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Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield

Description: Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin

Grade: I
Date Listed: 21 December 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 115254

OS Grid Reference: TL6780030368
OS Grid Coordinates: 567800, 230368
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9465, 0.4401

Location: Braintree Road, Great Bardfield, Essex CM7 4RZ

Locality: Great Bardfield
Local Authority: Braintree District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CM7 4RZ

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Listing Text

(west side)

8/115 Parish church of St.
Mary the Virgin
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

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.