St Nicholas Church, Tolleshunt D'Arcy

There was an incumbent of the parish under the patronage of the priory at Tiptree in 1248 simply recorded as Richard. But he did not lead worship in the present church, which was built between 1380 and 1420. With no local stone readily available it is probable that the limestone or clunch dressing for the rubble walls was brought by water from north Kent. Although worn it has stood the test of time even suffering bomb damage in the early part of the Second World War. This church is typical of many medieval churches of it’s kind; beautiful with a few special features of its own. The porch with it’s two long benches is a place to stay awhile and consider that in the Middle ages sacred activity and secular business met here. Penance for broken vows was made, women were 'churched' after the birth of a child, baptismal services began here and the business of the day took place. The two porch windows in colours suitable for the setting sun depict things agricultural and spiritual. One in memory of two members of a local well known farming family and one our patron saint Nicholas. The stoup reminds us of our Roman Catholic roots.

Significant changes to the original building have taken place over the centuries.  The pitch–pine benches installed in the late 19th century replaced 'the old dilapidated high square pews which gave so may facilities for inattention and irreverence'. You can't help but notice the extensive panelling and gallery which greatly changed the appearance of the church in 1958.  This was to house the pipes of the 'magnificent and unusual' organ. The sanctuary houses the console with its beautifully carved doors believed to be of Italian workmanship.

The chapel, often referred to as the D’Arcy Chapel, is late 15th century and the burial place of several of the D’Arcy family. The memorial marks the end of the family and features the kneeling figure of a man in armour and his wife at a prayer desk with the figures of three sons 'whoe dyed all yonge' and six daughters. The chapel window houses fragments of glass as early as 14th century. Some tombstones of the D’Arcy family are displayed, being unearthed during remedial work for beetle infestation and wet rot carried out in 1977. The fine monumental brasses were mounted on boards in 1927. The vestry was added in the 16th century for use by the churchwardens, sexton and parish clerk. The earliest of the six bells in the tower is dated 1755.

To mark the turn of the millennium a window was paid for by the residents of the village. It’s design by a resident artist and execution and installation by a local craftsmen incorporates the Christian millennium symbol, the D’Arcy spice apples, the blue line of the nearby River Blackwater, farming through the seasons, and the strawberry plants, recalling the importance of the soft fruit and jam industry in this locality. Words from the Book of Revelation chapter 22 verse 2 'the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations' are at the base. Edward Bishop of Colchester dedicated it on 23rd July 2000.