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Church of St Mary

A Grade I Listed Building in Great Baddow, Essex

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Latitude: 51.7157 / 51°42'56"N

Longitude: 0.5022 / 0°30'7"E

OS Eastings: 572952

OS Northings: 204847

OS Grid: TL729048

Mapcode National: GBR PKS.FS4

Mapcode Global: VHJK8.N4CL

Plus Code: 9F32PG82+7V

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 10 April 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1122149

English Heritage Legacy ID: 112566

Location: Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Great Baddow

Built-Up Area: Chelmsford

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Great Baddow, St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Great Baddow


5213 (North East Side)
Church of St Mary
TL 7204 32/107 10.4.67.


C12 in origin. Chancel and aisles C13. Tower C14, and aisles also widened in this period. Some work on the chancel in the C15. Chancel chapels, clerestory and parapets early C16. S porch early C17. Restored 1892-1903 by C and W H Pertwee, including the rebuilding of the chancel dormers and vestry. The parapets and pinnacles were restored in 1968. Reordered in 1999 by Gerald Barrett, who also designed the small N extension.

MATERIALS: Flint rubble with some Roman tile. The chapels, clerestory, and porch are brick. Lead, tile and slate roofs.

PLAN: Nave with N and S aisles, W tower, S porch and N toilet block like a porch. Chancel with N and S chapels and NE vestry. Lean-to extension in the angle between the N aisle and W tower.

EXTERIOR: The exterior is particularly notable for its fine early C16 brickwork, although this was much restored in the C20. The nave clerestory is C16 brick, and has two-light windows with cusped brick tracery and hood moulds; unusually the parapet wraps around the E side of the nave and has E windows that must originally have lit the rood inside. The nave parapet has crow-stepped embattling with pinnacles on alternating merlons and black diaper work patterns; it rests on a cusped corbel table. The N and S aisles have heavily restored early C14 windows with geometric tracery and brick buttresses; the early C16 chancel chapels continue the aisles, but in brick, and have C16 brick windows with cemented dressings. The aisle and chapel parapets are continuous, and are of C16 brick in a pattern similar to that on the nave clerestory. The brick S porch is early C17 and has a classicizing outer doorway of two orders, the inner with imposts and a pendant key block. The gable stands on an entablature and has restored brick pinnacles. The S door is C13, reset in the C14. A porch-like extension on the N, is a late C20 toilet block copied from the S porch and having a false blocked door.

The chancel E window is C19 in a Decorated style with reticulated tracery. The E gable edge is in C16 brick, as is the SE buttress. In the chancel N wall is a C13 lancet, and another in the S wall was enlarged in the C15. The chancel dormers, possibly C17 in origin, were rebuilt in 1892-1903 and again in the mid C20. The late C19 NE vestry, also in brick, is lower than the N chancel chapel and has an embattled brick parapet and Tudor style windows.

The W tower and spire are C14, and may have been built in two phases, with the upper part and spire a little later than the lower part. The W door has moulded jambs and a hood mould, and there is a Decorated W window above it. There are small single light opening in each face, and above them larger single light openings with brick dressings for the bell stage. The tall spire rises from behind an embattled parapet. The scar of an earlier, much more steeply pitched roof for the nave is visible against the E face of the tower.

INTERIOR: The spacious and light interior is plastered and painted. The 3-bay nave arcades are C13, that on the N being slightly earlier than that on the S, and have chamfered orders on cylindrical piers (except for the NW pier, which is polygonal) with moulded capitals. The NW respond is carried on a good carved head corbel. The N aisle N door is C13 or C14 and has a pointed head; formerly blocked, it now opens into the late C20 N toilet block. The tower arch is C14 of three orders, the outer continuous, the inner two on polygonal shafts with moulded capitals. It is now closed by a timber and glazed screen. There is a small, blocked window from the tower into the nave, the top of which is partly hidden by the nave roof. The wide chancel arch is C15 and has a continuous outer order and an inner order on attached shafts. The N and S chancel chapels open to the chancel and aisles through 4-centred, C16 brick arches of two chamfered orders, the inner order on moulded brick responds with moulded capitals and bases. That on the S has C20 timber and glass screens, while the organ fills that on the N. There is a further glazed screen between the S chapel and S aisle, and a small, C19 N door from the chancel to the vestry. The sill of the chancel SE window is dropped to form a sedilia, and the window jamb is cut back to allow access to the piscina from either side.

