British Listed Buildings

History in Structure

If you log in, you can comment on buildings, submit new photos or update photos that you've already submitted.

We need to upgrade the server that this website runs on. Can you spare a quid to help?.

Church of St Leonard, Flamstead

Description: Church of St Leonard

Grade: I
Date Listed: 26 January 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 157803

OS Grid Reference: TL0788714548
OS Grid Coordinates: 507887, 214548
Latitude/Longitude: 51.8192, -0.4362

Location: 6 Priory Orchard, Flamstead AL3 8BS

Locality: Flamstead
Local Authority: Dacorum Borough Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: AL3 8BS

Incorrect location/postcode? Submit a correction!

Explore more of the area around Flamstead, Hertfordshire at Explore Britain.

Listing Text

TL 0714
(South side)
9/27 Church of St. Leonard


Parish church. W tower early C12; nave arcades, aisles, and W part of
chancel early C13; NE sacristy and E part of chancel early C14;
clearstorey, nave roof, upper stage of tower, short spire and its
massive angle buttresses, the rood-stair at NE corner of nave and N and
S porches C15; brick tower parapet and buttresses to aisles C18; nave
roof partly renewed 1791; chancel repaired c.1860 for University College
Oxford; restoration c.1902-5 by E.F. Cobb; restoration and spire rebuilt
and shingled 1974. Flint walling with coursed flint facing and
Totternhoe stone dressings. Tower top and parapet in red brick. Brick
buttresses to aisles. Much SPAB type tile repair to stonework. Exterior
of some clearstorey windows a pioneering use of stone-dust faced
fibre-glass. Steep old red tile roofs to S aisle, chancel and sacristy
(hipped), low pitched metal roofs elsewhere. Standing isolated in
churchyard a large ancient church of 3-bays chancel, 6-bays nave and
aisles, N and S gabled porches, 3-stages massive W tower, and 2-storeys
sacristy at N side of chancel. The church contains the most important
series of wallpaintings in the county apart from St. Albans Abbey.
Chancel narrower than nave with steep pitched open timber roof of
3-bays. Clasped-purlin construction on tie-beam and collar trusses.
Straight braces to collars. Curved wind-braces. Ashlar pieces to each
flat rafter. One step up at chancel arch, altar rail, and altar. A
moulded stone string runs round the interior below the windows (missing
on rebuilt E wall). Near W end of N wall a lancet window with rebate at
outside and deep splays within. Small door to sacristy further to E, and
in a blocked archway within altar rails a large neo-classical monument
in veined grey marble signed 'JOHN FLAXMAN FECIT 1782' in form of a
large tablet with 2 panels of inscription and reclining figures of Hope
and Faith with slender fluted urn between. Inscription to Sir Edward
Sebright. Oak altar rail c.1700 with twisted balusters. Renewed 4-lights
E window with traceried head in C14 Dec. style. 2 2-light similar
traceried windows restored in S wall. Moulded string canted up over
priest's door. To E are stepped C14 sedilia of 2 and one seats with
cinquefoil ogee heads, the latter with spandrels. Immediately to E a
sharply pointed cinquefoil piscina. On wall above this an alabaster and
marble wall monument to Sir Bartholomew Fouke d.1604 with kneeling
figure at prayer desk under round arch with panelled pilasters, full
entablature, broken pediment and armorial achievement. Projecting
console brackets at base frame bottom panel with painted inscription and
strapwork apron. The brackets formerly carried tall marble obelisks.
Wide C14 chancel arch of 2 chamfered orders, with Perp C15 oak
rood-screen of 5 bays the central a cinquefoil cusped opening. Each tall
bay has 6 narrow lights with the central mullion running up to apex of
arched head. C17 oak altar table. Brasses in chancel floor to
John Oudeby rector 1414 in vestments with ogee canopied niche above. C15
figure of man, wife and 4 children. Slab with indents only. Nave of same
width as Norman nave of 1:3 proportion. 6-bays early C13 arcades erected
on inner edge of older foundations. Pointed arches of 2 hollow chamfered
orders, octagonal piers, moulded bases and stiff-leaf capitals. Responds
have slim circular attached shafts and capitals with 2 tiers of leaves.
NE respond cut back and arch widened in C15 for access to rood stair. 4
clearstorey 2-light cinquefoil windows to each side square-headed
