23. EAST MERSEA. (D.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. xlvii. N.W.)
East Mersea is a parish comprising the E. half
of Mersea Island, 7½ m. S.S.E. of Colchester. The
church is interesting.
(1). Parish Church of St. Edmund stands on
the S. side of the parish. The walls are of septaria
and flint-rubble with dressings of limestone; the
roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The S. wall
of the Chancel is thicker than the N. walls and may
be of the 12th or 13th century. The S. wall of
the Nave is probably of the same date and the
upper part is of less thickness than the lower.
In the 14th century the chancel was widened
towards the N. and probably extended one bay
to the E. Late in the 15th or early in the 16th
century the North Chapel, North Aisle and West
Tower were added. The South Porch was added
probably late in the 18th century, when various
other alterations were made.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (30½ ft.
by 19 ft.) has in the E. wall a 15th-century window
of four cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in
a two-centred head; in the gable is an opening
with a trefoiled head and a moulded label. In the
N. wall is an early 14th-century window of two
trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred
head; further W. is a late 15th-century arch,
two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders;
the responds have each three attached shafts with
moulded capitals and bases. In the S. wall are
two 15th-century windows, both partly restored,
and each of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical
tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded
label; between them is a 15th-century doorway,
with moulded jambs and two-centred arch and
label. The late 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred, but is otherwise similar in detail to the
arch in the N. wall.
The North Chapel (14 ft. by 14 ft.) has in the
E. wall a late 15th-century window of three
cinquefoiled lights in a three-centred head; the
middle light has an embattled transom. In the
N. wall is a similar window. The late 15th-century
W. archway is segmental-pointed and of two
chamfered orders; the responds have each a semi
octagonal attached shaft with concave faces and
moulded capitals and bases; adjoining the S.
respond is a squint with a rounded head.
The Nave (42½ ft. by 20 ft.) has a late 15th-century N. arcade of four bays with two-centred
arches of two hollow-chamfered orders; the piers
have each four attached shafts with moulded
capitals and bases; the responds have attached
half columns. In the S. wall are two windows
originally of the 15th century, but with 18th-century wooden frames and mullions; between
them is the 15th-century S. doorway, with moulded
jambs and two-centred arch;. at the E. end of
the wall is a projection enclosing the rood-loft
staircase; it has late 15th-century upper and
lower doorways with four-centred heads.
The North Aisle (14 ft. wide) has in the N. wall
three windows, the easternmost and westernmost
are of late 14th or early 15th-century date and
are each of two cinquefoiled ogee lights with
tracery in a three-centred head with a moulded
label, probably reset; the middle window is
similar to those in the S. wall of the nave; between
the two western windows is the 15th-century N.
doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred
arch. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window
similar to the windows in the N. chapel.
The West Tower (12 ft. by 11 ft.) is of late
15th-century date and of three stages with a modern
parapet and old carved gargoyles at the angles;
on each face of the middle stage is a rough cross
in knapped flints. The two-centred tower-arch is
of two hollow-chamfered orders on the E. and of
three on the W. side; the responds have each
two attached shafts with moulded capital and
base. In the N. wall is the doorway to the stair-turret, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch.
The W. window is of three cinquefoiled lights with
tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded
label; the mullions are modern. The second stage
has in the N., S. and W. walls a square-headed
loop; below the loop in the S. wall is a small
blocked window with a decayed head. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded
label; the S. window has been repaired with
The Roof of the chancel has old wall-plates.
The roof of the nave is ceiled and has on the N. side
a moulded and embattled wall-plate of the 15th
century with traces of colour.
Fittings—Bell: one; by Richard Hille, and
inscribed: "Sum Rosa Pulsata Mundi Maria
Vocata," early 15th-century. Brass: In chancel—
to Maudlin Owtred, 1572, inscription only. Doors:
In N. doorway, with moulded and studded fillets
and strap-hinges, trellis framing, 16th-century. In
S. doorway—modern, but with band of quatrefoiled
panelling at bottom, 15th-century. In doorway to
turret staircase of tower, plated with iron and
nail-studded, 16th-century. Font (Plate, p. xxxiv):
octagonal bowl, each face with a trefoiled and
crocketed head with tracery above and vaulting
or tracery below, shallow pedestals at base of
panels, top edge carved with square flowers, lower
edge with half-angels, stem with cinquefoiled and
crocketed panels, moulded base, 15th-century.
Glass: In chancel—in N. window, fragments, blue
roundel, etc., 14th-century. Hour-glass Stand:
on pulpit, of wrought iron, 17th-century. Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In nave—
on S. wall, to Lieut.-Col. Edward Bellame, 1656,
framed wooden panel with painted achievement of
arms. Floor-slab: In N. aisle—to James Fox,
1710. Niches: In N. chapel—flanking E. window,
two wide recesses with mutilated cusped heads,
15th-century. Painting: In N. chapel—at back
of niches, remains of painted decoration. Piscina:
In chancel—with hollow-chamfered jambs and
cinquefoiled head, second opening into splay of
S.E. window, rectangular drain, 15th-century.
Plate: includes Elizabethan cup with two bands
of incised ornament. Pulpit (Plate, p. 181):
octagonal, panelled sides with lozenge-ornament,
carved cornice, high plastered base, sounding-board
with carved standard and frieze with turned
pendants at the angles, early 17th-century, now
painted. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window
carried down to form seat, 15th-century. Stoups:
In chancel—E. of doorway, recess with two-centred head, no bowl, possibly stoup, 15th-century. In nave—E. of S. doorway, with two-centred head, 15th-century, no bowl. Tiles: In
chancel—in sills of S. windows and stoup, plain
glazed tiles, probably 15th-century. Miscellanea:
In N. chapel—worked stones, 14th and 15th-century.
Condition—Poor, external stonework much
(2). Homestead Moat, around church and Hall,
(3). Dog and Pheasant Inn, 700 yards N.E. of
the church, is of two storeys, partly timber-framed
and partly of brick; the roofs are thatched. It
was built probably late in the 17th century and
has exposed ceiling-beams.
(4). Weir Farm, house, about ¾ m. W. of the
church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and
weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was
built probably in the 16th century and has crosswings at the E. and W. ends. The walls have
been partly faced with brick. The upper storey
projects at the S. end of the W. cross-wing. Inside
the building are exposed ceiling-beams.
(5). Red Hills, two near Reeve's Hall, about
1 m. N.W. of the church. Now levelled.