The N aisle roof is C14, a lean-to design with three tie beams carrying posts and struts to a central purlin. The S wall place is moulded of the C14, but the N wall plate was replaced in the C17 and has the inscription 'HUMFRERI LOW ET HENRY STILEMAN CHURCHWARDENS ANO D 1639'.The nave roof is C16 and is divided into compartments. It is richly moulded, especially on the principal beams and curved braces. The wall plate is embattled. The S chapel roof has C15 or C16 rafters, but has otherwise been rebuilt. The S aisle roof has probably C17 square rafters. The framing of the ringing chamber of the tower may be C14 or C15. The chancel roof was rebuilt in the late C19.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: C13 piscina and sedilia in the chancel, the latter formed by carrying down the sill of the lancet window. C14 piscina in the S aisle, and an early C16 piscina in the N chapel. Early C20 wooden eagle lectern.

The outstanding pulpit, dated 1639, was called the 'best of its date in the county' by Pevsner. Octagonal, it has alternating wide and narrow sides. The wider panels have upper panels carved with early Classical arches with columns and pediments shown in perspective. The lower panels have jewels and foliage, with similar decoration also on the smaller panels. The base is renewed, but the stem is original. It retains its heavily carved tester and backboard. The backboard has strapwork and other ornament, and the tester has a carved frieze, a moulded cornice and a strapwork cresting.

Royal arms of 1660 in a frame with a broken pediment, and a probably C16 text panel found on the back of the Royal Arms, now displayed separately. Stained glass: the E window by H Hughes (Ward and Hughes) of 1876.

Good monuments including a brass to Jane Paschall, d. 1614. A marble wall tablet with pilasters supporting a cornice to Hellen Sydnor, d. 1651 and her sister Elizabeth Hubert, d. 1625. An elaborate monument with an urn to the sisters, Amy and Margaret Gwyn, and to their friend Ann Hester Antrim, by Sir Henry Cheere, erected in 1753; a putto leans on a portrait medallion within a composition mixing Gibbsian and Rococo tounces. Also a good collection of hatchments.

HISTORY: The double-square plan of the nave suggests it is C12 in origin. The chancel had reached its present length by the early C13. The aisles were also added in the C13. The tower was built in the C14 and the aisles were also widened in this period. There was some work on the chancel in the C15. The church was considerably remodelled in the early C16, when the chancel chapels were built or rebuilt and the fine brick clerestory and parapets added. There was further work in the early C17, probably in 1639, the date of the pulpit, and included repairs to the N aisle roof and the addition or rebuilding of the S porch. The church was reseated and provided with new S and NE galleries by Charles Turner in 1832. It was restored, including the removal of the galleries, and the rebuilding of the N vestry and chancel dormers, in 1892-1903 by C and W H Pertwee. There were further repairs, including rebuilding the parapets and pinnacles, in the 1960s by George Bragg of Chancellor (Wykeham) and Bragg. The church was reordered, including the removal of most of the C19 furnishings, in 1999 by Gerald Barrett, who also designed the N extension.

Lambeth Palace Library, ICBS 01430 and 13799
Bettley, J and Pevsner, N, Buildings of England: Essex (2007), 386-7
RCHME Essex IV (1923), 49-51

The Church of St Mary, Great Baddow, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Parish church, probably C12 in origin, with C13 nave arcades and chancel, C14 aisles and tower, and C16 clerestory, parapets and chancel chapels, C17 S porch.
* Restored in the C19 by C and W H Pertwee.
* Very good medieval roofs.
* Outstanding C17 pulpit.
* Elaborate monument to Amy and Margaret Gwyn, and their friend Ann Hester Antrim, by Sir Henry Cheere, erected in 1753

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