We celebrate a centenary of a parish church for many reasons. We give thanks to God for the dedication and generosity of generations of priests and people who made their contribution to the life of parish and community in general. At Holy Rood, Watford, there are additional reasons for celebration. Holy Rood is an architectural gem. The distinguished expert H.S. Goodheart-Rendel speaks of the church as “having strong claims to be considered the most lovely church that the nineteenth century gave to England.” We are blessed with a building of exquisite beauty. What better way to celebrate its centenary than through careful repair and restoration. In this way what was passed on in faith and trust will he handed on in beauty and good order to future generations.

This book provides a guide to the church. drawing our attention to delightful detail and grand design in the art and architecture. It gives us the quite remarkable history of Holy Rood church and parish. What a fascinating history this is. Its origin embraces the devotion of an office boy, the generosity of a donor, the genius of an architect and the missionary zeal and vision of a great priest. The story deserves to be better known. I am sure this publication will contribute to this purpose and remind us of the eternal mysterious and marvellous workings of God’s grace.

+ James O’Brien

Bishop in Hertfordshire