The church has a late 11thc. or early 12thc. aisleless nave and chancel, both with plain round-headed windows on the N. The chancel was extended in the 15thc. and the W tower was probably also constructed at that time. Late 11thc. to early 12thc. sculpture is found on S and W doorways, the chancel arch and W tower arch.
The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Kensworth, but records that the Canons of St Paul's, London held land there. Both Kensworth and nearby Caddington were held by St Paul's until 1872 when the Eccesiastical Commissioners took over responsibility for them. (VCH, 231)
The parish of Kensworth was transferred to Bedfordshire in 1897, but was originally in the hundred of Dacorum in Hertfordshire.
|h. of opening||2.92 m|
|w. of opening||1.28 m|
Plain square jambs with a slight roll on the angle. No capitals, just impost blocks chamfered in their lower half, with a groove immediately above the chamfered edge and carving on the face as follows.
L impost E face: on the upright a simple pattern of diagonal interlace with U-bends, no termination.
R impost S face: the upright bears a pattern of Saltire crosses with pellets in the interstices.
R impost E face: as S face.
The soffit is plain but many of the 13 voussoirs are decorated on the face with saltires, with a pellet in the interstices, some of the pellets drilled in the centre. Voussoirs 1, 3, 4, 10 and 13 each have two crosses, one outside the other, while 2, 5, 11 and 12 have four crosses, two outside, two inside, forming a rough square. 5 has additional incised diagonal lines as does 9. 6 has irregular abstract patterning but can be seen to be divided into 4 rough sections. The keystone, voussoir 7 is carved with an equal armed cross with drilled holes along its arms, and crude spiralling patterns between them. 8 consists of three circles, one outside the other, bisected by a single vertical line, with each circle then bisected by a horizontal line. The remaining space is filled with abstract shapes.
The E impost has a dense pattern of close cross-hatched lines.
L capital S face: The relief carving shows a bird standing on the back of a crouching beast, both creatures with their heads turned E. The beast's head is upturned and the bird's long beak is between its open jaws. The beast's tail curls forward over one rear leg and under the other, then curls up behind its body and terminates in a fork above its rear legs.
L capital E face: Carved with a bird standing on the back of biped. The bird faces the angle confronting the bird on the S face. The biped has its two forelegs upon the ground, and its body becomes a thick curving tail which terminates in a fork. Its head is twisted back to bite one leg of the bird. On the lower L of the carving is a small hollow triangle.
R capital S face: The Stafford knot pattern continues across the angle onto the S face of the capital. Above this design on the S face is a single horizontal line with a wavy line passing over and under its length. Modern imposts.
Bases with alternating concave and torus mouldings (three torus, two concave), the N restored. Round half-shafts support double scallop capitals with angle tuck. These have single shields on the W and E faces and plain necking.
Plain and square with imposts as above. Chamfered along the angle of the jamb with stop chamfers.
No bases, the jambs sit directly on unmoulded modern blocks. There is an angle roll along the length of the jambs as on the S doorway. The R jambs are modern apart from the top course. The imposts, which continue to the second order are chamfered with a groove along the upright.
R impost N face: A crouching bird with its long neck stretched forwards, facing E.
There are seventeen voussoirs decorated with a variety of abstract geometrical designs:
1. The springer has parallel diagonal lines (almost vertical) on its lower half and an upside down zoomorphic form on its upper half, the form has a long crocodile-like mouth with an upper and lower row of teeth.
2. Abstract geometric design composed from a number of symmetrical elements, also with drilled holes.
3. Lattice design with lozenges and pellets within the lattice.
5. Divided into quarters, with lattice design with pellet, lozenges and drilled holes. Combining elements of voussoirs 3 and 4.
6. Abstract geometric design composed from a number of symmetrical elements.
7. Divided into four sections, decorated with groups of parallel diagonal lines. The upper sections forming a herringbone pattern
8. Zoomorphic form (bird-like) with protruding tongue, decorated with drilled holes and incised diagonal lines.
9. The keystone, placed sightly off centre, is carved with a cross with drilled holes along its arms, between the arms of the lower half of the cross are vertical lines, while between the upper arms are triangles with the apex pointing downwards, also with drilled holes.
10. Divided in two lengthways and with two rows of parallel diagonal lines forming a herringbone pattern
11. Divided into six roughly square sections with lozenges at top and bottom and two diagonal crosses in between with pellets between the arms of the crosses.
12. Two diagonal crosses placed one outside the other with a horizontal line bisecting each cross. With pellets between the arms of the crosses.
13. Divided in four, each segment with what appears to be a standing bird with its head turned back so that its beak rests upon its back.
14. As 12. but the cross arms each are made of three incised bands
15. Divided in half vertically and with four rows of two- or three-banded semicircles. The two outer rows of semicircles lie with their flat surface facing outwards, whilst the two inner rows lie with their flat surfaces facing inwards, although the inner ones are irregular in size and placed together do not form circles
16. Abstract geometric design.
17. Lattice-like design though square rather than diagonal, with pellet within the squares.
The bases are bulbous, with a double torus. The three-quarter nook-shafts appear to be coursed, but may be detached. The L base, shaft, capital and part of the N face of the impost are modern, in yellowish sandstone. All other repairs are in a pale, pinkish sandstone. There are carved capitals above necking. The L capital has been described as it probably follows the carving of the original.
R capital: a recessed circle, containing a six-pointed star/flower, carved in relief, with hollowed petals, on each face with heads in the upper angles and angle tuck.
The L impost is restored apart from a small section on the E side of the N face. It has an elongated version of the carving on the first order impost on the W face and a row of chevrons alternating with straight lines on the N face. The R impost is as the first order, L impost, W face, but more elongated
The interior (E face of the arch) is restored. It has plain jambs and restored imposts with intersecting lozenge on the S and cable on the N.