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Church of St Mary the Virgin, Southend-on-Sea

Description: Church of St Mary the Virgin

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 23 November 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 122912

OS Grid Reference: TQ9291986144
OS Grid Coordinates: 592919, 186144
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5412, 0.7806

Location: 28 Weaverdale, Southend-on-Sea SS3 8XL SS3 8UL

Locality: Southend-on-Sea
County: Southend-on-Sea
Country: England
Postcode: SS3 8UL

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Listing Text



The earliest visible fabric is C13. The chancel is c.1230. The S aisle was added to the nave c.1250, and the lower part of the tower was built in the late C13. The N wall of the nave was rebuilt in the mid C14, and the top of the tower was added or rebuilt in the C14 or C15, when the chancel arch was enlarged. It is not known when the S aisle was removed. The S porch was added in the C18, and the church was restored to designs by W Benton in 1883-85.

Ragstone rubble with some flint, Reigate and other limestone dressings. Porch timber-framed with flint and stone infill panels. Tiled roofs.

Nave with W tower and S porch, chancel. There is evidence for a former S aisle.

Chancel N and S walls have 3 C13 lancets, heavily restored. In the S wall there is a C13 pointed doorway with chamfered jambs, and to the W of it a low side window with a rounded head, probably widened from a lancet. The chancel E window is heavily restored of three, uncusped, pointed lights.

The nave N wall has three C14 windows, the eastern is pointed and of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head. The other two are square framed and have two trefoiled ogee lights. The N door has chamfered jambs and a pointed head. The S wall has evidence for a blocked 3-bay C13 aisle. The arcade survives and has been infilled. The eastern bay has a large, C19 window in an C13 style. The arcade is mid C13 and is of two chamfered orders on octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases. The middle bay appears to have been blocked in the C15, and the other two bays were blocked and the aisle demolished at an unknown later date, perhaps in the C18 when the S porch was built.

The W tower is undivided externally. There is no W door, only a C13 lancet in the W wall. Above it is a plain, rectangular window. The top of the tower is capped by a small, pyramidal lantern.

The chancel arch is probably C14 and has two chamfered orders, the outer continuous, the inner on polygonal responds with moulded capitals. There is a string course across the E end of the chancel and along the eastern parts of the N and S chancel walls. The tower arch is of one chamfered order of the late C13. The nave roof is C15 and has two king-post trusses with curved braces and traceried spandrels. The N wall plate is embattled and the eastern part of the S wall plate is moulded. It sits on large head sop corbels, probably C14. The chancel has a C19 wagon roof with two large tie beams and boarding across the rafters.

C12 Purbeck marble font, with a square bowl on a shafted stem. Damaged C13 or C14 piscina in chancel. Also in chancel, a possibly C13 cupboard in the N wall and a recess behind the altar, possibly C14. There are medieval tiles in the chancel floor and red tiles of the C17 or C18 in the porch. Royal arms of George I. Stained glass: some C14 fragments, some of it in situ, in the nave N windows. E window 1866 by Powell and Son, largely grisaille quarries with a medallion of the Ascension by E J Poynter. Monuments include a fragment of a late C12 or early C13 head stone or coffin lid with a richly ornamented cross head and the letters GRE, and several late C18 and early C19 wall tablets inside the church.

Shoebury (North and South) is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, but the church was not mentioned. The church had been given to nearby Prittlewell Priory before 1170, although there is no surviving fabric of this date. The late C12 or early C13 fragment of a graveslab may be the remains of a patron's tomb for the building or rebuilding of that date. North Shoebury was incorporated into Southend on Sea in 1934.

Buildings of England: Essex (2007), 704-5
RCHME Essex IV (1923), 101-2, includes plan.

The church of St Mary the Virgin, Southend on Sea, Essex is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Excellent surviving medieval fabric of the C13 and later.
* Nave roof of the C15.
* Good medieval fittings, including piscina, tiles and some fragments of glass.
* The blocked C13 S aisle retaining the arcade is an interesting historical curiosity.

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.