Ayot St Peter Church

A listed Arts and Crafts treasure

By V Richards

This painting shows the second Ayot St Peter church which existed from 1751-1862. The artist was John Henry Buckingham (1800-81), who was based in St Albans. This watercolour (WEWHM : 88/1) is owned by Mill Green Museum. They hold the information that Mrs Emily Webb was given the painting by her brother Alfred Cheek.
The third church around 1877, following the fire in 1874
The fragment of the third church, in use as a mortuary chapel in 1911
The remains of the third church, used as a mortuary chapel, before demolition.
Another view of part of the old church in use as a mortuary chapel
An early photograph of the current (fourth) church in 1905
Ayot Church c. 1911
A view of the church from Ayot St Peter Road
Church interior before the screen was erected in 1908
Plan of the church 1874 See www.churchplansonline.org/show_full_image.asp?resource_id=07774.tif
JP Seddon - Plan held at Lambeth Palace Library
Church interior 2008 see https://chrishowe.zenfolio.com/?q=ayot
Chris Howe
Ayot St Peter church 2004
The foundation stone of the current church

Saint Peter’s is a beautiful and important Arts and Crafts church designed by J.P. Seddon and completed in 1875. Saint Peter’s is one of only thirteen Hertfordshire churches featured in the book “England’s Thousand Best Churches” by Simon Jenkins (published in 1999). Services are still held every Sunday at 11.15am.

The current church is at least the fourth church in the parish. The previous structures were built on a different site to the north, where an old churchyard still exists.

A medieval church was built in 1282 and demolished in 1750, apparently because it had become too expensive and difficult to maintain.

The second church was octagonal with a separate bell tower to the south. This in turn was demolished in 1861-62.

The third church, the last on the original site, had a tower and spire and incorporated some remnants of the second church. It was struck by lightning on Friday 10 July 1874 and largely destroyed by fire, only the apsidal end remained. This was converted for use as a mortuary chapel but was finally demolished in 1954.

For more information on the history of the church, see the text of a book published in 2000 at


This page was added on 11/05/2010.

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  • Just come across the lovely photos of Ayot St.Peter Church,we were married there in Sept.1958.my Dad was head gardener at Ayot Place.

    By Eileen (11/02/2017)
  • As a child I used to walk up to Ayot St Peter from Welwyn either up School Lane or up White Hill to the farm then through the woods. I used to find the ornate brickwork on the church and the blue clock face somehow a bit spooky – but would really love to go back!

    By RH 1958 (09/09/2014)