St Mary at the Walls

St Mary at the Walls

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Photos...

Photos…

Many thanks to David P Walton for sending me these photos:


The graves at the back of St Mary’s.


The street side of St Mary’s.


Main entrance door.




Timeline...

Timeline…

St Mary at the Walls Timeline.
Compiled by Karen Waddy
Using various books, transcriptions and internet sources
which were available to me in 2002.




The discovery of Anglo-Saxon graves possibly of the Middle-Saxon period, south of the surviving churchyard suggests that a pre-conquest church stood on or near to the site of the surviving building.
The church, near the western postern* in the town wall, lay within the soke* acquired by the bishop of London between 998 and 1066.
1206 ~ A church here was first recorded. (It was an Episcopal peculiar; although it was included in the archdeacon’s visitation in 1683 it was exempt from his jurisdiction in 1768 and parishioners wills were proved in the bishop of London’s, not the archdeacon’s, courts until c1857).
1254 ~ The rectory was valued at 3 marks.
1286 ~ The first known rector was instituted, Thomas Aignell.
1291 ~ The rectory was valued at £2 13s 6d.
1310 ~ Adam Atte Welle was rector.
1330 ~ Richard De Borham was rector.
1348 ~ Joseph Elianore obtained a licence to found a chantry*. He was several times bailiff of Colchester.
1361 ~ William De Bellasford was rector.
1361 ~ John Beltesford was rector.
1382 ~ William Cranwell was rector.
1385 ~ The Tower needed repair.
1385 ~ Ralph Pinsthorpe De Henham was rector.
1390 ~ Thomas Lowe was rector.
1394 ~ John Horewood was rector.
1395 ~ Robert Ware was rector.
1398 ~ Papal authority was given for the rector to have a portable alter.
1403 ~ John Cannon was rector.
1403 ~ Thomas Wilkenson was rector.
1434 ~ John Chicheley was rector.
1436 ~ John Mildwell was rector.
1439 ~ Robert Lardener was rector.
1440 ~ Papal authority was given for the rector to hold another living due to the poverty of St Mary’s.
1464 ~ Robert Wylly was rector.
1467 ~ William Ketill was rector. He owned a beautiful bible, written by hand in Latin that was presented by the Beckett family.
1476 ~ John Isaac was rector.
1483 ~ Thomas Kerver was rector.
1503 ~ Robert Lownde was rector.
1531 ~ Edmund Campion was rector.
1532 ~ John Clarke was rector.
1534 ~ Tower was replaced by the surviving tower, built of rubble containing Roman bricks and tiles, with limestone dressings.
1535 ~ The rectory was valued at £10.
1539 ~ Thomas Kyrkham was rector.
1544 ~ Thomas Kyrkham was fined for failing to read the king’s statutes in his church and for living with a woman.
1551 ~ Marmaduke Smyth was rector.
1554 ~ Marmaduke Smyth escaped deprivation for marriage in the spring, but took the precaution of fleeing before the arrival of bishop Bonner’s Episcopal visitors in October.
1555 ~ John Thorpe was rector.
1556 ~ John Francis was rector.
1556 ~ Thomas Dyconson was rector.
1558 ~ Thomas Browne was rector.
1561 ~ First record of baptisms and marriages.
1562 ~ Hugo Allen was rector. He also held St Mary Magdalen and, from 1567, Tolleshunt D`Arcy.
1562 ~ John Walfare / Walford was rector. He was an unpreaching minister and held St Mary’s by sequestration until the year of 1596. He was rector of All Saints from 1571-1609.
1569 ~ First record of burials.
1596 ~ George Archer was rector. He was formerly a scrivenor and an attorney in the County Court. He also held St Nicholas by sequestration from 1598 until his death in 1604.
1603 ~ Thomas Taylcott was rector. He was known to be a conformist, and the rector of All Saints between 1609-1626, and of Mile End 1626-1641.
1610 ~ The glebe* comprised of c 10 a. of arable, 3 a. of half year land, and 2 small houses in St Mary’s Lane.
1641 ~ John Stevens was rector.
1641~ William Boissard was rector.
1648 ~ The Siege of Colchester. June 15th St Mary’s Church was fortified and a large cannon was placed on the roof, which was to be masterly fired by the renowned ‘One-Eyed Jack Thompson’. July 14 / 15 The Royalist fort within the walls at St Mary’s church was blown to pieces and their main cannon battery destroyed. During the siege, damage was caused to the building.
1661 ~ John Smith was rector. He was also minister of the Dutch church 1668-1675; he was later known as `Narrative Smith` for his narrative of 1679 on the Polish plot.
1676 ~ Joseph Powell was rector.
1679 ~ A new bell was cast. It has a William and Mary patent on it, which is uncommon.
1697 ~ David Kenneir was rector.
1707 ~ Robert Middleton was rector.
1709 ~ Rector, the Reverend Robert Middleton, encouraged by Sir Isaac Rebow, took steps to rebuild the church.
1713 ~ The remains of the chancel*, nave* and porch were demolished. New brick church designed by John Price was built immediately east of the medieval tower comprising of an aisled nave* with a west gallery, a small chancel*, and the tower.
1713/14 ~ St Mary’s was rebuilt using money left for the church by Sir Isaac Rebow at the cost of £1,600.
