St Mary's Church , Burnham on Crouch


A church was first recorded on this site in 1155 although the current St Mary's Church is of 14th century origin.

St Mary's Church has been referred to as the cathedral of the marshes.

Construction was mainly of rag stone although there are traces of roman bricks which may have come from a roman villa which is rumoured to have stood nearby.

The Church has 9 bays with a castellated aisle on the south and 9 perpendicular windows with panel tracery.

The south porch has a Tudor linenfold paneled door. Over the porch are gargoyles and  the arms of the Fitzwalter Family, Sir Robert Ratcliffe and Little Dunmow Priory.

The west tower has angle buttresses, a perpendicular, west window with reticulated tracery and a castellated parapet. The upper part was rebuilt in 1703.

Rebuilding, extensions and restoration have taken place at regular intervals leaving us with the beautiful building that we see today.

In 1774 a major fire occurred that destroyed the roof and most of the furnishings.


The interior is undivided between nave, chancel and aisles. The brick floors were laid in the early 18th century although some of the bricks date from the Tudor period.



The pulpit was installed in 1877 and is built from stone and marble in Victorian style. The pulpit is a memorial to local oyster merchant William Auger who was a churchwarden from 1862 to 1877.



A plain square font of Purbeck marble originated in about 1200 AD which means that it may have been part of the original church.


 Between the Church and Burnham Hall there is a reminder of the days when the gentry rode to church with the provision of mounting steps which were no doubt put to use by the nearly old dairy.

Worley's - A dictionary of the County

In 1915 George Worley wrote about the Church in his Dictionary of the County

The church stands a mile north of the modern town.

It is a large building of flint and stone, mainly in the late 15th century style, through the north aisle and tower are at least a century earlier, and the fine south porch is a sixteenth century addition.

Note the grotesque gargoyles, and the shields of arms sculptured about it.

The top stage of the tower was blown down in the great gale of 1703, and afterwards rebuilt on a lower scale, but there is still an extensive view from the summit.

It contains five bells, the oldest, by John Walgrave (early fourteenth century) bearing the inscription, Sancta Katerina Ora pro nobis. The plain square Purbeck font is of Norman age.

Registers start from 1559.

Click here to visit a web site run by  St Mary's Church

  Click here to read about the church bells at this church