Explore the Stour Valley as part of the Open Doors Sacred Doorways project

Belchamp Otten, Church of St Ethelbert and All Saints

The Church at Belchamp Otten has been contributed to in every of its seven centuries: the original part of the building is believed to have been just the nave, built in the 12th Century, the chancel was added in the 13th century, the porch and chancel arch in the 14th century, the font with its battlemented rim is of the 15th century, the hexagonal pulpit is Jacobean, two 17th century posts support the more modern belfry and the gallery pew is of the 18th century. In the 19th century a belfry, and box pews with doors and latches were added.

For the size of the church, the south doorway is a particularly good example, the columns are decorated with a common spiral device with arches decorated with a zig-zag pattern.

All of the Norman windows have been replaced, there are only two fragments of original painted glass which are in the decorated window on the north side of the Nave.

At the west end of the Nave are four massive oak posts which form part of the original construction of the bell turret. Two of these posts are decorated with a flowing pattern but sadly the remainder of the turret construction is obscured by plaster, partitions and ceilings.

During restoration a Norman coffin of Barnack stone was discovered ten inches beneath the floor on the South side of the aisle under the box pews. This indicates that, with the Piscina* by the pulpit, the sanctuary was under the Nave arch and the Chancel was added after the original building. The coffin was laid in the Chancel by the north wall with the carved lid above the level of the brick floor.

*A piscina is a shallow basin often placed near the altar of a church, or in the vestry or sacristy, used for washing communion vessels.

  • St Ethelberts and All Saints church, Belchamp Otten

    St Ethelberts and All Saints church, Belchamp Otten

  • St Ethelberts and All Saints church, Belchamp Otten

    St Ethelberts and All Saints church, Belchamp Otten

  • The norman door of Belchamp Otten Church

    The norman door of Belchamp Otten Church

  • A view from inside looking out over the churchyard at Belchamp Otten

    A view from inside looking out over the churchyard at Belchamp Otten

  • Inside Belchamp Otten church, note the doors on the ends of the pews

    Inside Belchamp Otten church, note the doors on the ends of the pews

  • The windows at Belchamp Otten church contain fragments of medieval glass

    The windows at Belchamp Otten church contain fragments of medieval glass

  • The 15th century font with its battlemented rim

    The 15th century font with its battlemented rim

  • Inside Belchamp Otten church

    Inside Belchamp Otten church

  • The small 18th century gallery pew

    The small 18th century gallery pew

St Ethelberts and All Saints church, Belchamp Otten
St Ethelberts and All Saints church, Belchamp Otten
The norman door of Belchamp Otten Church
A view from inside looking out over the churchyard at Belchamp Otten
Inside Belchamp Otten church, note the doors on the ends of the pews
The windows at Belchamp Otten church contain fragments of medieval glass
The 15th century font with its battlemented rim
Inside Belchamp Otten church
The small 18th century gallery pew

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