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St John the Baptist, Widford, Hertfordshire

(51°49′22″N, 0°2′55″E)
TL 413 158
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hertfordshire
now Hertfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

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The church has a chancel with an organ chamber on the N, nave with N vestry and S porch, and W tower. The nave and chancel are the same width and there is no chancel arch. The chancel and W tower are 14thc. the organ chamber, vestry and S porch are 19thc. The church is built of coursed flint and stone rubble and Barnack stone. Some of the nave walling survives from the original 12thc. church. 12thc. sculpture is found on a pillar piscina and a reset fragment in the S wall of the nave.


Before the Conquest the manor of Widford was held by Edred, a thegn of Edward the Confessor. At the time of DS it was held by the Bishop of London. Not long afterwards it seems to have been taken over by Ivo de Grentmesnil, who gave the land to Bermondsey Abbey in London. This grant was confirmed in 1118. The manor, which included the advowson of the church, remained in the hands of Bermondsey Abbey until the Dissolution.


Interior Features

Interior Decoration



Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


VCH notes that there are several 12thc. fragments in the nave and reset fragments of chevron in the interior S wall but at the time of visiting only one fragment was found, as described above. The piscina and other fragments were found near the tower arch when repairs were being carried out in the early 19thc.

VCH refers to the bowl of the pillar piscina as an 'early 12thc. cushion capital'. It is probably c.1130-1140.

The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hertford, London, 1912, 3:405
N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953 (1977), 406.