Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Broomfield, Essex

I have to admit to a certain ambivalence towards St Mary with St Leonard; on the one hand I love the exterior with its round tower and handsome nave and chancel but on the other I dislike the conical, shingled spire nor the over-restored interior. However I was lucky when I visited since it is usually kept locked with no keyholder listed but a very nice lady was sorting out prayer requests and, I think, supervising a general churchyard work party and let me have a snoop.

Since there was no guide I'll let Mee expand.

ST MARY. Norman round tower with much Roman brick re-used. Low, with later shingled broach spire. Un-moulded round headed tower arch. Norman also both nave and chancel, see the Roman brick quoins on the S side. The chancel was lengthened and given its large E window in the C15. The N side of the church belongs to 1870. - FONT. Square, of Purbeck marble, C13 with three shallow blank pointed arches on each side and (an exception) angle shafts. - PLATE. The old plate has gone to a church at Margate. 

St Mary with St Leonard (2)

Thomas Huntley 1613

I think I come down on the Yay side of the fence.

BROOMFIELD. Its soil has yielded up Stone Age weapons and many bits of Saxon England, but the oldest things visible are the Roman bricks used by the Norman builders of the church. They are in the nave doorway and in the tower windows, and they form the end of the Norman chancel which the 15th century builders extended. Parts of the church have been rebuilt in modern times, but the round tower has been standing 800 years, and is one of only six old round towers in Essex. It rises to a conical roof and a shingled spire with little gable lights. The font is about 700 years old; and hanging in the belfry is a clarinet, last used here in 1870. The chancel is the last resting-place of Patrick Younge, a friend of Charles Stuart, who lies under a stone carved with his arms. He was the king’s librarian, and died in the village; it is to him that Broomfield owes one of its treasures, a Bible Charles gave him.

Flickr set.

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