St.Margaret, Stanstead St.Margarets.
This is a pleasant little church, in between the New River and the River Lea Navigation, in an area being swamped by tacky little estates. Behind the proud east window, the building reveals its early Norman bones in a little blocked round headed window in the nave, with simple square patterns down the sides. The church expanded in 1316 as a chantry foundation for a master and four chaplains, and contracted after the Reformation. Becoming collegiate led to a northern aisle and chapel which has left its arcade buried in the wall; the windows to the north and west are all modern, but those to the south date from the C14th growth, as does the chancel with its splendid outsized Decorated east window, a curvilinear design rare in Hertforshire. The inside is simple, with no chancel arch, and retains a Georgian west gallery and low box pews. There’s a little bellcot on the roof from the same period, but that’s about it for here, apart from the atmosphere which is just so right that you’d make a fortune if you could bottle it. Such a shame about the destruction of its surroundings, but the railway station made that fairly inevitable I suppose.
Open Saturdays, in the summer at least, and only a couple of minutes walk from the station. There are good walks along the river and canal close by.
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