Ayot St Lawrence - St Lawrence Church

Click on photos to enlarge
Notes in italics from Hertfordshire by Nikolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry (2002)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London. 

P1000944-transf-crp-varlt-u2-720-u0.3t5-q60.jpg (85477 bytes)

P1000972-varlt-u2-720-u0.5-q50.jpg (84990 bytes)          P1000969-transf-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (76460 bytes)          P1000977-crop-varlt-vary-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (68927 bytes)

Designed by Nicolas Revett (for Sir Lionel Lyde) and built in 1778-9 partly to replace the old church, partly to serve as an eye-catcher from the house. Hence its 'gloriette'-like far-spreading front. Hence also its stucco front and brick back. The church itself, no larger than, and rather similar to, an early C19 cemetery chapel, has a Grecian front, a thing unheard of at that time. The Grecian Revival had only just begun with Revett's and his colleague James Stuart's voyage to Athens and their publication of the Antiquities of Athens (vol. 1, 1762). To let one of them do a church or chapel with a real Greek temple roof proved a client to be eminently progressive (or ambitious, or perhaps just wanting to be fashionable). The portico with its columns fluted only at the top and foot is copied from the Temple of Apollo at Delos. The wings originally carried copies of the monument of Lysicrates in Athens. But the whole composition with side colonnades and little outer aedicules is not at all Grecian. It is a purely Palladian composition, that is the type of composition which was customary for English country houses right through the C18. To have churches really copying Greek temples another fifty years had to go by. ... In the outer aedicules stand the urns to Sir Lionel Lyde and his wife.  

P1000966-transf-varlt-vary-u2-720-u0.5-q50.jpg (80229 bytes)

P1000954-transf-varlt-vary-u2-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (88340 bytes)     P1000949-rot-varlt-vary-u2-720-u0.3-q50.jpg (69751 bytes)     P1000951-transf-varlt-vary-u2-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (85575 bytes)

The ground plan of Revett's church is remarkably original. A rectangular centre with coffered ceiling and a short W arm with a screen of two columns and a coffered tunnel-vault. Transepts of the same length and height, also tunnel-vaulted. The E end is a coffered apse, again of the same height and width, with two curved recesses. The small organ is original (restored 1964). 

P1000959-varlt-vary-u2-720-u0.5-q50.jpg (72909 bytes)     P1000963-u2-720-u0.5-q50.jpg (77745 bytes)

P1000957-transf-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5-q50.jpg (63702 bytes)     P1000953-varlt-u2-720-u0.3t3-q60.jpg (56622 bytes)     P1000968-transf-varlt-u2-h540-u0.5-q60.jpg (80652 bytes)

Old St Lawrence Church

Shaw's Corner, Ayot St Lawrence
(House of George Bernard Shaw)


Home Architecture Index Email:  Maps Link  (U.K.)

All photographic images on this website are Copyright the website owner 2001 or later unless otherwise stated. Email contact above. Full size originals (3-6 megapixels)  are available for approved purposes.