Dedham, St Mary's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: John Constable's 'The Ascension' is displayed here
One of the more recent additions to the church is the Commemoration Pew, dedicated to the people of Dedham, Massachusetts. The name of the Massachusetts town is no coincidence; many natives of Dedham emigrated to America in the early 17th century, and the colonial town was named for the Essex village in 1636. Dedham is the ancestral home of General William Tecumseh Sherman, the famed (or reviled, depending which side of the Mason-Dixon line you live on) American Civil War general. Sherman's ancestors emigrated from Dedham in the 1630s.
Dedham is the very heart of 'Constable Country', named for the region's most famous native, artist John Constable, who was born in the neighbouring village of East Bergholt, and painted St Mary's church on at least 26 occasions. On the wall is The Ascension, painted by Constable in 1821 for St Michael's church in Manningtree. Constable only created three religiously themed paintings in his lifetime, and this is probably the finest of the three.
Alston contracted to pay Constable £200, a considerable sum in those days, but Jefferson turned down his application. However, the Archdeacon died shortly afterward, and Alston, who still owed Constable his fee, refused to pay, causing the artist great financial hardship. Constable did complete the painting, though he rather rushed the lower half. It was installed in Manningtree church in 1822. The church was pulled down in 1965 and the painting eventually purchased by the Constable Trust, and installed here at Dedham. Its an unusual place to see a Constable painting!
Visiting Dedham Church
St Mary's is usually open daylight hours - and its just as well, for this is a church that is well worth visiting. Though the structure and furnishings are not terribly old by the standards ofd other churches in the area, the church is full of interest, and of course there's the Constable connection!
Address: 5 High Street, Dedham, Essex, England, CO7 6DE
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On the High Street in Dedham. Plenty of free on-street parking nearby.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
East Bergholt, St Mary's Church - 1.1 miles (Historic Church)
Flatford Bridge Cottage - 1.2 miles (Historic Building)
Langham, St Mary's Church - 1.6 miles (Historic Church)
Higham, Suffolk, St Mary's Church - 1.9 miles (Historic Church)
Thorington Hall - 3.1 miles (Historic Building)
Boxted, St Peter's Church - 3.6 miles (Historic Church)
Mistley Towers - 3.7 miles (Historic Building)
Little Wenham, All Saints - 4 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Dedham: