Essex Heritage Guide - Historic Churches
This page Audley Chapel, Berechurch - Colchester, St Helen's Chapel
This delightful early Tudor chapel was built to serve as a mortuary chapel for the Audley family. The chapel features a marvellous hammerbeam roof, with carved and intricately decorated timbers, and numerous fine memorials to members of the Audley and Walden families.
An attractive church in Dedham Vale, built in the 12th century re-using Roman bricks. Features include 12th century windows and chancel arch, a timber porch, king-post roof, and coat of arms of George III.
The Cathedral Church of SS Mary and Helen in Brentwood is a modern Roman Catholic cathedral designed by architect Quinlan Terry in the style of the early Italian Renaissance, tempered by the English Baroque influence of Sir Christopher Wren. The structure also retains part of an 1861 Gothic revival church originally on this spot.
A large 12th century church at the top of a hill a mile from the town itself. Built of Anglian flint flushwork, with a 15th century embattled tower. There are medieval brasses to the Beriffe family in the north chapel and a Victorian tile frieze commemorating local sailors lost at sea.
A lovely country church on an ancient site, St Mary's incorporates Roman bricks in its walls. Interior highlights include 17th century brasses, 17th century pulpit, and a grandiose tomb to a wealthy London merchant named Thomas Bush. The modern stained glass Hostages Windows are dedicated to journalist John McCarthy, one of the Beirut Hostages and a local resident.
The Cathedral Church of St Mary, St Peter and St Cedd is housed in a 15th century building which became a cathedral in 1914. Look for the finely painted Georgian ceiling in the nave.
A wonderful Saxon church set near the site of the manor of Chickney Hall, and mentioned in the Domesday Book, St Mary's is one of the oldest churches in Essex. The most generally agreed date for its origins is around 1000AD, but some historians suggest a much earlier date, around 850AD. However, there may have been much earlier pre-Christian worship on the site, as suggested by the oval shape of the churchyard, a shape often used to delineate pagan places of worship.
A superb 15th century wool church, much damaged by a WWII bomb but now restored. Features a collection of 16th century brasses, ornate 1620 memorial to Mary Honywood, and Peycocke family tombs.
The only surviving Saxon building in the historic core of Colchester, Holy Trinity incorporates Roman bricks into its structure. In the churchyard is the grave of William Gilberd, physician to Elizabeth I and an earlier investigator into electro-magnetism. Holy Trinity is now a community art centre and cafe.
This tiny church just outside Colchester Castle gardens was said to have been built by King Offa of Mercia in the 8th century. The current building dates to the late Saxon period, but it stands atop Roman foundations. It is now used as a Greek Orthodox church and is usually open to visitors daylight hours.
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