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St John, Great Easton, Essex

(51°54′17″N, 0°20′4″E)
Great Easton
TL 607 255
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
medieval St Giles
now St Giles and St John
  • Ann Hilder
  • Ron Baxter
29 September 2011 (RB)

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Feature Sets

Great Easton is a village in the W of the county, in the wooded arable farmland on the N side of the A120 between Bishop’s Stortford and Braintree, and close to the B184 that links Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow. The village consists of scattered dwellings along a minor road, with the church more or less in the centre. It has an unaisled spacious 12thc nave with a S doorway under a porch, a blocked N doorway, and a short brick bell tower over the W bays. This was originally built as a bell-turret c.1800, and in 1928 the turret was replaced by the present structure by F. W. Chancellor. The lateral walls of the E half of the nave are much thicker than those of the W half. The chancel is of the 13thc, with a triplet window in the E wall. The nave is cement rendered and the chancel is flint faced. The S doorway is the only Romanesque feature recorded here.


The Domesday Survey assessed Great and Little Easton together, and recorded four holdings. A manor of 2 hides was held by Dufa, a free woman, in 1066, and by William de Warenne in demesne in 1086. There was woodland for 200 pigs in 1066 (150 in 1086) and 52 acres of meadow. A second manor of half a hide and 16 acres was held by Richard from Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086, that was held by Esger in 1066. This contained woodland for 30 pigs and 16 acrers of meadow. The third manor of 2 hides was held by Doding in 1066 and by Walter the Deacon in 1086. This manor had a priest at both dates, woodland for 800 pigs in 1066 (400 in 1086), 26 acres of meadow, and a mill. Finally the largest manor of 5 hides was held by Aki in 1066 and Matthew of Mortagne in 1086. There was a priest there at both dates too, and woodland for 200 pigs in 1066 (150 in 1086), 67 acres of meadow and a mill.

The grant of a fair to be held on the vigil feast and morrow of St Giles (1 September), granted by Henry III to William le Moyne on 2 November 1252, to be held at the manor, supplies the name of the lord at that date and strongly suggests a dedication to St Giles at that time.


Exterior Features



The great thickness of the E half of the side-walls suggested the former existence of a central tower to RCHME and Pevsner, but there is no trace of the E and W arches.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 406-07.

English Heritage Listed Building 122165

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 186.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1: North West (1916), 125-28.

W. Rodwell, Historic Churches - a Wasting asset, CBA Research Report 19, 1977, 106.