Ancient Monuments

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Remains of the medieval parish church and cemetery, 70m north east of the junction of Hall Close and Frinton Road

A Scheduled Monument in Haven, Essex

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Latitude: 51.8049 / 51°48'17"N

Longitude: 1.2028 / 1°12'9"E

OS Eastings: 620901.722611

OS Northings: 216656.911535

OS Grid: TM209166

Mapcode National: GBR VS5.YQ2

Mapcode Global: VHLCZ.SWQR

Entry Name: Remains of the medieval parish church and cemetery, 70m north east of the junction of Hall Close and Frinton Road

Scheduled Date: 16 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019665

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32442

County: Essex

Electoral Ward/Division: Haven

Built-Up Area: Clacton-on-Sea

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Holland-on-Sea St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford


The monument includes the remains of the medieval parish church and cemetery,
which lies within the grounds of Little Holland Hall some 130m inland from
the coastline at Holland-on-Sea, two miles north east of Clacton. The church
and cemetery form part of a manorial complex which, until recently, was
isolated from other settlement. Other surviving components of the manor
include the hall itself and two large ponds; these are not included in the

Documentary evidence shows that the name Holande dates back to the beginning
of the 11th century, and there may have been a church dating from that time.
The Domesday Book records that the population was already in decline from
16 households at the time of the Conquest to 11 households by 1086. Little
Holland Church was a curacy of St Osyth's Priory until its dissolution in
1539. Documents record that the value of the manor was depreciating because
of inundation by the sea. Although still standing in 1650, the Parochial
Inquisition recommended that the parish should be annexed to Great Clacton,
and the church had been demolished by 1660. By 1650 rapid encroachment by the
sea had made the parish almost uninhabitable due to frequent flooding and only
eight families were present by 1650.

The outline of the church is visible as a raised earthwork following the
buried remains of the walls, except for the east wall which survives above
ground. The east wall of uncoursed brick and rubble survives to a maximum
height of 1.2m. The external outline of the church as shown by the buried and
above ground walling measures some 22m long by 10m wide.

Excavations have indicated that the origins of the cemetery may predate the
existing medieval church. Several burials on a different alignment to the
church (both within the structure and to its east) were recorded during
excavation and did not appear to be contemporary with it. These burials may
belong to an earlier Anglo-Saxon period: there is a long standing local belief
that the cemetery marks the site of a tenth century skirmish between the
Saxons and a band of Viking raiders.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and
containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for
Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on
Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated
into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in
its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and
are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides
accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the
priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes
provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional
altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west
end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon
and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish
churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south
or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation
were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were
rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of
the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little
fabric of the first church being still easily visible.
Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the
density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed
settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest
clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of
1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New
churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to
around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches
have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for
their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later
population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour
and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are
identified to be nationally important.

The surviving fabric of the medieval church at Little Holland Hall, and the
archaeological levels preserved within the church and its surrounding
cemetery, will contain important information illustrating the church's history
and use. The small scale excavations that have already taken place have shown
that the history of the site is complex and that its origins may lie within
the Anglo-Saxon period. The cemetery may prove to be one of only a handful of
churchyards with pre-Conquest origins. With its simple two-celled design, the
church itself may prove to be very early, parts of its fabric perhaps dating
from the original late Saxon manor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Reaney, PH, Place names of Essex, (1935), 340
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1922), 169
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1922), 169
Threadgall, R, The Cross Shines through the Lowland Mists, (1971)
Rodwell, WJ, 'CBA Research Report No.19' in Historic Churches a wasting asset, (1977), 22, 110
Walker, K, 'Essex Archaeology and History' in Little Holland Church, , Vol. Vol.5, (1973), 234-5
Letter to J. Hedges, ECC, Sellers, E, List of documentary references, (1972)
Ordnance Survey Card, Ordnance Survey TM 21 NW 01, (1951)
Ordnance Survey, OS TM21 NW01, (1951)
Pat Ryan, Details from Church Visitations,
Pat Ryan, Details from Church Visitations,
Title: Tithe Award
Source Date: 1838
ERO D/CT 183
Tyler, S, MPP Film , (2000)
Tyler, S, MPP Film , (2000)
Walker, K, Little Holland Parish Church, 1984, Typewritten notes including plan
Walker, K, Little Holland Parish Church, 1984, Typewritten notes including plan

Source: Historic England

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