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


Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST MARY (C OF E)
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1347110.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Feb-2020 at 18:51:47.


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 14694 31661



7/148 Church of St. Mary 27.5.68 (C of E)


Parish church. Early C12 formerly cruciform church with crossing tower; transepts destroyed by successive collapses of tower in C13; S porch, many windows, buttresses and chancel roof and fittings C14; nave heightened with new roof and windows in C15; flat ceiling inserted in chancel with 'W 1697 D' carved on soffit of cross-beam. Interior re-ordered 1839. Restoration in stages by John Loughborough Pearson (1817-1898) for the Rev Ralph Lindsay Loughborough following the architect's report of 1851:- 1876-7 tower carefully rebuilt from the foundations with pointed arch on S for future transept:- 1882-3 nave restored with new steep roof, parapets, furnishings and finishes. S transept built as a vestry 1907-14 partly with voluntary labour as a memorial to Rev Loughborough, supervised by F.L. Pearson following plans by his father. Chancel restored with removal of flat ceiling and restoration of pointed head to E window 1948 after damage by flying bomb in 1944. Nave of coursed limestone rubble with freestone dressings and ashlar parapets. Contrasting coursed flint C14 walling of S porch and added buttresses, again with limestone dressings, irregular uncoursed clunch rubble to tower, S transept, and most of chancel but coursed limestone rubble at E part of chancel. Steep red tile roof to chancel and transept, lead roof to nave, and to tower with spike and vane. A large church standing in the inner bailey of an extensive motte and bailey earthwork castle at the centre of the village. Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Central crenelated tower, short square-ended chancel, aisless wide nave, 2-storeys S porch, and large S transept used as vestry. Creasing on W side of tower for a more steeply pitched nave roof (reinstated by Pearson). The chancel up 3 steps from crosswing has a 2-bays crown-post open timber roof carried on a raised tie-beam offset to E with wallposts and curved braces. Bell-shaped corbel at E end to post to collar-purlin. Brace only to purlin. Trussed rafters of roof may pre-date supporting structure, itself reset at higher level and dated '1697'. C12 roll moulded string course across E wall below windows. Single window on N side is a 2-lights late C14 insertion in an older and higher opening with round-headed inner arch. Early C14 double piscina with trefoil heads and chamfered pier between rear E end of S wall. 2-lights early C15 pointed window above, with cinquefoil lights and stained glass of angels. Wide 3-lights SW window with square head, late C15, and cinquefoil lights. Adjoining on E a pointed priest's door with segmental rear arch, 2-centred outer arch with indication of a niche over. Heavy C19 carved wooden reredos with pinnacles now at side of chancel. Wide 3-lights E window originally C14 pointed has wave-moulded jambs, altered in C17 to square headed window by blocking head and introducing depressed 3-centred arched heads to the lights. Reserved chamfered mullions. Pointed head reinstated 1948 with 2 vertical chamfered mullions. Crossing tower has early C12 arches to E and W each of 2 square orders in massive round arches with simple chamfered imposts and plinths. Some voussoirs decorated in chip-carved ornament. Beamed ceiling on billet moulded stone corbels. Wide pointed S arch of 3 chamfered orders with organ under arch. N external pointed doorway gives access to stair in NW corner to upper parts of tower. A 2-lights pointed bell opening with tracery on E, N and S sides. Square-headed loop on W. Bell frame dated '1642'. S transept: has brass memorial tablet beside door in W wall. Wide 3-lights pointed S window. Trefoil lights under ogee tracery in head. Scissor-braced rafter roof in softwood. Unusually wide and lofty nave with 4-bays C19 open timber roof carried on medieval stone corbels carved with heads. Roof has ridge beam and 2 butt-purlins carried on trusses with curved braces to moulded cambered tie-beams, arched braces to collars over and quatrefoil tracery to side panels next the queen-struts. Round headed blocked C12 windows recorded middle of N and S walls (RCHM (1911)162) and framed copy of wall painting found on W wall in 1883 which then faded. In the N wall the W window is a pointed C14 2-lights one with Dec. tracery and fragments of C14 stained glass in the head. The E window of 3-lights with trefoil heads and late C15 Perp tracery under depressed 4-centred head. Lower part of window blocked. C14 N doorway blocked on inside but original plank door and chamfered 2-centred outer arch remains. Corresponding 3-lights C15 Perp window at E end of S wall with moulded rear arch, 2-lights Dec window further to W with trefoil lights and quatrefoil in head. 3-centred hollow moulded rear arch to S door. Pointed rebated doorway with sill at 2M height to W of S door with winding stair in wall to upper floor of porch. W end has tall 3-lights C14 Dec window with cinquefoil ogee heads to lights and tracery in pointed head. Moulded rear arch, jamb stops, and label. Wall monument to Jane Docwra d.1645 incorporating a slab carved with an epitaph she composed. Classical clunch frame with side scrolls and broken segmental pediment with 2 shields of arms. Caen stone font on Portland stone base 1883 with battered square bowl, corner shafts breaking into knobbly foliage. Fat octagonal shaft and 4 stumpy columns on square chamfered base. Octagonal oak pulpit also by Pearson with carved cornice and panels. Former 2-storeys S porch to early C14 S door with original plank door and 2-centred head and continuously moulded jambs with stops. Pointed entrance arch of 2 chamfered orders dying into jambs and recess outside. Floor to upper chamber removed revealing 2-bays open timber roof with ridge beam and cranked central tie-beam. Pointed doorway on N wall with pyramid jamb stops. Deep splays to slot windows to side walls of upper part, and 2-lights trefoil cusped front window. Rebated wall cupboard on W wall. Tile paving, and stone bench on W side partly cut away for former stair to W balcony. (RCHM (1911)161-2: VCH (1912)50-1: Kelly (1914)192: Pevsner (1977)270: M.A. Newbery A short History and Guide: St. Mary's Church, Pirton, Hertfordshire, Pirton PCC 1983).

Listing NGR: TL1469431661


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), 50-1
Newbury, M A , A Short History and Guide St Marys Church Pirton Hertfordshire, (1983)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, (1977), 270
'Kelly's Directory' in Kelly's Directory, (1914), 192
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: 27 Jul 2001
Reference: IOE01/04792/19
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Thomas. Source Historic England Archive
Archive image, may not represent current condition of site.
To view this image please use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge.

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].