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Description: Church of St Mary
Date Listed: 4 July 1955
English Heritage Building ID: 112384
OS Grid Reference: TQ6684891546
OS Grid Coordinates: 566848, 191546
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5980, 0.4076
Explore more of the area around Little Burstead, Essex at Explore Britain.
717/2/79 RECTORY ROAD
04-JUL-55 LITTLE BURSTEAD
CHURCH OF ST MARY
Small rural Anglican church in an isolated position in farmland. C12 origins; C14 S doorway, the rest of the dateable evidence is mostly C15 and C16 including red handmade brick buttresses and windows probably of the C16. Reseating of 1888; 1990 toilet and kitchen addition. Rendered pudding stone with freestone and handmade brick dressings; bell tower timber-framed with a shingled spire; red tiled roofs. Plan of chancel, nave with internal W end bell tower, S porch, NE vestry under a catslide roof; NW lean-to kitchen and toilet block, very modest in scale.
EXTERIOR: The chancel has handmade brick diagonal buttresses and a good 3-light C16 E window of red brick with uncusped lights and, on the S side, two 2-light Tudor-arched brick windows with uncusped lights. A priest's doorway is framed with renewed stone and a label records that it was blocked in 1959. The nave has diagonal W end handmade brick buttresses. The W wall has been rebuilt in red brick but preserves a 2-light C14 window with reticulated tracery. The S side has one square-headed 3-light Perpendicular style traceried window. The N side has one round-headed and one lancet window. The bell tower projects through the W end of the nave on a square-on-plan weatherboarded base. It has a shingled broach spire. The S porch is flint with red brick quoins and a round-headed red brick outer doorway. It has a medieval common rafter roof with straight diagonal braces from collar to rafter and a longitudinal tie below the collars. C14 inner doorway with mass dials on the jambs and a late medieval door of overlapping planks incorporating 2 square iron grilles.
INTERIOR: Walls painted and plastered. Timber chancel arch formed from timber-braces to a tie beam. The braces have timber traceried spandrels. They are c. C15 but not shown on an 1820 watercolour of the church. The tympanum above the tie beam is infilled with old vertical planks. The tie beam has 3 scars on the front, perhaps associated with rood figures. The nave has one tie beam and crown post truss with arched braces to the tie beams supported on mutilated carved stone angels. The crown post has 4-way bracing and a moulded base and the roof is plastered over the rafters. The chancel has an open roof, also with a crown post truss but with traceried spandrels to the braces. The braces spring from timber corbels. The tower is an impressive structure, probably C15 and placed at the W end, with corner posts, posts flanking the W window, tie beams and arched braces. The N and S sides of the structure consist of doubled scissor bracing, two braces cut through for a later repair. Doorway from chancel to vestry has a medieval plank and cover strip door. Trefoil-headed piscina, probably C19, in the S wall. There is some medieval painted decoration on the S side of the chancel arch. Choir stalls with simple shouldered ends. Timber arcaded sanctuary rails, probably 1880s. The reredos is a textile hung below a gilded traceried canopy. The pulpit is designed in the same style as the sanctuary rails. It is timber and polygonal on short shafts, the pulpit with trefoil-headed openings on shafts with capitals. C15 or C16 font with a deep octagonal stone bowl on an octagonal stem. Simple choir stalls with shouldered ends. The C19 nave benches have convex shouldered ends and small sunk panels carved with quatrefoils. The W end gallery was added in the 1880s. Numerous floor slabs, mostly of the C18, some with brasses. One is to Ann Bull, aged 3, died 'of that merciless distemper the small-pox'. Wall monuments of various dates including an elegant bronze wall monument on a marble slab, to 2nd Lieut. Harold Jervis Johnson, d.1916, signed by F Ransom. Some Flemish stained glass leaded into one of the N lancets; 2 chancel windows by Clayton and Bell.
HISTORICAL NOTE: An 1820s watercolour of the interior of the church and a 1907 photograph are kept in the interior of the church.
Good II* for a small evolved med church preserving medieval nave, chancel and porch roofs and a C15 timber-framed tower. Interior fittings of interest include a C15 font and a numerous monuments.
Pevsner. Essex, 1965, 273.
Sprunt, G. 'The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Little Burstead', 2002.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.