Bardfield Saling SS Peter & Paul
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St Peter and St Pauls church is located in Bardfield Saling, a small rural Essex village about 7 miles north-west of Braintree.
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Visiting Bardfield Saling SS Peter & Paul
St Peter’s and St Paul’s in Bardfield Saling is located in the rural area to the north-west of Braintree. This tower and its stair-turret were all built at one time circa 1345. It is circular all the way up with a plain parapet. The stairs are in its south-east part, adjoining the west nave, with its three small openings each in the shape of a cross. The tower has three string courses, below the parapet, below the belfry and 2/3 of the way up. The stair turret also has three string courses, but only shares the below-belfry one with the main part of the tower. The tower windows are lancets with hoodmoulds, and the belfry openings have two lights. There is a blocked doorway on the north side of the nave. The chancel has seen many changes. It is now only 12 feet from east to west, but at one time was about 36 feet long. It was shortened in the 1690s as it was in a bad state of repair. By the 19th century the new east wall had a rose window and there were two blocked doorways. This wall was damaged in the 1944 and these details were not replaced. It is thought that there had been a small shrine to St Margaret east of the Church, and the two doorways were to provide access for pilgrims. A statue stood in a niche between the doors, facing east. The south aisle was added in the later 14th century, and the present south porch, to the west of this, is late 19th century. Above it is the scar of an arch left from the previous porch, with hexagonal foundations found south of the present porch.
The Church has a west gallery, which holds the 18th century organ. Just below the gallery on the north nave wall is a consecration cross, made circa 1345 when the Church was first consecrated by the Bishop. The font is a plain 15th century one. The south arcade is formed of three tall arches on quatrefoiled pillars, with fillets between the shafts. At the back of the south aisle are panels of woven straw showing vines, which were once part of a reredos. This is a reminder of a local cottage industry making things of woven or plaited straw. The aisle has its own ogee topped piscina and a dropped-sill sedilia. There is a screen between it and the main nave, the two panels of different tracery being from a 14th century screen, placed above 17th century panelling? More of this panelling is to be seen near the fine hexagonal pulpit dated circa 1625. Next to this are recently discovered sedilia, which had been filled in with bits of early floor tiles. The tall chancel arch has a smaller ogee arch to the south. It was originally a squint, for the priest officiating at the south aisle altar to be able to see the main altar, but the opening has been lowered, so it can now be walked through.