All Saints, Stisted, Essex

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Feature Sets (2)


Stisted is a village in the Braintree district of Essex, on the N bank of the river Blackwater and 1½ miles outside Braintree to the NE. The village is a substantial one with a well-defined centre at a junction of minor roads. The church is in the centre, alongside Stisted Hall.

All Saints has a chancel with a N vestry, an aisled nave with N and S porches, and a tower sited at the E end of the S aisle, in the angle with the chancel. The nave and its aisles belong to the late-12thc and early-13thc, and the chancel is 13thc too. The tower was rebuilt on older foundations in 1844 as part of a major restoration in the 1840s that also included the construction of the two porches and the rebuilding of the W wall of the nave. This work was undertaken by the squire, Onley Savill-Onley, and the rector, Charles Foster. If an architect was employed, no name is known. Construction is of flint and pebble rubble with some puddingstone conglomerate. The nave arcades are described here although they are not entirely of the 12thc.


The manor of Stisted was given in the 1040s to the monks of Canterbury Cathedral by Godwin, Earl of Kent and Wisgith, widow of Elfwin,  It was appropriated by Bishop Odo of Bayeux by right of his earldom of Kent, but was returned to the monks and remained with them until the Dissolution. The manor was assessed at only half a hide, but there was woodland for 800 pigs, 27 acres of meadow and a mill. The population of 13 villans (8 in 1066), 25 bordars (11 in 1066) and 4 slaves (6 in 1066) indicates a large and growing population of perhaps 200 souls at the time of the Survey.

Although the parish lay within the geographical boundaries of the London diocese in the Middle Ages, it was a peculiar of Canterbury Cathedral until 1914, when it was transferred to the new diocese of Chelmsford.


Interior Features



N arcade

The arcade has 3 pointed main bays with a shorter, lower bay at each end. Piers 1-3 are cylindrical with waterholding drum bases on octagonal plinths. Pier 4 is a rectangular chamfered pier with imposts at different heights. The arches are single order with a slight chamfer to N and S. Despite the fact that the capital of pier 1 is clearly 13thc, the arcade is here described in its entirety.

E respond impost

The E impost of the arcade is plain chamfered with no respond.

Pier 1 capital

A 13thc capital, circular in plan as to the bell but with a square abacus and impost. The bell is plain concave moulded below an abacus with a quirked roll and a quirked fillet. At each angle of the bell except the NW is a grotesque human head facing downwards, while the NW angle has a hemispherical boss in the form of a flower.

The impost has a deep hollow overhung by the face above.

Pier 2 capital

This late-12thc capital has a plain roll necking, round in plan, below a square bell with angle volutes. The faces of the capital differ slightly, hence all have been photographed. They all have U-shaped stems with spiral terminals above the necking, and leaf forms including palmettes and furled leavs at the top of the bell, The impost is plain hollow chamfered.

Pier 3 capital

This late-12thc capital has has a plain roll necking, round in plan, below a square bell with angle volutes. The bell is convex in profile and carved in relief on each face. The S face has a palmette and an oval leaf flanked by a pair of stems with leaf terminals. The E face has an untidy row of stems with furled leaf terminals. The N face has a row of vertical stems with leaf terminals, and more of the untidy furled leaves. The W face has a row of upright lilies.

Pier 4 imposts

At the E of the pier the impost is at the level of the pier 3 impost and is deeply hollow chamfered; the vertical face overhanging the hollow. There is a small volute at the NE angle of the impost. The W impost of the pier is lower; at the springing level of the narrow E arch. It has a hollow below a filleted roll with a short vertiacal face above, and is in part a modern replacement.

W impost

The impost on the nave W wall is chamfered in plan to match the chamfered respond. In profile it is hollow chamfered with a low roll low down on the upright face.

S arcade

Pier 1 is similar in form to the 13thc pier 1 of the N arcade. Otherwise the capitals are of a typically moulded 13thc form, with concave bells and quandrant hollow imposts overhung by an angle roll on the face above. Bases are cylindrical drums with an angle roll at the top, on two-step chamfered cylindrical drum plinths.


It seems certain that the nave was extended eastwards by a half-bay in the 13thc, when the chancel was remodelled and the S aisle added. The half-bay at the W end of the arcades was added at the same time. The majority of the N arcade dates from the later 12thc according to RCHME, and it is difficult to be more precise than this.


  • J. Bettley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Essex, New Haven and London 2007, 751-52.

  • J. Cooper, The Church Dedications and Saints’ Cults of Medieval Essex, Lancaster 2011, 165.

  • RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3: North East (1922), 210-12.

  • T. Wright, The History and Topography of the County of Essex, II, 1831, 12-15.

Exterior from SE
Exterior from S
Interior to E


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 799 246 
now: Essex
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Essex
medieval: Canterbury
now: Chelmsford
now: All Saints
medieval: All Saints (from 1516)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
25 October 2018