1714 ~ The churchyard was levelled, and lime tree lined paths were laid around the church.
1714 ~ A chantry* house in the churchyard near the northeast end of the church was demolished.
1722 ~ Sir Isaac Rebow was high steward in Colchester. The government of the town was by a mayor, high steward, a recorder or his deputy, eleven aldermen, a chamberlain, a town clerk, assistants, and eighteen common councilmen.
1729 ~ Tower upper stage was rebuilt in brick.
1735 ~ John Carleton was rector.
1737 ~ Philip Morant was the rector until his death in 1770.
1741 ~ The slate coloured marble tablet in the vestry was erected to the memory of Thomas Mayhew.
1766 ~ Charles Gray gave the rector of St Mary’s tithes* on 24 1/2 a., formerly tithe-free lands of St Botolph`s Priory.
1771 ~ Thomas Barstow was rector.
1788 ~ Thomas Twining was rector.
1804 ~ Philip Bayles was rector.
1848 ~ D. R. Wells was curate. Mr John Rule was clerk and sexton. Mr D. Pelgar was the organist. The parish had 1272 inhabitants, and 114 voters.
1851 ~ On census Sunday 400 people attended morning and afternoon services.
1851 ~ Colchester census index lists a Philip Bayles, aged 76, born in Colchester, living in the parish of St-Mary-At-The-Walls.
1853 ~ Churchyard was closed under the burials act.
1853 ~ The western gallery was removed, revealing the tower arch.
1855 ~ Charles Alfred L`Oste was rector.
1859 ~ A southeast vestry imitating Price’s style was added.
1859 ~ The church school began as a Sunday and Dame School.
1861 ~ Colchester census index lists a Charles L`Oste aged 71 with a Catherine L`Oste aged 73 living in the parish of St-Mary-At-The-Walls.
1862 ~ From Kelly’s Directory for Essex: St-Mary-At-The-Walls-Church. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the Bishop of Rochester, and held by the Rev. Charles Alfred L`Oste, B. A., of CaiusCollege, Cambridge, value £242 yearly, with residence. The old church was nearly demolished by the Parliamentarians during the siege of the town, but was restored in the year 1713. The edifice consists of a nave, two side aisles and a square tower. In the interior is a handsome monument to the memory of “John Rebow, of Colchester, merchant”.
1864 ~ The Sunday and Dame school was moved to the building on Balkerne Lane after the rector of St Mary`s, Charles Alfred L`Oste, had donated the site and a public subscription had paid for the building.
1870 ~ John William Irvine was rector.
1870 ~ From Kelly’s Directory for Essex: The living is a rectory, yearly value £242, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Rochester, and held by the Rev. John William Irvine, M. A., of Christ Church, Oxford. John Rule was the parish clerk.
1871 ~ Old rectory was demolished. Approaches to the church improved.
1872 ~ St Mary’s (except the tower) was rebuilt in red and black brick using Sir Arthur Blomfield as architect. The chancel* with south chapel and north organ chamber was built first as an extension to the existing church, but as funds increased the nave and aisles were rebuilt on the 18th century foundations. A clerestory* and north and south porches were added. Bath stone was used for around the windows. The roofs were of stained deal, as also the nave seats; those in the chancel were of pitch pine. It was designed to accommodate about 500 and was heated with hot water. Mr. Gardner, of Coggeshall, carried out the work and the Church was reopened in July.
1872 ~ Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Rochester.
1872 ~ Mr Crisp transcribed data from the gravestones and interior tablets.
1873 ~ An infant school opened in Balkerne Lane. Despite overcrowding, it continued to be supported by subscriptions and government grants until competition from School Board and later local authority schools brought about its closure in 1930.
1874 ~ From Kelly’s Directory for Essex: The register dates from the year 1561. The approaches to the church were widened and improved in 1871. There is a wide path with an avenue of limes round the churchyard, and Morant tells us that it used to be the fashionable promenade. The living is a…. (As 1870)…this living was once held by the Rev. Philip Morant, the historian: the old rectory house in which Morant wrote his histories was demolished in 1871, and a handsome new one erected in the centre of what was the paddock. Rev John William Irvine, M. A. rector; John Rule, Parish clerk.
1881 ~ The census shows John W Irvine, aged 45, and his family living at the rectory.
1881 ~ An organ was built for the church by the London firm of Alfred Hunter.
1882 ~ From Kelly’s Directory for Essex: The square tower contained 1 bell.
The north aisle is a monument with effigy to John Rebow, of Colchester, merchant, 1699 and Sarah, his wife, erected by their son, Sir Isaac Rebow M. P. for Colchester who twice entertained William III and was knighted by that king; he left a yearly sum of 20s to the sexton of this church to keep the monument clean: there is also a memorial to the Rev. Thomas Twining M. A., formerly rector of this parish ob 7 Aug 1804. Rev John William Irvine M. A. rector, Rev John Kemp, M. A. curate, William Charles Rule, parish clerk.
