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St Peter and St Paul, St Osyth, Essex

(51°47′55″N, 1°4′39″E)
St Osyth
TM 123 156
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
12 August 2015

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St Osyth is a village in the Tendring district of E Essex, 3 miles W of Clacton-on-Sea and 10 miles SE of Colchester. The village is surrounded by water, with St Osyth Creek to the S and Flag Creek to the W, both of which flow into the estuary of the River Colne. St Osyth Priory, an Augustinian house begun in 1118, dominates the centre of the village, and the parish church stands to its SE, just outside the priory walls.

The present church has an aisled nave with 5-bay brick arcades dating from the 16thc, wide aisles also of brick, N and S porches, N and S transepts, a chancel with N and S chapels, both converted to other uses, and an early 14thc W tower. The 16thc work widened the nave to the S, so that the chancel is now off-centre with respect to the nave. The line of the original, 12thc S arcade is indicated by the survival of its W respond, well to the N of the present arcade. There is also a loose scallop capital on the window-sill of the former S chapel (now the kitchen).


The Bishop of London held land in St Osyth (then called Cice or Chiche) as a manor in demesne in 1066 and 1086. It was assessed at 7 hides. A second manor there was held by Count Eustace in 1086, also in demesne, which had previously been held by Edward and later Engelric. This was assessed at 3 hides and 40 acres. Finally a manor of 2½ hides was held in 1066 by Siward and in 1086 by Turold from Ranulf Peverel.

The Bishop’s manor included the priory and the church; the latter being given to the former by Bishop Richard de Beaumis I (1108-27).


Interior Features



Loose Sculpture


The loose capital is substantial and the fact that it is carved on all four faces suggests that it came from an open arcade; perhaps a gallery arcade or cloister.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, , London 1899, III, 244.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 675-76.

Historic England Listed Building 119963

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 313-14.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3, North east. (1922), 195-206.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, 1836, II, 772-77.