Friday, 24 August 2012

Little Baddow, Essex

St Mary the Virgin is a pretty church in a pretty village, actually all the villages round here are pretty, it's nice countryside, but was locked with no keyholder. This should be a matter of public outrage considering the contents.

ST MARY THE VIRGIN. W tower of the C14 with angle buttresses on one side, a diagonal buttress on the other, W door with two niches, two-light Early Dec W window and battlements.Very wide nave which seems somewhat lop-sided, because it consists of a Norman nave of which the N wall with a plain doorway remains, and an early C14 S wall pushed so far to the S as if an aisle had been intended. This S part has a Dec two-light E window and in the S wall two low recesses, designed to form one group with the Piscina. It is typical Dec, with richly crocketed ogee arches. In them stand two very low tomb-chests with quatrefoil decoration. On the tomb-chest are two EFFIGIES of oak, a man and a woman, of c. 1320. The man lies straight, the woman slightly and very tenderly bent. The figure of the woman especially is of uncommonly fine quality. The architect of the church also appreciated sculpture. There are small heads used as label-stops and otherwise. - FONT. Circular trough with four handles, resting on a mill-wheel. - PAINTING. St Christopher, large, on N wall, C15. - STAINED GLASS. St Michael and the Dragon; also several fragments; all c. 1400 (E window). - PLATE. Large Cup of 1700, with bands of ornament. - MONUMENT. Henry Mildmay b. 1639. Standing wall monument with reclining figure, propped on elbow, between black columns which carry an open segmental pediment. Large kneeling figures of two wives below, on the ground trophies and oval inscription plate as background.

Consecration cross


Joseph Yell 1862

LITTLE BADDOW. It has a Nonconformist chapel two centuries old but in the walls of its church are tiles almost 20 centuries old, Roman tiles forming the arch of a door which may be the work of the Saxons. But it is for the treasures it has preserved from the 13th century that the lover of the old and the beautiful comes. Along the nave run richly carved arches with tiny heads peeping out from their massed foliage. Under each of these arches lies a carved oak figure in the costume of the days when the Black Prince went off to the wars. Here is a man in a long gown with hood and short sleeves, with a slit from the ankle to the knee to make walking possible. His companion is a lady with a veiled headdress touching her shoulders and pointed shoes peeping from her long gown to rest on a dog. The sides of their low tombs have carved panels with shields and support an iron railing with fleur-de-lys on the uprights, the work of smiths who may have fashioned armour for soldiers at Agincourt. There are only a hundred oak figures like these in all England.

In glowing colour St Christopher stands out on a wall in all the freshness of the 14th century, the Child holding a little cross from which waves a pennon. To the same 14th century belong the grotesque heads below the parapet of the tower, the hooded men and women forming stops to windows, and two gems of glass with St George on a turret and St Michael striking the Dragon.

In the sanctuary is a splendid tomb of 1639, holding all that is mortal of Henry Mildmay, who fought in Ireland. He lies with his head on his right hand and has a truncheon in his left. His two wives kneel at a desk, one an old lady in scarf and hood. They lived at Graces, a 16th century house a mile away with an avenue of elms a mile long running to the road beside the Chelmer river.

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