1884 ~ April 22nd about 9.20am the Colchester earthquake, magnitude 5.1, caused some damage to the church.
1888 ~ Francis Smythies was buried 24th May aged 77. He appears to be the final person actually buried in the churchyard.
1889 ~ A new organ was erected at the cost of £600.
1889-1890 ~ Charles Golding compiled a list of Monumental Inscriptions.
1891 ~ Census of Colchester shows John William Irvine (aged 55) and family still at the rectory.
1894 ~ From Kelly’s Directory for Essex: NationalSchool. St Mary at the Walls (infants). Balkerne Lane, erected in 1864, for 130 children, average attendance, 130; Miss Annie Ellis, mistress. Parish clerk was Henry Grimwade, Head Street; deputy Charrington Nunn, Balkerne Lane.
1897 ~ Greville Turner Hayles was rector.
1898 ~ The annual net income was £275.
1900 ~ By this year all the glebe* had been sold.
1903 ~ ChristChurch off Maldon Road was opened as a chapel of ease to St-Mary-at-the-Walls.
1908 ~ From Kelly`s Directory for Essex: The living is a rectory, net yearly value £330, with residence. Parish clerk was Charrington Nunn, 32 Balkerne Lane.
1910 ~ The board in the entrance under the tower listing previous rectors was the work and gift of Henrietta Selina Ord and fixed in this year.
1911 ~ The tower battlements, damaged in the 1884 earthquake, were repaired and twelve feet of brickwork was added. A chancel* screen and choir stalls were built; the cast iron columns of the nave* arcades were clad with light ochre terracotta and their capitals* decorated.
1914 ~ John Edwin Watts-Ditchfield was rector.
1916 ~ Nave* roof was re-tiled.
1917 ~ From Kelly’s Directory for Essex: Parish clerk was Charrington Nunn, 44 Balkerne Lane.
1922 ~ An apse* was added to the south chapel, which was refitted as a war memorial.
1922 ~ The rood* screen fixed to the south wall near to the west entrance, below the list of rectors, was donated by Percival Robert and Florence Brinton.
1930 ~ The church school was closed.
1931 ~ A rood* and beam were erected in the south chapel.
1931 ~ The organ was rebuilt by Hill, Norman and Beard when the Twelfth and the Mixture on the Great Organ were replaced by Diapasons. The organist at this period was W. F. Kingdon.
1932 ~ Grenville Turner Hayles was buried after cremation in the churchyard on 3rdOctober.
1933 ~ George Augustus Campbell was rector.
1936 ~ Vestries were added to the northeast end of the church.
1937 ~ Interior walls of the church were plastered and whitened, covering Bloomfield’s patterned brickwork.
1946 ~ Harold Isaac Noakes was rector.
1954 ~ A Garden of Rest for the interment of ashes was constructed.
1965 ~ Ralph Stevens was rector.
1978 ~ The church was closed. The bell was moved to St Leonard’s. The organ was donated to Brentwood Cathedral and was completely rebuilt and restored by Percy Daniel & Co Ltd. of Clevedon.
1980 ~ First opened it’s doors as Colchester Arts Centre.
1994-1996 ~ Octagon Architects and Designers was involved with the Colchester Arts Centre from 1994 through to 1996. During this period planning permission was obtained to install a new balcony and toilet facilities in this Grade II listed redundant church.
2001 ~ The Colchester Archaeological Group made a complete survey of the memorials and stones in St Mary’s graveyard during the Summer of 2001.  The photographs, records, plans and overview report have all been lodged in the Colchester Museums Resource Centre, 15 Ryegate Road, Colchester.
Footnotes:
*NAVE: The central part of a church, extending from the narthex to the chancel and flanked by aisles.
*APSE: Semicircular projection, or recess at end of a church with vaulted roof.
*CHANCEL: That part of a Christian church, usually at the east end, in which the choir and clergy sit, and at upper extremity of which the alter stands.
*GLEBE: Soil: ground: land belonging to a parish church or ecclesiastical benefice.
*TITHES: A tenth part of one’s annual income contributed voluntarily or due as a tax, especially for the support of the clergy or church.
*CAPITAL: The uppermost part of a column.
*SOKE: In early English law, the right of local jurisdiction, generally one of the feudal rights of lordship.
*CLERESTORY: The upper part of the nave, transepts, and choir of a church, containing windows.  Also known as an upper portion of a wall containing windows for supplying natural light to a building.
*CHANTRY: An endowment to cover expenses for the saying of masses and prayers, usually for the soul of the founder of the endowment or an altar or chapel endowed for the saying of such masses and prayers.
*POSTERN: A small rear gate, especially one in a fort or castle.
*ROOD: A crucifix symbolizing the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Also known as a large, usually wooden crucifix surmounting the rood screen or rood beam of a medieval church.

