History of Chelmsford

church - exterior
Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, Chelmsford. Became a Cathedral in 1914
© Copyright Julian P Guffogg contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

History of Chelmsford >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

Part 4. Part 3 << Part 5 >>.

Note: Because of the size of the entry, it has been edited.

Churches etc: - Besides the two parish churches of Chelmsford and Springfield, each parish has a neat modern district church. [...] Chelmsford Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, stands in the highest part of town, near the Shire Hall. It is a handsome and spacious structure, which has undergone many repairs since it was rebuilt by "certain pious subscriptions" in 1424. The greater part of the body, being much decayed, suddenly fell down on the 12th January 1800, and was rebuilt by the parishioners, who at the same time, beautified and repaired the other parts of the fabric.

This renovation, for which an act of parliament was obtained, was commenced in June 1800, and finished in September 1803, under the superintendence of Mr. Johnson, the architect of the Shire Hall. In this church the Archdeacon of Essex holds his courts. It is in the perpendicular style, and consists of a nave with aisles; a spacious chancel, with a chapel on each side; a large and elegant south porch; and a lofty and handsome tower at the west end, containing a good peal of ten bells, two of which were added about 18 years ago.

The internal length of the nave and chancel is 120 feet, and the breadth 54. The massive tower is of flint and stone, with battlements and pinnacles. A lantern and slender leaded shaft rising from the tower as an apology for a spire.

The great porch is a very handsome specimen of perpendicular architecture, with ornamental buttresses, battlements, and pinnacles; and above its entrance arch is a triple canopied niche. The chamber over it is the register office of the Archdeaconary, and is approached by an unsightly brick staircase. In the modern walls, the ancient style of the building has been preserved, and the interior is elegantly finished.

In the gallery at the west end is a fine organ, erected by Crang and Hancock in 1772, but since improved by Russell. The east window is enriched with modem painted glass, which occupies the place of an ancient masterpiece of art, which was destroyed by the puritans of the 17th century, because it contained pictures of the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary, the Ascension, etc. The south chapel is separated from the chancel by three Tudor or four-centered arches, and the north chapel by a pointed and a circular arch; the latter of which is divided by a clustered pillar in the centre, with mullions on either side, in the perpendicular style. There were formerly four guilds or chantries in this church.

In a room over the vestry, is a valuable library, given by the Rev. John Knightsbridge, D.D., a native of Chelmsford, and rector of Spofforth, in Yorkshire, for the use of the clergy in the town and neighbourhood.

On the north side of the chancel are two stately monuments over the family vault of the Mildmay family. One of the tombs is of grey marble, richly ornamented, and inscribed to the memory of Benjamin, Earl Fitzwalter, and Frederica, his Countess, daughter of the gallant Duke of Schomberg. There are many neat tombs in the church yard, which is spacious, and formerly had near it an ancient chapel, dedicated to St. Margaret.

The Rectory, valued in K.B. at £31.2.4d., and in 1831 at £588, has a good residence, 16A.19p. of glebe, and about £505 per annum, in rent charges and a small moduses, in lieu of tithes. Lady Mildmay is patroness, and her son, the Rev. C.A. St. John Mildmay, M.A., is the incumbent. The Revs. W. Greenslade and J. Hutchinson are the curates; Mr. W. Howard, clerk; Mr. Coombe, organist; and John Saunders, sexton.

ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, in Moulsham, is a handsome district church, for that populous hamlet of Chelmsford parish. It is in the early English style, from a design by Mr. S. Webb, and was built in 1841, at the cost of £2,500, under the auspices of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who have endowed it with £1,900, to which £1,000 will shortly be added by subscription, and then all the 569 sittings will be free, at present only 310 are free.

An Infant School is attached; and at the west end of the church is a turret containing two bells. The land was given by Lady Mildmay.

The benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the rector of Chelmsford, and incumbency of the Rev. C.R. Muston. Mr. T. Wiffen is clerk; and J. Barker, sexton.

church - exterior
All Saints Church, Springfield.
© Copyright Robert Edwards contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Springfield Parish Church is pleasantly situated on the north side of that populous and handsome suburb of Chelmsford, and is dedicated to All Saints. Is is an ancient structure, of considerable length, consisting of a tiled nave and chancel, a south porch, and a massive brick tower at the west end. The latter contains five bells, and has a wooden turret or lantern rising above its battlements.

The chancel is in the early decorated style, and the nave in the perpendicular style. There are some remains of the ancient rood~loft, and the piscina has recently been discovered. The old Norman font is carved on its four sides, but now stands on a modern pedestal, and near it is an ancient sedilia. The east window is decorated with painted glass, of modern date, representing the Crucifixion, etc. The interior of the nave and chancel was much improved and beautified in 1624, when 16 new pews were added.

The Rectory, valued in K.B. at £22.11s.6d, and in 1831 at £777, was formerly in two two medieties, with two incumbents, patrons, and parsonage houses, but they were consolidated in 1753, by the Bishop of London, at the request of Sir John Tyrell, who was then patron of both. The patronage is annexed to the manor of Springfield Dukes, and the Rev. A. Pearson, M.A., is the present patron and incumbent, and has a commodious Rectory House, near the church. James Timson, jun., is clerk;. and Richard Rolfe, sexton. The glebe is 55 acres; and the tithes were commuted in 1842, for a yearly rent charge of £760.

Part 4. Part 3 << Part 5 >>.

Back to History of Chelmsford

Chelmsford from Springfield Hill
Chelmsford from Springfield Hill
print published 1834

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Chelmsford - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Chelmsford - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-4.0

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