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Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin

A Grade I Listed Building in Steeple Bumpstead, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0425 / 52°2'32"N

Longitude: 0.4468 / 0°26'48"E

OS Eastings: 567902

OS Northings: 241055

OS Grid: TL679410

Mapcode National: GBR ND9.ZQQ

Mapcode Global: VHJHH.PXKM

Plus Code: 9F422CRW+XP

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin

Listing Date: 21 June 1962

Last Amended: 16 May 1984

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1166315

English Heritage Legacy ID: 114202

Location: Steeple Bumpstead, Braintree, Essex, CB9

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Steeple Bumpstead

Built-Up Area: Steeple Bumpstead

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Steeple Bumpstead St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Steeple Bumpstead


2/49 Parish Church of St Mary
21/6/62 the Virgin (formerly
listed as Church of
GV St Mary)
Parish Church, C11 and later. Walls of flint rubble and red brick with
dressings of limestone and clunch; the roof is of lead and handmade red clay
tiles. W tower, late C11, altered in early C16. Chancel of C11 origin but
much altered, S arcade of Nave c.1400, S aisle and S porch C14, N arcade and
N aisle C15. Clerestorey early C16, S aisle and S porch raised in red brick
early C16. General restoration, N vestry and organ chamber c.1880. The Chancel
has a C19 E window with old internal splays. In the N wall, opening into the
C19 vestry, is an early C16 doorway with 4-centred arch, recessed spandrels
and restored jambs. Further W is a C19 arch to the organ chamber. In the S
wall are 2 windows; the eastern is C19 except the splays and chamfered 2-centred
rear-arch, C14; the western is a transomed low-side window, C19 except the
splays and part of the external jambs. Between the windows is a doorway, C19
except the splays and segmental-pointed rear-arch. The chancel-arch, c.1400,
is 2-centred, of 2 chamfered orders; the responds have attached semi-octagonal
shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the capitals have square moulded corbels
on the inner face, formerly to support a rood screen, and the base of the arch
has been cut away for the same purpose. The Nave has N and S arcades each of
4 bays; the S arcade was built c.1400 and the N arcade was rebuilt later in
the C15; the 2-centred arches are of 2 chamfered orders, the outer continuous
and springing from semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the
responds have similar attached shafts. In the NE corner is a small C15 doorway
with chamfered jambs and 4-centred head, opening into the rood-loft staircase;
the upper part is blocked. The early C16 clerestorey has a crenellated parapet,
and is of red brick; the 4 windows on each side are all of 2 plain 4-centred
lights under a square head. The roof is in 4 bays, of shallow pitch, with short
king-posts on straight hollow-chamfered tiebeams with moulded knees supported on
5 grotesque corbels, one head-corbel and 2 plain ones, early C16. The N aisle
is mid-cl5, and has a moulded external plinth, and a crenellated parapet, partly
of red brick. In the E wall is a window of 4 lights with cinquefoiled tracery
(missing from the outer lights) under a steep 2-centred arch, with original
wrought iron grills and one casement. In the N wall are 3 windows; the eastern
is blocked internally by a monument, the jambs and 2-centred head exposed
externally; the others are of 3 cinquefoiled lights under a 2-centred head, the
middle window restored. Between the 2 western windows is the N doorway, with
continuous moulded jambs and 2-centred head, and moulded external label. The
door is battened with strap-hinges, of uncertain date. The late C15 roof is of
4 bays with moulded main timbers, the tiebeams carved with running foliage. 2
of the principal tiebeams have added curved braces, early C16, with carved
spandrels; each spandrel holds a shield, mostly plain, but one has a saltire and
another a molet; the third principal tiebeam is plain. There are notable
similarities with the roof of the N aisle of Stambourne parish church, 4.6 km to
the SE. The S aisle is C14, but the upper part has been raised in brick in the
early C16; the rake of the original roof is visible externally at the E end.
The E window is C19 except the splays and pointed rear-arch. In the S wall are
