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St Lawrence and All Saints, Steeple, Essex

(51°41′32″N, 0°47′53″E)
TL 935 030
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
12 August 2015

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Feature Sets

Steeple is a small village in the N part of the Dengie peninsula, in the Maldon district of Essex, some 6 miles SE of Maldon. It consists of little more than a few houses and the church in a group on the road from Maylandsea to Bradwell-on-Sea. The church, on the N side of this road, was originally sited 600 yards further W near Steeple Hall. This new church was built in 1881-83 by Chancellor, re-using some material from the old church, notably in the outer walls which are a crazy mixture of stone rubble, bricks and tile. The present building has a long single nave and chancel with a S porch. Over the W gable is a short bell turret with a tall, pointed pyramid roof. This is supported on the interior by a two-bay arcade that crosses the nave near the W end and cuts off a space for the font and the organ. The chancel has a N vestry. The only Romanesque feature here is a pillar piscina.


The Domesday Survey records 3 main holdings at Steeple. A manor of 3½ hides was held by Bondi in 1066 and by Henry de Ferrers in demesne in 1086. Henry de Ferrers also appropriated a free man with 16 acres here. This manor included a priest. A second manor of 3 hides and 35 acres was held by Northmann in 1066, and by Richard from Eudo the Steward in 1086.

Finally Aelfric, a free man, held 1 hide at Steeple from the king in 1066; land claimed in 1086 by Theodoric Pointel to be his in exchange.

The manor of Henry de Ferrers later became Steeple Grange, SE of the church, and this was granted to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk by Henry VIII in 1538. The main manor was that of Steeple Hall, where the church once stood, and this was held by Hugh fitzOtto from Sir Almeric Peche in 1282.



Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


Pillar piscinas are not common survivals in Essex. That in Sandon church also has a spiral shaft with beading, but the capital has foliage decoration.


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, 3 vols, London 1899, 265.

J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 747.

Historic England Listed Building 428921

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 338.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 151-52.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, 1836, II, 677-79.