St. Mary and St. Margaret, Stow Maries
St. Mary & St. Margaret, Stow Maries . . .
Stow Maries parish derives its name, as did its feudal lords (de Marisco, de Mareys), from the marsh. The name Morris Farm is corrupted from the former manor of Mareys. The form Stow St. Mary was erroneously adopted in the late 19th century.
The church, dedicated to St. Margaret, was established in the 13th century apparently to replace an earlier manorial chapel near the present Morris Farm. The oldest part of the building is the 14th-century chancel.
The nave was built in the 15th century and heightened in brick early in the 16th century. The medieval rood loft stair survives. A wooden steeple, replacing a bell-cote in the churchyard, was added in 1686 to house a new bell. The traditional weathervane on the steeple was replaced in 1925 by a lighted cross given by Claude Ridley, who served in the R.F.C. at Stow airfield in the First World War. Three airman of the R.F.C. are buried in the churchyard. The chancel floor was raised and a reredos erected as a war memorial after that war. The reredos was removed in 1999 to reveal the east window. The memorial element is replaced by a pane in the west window engraved with Laurence Binyon’s lines For the Fallen
A new rectory house was built south of the church in 1799; it was sold in the 1970s. A National school was built on glebe land north of the church in 1871. That school was replaced in 1927 by a new school, now used as a church hall named The Smythe Hall after its founder. An informal fund-raising group supports both the church and the Smythe Hall.
The address of the church is Church Lane, Stow Maries, Essex. CM3 6SL
The Smythe Hall, next-door-but-one to the church, is available for children's parties etc - for bookings contact 01621 828536.