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All Saints, Wrabness, Essex

(51°56′35″N, 1°9′41″E)
TM 174 319
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
26 September 2014, 11 November 2015

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Feature Sets

Wrabness is a small dispersed village in the Tendring district of NE Essex, situated on the S side of the Stour estuary between Harwich, 5 miles to the E, and Manningtree, a similar distance to the W. The village occupies a loop of minor roads on the N side of the road joining these two towns, with the church at its northernmost extremity. All Saints’ is built of septaria rubble, mainly cement-rendered with some red brick and limestone dressings. It had a 12thc nave and chancel, but the chancel was rebuilt in the 14thc, and again after a partial collapse in 1697, and again in a restoration of 1893 by J. C. Bourne. The nave is taller with a 12thc N doorway, now inside a vestry added by Bourne as part of a restoration of 1907-08 in which the nave was extended westwards and the S porch replaced. The 12thc S doorway was rebuilt in the 15thc, but part of its arch and label remain above the present entrance. The church has no tower or bell-turret, but Morant reported in 1768 that there was 'formerly a stone tower, with 5 bells; now only 2, in a wooden turret'. Now the bells are housed in a free-standing bell cage in the churchyard, SW of the church.


The manor of Wrabness was held by the abbey of Bury St Edmunds before and after the Conquest. It was held in demesne in 1086, and was assessed at 5 hides with an acre of meadow, a mill, a salt pan and 5 beehives. It was later held from the abbey by the descendants of Robert le Bland, an attendant of William I, until William le Bland, standard-bearer to the barons at the Battle of Lewes (1264) was slain by Henry III’s troops. The later history of the manor will be found in Wright (1831).


Exterior Features



Comment on Wrabness has mainly centred on the bell-cage, described by Pevsner (1954) as ‘the point to observe’ (about Wrabness). The two doorways are extremely plain but the capitals of the N and the label of the S point to a date in the first quarter of the 12thc.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 858.

Historic England listed building 120337

P. Morant, The History and Antiquities of Essex, 1768, I, 493.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 401.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, 806-08.