St Margaret of Antioch, Bygrave, Hertfordshire

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Feature Sets (2)


The church comprises nave and chancel and a turret at the W end of the nave (to give access to the bells). The church was originally 12thc. in its entirety but the chancel was rebuilt in the 14thc. and the S porch added in the 18thc. Archaeological evidence demonstrates that there was probably an earlier church on this site (see VII). The church is covered in render apart from the E angles of the nave which are brick.


At the time of DS Robert de Limesey held the manor of Bygrave. VCH records that the church was given to St Albans Abbey by William de Wedona.


Exterior Features


S doorway, nave

Of one order, rebuilt. The shape of the arch is distorted. There are no bases, just plain square modern plinths supporting nook shafts. The R shaft appears to be monolithic, The L is in two sections. It is not possible to determine whether the shafts are original or modern replacements. The L capital has not survived. The R capital has rope-moulded necking and is scalloped (three scallops on the S face and two on the E face). The shields are barely evident, but the area above the cones is very tall.

The imposts are chamfered.

The arch has a lintel/tympanum (probably modern) curved to fit the shape of the door. The arch has one thick nook roll.

The doorway is completely covered in cream gloss paint, so detailed observations were not possible.

h. of opening 2.24 m
h. of R capital incl. necking 0.24 m
h. of R capital not incl. necking 0.20 m
w. of opening 1.19 m


The thick roll in the arch suggests that the doorway may orginally have been of early date, and it would probably have been round-headed before being distorted into its current shape.

The church guide records that late Anglo-Saxon pottery was found in excavations carried out at the site in 1993, and suggests that the nave walls were rebuilt over Saxon walls. Romano-British pottery fragments were found near the N nave wall, suggesting that a structure from this period may have existed in the same area, and Pevsner states that the bricks in the E angles of the nave are Roman.

The E end of the original 12thc. chancel was also excavated in 1993, but no detailed information was available.


  • The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hertford, London, 1912. 3:216.
  • N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953 (1977), 122-123.
General view.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 266 362 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Hertfordshire
now: Hertfordshire
medieval: not confirmed
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: St Margaret of Antioch
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Hazel Gardiner