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.

About this church

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.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Social heritage stories

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

Help support ExploreChurches by becoming a Friend of the National Churches Trust