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St Andrew's BANNER Our History
Our history

St Andrew’s is in the Diocese of St Albans (previously it was in the Diocese of Rochester and, before that, in the Diocese of Lincoln). The Monarch, through the Duchy of Lancaster, is the patron of the living of 'Hertford St Andrew, with St Nicholas and St Mary'. You can follow the link to a map showing the parish boundaries as held by the Church Commissioners.

A church of St Mary stood until the early 16th Century on the old site of the public library at Old Cross. St Nicholas Church stood in Maidenhead Yard (behind Maidenhead Street). During the 16th Century, the population decreased and both churches fell into disuse; they were closed and the parishes annexed to St Andrew's early in the 18th Century.

From Hertford Castle westward, the parish comprises the centre of the town bounded by the River Beane to the north and the Rivers Lea and Mimram to the south. Beyond the housing estates of Sele Farm and Hertingfordbury Road it is bounded to the west by the rural parishes of Waterford, Tewin, Bramfield and Hertingfordbury. The total population of the parish is around 7500.  

The History of the Building


AerialStAndrew BG DRONES SHOTSThe Rev. 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.

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 200-300 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.

The present building was consecrated on 24 March 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.

The most recent, major renovation work on the building was completed in 2018 with significant funding received from the Heritage Lottery.

A full history of the town can be found at Hertford Museum.  

St Nicholas’ Hall (most recently known as 'Beckwith’s')

In 1887, to celebrate their 250th anniversary, grateful townsfolk of Hartford, Connecticut, sent a gift of £115.11s to St Andrew’s as thanks for information supplied about their ancestors who left Hertford for the New World in 1637. Further fundraising enabled them to purchase the site of St Nicholas’ Hall, with the cottages in front, from the Marquess of Salisbury. The hall was officially opened on Wednesday 5 April 1893. The architect was Edgar T. Wigram ARIBA of Lupus Street, London SW, and the builders were Messrs Ginn & Son of Hertford. In November 1900 the new Verger, Mr Cheshire, took up residence in the part of the renovated cottages at the front of St Nicholas’ Hall. It was sold to Beckwith’s (an antiques company) in 1970 and they kept the premises until 2018. The premises are now occupied by Brothership Beckwiths.

St Andrew's School

The St Andrew’s School started in an old tithe barn adjacent to the eastern end of the church in about 1845. The barn was demolished in 1863 and eleven years later an Infant School was built on the Hertingfordbury Road/Warehams Lane corner. A Junior School was added in 1882. It continued to serve the town until 1962 when the last phase of a new building was completed for St Andrew's C of E Primary School at Calton Avenue, Sele Farm. The church school continues to flourish on that site. Hertford St Andrew C of E Primary School

Further information

PHOTO CREDIT: Aerial images of the church taken by BG Drone Shots
Hello and welcome to St Andrew's. If you are new, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning. During the period of Covid-19, please see the information at the bottom of this page.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our main Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you find a parking space and can settle in before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome Badge.

Plan your journey:
Unfortunately, St Andrew's does not have its own carpark. However, there is a council-run pay and display carpark a short distance along St Andrew Street, to the east of the church - there is no charge for parking in this carpark on Sundays, but please check for charges on other days.

This is a useful East Herts Council website page for full details of parking in Hertford.

There are single yellow lines outside the church with parking restrictions, but some 30-minute parking bays are situated on the opposite side of the road for short stays (longer on Sundays).

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet towards the back of the church, behind the kitchen.

Our Service

The service will usually begin promptly at 10.30am and will last between 60 and 75 minutes. We enjoy the presence of an excellent choir who help us sing hymns (modern and traditional) as well as provide anthems and special songs through the period of communion. We have a traditional organ but also benefit from music played on the piano and by our band (eg on the Second Sunday of each month when we have an All-Age Service in which our children and young people are fully involved).

Each 10.30am service includes a sermon, prayers and eucharist.

After the service, everyone is invited for coffee and conversation - some like to stay for a  quick chat while others remain in the church for a longer time.


Children and Young People

We have a great programme lined up for our children. This is organised by our Family, Children and Youth Worker, Tracy Plumpton, who is always delighted to welcome new faces. Those arriving before their first service at St Andrew’s can ask to see Tracy or one of the other leaders.

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service before being invited to leave for the age appropriate activities after the first hymn. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our child safety policy.

The children and young people then return to the main service in time to join the eucharist and, if confirmed, take Holy Communion or, if not, receive a blessing.

There is a Children's Corner in church where you can go at any time. You will find books, toys and drawing materials there.

Toilet and baby-change facilities are located at the back of church, behind the kitchen.

Junior Church celebration

Getting Connected

Home Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week. Check out Home Groups on our website and see if there’s one that you could join. Alternatively, speak to a member of the Welcome Team who will give you the information that you need.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. Please contact Phil in the Church Office.

What we describe above reflects our normal practice on Sunday mornings. However, since March 2020 we have had to adopt new ways of organising ourselves. For up-to-date information about current services (in church and online via Zoom), please look at details on our Worship and Prayer Page.
Get in touch with us
If you have any questions, please do get in touch. You'll find our contact details here.

We hope that you will feel at home at our church.