We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

All Saints, Little Totham, Essex

(51°45′34″N, 0°43′42″E)
Little Totham
TL 884 103
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
11 August 2015

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=5191.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Little Totham is a small village in the Maldon district of Essex, 3 miles NE of Maldon. The modern village is concentrated on the northern edge of the parish, alongside the neighbouring village of Tolleshunt Major, while the church and hall are in the centre of the parish, a mile to the S. The church consists of a nave with a S porch and a kitchen on the N side, accessed through the N doorway; a slightly narrower chancel with no chancel arch but a beam between nave and chancel; and a weatherboarded W tower with a pyramid roof. The N and S nave doorways are Romanesque.


Great and Little Totham seem indistinguishable in the Domesday Survey. Four holdings are noted. The largest was held by Thurbert in 1066 and by Richard from Hamo the Steward in 1086. This was assessed at 5 hides. Next, Hugh fitzMauger held a manor of 2 hides and 32 acres from Hugh de Montfort in 1086, which had been held by Cola and later Richard previously. William fitzBrian held half a hide and 30 acres from the Bishop of London in 1087; land held by Eadweald in 1086 as a manor. Finally a small holding of 30 acres was held by Gunnar in 1066, and still in 1086, but from Swein of Essex.

According to Wright (1836) the Little Totham manors were those of Hugh de Montfort and Swein. By the reign of Henry III Little Totham was held by a family called Iarpenvil or Carpenvil, from whom the parish was named Totham Iarpenvil. The living of Little Totham was formerly annexed to that of Goldanger.


Exterior Features



Logically the two doorways should date from the same time; the difference in their treatment reflecting their liturgical importance. Nevertheless the list description dates the N doorway to the early 12thc and the S to c.1160, and Pevsner calls the S Late Norman and the N, “earlier”. To be clear, there is nothing stylistically earlier on the S doorway; the chip-carving, the heavy rolls and the mixture of volute and cushion capitals all point to a date in the first quarter of the 12thc. Similar annulets to those on the S dooway nook-shafts occur at Honington (Suffolk) on the S doorway, which also employs a good deal of chip-carving. Radial billet is not common, but is found on one of the doorways in the W range of the cloister at Peterborough Cathedral, dateable to the abbacy of Ernulf (1107-14), and later at Redisham and Braiseworth (both Suffolk).


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 561-62.

Historic England Listed Building 119002.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 258-59.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, 1836, II, 713-14.