Church History

In the 1850's the village of Bourne End was in the parish of Northchurch and the Rector of Northchurch, the Reverend Sir John Culme Seymour, had felt for some time that the outlying parishioners living to the East of Berkhamsted should have their own place of worship. In March 1852 he had a meeting with the then owner of Berkhamsted Hall, Thomas Halsey to discuss the building of a Chapel of Ease for those parishioners. The Rector engaged the Architect G. Gilbert Scott, who later became one of the most commercially successful practitioners of the Gothic Revival Style, designing such famous buildings as the highly ornate Albert Memorial, and the grandiose St. Pancras Station Hotel, London. This is believed to be one of the first small churches he designed. The builder was Mr. Harris of Berkhamsted. Work commenced in May 1853 and the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester on May 23rd 1855. The stained glass windows were the first designed by Alfred Bell and made by Powells in 1854. They depict scenes from the life of Christ featuring the Nativity and Baptism in the N.E. window and the Crucifixion and Ascension in the S.E. window. They are particularly good examples of his work. The completed building and furniture had cost £1439-7s-6d and this was chiefly paid for the the Rector, but the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, who was Patron of the Living by virtue of the land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall in the parish, donated £100. The church remained in a plain and simple condition for 35 years until 1889, when Edward Curtis arranged for the church to be decorated. He had moved into Berkhamsted Hall and on November 6th 1888 had married Elca Rose, daughter of Sir Francis Alscon. Tragically, after only nine months of marriage, she died on July 31st 1889 and Edward Curtis had the chancel and sanctuary decorated and a new altar erected to her memory. He re-married but on his death 70 years later he was buried in the same grave as his first wife in the N.E. corner of the Churchyard. Find out more about this memorial. In 1915 the church became the Parish Church to the new Parish of Bourne End and had its own vicar who lived in the Vicarage next to the Village Hall until the Reverend Smith retired in 1956. Since then the Parish has shared its Vicar with the Parish of St.Michael & All Angels, Sunnyside in Berkhamsted. In March 2001 four of the six Alfred Bell stained glass windows were stolen. Fortunately the thieves were disturbed before they could finish removing the remaining two! Replica windows were commissioned and these were put in place in February 2003. During the period 2001-2003 the church has been renovated with the arrival of water onsite for the first time. There is now a small kitchen and toilet. The chancel paintings have been cleaned and restored and the church redecorated throughout. A new heating and lighting system was installed in 2003.