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St Barnabas, Alphamstone, Essex

(51°59′10″N, 0°44′0″E)
TL 878 355
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
24 September 2014

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Feature Sets

Alphamstone is a village in the Braintreee district of north Essex, a mile W of the river Stour, which forms the boundary with Suffolk. The nearest town of any size is Sudbury (Suffolk), 4 miles to the N.

The church consists of a 12thc nave, altered c.1300 and in the 16thc and restoredby Sir Arthur Blomfield in the 19thc. It has a 3-bay S aisle of c.1300, and a timber bell-turret with a pyramid roof over the W gable. There are porches to the N and S doorways. The chancel, also of c.1300, is 3 bays long. The nave is rendered, the N and E chancel walls ore of knapped flint, and the S chancel wall of brick. The chancel was in the course of restoration in 1902, when the Essex Archaeological Society paid a visit, and at that time dedication of the church was unknown.

The only Romanesque feature is a Purbeck marble font.


The main landholder in 1086 was Alphamstone was Richard fitzGilbert, son of Gilbert Count of Brionne, a major landowner in Suffolk, Essex, Kent and Surrey. He held 1 hide less 5 acres in 1086, this land held from him by 15 sokemen who also held it in 1066 (or their forebears). In addtion, half a hide in Alphamstone was held by Bury St Edmund’s Abbey. Finally, listed under appropriations of the king’s land in 1086 were 4 acres held by Deorwulf and 1 acre held by Hold.





This is one of the least elaborate of the many imported Purbeck fonts in this part of Essex.


Anon, ‘Quarterly Meeting and Excursion, 25 September 1902’, Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, Vol. IX, pt 1, 1903, 109.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 87-88.

J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 107.