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St Mary the Virgin, Little Baddow, Essex

(51°44′37″N, 0°33′18″E)
Little Baddow
TL 765 081
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
25 July 2018

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Feature Sets

Little Baddow is a village in the Chelmsford district of the county, 5 miles E of Chelmsford, on the S side of the River Chelmer. The village centre clusters around a network of minor roads between Chemsford and Maldon, 4 miles to the E, but the church and Little Baddow Hall stand outside the village centre, a mile to the NW, St Mary's is constructed of the typical mixture of flint rubble, pebbles, puddingstone and Roman brick. It consists of a chancel, a nave with S porch, and a W tower with an embattled parapet. The nave is 11th-12thc, but the S wall has been rebuilt further S and reroofed, so that it is now asymmetrically placed with respect to the chancel, which, with its c.1350 chancel arch and 15thc windows has clearly been rebuilt in the later Middle Ages. On the exterior of the chancel are 19thc diagonal buttresses of brick. The tower dates from the 14thc and has a N stair turret. Romanesque features are the N nave doorway and a window head re-used as building material in the chancel N wall.


Great and Little Baddow are not separately recorded in the Domesday Survey. A manor of 5 hides was held by Leofwine before the Conquest and by Lambert from Count Eustace of Boulogne in 1086. Leofwine also held a manor on 4 hides under King Edward, and this was held by Germund from Ralph Baynard in 1086. A smaller manor of 1½ hides was held by Wulfsige before the Conquest and by Roger God-save-the-ladies in 1086.

In the account of Wright (1836), Little Baddow was Ralph Baynard's manor, and Baynards grandson was stripped of his barony, of which this was a p;art, after a rebellion against King Henry I. The Overlordship was granted to Robert, son of Ricard FitzGilbert, and the tenancy under him was with Richard de Badew. It remained in his hands until the reign of Henry II, when the male line failed and the manor passed to a family called Fillol by marriage. It remained with this family until the middle of the 14thc.


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration


The proportions of the doorway and its simple imposts, and the decoration of the window head both suggest a date of c.1100 or earlier for the nave.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 536-37.

J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 109.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 112786

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 150-53.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, I, 1836, 118-23.