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Church of St Faith (Church of England), Hexton

Description: Church of St Faith (Church of England)

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 27 May 1968
English Heritage Building ID: 163012

OS Grid Reference: TL1038430358
OS Grid Coordinates: 510384, 230358
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9608, -0.3949

Location: Barton Road, Hitchin SG5 3JN SG5 3JN

Locality: Hexton
Local Authority: North Hertfordshire District Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: SG5 3JN

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Listing Text

TL 1030 (North side)

8/1 Church of St. Faith
27.5.68 (C of E)

- II*

Parish church. Mid C13 (dedicated 1254) incorporating fabric of older
church (dedicated 1108-14), S aisle may be earlier than N aisle; mid C15
W bay of nave, clearstorey end roofs, and W tower; renovated 1633; the
'rebuilding' of the church in 1824 by Joseph Andrew de Lautour and his
wife Caroline Young involved reducing to about 1.5M high the S and E
walls of the chancel, the N and E walls of the N chapel, the N wall of
the N aisle and probably the S wall of the S aisle, rebuilding the upper
parts of them in brick incorporating the old stone windows with their
sills a little lower, facing the whole building with stucco and putting
slate roofs on the chancel and N chapel, a new S porch, and replacing
the spire by a low spike. In 1947 the NW angle of the tower collapsed,
organ and W gallery taken down 1955 and a new bell enclosure was
constructed in the base of the tower 1959. Flint rubble with limestone
dressings, tower all stone with chalk ashlar facing to interior, S aisle
and porch red bricks. All the above faced in stucco. Chancel, N chapel,
and N aisle in red brick in English Bond now exposed. Metal low pitched
roofs to nave and aisles but steeper slate roofs to porch, chancel and N
chapel, tower now re-roofed and open to weather, the tower arch closed
by a glazed screen. A tall church of chancel, N chapel of St. Nicholas
(the E end made a vestry c.1820), nave aisles, S porch and W tower. The
Nave has 2-bays chamfered and roll moulded N and S C13 pointed arcades
with fat circular piers and imposts on S but quatrefoil plan piers and
imposts on N. Smaller 2 orders pointed chamfered C15 openings at N and S
in W bay; 3 2-lights clearstorey windows each side with cinquefoil head
to each light. 3 and a 1/4 bays C15 open timber roof with king-posts on
cambered tie-beams with curved braces from wallposts on 8 carved stone
corbels. Moulded ridge-beam purlins, principal rafter and sub-principals.
The latter have carved half-figures of angels holding shields next wall
with deep moulded cornice. Ridge mouldings continue down E and W faces
of king-posts ending in carved heads now gilded. Square flower bosses
gilded at intersections of moulded timbers of roof. The roof and
clearstorey correspond to the lengthened nave. Tall tower arch of 3
chamfered orders and jamb shaft with necking and cap. Early C19 box
pews in W half of nave and N aisle. 2-decker clerk's and reading pulpit
on N side and taller preaching pulpit on S side all c.1824 in oak with
narrow-panelled sides, diagonal corners, plain wooden corner supports,
and flying staircases of wood with slender iron baluster and wooden
handrail. Stair to high pulpit double-curved on-plan, and handrail
terminating in a wreath. N aisle has a 6-bays open timber roof probably
C15, with moulded axial aid cross-members but renewed joists and
boarding over. 3 windows on N, the central and E one of 3 pointed
lights of equal height, the W one of 2-lights beyond gap in plinth for
former N doorway. E window has trefoil heads to lights with hollow
chamfered mullions. E half of N aisle occupied by panelled manor pew
with floor at level of chancel, seats around interior, small fireplace
at SE with C20 tiled fire surround and flue in former rood-loft stair.
Entrance by a narrow tall pointed opening at E with gate. S aisle has
6-bays open timber roof similar to N aisle, a stone floor, and a pretty
early C19 octagonal limestone font inlaid with Gothic designs and panels
on shaft, bowl, and on inside and bottom of bowl. 2 2-lights S windows
with ogee tracery and trefoils in head. Chancel 3-steps higher is
internally remodelled in what Pevsner calls pre-archaeological
Neo-Gothic. This starts at the elaborate 4-centred wide chancel arch
with jamb shafts, small stiff-leaf capitals. Chancel covered by a
pointed arched plaster vault with moulded ridge and wall ribs and 3
pairs of cross-ribs. Foliate bosses and corbels. Sanctuary marked by a
cross-arch with wall shafts and cusped panelling to vault. Tall narrow
Gothic niches within sanctuary with pointed heads on side walls and ogee
heads flanking E window have painted lettering of Commandments, Creed,
and Lord's Prayer. Niches and ceiling ribs picked out in colour. 3-light
pointed C14 E window with cusped lights and trefoil in head has good
stained glass of Christ in Majesty 1964 by Harry Stammers. 2 bays
elaborately moulded C13 N arcade with column and imposts remodelled to
suit raised floor level of chancel. Small pointed door to vestry. S side
of chancel has buttresses marking 2 bays externally with a wide moulded
doorway in the E bay, early C19 with jamb shafts, and a wide 3-lights
Perp window in the W bay with hollow chamfered mullions and cusped
heads. Inside, the window is flanked by wall monuments in white marble
on black ground. To E William Young d.1824 with a Greek sarcophogus
above a pilastered panel. To W Joseph Andrew de Lautour d.1845
(inscription says he 'rebuilt' the church), a seated female leaning on a
sarcophogus with martial trophies behind. Signed, 'E Gaffin, Regent St
London'. Narrower N chapel has plain pointed plaster vault with impost
moulding. The W half is now occupied by the small organ with Gothick
arches to pipe chest and paved finials. Natural oak with gilded pipes.
3-light cinquefoil N window flanked by wall monuments. To W
Caroline Young de Lautour d.1869 a white marble scroll and cross on
black slab, signed 'Currie 548 Oxford St London'. To E Francis de
Lautour d.1807 probably erected by Caroline Young de Lautour after 1825,
signed 'Gaffin Regent St London'. On E wall a hatchment above 2 wall
monuments. N one Peter Taverner d.1601 and Frances his wife d.1636,
framed panel of Purbeck marble with arched margin and 2 inset brass
shields enamelled with strapwork surrounds. Arms of Taverner and
Docwra. Wide clunch frame with inset grey panels and inscription to
wife in bottom panel. Frame possibly added c.1636. On S a simple upright
rectangle of white marble with edge beadmould, epitaph to Poytz family
d.1701-1773. Uniform fine lettercutting so probably erected c.1773. To
LH of opening on W wall giving access to manor pew a small wall memorial
of white marble on black ground to Louisa de Lautour d.1845 and
Frederic William her son d.1846, signed 'T Denman 83 Quadrant Regent
St'. 3 stage mid C15 W tower, crenellated with string course at floor
levels. Set-back buttresses with 3 offsets and staircase rising in SW
corner with pointed doorways at each level. Slot window on S to middle
stage, and 2-lights pointed bell opening on each face with dripmould.
Projection at SE in angle with nave probably for stair to former W
gallery. Remains of S jambs of W door and W window. Gabled S porch with
gable parapet and pointed entrance. Plaster pointed vault. (VCH
(1908)356: RCHM (1911)115-6: Kelly (1914)148: Whiteman (1936)118-22:
Pevsner (1977)194 following research of Rev Keith Robinson: St Faith's
Church, Hexton anon n.d. [after 1963] 6pp pamphlet available at church:
Ashley Cooper (1982)16, 21: inf Mrs. Ashley Cooper).

Listing NGR: TL1038430358

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.