Hertfordshire Genealogy

Guide to Old Hertfordshire


St Mary's Church, Rickmansworth




The following description comes from Guide to Hertfordshire, by An Old Inhabitant (1880)

The Parish Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a spacious but comparatively modern building, except the tower, which is a fine old flint one, with battlements and a spire. The body of the Church was originally of the same material as the tower, and of antique form; but at the beginning of the present century it was rebuilt of brick, coloured to resemble stone, and is as plain as can well be imagined. The interior resembles many Dissenting Chapels, with a flat plastered ceiling, and single iron pillars to support the roof and galleries, which are on three sides of it. The old monuments have been displaced, and some of them not improved by being so; an interesting one, which used to be a table or altar tomb in the chancel, to the memory of Henry Cary, Earl of Monmouth, who died June 13th, 1661, aged 65, and his wife, Elizabeth, is an example. The upper part of this tomb now forms a top to the communion table; and another marble slab, which formed one of the sides, is placed in the wall at the end of the table, and contains a very long inscription, telling us that Robert Earl of Monmouth, the son of the above, with his wife Elizabeth, and others of their family, are buried here. Over this slab is another of white marble, on which two coats of arms are finely sculptured.



Postcard in A G C Series circa 1904


The chancel is formed by a sort of apse at the end of the Church, in which is a very beautiful window of stained glass, supposed to be 300 years old, representing the Crucifixion; it was purchased at Paris for about 200, in the year 1800, by the late Vicar, and is said to have been formerly in the Church of St. John at Rouen. On the opposite side to the monument of the Earl of Monmouth, is a tablet to the memory of the Rev. - Hutchinson, a former Rector; and on the wall in the gallery, a memorial is placed to the Rev. E. Hodges, another Rector. On the north wall is a large handsome mural monument, to R. Williams, Esq., of Moor Park, who died January I7th, 1814, aged 79, and to his grandson, William Pitt Williams. Another is to H. Fotherly Whitfield, Esq., of Rickmansworth Bury, who died Sept. 1816, and his sister, Ann Whitfield. At the end of the gallery is a fine monument to the memory of Sir Thomas Fotherly, Knight, and also of his son, Sir Thomas Fotherly. In recording the memory of the first Knight, who was doubtless loyal to the Stuarts, it is stated that "he was one of the gentlemen of the Privy Chamber to Charles I. of glorious memory, and one of the Privy Council to his son Prince Charles, afterwards King of England, of immortal memory." There are no dates, but it says that "John Fotherly, Esq., erected this tomb." At the end of the north gallery a large ornamental tablet records the memory of Timothy Earle, of Moor Park, who died 1737, aged 80, and also his son, Timothy Hare Earle, of Swallofield Place, who died June 25th, 1816, aged 79.



It is recorded that John Fotherly, Esq., whose name is mentioned in connection with his father's tomb in this Church, was Sheriff of Herts in the 4th year of the reign of Charles IL, and that the family who possessed Rickmansworth. Bury, became extinct through the, son of that gentleman with his only daughter, being swallowed up by the dreadful earthquake in Jamaica in 1694; he bequeathed the reversion of the Manor to Temple Whitfield, Esq., which has now descended to J. Swinton Gilbert, Esq., Chauncy mentions several inscriptions here to the Colts, O'Neals, and Ashbys, which are now difficult to discover. In the middle of the nave is one to the memory of Thomas Day, who died in 1613, and his two wives, Alice and Joan, with the following quaint epitaph appended;-

"Those three no doubt had faith in Christ Their sins for to forgive,

And they can tell who knew them well, The poor they did relieve."

The brasses represented a man between two women; one of the figures is gone.


There is a fine organ in the western gallery. The windows in the Church, except the splendid one at the east end, are very plain and common looking. The living is a Vicarage, of the annual value of 610, with residence, in the patronage of the Bishop of St. Albans. The Register of the parish dates from 1571.


St Mary the Virgin, from church guide circa 1950

Further Information

Historical Sketch of Rickmansworth - Parish Church

One of the windows was donated by Jonathan King in memory of his wife

January 2011   Page created
July 2012   Jonathan King link