3 windows, all C19 except the internal splays. Between the 2 western windows is
the S doorway, late C14, with continuous moulded jambs and 2-centred head. The
door is built with V-edged planks, strap-hinges, and a rear frame comprising 2
durns, 5 stiles and 10 ledges, halved behind the stiles, rivetted at the
crossings, possibly C14 (Hewett 1982, p.130). In the W wall is an early C16
window of red brick with 3 plain 4-centred lights and uncusped tracery, under a
4-centred head, restored. The roof, early C16, is similar to that of the S
aisle, in 4 bays with moulded rafters and moulded
and richly carved principal and intermediate tiebeams and ridge; the principal
tiebeams have curved braces with cable moulding and foliate carving in the
spandrels; a carved rose-pendant hangs from the middle of each principal
tiebeam. The W tower is of 4 stages with added western diagonal buttresses,
and a crenellated parapet, with a grotesque gargoyle in the middle of each side
in the string-course; the E half of the 2 upper stages has been rebuilt in red
brick in the early C16 and the 2 square E buttresses are carried down into the
Nave. The tower-arch, c.1500, is moulded and 2-centred, and the responds have
each an attached semi-circular shaft with moulded capital and base. Further
N is a blocked early C16 doorway to the stair turret, with a 4-centred head;
access to the turret is now obtained by a C19 external doorway; the turret stair
has 2 simple rectangular windows to the NW. The S, N and W walls of the ground
stage each have an original light with a round head; the S window has been
slightly widened. The second stage had originally in each of the N, S and W
walls a larger C11 window with rebated jambs and round head; all the windows
are now blocked, and only the jambs remain in the S wall. The third stage has
traces of blocked windows of unknown date in the N, S and W walls. The bell-
chamber has in each wall an early C16 window of 2 lights with plain tracery
under a 2-centred head; the N and W windows are much restored. The S porch
is late C14 with a crenellated parapet of brick and stone, restored. The 2-
centred outer archway, c.1400, is of 2 orders, the outer moulded and the inner
hollow-chamfered and springing from semi-octangonal shafts with moulded
capitals, all partly restored. In the E wall is a late C14 window of 2
cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery under a segmental-pointed head. In the
W wall are remains of the jambs and head of a similar window; the N half of
the wall has been repaired with re-used squared ashlar. The roof has a
chamfered ridge and billet-moulded wallplates, C16. In the E window of the
N aisle there is C15 and C16 glass, of 2 shields of arms representing Bendish,
and part of a pedestal. There is a notable collection of medieval graffiti,
some merely patterns, but including the collect of St. Erkenwald in Latin, C15,
on the S respond of the chancel-arch, and 2 marriage entries from the feast of
St. George the Martyr, 1358 and C15 on the third pier of the S arcade. There
are 5 bells, the first by John Hodson, 1653. The font, in the tower, has an
octagonal stem and bowl, 7 faces of the bowl with quatrefoil panels and plain
shields, C15. There is a brass in the N aisle, on the E respond of the arcade,
to Sir Thomas Bendishe, baronet, 1672. There are monuments in the N aisle (1)
to Richard Bendish, 1486, Richard Bendish, 1523, and John Bendish, 1585, stone
tablet partly painted, in 3 bays divided by Composite half-columns supporting an
entablature and cresting with 3 shields of arms (2) to Sir John Bendyshe,
baronet, 1707, and Martha his wife, 1705, white marble tablet erected c.1740. -
There are floor-slabs in the N aisle (1) to ....... only child of Mary Beale,
and Mary Dyke, 1636, with shield of arms, much worn (2) to John, sone of George
Gent, 1684, and in the Chancel to Lucia (Bough) wife of George Wale, 1678.
There is an C8 boss on the N door of the Chancel of bronze, gilt, with panels of
interlacing and other ornament, 4 small fishes in relief and sockets for 18
jewels, probably of Irish origin. There is a poor box in the S aisle, panelled
octagonal pedestal with crenellated top, 3 locks and slot in lid, iron bound,
c.1500. Panels and popeys of the C16 are incorporated in C19 seating. 2 C19
pews incorporate panelling inscribed: 'onsel and Tomas Lond her som ded this
stooles to make the yeare of our Lord A. 1568.'

Listing NGR: TL6790241055

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