Grade I listed
The north arcade is said to date from around 1066 thus it would seem that the church was originally a small Norman church of which only the Nave and Tower remain. The walls and windows of the North and south aisles of the nave date from the Restoration in 1846.
Sometime in the 14th century the chancel arch was built, but the chancel it led to has gone. The arch leading to the tower was built about the same time and probably it was then that the nave walls were heightened and a clerestory provided.
In 1846 the roof of the chancel was lowered and a low lath and plaster arch constructed under the chancel arch that now exists. This was removed in 1935 and the old arch – sadly hacked about – was revealed. It was impossible to raise the chancel roof, so the space in the apex of the arch was filled by a painting: “Our Lord in Glory”, by Miss Jessie Bayes.
In the 15th century, all that now exists beyond the chancel arch and beyond the eastern arches of the nave aisles – was entirely rebuilt.
The Turnor chapel is in the north aisle and was built in 1448 by Henry Rochford (The last of that name to live here. He probably built the south aisle rather later). There is a large black and white monument to Sir Edmund Turnor (1619-1707) the founder of the present family of Turnors of Stoke Rochford. Other Turnor memorials are also here.
On the floor in the chapel are two medieval monuments. One is the recumbent figure of a knight in armour, and his lady, with a curious covering over them. Probably this monument was in the North stoke church, and after that church was abandoned and ceased to exist, was, after many years exposure in the open, brought here in the 19th century and placed in the middle of the marble floor.
No one knows whom the figures represent, though 100 years ago it was thought to be a Neville monument and that name was cut on the surrounding stone work. Bishop Hine believes the arms on the shield to be Cantelupe.
The other monument in the North Wall; it is a tomb in a canopied recess, with angels bearing shields, all however, blank today. Nothing is known of this monument.
In the south aisle there is the Cholmeley chapel. The most striking object is the large monument erected in 1641 to the memory of Sir Henry Cholmeley (d 1632) the first of the family which still lies at Easton Hall in the parish. The family memorials extend down the south wall including a war memorial to all the Cholmeleys who died in the Great War.
Beneath the carpet in the chancel are the Rochford brasses. The Rochfords held Stoke for most of the 15th century. One brass is Henry Rochford, the last of the name, in full armour, who died in 1470. He was the builder of the chapels. The other are his wife with her later husband, Oliver St John. An inscription records that Oliver St John’s mother married eventually the Duke of Somerset, and (through her famous daughter Lady Margaret Beaufort) became grandmother of King Henry VII.
The reredos dated 1911 was designed by Mrs G F Watts. The figures represent (from left) St Hugh of Lincoln, St Gilbert of Sempringham, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Those on the right are St John, Bishop King of Lincoln and St Christopher.
The font is probably 1846 but the cover designed and given by Mr C H Turnor was placed here in 1937. It follows in feeling the Jacobean work of the 17th century.
The stone work of the tower has deeply recessed windows with a Norman string course beneath the belfry windows. The balusters in these windows, one with a criss-cross early date – possible Saxon – and Transitional Norman. The battlemented top and the west window were doubtless added in the 15th century.
(From guide book.)
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