I accept neither credit nor criticism for the accuracy of this timeline,
which is meant as a guide only.


Links...

Links…

St Mary at the Walls is now an Arts Centre:

~~ooOoo~~~

From Wikipedia:

St Mary-at-the-Walls

On Church Street, to the east of Balkerne Hill is St Mary-at-the-Walls, built against the Roman Walls and overlooking the western suburbs of the town. First recorded in 1206, the church has a notable history. It is the site at which 23 Protestant martyrs were executed by burning during the reign of the Mary I (“Bloody Mary”). During the English Civil War the church tower was used as a gun emplacement by the Royalist army, this resulted in its destruction by New Model Army siege batteries. The theory that the tower gave rise to the rhyme Humpty Dumpty is now probably disproved. The tower of the Norman church remains, the rest was rebuilt in red brick in 1713 – 14.Philip Morant, the Essex historian, was Rector from 1737 to 1770.[9] There was a further major rebuild in 1872[10] In 1978, the parish was united with Christ Church in a new building in Ireton Road.[9] The old church became redundant; the bell went to St Leonard’s in Lexden and the organ to Brentwood Cathedral.[11] In 1980, the building reopened as the Colchester Arts Centre. (Actually, St Leonard’s Church is on Hythe Hill in Colchester).

~~ooOoo~~~

The church organ ended up here:

Originally built by Hunter in 1881, for the church of St. Mary-at-the-Walls, Colchester, the Cathedral organ is now sited at the west end of the original Gothic nave of Brentwood’s Victorian Catholic church, in a case designed by the architect of the new Cathedral, Quinlan Terry.
When St. Mary’s became an Arts Centre in 1977, the organ was given to Brentwood Cathedral, and was completely rebuilt and restored by Percy Daniel & Co Ltd. of Clevedon for installation in the new Cathedral dedicated in 1991.
The organ has recently been thoroughly cleaned and refurbished through the generosity of the Brentwood Diocesan Cathedral and Choral Trust Fund. A new solo Fanfare Trumpet stop has been added together with tonal revisions to the positive completed by Percy Daniel & Co Ltd and Dr David Frostick.
                                                                     ~~ooOoo~~~


~~ooOoo~~~

From this website:

