Monday, 6 August 2012

Birch, Essex

At first appearance St Peter appears to be a run of the mill Victorian build with a massive tower and an oddly placed south west chapel. As you draw closer you realise that something is seriously amiss here - the church has fallen into disrepair and appears to have been abandoned to its fate despite being Grade II listed.

Apparently the church has been redundant for twenty years and plans are in hand for redeveloping the building for other uses.

ST MARY. 1850 by Teulan, but with none of the offensive features so favoured by this architect. Quite a normal aisled interior, and an exterior, ambitious, but not showy. The W front has a tall NW steeple with spire, 110 ft high. Dec tracery.
OLD ST MARY. By Birch Hall. A small Norman church now in ruins and not much looked after. W tower all in ivy. In the nave one can still recognize the plain C12 S doorway, one S window with Roman brick jambs and one much larger N window with one Roman brick jamb. ·
BIRCH HALL. Large and dignified Italianate villa, chaste and correct in the motifs; nothing debased yet. Ionic colonnade on one side, deep Ionic porch on the other. The architect is Hopper, the date c. 1845. Menaced with demolition.
WINDMILL, 1/2 m. S. Post Mill in a dilapidated condition.

St Peter (6)

BIRCH. A 19th century church stands among trees by the green, and has nothing ancient; but it has a bright east window of the shepherds at Bethlehem, attractive modern carving of angels and lions and foliage on the desks, and panelling in classic style behind the altar. On the wall are stone flags in memory of an officer who died in a massacre at Cawnpore; and there are memorials to the Round family whose home stands in a fine park with a lake.


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