Holy Cross, Sarratt, Hertfordshire

Download as PDF

Feature Sets (3)


Sarratt is a village in the Three Rivers district of Hertfordshire (i.e. in the SW of the county), 4 miles N of Rickmansworth and less than a mile from the River Chess which marks the Buckinghamshire border. The village stands on hogh ground extends over 1.5 miles from N to S, with Great Sarratt Hall in the north and the Sarratt Mill House in the south. The church, in Church End in the S stands in what must have been an assarted clearing. Patches of woodland remaining around the village tend to support this interpretation.

Holy Cross is a small church, 12thc in origin, whose plan was originally cruciform. It has a chancel that was extended in the 13thc and again in the 14thc. The  church was restored in 1865-66 by Sir G. G. Scott, when the transepts were extended westwards by 1 bay so that the church now has 2-bay nave aisles, but the western bays are slightly narrower. Scott also added a vestry on the S side of the chancel, entered through a door in the S transept, and the S porch. The 2-storey W tower is of the 15thc in the lower part, and 16thc above. It has a saddleback roof. Construction is of flint with ashlar dressings, and liberal use of brick in the tower. Romanesque features described below are the chancel arch and transept arches and the font.


Sarratt is not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey. The manor was granted to St Albans Abbey by King Offa, a grant conformed by King John in 1199. Abbot Paul (1077-93) granted the manor to Robert the Mason, gave it to the monks shortly thereafter. Abbot Richard d'Aubeney (1097-1119) gave it to his nephew Peter, butler of William Count of Mortain, against the wishes of the convent. Under the next abbot, Geoffrey of Dunstable, rent paid by Peter de Syret was paid to the newly-founded Hospital of St Julian, In the middle of the century it was given by Abbbot Robert de Gorham (1151–1166) to his brother Ralph, again without the consent of the convent. It remained with the abbey until the Dissolution in 1539, as did the advowson of the church.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Pointed and of one order to E and W. Jambs and arch are plain and the imposts are plain chamfered. All surfaces are of clunch and restored.

Tower/Transept arches

N transept arch

S transept arch



Font 1

The font in current use is sited in the S nave aisle, W of the S doorway. The bowl was produced as part of the restoration of 1865-66, and is of Sussex marble with 5 bay aracdes on each face and foliage ornament on the spandrels of the rim. According to a history in the church, it stands on the original 12thc base; the standard type with a central fat cylindrical support and slender cylindrical shafts at the angles. These have moulded capitals and bases and stand on a square Purbeck plinth, on a chamfered ashlar step. Measurements are supplied for comparison with the old font bowl (font bowl 2) which it is said to copy.

External width of bowl E-W 0.685 m
External width of bowl N-S 0.685 m
Internal diameter of basin 0.515 m
Height of bowl 0.22 m
Height of font 0.92 m
Height of Purbeck support 0.53 m

Font bowl 2

The original medieval font bowl is on the floor of the S transept. It is of Sussex marble, worn overall with losses to all angles except the NE. All surface is gone, so that no arcading is now visible. There are remains of an old staple in the NE spandrel of the rim, and the bowl is drilled for drainage and unlined.

External width of bowl E-W 0.66 m
External width of bowl N-S 0.665 m
Internal diameter of basin 0.515 m
Height of bowl 0.26 m


RCHME notes that Sarratt is an interesting example of an unusual type of late-12thc church, with a cruciform plan and a short nave. Imported Paludina limestone fonts (of Sussex and Purbeck marble) are common in Hertfordshire which has little local stone suitable for their construction.


  • Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 158916

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth 1953, 232.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire (London, 1910), 200-02.

  • Victoria County History: Hertfordshire vol. 2 (1908), 438-43.

Exterior, broad view from SE
Interior to E
Exterior from N
Exterior from SE


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TQ 039 984 
now: Hertfordshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hertfordshire
now: St Albans
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Holy Cross
medieval: Holy Cross (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
21 June 2018