ST. MARY’S-AT-THE-WALLS

The discovery of Anglo-Saxon graves, perhaps of the Middle-Saxon period, south of the surviving churchyard suggests that a pre-Conquest church stood on or near the site of the surviving building. (fn. 71) The church, near the western postern in the town wall, lay within the soke acquired by the bishop of London between 998 and 1066 and was recorded in 1206. (fn. 72) It was an episcopal peculiar; (fn. 73) although it was included in the archdeacon’s visitation in 1683 it was exempt from his jurisdiction in 1768 and parishioners’ wills were proved in the bishop of London’s, not the archdeacon’s, courts until c. 1857. (fn. 74) The advowson, retained by the bishop of London when he leased the soke in 1206, passed to successive diocesan bishops, and the bishop of Chelmsford was patron when the church closed in 1978. (fn. 75) The Crown presented in 1361 and 1596, the bishopric being vacant. (fn. 76)
The rectory was valued at 3 marks in 1254, £2 13s. 4d. in 1291, and £10 in 1535. A payment of 2s. from St. Martin’s rectory, recorded in 1254, was apparently lost by 1291. (fn. 77) In 1429 the abbot of St. John’s successfully claimed tithes on land in Monksdown in the parish. (fn. 78) In 1650 the living was worth £40 a year. (fn. 79) In 1766 Charles Gray gave the rector of St. Mary’s tithes on 24½ a., formerly tithe-free lands of St. Botolph’s priory. (fn. 80) A parliamentary grant of £200 in 1833 and an annual grant of £50 from that year by the patron, the bishop of London, raised the value of the living to £212 a year in 1835. (fn. 81) In 1898, when the annual net income was £275, boundary changes resulted in tithe rent charges of £48 being transferred from Lexden to St. Mary’s. (fn. 82)
In 1610 the glebe comprised c. 10 a. of arable, 3 a. of half year land, and two small houses in St. Mary’s Lane. (fn. 83) The houses apparently replaced two taken down in the 1540s and were later divided into three dwellings which were pulled down c. 1677. (fn. 84) By 1810 Philip Bayles, rector 1804-55, had increased the half year land to 11 a. by lease and purchase; from 1823 or earlier until c. 1890 he and his successors leased from the free burgesses rights of common on the glebe. (fn. 85) By 1900 all the glebe had been sold. (fn. 86)
The rector had an orchard and garden, and presumably also a house, in the early 14th century. (fn. 87) A rectory house mentioned in 1610 was probably the one opposite the church in St. Mary’s Lane that had 10 hearths in 1671, and was extended eastwards c. 1677 by the rector, Joseph Powell. In 1739 its older west end was rebuilt by the rector, Philip Morant. (fn. 88) A new house was built in 1871, to the designs of Frederic Chancellor, north-east of the old house, which was demolished. (fn. 89) The 1871 house was pulled down and replaced in 1964-5 by a smaller one, which was sold in 1983 to the Mercury theatre and renamed Mercury House. (fn. 90)
In 1338 Joseph Eleanor or Colchester, clerk, obtained licence to alienate 2 messuages, 102 a., a toft, and 10s. rent to two priests to say divine service in St. Mary’s church. (fn. 91) In 1348 he gave the same endowment, with 100 sheep, for a chantry of St. Mary and All Saints served by two chaplains who were to pray for him, his parents and benefactors, and all faithful Christians. (fn. 92) From 1362 or earlier the chantry was served by one priest in the chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr. When Eleanor died its advowson passed to the bailiffs and commonalty, who presented until the Suppression. (fn. 93) The endowment, worth £8 6s. in 1535, was given by the king to the bailiffs and commonalty in 1539 for the foundation of a grammar school and other uses. (fn. 94) A chantry house in the churchyard near the north-east end of the church was demolished when the church was rebuilt in 1714. (fn. 95)
Rectors were recorded from c. 1220; the living was poor and in the Middle Ages incumbencies were usually short. (fn. 96) Papal authority was given in 1398 for the rector to have a portable altar, and in 1440 to allow the new rector, Robert Lardener, to hold another living, because of the poverty of St. Mary’s. (fn. 97) Lardener (d. 1464) endowed two lights before the great crucifix and one at the entrance to the chancel. (fn. 98) The sale by the churchwardens of a silver and gilt pyx and other plate c. 1534 and the removal of painted window glass by 1548 suggest that parishioners held protestant views, as presumably did Thomas Kirkham, rector 1540-51, who was fined in 1544 for failing to read the king’s statutes in the church and for living with a woman. (fn. 99) His successor, Marmaduke Smith, escaped deprivation for marriage in the spring of 1554, but took the precaution of fleeing before the arrival of bishop Bonner’s episcopal visitors in October. (fn. 1)
