All Saints, Norton Mandeville, Essex

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Feature Sets (3)


Norton Mandeville is a village in the Epping Foresat district of Essex, 8 miles W of Chelmsford on the N side of the A 414 road to Harlow. The parish is linked to High Ongar, a mile to the SW, and the church may once have been a chapel-of ease. The village consists of little more than the hall, the church and a farm overlooking farmland.

All Saints' church is of coursed flint with stone dressings and consists of a chancel and a nave with a S porch and a timber bell cote with a tiled pyramid roof on the W gable. The church is assumed to be 12thc in origin, although no identifiable fabric of that period remains in-situ. Such diagnostic medieval features as remain are 14thc in date, and an extensive restoration in 1903 involved the replacement of most of the roof timbers and the retiling of the roofs, as well as the replastering of the walls. Romanesque features recorded here are three loose stones; a chevron voussoir, a billet voussoir and part of the shaft of a pillar piscina, and the font.


The Domesday Survey records 2 manors in Norton Mandeville. A manor of half a hide was held by a woman called Godgyth in 1066, and she gave it to the  canons of St Paul's Cathedral when King William came to England.  A manor of 1½ hides and 15 acres was held by Gotild in 1066 and by Wimund from Hamo the Steward in 1086. This second manor is the one that concerns us. The overlordship passed from Hamo the Steward to his son, also Hamo the Steward, before 1100. He had died by 1130 and the manor passed to his brother, Robert FitzHamon, whose daughter and heir married Robert, Earl of Gloucester. It passed with the earldom to the Clares, and Gilbert de Clare was lord in 1311, and died in 1314, the manor eveantually passing to the crown. More important is the tenancy, which had passed to the Dammartins by the end of the 12thc. Bartholomew de Dammartin (d.before 1190) was succeeded by his brother William (d.1195), whose heir was his daughter Galiena. Her wardship was entrusted by the king to William Brewer, who married her to his brother John. After John's death in 1210 she married Robert de Burgate, by whom she had two children, Peter and Anastasia. Robert de Burgate died after 1120, and by 1128 Galiena was married to Ernald de Mandeville, by whom she had two more children John and Hugh. After a complicated series of exchanges involving John de Madevilee, Galiena and the canons of St Paul's, what remained on the manor was granted to Galiena's daughter from her second marriage, Anastasia. This was in the middle of the 13thc, and for further information after this period the reader is referred to VCH.

In 1181 Norton was included in the parish of High Onger. By 1190 at the latest it had its own church, which was granted by Bartholomew de Dammartin and his mother (another Galiena) to the Priory of St Leonard, Stratford-atte-Bow. The rectory was appropriated by the nuns of Stratford, who retained it until the Dissolution.






The font is sited in the centre of the nave at the W end. It consists of a square bowl on a modern square shaft with a modern plinth extended westwards as a step. This is placed on a 14thc tiled pavement. The bowl is of an oolitic limestone; Barnack according to the List Description.

The bowl is square with fictive shafts at the angles having roll/ hollow bases and worn flat-leaf capitals. The lower rim projects slightly and is chipped, while the upper rim is chamfered. There is a repair encircling the bowl just above the lower rim. The basin is circular and lined with lead. The NW spandrel of the rim has a staple surviving, and the SE spandrel has been repaired.

Height of bowl 0.43 m
Height of font including step 0.98 m
External width of bowl E-W 0.63 m
External width of bowl N-S 0.65 m
Internal diameter of bowl at rim 0.52 m

Loose Sculpture

Billet voussoir

Loose in an aumbry in the N nave wall behind the harmonium, a small voussoir of clunch carved with a row of 3 billets. The stone is squared off at the L end, broken at the R end. and chipped away at the intrados. The carving is crisp and the tooling very clear, and it is likely that the stone was rejected but not discarded.


Height of front face 0.07 m
Length of block 0.205 m
Max. thickness, front to back 0.07 m

Chevron voussoir

Loose in an aumbry in the N nave wall behind the harmonium, a voussoir carved with one unit of single-roll, centripetal point-to-point chevron.


Height of voussoir 0.18 m
Max. depth of voussoir (damaged at rear) 0.21 m
Width of voussoir at extrados 0.135 m
Width of voussoir at intrados 0.12 m

Pillar piscina shaft

Held in a metal ring attached to the S chancel wall is the monolithic capital and upper section of shaft of a pillar piscina; drilled centrally though from top to bottom. The capital is moulded with a hollow chamfere below a roll, and the shaft is single cable moulded with deep round strands of cable striated on their surface. The stone is generally worn, and is an oolitc limestone, probably Barnack.


Diameter at bottom 0.125 m
Diameter at top 0.16 m
Diameter of drain hole 0.035 m
Max. height of block 0.19 m


A late-12thc date is suggested by the pillar piscina, font and chevron voussoir. The billet ornament is an earlier form, but its small size suggests that it was intended for church furnishings, where forms are not so readily diagnostic of date. Pillar piscinas are not especially common survivals in Essex. Those at Sandon and Steeple have cable moulded shafts but appear to be earlier in date. The chevron voussoir suggests a doorway or window from the 12thc church. The church of St Nicholas, Castle Hedingham, is worth comparing with the point-to-point chevron ihere.


  • Historic England Listed Building. English Heritage legacy ID 118419

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

  • E. Lamb, Norton Mandeville: A Parish of No Importance. Norton Mandeville 1997.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 199-200.

  • Victoria County History: Essex IV (1956), 151-54.

Exterior from SE
Interior to E


Site Location
Norton Mandeville
National Grid Reference
TL 580 046 
now: Essex
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Essex
now: Chelmsford
medieval: London
medieval: All Saints (pre-Reformation)
now: All Saints
Type of building/monument
Parish church, formerly chapel of ease  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
06 February 2018