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

St Nicholas, Fyfield, Essex

(51°44′16″N, 0°16′36″E)
TL 573 068
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ann Hilder
  • Ron Baxter
19 October 1997 (AH), 07 December 2013 (RB)

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=6095.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Fyfield is a large village in SW Essex on the Roman road from London to Bury St Edmund’s and midway between Harlow and Chelmsford. The village is in the arable farmland N of the A414, and the church and Fyfield Hall stand at its eastern edge. St Nicholas’s church has an aisled nave, chancel and a central tower between them. The nave has N and S doorways, the N under a porch. The oldest part of the building is the plain 12thc tower, which has a blocked, plain 12thc window in the S wall and another in the W. The tower was strengthened and its upper parts rebuilt in by J. B. Papworth in 1817, and he might have added the weatherboarded spire. The nave is also 12thc, but aisles were added in two 13thc phases. The chancel is of the early 14thc. Further restorations were carried out in 1852-53 (Stephen Webb) and 1892-93 (C. H. M. Mileham). The only Romanesque feature is the Purbeck font.


A manor of 40 acres was held by Beorhtmaer in 1066 and by Richard from Count Eustace on 1086. There was also woodlnad for 24 pigs and 20 acres of meadow. A second manor of 80 acres was held by Alwine in 1066 and by Iwain from Count Eustace on 1086. This had woodland for 50 pigs and 10 acres of meadow.

Two further manors in Fyfield were held by Roger from John FitzWaleran in 1086. The first, of 1½ hides and 30 acres, had belonged to Leofric in 1066 and contained woodland for 400 pigs, 10 acres of meadow and a mille. The other, of 30 acres, included woodland for 40 pigs and 8 acres of meadow. One of these two manors must have held the church.

In 1094 Roger, with the consent of John FitzWaleran, gave the tithes of the church to Bermondsey Priory - a gift that was confirmed in 1107 or shortly afterwards by Maud, wife of Hasculf de Tany and her son Graeland, who also gave the advowson of the church to the priory. The advowson was returned to the Lords of the Manor in 1183, and remained with them until the late 19thc .





During the 1997 visit the churchwarden supplied further information about the font. He siad that it was thrown out into the churchyard at one stage which explains its present state. Originally it was not lined, being of Purbeck marble this was not necessary. It was cracked by frost on the north side so when it was brought back into use it was given a lead lining and a cover - traces of the fastening fitting remain.

He further argued that the font was thrown out sometime in the C13 before the order to fix font covers as there is no evidence of a hasp having been fitted. Originally it stood on 4 shafts and a centre pier - see evidence of remains on underside of bowl.


English Heritage Listed Building 118380.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 374-75.

J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 134.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 170.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 85-87.

Victoria County History: Essex IV (1956), 46-55.