All Saints, Hartford, Huntingdonshire

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Feature Sets (4)


Hartford is a village on the eastern edge of Huntingdon, on the N bank of the Great Ouse. The church is at the S edge of the village, alongside the river but high enough above it to avoid all danger of flooding. It is built of rubble with Barnack and other ashlar dressings, and consists of a chancel with a N vestry added in 1895; a nave with N and S aisles and a S porch; and a Perpendicular W tower with a projecting S bell stair. On the N side of the church is an extension opened in 2004 with a hall, kitchen and lavatories and accessed from the exterior and through the N nave doorway of the church.  The chancel has 12thc N and E walls with no sculptured features. Otherwise it is of the 14thc but remodelled by Robert Hutchinson in 1861, including an elaborate neo-Romanesque chancel arch. The nave arcades are of the end of the 12thc; the N stylistically earlier. Romanesque features described here are the greatly restored S nave doorway, the two nave arcades and the font.


In 1066 the manor was held by King Edward, and in 1086 by King William who committed it to the care of Ranulf, brother of Ilger. It was assessed at 15 hides and included a priest and two churches as well as two mills and a good deal of woodland.

Hartford was granted to St Mary’s Priory, Huntingdon in the reign of Henry I, and the grant confirmed in 1147, 1253 and 1327. It remained the property of that house until it was dissolved in 1538. The advowson of the church was also held by the priory until the Dissolution.


Exterior Features


S nave doorway

Round headed, single order under a l9thc porch. The doorway is heavily restored although the extent of the restoration is concealed by a thick layer of whitewash. It seems certain, however, that the arch and the jambs have been rebuilt. The slightly chamfered arch is supported by detached nook-shafts on attic bases with concave moulded capitals, thick roll neckings and vertical abaci. The chamfered imposts have a quadrant plan.

Height of opening 2.49m
Width of opening 1.22m

Interior Features



N arcade

Four bays, round headed. The arches have two plain orders; the inner one chamfered to both faces.  The piers are cylindrical and made of coursed ashlar blocks, whitewashed. Bases are attic on plain two-step drum plinths. Pier capitals and their imposts are round in plan, and there are corbels at the two ends of the arcade.

S arcade

Four bays, pointed. The arches have two plain chamfered orders and there are no labels. Like the N arcade, the piers are cylindrical and made of coursed ashlar blocks, whitewashed. Bases are attic on plain two-step drum plinths. Pier capitals and their imposts are round in plan, and there are corbels at the two ends of the arcade.




At the W end of the nave, a heavy square bowl with a slight taper outwards to the top and chamfered angles with roll and step chamfer stops. There are inserted repairs to the rim on the S side and at the NE and NW angles, and signs of lock removal at the NE, NW and SW angles. The bowl is unlined.

The bowl is carried on five shafts. The fat central shaft has a moulded capital and a double roll base, and seems to be original. The four corner shafts are slender with more complex moulded capitals and attic bases. They are apparently replacements.

The shafts stand on a square block, and this on a square plinth with chamfered angles.

Internal diameter of bowl at rim 0.545m
Width of bowl at rim (E-W_ 0.74m
Width of bowl at rim (N-S) 0.72m
Height of bowl 0.38m
Height of bowl, shafts and their block base 0.895m
Height of font 1.00m


The S arcade is dated later than the N of the evidence of the stiff-leaf corbels and the pointed arches.  Other than these, the main change is the abandonment of impost blocks after pier 1 of the S arcade. It seems impossible that the same sculptors were responsible for the end corbels of two arcades as produced the irregular pier capitals, and it may well be that all four of them were produced by a later workshop attempting to replicate the different periods in which the two arcades were originally installed. If this is the case, they are of little value for dating purposes. RCHM(E) dates the N arcade c.1180 and the S ‘perhaps ten years later’. The reset S doorway they also date c1190. The font is described as Norman by O’Brien and 13thc by RCHME, the List Description and VCH.


  • Historic England Listed Building 53531

  • C. O’Brien  and N.Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, London 2014, 506-07.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, Harmondsworth 1968, 259.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. London 1926, 128-30.

  • Victoria County History: Huntingdonshire. II (1932), 171-75

Exterior from SE
Exterior from NE
Interior to E


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 256 726 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Huntingdonshire
now: Cambridgeshire
medieval: Lincoln
now: Ely
medieval: All Saints (pre-Reformation)
now: All Saints
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
28 September 2016