CHURCH OF ST ANDREW
DATES OF MAIN PHASES/ NAMES OF ARCHITECTS
Late C11 or early C12 central tower, upper part of the tower late C12. C13 aisles. Eastern two bays of S aisle widened C14. Chancel rebuilt late C14, N aisle widened and S porch added or rebuilt C15. S chancel chapel C16 in origin, rebuilt in the C19. The church was restored by Frederic Chancellor in stages between 1868 and 1912, with further work in 1924 by A Y Nutt.
Flint rubble with some ironstone and freestone. Dressings of the late C11 and C12 work are largely Roman brick, the other dressings are limestone and clunch. S porch and S walkway are timber framed. Tile roofs except for lead on N aisle.
Nave with N and S aisles, the S aisle widening in the eastern bays, SW vestry and S porch with attached S covered walkway. Central tower, chancel with N vault like a porch, and S chapel.
A varied exterior, with the very long wooden S porch extension and central tower being particularly notable features.
The central tower is of three stages and has an embattled parapet with C17 brick coping and a pyramidal cap. The lower half of the tower is C11 or very early C12, and has a narrow, round-headed window partly built of Roman brick in the N and S faces. A C19 door in the SW angle leading to the internal tower stair replaces a round headed C11 or C12 doorway with chamfered imposts. The second stage has two light windows with round heads and a central shaft with a replaced cushion capital in the N and S walls. The top of the tower was added in the later C12 and has in each face a window two lights below a tympanum within a pointed headed outer opening.
The C14 chancel has a reticulated E window and small trefoiled lights with square heads in both N and S walls. There is also a three-light C15 window in the N side. Also on the chancel N side is the Tyrell vault, which looks like a porch, built c.1804 and rebuilt in 1895. The late C16 S (Sussex) chancel chapel was largely rebuilt in the C19, when it was made considerably shorter on its west side, and has single light windows in the E and W walls and a two-light window in the S wall.
The N aisle is C15 and has large, three light windows with vertical tracery; there are no E or W windows in the N aisle. A building break in the N aisle W wall indicates the extent of the original early C13 aisle. The large nave W window is late C15 and has five foiled lights with transoms and vertical tracery in a four-centred head.
The S aisle is in two sections. The western two bays are C12. Very narrow, this section has a late C12 or early C13 W window. The eastern two bays, to the E of the porch, were rebuilt in the C14 and have heavily or entirely renewed flint walling with stone banding, and two-light early C14 style windows in the S wall; there is no E window in the S aisle.
The S porch was partially rebuilt in white brick in the mid C19, but the E and W side walls have six, C15 cinquefoiled lights with timber mullions; they were formerly open but are now glazed. The porch roof is also C15 and has moulded wall plate and cornice with a central purlin with craved braces. The S door has C13 chamfered jambs. The porch continues into the highly unusual long, timber-framed walkway like a series of lychgates. Originally built in 1843 and rebuilt in 1924, it has a series of open three sections with timber posts, arched braces and tiled roofs descending towards the street. The southern most section has a half hipped roof. The SW vestry was added c.1900.
The 4-bay N and S nave arcades are early C13 and have one chamfered order on octagonal piers with moulded capitals and bases. They die into small corbels at the E and W ends. A blocked C15 or early C16 door led from the tower stair to a former rood loft. The eastern two bays only of the S aisle were widened in the early C14 and a contemporary half-arch in the S aisle against the central pier marks the transition to the narrower, C13 western bays. There are two S doors in the narrower section, one the C13 S door, the other is an early C20 door to the W of the main S door that leads to the SW vestry. Traces of a former W window in the N aisle, like that surviving in the S aisle, are visible internally.
