Church of St Nicholas

In June 1982, the then Churchwarden, Mr Peter Church wrote this article for 'The Braxted Bulletin'.



Those Mysterious Holes In The Wall.


As you will have noticed Mr Pennock has completed the restoration of the walls of Little Braxted Church except for the two holes which were discovered in the process.  These were left open for investigation and have been inspected by a member of the Diocesan Advisory Committee and by the County Archaeologist as well as by our architect, Mr John Finch.


The most likely explanation, put forward by Canon Eric Turner and accepted as probably correct by the County archaeologist, is that this was once an aperture for an anchorite or hermit.  There would probably have been on the inside of the church wall a wooden grill through which he could see the altar from his wooden enclosed hut against the outside wall.  Visitors to the church could approach the anchorite for the counsel and advice by speaking to him through the grill.  The smaller hole might have been used for passing food into the anchorite's 'den'.  Enquiries are being made whether there is any record of an anchorite at Little Braxted between 1120 when the church was built and 1550 or thereabouts.


It is also possible that at a later period the hole may have been floored and Tudor bricks used to form a hide-out for the church plate etc to protect it from cromwellian vandals.  A number of detailed photographs have been taken, some in colour, as a record.


Having taken records, the architect advises that the holes be closed up again and the walls restored, leaving perhaps a slight recession to indicate their position.  The crumbling condition of the holes would not warrant their preservation in their present state.


Church hole in the wall



Church wall hole 2



The 'Holes in the wall' taken before they were blocked up.  1982