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Church of St Michael and All Angels, Chelmsford

Description: Church of St Michael and All Angels

Grade: II
Date Listed: 28 May 2013
Building ID: 1411185

OS Grid Reference: TL7038402932
OS Grid Coordinates: 570384, 202933
Latitude/Longitude: 51.6993, 0.4641

Locality: Chelmsford
Local Authority: Chelmsford City Council
County: Essex
Postcode: CM2 8PW

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Listing Text


Parish church, built in 1872-3 in the Early Decorated style by J. Piers St Aubyn for Arthur Pryor Esq. of Hylands House.

Reason for Listing

The Church of St Michael and All Angels, Galleywood, built in 1872 by J.P. St Aubyn for Arthur Pryor, Esq is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural Interest: the church has a confident and robust composition with careful exterior stone and brick detailing;
* Interior: is enlivened with decorative brick diaper work, as well as elegant and broad carved-stone aisle arcades and chancel arch. The roof structure is distinctive and well-crafted;
* Fixtures and fittings: the chancel is richly detailed, possessing an opus sectile reredos by Burrows, the east window by Clayton and Bell and a finely carved sedilia and piscina;
* Historic interest: the Church is closely associated with the Church of St Mary at Widford, also listed at Grade II, and commissioned from J.P St Aubyn by Arthur Pryor of Hylands House.


The Church of St Michael and All Angels was built in 1872 within Chelmsford’s racecourse on Galleywood Common, which flourished between 1759 and 1935. The Church was commissioned by Arthur Pryor Esq. of Hylands House to serve the newly formed Parish of Galleywood. Pryor had previously commissioned J. Piers St Aubyn (1815-1895) to replace the Church of St Mary at Widford in 1862, and turned to St Aubyn again to design the Church of St Michael and All Angels. Arthur Pryor laid the foundation stone in 1872 and the Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester in 1873. The cost of the Church was £6,300, including the peal of eight bells made by Warners of London.

The Church has some alterations. Externally, a historic photograph of 1905 shows the tower to have had crocketed pinnacles; only the base of these survive. A boiler room was built on the south elevation in the early C20 and more recently a small kitchen and toilet block were erected at the south-east corner of the Church. Access to the Church has been improved for the disabled. The Church gates were erected in 1956. Internally, the lighting and heating systems have been replaced and the organ by Conacher and Co, originally located in a church in Slough, was rebuilt at the Church of St Michael and All Angels in 1924. The bells were re-hung in 1926 and the bellframe was replaced by Mears and Stainbank in 1962. The tower screen was added in 1955 in memory of Miss Helen Godwin and the ringing chamber was fully portioned off from the nave by a glazed screen at a later date. The west end has been lightly reordered to create an exhibition spaced in the south aisle and small kitchenette in the north. The pulpit handrail was replaced in the mid C20 by the Revd. Roughton in memory of his first wife and the clergy stall was given in his memory by his second wife. The pew and choir stalls have been removed and replaced with chairs


Parish church, built in 1872-3 in the Early Decorated style by J. Piers St Aubyn for Arthur Pryor Esq. of Hylands House.

Yellow stock brick with stone and red brick dressings, and internal red brick diaper work. The spire is in Doulting stone and the roofs are tiled.

The Church has a nave, chancel, north and south aisles, a south porch, north and south transepts (accommodating the organ and vestry respectively) and a western tower with a tall octagonal broach spire.

The gable roofs have cresting and all elevations have shouldered half and angle buttresses, bands and voussoirs of red brick dressings and pointed arch windows with bar tracery, trefoil and crocketed details and leaded lights. The north and south elevations have red brick dentil cornices. Near to the south transept is the boiler room and in the angle between the transept and the chancel is the C20 toilet block, both sympathetically executed in stock brick. The tower has three stages surmounted by the smooth stone spire; together they are 131 ft high. Each stage of the tower is demarcated by stone string courses and shouldered angle buttresses. The west elevation has a ground-floor window with intersecting tracery and a stone surround. At each elevation of the third stage (belfry) are two-light pointed arch windows with crocketed tracery and louvres and a dentil cornice above. The bases of the octagonal pinnacles are at each corner of the spire, which has two sets of louvred openings with moulded stone details. The south porch shares the same detailing as the rest of the Church; the deeply moulded entrance has a late C20 door.

The nave, chancel and aisles have red brick diapering to the walls and pegged, arch-braced roofs in pine with pairs of windbraces on each pitch. The nave is tall with arcades of round columns with deeply moulded capitals and bases. To the east, the chancel arch is supported by three engaged columns at each side, with moulded capitals and bases. The chancel is elaborately tiled and detailed with a reredos of opus sectile depicting Christ and Ministering Angels by H. Burrow of Powell and Sons (1874). Above is the east window showing the risen Christ by Clayton and Bell flanked by two mosaic roundels containing the abbreviated name of Jesus Christ in Greek. The richly carved, stone and marble sedilia and piscina are on the south wall. The organ chamber is in the north transept, framed by a moulded stone arch; the arched entrance into the south transept (vestry) has been blocked. The west end has late C20 facilities and the tower has a glazed screen at the ground and first stages.

The stone and marble font has been repositioned near to the chancel; the carved pulpit is contemporary. On the north aisle wall is a bronze memorial plaque of 1908 to Arthur Pryor and other memorial plaques are attached to the south wall of the south aisle.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.