Remains of All Saints Church, 60m north west of Stanway Hall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019879

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Remains of All Saints Church, 60m north west of Stanway Hall Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Colchester (District Authority)

Parish: Stanway

National Grid Reference: TL 95305 22087


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little fabric of the first church being still easily visible. Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are identified to be nationally important.

The surviving fabric of All Saints Church graphically illustrates its history: its development from a 13th century simple two-celled structure into a fairly large 15th century parish church, and then its conversion into a smaller private chapel in the 17th century. The sequence of events evident in the surviving fabric can be tied into the documented history. Further elements of the 12th to 15th century church no longer visible above ground will survive below ground, in particular the foundations of the 13th century nave and the 15th century north aisle demolished in the 17th century. Underneath the present church there may lie the remains of an earlier foundation. The manor of Stanway is listed in the Domesday Book. The name Stanway is formed from two Anglo-Saxon words - stan, meaning stone and weg or waeg, meaning way, the name originating from the proximity of two Roman roads to the parish. The church also may have originated during this period under the auspices of the adjacent hall. If so, the archaeological remains of this earlier church can be expected to survive as buried features. The ground beneath the church and immediately alongside is also likely to contain burials related to both the parochial and later private use of the building.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the buried and standing remains of All Saints Church, which lies in an isolated position within a predominantly rural landscape some 2.5km south of the village of Stanway. Originally the parish church of Great Stanway, it was converted into a private chapel of the Stanway Hall estate in the early 17th century. The early church, dating to the 13th century, was a simple two celled-church comprising a nave and a chancel. The 13th century walling is of coursed sub-rectangular Kentish ragstone blocks, flint rubble and significant amounts of reused Roman tile and brick. The remains of these walls survive in the nave, to a height of 3m to 3.6m externally and 2.3m to 3.3m internally, and the buttresses of the south nave wall are contemporary with this period. Documentary references from the 13th century include a church valuation of 1254 and a reference to the parish church at Great Stanway dated 1291. During the latter part of the 14th century the nave collapsed and was rebuilt. This new work can be seen in the south, east and west walls of the nave - the upper courses of medieval peg-tile being particularly characteristic of this period. In the 15th century the church was enlarged with the construction of the west tower, the addition of the north aisle and the insertion of a three-bay arcade. The mainly brick built tower survives largely intact. In the early 17th century the church was converted into a private chapel. This conversion is evidenced by the blocked arcade (with the north nave door constructed through) and chancel arch, and the brick built north porch. The chancel and north aisle were demolished at this time. No further structural activity of note appears to have taken place, other than blocking and repair, after the church became disused in the late 17th or early 18th century. By the early 18th century, the building was said to be utterly decayed and all the material of the roofs has subsequently been lost. The church is Listed Grade II. Sometime during the 20th century a large sectional cast-iron water tank was inserted into the bell chamber of the tower. The water tank, all modern fencelines and paths around the church, telegraph poles and lines and a modern shed on the south side of the nave are excluded from the scheduling; however, the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 32437

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Buckler, G, Twenty-Two of the Churches of Essex Architecturally Described, (1856)
Morant, P, History and Antiquities of the County of Essex: Volume II, (1768)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Essex, (1954), p336
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1922)
Rodwell, WJ, 'CBA Research Report No.19' in Historic Churches a wasting asset, (1977), p118-9
Building Recording, Garwood, A, All Saints Church, Gt. Stanway, Colchester, Essex, (1998)
Colour prints, Tyler, S, MPP Films 19 and 20, (2000)
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

End of official listing