St Leonard, Sandridge, Hertfordshire

Feature Sets (3)


The church consists of chancel with attached vestry, nave with clerestory, N and S aisles and N and S porches, and W tower. The late 12thc. tower and the W end of the church were restored in 1886-87 by W. White, as were the 15thc. N and S porches. The original clerestory, which had been dismantled in 1786, was also rebuilt at this time. The vestry was added at the beginning of the 20thc.

The chancel arch, composed of Roman brick, could be 11thc. or 12thc. This was preserved when the chancel was rebuilt in the late 14thc. The 19thc. restoration replaced the wall above the chancel arch with wooden tracery. The angles of the original late 11thc. or early 12thc. church survive. The nave, and the N and S arcades are later 12thc., as is the plain, two order N doorway, The carved font is late 12thc. The church is constructed of flint and ashlar and some Roman brick.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Sandridge. The manor, including Sandridge church was given to St Albans by Egfrid, son of Offa in 796 (VCH, 433, 436), and the Domesday Survey records that Sandridge (10 hides) was held directly by the Abbot of St Albans. St Albans held the manor until the Dissolution.

VCH records that the church was originally a chapel of St Peter, St Albans (VCH, 437) and notes that the Gesta Abbatum Monasterii Sancti Albani (iii, 73) records that the 'Capella de Sandrage' was consecrated by Losinga, Bishop of Norwich (1094-1119). (VCH, 436 [footnote 85]). Losinga also founded churches at Redbourne, Newnham and Norton in Hertfordshire. (Transactions of the East Herts Archaeological Society, 370)


Interior Features



N and S arcades

Of three bays with chamfered, stepped plinths and water-holding bases. The shafts are octagonal and the responds half-octagonal. The imposts are hollow-chamfered with a groove along the upright. There are two orders in the arch, each with angle roll.

N arcade

E respond: Multi-scallop capital with necking. There are wedges between the cones and volutes on the angles. A fine groove outlines the shields.

Pier 1: As E respond capital. The SE volute is missing, apparently chiselled off.

Pier 2: As E respond capital

W respond: Multi-scallop capital with heavy, tapered wedges between the cones and plain shields, possibly unfinished.

S Arcade

E respond: Multi-scallop with wedges between the cones and with acanthus-like volutes. Partially cut away to make room for the organ.

Pier 1: As N arcade, E respond capital.

Pier 2: As S arcade, E respond capital.

W respond: As S arcade, E respond capital.



Located at the W end of the nave in front of the tower. The font is tub-shaped and decorated with shallow blank arcading, with some variation in the design of bases and capitals. All piera have square plinths, necking below the capitals and a roll on the impost. The font has been completely broken in half (horizontally) and repaired at some point in its history. It is lead-lined and of Totternhoe stone. The supports are modern.

From centre of E face:

1. Double bulbous base with torus on square plinth; double scallop capital.

2. Triangular base with torus; cushion capital.

3. Triangular base with torus; double scallop capital.

4. As 2., base more regular; cushion capital.

5. Slightly concave base; double scallop-type capital.

6. Base as 4.; triple scallop capital.

7. Plain triangular base; cushion capital.

8. Base as 1. (damaged); double scallop-type capital.

9. Plain (or damaged) base; double scallop capital with wide wedge between the cones.

10. Base similar to 4.; triple scallop capital.

11. Plain base; modified cushion capital.

12. Double bulbous base with torus; cushion capital with angle tuck.

13. Short triple base on stepped plinth and half-octagonal shaft; cushion capital with double groove on shield.

14. Base as 10.; double scallop capital with a large wedge between the cones.

15. Base triangular with double torus; cushion capital with double groove on shield.

16. Base composed of four rolls; double scallop capital with large wedge.

17. Double-bulbous base, cushion-type capital.

Above the arcading is a row of sawtooth around the rim of the font.

circ. 1.52 m
d. 0.41 m
diam. 0.76 m
h. of bowl 0.66 m
total h. of font 0.96 m


VCH dates the aisles to 1160-70, the tower to the end of the 12thc. and the font to the second half of the 12thc. (VCH, 436-37) and records that the two-order N doorway is modern apart from the inner order and the springers of the outer order. RCHME suggests that the chancel arch could be a survival from the church consecrated by Losinga (199).

Thurlby dates the aisles here, and those at nearby Abbots Langley, to the 1180s.

Prior to the 19thc. restoration of the church the font was situated on the W side of pier 2 in the N arcade. (St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archeological Society Transactions, fig.23)


  • Domesday Book: Hertfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 10,3.
  • Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire, London, 1911, 199-200.
  • The Victoria History of the County of Hertfordshire, London, 1912, 2:432-37.
  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953 (1977), 332.
  • 'Sandridge Church', Transactions of the East Herts Archaeological Society 1932-33, Ed. B. S. Harvey, 8 (part 3), 1934, 370-72.
  • J. E. Cussans, History of Hertfordshire, London and Hertford, 1881, 15-16: 222-23.
  • G. Somers Clarke 'Sandridge Church, Hertfordshire', Archaeological Journal, 42, London, 1885, 247-50.
  • J. A. Cruickshank, 'Some Dates in the History of St Leonard's Church, Sandridge', St Albans and Herfordshire Architectural and Archeological Society Transactions 1903-4, 2 (part 1), St Albans, 1905, 39-51.
  • J. Griffith, 'The Parish Church of St Leonard, Sandridge', St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions 1903-4, 2 (part 1), St Albans, 1905, 32-38.
  • M. Thurlby, 'The Place of St Albans in Regional Sculpture and Architecture in the Second Half of the Twelfth Century', British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, XXIV, Leeds, 2001, 162-75.
  • B. M. Roberts, St Leonard's Church Sandridge, A Short History and Guide, St Albans, 1999.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 172 106 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hertfordshire
now: Hertfordshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: St Albans
now: St Leonard
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner