St Andrew, Hatfield Peverel, Essex

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Feature Sets (2)


Hatfield Peverel is a large village in the Braintree district of central Essex, 5 miles NE of Chelmsford and 7 miles S of Braintree. It straddles the former Roman road from London to Colchester, represented at this point by the A12. The modern village is on the S side of the road, with the church on its E edge.

The present church is the nave of a former Benedictine priory. The original building was cruciform, and to this a N aisle was added in the 15thc and a S aisle in 1873, by G. E. Street. The walls are of flint rubble, but almost entirely modern. The Romanesque W doorway is recorded below.


Hatfield Peverel was held by Aethelmaer before the Conquest, and by Ranulf Peverel in demesne in 1086, when it was assessed at 9 hides and 82 acres. Following the account in VCH, a priory was founded here in the reign of William II by Ingelrica, wife of Ranulph Peverel, as a college of secular canons dedicated to St Mary Magdalen. She ended her days here, and her son William Peverel converted the house into a Benedictine cell of St Albans Abbey. The dedication was changed to Mary the Virgin, and the advowson passed to St Albans, where it remained. Suckling's account is rather more entertaining: Ingelrica was the daughter of a Saxon nobleman, and mistress of William the Conqueror, who founded the college in atonement for the errors of her early life (hence the dedication to St Mary Magdalen), She spent jher last years here, but before that she was allowed by William the Conqueror to marry Ranulph Peverell, with whom she bore William Peverell, a legitimate son.


Exterior Features


W doorway

Round headed and of 2 orders. The doorway is apparently reset with new stone surrounding its jambs and arch.

Height of opening 2.49 m
Width of opening 1.395 m
1st order

Plain unmoulded jambs with no bases, carrying shallow hollow chamfered imposts with an angle roll. The arch is plain and unmoulded with many voussoirs replaced.

2nd order

Detached en-delit nook-shafts on worn roll or chamfered bases, carrying double-scallop capitals with plain roll neckings. Both capitals are worn; the S more than the N. The imposts are as the 1st order, the N certainly replaced and the S perhaps not. The arch is carved with centrifugal face chevron - 2 quirked rolls and a cogwheel inner edge. Of the 18 voussoirs, numbered here from N to S, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15 and 17 are original, while the remainder are modern replacements, There is no label.


The W doorway probably dates from c.1125-50: certainly it is neither much earlier nor much later,


  • J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 481-82.

  • J. Fitch (ed), Essex Churches and Chapels: A Select Guide, Donington 1997, 107.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 122-26.

  • A. Suckling, Memorials of the Antiquities and Architecture, Family History and Heraldry of the County of Essex, London 1845, 80-83.

  • Victoria County History: Essex II (1907), 105-07.

Exterior from NW
Exterior from W
Exterior from NE


Site Location
Hatfield Peverel
National Grid Reference
TL 798 115 
now: Essex
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Essex
now: Chelmsford
medieval: London
medieval: St Andrew (1506, 1544)
now: St Andrew
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ann Hilder, Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
25 July 2018