Our church buildings
We are a single parish with two church buildings.
St Thomas a Becket Church, Northaw.
A church has existed in Northaw since the early 13th century when the first building was erected to commemorate the murder of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. The present building is the third on the site, rising from the ashes of one which was burnt down in 1881. Through the generosity of parishioners and local families, funds were quickly raised for the beautiful church we know today which was consecrated in 1882.
The first church of which we have any knowledge, was a small, very simple church, which existed from Norman times until about 1808 when it was pulled down in order to build a larger one. We still have two links with this church: the fine old fifteenth century font which now stands near the bell-ringing chamber, and a beautiful silver-gilt chalice given in 1636.
The second building, dedicated in 1810, consisted of a square embattled tower, a nave and two transepts all built of brick and covered with stucco, the whole roofed with slate. On 29 February 1881 the church was completely destroyed by fire, only the lectern and Bible being save.
The present church is a fine example of Victorian Gothic style at its best. The building was completed and consecrated in September 1882, although the North aisle and Vestry were added a few years later.
The tower is 73’ high, has parapet walls with pierced tracery panelling and four pinnacles, 12’ high. There is a ring of six bells, the weight of the heaviest being nearly 13cwt.
The outstanding feature of this church is its ornate interior. Only the best craftsmen of the day were hired to do the job. The murals and wall decorations, notable examples of the revival of church wall painting in the Victorian era, was the work of the ecclesiastical decorating firm Heaton, Butler and Bayne. The church also has an almost complete set of stained-glass windows, supplied and fitted by stained-glass manufacturers Ward & Hughes of Soho and Heaton, Butler & Bayne. The ornamental tiled flooring was laid by the Minton Company, the organ with its decorated pipes (currently being restored by Robert Woodland) was built by Henry ‘Father’ Willis and the rood screen was carved by Harry Hems of Exeter.
For further information see Friends of St Thomas page
St Andrew Church, Cuffley
The original Church of St Andrew, which stood at the top of Plough Hill, was built in 1910 as a Chapel of Ease and was a place of worship for 150 dwellers in the hamlet of Cuffley. Built of corrugated iron, beautifully lined inside and decorated in delicate colours, the little Church served the community for over 50 years until 1965 and was replaced with the present building when the congregation became too large.
Cuffley became well-known overnight in 1916 when Lt Leefe Robinson shot down a German Army Airship SL11. This was the first German Airship to be destroyed on British soil and fell in flames near the original St Andrew’s Church.
The new Church of St Andrew was consecrated on St Andrew’s Day, 30 November 1965, and is sited on the top of a hill overlooking the village of Cuffley. The large cross in the apex on the east wall is lit internally and has become a well-known and loved landmark as it shines above the village.
Above the altar is an imposing sculpture in stainless steel by renowned artist Angela Connor, and along the south and north walls the beautiful vivid glass windows are unique due to the glass being melded together by a fusing process which proved too costly to continue.
The sloping site allowed for an undercroft to be constructed beneath the new Church and is regularly used today by the local community for all kinds of activities including celebration events, fitness classes and general meetings.