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St Andrew, South Shoebury, Essex

(51°31′47″N, 0°46′57″E)
South Shoebury
TQ 931 849
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Southend-on-Sea
medieval London
now Chelmsford
medieval St Andrew
now St Andrew
  • Ron Baxter
07 February 2018

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Shoeburyness is a town on the N bank of the Thames estuary, 3 miles E of the centre of Southend-on-Sea and forming the eastern end of the Southend conurbation. South Shoebury is the part of Shoeburyness nearer the coast, and borders the MOD Shoeburyness site to the E, which provides testing and evaluation of weapons systems. St Andrew's stands in an urban setting and consists of a chancel with a S vestry, nave with S porch and W tower. The nave and chancel are 12thc, the tower dates from the 14thc with later brick battlements, the timber porch is 15thc work and the plain rendered vestry was built by volunteer labour in 1902. Construction is of ragstone and flint rubble. The church was restored by W. Slater c.1857, and by Nicholson, c.1894-1902. The 12thc chancel arch is flanked by later medieval arches on the E and the N and S nave walls, perhaps indicating the presence of nave altars, and the remains of a rood stair survive on the N side. Romanesque features recorded here are the N and S nave doorways, chip-carved windows on the N and S walls of the chancel, a reset corbel on the S chancel wall and the chancel arch. The font is in a 12thc style but must date from Nicholson's restoration.


The main manor in North and South Shoebury was valued at 5 hides and was held by Robert FitzWymarc after the death of Edward the Confessor, and by Swein of Essex in 1086. A smaller manor was held by Bishop Odo of Bayeux in 1066 and by one free man in 1066. This manor was valued at 1 hide and 40 acres. According to Wright (1831), Swein's manor and the advowson of the church were given by Robert FitzSuen to Prittlewell Priory, which he founded as a Cluniac house in 1110, and they continued in the possession of the priory until the Dissolution.

The S porch, added in the 15thc, may provide confirmation of a medieval dedication to St Andrew, in the form of shields bearing his saltire and the badge of a fish, with the monogram SA, all on a field in the form of a fishing net. It should be noted, however, that is is restored.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

Corbel tables, corbels

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

It is clear that the chancel windows, nave doorways and chancel arch below to the same campaign. The use of chip-carving and billet ornament as well as relatively simple chevron combine to suggest a date before the middle of the 12thc. The font, a general view of which is provided here, is a late-12thc type, but the lack of any signs of staples or their removal leads one to suspect that it is modern. As it is painted overall the material from which it is made cannot be identified. It is not mentioned by any of the sources given in the bibliography.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 710.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 122892

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east, 143-45.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, II, 612-13.