Tilty Church and Abbey
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 13th century grave slabs and 12th century timber roof
Perhaps the most impressive reminder of the abbey is the wonderful east window, a striking example of elaborate curvilinear 14th century tracery. The window is composed of five lancets leading to an elaborate tracery wheel, and the sheer size of the window space makes the interior of the church seem spacious and filled with light. The chancel looks very much a medieval structure, with bulky buttresses shoring up the walls, but the nave is a rather peculiar contrast, plastered in pale pink, and topped with a Georgian cupola atop a small bell chamber. The effect is wonderful jumble of historical time periods and styles.
Inside there is a very simple Norman font to which traces of paint still cling. The font has a simply wonderful 17th century cover, painted in foliage patterns. The roof retains many of its original 12th century beams, which must make it among the earliest parish church roofs in England. At the entrance to the sanctuary is a beautifully carved wooden chair, decorated with the figure of a woman praying and the words 'My Lord and God. John Wesley. 1776.' Nearby, set upright against the wall, are the very worn grave slabs of two 13th century monks of Tilty Abbey.
The pulpit is quite simple but it has a stunning Georgian sounding board, painted with a figure of a bird in flight. Set against the wall is a fragment of a medieval carving showing a hand, and there is a small 17th century parish chest with very little adornment. At the east end of the nave is a small section of medieval wall painting showing a repeating pattern of coloured triangles.
In a glass display case are objects recovered from the abbey site, including a section of a carved frieze depicting a pair of dragons, and small pieces of medieval glass. Much of the remained of the interior is painted, in the style beloved of Georgian restorers. The pews are painted pale greyish-green, and the organ at the west end of the nave is a darker green. This makes for a fascinating mix of medieval and Georgian styles mixing together. The result is quite od, but rather pleasant, and vey enjoyable. Tilty church is fascinating for its connection with the abbey, but also for the collection of medieval and georgian features. A highly enjoyable visit in a very pretty corner of Essex.
Address: Church End, Tilty, Essex, England, CM6 2JN
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On a minor road off the B184 north of Great Dunmow. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Stansted Mountfitchet, St Mary's Church - 5.2 miles (Historic Church)
Saling Hall - 6.1 miles (Garden)
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Toddington Castle - 9.6 miles (Castle)
Nearest Accommodation to Titly:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Tourist Information Centre
2 Market Square
Tel: 01279 715 001