There has been a church on this site since Saxon times. The mound on which it rises is probably artificial and marks the meeting point of two ley lines. The present building is the third on the site. Cruciform in plan like a miniature abbey, it retains its Norman core, crossing and lower tower, completed in 1175. The chancel, transepts and nave are early English finished about 1290, probably recycling stones from the castle next door, demolished on the orders of Henry III earlier in the century. Perpendicular aisles, south porch and upper tower, with its ‘Hertfordshire Spike’, were added later. The church collection of medieval graffiti is famous; the font is almost unique and may predate the current building. There is a fine ring of six bells in the central tower, dating from 1490 to 1784. The living is in the gift of Christ’s College, Cambridge, whose fellows found it so desirable that in the 200 years from 1700-1900 there were only eight rectors.
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