St Mary's
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Church exterior in snow 02
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Soft lime mortar and no buttresses plus a lot of flints and other stones to lessen the cost of bricks has resulted in the loss of the full force of the bells. Swinging these massive lumps threatened to bring the whole lot down.

What has been done is in some ways better, the clappers are now worked by ropes to the ground floor. The same rich sound but a fraction of the power so that in and around the Church they sound good but no longer can they summon the faithful of the village.

A bonus now is that would-be campanologists can simply pull on the cords in complete safety. Its such a good experience a nearby bucket has been collecting very useful donations and the sound brings the whole thing to life.

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Church exterior old pic 20
Church exterior old pic 30
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Rev 1st Vicar Death watch Beetle group

The old oak is as hard as it can get but its natural enemy Death Watch Beetle is always around.  It was spotted in good time but its not easy to replace a beam (see above). The group responsible for the work is to the right above (Gordon Barker can name them all via slide shows and books). The above was a long time ago, note the wooden ladders and the crane was also wood and roped together. A modern Health and Safety professional would serve a stop order on sight.

The beetle is still around the main door looks like its held a dart board and all the structural timbers are routinely checked.

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Church exterior old pic 15

This fine much loved Grade 1 listed building of St Mary’s Church is believed to have been completed in 1110.  It has many original features including:

    • the arch of Roman tiles used above the main doorway into the church.
    • the coffin-lid of a Knight Templar used as the internal lintel of the main doorway.
    • the roundel of original stained glass from the 15th century, depicting a leopard’s face.
    • the unusual double stone piscinae for the Priest to wash the communion vessels, set under a double arch of beautiful early English dog-tooth moulding.
    • the hagioscope or squint in the chancel wall to allow parishioners to see the sacraments at the celebration of mass.
    • the hand cut star and chevron designs of the beautiful chancel arch.

There have been 56 incumbents recorded at Elsenham Church.

In 1141 Richardus Presbiter-de-Elsenham to Vicar Gary Townsend instituted in 2010.