Building » Boxmoor – St Mary and St Joseph

Boxmoor – St Mary and St Joseph

St John’s Road, Boxmoor, Hertfordshire HP1

A modest church with a domestic external appearance, originally dating from 1898 and extended several times since. The design has a pleasant Arts and Crafts character.

The church was built in several phases. First came what is now the Blessed Sacrament chapel, a small gabled structure seating no more than fifty, which was built by Fr Henry Hardy and opened on 7 August 1898.  The general form of this, with the ridge lowered to accommodate a belfry, bears a resemblance to the later (1912) church at Tring (qv), which was also built by Fr Hardy, from designs by Mr C. Green of Boxmoor. However, small additions of 1900 (sacristy) and the enlargement of the chapel at the other end (in 1903) were designed by George Harvey, Surveyor.

In 1938 an extension was built at right angles to the original chapel (roughly as far as the present sacristy), an early design of A. H. Archard (then of Marshall & Archard).

With the post-war designation of Hemel Hempstead as a New Town, the population of Boxmoor grew rapidly. The 1938 extension was doubled in length, with a new sanctuary, and with a small hall built beneath. This was completed in 1951 (datestone on the end gable), from designs by Archard Partners. 


The church is orientated north-south, but this description follows conventional liturgical orientation, i.e. as if the altar were at the east end.

On the St John’s Road frontage is the small original chapel, with three small windows with canted heads and a tile roof topped by a louvred belfry. The lean-to former schoolroom abuts its end elevation. At right angles to this, and with a higher ridge, is the main worship space of 1938, as extended in 1951. This has an arched west door (no longer in use) and a gablet in the roof. The external walls are rendered, interspersed with brick buttresses, and the roofs tiled. Externally, the building has a domestic appearance, especially on the flank (garden) elevation, which has leaded casement dormer windows in the steep tile roof. The 1951 east gable end is slightly curved, with an inset datestone and windows in the basement (to a small hall).

The main entrance is now from the garden side on the north elevation.  The interior space is L-shaped, with the nave and sanctuary on the long axis and a Blessed Sacrament chapel and Lady shrine in the space of the original chapel and schoolroom. The Lady shrine has a statue of the Madonna and Child by Mayer of Munich, c1900. In the adjoining arch is the former baptistery, still with its gates and with a stained glass window of the Baptism of Christ, signed by Hendra & Harper of Harpenden, 1957. The font is now placed alongside the Blessed Sacrament altar, within a railed enclosure. Opposite this altar, three stained glass windows depict Dorcas, a holy woman cured by St Paul (to Kathleen Potter, d.1979), St Cecilia (to Molly Radlett, d.1986) and the Blessed Virgin and St Joseph (to Alice Porter, d.1977), the last signed by Wippell & Co, and all probably by them. The bays of the nave are delineated by large pointed brick arches, springing from about head height. Between these the walls are plastered with a boarded purlin roof above. The organ is placed at the west end, and a side entrance and sacristy give off the south side of the nave. At the east end, the sanctuary wall has a panelled dado, timber reredos and canopy. The reredos has painted rood figures of 1999 by Alexander Sidorov, who was also responsible for the painted decoration at Immaculate Conception and St Joseph, Hertford (qv). 

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established; Marshall & Archard; Archard Partners

Original Date: 1898

Conservation Area: Yes

Listed Grade: Not Listed