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All Saints, Middleton, Essex

(52°1′26″N, 0°43′32″E)
TL 871 397
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ann Hilder
  • Ron Baxter
21 April 2015

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Middleton is a village in the Braintree district of north Essex, on the border with Suffolk. The nearest town is Sudbury (Suffolk) less than a mile to the N. The village is centred on a junction of minor roads on the W bank of the River Stour. The church is in the village centre, S of Middleton Hall.

All Saints’ consists of a 12thc nave with a 16thc S porch, rebuilt in the 19thc reusing original brick and timber. A weatherboarded bell turret over the W end of the nave is framed on the W tie beam of the roof truss.The 12thc chancel was extended in the 13thc, and a N vestry was added by Anthony Salvin jun., who also restored the entire church in 1852-53. Romanesque features are the S nave doorway and the chancel arch. At the E end of the S nave wall on the interior is a 13thc niche; its W jamb now housing a re-used 12thc nook-shaft.


The Domesday survey recorded 3 holdings in Middleton in 1086. Richard, son of Count Gilbert of Brionne held 1½ hides and 30 acres, which was in the hands of 13 sokemen in 1086. A second holding of 1½ hides and 28 acres was held by Gilbert the Priest, who claimed to hold it as the queen’s gift. This was held by 9 sokemen of Earl Aefgar in 1066. Finally 15 acres were appropriated by Robert Malet in 1086.

By the reign of Edward III the manor was held by a family called Theobald, who later took the name of Sudbury from their residence in that town, Simon Sudbury, Bishop of London (1361-75) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1375-81) founded the College of St Gregory in Sudbury in 1373 and endowed it with his manor of Middleton, where it remained until the Dissolution.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Interior Decoration


Middleton is notable above all for the elaborate shafts on all three of the features noted above. The list description places the Romanesque work in the mid-12thc.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, 3 vols, London 1899, III, 201.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 597.

J. Fitch (ed), Essex Churches and Chapels: A Select Guide, Donington 1997, 136.

Historic England Listed building 115828

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3: North East (1922), 181-83.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, 2 vols, 2nd ed. 1831-36, I, 488-89.