Monument record MCC7200 - Church of St Peter and Paul, Little Horkesley


The medieval church was almost completely destroyed by a bomb in 1940, rebuilt in Perp style in 1957-8. Rendered walls with stone dressings, and a brick S. porch.


Grid reference Centred TL 9606 3195 (24m by 29m) (FCE)
Map sheet TL93SE
County ESSEX


Type and Period (9)

Full Description

Probably rubble walls, covered externally with Roman cement; rubble of tower is much mixed with brick; dressings are limestone; roofs are lead covered. The church is the parochial part of the priory of Little Horkesley, founded during the reign of Henry I by Robert, son of Godebold and Beatrice his wife, for Cluniac monks and as a cell to Thetford Priory. No work remains of that period, except perhaps the north wall of the nave - three feet thick. About 1340 the west tower was built and a south aisle added; the west wall of the existing aisle is of this date. (C14 masons marks on tower arches and on north splay of the west window of the aisle). About the middle of the C15 the south arcade was built or rebuilt and the south chapel and aisle rebuilt. Early in the C16 a north chapel was added and the south porch built. The priory was suppressed in 1525 (see MCC7202 for the priory). If the priory chapel extended east then the east wall of the existing parish chancel must be post-suppression. Features and fittings include: C14, C15 and early C16 windows; early C16 rood loft staircase and doorways; C15 south doorway; early C16 south porch roof; broken altar slab in chancel under communion table; one C15 bell, inscribed, John Bird; early C16 bracket in chancel; C15 and C16 brasses and indents in south chapel; C15 and C16 tombs in chancel and south chapel with indented brasses (plates of same in RCHM); C13 oak effegies in south chapel (photos in RCHM); C16 chest in vestry; C13 coffin lid in south chapel; 2 coffin lids in south chapel; C15 font with early C16 oak cover; C15 glass in south chapel and south aisle; lecturn made up of C15 tracery, probably from a screen; niche in nave - C14 head in recess; C15 niche in south aisle; paintings in south aisle, date uncertain; screen between south chapel and aisle, C15, partly restored; in porch, 9 carved heads from label-stops etc, C14 and C15.<1><3>

The church was almost completely destroyed by a bomb in 1940, rebuilt in Perp style in 1957-8 by Duncan Clark, completed after his death by Marshall Sisson. Monuments salvaged from earlier church. Three oak effigies, probably of Robert Horkesley (d. 1295), his son William and William's wife Emma (both d. 1332). Low tomb-chest with brasses of two men in armour under triple-arched canopies - Sir Robert Swynborne (d. 1391) and his son Sir Thomas (d. 1412). Part of the side of a tomb-chest, late C15. Brass to Katherine Leventhorp, d. 1502. Brasses of Bridget Marney, d. 1549, wife of William Findern,d. 1523, and John, 2nd Lord Marney, d. 1525.<6>

Dedication may indicate an early, possibly pre-Conquest, date. Church was well established by the early C12, as it was given to the Cluniac priory of which it then formed part. The wooden effigies have survived in good state of preservation despite the bombing. Graded Iic by Rodwell.<2>

One tomb at least survives with brass of two knights (Sir Robert, Sir Thomas Swinborne - see RCHM for photo).<4>

Site Assessment (Rodwell & Rodwell 1977) = This church though much restored is interesting as the parochial portion of a small monastic church. Among the fittings is a fine series of brasses and monuments.<1> Destroyed by bombing in 1940. Rebuilt 1957, probably on old foundations. Major opportunity was lost for full investigation of the site. Churchyard has been tidied extensively. <2>

Eight digital photographs taken August 2016.<7>

Relationship to the Cluniac priory (MCC7202), NE of the church, founded c.1127, unknown.

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. Vol 3, pp.169-171.
  • <2> Monograph: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. Historic Churches: a wasting asset. p.110.
  • <3> MENTION: unknown. unknown. SMR.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: Department of the Environment. 1982. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Colchester Rural. p.249.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Trans Essex Archaeological Soc. 1942. Trans Essex Archaeol Soc. Vol 23, pp.119-24.
  • <6> Monograph: Bettley, James and Pevsner, Nikolaus. 2007. The buildings of England: Essex. p.555.
  • <7> Photograph: Tipper, J.. 2016. Photographs of St Peter and St Paul's Church, Little Horkesley. Digital.

Finds (12)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Sep 14 2016 4:25PM

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