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All Saints, Little Canfield, Essex

(51°51′54″N, 0°18′12″E)
Little Canfield
TL 587 210
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ann Hilder
  • Ron Baxter
05 October 2011 (RB)

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Feature Sets

Little Canfield is a small village on either side of the B1256 (formerly A120) in west Essex, 6 miles E of Bishop’s Stortford. It is set in arable farmland on the E bank of the River Roding, with the church at the southern end of the settlement. The church consists of a nave with a 12thc S dorway under a Perpendicular porch, and a 14thc chancel. The vestry, on the N side of the chancel, was added in 1795. For the present appearance of the church we are indebted to the rector Rev. C. I. Smith (an amateur architect) whose improvements in 1847 and 1856 included the remodelling of the chancel and the addtion of the present NW tower and its spire. The only Romanesque feature is the S doorway.


Great and Little Canfield are not distinguished in the text of the Domesday survey. A manor of 1 hide and 30 acres was held by Eadgifu in 1066 and by Aubrey de Vere from Count Alan in 1086. A second manor of 2 hides less 8 acres was held by two free men in 1066 and by William de Warenne in demesne in 1086. A third manor of half a hide and 16 acres was held by Esger in 1066 and by Richard from Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086. A fourth, of 2 hides, was held Wulfwine in 1066 and by Aubrey de Vere in demesne in 1086. Of these the most significant for us is William de Warenne’s, as he gave the church of Little Canfield to Lewes Priory (see Round (1906), 101).


Exterior Features



Although the doorway is heavily restored, such features as remain, notably the plain cushion capitals and heavy roll mouldings, suggest an early date of c.1100.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 545-46.

English Heritage Listed Building 353489

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 249-50.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 153-54

J. H. Round, “LIttle Canfield church”, Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, NS.IX (1906), 101.