St Mary and St Christopher Parish Church
As seen today, the church is largely of 15th century building and rebuilding, with walls of flint and with pebble rubble with some ironstone. Dressings are of limestone and *clunch and the roof is tiled.
The nave was rebuilt, possibly early in the 15th century, the chancel, late in the same century, and the bell-turret and porch contemporaneously. Entrance is through the south porch, a 15th century timber-framed construction which has had to be much restored. The outer archway is two-centred, and the pretty side openings have a window of six open lights with *trefoiled *traceried heads. The mullions and internal framing are moulded.
The Nave boasts an early 15th century, though partly restored, window in its north wall. It has three clinquefoiled lights, with tracery, in a four-centred head. The glass in the middle light is probably foreign, roughly of the same date but inserted in the 19th century. In it can be seen figures of two saints, the symbol of St. John the Evangelist, and various made up fragments. There is also a tomb recess in this wall, with a hollow chamfered and segmental pointed arch, attributed to the 15th century.
St Mary and St Christopher's three bells - until 1887 the treble and middle bells were by Miles Graye, the younger, about 1656. The middle bell now remains and the other two were replaced by two from J Warner & Sons in Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Year.
Since 1977 the church has been rewired and the interior decorated.
The churchyard is now managed with conservation in mind; areas of grass are left uncut until late autumn to allow wild flowers to bloom and seed, also to provide a habitat for small animals and insects.
In 1997 the church was broken into and the safe stolen; it contained some records and the church silver, including a late 17th century cup and a late cover-paten. A large antique chair, gate-legged table and two brass candelabra were also taken.
In 1998 The Rectory House was sold and the Rector of the Parish lived in Rayne until 2015.
Glossary of terms
- Clunch: a lump, the lower and harder beds of the upper chalk formation used for building purposes
- Trefoiled: three-lobed or three-clused
- Traceried: open work in Gothic style windows.
Services and church groups/events
For all church services and group/event information please go to the Events calendar. Details are also published in the Outreach section of Round About Panfield the Parish Magazine.
Normal church services for the year are: Sundays at 11.15am except for the third Sunday in the month when evening prayers are held at 6.30pm.
Rev. Rod Reid holds an 'Office Hour' at Panfield Church every Tuesday from 5.00pm, starting with evening prayer, a short said service lasting 15 minutes, followed by 'Office Hour' for general enquiries, to book weddings or baptisms, discuss churchyard matters or for pastoral conversations and prayer.
Please do not hesitate to contact Rod at The Deanery, Deanery Hill, Bocking CM7 5SR, telephone: 01376 324887 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rural Community Council of Essex
Since 1999 the churchyard has been entered into the RCCE Best Kept Churchyard Competition. The results are listed below: