Hornchurch St Andrew, London/Essex - Monuments

St Andrew's Church, Hornchurch, has a distinctive appearance because of its tall copper-green spire rising the three stage tower of the 15th Century, which has a newel turret. For the rest, it is a goodly size, 13th Century with later additions and a Victorian restoration, stone clad, with aisles and a projecting low chancel. It is at the back of that that we can see the well-known bull's head with its broad horns, quite small compared to the gable of the chancel, but being at the top, giving something of a silhouette against the sky if the viewer chances to pass look from the right spot (if you are interested in sculpture of bulls, see this page). The horns are of some copper alloy, the head carved in stone, rather shaggy (see picture above, click to enlarge), and apparently dating from no later than the beginning of the 19th Century, there previously being a pair of bull's horns affixed with lead. Weever, in his book Funerary Monuments of 1631, writes that 'The inhabitants of this parish say (by tradition) that this church was built by a female convert, to expiate any satisfaction for her former sins; and that it was called Hore-church at the first, until by a certain king, but by what king they are uncertain, who came riding that way, it was called the Horned-church, who caused those horns to be put out at the east end of the same, in rememberance of so remarkable a foundation.'

St Andrew's Church, Hornchurch, exterior and an interior view.

Inside, the Church feels quite tall, on account of the clerestory and the high roof, 15th Century, with broad arches to the well-lit aisles. The monuments we have come to see are on the aisle walls, including a large cluster near the door.


Early monuments, 16th-18th Centuries

John Flaxman's monument to Richard and Elizabeth Spencer, 1784.

19th Century panels

The collection of 19th Century panels includes one white one and 10 characteristic white-on-black ones, which include two of the most common shapes, firstly looking like the end of a tomb chest, thus a rectangle with upper shelf or lid and two small feet, and secondly looking like the end of a casket, which is similar but with outward slanting sides. One has a well-carved wilting pot plant, and another is carved in the form of a hanging scroll. Five of them bear visible signatures of the masons who made them, always interesting to see.

Variety in white-on-black panels: Reynell, Walker, Thos. Mashiter, and Revd. Stacy.

Monuments from the 20th Century

There is one more stone panel, one iron or blackened brass roundel, and several plainish modern brass panels, mostly to soldiers those who fell in World War I:

Charles Baker, d.1915, and detail of acorns.

Modern brasses:

Also in the Church:

Outside, the Church stands in its graveyard, entered by a good lych gate, with several low-hanging trees giving atmosphere. The usual crop of tombstones, but including a few with raised crosses of the type known as raised ledgers (see this page and this page) surrounded by iron railings, and a few with sculptural adornment, e.g. skull and crossbones (lots more such things on this page), and a Churchyard Cross war memorial raised on steps.

Hornchurch, early 19th Century view.

With many thanks to the Church authorities for kind permission to use pictures from inside St Andrew's Hornchurch; see the Church website at https://www.parishofhornchurch.co.uk/st-andrews-church.html.

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Essex-in-London church monuments

Dagenham Parish Church to west // Leyton Parish Church (further westward) // or west and north to Walthamstow Church // Monuments in some other London churches

Introduction to church monuments // Angel statues // Cherub sculpture


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