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Holy Trinity, Southchurch, Essex

(51°32′30″N, 0°44′23″E)
TQ 901 861
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
08 February 2018

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Southchurch is a residential suburb to the E of central Southend-on-Sea, bisected by the A13, the main E-W road from London and called in this section Southchurch Boulevard. The church stands alongside this road on its S side, and the view from the road of the N side is of a large 19thc hall with an E gable. This conceals the medieval church; a much smaller building of chancel, nave with S porch and timber W bellcote with a shingled spire. The nave is mid-12thc in origin, and both of its lateral doorways survive: the S in-situ and the N reset as a W door to the new church. The chancel was rebuilt in the 13thc, and the bell cote and chancel arch are of 15thc date. The old church was restored in 1855-57 by W. Slater, then in 1906 Comper built a new church on the N side, turning the nave of the original church into a S aisle. Comper's church was extended eastward by F. C. Eden in 1931-32. The old church is built of mixed rubble with ragstone dressings. The 20thc addition is faced with ragstone and flints, but its core is probably of yellow brick, a material exposed in areas on the N side which were never completed.

The features recorded here are the S nave doorway of the old church, the doorway reset at the W end of the new addition and the bowl of a double piscina.


Southchurch was given to Holy Trinity Canterbury (now the cathedral) in or before 824; the grant confirmed by Edward the Confessor. In 1086 it was a manor of 4 hides, and in addtion to the ploughland there was pasture for 200 sheep, woodland for 40 pigs and 2 fisheries. In 1294 the manor was held by Richard de Southchurch from the monks of Christ Church, passing to his son Peter who died in 1309.


Exterior Features



Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


The doorways are notable for their tall, narrow proportions and for the unusual mismatch of orders in arch and jambs. The grotesque head above the reset N doorway was not part of the original design, suggesting that a corbel table once existed here.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 708-09.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID: 122925

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 145-46.

T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, 610-12.