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St Mary with St Leonard, Broomfield, Essex

(51°46′1″N, 0°28′10″E)
TL 705 105
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
25 July 2018

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Feature Sets

Broomfield is a village in the City of Chelmsford district of the county. less than a mile outside the main conurbation to the NW. The village is a mile from N to S, with the church just off its main road. St Mary's is a flint rubble church with much Roman brick re-used as quoins and as dressings for the tower windows. It is dominated by a handsome round W tower, probably 12thc, with a shingled spire, splayed at the foot. The nave and chancel are 11th -12thc, although the chancel was extended in the 15thc. There is a N aisle and a S porch, both rebuilt by Chancellor as part of a restoration of 1869-70 which also included the addition of a N vestry. A church hall (St Leonard's Hall) was added on the N side of the vestry by Tim Venn in 1996-97. The only Romanesque sculpture found here is a carved head reset in the exterior E wall of the chancel, and we are grateful to Richard Slaughter to drawing this to our attention.


Broomfield was held by Saewulf as a manor of 4 hides before the Conquest, and by Walter de Mandeville from his father Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086. The manor and tenancy remained in this family until the early 15thc, along with the rectory until the last was given by Walter de Mandeville to the Priory of Holy Trinity in London, in 1226 (Wright(1836))


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration


The church is notable for the large quantity of re-used Roman brick and tile in the facbric. No other grotesque heads that can be especially closely compared with this one have been discovered in the county to date.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 182.

J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 117.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 112451

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 37-39.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, I, 1836, 184-88.