St John the Baptist’s Church, Ware Road, Widford, Ware SG12 8RL

(01920) 877276

Open: Mon – Sun
9:00am to 5:00pm

A History of St John the Baptist’s Church

There is only so much a web site can do to describe our church building and its place in the heart of community life here in Widford. We have included some photographs, but not everything is on view here. We strongly encourage you to come and look for yourselves!

The church owes its origin to the Cluniac Monks. The great Abbey of Cluny, Saone et Loire, France, was founded in 910 by William, Duke of Aquitaine. Members of the Order subsequently established themselves in England and founded Bermondsey Abbey in 1082. In 1118, Robert, Earl of Leicester and Mellent, bestowed the Manor of Widford on those Monks who were responsible for building this church.

The oldest part, built in the 13th century or earlier, was considerably extended in the late 13th and 14th centuries. It was then that the main building as it now stands was substantially completed. However, the centuries since then have seen a constant process of renovation and alteration as each generation has loved and cared for this ancient building. It is today, as through its history and as its founders intended, not a museum but a living and working place, hallowed by prayer and in constant use for the worship of God and for service to the community.

The parish’s oldest communion cup dates from 1562 and is currently on loan to the Abbey of St Albans. It can sometimes be viewed there as part of a changing display of articles of special historical interest. No valuable church plate or other artefacts are on display in Widford Church. However, the church building is open every day and regularly welcomes visitors from the village and, as part of the newly established London-Walsingham Camino, from all across the world. Visitors are helped to look around by a series of leaflets explaining the building’s key features. For those who wish to pray during their visit, there are also some seasonal guided prayer cards.

The building is locked for the night at about 5pm every evening (earlier in the darker months).

Widford Church

Visitors who are interested in tracing their family trees should contact Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. The Church Registers date from 1558 and are available for inspection there (except the current ones from 2005).

Please use the menu to select different aspects of the church’s history that interest you. We will be adding updates over time.

You might also like to look up the website of our “Friends” at