The Church Building
The medieval St Mary’s Church is approached via a private road along an avenue of lime trees through the Langham Hall Estate in the northern part of Langham. It has a remarkably beautiful setting in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) overlooking the Vale itself. It is featured in a number of John Constable’s best-known paintings, most notably the several versions of “The Glebe Farm and Langham Church”.
The Grade I listed building, consisting of a chancel, nave and south aisle, is largely of pebble-rubble and pudding-stone construction of various dates from the 12th to 19th centuries. It was re-ordered in the 1860s and 1890s and now seats about 130 people. In the 1980s the exterior of the church was extensively restored and in 1994 a major renewal programme was initiated (see Section 6), of which the most obvious manifestations so far are the elegant gallery and fine organ at the west end and the baptistry in the south aisle.
The organ was built by Roger Pulham of Charsfield, Suffolk, in 1997 (the Great) and 2003-4 (the Chair). It is largely a rebuild of a floor-mounted Hill organ of 1868 (enlarged 1897), many pipes of which were included in the new instrument.
The design and scaling of the new pipes follow the patterns of the Hill work; the action is mechanical throughout.
|Open Diapason||8′ **|
|Stopped Diapason||8′ *|
|Twelfth||2. 2/3′ **|
|Cornet||III (middle c)|
Chair or Choir (Positive)
Chair to Great, Chair to Pedal, Great to Pedal
|* All pipes by Hill|
|** Pipes mostly by Hill|
Arrangements may be made with one of the churchwardens for individual organists to play the instrument for their own pleasure.
The tower houses six bells:
|Treble||Note E||4cwt 1qrs 11lbs||27″||1897||Taylor & Co, Loughborough|
|2nd||Note D||3cwt 3qrs 27lbs||29″||1801||Thomas Mears, Whitechapel|
|3rd||Note C||3cwt 3qrs 14lbs||30″||1842||Thomas Mears, Whitechapel|
|4th||Note B||4cwt 3qrs 16lbs||33″||1618||Miles Graye I, Colchester|
|5th||Note A||6cwt 1qr 20lbs||35″||1882||John Warner & Sons, London(recast)|
|Tenor||Note G||9cwt 2qrs||38½”||1708|| John Waylet
(recast 1906, Taylor & Co,
Arrangements to ring the bells may be made with the Captain of Bells
The Hurlock Schoolroom
In the churchyard is a small building erected in 1832 by Dr James Thomas Hurlock, Rector. It was originally a girls’ school on weekdays and on Sundays a “resting place for the poor and infirm between services”.
In the 1950s it was used by the then Sunday School. After a period of neglect the building was renovated in 1980-81; a toilet and servery were added in 1992. It is now used for the children’s Sunday Group during the Eucharist and for refreshments after the 10 o’ clock service.
Visitors by car to St Mary’s may park in front of the churchyard wall. The land surrounding the churchyard is private property and visitors are asked to drive slowly to and from the church and to be careful of the grass verges, especially in wet weather.