We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Mary, Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex

(51°53′44″N, 0°12′32″E)
Stansted Mountfitchet
TL 521 242
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
29 September 2011

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=13419.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


Stansted Mountfitchet is a large village (pop. 5,533 (2001)) in the NW of the county, some 3½ miles N of Bishops Stortford and close to the Hertfordshire border. St Mary’s stands a mile outside the village to the E, in the grounds of Stansted Hall. It is a large church consisting of a 12thc nave with N and S doorways, the former reset in the later N aisle wall, under a gable. The chancel arch is 12thc too, and the chancel has a 13thc S chapel, originally of one 13thc arcade bay, but extended E by a bay in the 14thc. The W tower dates from 1692 and is of red brick with a Hertfordshire spike on top, and the body of the church has a flint facing. It was restored by F. T. Dollman (1887-88). The church was made redundant in 1990 and is now in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. Romanesque sculpture is found on the two nave doorways, the chancel arch and the font.


In 1086 Stansted Moutfitchet was held in demesne by Robert Gernon, and it was held by a free man as a manor before the Conquest. It was assessed at 6 hides, and the inhabitants included a priest. In addition to the ploughland there was woodland for 1000 pigs, 20 acres of meadow and a mill. Robert’s son and heir William changed his name to Mountfitchet, and the manor remained in this family until the death of Robert II in 1258 without heirs.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration

String courses

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




The date of the font is hard to decide. Pevsner dates it c1300, a judgement repeated verbatim by Bettley (2007) without any justification or precedent as far as I know. The EH listing text might be closer with its “early 13thc” estimate, although in view of the 12thc volute capitals elsewhere in the church I see know reason to reject a Norman date. There is more agreement about the doorways and the chancel arch, dated c1120 by Bettley. The listing text states that the church was built by William Mountfitchet between 1120 and 1124.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 736-38.

E H, Listed building 416024.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 334-35.