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Description: Church of St Martin
Date Listed: 27 May 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 162090
OS Grid Reference: TL2529320095
OS Grid Coordinates: 525293, 220095
Latitude/Longitude: 51.8654, -0.1817
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TL 22 SE KNEBWORTH LONDON ROAD,
(East side), Knebworth
105/4/143 CHURCH OF ST MARTIN 27.5.1968
Parish church. 1914 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, western bay 1963-4 by Sir Albert Richardson. Tuscan .style in red/brown brick with lighter red brick dressings. Stone bands. Pantiled roofs. Wide wooden caves with plain brackets. Cruciform plan within rectangular bulk of building. Semi-circular apse. Single storey aisles set back from west front have moulded stone cornices and panelled west doors with moulded architraves and block stone panels. Nave and aisles have small arched leaded windows, and the west end a three-light arched window surmounted by a pediment gable and a four-column timber and copper belfry tower with weathervane in Richardson's late idiom - distinctive yet harmonious with Lutyens's ensemble.
Remarkable classical interior. The aisles are separated from the nave by small arches on Tuscan columns, which continue as an arcade round two sides of the transepts, and the transepts are articula-ted from the nave by giant single Tuscan columns which support the plain wooden beamed ling. Single large niche at East end flanked by pilasters. Arched recesses with Tuscan columns to transept cast walls. Sloping nave floor rises to chancel: this is the opposite of the steeply sloping floor that forms an auditorium to his non~conformist church at Hampstead Garden Suburb, LB Barnet, of which this interior is a development. Integral chancel stalls raised on five steps and moulded stone base, forming composition with left and right lecterns on elaborately moulded stone plinths, which display Lutyens's mastery of classical mouldings. Steps and sanctuary floor of alternating black and white square marble slabs. Altar raised on three further steps behind baltistraded altar rail. In north-west aisle is a stone font, shaped like a large baluster, with turned timber lid, set on a cruciform-shaped plinth.
Christopher Hussey considered the church 'of considerable interest for its duplicated arched aisles', while for Pevsner and Cherry it was one of Lutyens's most remarkable churches'. Its classical form looked forward to the Baroque mastery of his scheme for Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. Sources.
Christopher Hussey, The Life of Sir Edwin Lutyens, 1950, p.326 Nikolas Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, The Buildings of England, Hertfordshire, 1977, p.221.
Listing NGR: TL2529320095
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.