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St Mary, Moreton, Essex

(51°44′29″N, 0°13′34″E)
TL 538 071
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
07 December 2013 (RB)

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Feature Sets

Moreton is a village in SW Essex, 6 miles E of Harlow and 10 miles W of Chelmsford. It stands on the line of the Roman road from London to Bury St Edmund’s, in arable farmland. The church and Hall are outside the main village centre to the east. St Mary’s consists of a chancel, a nave with N and S porches, the former now converted into a vestry, and a brick W tower. Nave and chancel are 13thc, the tower was built in 1787, the S porch in the 15thc and the N in the 19thc. The church was restored in 1864-69. The only 12thc feature is the Purbeck font.


The manor of Moreton was held in 1066 by Saxi and in 1086 by William d’Ecouis in demesne. It was assessed at 1 hide and 20 acres of ploughland, with woodland for 400 pigs and 20 acres of meadow. Another 43½ acres held by a free man were annexed by William, and were held from him by Ralph in 1086. By 1182 the manor was in the hands of William d’Avranches, and it was still in that family when the male line failed in 1235.

There was apparently a church in the 11thc, which was given to the abbey of Saint-Etienne de Caen by William d’Ecouis – the gift recorded in a charter of William d’Avranches dateable between 1174 and 1182. The church was seized by Edward III during the war with France, and it remained a royal possession until the late 15thc.





The sun, moon and whorl motifs are typical of fonts in this part of Essex, other comparable examples being seen at Abbess Roding, Little Laver and Fryerning


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 602.

F. Chancellor, “Moreton church”, Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, NS XI (1909), 177

English Heritage Listed Building 118459.

W. N. Paul, Essex Fonts and Font Covers, 1986.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 273.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 189-90.

Victoria County History: Essex IV (1956), 131-37.