Clavering Church, Essex

The town is historically more important for holding the remnants of one of the four pre-Norman Conquest motte and baileys in England (and the only one outside Herefordshire). However, the church of St. Mary and St. Clement is also of great age. Of the original Saxon church nothing remains, but all was rebuilt by Robert FitzSweyn at the same time he was building the Castle at nearby Rayleigh.

The church was originally attached to the Priory at Prittlewell, but at some unknown point before the Reformation became an independent parish church. After the devastation of the Black Death Clavering Church was almost entirely rebuilt, working going on through much of the 14th and 15th Centuries.

The interior is renowned for its collection of medieval graffiti, a tradition which seems to have gone on into the 18th Century when locals carved their name in the woodwork of the singing gallery.

In the 1860s restoration work was started and this continued for the next 60 years or so. Again in the 1980s work was done to shore up the tower and nave and to replace the battlements around the roof.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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