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St Leonard, Sandridge, Hertfordshire

(51°46′54″N, 0°18′8″W)
TL 172 106
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hertfordshire
now Hertfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

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The church consists of chancel with attached vestry, nave with clerestory, N and S aisles and N and S porches, and W tower. The late 12thc. tower and the W end of the church were restored in 1886-87 by W. White, as were the 15thc. N and S porches. The original clerestory, which had been dismantled in 1786, was also rebuilt at this time. The vestry was added at the beginning of the 20thc.

The chancel arch, composed of Roman brick, could be 11thc. or 12thc. This was preserved when the chancel was rebuilt in the late 14thc. The 19thc. restoration replaced the wall above the chancel arch with wooden tracery. The angles of the original late 11thc. or early 12thc. church survive. The nave, and the N and S arcades are later 12thc., as is the plain, two order N doorway, The carved font is late 12thc. The church is constructed of flint and ashlar and some Roman brick.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Sandridge. The manor, including Sandridge church was given to St Albans by Egfrid, son of Offa in 796 (VCH, 433, 436), and the Domesday Survey records that Sandridge (10 hides) was held directly by the Abbot of St Albans. St Albans held the manor until the Dissolution.

VCH records that the church was originally a chapel of St Peter, St Albans (VCH, 437) and notes that the Gesta Abbatum Monasterii Sancti Albani (iii, 73) records that the 'Capella de Sandrage' was consecrated by Losinga, Bishop of Norwich (1094-1119). (VCH, 436 [footnote 85]). Losinga also founded churches at Redbourne, Newnham and Norton in Hertfordshire. (Transactions of the East Herts Archaeological Society, 370)


Interior Features






VCH dates the aisles to 1160-70, the tower to the end of the 12thc. and the font to the second half of the 12thc. (VCH, 436-37) and records that the two-order N doorway is modern apart from the inner order and the springers of the outer order. RCHME suggests that the chancel arch could be a survival from the church consecrated by Losinga (199).

Thurlby dates the aisles here, and those at nearby Abbots Langley, to the 1180s.

Prior to the 19thc. restoration of the church the font was situated on the W side of pier 2 in the N arcade. (St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archeological Society Transactions, fig.23)

Domesday Book: Hertfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 10,3.
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England): An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire, London, 1911, 199-200.
The Victoria History of the County of Hertfordshire, London, 1912, 2:432-37.
N. Pevsner and B. Cherry, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth, 1953 (1977), 332.
'Sandridge Church', Transactions of the East Herts Archaeological Society 1932-33, Ed. B. S. Harvey, 8 (part 3), 1934, 370-72.
J. E. Cussans, History of Hertfordshire, London and Hertford, 1881, 15-16: 222-23.
G. Somers Clarke 'Sandridge Church, Hertfordshire', Archaeological Journal, 42, London, 1885, 247-50.
J. A. Cruickshank, 'Some Dates in the History of St Leonard's Church, Sandridge', St Albans and Herfordshire Architectural and Archeological Society Transactions 1903-4, 2 (part 1), St Albans, 1905, 39-51.
J. Griffith, 'The Parish Church of St Leonard, Sandridge', St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Transactions 1903-4, 2 (part 1), St Albans, 1905, 32-38.
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, XXIV, Leeds, 2001, 162-75.
B. M. Roberts, St Leonard's Church Sandridge, A Short History and Guide, St Albans, 1999.