St John the Baptist Pebmarsh is a Grade 1 medieval church occupying a raised position overlooking this lovely Essex village, in a large churchyard.
The fabric is largely fourteenth century, with some early sixteenth century alterations and additions, notably a fine red brick porch.
The church is famed above all for a nationally important fourteenth century monumental brass in the chancel to William Fitzralph. The fine fourteenth century sedilia also survives.
There is a good set of Georgian Royal Arms, painted on canvas.
The extensive 19th century restoration stripped out the internal wall plaster, exposing the stone rubble walling. It was such practices that prompted the formation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877 (when it was nicknamed ‘anti-scrape’).
The furnishings belonging to those restorations are of good solid quality, in the mainstream of gothic revival design. Of the stained glass, the windows by Clayton & Bell and Heaton, Butler & Bayne are good examples of high Victorian and Edwardian glass.
Not a huge amount is known about Pebmarsh church’s bats, species likely to be present are pipistrelle, brown long-eared and Natterer’s. Scattered droppings are present in the chancel and nave, but droppings used to be much extensive 3-4 years ago, so the number of bats has decreased considerably.
Pipistrelles access the church between tiles and roost under roof tiles in the chancel, with a possible maternity roost being noted. Brown long-eared or Natterer’s bats also access the church between tiles and through door gaps and have a day roost in the gaps in roof timbers.