St Peter & St Thomas’ Church, Stambourne


Photograph:  Gerald Cross


Val Kerrison, Park View, Church Road, Stambourne, HALSTEAD. CO9 4NR                01440 785752


Mrs Jane Waller.  01440 785484


Nick Heywood. 01440 788548


Historical overview of St Peter & St Thomas’ Church Stambourne taken, with kind permission, from A Select Guide to Essex Churches And Chapels by members of the Friends of Essex Churches. Edited by John Fitch.

“The massive, unbuttressed Norman west tower dominates as the church is approached from the road. Is is of rubble with some freestone on the west elevation near the top, and incorporates Roman brick in the windows (as in similar Great Tey), an, also like that tower, was given an embattled parapet in the fifteenth/sixteenth century. The tower arch has some decoration on north abacus. The church itself, nave, three bay north aisle, chancel and north chancel chapel, is fifteenth century and early sixteenth century (porch). This rebuilding is largely, if not all, due to the munificence of the MacWilliam family, whose arms are finely carved in stone in the arch of the north chancel chapel, and blazoned in the five-lighteast window, which, in opposite corners, depicts a MacWilliam husband and wide kneeling, c.1530. There are handsome double canopied niches in the splays of the two other windows. On the north side dado of the good but restored chancel screen are four well preserved painted features – left to right, a decapitated saint (Denys?) holding his mitred head in his hands, St George, St Edmund and a king, probably Edward the Confessor, with orb and sceptre. A fifteenth-century font, large chest and good Royal Arms (George III) are also to be noted.”


In our last Stambourne Newsletter we pointed out that the church is open every day between 10am and 4.30pm in the winter and 5.30pm in the summer. The candle stand and the prayer book in the chancel is already being used.
We have a service most Sundays at 9.30am. The congregation is small but friendly. After the service there is coffee, tea and biscuits. It is a chance to talk to other people in the village and hear what’s going on.
We are fortunate in that the maintenance of the Church, thanks to the gift of the Colonel and Mrs. Brenneman fund is sustainable for the foreseeable future. You can see that the outside and the interior of the church have been restored and further work will be done in the years to come.
In the winter of the church is a welcome site as it is floodlit from 6 pm to 12am. The churchyard has been mown and the graves cleared of weeds and in some cases planted with lavender, bulbs and roses.
This year we have had two weddings and a funeral when the church was completely filled and the congregation appreciative of the beauty of a church which has been here for 900 years.
What we now need is more people in the village to come to church on Sundays for a short time leaving most of the rest of the morning, afternoon and evening for the many activities we like to get involved in on Sunday.
If we don’t use the church as it has been for centuries it will not survive on ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’ and the occasional Easter, Carol and Harvest Services.
As a plea to end, a quote from John Betjeman’s ‘Diary of a Church Mouse’

But all the same it’s strange to me How very full the church can be With people I don’t see at all .         Except at Harvest Festival

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