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St Nicholas, South Ockendon, Essex

(51°31′20″N, 0°17′51″E)
South Ockendon
TQ 595 829
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Essex
now Thurrock
medieval London
now Chelmsford
  • Ron Baxter
21 July 2016

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Feature Sets

South Ockendon is an ancient parish and now a large village in the Unitary Authority of Thurrock, 4 miles N of the Dartford Crossing and a similar distance SE of Upminster, immediately outside the M25. The villlage extends for 2 miles along the B186 that runs N from West Thurrock towards Brentwood, and the church is at the northen end of the village along with South Ockendon Hall and the railway station. St Nicholas's has a chancel with a N chapel and a S vestry; an aisled nave; the 15thc N aisle with a porch, and the 19thc S aisle with a rood stair turret at its E end. The W tower is round and 13thc (the neo-Norman upper storey by Armstrong). The external appearance is mostly due to the restoration of 1865-66 by Richard Armstrong. It is of knapped flint with Reigate stone dressings. The only Romanesque feature is the reset S doorway.


North and South Ockendon are not distinguished in the Domesday Survey, which lists 4 holdings there. The largest was a manor of 10½ hides and 20 acres, held by Thegn Fridebert in 1066 and by Turold from Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086. A manor of 2 hides less 40 acres was held by Harold in 1066, and by Westminster Abbey in 1086. The abbey also held 1 hide that was held from the abbot by William the Chamberlain, Finally, one of the king’s sokemen held 25 acres in 1086.

Following VCH, Thegn Fridebert’s manor was South Ockendon, held by Turold as tenant in 1086. Turold granted the tithes of the manor to Hurley Priory around that time, but there is no record of his son, Ralph, succeeding to the manor. Instead, charter evidence indicates the tenancy of a family called (interchangeably) d’Ou or de la Rochelle, who retained possession throughout most of the 12thc and 13thc. There is record of a church in the reign of William I, and the advowson of the rectory remained with the manor throughout the Middle Ages.


Exterior Features



Pevsner (1954) followed by Bettley and Pevsner (2007) dates the doorway c.1180, which seems reasonable. The closest Essex comparison found so far is the S chancel doorway of St Nicholas, Castle Hedingham (qv).


J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 719.

Historic England Listed Building 119804

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, Harmondsworth 1954, 327.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. (1923), 140-43.

Victoria County History: Essex VIII (1983), 117-26.