From 1562 until 1804 rectors of St. Mary’s served at least one other cure, usually in or near Colchester, and from c. 1644 to 1735 were sequestrators of Holy Trinity. (fn. 2) Hugh Allen, rector from 1562, also held St. Mary Magdalen and, from 1567, Tolleshunt D’Arcy. He subsequently went to Ireland with the Ardes Expedition of 1572, becoming bishop of Down and Connor (1572-82) and of Fearns (1582-9). John Walford, rector of All Saints, 1571-1609, and an unpreaching minister, held St Mary’s by sequestration until 1596. (fn. 3) George Archer, formerly ‘a scrivenor and an attorney in the County Court’, was instituted in 1596 and also held St Nicholas’s by sequestration from 1598 until his death in 1604. (fn. 4) Archer was succeeded by the conformist Thomas Talcott, 1604-41, rector of All Saints, 1609-26 and of Mile End 1626-41. (fn. 5)
In 1644 parliament replaced the non-resident Robert Mercer, who was also vicar of St. Peter’s, with William Boissard, who may have had royalist sympathies as he was presented to All Saints’ rectory in 1640 by Sir Henry Audley. (fn. 6) Nevertheless he remained at St. Mary’s until 1660, when he became perpetual curate of St. Giles’s. (fn. 7) Despite serious damage in the siege of 1648 (fn. 8) St. Mary’s church was used for baptisms 1654- c. 1663 and for marriages 1656-c. 1660. (fn. 9) The congregation used Holy Trinity church for services until 1714, (fn. 10) when St. Mary’s church was rebuilt. John Smith, rector 1661-c. 1676 was also minister of the Dutch church 1668-75; he was later known as ‘Narrative Smith’ for his narrative of 1679 on the Popish plot. (fn. 11) The pluralist Joseph Powell, rector 1676-97, seems to have lived in Colchester at least occasionally, for he enlarged the rectory house, but an assistant curate, William Shillito, served St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity 1679-99. (fn. 12)
Robert Middleton, rector 1706-34, rebuilt St. Mary’s church in 1714 and from that time provided one Sunday service in St. Mary’s, another in Holy Trinity, and communion once a month and at festivals in the two churches by turns. From 1723 or earlier he employed assistant curates. (fn. 13) In the later 18th century the parish, with several wealthy residents, a new church, and a good rectory house, (fn. 14) attracted two eminent scholars who preached to ‘polite congregations’. (fn. 15) Philip Morant, historian of Essex, rector 1737-70, provided one full Sunday service, communion once a month and at festivals, and read prayers on Sundays between Michaelmas and Easter. He lived in the rectory house until he moved in 1767 to his other benefice at Aldham, leaving an assistant curate to serve St. Mary’s. (fn. 16) Thomas Twining, translator of Aristotle, vicar of White Notley 1772-96, and curate of Fordham 1763-89, thought the living so attractive, although not valuable, that he ‘used a bit of pushery’ to get it in 1788. He lived at Fordham and Colchester and died in 1804. (fn. 17)
His successor Philip Bayles, rector 1804-55, served the cure himself, assisted in his later years by a curate, and on Census Sunday in 1851 morning and afternoon services were attended by c. 400. (fn. 18) In the 1860s the rector Charles L’Oste’s great age inhibited innovation, but parish life revived under his successor John W. Irvine, rector 1870-97 and rural dean from 1880, who increased the number of services and rebuilt the church and rectory house. (fn. 19) His association with G. H. Wilkinson suggests an interest in the reconciliation of ritualists and evangelicals; he also urged better relations with nonconformists. (fn. 20) The parish boundaries were altered in 1898 by an exchange of detached parts with Lexden and in 1911 by the transfer to St. Mary’s of detached parts of St. Runwald’s, St. Botolph’s, and Holy Trinity, consolidating the parish south and west of the church. (fn. 21) Greville T. Brunwin-Hales, rector of St. Mary’s 1897- 1932 and vicar of Berechurch 1913-32, rural dean from 1907, was active in borough affairs and did notable work in the formation of the new diocese of Chelmsford. (fn. 22) He introduced daily matins and evensong and weekly communion, attracting many people from other parishes to St. Mary’s. (fn. 23) G. A. Campbell, rector and rural dean 1933-46, replaced daily matins, which was rarely attended, with daily communion in St. Mary’s or Christ Church chapel of ease. (fn. 24) In the 1970s St. Mary’s was isolated from much of its parish by the new ring road, and in 1978 the church was closed. (fn. 25)
