Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


St John's Church






Digswell Church

Published E. Ashby, Welwyn

circa 1905?


St. John's Church, Digswell, is nearly 800 years old. A church stood on the site at the time of the Norman conquest and today remains of the 12th-century walls may still be seen enclosing the Lady Chapel. The piscina by the high altar may also date from this time. When Digswell prospered in the 13th century, due to the annual fair the church was enlarged when an arcade of 2 bays was inserted in the north wall as well as the north aisle being built.

Sir John Peryent was responsible for the next addition, a chantry chapel built at the east end of the north aisle, and it was completed by 1439, In the 16th century 2 extensions were made to the church, a tower (c 1510) built on to the west end and chantry chapel, then extended to meet the east wall of the chancel. In the 17th century a south porch was erected but is no longer there as this was demolished in the early 1960s when the church was considerably enlarged to accommodate the growth of Welwyn Garden City.

Inside the church are a number of brasses which attract a lot of interest. Those in the best condition are of Sir John Peryent and his Lady who died in 1432 and 1415 respectively. Sir John is depicted in full plate armour of the period and is known to have been Esquire to 3 Kings, pennon bearer to Richard II and Master of Horse to Joan of Navarre, second wife of Henry IV. Lady Joan Peryent was Chief Lady in Waiting to the same Queen and a brass rubbing of her was once used on a British postage stamp.

The Hertfordshire Village Book

<< Digswell Church circa 1930???

Another undated postcard
No publisher

Title: Digswell Church - Publisher E. As???, Welwyn - Date "inland only" posted 1907

Digswell Church interior - decorated with flowers

Published by E. Ashby, Welwyn. (Misses Elizabeth & Sarah Ashby, Stationers & Fancy Repository, Welwyn in 1902 Kelly's Directory)

Posted 1907

February 2012   Reformatted on new page
May 2014   Link to Ashby