Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: I

List Entry Number: 1120855

Date first listed: 23-Feb-1967



Ordnance survey map of PARISH CHURCH OF ST MARY
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Uttlesford (District Authority)

Parish: Great Canfield

National Grid Reference: TL 59392 18007


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Reasons for Designation

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Chancel and nave, early C12. Nave extended in C13. S porch, C15. Vestry C 19. Flint rubble with some Roman bricks, dressings of Barnack stone, roof tiled. The chancel (7.87 x 6.36 metres) has in the E wall 2 round-headed windows separated internally by a round-headed recess, all C12. In the N wall are 2 round-headed windows, C12, one of which is concealed by the organ. In the S wall are 2 windows; the eastern is lancet of the C13, partly restored; the western is C19 except for the splays and square head, C15; between the windows is a doorway with chamfered jambs and 2-centred head, double-chamfered label and round rear-arch, C13. The round chancel arch has a roll-moulded edge with one carinated fillet and double billeted label, and the responds have attached shafts with moulded bases and a cablework ring above, scalloped capitals with cablework ring and double-chamfered abaci, mainly C12 but with some restoration. Above the arch is a C19 bullseye piercing. The N impost is a re-used Cll gravestone with Ringerike design on the upper face, mostly covered, but exhibiting a conventionalised beast. The nave (18.78 x 7.27 metres) has in the N wall 2 windows; the eastern is C14 and has 2 trefoiled and sub- cusped ogee lights with tracery under a square head; the segmental-pointed rear-arch has a moulded label with headstops, the W representing a man, the other defaced. In the window-edge are cut 3 steps of a former newel stair to the rood-loft; the N arris of the window is chamfered, and the head-stop mutilated, in connection with the same inserted stair. The western window is round-headed, C12. Further W is the C12 N doorway; the jambs have attached angle-shafts covered with incised chevron fluting, and having cushion capitals with zigzag carving on the under-slopes and moulded bases with spur-ornaments; the semi-circular arch has the same moulding as the chancel arch and a C19 tympanum. In the S wall are 3 windows; the easternmost is a C13 lancet, restored; the second is of 2 cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head with a flat segmental rear-arch, C15J restored; the westernmost is a C13 lancet, restored. W of the second window is the C12 S doorway, similar to the N doorway but with more elaborate detail; the cushion capitals are each carved with a mask, the eastern with pelleted ribbons issuing from the mouth, the western with 2 birds pecking the beard; in the reveal next to the W capital are 5 incised squares with swastikas; the chamfered abaci have on their vertical faces incised zigzag ornament; the arch has a roll-moulded edge with 2 carinated fillets between it and an outer roll moulding, a double billeted label and a tympanum carved with zigzag ornament in concentric semi-circles and enclosed by a cable-border. In the W wall is a C19 window. The nave has been extended to the W by about 4.5 metres (the RCHM found it to be 3.3 metres) to accommodate a timber-fronted bell-turret, C15, consisting of 4 posts with arch-braced tiebeams, clad externally with weatherboards, with pointed lights in the N, S and W walls, with C19 shingled spire. The C15 S porch has a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet with drip-moulded string-course arid containing in the middle of the S side a cinquefoiled niche with a square head; the entrance archway has a 2-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label and quatrefoiledand trefoiled spandrels each with a blank shield; the moulded jambs each have an attached shaft with a moulded capital and base; in each side wall is a window of 2 trefoiled lights, flanked internally by trefoiled panels with moulded jambs and head. The roof of the chancel is of 7 cants with double collars and inclined ashlar-pieces; there is one tiebeam, slightly cranked; this and the wallplates are moulded in convex and concave quadrants between steps. The date is uncertain, C14 or C15. The roof of the nave is similar, except that there is only one collar to each rafter couple, and the ashlar-pieces are more inclined. The cyma mouldings of the wallplates are partly concealed by the wall plaster. There are 3 plain tiebeams. This roof also is of C14 or C15 construction. The C15 roof of the S porch has moulded and embattled wallplates and moulded main timbers, partly restored. There are 3 bells, one by Miles Gray, 1634, one possibly by John Dier, C16, and the third by John Hodson, 1664. In the floor of the chancel there is (1) a brass of John Wyseman, auditor 'of the revenue of the crown' to Henry VIII, and of Agnes his wife, 1558; figures of man in armour, and woman, both kneeling before prayer-desks; behind them, figures of 4 sons and 6 daughters; four shields of arms (2) a brass of Thomas Fytche and Agnes (Wyseman) his wife, 1588; figures of man in armour, woman, 3 sons and 3 daughters (3) a stone slab of Elizabeth (Wiseman), wife of Robert Tyderleigh, 1654 (4) a stone slab of Elizabeth (Capell), wife of Sir William Wiseman, Bart., 1660, with a lozenge of arms (5) a stone slab to Anne, Lady Wyseman, 1662, with a shield of arms. In the vestry there is a black marble slab of Francis Penwarne, 1722, and a limestone slab of John Gower, 1782. Inside the N door there is a black marble slab of Stephen Alger, 1829, and Sarah his wife, 1847. On the S wall of the nave there is a monument of Sir William Wyseman, Bart., 1684, and Anne (Prescott) his wife, 1662, formerly mounted on the E wall of the chancel; tablet with half-length figures of man and woman flanked by Ionic columns supporting entablature and segmental pediment with a cartouche of arms. In an arched recess in the E wall of the chancel, formerly covered by the monument to Sir William Wyseman, there is a painting of the Blessed Virgin suckling the Child, who is seated on her lap; she is crowned and wears a full red cloak over a girdled gown, and is seated on a stone throne with fluted cornice and raised on a dais of 2 steps, the upper with rounded edge and fluted riser; the recess has below the dais a border with running foliage pattern; the edge of the arch has painted foliage, and below the figure are masonry lines and a consecration cross in white on a red circle. The windows flanking the recess have their arches outlined with a band of stiff foliage and, on the N, with a masoned pattern, on the S with a zigzag pattern; the splayed soffits have large red and yellow foliage designs and radiating masonry lines; the imposts are indicated by bands of foliage; the splays and most of the E wall have painted masonry lines, restored. The central group is little restored. Pevsner says this painting 'is one of the best C13 representations of the subject in the whole country, full of tenderness ... The date must be circa 1250 (cf. the Matthew Paris manuscripts)' There is a stoup in the W jamb of the N doorway, part of a rough basin hollowed out of the front. Below the W window there is a 5-metre length of oak panelling, circa 1600.

Listing NGR: TL5939218007


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

Legacy System number: 352670

Legacy System: LBS

End of official listing