St Mary The Less's Church, Great Warley

Church Details


Visited
05/06/2004
Locking Status
Locked - no keyholder details
Website
http://www.stmary-greatwarley.org.uk/


External Images

St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - When I first visited Great Warley, I had no idea what to 
expect. I often just look at my Essex A-Z, consult Pevsner's parish map, and 
then decide upon my next stop without reading any write-ups. I know many would 
disagree with me, but I kind of like it that way. It means I am never 
disappointed!
So I begin by wandering around the grounds. Initially, I was 
not particularly impressed. The church, with apse, was obviously fairly modern. 
Oh well, I was there, so I thought I'd better get as many pics as possible, to 
avoid later disappointment!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The grounds were certainly well tended. The grass was beautifully mown, and the trees looked ... tidy ... if a little tarted up!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - At this point, I was really beginning to like St Mary the Less. It had a certain je ne sais quoi about it.
That row of horizontal openings looked, to me, like something 
that had been cut from a 1940s church, and slapped into the middle of the west 
wall. But equally, it looked right!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - OK. The obligatory 'up tower' shot. Don't ask me why I like 
these shots ... I guess I just like to try and depict some of the height of the 
church.
It all started with a shot I was particularly pleased with in 
Thaxted ... and I've done one for practically every church I've visited since!
Directly after taking this shot, I noticed a gardener tending 
to the flower beds and lawns. Hence the beautiful condition of the place.
After a lengthy chat, and after him reassuring me that the 
'old' church no longer existed S of the A127, he offered to pop home and get the 
keys to the church for me!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The apse - which in this shot looks remarkably like it is 
formed from a mud hut!!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - It was directly after taking this shot that I decided to sit 
down, and consult the oracles ... aka Pevsner and Fitch.
Apparently, I was about to enter
"an orgy of the English 
Arts-and-Crafts variety of the international Art Nouveau." *
"probably the best Art Nouveau church in England" **
So ... what did that mean to me? Er ... not a lot ... just 
that I was about to see the best example of something in the country. But I 
couldn't help but think arty-farty.

	
		* Nikolaus Pevsner - The Buildings of England: Essex
	
	
		** Canon John Fitch 
		- Essex Churches and Chapels

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Internal Images

St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - My immediate impression of the church was how dark it was. It 
was a beautiful day outside, and so it took a while for my eyes to adjust.
I don't think it is the lack of windows that do this. More the 
fact that usual white walls one expects in a parish church were rather darker.
Even to the untrained eye, the furnishings in this church are 
immediately special. I don't mean some temporary adornments, but the actual 
flesh and bones of the church. Virtually every square metre of this church is 
filled with something out of the ordinary!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The chancel lower-wall is covered with a grey-green marble, 
and the ribbed vault is a metallic colour.
The centrepiece of the reredos is a striking figure of Christ. 
No question of what our attention should be grabbed by here then!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - This image shows the upper part of the chancel. Apologies for 
the rather blurred and brightened image. It was very difficult to get a good 
shot, due to the lighting. Although my flash was not bright enough to illuminate 
the whole scene, it was certainly bright enough to supply those nasty 
reflections!

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - Closer inspection of the apse roof shows this artwork, which I 
can only assume are grapes. Though I am ready to stand corrected.

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The view west gives us our first proper glimpse of the 
magnificent W rose window, by Heywood Sumner.
The
church's website 
gives some more information on this artist.
Also present, but rather shaded in this view, is the 
magnificent chancel screen, shown more clearly (though not fully) in the 
Miscellaneous area.

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Glass Images

St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The writing on this glass reads "The delights of the sons of 
men as ... ... musical instruments".

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The writing on this glass reads "The winter is past ... the 
flowers appear on the earth".
To the lower right-hand corner, the dedication reads "In 
memory of Norfor Evelyn Heseltine 1885-1968."
The Heseltine family, and in particular, Evelyn Heseltine, 
were the main benefactors during the construction of this church, donating both 
the money and the land for its construction.

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The writing on this glass reads "1 ... understood by 
books    the number of the years".
I'm afraid this means absolutely nothing to me, so if someone 
could enlighten me please?

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The banners at the bottom of each of the three main lights 
read "Devotion", "Love" and "Humility".
The wording at the very bottom of the window reads "Greatly 
loving and greatly loved. To the glory of God and in blessed memory of Evelyn 
Heseltine 1850 to 1930. His memory dwelleth in righteousness."

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The wording at the bottom of the window reads "O praise the 
Lord of heaven. Praise Him in the height."

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - The rose window carries images of (from top left, clockwise) 
Ss Matthew, John, Luke and Mark.
The window is the work of Heywood Sumner.

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Miscellaneous Images

St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - Guidebooks published by the rectors in 1911, and again in 1929 
do not show the lectern (and other items) in situ, so it seems likely that these 
were later additions. What is known is that Evelyn Heseltine financed 
everything, and shunned interference, so perhaps even his resources were 
stretched temporarily. *
* Source - 
Church's Website

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - This is a very poor shot of a very fine screen. I will 
endeavour to return to Great Warley to get some better pictures of this.

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Postcard Images

St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - This postcard is the copyright of The Francis Frith Collection.
Please visit The Francis Frith Collection.

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - I'm afraid I do not know the significance of this wooden 
church. My picture did not pick out the attached label well enough. Again, this 
is something for the next visit.

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - This is an image of Great Warley's old parish church. This one 
stood S of the A127 Southend Arterial Road. Fitch says that this church was 
finally demolished in 1966, whereas the label attached to this image in the 
church gives a date of 1970.

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - Many thanks to Andy Barham for supplying this image. You can visit Andy's "Lost Churches of Essex" site by clicking here.

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St Mary the Less, Great Warley Church - Many thanks to Andy Barham for supplying this image. You can visit Andy's "Lost Churches of Essex" site by clicking here.

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