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St Mary, Meesden, Hertfordshire

(51°58′23″N, 0°5′36″E)
TL 439 326
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hertfordshire
now Hertfordshire
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Ron Baxter
16 April 2018

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Feature Sets

Meesden is a village in the East Hertfordshire district of the county, 5 miles NE of Buntingford, 8 miles N of Bishop’s Stortford, and half a mile from the Essex border. The church stands at the end of a lane, half a mile E of the village centre, close to the course of a Roman road that runs NE from Brent Pelham.

St Mary’s consists of a 12thc nave with short transeptal chapels of the 13thc, the N now a vestry and the S an organ room. The brick S porch is an attractive addition of the early 16thc, and over the W gable is a shingled timber bell turret with an upper traceried stage and a shingled pyramid spire. This feature dates from the restoration of 1877. The chancel was rebuilt c.1300 and includes an important tiled pavement of the early 14thc. Apart from the features mentioned above, construction is of flint rubble with stone dressings. The church is now part of the benefice of Anstey, Brent Pelham, Hormead and Wyddial. The only Romanesque feature found was the S doorway.


Meesden was held by Alweard, a man of Archbishop Stigand, in 1066, and by Payne from the Bishop of London in 1086. It was then assessed at 1 hide and the occupants included a priest, suggesting the presence of a church at that date. By the early 13thc, Aubrey de vVere was holding Meesden from the bishop, and in the middle of that century the manor was held by a sub-tenant under the Earl of Oxford. For the later history of the manor, and its granting to the Carthusian monastery of St Mary Graces by the Countess of Pembroke in 1376, see VCH (1914).


Exterior Features



Pevsner (1953) compares the porch with that at Wyddial.


Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID 160357.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth 1953, 166.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire (London, 1910), 150.

Victoria County History: Hertfordshire vol. 4 (1914), 88-90.