Friday, 24 August 2012

Goldhanger, Essex

A surprisingly successful trip began with St Peter with an imposing tower but a rather dull interior. Having said that it does host an ancestral tomb, Thomas Heigham d.1531, and a rather nice pulpit.

ST PETER. The N side of the church shows its C11 origin: one chancel window, the nave E angle and one nave window. Much re-use of Roman brick. C14 S aisle mostly of flint, but also incorporating Roman bricks. C15 W tower with diagonal buttresses and some flint and stone decoration. The S arcade inside is of the C19. - STAINED GLASS. S chapel S and E windows of 1858, typical of their date. - MONUMENT. Tomb-chest with black cover-plate, one brass to a woman and indents of other brasses. The monument was to Thomas Heigham d. 1531.

Thomas Heigham 1531 (1)


GOLDHANGER. It stands remote, close to the Blackwater estuary, and down by its sea-wall is a mound of red soil, one of 200 still seen beside the Essex estuaries, sites of potteries in days before history. In this mound Roman pottery was found in
carefully constructed flues, and the experts say that here some potters settled in Caesar’s day, working an already ancient site. There is no doubt that the Romans were here, for their bricks are in the church walls, set here by Norman hands. The deeply splayed windows of the Normans have now brilliantly coloured portraits of the saints. The bold tower, the chapel, and the three-bayed roof of the nave are medieval. In the chapel is the altar tomb of Thomas Heigham and his three wives; one of their portraits is still in brass on the tomb, showing her in Tudor costume.

The big churchyard, with its many chestnut trees, is a pleasant place to linger in on an autumn day, when creeper clothes the porch in a glowing mass of red and gold.

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