externally, in 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th bays from E. Low-pitched C15 open
timber roof of 6 bays. Stone corbels of angels with shields support
wall-posts and long curved braces to heavy cambered chamfered tie-beams.
Short king-posts with moulded curved braces to moulded ridge-beam.
Moulded purlin to each slope supported on tie-beam. Repairs in 1791
recorded by inscription on beam. On shafts of nave arcades are 3 incised
inscriptions recording burial places of John Pace d.1596, Ffrauncys
Cordell d.1597, John Grigge d.1598. 6-sided oak pulpit of 1698 with
bolection-moulded panels and low pedestal. Wall paintings: lower parts
of 4 large Apostles C13 in red ochre: upper walls have Three Living and
Three Dead Kings and very large St. Christopher C15. Christ in Glory on
a rainbow and Doom of C15 over chancel arch, possibly over earlier
paintings. Narrow pointed upper doorway to roodloft to N of chancel
arch. Small narrow door high-up at W end of N arcade, to former W
gallery removed in C19. N aisle has C15 E window of 2 cinquefoil lights
and a similar window to each side of N porch. 3-light C14 Dec taller
window with ogee reticulated tracery lighting altar of former Beauchamp
Earls of Warwick in chantry in 2 E bays of aisle. Prsent altar erected
in C20. Wall paintings mid C14 fragments of 6 subjects of Passion from
New Testament. Walls divided into 2 tiers by spiral design in red. 2
hatchments of Sebright family on N wall. Organ at W end. Early C15 tomb
chest under arcade with stone effigies of man and woman under a single
ogee canopy. Image bracket at NE corner of aisle. Trefoil recess in E
respond of arcade. Painted on boards framed memorial to George Cordell
d.1653 Sergeant of the Ewry to James I and Charles I. Roof renewed
except principals with short wallposts and knee-braces. Narrower S aisle
has 2 3-lights windows in the E part restored in a length of wall
rebuilt in 1693, and a C15 window of 3 cinquefoil lights to the W part.
Large altar tomb at E end c.1690 by William Stanton (cost £1,500) to 5
children of Thomas Saunders of Beechwood in black marble with kneeling
children in white marble. Ionic pilasters and heavy segmental pediment
with armorial cartouche. Original iron railings with figure of surviving
child. On S wall nearby wall monument to Richard Pearce d.1800 in white
marble with panel between moulded consoles, urn finial, and armorial
apron. 2 hatchments on wall. Royal arms at W end. Roof renewed except
principals with short wallposts and knee-braces. 3 late medieval oak
benches at W. The W tower, 17ft square internally, has a wide C12
depressed semi-circular E arch with chamfered label and imposts,
underbuilt in late C13 with a pointed arch of 3 moulded orders and
half-octagonal responds, with a consecration cross on S jamb. C15
pointed moulded W doorway with contemporary 2-lights pointed window
over, with quatrefoil in head. Blocked 2-lights round-arched former bell
opening in each face of tower. Pilaster buttress at E end of N wall, and
larger projection with spiral stair in corresponding position on S, with
round headed narrow doorway at foot. C15 added top bell stage with walls
set-in on outside above moulded string, and 2 cinquefoil light square
headed bell opening in each face. 2 hatchments in base of tower. Square
N porch C15, gabled with 2-centred opening with hollow-chamfered and
plain chamfered orders without imposts. Original open timber roof with
flat rafters carried on moulded ridge and wallplates. Short king-post
with curved brace to ridge stands on moulded tie beams. S porch with
diagonal buttresses and brick gable parapet has 2-centred doorway of 2
chamfered orders without imposts. Boarded double doors. The 2-storeys
sacristy, now the vestry, on N side of chancel is 16ft x 9ft internally
with diagonal corner buttresses has a narrow C14 square headed window on
E and 2 symmetrically on each floor on N wall, with fireplace between on
ground floor. At S end of W wall is a curved recess for a winding stair.
The unheated upper floor has stone corbels to support beams. Arched
piscina in W wall. Hipped roof probably C18. Many of the present pews
are made from the old box pews. One bench end in N aisle has 'VICAR'
upside-down. Octagonal stone font repaired 1852. (I V Bullard Flamstead
its Church and History (1902): VCH (1908)197-9: RCHM (1911)88-9: Kelly
(1914)100-1: Pevsner (1977)141-3).

Listing NGR: TL0788714548

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.