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St Peter, Boxted, Essex

(51°57′40″N, 0°54′24″E)
TL 998 332
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
24 September 2014

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Feature Sets

Boxted is a village that extends over a network of minor roads between the River Stour and Colchester, 4 miles to the S. There are two main parts to the village. In the N, less than a mile from the Stour and the Suffolk border, is the church and the hall, while to the S of this and detached from it is the long straight road to Colchester that contains the newer part of the village. St Peter’s consists of a nave with N and S aisles and clerestories; the arcades (3 bays on the N side and 4 on the S) simply pierced through the 12thc nave walls. The interior walls are rendered and whitewashed but the outlines of 2 round-headed windows are faintly visible on the N arcade wall. There is a W gallery dated 1836, and N and S nave doorways, the former now leading to a modern kitchen built of timber. The chancel arch is 12thc and the 2-bay chancel has 15th windows. There is a W tower that might originally have been 12thc, with round-headed brick lancets on the lowest storey. Construction of the tower is of boulders and puddingstone conglomerate rubble in the lower parts, and brick above with bell openings indicating an early 14thc date for the top parts. The diagonal brick buttresses are presumably contemporary. The exterior of nave and chancel are of coursed mixed rubble, while the S porch and the dormers in the aisle and nave roofs present a markedly domestic appearance. The only Romanesque feature is the heavily modified chancel arch.


Aelfric held a manor of 4½ hides at Boxted in 1066, that were held by Eustace of Boulogne in 1086 and became known as Boxted Hall. This became part of his Honour of Boulogne, and remained so until 1430. The tenant c.1180 was Everard of Boxted, and the manor passed to his son Hugh at his death. It remained in the Boxted family until the 15thc. Another relevant manor was that of Rivers Hall, part of the manor of Nayland in Suffolk held by Robert FitzWimarc in 1066 and by his son Sweyn of Essex in 1086. The overlordship was held of Sweyn’s Honour of Rayleigh, and remained so until the 16thc. The tenancy, however, was held by Robert of Horkesley before 1135, and in the 13thc it moved between families of Breton and Horkesley. The church was split into halves held by the lords of Boxted and Rivers Halls. Hugh of Boxted gave his share of the church to St John’s Abbey, Colchester between 1163 and 1181, and Robert of Horkesley and his wife Beatrice gave thier half to Little Horkesley Priory before 1135. The Colchester house gave its share of the advowson to the Bishop of London in 1237, and around 1250 Little Horkesley priory exchanged its share with the same bishop, who thus became its sole patron. As the church moved from the diocese of London to Rochester, St Albans and Chelmsford, the advowson moved with it. The dedication to St Mary was recorded in 1500 (Arnold-Foster), and that to St Peter dates from 1848.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

The 12thc chancel arch is noted by RCHME and VCH but not by Bettley and Pevsner or the EH list description.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, 3 vols, London 1899, III, 60.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 160-61.

J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 115.

English Heritage Listed Building 416321.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3: North East (1922), 9-11.

Victoria County History: Essex X (2001), 54-68.