Monday, 14 January 2013

Stow Marie, Essex

SS Mary & Margaret is an astonishing building - part original flint and rubble wall augmented by, what I took to be, Tudor brickwork; it seems to have collapsed and then been repaired in the C16th retaining those bits that were sound.

There's not a huge amount of interest here but it's a lovely building and open, which probably added a huge plus to the draw, and the alter paintings, Mary Browne brass and Della Robbia memorial are all lovely; so whilst probably not a top ten of Essex certainly in contention for best of the day and looking at the west end photo certainly best in show.

I think Pevsner's rather harsh: ST MARY AND ST MARGARET. Chancel taller than the nave. The nave is C15 (see the N window of three lights with panel tracery) but was heightened in brick early in the c 16 to which the trefoil-arched corbel frieze and the stepped E gable belong. - BRASS. Mary Browne d. 1602, nothing special.

SS mary & margaret (3)

Altar1 - I am Gabriel who stands before God

Mary Browne nee Cammocke 1602 (4)

STOW MARIES. It is a small place on the low hills above the Crouch, with a lovely God’s Acre of trees and roses. A vivid red cross glows from the wooden bell-turret of the 15th century church, in contrast with the soft red corbel table crowning the nave wall below. Angels are playing viols in the headstops of the windows. There is a medieval niche in the wall now filled by a saint.

In the chancel is a brass portrait of Mary Browne, a village lady of the days of Queen Elizabeth, with little portraits of her three sons and four daughters. The stately wooden reredos dominating the sanctuary is a peace memorial and has three paintings of three Annunciations: the Annunciation of the coming of John to Zacharias, the Annunciation by Gabriel to the Madonna, and the Angel’s Annunciation to the women at the Tomb that Christ was risen. They are charming in their silvery colouring, and the setting is helped by the absence of a window in the  background. The font is 15th century.

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