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St Michael, Aveley, Essex

(51°29′53″N, 0°15′21″E)
TQ 567 801
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Thurrock
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
20 July 2016

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Aveley is a small town in Thurrock, on the N side of the A13 and separated from the Thames, 1½ miles to the S, by the Mar Dyke and Purfleet. It is largely a suburban development now, but the old centre, containing the church, is towards the S of the settlement. St Michael's consists of a chancel with a N chapel, all 13thc, a nave with N and S aisles, of which the S is of the 12thc and the N 13thc. Above the E bay of the S arcade is part of a window arch that must predate the arcade. There is no chancel arch. A clerestory was added to the nave in the 15thc. At the W end is a low tower with a battlemented parapet and a pyramid roof or short spire, and alongside the tower on the SW is a modern kitchen extension by Richard Burbidge (1994-96). Construction is of roughly coursed ragstone and flint. Romanesque features described here are the S nave arcade, a Purbeck font and a pillar piscina.


There were three estates called Aveley in 1086; the main one being held by Sweyn in 1066 with a valuation of 3½ hides. Half a hide was added later by Waleran, son of Ranulf, and in 1086 the 4-hide manor was in the hands of John, son of Waleran. John's heir was Maud, the wife of Hasculf de Tany, and she held the manor in demesne in the early part of the 12thc, Her son, Graeland de Tany (d.1179-80) inherited from her, and his son Hasculf and his descendants held the manor in demesne until the death of Gilbert of that name in 1221. His heirs disposed of the manor to Stephen de Langton. The advowson of the church passed with the manor in this period. For the later history of the manor, see VCH.


Interior Features





Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


RCHME dates the arcade c.1160, the font late-12thc and the Norman parts of the piscina simply to the 12thc.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 106-07.

J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 108.

Historic England Listed Building 119728

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 61.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 4-10.

Victoria County History: Essex VIII (1983), 1-16.