St. Peter-ad-Vincula, Roydon

  • St Peter's Church,
  • High Street,
  • Roydon, Harlow
  • Essex
  • CM19 5LW

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Features of the church

As well as the tombs of Sir Thomas and Sir John Colte with their ancient brasses, there are other monuments, a brass of 1570 to John Swift, an uncle of the great Jonathan Swift, and one of 1589 to Elizabeth Stanley. Above her monumental brass is a large memorial, believed to be unique in Essex, the surround being of Alabaster. Opposite is a window from 1923 showing St. Peter, but which uses fragments of ancient mediaeval glass from other windows in the church destroyed by the Roundheads during the Civil War.

There is also a fine 18th century stone monument to Sir Francis Butler. If you look to the right of the memorial, on the other side of the north window, there is a "hatchment", an armorial shield displayed on a diamond shaped wooden frame. Hatchments were carried in the funeral processions of important people, preceding the coffin. That this is a Butler hatchment is revealed by the goblets on it - a pun on the fact that in those days the butler of the house served the wine at meals. In the main body of the church are five more hatchments of leading Roydon families - the Palmers, the Booths and the Morningtons. Palmers were originally pilgrims carrying staffs, and Booths were servers of beer and ale from barrels or hogsheads; these items are on their respective armorial shields.

Recent additions to the furnishings have included a prayer board, in memory of Eve Simmons, a lectern, in memory of Bill Easton, and a cross and candlesticks for the Colte Chapel, all made by Richard Richardson of Prinknash Abbey Carpenters; two bishop's chairs, made by Paul Spriggs, and a paschal candlestick, made by James Findlay in memory of Bridie Beech.