This page contains some descriptions of the architecture of this fascinating church. From the limestone and flint exterior, past the weird and wonderful corbels (a monkey dressed as a monk?!), Norman stones, the now vanished musicians gallery and the imposing Gore memorial. There are many tales to tell and, as the website develops, we hope to bring you much more. In the meantime, a small taste...

 

Hidden secrets

A fine stained glass window on the east wall of the south aisle is dedicated to the memory of John and William Brown. The Brown family lived in Tring for several generations: John Brown was born in 1795 in Dorset but moved here in 1826 and was later joined by his brothers; William Brown, the youngest, founded a land agent business still going today as the estate agents Brown & Merry. John Brown founded the Tring Brewery to be found just off the High Street, though sadly no longer brewing beer; he also built and owned nine pubs in the area including the King's Arms in King Street and the (now defunct) Royal Hotel at Tring Station (originally called the Harcourt Arms after the then owner of Pendley Manor, the Comte d'Harcourt). John Brown died in 1890. (see Tring Personalities by Wendy Austin, Alpine Press 2000)



It used to be the custom to bury notables in the chancel. An early stone ‘cover’ - has survived, with floriated cross (now in the north aisle). Of the 13th century, a lancet window in the chancel on the north side has an ‘aumbry’ or recess for the Communion vessels beneath. Traces of the ‘sedilia’ or seats for officiating priests were found in the course of restoration.

Under the new altar in the chancel of Tring Church is a memorial tablet to Diana Elizabeth Wethered of Ashlyns (in nearby Berkhamsted); Diana was the mother of Henry Guy (1631-1710), a major politician of the Restoration who lived in Tring for 33 years.

In the early fourteenth century the chancel was decorated with tiles. On the floor, these were of 'Chiltern factory' production with a chequered or floral pattern (copied when the floor was re-laid). The technique was to lead-glaze an earthenware body, fired to make the brown ground and slip-coated as well before firing to make the yellow, with a touch of copper for the green. Those recovered (and now cased) include fragments portraying Everyman and his wife, and a royal personage.

The frieze-tile "masterpieces" (8 in all, 12.5 in x 6.5 in, and a fragment), at the British museum, are regarded as of the same provenance.

Harvesting a miraculous crop sown by Jesus

Medieval tiles from Tring Church, now in the British Museum

Jesus opening an oven in which children have turned into pigs

Jesus playing with a lioness and her cubs

Part of a series in which Jesus miraculously helps a carpenter

Raised yellow pictures on a brown ground, done by incising them on a slip-coated tile and then removing the slip from the ground before firing, illustrate episodes from apocryphal stories about the boy Jesus - all double, except for the "mystic feast". Two more of these tiles, from a similar series but with holes for hanging (and 2 fragments) are at the Victoria & Albert museum, in London.

Licence was given by the "mother church" of Lincoln in the early 14th century for a chantry [or memorial chapel] in the parish church.

 

The nave of Tring parish church was restored in the 15th century; the Totternhoe-stone columns then installed (replaced by Portland stone in the nineteenth century) went in part to All Saints at Long Marston, and to St Martha & St Mary in the West end of Tring. Masonry, "from a fluted column", lay over the centuries built into an Akeman Street property and was re-laid (1839) in the bake house chimney in Clement Place. Parts of the old arcade, between nave and aisles, were found during restoration in the north aisle wall. Still In position, under the roof of the nave, are wooden-carved figures of the Apostles with Paul and Barnabas and, below them, stone corbels of fabulous beasts. A Short Guide to the Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Tring, 1968, describes the building as largely 15th century restored.

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