Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Mundon, Essex

St Mary [in the care of The Friends of Friendless Churches] is kept open and is an extraordinary building. The bell "tower" is a windowless semi octagon through whose gloom you enter the body of the church. Remnants of wallpaintings, box pews, a nice pulpit and a general air of shabbiness (in a nice way) greet you. This is a really special building in all its oddness.

ST MARY. Nave and chancel and a timber tower, remarkable in design though hardly higher than the nave roof. Square centre with N, S, and W aisles, the W aisle connected by triangular pieces to N and S aisles (cf. Navestock). The aisle roofs are tiled and start about 8 ft from the ground. The square upper part is boarded. The nave has an early C14 N window with Y-tracery. A brick window and a blocked archway into a chapel on the S side must be early C16. The chancel is early C18. Of brick with original E and N windows. Timber N porch with V pendants hanging from the lower eaves ends of the gable. Humble interior with box-pews and candle-holders on them. - PLATE. Jacobean Cup on a stem for which the Royal Commission suggests a pre-Reformation date.

St Mary (3)

St Edmund (2)

Nave looking east (1)

MUNDON. Odd to look at and lonely in its situation, its church gives us an impression of a day that has passed. An ivied elm and a ragged yew grow at its rustic gate, behind a barn of Stuart days keeping company with its great house, and round it all run traces of a moat which must have been filled with water in the days of the Barons. From those days comes the church’s oldest possession, the Norman font made square 800 years ago but given the fashionable shape of a later day by cutting off its corners. One of the oldest bells in the county still rings as it has rung for more than 500 years. The timber belfry was erected for it in Tudor days, and a very quaint addition it is, half an octagon fitted round the west wall. The same carpenters may have built the porch, with a gable of moulded bargeboards and spandrels carved with twisted leaves.

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