The church was revolutionary for the time; it resembles a Greek temple and was intended to form an eye-catcher. The urns, which are raised on tall plinths and sheltered by aedicules, stand like soldiers in sentry boxes to either side of the building.
Grade I (England and Wales)
Sir Lionel Lyde (1724-91) commissioned the design of the Church of St Lawrence and its linked mausolea from Nicholas Revett, one of the authors of the ground-breaking book Antiquities of Athens (the first volume of which was published in 1762). The conceit of placing the commemorative urns for Lyde and his wife Rachel in the colonnades to either side of the portico of the church was an entirely new device and not copied elsewhere. Lyde is alleged to have said of this arrangement that ‘since the Church united us in life, she can make amends by separating us in death’.
BoE: Herts (1978) 80;
H Colvin, Architecture and the After-Life (1991) 268, fig. 239;
G Headley and W Meulenkamp, Follies (1990) 233-4, fig. 130;
VCH: Herts (1912) 3, 62.
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