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St Mary the Virgin, Little Baddow, Essex

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Feature Sets (2)

Description

Little Baddow is a village in the Chelmsford district of the county, 5 miles E of Chelmsford, on the S side of the River Chelmer. The village centre clusters around a network of minor roads between Chemsford and Maldon, 4 miles to the E, but the church and Little Baddow Hall stand outside the village centre, a mile to the NW, St Mary's is constructed of the typical mixture of flint rubble, pebbles, puddingstone and Roman brick. It consists of a chancel, a nave with S porch, and a W tower with an embattled parapet. The nave is 11th-12thc, but the S wall has been rebuilt further S and reroofed, so that it is now asymmetrically placed with respect to the chancel, which, with its c.1350 chancel arch and 15thc windows has clearly been rebuilt in the later Middle Ages. On the exterior of the chancel are 19thc diagonal buttresses of brick. The tower dates from the 14thc and has a N stair turret. Romanesque features are the N nave doorway and a window head re-used as building material in the chancel N wall.

History

Great and Little Baddow are not separately recorded in the Domesday Survey. A manor of 5 hides was held by Leofwine before the Conquest and by Lambert from Count Eustace of Boulogne in 1086. Leofwine also held a manor on 4 hides under King Edward, and this was held by Germund from Ralph Baynard in 1086. A smaller manor of 1½ hides was held by Wulfsige before the Conquest and by Roger God-save-the-ladies in 1086.

In the account of Wright (1836), Little Baddow was Ralph Baynard's manor, and Baynards grandson was stripped of his barony, of which this was a p;art, after a rebellion against King Henry I. The Overlordship was granted to Robert, son of Ricard FitzGilbert, and the tenancy under him was with Richard de Badew. It remained in his hands until the reign of Henry II, when the male line failed and the manor passed to a family called Fillol by marriage. It remained with this family until the middle of the 14thc.

Features

Exterior Features

Doorways

N nave doorway

A single order doorway of brick with stone impost blocks. Jambs and arch are plain and the clunch imposts are plain chamfered abnd generally damaged and eroded.

Dimensions
Height of opening 2.07 m
Width of opening 0.96 m

Exterior Decoration

Miscellaneous

Reset window head

Reset as building material in the N wall of the chancel is half of the head of a Romanesque lancet window, decorated with chip-carved saltires in square arranged in horizontal rowws.

Dimensions
Block dimensions
Height of block 0.20 m
Width of block 0.23 m
Position
Distance W of NE buttress 1.30 m
Height above ground 1.50 m

Comments/Opinions

The proportions of the doorway and its simple imposts, and the decoration of the window head both suggest a date of c.1100 or earlier for the nave.

Bibliography

  • J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 536-37.

  • J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 109.

  • Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 112786

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 150-53.

  • T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, I, 1836, 118-23.

Exterior from SE
Exterior from NE

Location

Site Location
Little Baddow
National Grid Reference
TL 765 081 
Boundaries
now: Essex
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Essex
Diocese
medieval: London
now: Chelmsford
Dedication
now: St Mary the Virgin
medieval: St Mary the Virgin (from 1334)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
25 July 2018