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Author: Rachel

St Mary’s, Mundon reopens after months of repair

We’re delighted that the Grade I listed church of St Mary in Mundon, Essex has reopened following 8 months of repair. The structural works involved underpinning and piling of the medieval church, and cost just under £345, 000. We were awarded a grant of £275,551 towards the work from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which was administered by Historic England.  

The church at Mundon is built on the edge of a salt marsh. It’s been sinking and swaying and cracking for decades. In 2020, we installed monitors to collect data on the structural movement. Data collected over 18 months helped us to understand how, why, and when the church moved and enabled the engineer to design the underpinning system to stop this movement and make the church safe. 

The earliest parts of the church are the nave and north doorway, which date from the 14th century. A ‘skirt’ of oak and clay hides its weight-bearing posts of the medieval west belltower. This skirt was added later to steady the moving tower. In the 18th century, movement was so bad the east end, that the chancel collapsed! It was rebuilt in red brick and a rare rural Baroque trompe l’oeil was painted on the east wall. 

Friends of Friendless Churches rescued St Mary’s from the throes of dereliction in 1975. This church has suffered from considerable structural movement throughout its history. And the reality is that, without significant grant aid, we would have struggled to fund this extensive – and expensive – repair. 

In addition to underpinning, we also: 

  • Laid a new effective drainage system including rainwater goods; 
  • Undertook localised repointing, filled cracks, grouted plasterwork and re-rendered; 
  • Conserved the wall-paintings. 

The church will hold an Evensong at 5pm on Sunday 11 September. All are welcome. 

Critical Repair Works at St Mary's

About the project team 

We are hugely grateful to the team that undertook these complex works: 

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