St Mary the Virgin, Little Thurrock, Essex

Feature Sets (2)


Little Thurrock is now part of the Thurrock Unitary Authority, on the N bank of the Thames between Grays to the E and Tilbury to the W. The medieval church marks the site of the former village, but this has been completely absorbed by 20thc housing developments. St Mary's has a 12thc nave with a N porch, a chancel rebuilt in the 14thc with a N organ chamber added in 1909 and a 19thc S vestry. The church was restored by F. Franey in 1878-79, and he added the W tower in 1883-84. Construction is of flint and mixed rubble with limestone dressings. The S doorway is 12thc alng with parts of the chancel arch.


Little Thurrock was held by Ansketil from the Bishop of London as a manor of 2 hides and 2 acres in 1086. Before the Conquest it was held by Wulfwine. A further holding of 1½ hides and 42 acres was held by 11 free men before the Conquest and in 1086. This land was appropriated by Theodoric Pointel on the king's behalf.

According to Wright, the first manor, near the church, was held by a family surnamed de Gravesend in the time od Edward II or Edward III, and had passed to the Carews by 1372-93.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Broad and round headed, of 2 orders to E and W.

1st order (shared)

Plain pilaster jambs with nook-shafts to E and W carrying plain cushion capitals, all modern replacements. The N imposts is partly original and is hollow chamfered with a tall face with a roll at the foot and a row of beading halfway up. The S impost is original too, and is quirked hollow chamfered with a row of chip-carved saltires in squares on the W face (2 units of chip carving) and on the W section of the soffit (5 units). The arch appears to be modern.

2nd order E face

There is no 2nd order in the jambs, only the plain arch which rests on imposts that are continuous with the 1st order on the N and plain hollow chamfered on the S

2nd order W face

Plain jambs, imposts as the 1st order on the N side, probably original, and plain quirked hollow chamfered imposts on the S, again original.


RCHME dates the building of the nave to c.1170-80.


  • J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 560-61.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 86-87.

  • T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, 559-60.


Site Location
Little Thurrock
National Grid Reference
TQ 626 777 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Essex
now: Thurrock
medieval: London
now: Chelmsford
now: St Mary the Virgin
medieval: St Mary (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
08 February 2018