Hatley’s churches

As with virtually every village in England – no matter how large or small and no matter how close together – Hatley St George and East Hatley had their own parish churches.

St Denis’ in East Hatley is probably the older of the two, but as always with really old country buildings, it’s difficult to be precise – so possibly 1217 for St Denis’ and 1352 for Hatley St George, although it’s more than likely there were buildings which served as churches on these sites well before then.

Both churches are Grade II* listed and built of field stones – although free, as they would have been lying around, they are a difficult media to work with, for being rounded they don’t stack easily and have to be held in place with lime mortar.

The churches had major rebuilds in the 19th century: between 1873 and 1878 for Hatley St George and in 1874 for St Denis’ – the latter by William Butterfield, the noted Victorian church architect.

Hatley St George church is The Chapel of St James the Greater and not dedicated to St George as one might expect – ‘St. George’ was a local family which gave its name to the village somewhere around 1250; St Denis’ was last used for worship in 1959 and declared redundant in 1980 – the building is now owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches, its churchyard, though, is still consecrated.

In March 2023 St Denis’ church won a Greater Cambridge Design and Construction Award 2023 in the category ‘Best conservation, alteration or extension of an existing building (under £2m construction costs)

Page updated 26th March 2023