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Name:Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield
SMR Number:1500
Type of record:Monument
Grid Reference:TL 677 303
Map Sheet:TL63SE
Parish:GREAT BARDFIELD, BRAINTREE, ESSEX

Summary

Walls are of flint-rubble with limestone and clunch dressings, (also Roman brick-see 1499).

Full description

Walls are of flint-rubble with limestone and clunch dressings, (also Roman brick-see 1499). The west tower was built at the end of the 12th century, the chancel is apparently contemporary. Late in the 14th century the chancel arch was rebuilt, the present nave (with clerestorey added), north and south aisles, and a south porch were also rebuilt or added. Features and fittings: windows and window details of the 14th century, early and late, doorways and doorway details of the 14th century, early and late, stone rood screen of late 14th century, nave roof of the late 14th century, door of late 14th century, glass of the late 14th century, piscinae of the late 14th century, scratched, illegible, medieval inscriptions, a stone coffin with lid in the churchyard near the nave north wall. <1> Early 14th century west tower, rest is all late 14th century work with "the surprising feature of large straightheaded three-light windows with curiously High Gothic tracery, ie no specifically Dec or Perp motifs, but a development from the classic moment of Geometrical tracery". These windows are in the north and south aisle walls and in the chancel (many renewed). Possibly the porch and the south aisle and the chancel masonry are earlier than the straightheaded windows. Screen is later than that at Stebbing, where the idea came from (see 0000). How it came to Stebbing is not known. Rood figures were constructed in 1892. South door is late 14th century, much tracery. Tomb chest of 1584 monument is no doubt older than it, it served as a sedilia. <2> Pevsner is wrong in dating the tower to the 14th century, it is the survivor of an earlier building, is late 12th or early 13th century. A chevron-ornamented block of a Norman arch is reused in the south aisle. A medieval coffin lies discarded and broken amongst rubbish to the north of the nave. A second lid rests on a window sill, has been limewashed. 2 large sarsens project from below the north east and south east corners of the chancel, possibly indicate a pre 14th century date for the laying of foundations. Graded AIIb by Rodwell. <3> Both aisle roofs original, lean-to in form, west tower is late 12th century. <4>

In 1991 foundations around the church were dug to expose the foundations, the findings were recorded and the conclusion was that the 12th C tower may have been rebuilt, the aisles were probably original to the structure, and were merely remodelled in the 14th C, and the function a previously unknown phase of repair, and several previously unknown wall lines will need to be considered. The development of the church was still to be argued out fully for publication report. <5>


Site Assessment = 4 square headed 14th century windows in the north aisle, late 14th century arcaded stone screen under the chancel-arch "are especially interesting". <1> Late 14th century screen is "the most prominent and famous feature of the church". <2> Virtually all is late 14th century-"stone chancel screen and matching aisle windows lend the interior an air of refined architectural unity, scarcely matched elsewhere in Essex".External ground level is rather high, a brick gutter all round, dampness is causing internal damage. Churchyard heavily buried in. Medieval stone coffin lies discarded and broken to the north of


<1> RCHME, 1916, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 1, pp105-107 (DESC TEXT). SEX701.


<2> Pevsner, N, 1954, The Buildings of England, Essex, pp176-177 (DESC TEXT). SEX83.


<3> Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA, 1977, CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset, p95 (DESC TEXT). SEX148.


<4> Department of the Environment, 1985, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Braintree, pp46-47 (DESC TEXT). SEX4383.


<5> Essex County Council:Archaeology Section, 1991, Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield. 1991 recording work (DESC TEXT). SEX63476.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (C12-C14, Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • COFFIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DOOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WINDOW (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Events

  • Exposure of church foundations-1991 recording work (Ref: ?)

Protected Status

  • Conservation Area: Great Bardfield
  • Listed Building (EH) (I) 1123494: PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY THE VIRGIN

Sources and further reading

<1>DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1916. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 1. pp105-107.
<2>DESC TEXT: Pevsner, N. 1954. The Buildings of England, Essex. pp176-177.
<3>DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. p95.
<4>DESC TEXT: Department of the Environment. 1985. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Braintree. pp46-47.
<5>DESC TEXT: Essex County Council:Archaeology Section. 1991. Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield. 1991 recording work.

Related records

1501Parent of: Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield (Monument)
29341Part of: Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield (Listed Building)

Images

Church of St Mary the Virgin  © Essex County Council

Church of St Mary the Virgin © Essex County Council

Church of St Mary the Virgin  © Essex County Council

Church of St Mary the Virgin © Essex County Council

Church of St Mary the Virgin  © Essex County Council

Church of St Mary the Virgin © Essex County Council