Lost Churches

The Domesday Book of 1086 shows that the town of Hertford consisted of 1200 acres of land, 146 head-of-households, two markets, three mills and two churches. These two churches were most likely St.Mary's and St.Nicholas.

St.Mary's Church (sometimes called St.Mary The Less), stood at Old Cross, on or about the site of the Public Library. It is believed that the church was pulled down in 1514, although the altar stone is now installed at St.Andrew's Church. Other remnants are stored in the museum's basement.

The Church of St.Nicholas was located at a position a few yards north of what is now Maidenhead Street, just behind the Abbey National Building Society. It appears that the church was demolished in 1675. When the site was redeveloped the font of the church was found and is now installed in a church in Tonwell.

Christ Church in Port Vale was built in 1868 in the gothic style but was demolished in the 1960's and is now the site of private houses. The church was designed by Thomas Smith, the County Surveyor, who lived in North Road House and whose grounds stretched back to Port Vale. Smith also designed Hertford County Hospital. The former parish school that lies behind the site is now the headquarters of The Company of Players.

The first Congregational Church stood opposite The Lord Haig public house to the east of South Street on land now occupied by Bluecoats. It was built in 1673 but in 1783 the church moved to new premises in Cowbridge around the same time as the land was acquired by Christ's Hospital School.

The Ebenezer Strict Baptist Church stood at the junction or Hertingfordbury Road and North Road, on a site now occupied by homes - adjacent to Ebenezer Court.

Christ's Hospital Chapel was on the south side of the school's playing field and was demolished in the early 1980s when the land was redeveloped as a Tesco supermarket.

Hertford Priory

drawing of churchIn 1087 a Priory was established in the town on land between the present Town Centre and Hertford East railway station. The Priory Church was dedicated to both St.John and St.Mary and was large, even by today's standards, being some 160 feet long. It is believed to have stood on the site of what is now Mitre Court in Railway Street. Following the dissolution of of 1538/9, the Priory was dismantled, although the fate of the church is uncertain. One account says that in 1629 the church was in ruins and a smaller church - St.John's - built on the site. However this was apparently pulled down later in the same century when the parish was merged with that of All Saints.

See also our gallery of churches

This article was last updated on Sunday 18th October 2020

The History of Hertford by Dr.F.M.Page
The Book of Hertford by Cyril Heath
A History and Guide of The Catholic Church of The Immaculate Conception and St.Joseph, Hertford.
Hertford - The Archive Series of Photographs, compiled by Mervyn Miller.