St Mary the Virgin, Little Baddow, Essex

The church of St Mary the Virgin in Little Baddow dates back to the 11th century with changes and additions in the 14th and 15th centuries. It has an excellent 14th century painting of St Christopher bearing the Christ-child and another of a demon.

There is a scattering of graffiti on the exposed stone surfaces in the church with the majority being on the north side of the tower arch, tower doorway and south entrance doorway.

Protective marks are represented by some Marian M’s, some compass circles, a butterfly cross, a partial pentagram, a possible merel and a nicely carved cross on the north side of the  chancel arch.

The north side of the chancel arch has a figure (or head and torso, at least) and a five-petaled flower. Elsewhere are a heraldic shield, two possible boats and some examples of script.

There are two examples of the ragged staff symbol on the south door surround. While we are not 100% certain what this symbol meant, it has been linked to St Christopher and might be a reference to painting of St Christopher which is visible from the south door.

The rest of the graffiti consists of initials and other marks.

St Mary the Virgin, Church Road, Little Baddow, Chelmsford,  CM3 4BE

Report by Anthea Hawdon



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