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Holy Cross, Sarratt, Hertfordshire

(51°40′29″N, 0°29′55″W)
TQ 039 984
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Hertfordshire
now Hertfordshire
  • Ron Baxter
21 June 2018

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Sarratt is a village in the Three Rivers district of Hertfordshire (i.e. in the SW of the county), 4 miles N of Rickmansworth and less than a mile from the River Chess which marks the Buckinghamshire border. The village stands on hogh ground extends over 1.5 miles from N to S, with Great Sarratt Hall in the north and the Sarratt Mill House in the south. The church, in Church End in the S stands in what must have been an assarted clearing. Patches of woodland remaining around the village tend to support this interpretation.

Holy Cross is a small church, 12thc in origin, whose plan was originally cruciform. It has a chancel that was extended in the 13thc and again in the 14thc. The church was restored in 1865-66 by Sir G. G. Scott, when the transepts were extended westwards by 1 bay so that the church now has 2-bay nave aisles, but the western bays are slightly narrower. Scott also added a vestry on the S side of the chancel, entered through a door in the S transept, and the S porch. The 2-storey W tower is of the 15thc in the lower part, and 16thc above. It has a saddleback roof. Construction is of flint with ashlar dressings, and liberal use of brick in the tower. Romanesque features described below are the chancel arch and transept arches and the font.


Sarratt is not mentioned by name in the Domesday Survey. The manor was granted to St Albans Abbey by King Offa, a grant conformed by King John in 1199. Abbot Paul (1077-93) granted the manor to Robert the Mason, gave it to the monks shortly thereafter. Abbot Richard d'Aubeney (1097-1119) gave it to his nephew Peter, butler of William Count of Mortain, against the wishes of the convent. Under the next abbot, Geoffrey of Dunstable, rent paid by Peter de Syret was paid to the newly-founded Hospital of St Julian, In the middle of the century it was given by Abbbot Robert de Gorham (1151–1166) to his brother Ralph, again without the consent of the convent. It remained with the abbey until the Dissolution in 1539, as did the advowson of the church.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches
Tower/Transept arches




RCHME notes that Sarratt is an interesting example of an unusual type of late-12thc church, with a cruciform plan and a short nave. Imported Paludina limestone fonts (of Sussex and Purbeck marble) are common in Hertfordshire which has little local stone suitable for their construction.


Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 158916

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, Harmondsworth 1953, 232.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Hertfordshire (London, 1910), 200-02.

Victoria County History: Hertfordshire vol. 2 (1908), 438-43.