I see that it's almost eight months since I last wrote here. My excuse is that I've been using that time to write a book about Hertfordshire churches, due to be published by Amberley in Spring 2024, but it's only a short book so that excuse is only partially true. In fact, life got in the way, as it often does.
I notice that in my absence this blog has passed the 200,000 - a fifth of a million - page views.
The architect was Ewan Christian, who restored Brent Pelham, Hemel Hempstead, Sandon and Westmill (and built Hertford Heath). He incorporated into the new church a 15th century north door (now blocked) and piscina (now in the north wall), and, according to the Statutory Listing, 'a 14th century string course across the east wall with a hollow chamfer and a north end terminating in a longsnouted beast with closed wings and issuing from its mouth a wavy stem ornamented with ball flowers, human heads and leaves'. I'd very much like to see that, but I'm sorry to say that I completely missed it on my visit. (Bettley/Pevsner don't mention it either, so perhaps they overlooked it too.)
However I didn't miss the brass commemorating Robert Wodehouse, the rector, who died in 1515. This is particularly interesting as it doesn't contain his image (unlike, say, that of the Rev John Wryght, d.1519, in Clothall), but instead features an inscription, a chalice and wafer, and two wild men, usually known as woodwoses. (There's a very relaxed woodwose lolling at the foot of a tomb in Aldbury.)
The mosaic reredos, installed in 1880, provides a glowing focal point for the church, embellished with spheres of coloured glass. The golds and deep blues are especially effective, and altogether it must be one of the best pieces of work of its kind in the county. Could it be by Powell and Sons, who were responsible for the outstanding mosaics in Waterford?