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St Mary, Henham, Essex

(51°56′4″N, 0°14′40″E)
TL 544 286
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
29 September 2011

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Feature Sets

Henham is a village in the west of the county, 6 miles NE of Bishops Stortford, set in mostly arable farmland. The church end of the village, at the west, is focussed on a junction of minor roads with a village green and the church at the west side of it. The east end is called Woodend Green, testifying to the settlement’s origins as an assart.

The church consists of an aisled nave with 14thc four-bay arcades, with indications of a 13thc transept at the east end of the S arcade (octagonal responds). The S doorway is of c.1300, under a 15thc embattled porch and the N doorway is blocked. The chancel is 12thc or even late-11thc in origin, with the remains of exterior blind arcading of that date. For the rest the chancel arch is 14thc and there are 13thc features in pointed lancets and an aumbry. The W tower is 14thc with diagonal buttresses and a later brick battlement and a Hertfordshire spike. Construction is of flint except for the chancel which is mortar rendered.


Henham was held by Aeldgyth, widow of Thorsten in 1066, and by Ralph Baynard in 1086. Apart from the ploughland it contained woodland for 200 pigs and 16 acres of meadow. A church (though not its dedication) is mentioned in Thorsten's will of 1044-45 (Whitelock (1930), 82-83.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


Bettley and Pevsner (2007), write that the blind arches "look late 11c", while RCHME (1916) and the EH listing text (1967) do not mention them at all, dating the chancel to the early 13thc presumably on the basis of the pointed lancets.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 486-87.

English Heritage Listed Building 405843

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 213-14.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1: North West (1916), 161-165.

D. Whitelock (ed.), Anglo-Saxon Wills, Cambridge 1930 (2011 ed.), 82-83.