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Monument Name Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield
SMR Number 1500
Summary Walls are of flint-rubble with limestone and clunch dressings, (also Roman brick-see 1499).
Media
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Church of St Mary the Virgin
Associated Media
None Available
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 Listed Building Description: TL 6730 GREAT BARDFIELD BRAINTREE ROAD (west side) 8/115 Parish church of St. Mary the Virgin 21.12.67 GV 1 Parish church. C12 tower and chancel, mainly late C14. Flint rubble with dressings of limestone and clunch, roofed with handmade red clay tiles and copper, the spire shingled. W tower, late C12, chancel late Cl2, nave, N and S aisles and S porch late C14, N vestry and general restoration C19. The E window of the chancel is Cl9 except the C14 internal splays and 2-centred rear arch. in the gable is a C12 window of one pointed light, weathered. The S kneeler of the gable is carved with a grotesque figure. In the N wall are 2 windows; the eastern is C19, except the C14 internal splays and segmental-pointed rear arch; the western window is late C14, restored, of 3 cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a square head with 4-centred rear-arch. In the S wall are 2 windows; the eastern is C19 except the C14 internal splays and segmental-pointed rear arch, hollow-moulded with broach stops. The sill is carried down to form a seat, replaced by a tomb (see later). The western window is C14, restored, of 3 cinquefoiled lights under a 2-centred head. Between the windows is a large recess retaining evidence of a C14 doorway, blocked. The late C14 chancel arch is combined with the stone rood-screen. The arch is 2-centred, of 3 moulded orders, with moulded labels with head-stops. The responds have clustered shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The screen has wide central bay and 2 narrow side bays divided by moulded shafts with moulded bases and carved capitals; the shafts are carried up to the chancel arch. The middle bay has an ogee head, cinquefoiled and sub-cusped, with carved spandrels and a moulded and enriched label with crockets, finials and angel-stops; the head supports a crenellated pedestal with a C19 rood; on each side of it is a small enriched ogee arch surmounted by a pedestal with a C19 figure. The soffit of the middle arch is cusped and sub-cusped. The side bays have 2-centred heads with cusped tracery. The roof of the chancel is of 7 cants, boarded to the soffit, with 2 carved straight tiebeams on wall- pieces with arched braces. The western beam has IHS with cross and crown, repeated within circles, and in one case enriched with a crown of thorns; the braces have grotesque corbels, and those of the western beam are carved with centaurs, the initials EB (for Edward Bendlowes) and motto 'Tende Solve'. The rear of this beam is carved with a vine-leaf design, and the eastern beam is carved with interlaced lunettes and foliage. The Nave has late C14 arcades, each of 4 bays, of which the westernmost is narrower than the others. The 2- centred arches are of 3 moulded orders with labels which have stops carved as heads, beasts or grotesque figures; the columns have each 8 attached shafts alternately round and half-octagonal, with moulded bases and capitals; the responds have attached half-columns. The late C14 clerestorey has on each side 4 windows, each of 2 cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a square head; those on the S side have moulded labels with grotesque head-stops; the rear arches are 4-centred. Below the internal sills is a moulded string-course, returned along the E wall to the chancel-arch. The N aisle has in the E wall a late C14 window, restored, of 3 cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a square head, with moulded label; the rear arch is 4-centred and hollow-moulded. In the N wall are 2 windows similar to that in the E wall, with grotesque head-stops. Further W is a late C14 doorway with jambs and 2-centred arch of 2 moulded orders, with a moulded label, opening into the C19 vestry. In the W wall is a similar window, restored. The brick parapet and crenellated stone coping are C19. The S aisle has E and W windows and 2 S windows uniform with those of the N wall, but more restored. W of the S windows is the late C14 doorway, with moulded jambs and 2-centred arch under a square head, the spandrels carved with blank shields and tracery, with moulded label and head-stops. The door-leaves are original, with portcullis rear framing and vertical boards carved with a traceried border, trefoil-headed panels and a band of tracery at half-height, with minor restoration. Both aisle roofs are original, of lean-to form, with moulded beams, arched braces and corbels carved with figures. The W tower, late C12, is of 2 stages with a plain parapet and an C18 octagonal spire. The tower arch is 2-centred, of one square order with chamfered imposts and square responds. The N, S and W walls of the lower stage each have a lancet window, that in the W wall being wider than the others. The upper stage is divided internally into 2 storeys. The lower storey has in the N, W and S walls a lancet window, the N being covered by a large wooden clock face diagonally arranged. The upper storey or bell-chamber has 2 lancet windows in each of the N, S and W walls, repaired. Between the first and second stages of the tower there is a moulded band. The crenellated parapet is modern. The S porch, C14, has a moulded plinth, moulded 2-centred outer arch and moulded label. The gable has a niche with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled head, carved grotesques on the kneelers, and the weathered base of a cross. In the E wall is a window of 2 trefoiled lights under a 2-centred head, and flanking it are 2 square quatrefoiled openings. The W wall has a similar window. The roof is of 7 cants, plastered to the soffit, with moulded wallplates. Fittings. There are 6 bells, the second and sixth by Miles Graye, 1602. In the N aisle, in the NE window there is C14 glass, of canopy heads, figures of St. Lawrence, the Crucifixion and St. Stephen, in the NW window canopy heads and suns, and in the W window 3 shields: (1) of Mortimer, (2) of Old France and England quarterly, (3) of Mortimer impaling (2), the arms of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March and Philippa his wife, late C14, restored. There are 2 piscinae: (1) in the N aisle, in the E respond of the N arcade, with moulded jambs, cinquefoiled head with quatrefoiled spandrels, oak shelf, quatrefoil drain broken away, late C14 (2) in the S aisle, in the E jamb of the SE window, with openings on 2 sides each with a cinquefoiled head, and quatrefoil drain, late C14. In the Chancel, replacing the seat in the S wall, there is an altar tomb to William Bendlowes, serjeant-at-law, 1584, and Eleanor his wife, in Purbeck marble with moulded slab and moulded and panelled base, the remainder destroyed, and on the slab a brass figure of a woman in close cap, veil and ruff, inscription, and 2 shields of arms. On the S wall there is a limestone tablet to William Bendlowes, 1584, with small pilasters, brass incription in Latin, 2 brass shields of arms, and traces of original colour. RCHM 1. Listing NGR: TL6780030368
Monument Type(s) CHURCH (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
COFFIN (Dated 1066AD to 1539AD)
Monument Class(es) EXTANT BUILDING
STONE
STRUCTURE
Period 1066AD to 1539AD Medieval
Status Listed Building (EH)
Administration Area GREAT BARDFIELD, BRAINTREE, ESSEX
National Grid Reference Square: TL63SE
Ref: 678303
Finds STONE COFFIN (Dated 1066AD To 1539AD)

WOOD DOOR (Dated 1066AD To 1539AD)

Events Exposure of church foundations-1991 recording work

Sources <1> Desc Text : An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 1 (RCHME) pp105-107 Dated : 1916

<2> Desc Text : The Buildings of England, Essex (Pevsner, N) pp176-177 Dated : 1954

<3> Desc Text : CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset (Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA) p95 Dated : 1977

<4> Desc Text : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Braintree (Department of the Environment) pp46-47 Dated : 1985

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