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All Saints, Wakes Colne, Essex

(51°55′25″N, 0°44′49″E)
Wakes Colne
TL 890 286
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
24 September 2014

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Wakes Colne is a village in the Colne valley, midway between Halstead and Colchester. It is a substantial settlement now extending N and S from the intersection of the A1124 with the minor road to Great Tey and Bures. Since 1849 it has been served by the Stour Valley Railway.

The church and Wakes Hall are half a mile W of the village centre, and the church consists of a 12thc nave with a timber W bell turret with a short spire, and a 15thc N porch, and a chancel that was extended eastwards in the 19thc. There is a modern vestry on the S side of the chancel at the W end. The E chancel wall is of brick and the remainder of coursed flints. 12thc work is found in 5 nave windows – 3 in the N wall and 2 in the S, all plain round-headed lancets and not recorded here; the N and S nave doorways and the font.


A manor of 1 hide and 30 acres in Wakes Colne was held by Azur in 1066 and by Robert Malet in demesne in 1086. This manor formed part of Robert’s Honour of Eye, where it was recorded in 1210 and in 1274. The tenancy was granted c.1174 to Saher de Quency, from whom it passed toi his brother Robert (d.c.1197) and thence to Robert’s son Saher, Earl of Winchester. This Saher gave the manor to his younger son Robert, who died before 1264, the manor passing to his daughter Hawise and hence to Baldwin Wake, her husband, from whom it took its present name.

The advowson of the church followed the descent of the manor, at least from the 14thc and probably earlier.


Exterior Features





Messing, where the font originated, is 6 miles S of Wakes Colne. The font itself is clearly a copy of the Purbeck imports that are so common in this part of Essex, although so far I have not encountered a hexagonal example. RCHME correctly describes the font as hexagonal, but Bettley and Pevsner call it octagonal. Both date it to the late 12thc, which is reasonable. The impostless capitals on the N doorway may be compared with Great Clacton.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 802-03.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3: North East (1922), 225-26.

Victoria County History: Essex X (2001), 116-28.