St Mary's Church, Welwyn

A History and Guide

Kate & Tony Rook

Tony Rook / 1996


CONTENTS: Introduction; The Roman Period; The Saxons, Norman and Medieval; The Seventeenth Century; The Eighteenth Century; The Nineteenth Century; The Twentieth Century; Recent History; Outside the Church; Rectors of Welwyn; Structural History; Tour of the Church; Then and Now (photographs); Chronology; Acknowledgements; About the Authors.


One of the excellent diagrams showing the memorials and other features in the church


Few local churches can match St Mary the Virgin at Welwyn. In most nearby parishes, such as Datchworth, Watton, Tewin, Ayot St Peter, Ayot St Lawrence and Codicote, the churches are distant from the main centre of the village and stand alone among the fields; but in Welwyn the church proudly dominates the High Street.

This handsome building, with its tall tower, does not look as if it belongs to Hertfordshire, where towers are usually squat and crowned with "Hertfordshire Spikes" for steeples. The reason for this is quite straightforward.

Unfortunately for the antiquary, perhaps, but fortunately for the villager, the church has had rich and generous patrons, in particular the Wilsheres of The Frythe. So, in the last one hundred and thirty years, the church has been so remodelled and rebuilt as to obscure every external trace of the original structure.


This book shows what a good church guide, can do. It is written by someone who really understands history, and the diagrams showing the features on the walls is something which I would like to see copied in other church guides.

The many Then and Now photographs give a good impression of the church and some of the more recent changes, but are a little let down by the quality of the printing.

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