St. Mary’s Church Meesden

St Mary’s Church Meesden is the local parish church and part of the Benefice of St George’s Church, Anstey, St. Mary’s Church Brent Pelham, St Nicholas’ Church Great Hormead and St Giles’ Church Wyddial.  They are all open daily for prayer, for visitors and anyone who wants a quiet space.

There are two services a month at St Mary’s Church Meesden – please see the village diary for more information.  The church also warmly welcomes enquiries for Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and pastoral care – do call the Rector, Rev. James Sawyer on 01763 289258.

The church building is Grade II* listed with an early 12th century nave though a building on the site can be traced back as far as 1086 as there is a record in the Domesday Book of a priest being in Meesden.  Furthermore, given that the Bishop of London owned Meesden at this time it seems unlikely he would have ‘failed in looking after the spiritual needs of his flock’ if there had not been one.  The church is built from flint rubble with uncoursed flint facing and stone dressings of clunch, oolitic limestone and Barnack with a red brick porch and steep old red tile roofs.  The shingled bellcote has a traceried stage over a shingled base.   It is believed that short transepts or portici were added (or renewed) in the 13th century and the chancel was built around 1300.  The south facing porch dates from around 1530 though the original transepts were destroyed at some point in the 16th century.  Restoration began in 1877 with the transepts being rebuilt on old foundations and the bellcote being rebuilt over the west end.

The glazed tile pavement around the altar incredibly is the original flooring surviving from c.1300.  It has a radial design in dark green and yellow glaze on stamped patterns and circular, quatrefoil and cinquefoil shapes.  Furthermore, a corner shield bears the Monchensey arms, the family that held the manor at the end of the 13th century and who undertook the rebuilding of practically the whole church.  Prior to this, the manor had been passed (in the middle of the 13th century) from the Bishop of London to the Botillier family and subsequently in 1265 to Robert Le Botillier’s widow, Denise.  It was she who married Warine de Monchensey placing the manor in his ownership.

On the north wall of the chancel, there is a monument to Robert Younge dated 1626 (restored and painted in 1979) in the form of a fluted column shaft above a classical base interrupted by a circular niche with a bust.

7 thoughts on “St. Mary’s Church Meesden

  1. Great to read of the church many of my ancestors were associated with – the Brooks family.

  2. A distant relation Susan Clark married William brooks 1854 Royston ,William was born 1830 Meesden , they imigrated to Adelaide ,Australia , 1856 on ” The Violet “, settled at Millicent Sth Aust

  3. Pamela Langton, I am descended from a Mary Brooks of Meesden. She had six illegitimate children possibly with a William Willes. It is thought her mother’s name was Anne Brookes and William’s mother Ann. Mary’s grandson John Brooks emigrated to NSW. My grandmother was Jane Brooks.
    Wondering if there are any Family History organisations near Meesden?
    Very interesting exploring this site.
    Thank you

  4. Today we visited St Mary’s Church, Meesden – lovely. Had a wonder through the graveyard and found one grave marked Thomas Flack died Feb ?51 (age 95 – not sure of the centuary but we have Flacks from this area so am keen to find out if they are related. Out of interest we also have a Susan Brookes – born 1827 in Meesden I think. This may be the same one as Margaret Backler as there is a link to Millicent SA.

  5. I am descended from Benjamin Freeman, born c1869 Meesden (youngest son of James Freeman c1823-1886 & Jane Robinson c1821-1888, both of Meesden). He married Ann Brett (b c1866 Brent Pelham) and they eventually moved to Edmonton (now in North London). I have reached a brick wall with my research so would appreciate hearing from anyone with information about the Freeman/Brett families.

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