Chipping Ongar Church, Essex

It is unclear when the Church in Chipping Ongar came into being. The Castle which is close by was built by Eustace, County of Boulogne shortly after the Norman Conquest and it seems likely that the Church dates to a similar period. There are some signs of Norman construction in the Chancel and nave and some of the thin red bricks used in the walls, although appearing Roman, have been dated to the 11th Century.

The chancel arch dates to a rebuild of 1350 with further work seeming to have been carried out during both the 16th and 17th Century, particularly to the interiors.

St Martin’s has an anchorite cell in the north wall. Anchorites were often walled into their little cells to live their lives away from the rest of the world and were fed, watered and cleaned via small apertures known as a “hagioscope”. Many anchorites were given last rites as they entered their cells to mark their passage from the world outside to their new life.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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