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St Mary the Virgin, Ovington, Essex

(52°3′10″N, 0°34′11″E)
TL 763 425
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
22 April 2015

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Feature Sets

Ovington is a small village in the Braintree district of north Essex, 6 miles W of Sudbury and 1½ miles S of Clare and the Suffolk border. It is a village that is dispersed along minor roads with no noticeable centre, although the hall and church form a group half a mile N of the main residential area..

The church is of flint and pebble rubble with ashlar dressings. It consists of a nave and chancel in one with a weatherboarded bell turret with a lead pyramid roof over the W gable and a timber-framed S porch. There is no fabric visible earlier than the 14thc, and the only Romanesque feature is the font.


The manor was held by a freeman in 1066, and by Roger Bigod in demesne in 1086. It was assessed at 1 hide and 30 acres, plus 24 acres of meadow. It remained in the possession of Roger’s successors as earls of Norfolk until the death of Roger Bigod, the 5th Earl, in 1307, when it reverted to the crown. Further details of the earldom and succeeding dukedom of Norfolk may be found in Wright (1831-36).





Bettley and Pevsner suggest that the decoration of the font plinth was done in the early 20thc by Margaret Anna Brett, wife of the the Rev. C. W. Brett, who was responsible for similar eccentricities at St Margaret’s, Tilbury-juxta-Clare, 1½ miles to the S.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, 3 vols, London 1899, III, 220.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 620

Historic England Listed building 407526

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1: North West (1916), 205-06

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, 2 vols, 2nd ed. 1831-36, I, 588-91.