Thundridge Old Church, Hertfordshire

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Feature Sets (2)


Thundridge is a village 2 miles N of Ware in the valley of the River Rib in the East Hertfordshire district of the county. The village was originally sited a mile to the E, and here may be seen the remains of the medieval church of St Mary and All Saints, including its graveyard, and a large medieval moated enclosure associated with Thundridgebury House which was alongside the church. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and the church, of which only the W tower still stands, is listed Grade II*.

In 1853 the church was demolished except for the tower, and the stone used in the restoration of Sacombe church some 3 miles to the NW. A new parish church was built in Thundridge village in the same year. What stands on the site of the Old church today is the 15thc W tower, of flint rubble with stone dressings, locked up and with its tower arch blocked, with a 12thc doorway reset in the blocking of the tower arch.


Thundridge was held by Alnoth, a man of Archbishop Stigand, before the Conquest, and by Hugh de Grandmesnil from Bishop Odo of Bayeux thereafter. When Odo forfeited his holdings after his arrest in 1082, the Grandmesnils continued to hold as tenants-in chief from the king. By the 13thc the tenants under the Grandmesnils were the famnily of Dive of Balderton; William de Dive died before 1251, and John Dive was the lord in 1277 and at his death in 1292-93. The later history of the manor will be found in VCH.

The church was originally a chapel of Ware, and both the mother church and Thundridge chapel were given to the Priory of Ware by Hugh de Grandmesnil


Exterior Features


Doorway reset in E tower wall

Round headed, 1 order, reset. The doorway is set in the blocked tower arch, and is liberally coated with paint or whitewash.

The jambs have engaged angle rolls, which might originallyhave carried capitals. Unfortunately the topmost blocks of each jamb are som badly damaged as to render this uncertain. The tall chamfered impost blocks are both badly worn and chipped. The eye of fau=ith might detect some decoration; possibly chip-carved on the N impost, but again the general wear and thick coating of paint make this uncertain. The arch itself is decorated with elaborate point-to-point freestanding chevron over the inner angle roll, Some units are hyphenated, suggesting that the voussoirs have been inaccurately assembled. On the face of the arch, towards the extrados, is a single shallow centrifugal face chevron roll flanked by rows of beading inside and out.

Height of opening 2.29 m
Width of opening 1.14 m


Free-standing chevron is found in Hertforshore at Ickleford and at Hemel Hempstead.


  • Historic England Listed Building English Heritage Legacy ID: 356028 (Tower only)

  • Historic England Scheduled Monument, English Heritage Legacy ID: 11560

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth 1953, 250.

  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth 1977, 364.

  • Victoria County History: Hertfordshire vol. 3 (1912), 377-80.

Tower from SE
Tower, distant view from W
Tower W face, upper levels


Site Location
Thundridge Old Church
National Grid Reference
TL 368 173 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hertfordshire
now: Hertfordshire
now: St Albans
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
medieval: St Mary and All Saints
Type of building/monument
Ruined church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
15 June 2018