Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

Chelmsford (District Authority)
South Hanningfield
National Grid Reference:
TQ 73015 95261




II Church of St Margaret of Antioch, nave and chancel rebuilt by G.E. Street in 1871, badly damaged by fire in 1977, west tower largely of c 1500.

MATERIALS: Red brick tower, dressed stone nave and pudding stone and flint chancel. Late C20 tiled roof.

EXTERIOR: The tower has diagonal buttresses, raised C19 castellated parapet and a rectangular cornice staircase turret. On the lower stage there is some black brick diapering. The nave and chancel is buttressed on all elevations. On the south elevation of the nave, the C14 arched doorway has carved face stops and there is a C16 stoop within the rebuilt south porch. On the north and south elevations are two-light C14 windows with C20 replaced glass, almost certainly re-set by Street during the rebuilding and apparently partially restored. The east window has three-lights, the tracery restored after the fire.

INTERIOR: The reredos of c1871 has been restored and comprises a central panel depicting the cross, flanked by two smaller panels, each with stone ogee-arched heads. All of the windows have replaced stained glass, including that at the east end. The church furniture is late C20. Some of the C18 monuments from the earlier church are to be found on the west wall of the nave and in the base of the tower. Two small brasses on the north chancel wall are C14 and on the south wall are a rebuilt piscine and single sedilia. The tower has a brick stairway at the south-east corner and is said to have a C16 timber door on the first floor.

The former stone font, the bowl of which may be C15, is located in the churchyard, which contains no significant monuments. To the north of the church are a former stable and a C16 dovecote, re-erected in the current position from a nearby farmstead in the 1990s. The Lych-gate appears to be C19 or C20 in date.

HISTORY: The church rebuilt by G.E.Street was probably C14 in date. The 1870s reconstruction comprised the total rebuild of the medieval building, and incorporated C14 windows and doors. The west tower is considered to be of C15 date; although mid C18 illustrations by Inigo Richards indicate that certainly the north elevation was principally of stone at that time. Restoration of the tower was also undertaken in the 1870s, including the reconstruction of the plinth with later C19 bricks and raising of the parapet, restoration of the west doorway and reconstruction of the west window. Tragically, the church suffered a fire in 1977, resulting in severe damage to the vestry, nave and south porch including the loss of the roof, all glass (apart from the west window of the tower) and the pews, organ, pulpit and choir stalls. After considerable effort by the congregation, the church was rebuilt, but as a consequence only the reredos remains of Street's interior.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION The church of St Margaret of Antioch at Downham is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons.

* It has a west tower which retains a substantial proportion of C15 fabric. * Despite a catastrophic fire of 1977 which destroyed the interior of the 1870s rebuild by G. E. Street, the C14 windows and doors re-used in the late C19 rebuilding of the nave and chancel remain adding interest to the building.

LISTING NGR TQ7301095262


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
An Inventory of Essex South East, (1923)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Essex, (1965), 162
Prebble, R E, The History of Downham, (2000)


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: 31 Jul 2000
Reference: IOE01/00475/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Brian Martin. Source Historic England Archive
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