The History of the Building

The Revd. Canon R. H. Gill A.K.C., rector of the parish from 1952-1970, did a great deal of research and he compiled a short illustrated history and guide book, published in 1957 and re-issued in 1970 and 1995. This is the source of the present summary, together with information gathered from other church records.


The origin and date of St Andrew’s is not certain but some authorities believe it is the original church of Hertford, the parish being created in 860 AD. There is some evidence that a small wattle-and daub church existed, destroyed by the Danes in 894 AD. This was succeeded, possibly in the 12th Century, by an apsidal church built of flint, plastered over, and consisting of a Nave, Chancel and North and South aisles. This was rebuilt in about 1480.


The present building was consecrated on March 24th 1870. It cost £4,000 and was built in nine months. The tower was added in 1875 and the bells re-hung at a cost of about £2,000.

In the 17th Century The Communion Table, which had stood in the Chancel, was moved back to the East Wall and enclosed with rails by order of Archbishop Laud. A three-decker pulpit was added. The Nave and Chancel were filled with high box pews allocated to local families according to their importance. The poor occupied rough benches at the back.


In the 18th Century there were various alterations and additions to the pews; in 1786 the Hertford Corporation paid £20 to the churchwardens for a pew to be reserved for their use. The font was of oak. There was a gallery on the North side of the church and an organ gallery at the west end.


By the 19th Century the church was dilapidated and described as cold, damp and depressing; it could seat only between 200 and 300 people of a parish of 2,200. In 1851 the North Road cemetery was consecrated as there was no longer room for burials in St Andrew’s churchyard. It was suggested that the building should be demolished and a new church built.

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