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Description: Church of St Mary the Virgin
Date Listed: 27 May 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 162760
OS Grid Reference: TL2169227244
OS Grid Coordinates: 521692, 227244
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9304, -0.2315
Explore more of the area around Wymondley, Hertfordshire at Explore Britain.
WYMONDLEY CHURCH PATH
TL 2127 Little Wymondley
11/148 Church of St. Mary
27.5.68 the Virgin
Parish church. Early C12 origin for the Argentein family, given to
Wymondley Priory c.1218, renovated c.1400 with chancel apse changed to
square end and W tower added. Restored 1874-6 except tower, rebuilding S
porch, extending N vestry and E end of chancel, and adding N aisle. The
work involved replacing the chancel arch, fittings, and font, raising
the nave floor level, and forming the N arcade of the nave. Restoration
in 1948 revealed the rood stair and openings in S wall of nave, and
ancient roof structure of nave. Tower restored 1966. Flint rubble, W end
of nave, and the tower faced in coursed flint pebbles with stone
dressings. Tower parapet of flint and red brick. Walls elsewhere
roughcast with deep plaster cove to eaves of S side of nave. Steep red
tile roofs, that of nave taller than chancel and extending down as a
catslide roof over the added N aisle. Pyramidal low tile roof to tower
with vane and weathercock. Small church isolated from village with
square-ended chancel, nave, N aisle, gabled NE vestry, S porch, and
embattled W tower rising only a little higher than the nave roof. The
chancel is one step up from nave and there are 3 steps to the altar. Red
and black chequered tile floor. Patterns and borders of coloured and
encaustic tiles on higher steps. Facetted boarded waggon roof with
cornice and battens. 2 original early C15 windows in S wall, the eastern
one has a single cinquefoil light with tracery in the head and 3-centred
rear arch. Western one a low-side window with cinquefoil head, pointed
chamfered rear arch, jambs rebated for shutters and pivots, now glazed
with an engraved glass window by Francis Skeat 1974. C15 piscina reset
in S wall has a cinquefoil head within a rectangular frame. C19 3-lights
E window in C15 style with stained glass. Single light N windows of
similar date. Stone C14 fine carved female corbel head reset in N wall
may formerly have supported the rood beam. Brass on N wall with
inscription recording the erection of a monument in 1605 by George
Nedham to his father John and grandfather James Nedham who came into the
county in 1536 (when as Surveyor of the King's Works he was granted the
lands and buildings of Wymondley Priory at the Dissolution and became
patron of this church). The altar has riddel posts. The nave has an
exposed timber roof from which boarding was removed in 1948. It is
single-framed with each couple having a collar with straight braces
under, and ashlar pieces at the foot. The 2 rough tie-beams may have
been added to hold in the wallstops. The roof structure is similar to
that surviving at Wymondley Priory (q.v.) possibly dating from the C13.
There is a considerable external projection of the S eaves, covered by
a plastered cove. The S wall is thickened where it contains the winding
rood stair with pointed rebated lower doorway and upper door facing W
with round-cornered square head and slot for rood-beam at threshold, 2
C15 windows in S wall, eastern one of 2 cinquefoil lights with traceried
pointed head, and encircled consecration-cross cut in the E reveal.
Western one a high single-light window with cinquefoil head and hollow
moulded 3-centred rear arch. C15 S doorway continuously wave-moulded
externally in 2 orders, and with a pointed wave-moulded rear arch.
C19 door flush beaded to inside. Tall 2-bays C19 N arcade in C14 style
with wide arches of 2 chamfered orders and octagonal pier and imposts
with moulded caps and bases. Image niche in NE corner, C15 reset, with
cinquefoil opening, square head, and semi-octagonal front bracket shelf.
C19 octagonal oak pulpit and lectern. Swept-back mission style pews with
openwork scissor-shaped ends. Black stone armorial grave slabs in floor
next the chancel step are to George Nedham 1669, George Nedham 1726, and
Rev Stephen Woodifield 1757 (under the pulpit). Caen stone octagonal font
of 1875 with C17 moulded oak cover topped by symmetrical arrangement of
oak flying buttresses of serpentine shape supporting a centre with
pendant and pierced obelisk finial. Brass plates at rear of nave record
the erection of a clock in 1903 for the Coronation of Edward VII,
restoration of belfry windows and masonry of tower 1966, and restoration
of W window 1974. 2-centred C15 tower arch of 2 chamfered orders, with
jamb shafts and caps. Oak screen with embattled headbeam across tower
arch. W tower of 2 receding stages with tiled offset below the
crenelated parapet, a chamfered string course at sill level of the
2-lights belfry openings on N and W with trefoil heads in rectangular
opening. Chamfered stone base to tower. 2-lights W window with 4-centred
head. Hatchment-shaped clock-face with raised circular metal fret.
2-bays N aisle is a wide lean-to structure with a buttress between its 2
N windows. Open timber roof on central arched braced principal with
collar and brace to the purlin. 2 2-lights cinquefoil N windows with
square heads and 3-centred rear arches. Single-light pointed W window.
Open to vestry on E. NE vestry gabled with prominent bargeboard, pointed
2-lights window with Y-tracery and cinquefoil lights. Red brick chimney.
Chamfered stone E doorway with boarded door. Stuccoed S Porch lined as
ashlar with stucco label mouldings, battened doors, and cross on gable
parapet. Church said to have formerly been dedicated to St. Peter. (RCHM
(1911)148-9: VCH (1912)191: Kelly (1914)296: Pevsner (1977)243:
St. Mary's Church Little Wymondley n.d. (church guide): inf Mr. Farris).
Listing NGR: TL2169227244
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.