We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Nicholas, Harpenden, Hertfordshire

(51°49′3″N, 0°21′27″W)
TL 133 145
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hertfordshire
now Hertfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=6533.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Apart from the 15thc. W tower (c.1470) the church was entirely rebuilt in 1862 by W. Slater. A number of 12thc. fragments survive from the original church and are currently located on windowsills in the N aisle. All are carved from Totternhoe stone.


Harpenden is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey. It was originally part of the manor of Wheathampstead which was given to Westminster Abbey by Edward the Confessor in 1065 (VCH, 296).

St Nicholas' Church was formerly a chapel, attached to Wheathampstead.


Loose Sculpture


Cussans records that there were traces of a central tower visible above the transepts during the 19thc. rebuilding of the church, and reports in a footnote that he had been told that the chancel was 'late Norman, resting on low columns with Byzantine capitals'. There can be little doubt that the fragments described above are the surviving chancel capitals.

Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire, London, 1911, 107.
N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953 (1977), 156-15.
J. E. Cussans, History of Hertfordshire, London and Hertford, 1881, 13-14: 359-60.
M. Thurlby, 'The Place of St Albans in Regional Sculpture and Architecture in the Second Half of the Twelfth Century', British Archaeological Association Conference Transactions, 24, Leeds, 2001, 162-75.