the stair passage to the S chapel rising from the SE corner of the nave. At W end of nave C15 octagonal clunch font with thick shaft, moulded corbel stage to plain bowl with sunk cross on E face. Moulded projecting rim. Flat octagonal wooden cover with moulded edge and fat turned finial with 3 dimensional cross on top. Hatchment of Sowerby family over N door. Moulded rear arches to lancet windows and segmental rear arches to doors. Both doors have cross-bracing on inside. Radiators set in segmental-headed low recesses. Pine pews with moulded ends (similar but in oak in chancel). Octagonal oak pulpit on thick pedestal with cusped heads to linen-fold panels, made from oak from St. John's College Chapel Cambridge (the patrons of the living) which was being renovated in 1871. Stained glass windows of saints c.1891 probably by Heaton, Butler & Bayne. W window by them 1902. Tall Early English Style chancel arch with 3 conjoined shafts and luxuriant flower and leaf caps. Multiple roll mouldings to arch. Roof boarded under a similar scissor-braced rafter roof with polychrome painted decoration with planted ribs and carved bosses at intersections, applied gilded shields with engraved decoration to each side and painted shields with badges associated with St. Peter. Floor with square pattern of subtle shades of green glazed tiles. Similar coloured mosaic pavement with sang-de-beouf accents and chevron boarders around altar. Organ on N side set within the vestry's former round arched Norman chancel arch of dark red tufa of 2 square orders with hollow chamfer to the simple impost of the inner order. Similar stepped jambs terminate in a high plinth offset in tufa over the red brick walling in English-bond raising it above the height of the chancel pews. Small pointed doorway to vestry on N wall has door from old church. Stained glass of 3-lights E window dedicated 1882. Lowered shelf in sill with band of gilded quatrefoils below and white marble cross built in. To S of altar a sedilia niche has C15 reset piscina to E with octagonal bowl, shelf, 4-centred head and roll-moulded spandrels. The S chapel is open to the chancel at a higher level with a single iron balustrade and a simpler boarded ceiling with carved bosses and painted battens. The opening has a wide EE arch with 3 shafts to jambs and luxuriant stiff-leaf caps with birds. Chapel floored in subtle pink and brown glazed tiles. 3-light S window c.1890 stained glass by Heaton, Butler & Bayne. Wall monument on W wall in chaste white marble in Grecian Style to Mary Sowerby d.1812. (RCHM (1911)142: VCH (1912): Kelly (1914)182: Pevsner (1977)235: Roy Pinnock and E.F. Holmes The Church of St Peter, Lilley n.d. pamphlet available at church).

Listing NGR: TL1183226370


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

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Books and journals
Doubleday, A, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1912)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 235
Pinnock, R, Holmes, E F , The Church of St Peter Lilley
'Kelly's Directory' in Kelly's Directory, (1914), 182
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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 14 Jul 2001
Reference: IOE01/04792/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Thomas. Source Historic England Archive
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