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St Martin, White Roding, Essex

(51°47′50″N, 0°15′49″E)
White Roding
TL 562 134
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
16 May 2018

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White Roding is a village in the Uttlesford district of central W Essex; one of 8 settlements sharing the suffix, believed to have its origin in an Anglo-Saxon community led by one Hroda, which settled the area in the 6thc. The River Roding, a tributary of the Thames, runs through the area, and a Roman road linking London and Great Dunmow runs less than a mile to the E of White Roding. The village is 9 miles W of Chelmsford, the county town, and clusters around a junction of the A1060 Chelmsford to Bishop's Stortford road, with the church to the S of the centre.

St Martin's has a chancel with a N vestry, a nave with a S porch, and a W tower. The nave has early-12thc lateral doorways and brick windows, 2 on the S side and 1 on the N, of a similar date. The chancel is 13thc, the tower of c.1500, originally with a spire that was taken down in 1959. The timber porch is 17thc, and the vestry was added by Somers Clarke as part of his 1878-79 restoration. Construction is of flint with Roman brick quoins to the nave. At the time of the visit the tower was under scaffolding. Romanesque features recorded here are the 2 nave doorways, the chancel arch and the Purbeck font.


White Roding is not separately assessed in the Domesday Survey. Instead the Rodings are treated as a single place with several manors, and there are eleven entries in all and six different tenants-in-chief. In the account of Wright (1831), White Roding was held by Turchill before the Conquest and by Roger de Otburville in 1086. There were 2 manors, later called White Rodingbury and Maskelsbury. The former was held by Walter de Merc in 1226 and included the church. His son was Sir Walter de Merk, whose son, William, was a minor when his father died. In 1268 Isabella, perhaps Walter's widow, was granted a market and a fair, and in 1296 King Edward I granted the manor and the church to John de Merks.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches




The list description offers an 11thc date for the nave, based on the doorways and windows, and describes the font as Norman. Pevsner (1954) describes all the features here as merely Norman, and in this he is followed by Bettley (2007). RCHME is much more precise, suggesting late-11thc or early-12thc for the nave and early 12thc for the font. This style of doorway is common in Essex, although few examples are as plain as these. Comparisons may be made with the more elaborate doorways at Little Tey, Birchanger and Chadwell among others. The Purbeck font is of a type widely exported from its centre of production in Dorset. Within Essex a similar font is found at Vange, near Basildon.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 829-30.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID 120597

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 388-89.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2: Central and South West (1921), 256-58.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, 273-75.