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St. Peter's Church, Boxted, Essex, England

 

Description and photos from a visit by M. Stone on 18 April 2007.

According to the Stone Family Association website and the Boxted history website (links below), Simon Stone and his family moved to Boxted from Great Bromley around 1622. Simon was taxed for land in Boxted in 1630 and his son, Simon, was born there around that year. The family and a group of other Puritans left from the Essex port of Harwich for the Massachusetts Colony in the spring of 1635 (other sources say they left on the ship "Increase" from London in April 1635). Simon Stone and his family settled in Watertown, Massachusetts near Cambridge, following in the footsteps of the emigration of Boxted Church's Rector, George Phillips, and other congregants and neighbors in 1630. They were all part of the Great Migration of Puritans to New England, who sought to escape religious persecution.

 

 

View along the A12 highway heading south to Colchester and Boxted in Essex. What looked like yellow mustard to me is known as rapeseed--very pretty in April bloom.

 

 

The Boxted Village Hall, next-door to the village school (left). St. Peter's Church of Boxted (below, assumed to be the church of Simon Stone and his family 1622-1635), is found a short distance away, along a narrow road winding around some fields and hills.

 

 

The walkway to the church and church yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tall tower was built mostly of rubble, puddingstone and Roman brick and is of Norman design and history. The brick buttresses were added and the upper part of the tower was repaired with brick in the early 1500s.

 

 

A gargoyle looks down.

 

 

The signs on the main entry door read: "Please note that all items are marked and their descriptions have been lodged with the police" and "Walkers please remove muddy boots / Please keep the door closed to prevent bird entry / Thank you"

 

 

"Charitable Gifts in the Parish of Boxted Essex -- A Freehold Tenement and field containing Two Acres and a half called the Widows field. -- Also a Tenement adjoining the Church Yard called the Widows Almshouses. -- Also a Close of Land containing Two Acres and an half called the Camping Close adjoining the Church Yard. -- Also a Piece of Land on Boxted heath containing One Acre allotted thereto. -- Also a Share with Eleven other Parishes in Thos. Lowis Gift Yearly."

"The accommodation in this Church was increased in the Year 1836 by which means 125 additional Sittings were obtained: and in consequence of a Grant from the Incorporated Society for promoting the Enlargement, Building and Repairing of CHURCHES and CHAPELS, 120 of that number are hereby declared to be free, and unappropriated for ever: in addition to 209 Sittings formerly provided; 74 of which are free. CHARLES NORMAN Minister; WILLIAM FISHER, JOHN B. ROYCE, Church Wardens."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handmade needlepoint "kneelers" in every pew.

 

 

 

 

Just two of the many wall tablets and memorials to be found inside the church. This large plaque memorializes (in Latin) Sir Richard Blackmore and his wife. Blackmore was a once-well-known but now obscure and forgotten poet, physician, and theologian. The couple spent their final years in Boxted in a house near the church and both passed away in the late 1720s. The smaller plaque memorializes George Murton, vicar of the parish, who died in 1942.

 

The ceiling was redecorated in 1999 by Messrs. Howell and Bellion of Saffron Waldon and is remarkably beautiful.

 

 

 

 

Two servants of the Earl of Oxford, Alexander Carr and John Marr, were buried beneath the floor of the church in the 1680s.

 

 

Free=Will Offerings. "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him." 1 Cor. xvi. 2.

 

 

A handy stash of walking sticks for those who need them.

 

 

Outside, the newer cemetery adjacent to the old church yard.

 

 

 

 

Gravemarkers in the old church yard.

 

 

This photo shows the Vesey Mausoleum in the church yard on the south side of the church. Built in 1890 of granite and marble, it houses the remains of Arthur Sidney Vesey who died at the age of 35 of pneumonia following a riding accident in 1890. A second coffin inside is thought to be that of his wife.

 

 

 

 

Many of the markers in the old churchyard are weathered and worn to illegibility, and covered with lichen.

 

 

 

 

One of the roads leading into Boxted.

 

 

The fields around Boxted--it is an agricultural area.

 

 

Ducks, sheep, and bleating spring lambs on the banks of the River Stour near Boxted.

 

 

Views up and down the River Stour from the bridge. I think this must be some of the most picturesque landscape in the world. No wonder Constable painted it. (Constable's great-great-grandfather, William Constable, "was a Boxted man.")

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Links to more information:

The Stone Family Association website's page on Boxted and the Stones of Watertown, Massachusetts

Boxted Village: "History of St. Peter's, Boxted"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxted,_Essex

Boxted: Portrait of an English Village by Douglas Carter (2006)
This is a pricey but lush and splendid coffee-table viewbook crammed with stunning new and old photographs, illustrations, and lots of historical information. Proceeds from the sale of the book benefit the Boxted Church Support Trust. My copy, purchased in Colchester, is a prized possession. Limited copies can still be found for sale online.

U.S. Senator visits St. Peter's Church in Boxted (2009)

New England's Great Migration

When you are in Boxted, be sure and stop by Fillpots Nursery and find refreshment in their tea room. We did!

 

 


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