Saturday, December 6, 2008

St.Mary, the Virgin, Great Leighs

There are 7 round towered churches in Essex, the church below is one of them. The round tower is said to be built on Saxon foundations, with the very distinctive Norman archway, the building has a long history. The materials to be found in the tower are flint, roman tiles and puddingstone.

The church is very similar to the Broomfield church which also has a round tower; and of course an impressive saxon burial nearby.

One of the motifs that run through these old Essex church buildings is the reuse of material, roman tile, old sarsens where appropiate, saxon stone, medieval tiles and puddingstone. It could be that the church builders incorporated something old into the new foundations of the church, or it could be that such materials were conveniently to hand, but the use of the black conglomerate stone of puddingstone is a mystery. There is a theory that there was a puddingstone trail that stretched from Essex to Wiltshire, the stones being used as waymarkers. But this stone can be found at Ingatestone church, Broomfield and the Great Leigh one, and I am sure many more if one was to look out for such stone.

Ingatestone Church, puddingstone used in decorative form, interlaced with red roman tiles

Broomfield Church


  1. What fascinating things you write about Thelma. I've not heard of the term puddingstone, but we do have conglomerates here in Wales (esp. on the beaches from Llansteffan westwards.)

    There is a round-towered church we pass on the way to Brecon, but I can't recall its name. I'll have to go and google. I don't think it is particularly old, but more a foible of the landowner on whose estate it is built.

  2. There is someone who thought that there is a puddingstone trail from Essex to Wiltshire, its on Meg.Port. The weird thing is the more you look at churches the more obvious it becomes of this interlinking with there own past may be Norman from the outside but the reuse of stone conjures up a long lived site - christian or pagan


Love having comments!