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St Mary the Virgin, Sheering, Essex

(51°48′5″N, 0°11′13″E)
TL 509 137
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Essex
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Isabel Tomlins
  • Ron Baxter
23 October 2018 (RB)

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Feature Sets

Sheering is a village in the Epping Forest district of W Essex, 3 miles NE of Harlow and a mile from the Hertfordshire border. The M11 runs to the W of the village without disturbing its serenity overmuch, but the village itself is built along a junction of minor roads, with the church to the S of the centre. St Mary's is built of flint rubble with some Roman brick at the NE angle of the nave, and consists of a chancel with a N vestry, nave with N aisle and S porch, and a W tower. The Roman brick in the nave suggests a 12thc date for walling in this area, the tower is late-13thc with a brick parapet added in the 16thc. The rest dates from the 14thc, except for the N aisle which was added in 1904 when there was a general restoration of the church. The only Romanesque sculpture is a Sussex or Purbeck marble font, no longer in use.


Peter de Valognes, Sheriff of Hertfordshire, held Sheering in demesne in 1086, and before the Conquest the manor was held by 3 free men. It was assessed at 5 hides and 30 acres, with woodland for 100 pigs, 32 acres of meadow and a mill.

It descended with the honour of Benington (Hertfordshire) otherwise known as the Valognes barony, to Peter's son Roger (d.1041-42). Roger had 2 sons; the elder, died c.1158 and the honour passed to the younger, Robert, who lived until 1194. His heir was his daughter, Gunnora, who married Robert Fitzwalter but kept the name of Valognes. Her daughter Christiana inherited and she married William de Mandeville, but died without issue in 1233. The estate was then divided between 3 heiresses. The advowson of the church descended with the manor throughout the middle ages.





Imported Purbeck and Sussex limestone fonts of this type are not unusual in Essex, owing to the shortage of local stone suitable for fonts.


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 681.

Historic England Listed Building, English Heritage Legacy ID 118247.

Victoria County History: Essex VIII (1983), 240-49.

Victoria County History: Hertfordshire III (1912), 73-77 (on the Honour of Benington).