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All Saints Church

Dcp84516.jpg (170761 bytes)All Saints Church stands on a hill top on the approach road to Brightlingsea approximately one and a half miles from the town centre. It was built around 1250 comprising of the present Chancel, two thirds of the Nave with two small Chapels. This construction incorporated part of an earlier building and a great deal of Roman brick. In the wall to the west of the south door there is a round headed recess incorporating roman brickwork, which probably dates from the early Norman period.
In the late 15th century the Tower, one of the finest in East Anglia, was built to the west of the Church. It is 97ft. high and was built in three stages containing a minstrels gallery at the lower level, the “Deputy's” and ringing room holding the ringing frame of the peal of tubular bells, and highest of all the bell chamber. This is home to the original but much altered bell cage which houses the two remaining bells. The tower is at present closed to visitors until funds are available for its repair. Once the newly constructed tower had settled the Nave was extended by two bays to meet it. The Baptistery, located under the Tower, contains a fine Tudor font with traces of the original colour and the large original West Door. Also in this area are two rare dummy board figures of Moses and Aaron.
The Vestry was build in 1518 and the North Chapel enlarged by the Beriffe family circa 1520. The original Nave roof and Clerestory collapsed in 1814 and in spite of hard work and a national collection it could only be replaced by the present pitched roof. The church contains many items of interest particularly the unique frieze of memorial tiles to men lost at sea. The tiles bear witness to the various losses suffered by this seafaring community. While similar memorials can be found on the continent these tiles are a unique memorial in this country. The Lady Chapel and the north and centre aisles contain brasses of the Beriffe family.
Dcp84515.jpg (194398 bytes)Brightlingsea has a strong link with the “Cinque Ports” as it is a “Liberty” of the “Cinque Port of Sandwich” in Kent. The historical office of “Deputy of the Cinque Port Liberty of Brightlingsea is still alive today, and although having no civic powers and authority “The Deputy” plays an important role of the life of the town. The new Deputy is chosen annually at a ceremony held in the church on the first Monday in December, and brass plates at the west end of the church record the names of all the Past Deputies.
The Chancel holds a large, ornate marble memorial to Nicholas Magens who was an 18th. century Lord of the Manor, Underwriter and Merchant. His various activities are beautifully depicted in the memorial.
The pews are provided with a colourful series of tapestry kneelers, representing the life and history of Brightlingsea. A visible reminder that this is the community’s church.

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