The church was built about the middle of the 12th century, but in the 13th century the chancel was almost entirely

rebuilt. Early in the 16th century the bell turret was added. In the middle of the 18th century both the chancel and the nave were largely remodelled, most of the windows being renewed and the north and south doorways of the nave reset. During the removal of defective plaster in 1951 on the north wall of the nave there was disclosed the stone jamb, part of the head, and deep splay of one of the original Norman Lights. This has been preserved. The walls are of flint rubble, covered with cement; the dressings are of limestone and brick; the roofs are tiled, the bell turret and west gable are weather boarded and the spire is covered with lead.

The Chancel (29ft. by 19ft.) has a small 13th century lancet window in the south wall, now blocked. The thicker walls at the west end probably represent part of a 12th century chancel.

 

The Nave (50ft. by 22ft.) has in the north wall two 18th century windows; further west is the

reset north doorway of mid 12th century date and now blocked; the jambs are of two

orders, the inner square and the outer formerly with free shafts of which only the

scalloped capitals remain; the outer order of the arch has chevron ornament; the inner

order forms a tympanum with a modern wooden lintel with a patchwork of stones

above, some of which are set diagonally and enriched with axe work; west of the

doorway is an original round-headed, single light window, now blocked, and only visible

externally. In the south wall are two 18th century windows.

 

Further west is the 12th century south doorway, apparently rebuilt but with original voussoirs in the arch over the tympanum, west of the doorway is an original window now covered with cement and blocked similar to that in the north wall. In the west wall is a doorway dated 1776 and a window of the same date.

 

The bell turret stands at the west end of the nave on chamfered oak posts with tie beams and curved brace, probably of early 16th century date.

 

In 1704-5 the west gallery was built at the expense of William Walker of Bishops Hall. It

is supported on moulded columns and is ornamented with foliage carving

incorporating Walker's monogram. The panels are inscribed with a list of benefactions

to the parish. The panels which now form a dado at the back of the choir stalls, have

similar foliage carving and the monogram T.T. (possibly Thomas Tooke, rector 1707-21).

The church was restored and altered between 1723 and 1727. In 1726-7 about £220 was

spent on this work. The vestry book for this period, in the Essex Record Office, contains

details of the renovation.

 

The renovations were inspired by Catlyn Thorogood of Dews Hall, a churchwarden. After his death in 1732 there was a dispute between the parish and his executors concerning his accounts for the period of renovation.

 

The work included the removal of the timber porches to north and south and probabaly the blocking and resetting of the 12th century doorways. A new west door was inserted, having a moulded hood on foliated brackets (dated 1726) and an oval window above it. New or altered windows were provided in the chancel and the nave. At the same time the interior was decorated. The chancel arch is now three-centred, resting on voluted brackets and enriched with 18th century plasterwork. The tie-beams across the nave and chancel are covered with moulded and enriched plaster, the mouldings being carried round the walls to form a cornice.

 

The Kingpost of the nave roof has been clothed in ornamental plaster and acanthus leaves.

It was probably at this time, also, that the oak reredos with its fluted Corinthian pilasters

was installed (removed in 1955 because of infection through dry-rot), and also a three-

decker pulpit and box pews.

 

The renovation was so thorough that the interior gives the impression of a Georgian

church, an effect heightened by the large number of painted hatchments and of the 18th

and early 19th century monuments. A print dated 1824 gives a good general view of the

interior at this time, including the three decker pulpit with an enriched sounding board

and the box pews. It also shows a late 18th century monument above the altar, blocking

the east window. An upper tier was added to the gallery in 1820.

 

Part of the old three-decker pulpit is now used as the pulpit and the 18th century monument has been removed from the east wall to a position at the west end of the south wall.

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