EssexDEBDENStMaryVirgin(johnsalmonCC-BY-SA2.0)1 JohnSalmon

St Mary the Virgin

At the end of a lane leading away from the village, Debden's church is a mixture of building styles from the 13th to the 21st century.

Debden, Essex

Opening times

Usually open daily from 10 am until 5 pm or dusk.


Church Lane
CB11 3LD

The original early 13th century church was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries, and for the next 250 years nothing eventful happened. Then, in 1698, the steeple collapsed. It was rebuilt, but just 19 years later it collapsed again and this time there was no money for repairs.

After several years, during which parts of the church were in ruins, a building campaign began in the then fashionable Gothick style.

The most dramatic element of that work is the octagonal 'chapel' that was built beyond the nave in 1792. This has all the classic elements of Gothick design, complex pendent shapes and use of plasterwork. Here is the tomb chest of Richard Chiswell, who commissioned all this work, but then committed suicide in 1797 after a financial disaster.

Misfortune struck again in 1878 with a serious fire. The west end of the church, including the troublesome steeple, was rebuilt in 1930, and in 2000 the 'New Room' was added, with pinnacles to match the rest of the building.

  • Social heritage stories

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

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