The western arch of the central tower is C14, and of three chamfered orders on octagonal responds. Above it is the remains of a taller, narrower round-headed arch of the late C11 or early C12 of mixed brick and stone voussoirs. To the left (N) of the chancel arch, below the E corbel of the N arcade, there is a partial, round-headed recess of mixed Roman brick and stone that formerly held a nave altar beside the narrower, former W tower arch. It preserves the remains of its original altar slab, and a small C14 piscina indicates the continued presence of an altar here after the construction of the chancel arch.
The round-headed eastern tower arch is also late C11 or early C12 and is entirely of brick, though of an apparently different construction to the W arch. Wider and lower than the original western arch, it has two square orders to the W, and a single square order to the E with small imposts, also in brick. There is a blocked late C11 or early C12 door with a round head with radial voussiors and chamfered imposts in the tower that formerly led to the tower stair, and there are high level doors in both the E and W faces of the tower, both with stone jambs and Roman brick arches.
The chancel was rebuilt in the C14 and has a C14 string course around the inside. The arch to the Sussex chapel was rebuilt in the C19 and has a chamfered arch on heavily moulded corbels. There is a squint from a lost N chapel or chamber into the chancel. The late C16 Sussex chapel was almost entirely rebuilt in the C19 and is dominated by the huge monument to the Earls of Sussex.
Early C14 font, hexagonal with deeply sunk, gabled trefoil panels around the tall bowl, which sits directly on a moulded base. C14 piscina with a cusped ogee head to the N of the western tower arch. The screen under the eastern tower arch and that enclosing an area at the W end of the N aisle are made up from fragments of C15 screenwork; there is also some probably C18 panelling at the W end of the nave. A few fragments of C14 glass in Sussex chapel S window, and some good C19 glass. Tilework reredos of the C19 with similar tiling on the base of the font. Medieval wall painting of false ashlar and geometric designs in the chancel, with a band of C19 floral banding below it. C19 lectern with carved figures of the Evangelists. C19 geometric tile paving in the chancel. Plain, C19 nave benches.
Monuments: In the Sussex chapel, three excellent recumbent figures in armour on a single tomb chest for the first three Earls of Sussex, d. 1542, 1567 and 1583, by Richard Stevens of Southwark, 1587-9. Brass for Alse Byng, d.1573, a palimpsest, the reverse C15. Many, mostly C19 wall monuments in the nave and chancel. Four C18 hatchments, and some ledger slabs in the floor.
Roofs: S porch roof C15; N aisle roof C15 at the E end with some replacement timber at W end.
The early construction history of the church is not entirely clear. The Royal Commission argued that the nave central tower and a now-rebuilt chancel were constructed in the eleventh or early twelfth century. On the other hand, the differences in construction techniques between the E and W tower arches may suggest that the base of the tower was originally the C11 chancel and that it was raised when the chancel was added, perhaps in the early C12. The upper part of tower was added in the later C12, and the aisles in the early C13. The position of the former altar niche to the left of the W tower arch indicates that the C13 arcade was built inside the line of the walls of the wider Norman nave rather than being punched through the nave walls as was often done. The nave may also have been lengthened at this date. Only the eastern two bays of the S aisle were widened in the early C14. The chancel was rebuilt and probably extended in the later C14, and the N aisle was widened in the C15 when the nave W window was also installed and the S porch added or rebuilt. The S chancel (Sussex) chapel was added in the later C16 and was originally longer towards the W. The S porch was rebuilt in 1843, and the Sussex chapel was rebuilt and reduced in length in 1860. The rest of the church was restored in the late C19 and early C20.
Bettley, J and Pevsner, N., Buildings of England: Essex (2007), 153-4
Smith, W J T. Throughout the Ages: St Andrew's, Boreham, Essex (1987)
RCHME Essex II (1923), 22-4
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
The Church of St Andrew, Boreham, is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons:
* Parish church, C11 in origin, with a central tower with very high, narrow W tower arch. C13 aisles and C14 chancel.
* Surviving C12 nave altar niche with partial altar slab surviving.
* Good C14 font.
* Excellent Sussex monuments.
* Unusual C19 timber framed porch extension.