Copford - St Michael & All Angels  This Grade I listed Norman building dates from the second quarter of the 12th century. Originally the church consisted of a three bay nave with a vaulted ceiling, lit by unusually large shafted windows, and a semi-circular chancel and apse.  Stone vaulted churches are very rare in this country. Experts disagree as to whether it was a tunnel vault (a plain semi-circular stone roof) or a groin vault. Either way, the nave roof would have been very heavy. At some time the vaulted roof collapsed and was replaced by the existing 15th century crown post roof.  The addition of the south aisle proceeded piecemeal over 200 years starting in the late 12th century with a transept at the eastern end, which was enlarged once in the 13th century and again in late 14th century. The belfry and porch were added in around 1500. : Church, Essex, Copford, Wall, Paintings, Norman, Grade I, C12
1 Copford - St Michael & All Angels
Copford Church 360° Panorama  360° Virtual Tour : Copford, 360, panorama, photosphere
2 Copford Church 360° Panorama
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Apse  The semi-circular apse is resplendant. St Michael's was restored in 1872 and as part of that restoration the original medieval wall paintings in the apse were overpainted, by an artist called Daniel Bell. The resulting artwork has a Pre-Raphaelite feel in places, which may owe more to contemporary tastes than to the intentions of the original artists. Nevertheless, the overall effect is awesome. : Church, Copford, St Michael, Apse, Paintings, Essex, Norman
3 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Apse
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Interior  The nave is covered with complex geometric designs painted when the building was first constructed, in 1130. In amongst the designs are faces of religious figures, and the vaulting once displayed biblical scenes. The 15th century rood screen is contemporaneous with the crown-post roof. On the right you can see the remains of one of the original shafted windows, above the arch created when the south aisle was commenced. This is the oldest internal arch in the church and may originally have been built into a transept, which was gradually enlarged to become the south aisle. The second arch is built entirely of brick, only some of which was re-used from Roman buildings. The other bricks were manufactured locally, and are among the earliest medieval ones in England. This arch was completed before 1300. The westernmost arch was inserted in the late 14th/early 15th century, at the same time as the porch and belfry were added. The south arch in the chancel is a Victorian addition. : Church, Essex, C12, Norman, Grade I, paintings, mural, Copford
4 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Interior
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Apse Roof  Every inch of the apse ceiling is painted in vivid colours. These were applied in 1872 as part of a restoration. The colours are intensly vibrant. The geometric designs aound the windows echo those painted nine hundred years ago in the nave. The figurative paintings and signs of the zodiac feel more modern. : Church, Essex, Apse, Painting, decorations, Copford
5 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Apse Roof
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Decorative Plaster  The south aisle is not painted like the nave, but has decorative plasterwork on the corners of the walls. The arch is built entirely of brick, only some of which were re-used from Roman buildings. The other bricks were manufactured locally, and are among the earliest medieval ones in England. This arch was completed before 1300. : Church, Essex, arch, C13, Copford, plasterwork, architecture
6 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Decorative Plaster
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Vault Springers  The vaulting was once painted with geometric designs surrounding a panel showing a biblical scene.  The vaulted ceiling collapsed at some point, and all that remains are the springers, and some scriptual feet.  The near arch is built entirely of brick, only some of which were re-used from Roman buildings. The other bricks were manufactured locally, and are among the earliest medieval ones in England. This arch was completed before 1300. : Church, Copford, St Michael, Vault, Springers, C13, Roman
7 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Vault Springers
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Raising Jairus' Daughter  One of the north windows is partially obscured by a panel depicting Jesus raising Jairus' daughter from the dead. This picture was painted at the time the church was built, around 1130.  On either side of the window are the remains of the arch springers. These were also painted; the panel on the left appears to show Samson wrestling with a lion. : Church, Essex, C12, Copford, Painting
8 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Raising Jairus' Daughter
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - East End of Roof  The crown-post roof was installed in C15. The murals above the chancel arch, representing the Annunciation and the Visitation of the Shepherds, were added in 1886. The artist is not known. : Church, Essex, Copford, mural, painting, St.Michael, C15
9 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - East End of Roof
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Detail of Faces  Below each of the springers is a representation of a religious figure. These appear to be Gabriel on the left, and Christ on the right. : Church, Essex, Copford, mural, C13
10 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - Detail of Faces
Copford - St Michael and All Angels - North Door  The blocked north doorway retains parts of its original hinges. In 1780 some fragments of what was thought to be parchment were found under these hinges.   According to local folklore, a Viking was once caught trying to rob the church. He was punished by flaying, and his skin nailed over the door to warn others. When the 'parchment' was forensically analysed in the 20th century it was found to be human skin, once belongng to a fair-haired male.   However, Viking raids on churches had ended long before the building of this church. It is more likely that the skin  was once attached to a local peasant found hunting the King's deer - flaying was one of the punishments handed out for poaching in the early 12th century. : Church, Essex, Copford, Door, skin, flaying, Viking, ironwork
11 Copford - St Michael and All Angels - North Door