The Essex Churches Site



home - index - latest - e-mail
links - small print - about this site
Norfolk churches - Suffolk churches

St Michael, Roxwell


Roxwell Roxwell Roxwell

Follow these journeys as they happen at Last Of England Twitter.

  Roxwell is an attractive village to the west of Chelmsford just off of the road to Bishop's Stortford, in that part of Essex which is far lovelier than anyone who doesn't know the county might expect. The north side of the church faces the road and is perhaps not a happy first approach. The aisle and vestry date from the 1890s, the tall timber spire from 1891. There is a 14th Century church in there somewhere, but as Pevsner observed it is restored out of all recognition. Inevitably there is a fairly crisp feel to the interior when you step through the north porch and doorway, but the church is welcoming and open every day as the notice on the door makes clear.

The font sits at the west end of the aisle and is probably contemporary with its construction, a florid High Victorian piece with arcading and headstops and an IHS monogram. Behind it however is a very good window of 1920 to a Henry Holiday design. it features Jonathan, David and Judas Maccabeus above the legend They jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, a quotation from the Book of Judges. It remembers Wilfred Randall Millbank of the Essex Yeomanry, only son of George King Millbank esquire of "Dukes" who was killed in action in Flanders May 13 1915.

Jonathan David Judas Maccabeus

The aisle is curiously nondescript in character, but as well as the Henry Holiday glass there another window which brightens things up a bit. This is by Lawrence Lee, and was installed here in 1976. James Bettley in the revised Buildings of England volume for Essex tells us that Janet Christopherson also worked on it. There are six scenes. At the top, St Nicholas and the three children he brought back to life faces across to St Catherine with her wheel. Below are the Holy Family, Christ as a child watching his parents reading the scrolls of the prophets, and then Christ as an adult welcoming the children. The lower two scenes are of a family entering the church, the youngest child turning back to look at a butterfly, and then St Martin cutting his cloak to share with a beggar.

St Nicholas (Lawrence Lee, 1970) Holy Family (Lawrence Lee, 1970) Of Such is the Kingdom (Lawrence Lee, 1970)
Three children and a butterfly (Lawrence Lee, 1970) St Martin (Lawrence Lee, 1970) St Catherine (Lawrence Lee, 1970)

The nave that you step into beyond the arcade is more characterful, although it is entirely of the late 19th Century.. The unfortunate stone pulpit was made in the 1860s for Great Waltham church a few miles off, very much in the fashion of the day. They clearly thought better of it however, because it was brought here as part of the 1890s restoration. Stepping past it into the equally restored chancel and looking back brings the surprise of the Bramston and Byng memorials, tucked into the south-west and south-east corners. Sir John Bramston died in 1654, and his memorial is extravagantly draped, featuring his helmet, sword, gauntlet and armour. Mary Byng's memorial is of 1774, and features a disconsolate cherub with an upturned torch leaning on her portrait. They hint at the beginning and the end of English Baroque, and to see them at such close quarters is memorable and even perhaps a little alarming.

Simon Knott, December 2021

Follow these journeys as they happen at Last Of England Twitter.


looking east chancel north aisle
font Mary Byng, 1744 Sir John Bramston, father and son c1700 Thomas Rogers, 1899
leaving her husband with an infant daughter to mourn her irreparable loss Thomas Younge, his son and daughter-in-law, 1590s Brass crest for Thomas Younge, 1590s
art nouveau poor box Jonathan, David, Judas Maccabeus Lawrence Lee and Janet Stephenson, 1970 Martha and Mary await Christ at Bethany
In Flanders May 13 1915


The Churches of East Anglia websites are non-profit-making, in fact they are run at a loss. But if you enjoy using them and find them useful, a small contribution towards the costs of web space, train fares and the like would be most gratefully received. You can donate via Paypal.



home - index - latest - e-mail
links - small print - about this site
Norfolk churches - Suffolk churches