St Mary, Walkern, Hertfordshire

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Feature Sets (3)


The originally pre-Conquest church comprises, chancel, nave with N and S aisles and S porch, and W tower. The thick-walled nave is 11thc and it has a two-bay 12thc S arcade.  There are traces of a round-headed window at the W end of the S aisle wall. The chancel was rebuilt in the early 13thc and the three bay N arcade was added at this time.  The W tower is 14thc and the S porch 15thc. A clerestory was added in the 16thc. and N and S chapels in the 19thc. The chancel was restored in 1898. What is thought to be the decorated impost from the original S doorway now forms the W impost of the pier of the S arcade. A pre-Conquest carving of a Crucifixion is set into the S side of the wall of the S arcade. This probably formed part of a Rood (RCHME, 1910, 224; Pevsner and Cherry 1977, 372).  The carving is discussed in detail in the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture (CASSS 1995, 240-41). Romanesque sculpture is found on the S doorway.


Before the Conquest Walkern was held by Alwin Horne and the overlord was King Edward. After the Conquest, Deormann of London was Lord and also tenant-in-chief (Open Domesday: http://opendomesday.org/place/TL2826/walkern/).


Exterior Features


S doorway

Round-headed, of two orders.

height of capital 0.19 m
height of opening 2.29 m
width of opening 1.13 m
First order

No bases, chamfered jambs and arch (the chamfer also continues over the impost).  The impost itself is double-chamfered and continues to the second order.

Second order

Modern bases, detached nook shafts, very crude capitals without necking. These could be unfinished.

capital: possibly intended to be waterleaf with very large roughed out 'volute', half of which has broken away.

capital: as L capital, but the volute is not broken.

The arch is plain. The label appears to have been cut away.

Interior Features



S arcade

Of two bays.

The E respond is plain apart from a chamfered impost (with very shallow upright).

Pier 1, E face: plain, apart from the impost which is as the E respond. This extends to the S face of the pier.

Pier 1, W face: plain apart from the Anglo-Saxon impost. This is carved with four rows of cable moulding.  Each row twists in the opposite direction to the row below.  This extends to the S face.

W respond: plain apart from the  impost which is chamfered with a roll embedded in the chamfer.


The Corpus of Anglo Saxon Stone Sculpture comments on the Crucifixion figure and the moulded impost in some detail, identifying both as  pre-Conquest 11thc. The CASSS compares the moulding on the impost with similar examples at Little Munden in Hertfordshire, and Dartford and Orpington in Kent. Both Smith and the CASSS state that the moulded impost would have been from the original 11thc. S doorway (Smith 1973, 33; CASSS 1995, 241). The opposing impost would have been removed when the S wall of the original nave was cut into to form the S arcade


  • F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications: or, England's patron saints, London, 1899, 293.

  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 2nd ed., Harmondsworth, 1977, 372–3.

  • An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire, London, 1910, 224-25. 

  • T. P. Smith, The Anglo-Saxon Churches of Hertfordshire, London, 1973, 30–34.

  • D. Tweddle, M. Biddle, B Kjolbe-Biddle, Corpus of Anglo Saxon Stone Sculpture: IV South-East England, Oxford, 1995,  240–41.

  • The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hertford, London, 1912, 3:155.

General view.
Traces of 12thc window, interior, S wall.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 293 266 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hertfordshire
now: Hertfordshire
now: St Albans
medieval: St Albans
now: St Mary
medieval: St Mary (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner 
Visit Date
28 Aug 2004