St John the Baptist, Aldenham

Nobody can be quite certain of the date of Aldenham’s first church. However, the presence of large quantities of Hertfordshire Puddingstone in the present building may indicate that it rests on the site of some kind of pre-Christian worship. Christopher Webb’s wonderfully designed east window (replacing the window destroyed by enemy action in 1940) includes a panel showing the 8th century King Offa holding a Saxon Church, and an 11th century Norman window, probably from an earlier building, can be seen at the west end of the south aisle.The earliest available document to mention the present church relates to the appointment of a Vicar and is dated 1267, so it would seem fair to assess the origins of this building as the mid-13th century. The lower part of the tower, the font and a large part of the Lady Chapel date from this period, while the south and north aisles date from the 14th and 15th centuries respectively. To the 15th century too belong the wonderfully decorated oak roof timbers in the nave, the painted oak Lady Chapel screen and the upper tower, diagonal buttresses and stair turret.

In the16th century the chancel was widened and a vestry added. These additions and improvements seem to have been made without regard to the overall symmetry of the building, which remains quaintly asymmetrical to this day.

Coordinates: 51°40′20″N 0°21′17″W / 51.6723°N 0.3546°W / 51.6723; – 0.3546 .

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