Parish Church of St Cecilia


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Parish Church of St Cecilia, Church End, SG11 2DY


Ordnance survey map of Parish Church of St Cecilia
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Statutory Address:
Parish Church of St Cecilia, Church End, SG11 2DY

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

East Hertfordshire (District Authority)
Little Hadham
National Grid Reference:
TL 44620 22778


This List entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 04/07/2017

TL 4422 8/14

LITTLE HADHAM Church End Parish Church of St Cecilia

(Formerly listed as located at: CHAPEL LANE (west side), Church End)



I Parish church. Largely C14 reconstruction of small church of a hilltop, shrunken, medieval village, a little west of Hadham Hall. Flint rubble with stone dressings for nave, chancel and west tower: red brick for late C16 north transept and C19 vestry. Old red roof tiles to north transept and timber south porch, slates to nave and chancel. Walls of unaisled nave possibly dateable to C12 by semicircular inner arch of altered north door. Imposing late C14 west tower of three stages with diagonal buttresses, embattled parapet, short leaded spire with wind vane, and west door with two-centred arch within a square surround under a dripmould with carved heads as terminals. Similar dripmould terminals to three-light west window with marginal inscription in glazing 'Restituta AD 1845 Rectore T R'.

C14 square-ended chancel of same width as nave with timber screen and change of roof height as only divisions. Diagonal buttresses at east end and added at west end of nave.

Chancel extensively restored 1883 by Sir Arthur Blomfield (1829-99) for Mr Bury, first rector of newly separated parish. He refaced the east and south walls in flintwork and provided a new three-light east window, pine hammer-beam roof, seating, encaustic tile floor and steps, altar, carved stone reredos, iron altar rail, and small vestry on north (Marshall (nd) 6-7). Late C14, wide two-bay, open timber framed, gabled porch with trefoil heads to sidelights and heavy cusped bargeboard with central ogee. Heavy door frame with (? renewed) four-centred head. Large late C16 north transept in narrow red brick with tiled roof, diagonal buttresses, gable parapet, three-light arched windows in east and west walls, arched doorway with square surround on east wall and four-light north window with intersecting tracery.

A wide four-centred moulded arch on semi-octagonal piers and moulded caps opens from the nave into the transept which appears to have provided a gallery and private entrance in its east wall for the Capell family of Hadham Hall. This converted the linear medieval church plan to a classic T-plan, Protestant auditory focused on the pulpit in the middle of the south wall. A tall octagonal pulpit with tester, dated 1633, now stands there, converted to a three-decker

A layout plan of 1692 (HRO) shows much the present arrangement of pews except that the south east block now faces the altar. Fragmentary painted inscriptions on east and west walls of gallery with strapwork surround on west. Moulded cornice/wall-plate on east and west. Carved arabesques in top row of wall panelling in transept and on south wall of nave. Low pitched C15 queen post roof to nave in four bays with moulded, cambered tie beams supported on long curved braces, with cusped, pierced spandrels, from wall posts, rising from sculptured stone corbels. Royal Arms with 'GR 1825' in centre of truss against west wall. Moulded oak C15 chancel screen with five narrow traceried lights each side of entrance, mullions carved as stepped buttresses, pomegranate scroll carved on rail of two panels each side of entrance, the rest left plain and mullions recessed for former altars on each side. Eight medieval tiles used as threshold in entrance (four more hung in vestry doorway). Late C14 piscina on south of altar. On west wall of nave two large C18 benefaction boards to Mr John Hammon and Mr Thomas Chapman, each with eared architrave, rounded head and broken pediment over. Octagonal stone font said to be C16 (VCH (1914) 56). Brasses on boards on south wall, a knight and lady c.1485: a priest C15. Fine inscribed floor slabs north and south of altar raised from Capel vault in 1883 restoration. Late C16 and C17 pews in nave.

Of outstanding interest for its C16 north transept and its conversion to a Protestant T-plan church, with its nave layout and fittings complete. A hilltop landmark and part of a picturesque hamlet group (RCHM (1911) 144-5: VCH (1914) 55-8: Pevsner (1977) 240: John Marshall Little Hadham Church (nd privately printed): for porch Smith T P in Vernacular Architecture 7 (1976) 30-33).

Listing NGR: TL4462022778


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Doubleday, AH, The Victoria History of the County of Hertford, (1914), 55-8
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 240
'Vernacular Architecture' in Vernacular Architecture, , Vol. 7, (1976), 30-33
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

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Date: 08 Sep 2001
Reference: IOE01/05225/19
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Les Brunton. Source Historic England Archive
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