A brief history of the old church, fire and rebuilding
Although All Saints' Hockerill is a relatively young parish - 160 years old - the church has already been destroyed by fire and completely rebuilt.
The parish of All Saints' was created when the parish of St Michael's, Bishop's Stortford was divided into three. The first church was built in 1851 and consecrated on 7th January 1852. As a Commissioners' church it received parliament funding. The new parish was created and assigned to the new church by Queen Victoria on 2nd February 1852.
The Revd. John Menet was the first Vicar of All Saints'. Simultaneously he was also the first Chaplain of the neighbouring Diocesan Training College for Schoolmistresses, the buildings of which now constitute Hockerill Anglo-European College.
On Friday 21st June 1935 the church was gutted by a fire, making national news in 'The Times', 'The Daily Telegraph' and 'The Daily Herald'. Parishioners bravely retrieved valuable items from the burning building and tried to put out the fire. But they retreated when the roof caught alight, which then collapsed half an hour later. Firemen were able to do little owing to a lack of water.
The foundation stone for a new church was laid on 20th July 1936. The church was built quickly and consecrated only a year later, on 24th July 1937. The total cost was £27,178, approximately £1.4 million today. An impressive third of the cost was raised locally. Fundraising involved an auction that was contributed to by Queen Mary of Teck, The Duchess of York (later Elizabeth the Queen Mother) and film celebrities.
For more information and references, see the All Saints' wikipedia article.