Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Chelmsford (District Authority)
Good Easter
National Grid Reference:




II* Early C13, with C14 and C15 phases; restored 1877-78 by S C McMurdie, chancel restored 1879-81by Ernest Geldart; further restored after 1885 fire by Chancellor.

MATERIALS: Flint rubble with some blocks of freestone in the chancel. Dressings are mainly clunch. Tiled roofs. Timber belfry and spire.

PLAN: Chancel, nave with S aisle, S porch and W belfry built within the nave.

EXTERIOR: The chancel has diagonal eastern buttresses, and a C15 E window of three, traceried lights. There is a 2-light, late C14 or C15 window in the N chancel wall and a C15 door, possibly for a former vestry on the N side of the chancel. There are two C14 windows and a C14 door in the chancel S wall. The nave has two 3-light windows to the east of the door, and a traceried, C14 2-light window to the west of it. The late C14 N door has been rest in later flintwork. The nave W window is a single light of c.1200, but the wall in which it is set has been rebuilt. The S aisle has three early C14 2-light windows in the S wall. The aisle W window is a C14 single light, and the E window is of three lights. The S door is also C14. The C15 S porch has a four-centred outer opening in a square head. There are two-light windows with four-centred heads in the side walls. The tall, slender spire is set on a timber belfry with vertical weatherboarding that rises from the west end of the nave.

INTERIOR: On either side of the chancel arch is half of a tall, moulded arch of c.1200, probably originally for side altars flanking a narrower chancel arch. These were cut back when the present mid C13 chancel arch was built. It is of two orders, the inner moulded and standing on attached shafts with bell capitals, the outer chamfered and set on a moulded abacus that continues around onto the E wall of the nave.

In the S wall of the chancel is an elaborate, c.1230-40 arrangement of (from the E) a piscina, a stepped sedilia in the dropped sill of the window, and a 5-bay wall arcade above a bench. The wall arcade begins over the 3rd seat of the sedilia. Its moulded arches are alternately carried down to the bench and set on moulded corbels with Cistercian-style, short, cut away shafts.

The S arcade is of four bays and has alternating round and octagonal shafts. The two eastern arches are C13 and have two chamfered orders. The third arch is C14 and has larger chamfers on the orders; it is probably a reworking of a C13 arch. The western arch is post-1885, as is the nave roof with arched braces on shafted corbels. The belfry at the W end of the nave is carried on four posts with arched braces, and is also part of the Chancellor's restoration following the 1885 fire.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: Fine mid C13 suite of piscina, stepped sedilia and bench under an arcade in the chancel. The piscina has attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases (see above) and C19 tiled decoration by Geldart. The chancel reredos is also by Geldart, and has an embattled cornice, traceried roundels, and painted decoration. Other painted decoration by Geldart does not survive or has been painted over. There is another C13 piscina in the S aisle. C15 stoup in the porch. Chancel tile pavement by Maw and Co.

Monuments include a figural brass for Margaret Norrington, d.1610. A later C16 helm with a timber crest of a dog's head is preserved in the chancel. Some traces of early C13 wall painting including black lines and red decoration survive in the northern recess by the chancel arch. Some fragments of C14 and C15 glass reset in two of the S aisle windows. Another S aisle window by G J Hunt, 1930. E window by H J Salisbury, 1897.

HISTORY The joint entry in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Good and High Easter includes a church, but as both villages have churches, it is not clear which church this refers to; however, the narrowness of the chancel arch implied by the large c.1200 arches that formerly flanked it suggests that it was early, perhaps pre-Conquest and thus the church referred to in the Domesday Book. Good Easter church was given to St Martin-le-Grand, London shortly after the Norman conquest. Several of the prebendaries of St Martin's appear to have had houses in Good Easter, which probably accounts for the large sedilia and bench in the chancel, an unusual feature for such a small church.

The earliest fabric is the nave of c.1200, and the chancel was rebuilt c.1230-40. The church has earlier origins, however, as the partial arches on either side of the C13 chancel arch must have flanked an earlier, narrow chancel arch belonging to a small chancel, but all traces of this chancel, and the nave to which it was attached, are now lost. The eastern three bays of the S aisle were added c.1220, and the aisle was widened and extended in the early C14. The S porch was added in the C15 and a N vestry was apparently also added to the chancel in the C15, but it was subsequently removed. The spire was struck by lightning in 1877, setting fire to the west end of the church, in the C19 and was restored in 1877-8 by S C McMurdie. The chancel was restored in 1879-81 by E Geldart. A fire in 1885 led to a major restoration by Frederick Chancellor, including a new tower and spire, new west wall, and south facing aisle roof.

Ernest Geldart (1848-1929) who restored the chancel was a well-known architect and priest, who lived at Little Braxted and worked on 57 churches in Essex, as well as churches in London and elsewhere. He was particularly known for his tiled decoration, often with biblical texts. At Good Easter, only the IHS monogram tiling in the chancel piscina and the reredos survive from his once much larger decorative scheme.


Lynn Pearson, Tile Gazetteer: A Guide to British Tile and Architectural Ceramics Locations (Richard Dennis, Shepton Beauchamp, 2005) Buildings of England: Essex (2007), 378-9 RCHME Essex II (1921), 87-9 RCHME Investigators' Notes (1919), National Monuments Record, Swindon.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The church of St Andrew, Good Easter is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Parish church of C13 and C14, rebuilt around an older building, with very good surviving fabric, the W end rebuilt in the 1880's following a fire. * Very picturesque, if rebuilt, timber belfry. * Fine C13 piscina, sedilia and bench in the chancel. * Partially surviving decorative scheme in the chancel by Ernest Geldart.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
An Inventory of Essex Central and South West, (1921)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 19 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/03661/09
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Anthony Stripp. Source Historic England Archive
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