BUSHEY HEATH, Hertfordshire – St Peter. 


Fellowes Prynne was responsible for the design of all but the chancel, which was by James Neale. This had been added in 1891 to the much simpler chapel of 1836-7, and indeed Neale was commissioned to draw up plans to rebuild the rest of the church. However, this rebuild did not take place until Fellowes Prynne was asked to produce plans. There is a drawing in the church, seemingly in Fellowes Prynne’s hand, showing that the tower was intended to have a spire. The plans also showed a stone screen of the kind seen at Staines or Taplow. Fellowes Prynne retained the basis of the 1891 chancel, but the remainder of the design is his.

Externally, the building is stone faced. There is the usual steeply-pitched tiled roof, but, unlike all churches designed solely by him, there is a change of level at the chancel. The gable ends of the transepts and the rounded roofs of the chapel and baptistry provide variety and interest, and the balance is completed by the ornate tower, despite the fact that it is missing its planned spire.

The interior attains the height and scale common to all Fellowes Prynne’s large churches, with high arches, and no clerestory as such, but instead a level of small quatrefoil windows. Between each arch, leading up to each quatrefoil, is a slender twisted pillar, set upon an angel corbel. Such pillars have been seen at other locations but not with the barley-twist feature, although this can be seen on main pillars at St Peter’s, Ilfracombe, and St. Michael, Beaconsfield.  At Bushey Heath, the main pillars, which are not as massive as are frequently seen in Fellowes Prynne’s churches, feature concave faceting (only seen elsewhere at St. Nicolas, Taplow) and bands of leafy decoration just below the capital – again rare. The chancel contains wooden screens and an organ case which appear to be to Fellowes Prynne’s design; the sanctuary has little of his work.

There is a Lady – or morning – Chapel, which was designed by Fellowes Prynne but not built until after the First World War. It is in his usual apsidal form, and houses the War Memorial. It has come to be known as the St. George’s Chapel. The windows in the apse of the chapel were crafted by Percy Bacon Brothers, whose company Fellowes Prynne used almost exclusively for his stained glass work. There is an apsidal baptistry at the west end, with ribbed ceiling resembling the night sky.

Engineers Kinnell & Co were responsible for the installation of the heating.

The first postcard illustrated, showing the exterior of the church, was sent in 1935.  The second (undated) postcard below it puts the church in context with its location, and some interesting driving!  The third, to the right, is of the lych gate, again undated.

The photographs show views looking east and west inside the church, the Lady (now St George’s) Chapel, and the baptistry.  They are by John R. Salmon, and used by kind permission.