St Mary's Church Sheering

The village of SHEERING is itself of great antiquity and the general view is that it takes its name from a Saxon personal name SCIRA. The name SHEERING suggests a concerted effort in clearance and building by SCIRA'S people. The Domesday Survey indicated that SCIRINGA was held in Edward Confessor's time by three freemen. It had the distinction of being one of only two villages to possess a mule - the other being in Norfolk

In Saxon times there were two Manors of SHEERING, “COWICK” or “QUICK” which possessed Sheering Mill, and SHEERING the principal Manor. At the conquest the former was granted by the Conqueror to his uncle, William de Warren, and the latter to his nephew, Peter de Valoines (Valognes). It was to the Manor of SHEERING that the church and advowson were appended. The living of SHEERING has always been a Rectory, and until 1712 the advowson was appended to the Manor of Sheering Hall.

The present building apart from the NORTH AISLE stands on the site of a 12th Century Church.

The oldest part of the church is the TOWER begun by ROBERT FITWALTER, Marshal of the Magna Carta barons c.1160. Notice the Roman tiles in the outer wall, the timber screening inside and the restored 12th Century FONT, a copy of which stands in the NAVE.

 Here there is a fine modern window by John Hayward dedicated by Bishop R.W. Stannard on 15 September 1974. The window is of St. Nicholas and links the church to the old chapel of St Nicholas founded near Sheering Hall in the Middle Ages. St Nicholas Window   At the base of the window, an eagle and a wren signify the war service of the donors Mr & Mrs Hatfield.
N Clock Face  The unusual clock faces (Work & Pray)are part of Sheering's War Memorial and were added in the late 1940's. W Clock Face


The tower was restored by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson in 1906 The NAVE has a modern North arcade built at the time of the added NORTH AISLE (1903-4).

The ROOF of the Nave, restored in the 1970's, was erected between 1316 and 1320. It is of two bays with tie beams. The central purlin is 40ft long and without a join. The timber is reputed to be from Hatfield Forest.  Nave Roof picture

On the West Wall of the nave is also a painting by local artist Gordon Crossley, inspired by a mission 'Journey to Easter'.

The triple CHANCEL ARCH was added c.1875. The ROOF of the CHANCEL is probably of the 16th Century, and is of two bays divided by a heavy collar-beam with curved braces. The doorway opening into the NORTH VESTRY is 14th Century. The Vestry also served as a Priest's Chamber, having at one time an upper floor with window and stone bench for the priest to see the altar.

Nearby, the ORGAN was added in 1911 and more recently has been rebuilt and enlarged by Cedric Arnold of Thaxted.  After the fire in 2010, the organ was stripped down and rebuilt by Michael Young of Dunmow, and a trumpet/trombone rank of pipes was added.

The late 14th Century stained glass in the tracery of the East Window depicts eight orders of angels and in the middle, a Coronation of the Virgin flanked by two censing angels. The lower lights are Victorian and a memorial to the parents of Elinor Glynn's husband who resided at Sheering Hall.

The ALTAR furniture was given by the Rev'd. H.F.Johnson in 1884. The PROCESSIONAL CROSS was made and presented to the church by John Atkinson, Organist & Choirmaster in 1969

In 1710 there is a record that: "in this Chancel were seats in either side as in cathedrals". A portion of one of these seats, now restored, is used as a Rector's Stall. The date is generally agreed to be c.1400

In the South wall near the PORCH, a STOUPwas discovered buried in the wall during restoration work.   Stoup Painted Cross  On the other side of the door is a 10th Century CONSECRATION CROSS painted in red on the wall with flowered ends.

The PORCH was added by Henry VII. There are gargoyles and label stops (Henry VII and Archbishop Morton)

The SOUTH DOORWAY (14th Century) slightly restored with moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head. The moulded label has curved head-stops, the Eastern (Robert FitzWalter) and the Western modern (Gunnora, Robert's wife); the spandrel of the head are traceried and enclose shields - left: unknown, and right: FitzWalter.

On the stone door arch can be seen inscribed marks in lines and crosses. These reputedly were made by men going on the Crusades – a vertical mark when leaving and a horizontal mark to complete the cross on their return. Not all the crosses were completed!

There are four bells in the bell tower. The first and third are by Miles Graye 1619; the second is probably by William Wightman dated 1682 and the fourth probably by Richard Keene 1702. The bells were not heard for about thirty years as the tower was considered unsafe for change ringing, but in 1998 they were repaired and re-hung by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry with a chiming mechanism, as part of our year 2000 preparations.