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We are a very small village of only 45 houses, and with a ruined
church and a Grade 1 listed neo-classical, or more precisely (and more rarely!), a Greek Revival church to maintain,
we welcome help! We welcome people to our services (once a month,
usually the second Sunday) and particularly welcome weddings
(about which we try to be very flexible!) and special events. We
are presently trying to raise funds for a small approved
extension tucked behind the north portico which would allow us
to install toilet and minimal kitchen facilities. WE hope to start construction in October 2013. This would enable
us to hire the building for a wider range of activities and
generate some income. We currently have a hatha yoga class in
the church (Thursdays at 17.00) but welcome other suggestions
and enquiries for events such as recordings, concerts (we can
seat up to 120 people but are more comfortable with 60-70) and literary events. Please talk to us!
You may be interested to know that we have a rather special
organ in the church: it is believed that this is not original to the
church but dates from the same period and is in very good
condition, having been restored and maintained by Bishop and Son of
London who consider it an excellent example of its type - and
still playing true! It seems it was inaugurated in 1815, and any further information would be gratefully received as we are hoping to celebrate its bicentenary by arranging a special concert of organ music. We have found the following diary extract, (read through to 1815!), courtesy of Matthew Adam Publications:
WOMEN'S LANGUAGE AND EXPERIENCE, 1500-1940
Women's Diaries and Related Sources
Part 6: Sources from Wiltshire, Somerset and Hampshire Record Offices
Reel 1 Wiltshire Record Office 1915/39
Diary of Mrs S Chauncey of Ayot St Peter, Herts, 1788, 1790, 1815
July 16 Dined a large party at Sir Lionel Lyde.
July 21 Betsy’s first Assembly.
Aug 1 We dined at Lord Salisbury’s went in Sir Lionel’s Chariot with our horses.
Aug 3 Took Betsy to school at St Albans, Lady Cathcart gave her a large silver spoon being her God
Aug 16 Betsy’s first letter to me.
Oct 30 Mr Howard and servant came.
Nov 28 A French Nobleman from Paris came recommended by Mr Mallet our friend.
Dec 8 Mr Howard went away.
Jan 4 A very grand Ball and supper at Lord Salisbury’s took Betsy and Miss Dove with me.
July 6 Mrs Dove and Miss dined with me at Sir Lionel Lyde’s, they being on a visit to me.
Aug 4 Mrs Dove and Miss went to the Assembly with me.
Jan 8th We were robbed of poultry and bees.
Jan 11 Mrs Caton sent three of his children to Mr Bewley, the Grandfather to Lincoln, Richard, Harriot and Thomas.
Jan 18 The sale of Mr Catons at Welwyn he absent. I ill in a fever.
Jan 29 Mr North’s sale at Bodicot, Mr William Wanen succeeded him, the same night our young plantation of trees shere loped of and spoil’d 19 in number, in ye front field.
Feb 28 Miss Noni died.
March 25 The infant son of Mr Beale died at Nurse Gregory’s, the person we bought ye phaeton of. Dined at Sir Lionel Lyde’s, with a party ye first time the organ was used.
June 5 Lord Napier gave Betsy a sash ye same as Princess Mary”.
Sadly we simply do not have the resources to help you in searches for family members as all of our old records were sent to Hertfordshire County Archives, but if you are interested in researching the church in a more general way that we will do what we can - and would be delighted to receive information about our rather odd building and the fascinating families involved with the church through the years.
Church Lane, off Bibbs Hall Lane
Ayot St Lawrence
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