St Leonards, Sandridge


Herts Churches



St Leonards Church before the Victorian Reconstruction

Painted by Alice Hallings Smith in 1886

Of the few old churches in this county, now in need of restoration, that of St. Leonard's Sandridge, has perhaps the strongest claim. ... The oldest part is the nave, which is Norman. The Chancel and the north porch date from about the year 1400. The absurd little flint tower, with brick dressings and quoins, was built in 1837, on the site of the old tower which fell down in 1688. Fortunately, this tower already exhibits such symptoms of instability that its speedy destruction, either by reason of its own inherent weakness, or by the pick of the labourer, is near at hand. ... Later on these  clerestories were removed, and the roof of the Abbot John de la Moot lowered upon the original walls. From time to time, as the feet of the rafters of this high pitched roof decayed, they were cut off, and every time being set at a wider angle, we at length find a nearly flat roof. The huge dormer windows, as ugly as they are useful, now pierced through the lead-covered roof ... supply the place of the former clerestories. ...


Interior of Sandridge Church Looking West

Cussans, History of Hertfordshire, 1880
St Leonards Parish Church, Sandridge, Hertfordshire, c1880   St Leonards Parich Church, Sandridge, Hertfordshire - interior with box pews
St Leonards Parish Church, Sandridge, Hertfordshire  

St Leonard's Church, circa 1880

These three pictures, probably taken on the same day sometime before the restoration are by an unknown photographer. The originals are all very faded and dirty and while the contrast has been enhanced no attempt has been made to clean up the dirt.

The interior shot is of particular interest as it clearly shows the box pews which were taken out at the time of the restoration.

[Click on pictures for larger images]

Sandridge Church before the restoration on 1886/7.

Photo by J Barnard, Silvio Studio, St Albans

Click on picture for larger image on


Sandridge Parish Church

decorated for Easter 1897


photographer unknown.

Sandridge Church

H. W. Lane, Photographer, St Peters Street, St Albans

Posted St Albans, 1906


Somewhat later view (extra gravestones) by H. W.  Lane

Posted 1925?


The parish church of St Leonard is a very ancient building, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave or three bays, aisles, north and south porches and a western tower containing a clock given by T. P. Martin esq. in the year 1842, and six bells, completed by the relatives and friends of the late Mr. Thomas Smith, of Pound Farm; it was consecrated as a chapel by Herbert Losinga, first Bishop of Norwich, about 1119 and the chancel was rebuilt about the year 1399, by John de la Mothe, abbot of St. Albans; the tower fell about the year 1688 and was replaced in 1837 by another, pulled down ad rebuilt at the late restoration in 1888: previous to the late restoration, the exterior appearance of this church was vey singular, the nave and aisles being covered by a continuous roof of slight elevation, and the chancel by a roof rising to a greater height; the most striking peculiarity within the church was, until lately, the division between the nave and chancel, which consisted of a solid wall rising to the roof with a central doorway of Saxon or Norman date, constructed of Roman bricks, flanked on either side by square-headed Perpendicular fenestrations of three lights, with cusped trefoiled heads and a similar opening of two lights above the door; the screen being palin on its eastern; but enriched on its western side; in the course of the restoration it was partially removed and superseded by screen work of oak, yet without interfering more than was absolutely necessary with the architectural effect; the stained east window is a memorial to the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Kinder, of Sandridgebury, and was presented by their family; and there is also a memorial window in the chancel to the late Mr. George Young, of Nash's farm, given by his sister, Mrs. Burchmore: the nave and aisles are divides by Norman arcades of three arches on either side: the church was completely restored and lengthened in 1887-8, at a cost of about 3,4000, under the direction of Mr. William White, F.S.A. architect, when the tower was completely rebuilt, a vestry erected, the flooring relaid, the interior reseated in oak and refitted and the roofs constructed anew; the pulpit was presented at a cost of 50 by Mrs T.P. Marten, and the eagle lectern by the Misses Marten; he communion plate includes a chalice and two paten, dated 1776, to which a flagon, chalice and two pattens, all of silver, were added in 1876; there are 350 sittings; the churchyard was levelled in 1888 and a new path made. The register of burials dates from 1558; baptisms, 1559; marriages.1594. The living is a vicarage, yearly value from tithe rent-charge 285 with 6 acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of Earl Spencer K.G. and held since 1872 by the Rev. John Griffith M.A., LL.D. of St John's College, Cambridge. A Vicarage house was erected at the expense of Earl Spencer in 1874. (Kelly's Directory 1888)


Sandridge Church

by H.W. Lane, Photographer, St Peters Street, St Albans, posted 1906


Sandridge Church

C. H. Dawson, P.O. Stores, Sandridge

posted 1910

[Large image]


St Leonards Church, Sandridge

Published C H Dawson, PO, Sandridge
[Charles Dawson not listed 1902, listed as grocer & post office in 1908. Kelly's directory]


St Leonards Church, Sandridge, 2010


Click thumbs for large view

Thrale Graves Cox Graves
Lych Gate & Tower Reynolds Graves Jacob Reynolds


War Memorials

Sandridge Parish War Memorial

20th Century Service for 'King and Country'

October 2014   1880 and 1897 photographs