Sunday, 29 January 2012


All Saints is perched on a mound on the road between Tiptree and Rivenhall with what initially looks to be a Tudor tower but transpires to be a re-built Tower of 1876-7 when the Rev AH Bridges restored the church. It has to said that he appears to have done a sympathetic job and it would be nice to have seen inside but the church was locked with no keyholder listed.

ALL SAINTS. Ambitious red brick W tower and W porch, competently if not sensitively done. The date is 1876, the architect seems unrecorded. The rest is Early Norman with the chancel E end of the later C14. The two C11 windows in the N and S chancel walls are memorable. They have the equal outside and inside splays typical of their date. The masonry stone, flint, puddingstone and Roman brick should also be studied. C11 also the low and narrow chancel arch inside. To its sides and in the adjoining nave N and S walls C13 blank arches (cf. South Shoebury). The ones by the side of the chancel arch are pierced by large squints. Above the chancel arch remains of late C13 WALL PAINTINGS, not easily recognized. In the lower tier a bishop next to a tower and also a boat with a sail and a man by its side. - SCREEN under the chancel arch, three bays. - BENCH in the nave with uncommonly carved back panels, early C16. - STAINED GLASS. C14-C15 fragments in a S window. - PLATE. Cup with incised ornament and Paten, both of 1571. 

All Saints (3)

INWORTH. Here lived Saxons on a Roman settlement, among the lovely hills and valleys of the Blackwater country. In the church, hidden by trees on a hilltop, are many Roman tiles, set in the walls by the Saxons. They give colour to the corners of the building and frame the Saxon arch of the chancel. The double-splayed windows, which the Saxon archers found so useful for defence, still admit the slender shafts of light through the thick walls, and one glows with a mass of fragments of rich glass of the 14th and 15th centuries, a kaleidoscope of rare beauty. The church has charming woodwork. From the year 1500 come the well moulded wall-plates of the porch, and the door within it. There is a richly carved seat just inside, and much fine medieval carving in the flowing curves and spandrels of the screen. Right and left of the chancel arch are remains of wall-paintings 700 years old. It is a little difficult to read their meaning, but a tower, a boat with a striped sail, and a few people, can be picked out of these fading picture stories.

Simon K -

The road from Great Braxted was a narrow one, but it was also a short cut into Kelvedon, so I was constantly pursued and harassed by fast cars, before fortunately the lane reached a bridge over the A12.

I veered away from the main road and carried on northwards, and suddenly the countryside changed. The cars disappeared, hedges encroached and grew over the road to form a tunnel, the narrow lane straightened and climbed, the fields widened. Something had happened, and it took a moment for me to realise what it was. I was re-entering East Anglia.

Three miles more or so brought me to Windmill Hill; no windmill now, but a steep descent into Inworth and its church.

Locked, no keyholder. Set on a horrible road (Kelvedon to Tiptree) but a pleasing climb up a hill to a large church at the top. Fascinating, early Norman (late Saxon?) chancel in puddingstone, a late medieval nave and an imposing tower and porch in red brick of the 1870s.

Finding it locked was the one real annoyance of the day, as it is supposed to have wall paintings and medieval glass inside.

I met an old boy wandering around the churchyard pretty much like I was. He told me how he loves visiting old churches, and usually finds them open, so he was a bit disappointed here. He spoke movingly about the quiet of a churchyard, and how it meant a lot to him, being alone. I saw the wedding ring on his finger and thought he was probably recently widowed.

I told him about Inworth church (from the outside, obviously) - he did ask, I didn't just launch in. I also told him about Little Braxted, less than five miles off but he didn't know it. And then I headed ever northwards to Messing, and the delight of its lovely unspoiled village, with medieval and 17th Century houses.


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