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St Mary Magdalene, North Ockendon, Essex

(51°32′26″N, 0°17′13″E)
North Ockendon
TQ 587 849
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Greater London
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
08 February 2018

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Feature Sets

North Ockendon is now the eastrnmost settlement of Greater London and part of the Borough of Havering. Despite this the setting is a rural one, church and village being surrounded by arable land. It is half a mile outside the M25, 5 miles N of the Dartford Crossing and 8 miles W of Basildon. The village clusters around a junction of minor roads and the church is alongside a moated site, half a mile to the W. It consists of chancel, nave with S porch and a W tower; a complete medieval church infact, then on the N of the nave is an aisle, and on the N side of the chancel a chapel with important monuments of the Poyntz family. N of the Poyntz chapel is a 19thc vestry, and on the N side of the nave asle a large church hall added in 2003. The nave and chancel are 12thc in origin, and the W tower dates from the 15thc. The N aisle was added in the 13thc and the Poyntz chapel in the 14thc. Construction is of knapped flint, except for the tower, of ragstone rubble and flints in a rough chequerboard pattern. In a restoration of 1858 by Richard Armstrong, the flintwork was repolaced and the vestry added. The only 12thc sculpture is on the S nave doorway.


North Ockendon was held by Earl Harold before the Conquest as a manor of 2 hides less 40 acres, and in 1066 passed to William I. Before 1075, however, William gave it to Westminster Abbey, where the overlordship remained until the Dissolution. In 1086 one hide was held of the abbey by William the Chamberlain. In 1125 the manor was granted to Henry, son of Wlvred for a rent of £10 which in later times was assigned to the cellarer. William of Ockendon held the manor in 1155, when he yielded the church to the Abbot of Westminster. after a dispute in 1201-03 the manor was granted to Ralph of Setfountayns, and it remained in this family until the end of the 13thc, After the death without issue of Thomas Setfountayns in 1297 it was inherited by his sisters. They and their husbands and heirs held the manor and the advowson until the line failed and in 1390 or 1391 it passed to Poyntz Poyntz of Tockington (Glos) whose heirs are commemorated in the Poyntz Chapel.


Exterior Features



RCHME offers a date of c.1170 for the nave and chancel walls, and thus the doorway, which seems rather late to the present author. The doorway has the typical impost form and bulbous bases, and characteristic use of chip-carving, billet and chevron ornament of the group that also includes Southchurch, South Shoebury, South Weald and High Ongar, for which a date before 1150 has been suggested here.


B. Cherry, C. O’Brien and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, London 5 East, New Haven and London 2005, 183-84.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923). 98-101.

Victoria County History: Essex VII (1978), 110-17.