Christ Church opened in 1904 as a chapel of ease in an iron building on land in Ireton Road given by James Round. It was served by curates of St. Mary’s. (fn. 26) In 1978 the iron building was replaced by a brick and slated church on the same site in Ireton Road, built to the designs of Bryan Thomas as the parish church of Christ Church with St. Mary and shared with the former Headgate Congregational church. (fn. 27)
The church of St. Mary’s-at-the-Walls comprises a chancel with northern organ chamber, north-east vestries, and a south chapel, an aisled and clerestoried nave, north and south porches, and a north-west tower. (fn. 28) All but the tower are of 1872. The medieval church apparently comprised a chancel, perhaps with a chapel, a nave, south porch, and north-west tower. (fn. 29) The tower needed repair in 1385, and was replaced c. 1534 by the surviving tower, built of rubble containing Roman bricks and tiles, with limestone dressings. (fn. 30) The church was ruined in the siege of 1648. (fn. 31)
The repair of the church may have been mooted in 1679 when a new bell was cast, but it was not until 1709 that steps were taken to rebuild the church by brief. (fn. 32) In 1713 the remains of the chancel, nave, and porch were demolished, and a new brick church, designed by John Price, was built immediately east of the stump of the medieval tower. It comprised an aisled nave with a west gallery, a small chancel, and the tower whose the upper stage was rebuilt in brick in 1729. (fn. 33) Plans to crown the tower with four stone pineapples and a cupola may not have been carried out. (fn. 34) In 1853 the western gallery was removed, revealing the tower arch. (fn. 35) A south-east vestry, in imitation of Price’s style, was added c. 1859. (fn. 36)
In 1872 the church, except the tower, was rebuilt in red and black brick to the designs of Arthur Blomfield. The chancel with south chapel and north organ chamber was built first as an extension to the existing church, but as funds increased the nave and aisles were rebuilt on the 18th-century foundations, the columns of the arcades being of cast iron. A clerestory and north and south porches were added. (fn. 37) In 1911 the tower battlements, damaged in the earthquake of 1884, were repaired and a chancel screen and choir stalls were built; the iron columns of the nave arcades were clad with light ochre terracotta and their capitals decorated. (fn. 38) In 1922 an apse was added to the south chapel which was refitted as a war memorial. (fn. 39) A rood and beam were erected in 1931. In 1936 vestries were added to the north-east end of the church, (fn. 40) and in 1937 the interior walls of the church were plastered and whitened, covering Blomfield’s patterned brickwork. (fn. 41) In 1980 the building was converted to an arts centre. (fn. 42)
The church had one bell of 1679, which was moved to St. Leonard’s when St. Mary’s closed. (fn. 43) The plate deposited in Colchester museum includes a chalice of 1633, apparently made for the friary of Ross (Ireland); it is not known how or when St. Mary’s acquired it. (fn. 44) A table font by Albert Hartshorne c. 1872, (fn. 45) survived in the tower in 1988. Several monuments from the 18th-century church were re-erected in 1872 and retained in 1980. Among them is a memorial to the Rebow family, with a figure of John (d. 1699), (fn. 46) and a tablet in memory of Thomas Twining, rector 1788-1804. A tablet commemorating Philip Morant was erected in 1966. (fn. 47) Mrs. Church, by will proved 1928, gave £301 stock to maintain, repair and decorate the fabric; the income of £9 a year was transferred to Christ Church in 1978. (fn. 48) Dame Catherine R. Hunt, by will proved 1950, gave £1,468 for the benefit of the church and parish. (fn. 49)
In 1714 the churchyard was levelled, tree-lined paths were laid round the church, and the place became a fashionable resort of the gentry. (fn. 50) The paths and lime trees survived in 1988 with some 18th- and 19th-century monuments.