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Church of Holy Trinity

A Grade II Listed Building in Leverstock Green, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7467 / 51°44'48"N

Longitude: -0.4296 / 0°25'46"W

OS Eastings: 508514

OS Northings: 206496

OS Grid: TL085064

Mapcode National: GBR G6W.D6X

Mapcode Global: VHFS6.HCRC

Plus Code: 9C3XPHWC+M5

Entry Name: Church of Holy Trinity

Listing Date: 17 February 1977

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1342163

English Heritage Legacy ID: 355502

Location: Leverstock Green, Dacorum, Hertfordshire, HP3

County: Hertfordshire

District: Dacorum

Electoral Ward/Division: Leverstock Green

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Hemel Hempstead

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Leverstock Green

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: Church building

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Leverstock Green



894/9/243 BEDMOND ROAD
17-FEB-77 (North side)

Designed 1846, built 1847-9: architect Raphael Brandon.

MATERIALS: Flint-faced with sandstone dressings. The heads of the window and door arches include tiles and bricks set voussoir-wise to create a polychromatic effect. The parish hall etc walls are fully covered with red tile hanging. Brown clay tile roofs. The parish room has a flat lead roof with a brown tile-hung central roof.

PLAN: Four-bay nave and N and S aisles, S porch, chancel, NE vestry flush with the E end, parish room etc W of the nave.

EXTERIOR: The church has no tower but a double bellcote on the W gable of the clerestoried nave. Both gables of the bellcote have a prominent gable cross. The clerestory windows are formed of small quinquefoiled and quatrefoiled piercings. The lean-to aisles have two-light windows with varied tracery forms derived from the early C14 but also with a square-headed Perpendicular window in the NE part of the N aisle. The W window is also of two-lights with early C14 tracery. The chancel tracery is more elaborate than that in the body of the church. The E window is of three lights and has interestingly inventive tracery including elongated mandorla shapes embracing trefoils. The chancel two-light S windows each have a different type of tracery design. A remarkable feature is the use of polychrome in the heads of the windows as mentioned in Materials above. The chancel is slightly lower than the nave. At its NE corner the vestry is placed under a catslide roof.

INTERIOR: The walls are plastered and all the surfaces, including originally bare stone ones, have been painted white. The principal feature is the arcading between the nave and aisle which has double-chamfered arches lacking hood moulds. The piers alternate between octagonal and circular with opposite piers having different sections. The capitals are moulded and the bases chamfered. Between the nave and chancel the arch has a sharply pointed arches with two sunk-chamfer mouldings. Over the nave the roof is plain and is seven-sided as is that on the chancel. The aisle roofs are lean-tos and are quite plain.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: A number of features remain from the original building of the church or very shortly afterwards. The font is a bold octagonal design with large sunk trefoils on the bowl. The simple benches with L-shaped ends are also probably of 1849. Pride of place probably goes to the stained glass in the chancel with its patterned glass (E) and figurative glass (S). The wooden polygonal pulpit is the work of Maxwell Ayton, 1901. A significant refitting took place in 1932 under Walter Tapper who provided the stalls, stone altar and beautifully-designed coved rood screen. The screen was set back further E in the chancel and the stalls repositioned during the reordering of 1986.

HISTORY: When the church was built, the area around Leverstock Green was poor, but the population was expanding due to the growth in the local brick and tile making industry. In 1846 a meeting of local worthies was held at Abbots Hill, the home of John Dickinson, the paper manufacturer and local landowner, and the decision was taken to build an Anglican church to serve the community. Land for the church was given by Lord Verulam and designs were sought from J R and J A Brandon of London. In August 1847 the contract was signed with a Mr Lilley of Measham, the cost being £1,591,10s 6d. The stone mason was a Mr Elliot of Leicester. The resulting building, opened in 1849, had 404 seats (350 of them free). It is a good and typical example of church-building in the 1840s, drawing upon medieval precedent and having a new-found seriousness and archaeological accuracy which would have been unlikely in a church even ten years previously. But in one detail, and a visually significant one, Holy Trinity church is embellished in a most extraordinary way - the use of polychromy in the arch heads. Polychromy generally does not make an appearance until the 1850s when it was taken up with relish by architects and clients who had come under he spell of Ruskin's writings. So the work at Holy Trinity is particularly early and some of the individual treatments are more like the work one might expect in an Arts and Crafts church, notably over the chancel SW window which even incorporates little flint lozenges amid the tiles, brick and stone.

John Raphael Brandon (1817-77) was a well-known London-based church architect. He worked with his younger brother Joshua Arthur until the latter's early death in 1847. The brothers were the authors of An Analysis of Gothick Architecture (1847).

Walter John Tapper (1861-1935) was born at Bovey Tracey in Devon. He became assistant to the well-known London architect Basil Champneys before becoming chief assistant to the great Victorian church architects Bodley and Garner. He set up in independent practice in 1893 and was in partnership with J L Davenport from that time. Tapper was consulting architect to York Minster from 1907 and surveyor to Westminster Abbey from 1928. He was in partnership from 1920 with his son Michael who continued the practice after his father's death. He was knighted in the year of his death and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

SOURCES: Nikolaus Pevsner (rev. Bridget Cherry), The Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, 1977, p 183.
www.bacchronicle.homestead.com/church.html (viewed April 2009).

Holy Trinity church, Hemel Hempstead is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is good example of early Victorian church-building incorporating archaeological correct Gothic detail.
* It also has innovative polychrome detailing which is remarkable for its date.
* It has original and later fittings of interest.

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