Monument record MCC7317 - Church of St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney


Collegiate church, walls of plastered brick with dressings of limestone and brick.


Grid reference TL 9281 1742 (point) (FCE)
Map sheet TL91NW


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

Collegiate church, walls of plastered brick with dressings of limestone and brick. It consists of chancel, south porch, nave, north aisle, west tower, and priests lodging and dates to the early C16.<1> The chapel and aisle were probably added c.1525. Fittings include an early C16 door of overlapping nail studded battens with strap hinges and grip latch in the south doorway.<2> The church was largely rebuilt in the early C16 in red brick. The west tower has diagonal stone dressed buttresses, embattled parapet and polygonal staircase tower. The nave has a north arcade of two bays. The upper door to the rood loft remains with a four centred head. At the west end of the north aisle is a priests chamber, with the remains of a fireplace and octagonal chimney stack. The south door is original, of nailed cross boards. Nave roof of seven cants. There are many good internal features including a C15 rood screen with ogee arches; C14 alabaster tomb with effigy in armour with bassinet; a tomb to Henry Lord Marney of 1523 with recumbent effigy. The north wall of the nave has a large painted figure of St Christopher bearing Christ and holding a ragged staff with a landscape background - presumed to be early C16.<3> It is not known when the first Lord Marney began to rebuild the church which was rebuilt to the west of the house. There is C16 stained glass in the east window of the north chapel.<4> The church is a very complete, important and closely dated example of brickwork, associated with Layer Marney Tower. It contains to major monuments of the Marney family, dating from 1360 and 1523. Dampness has affected the internal plaster which has been cut away from the north wall revealing a Tudor fireplace.<5> A small college or chantry for a warden and two priests was founded c.1330 in this church by William de Marney.<6> Other ref.<7>

Site Assessment = 'The church is a good example of Tudor brickwork and among the fittings the monuments, especially those of the early Renaissance, and the paintings are noteworthy'.<2> Many good internal features, including the rood screen, C14 tomb and painted figure of St Christopher on the north wall of the nave.<3> 'An opportunity to examine the foundations was lost when a shingle filled drainage trench was dug around the walls a few years ago. It is very narrow and neat and it is uncertain how much archaeological damage was done. Dampness has affected internal plaster......An important wall painting is known in the nave and there may well be others elsewhere in the church….

AP <8>

Sources/Archives (10)

  • --- AP: unknown. unknown. Layer Marney.
  • --- Watching Brief Report: Orr, Kate. 2003. An archaeological watching brief at Rockingham's Farm, Layer Marney, Essex September 2002-July 2003.
  • <1> DESC TEXT: unknown. 1960 0nwards. SMR form unknown.
  • <2> DESC TEXT: RCHME. 1922. An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex - Volume 3. p155-6.
  • <3> DESC TEXT: Department of the Environment. 1982. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: Colchester Rural. p237.
  • <4> DESC TEXT: Pevsner, N. 1954. The Buildings of England, Essex. p237-8.
  • <5> DESC TEXT: Rodwell, Warwick J with Rodwell, KA. 1977. CBA Research Report No. 19 Historic Churches - a wasting asset. p112.
  • <6> RECORD SHEET/FORM: Ordnance Survey. unknown. OS cards. TL91NW15, 1960.
  • <7> DESC TEXT: Knowles, D and Hadcock, RN. 1971. Medieval Religious Houses. p324.
  • <8> AP: Tyler, Sue. 1986. Layer Marney Towers.

Finds (5)

Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Oct 26 2018 3:26PM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.