The church sits towards the north side and west end of a large graveyard, to the south of the graveyard is a large car park and area of greensward also in the ownership of the church. Like most medieval churches, the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Burnham-on-Crouch, has evolved over the centuries and requires significant maintenance and upkeep.
There was a church on this site in 1155, when records show it was given into the care of the Priory of Little Dunmow. The workmanship and architectural styles span many periods of alterations and improvements over its long and eventful history.
Major rebuilding appears to have taken place during the early 14th century. Much of the core of the present building stems from that period, more reordering was undertaken during the 15th and 16th centuries; the tower and the whole of the south aisle date from this period. Around this time the two chapels in the north and south aisles were dedicated to the Guilds of St Peter and St Catherine re-spectively. This was followed by the south porch and by the north porch which is made of Tudor brick.
The next changes to the church were brought about to repair damage caused by storms and fire. The tower was badly damaged in 1702. In 1774 the interior of the church was completely destroyed by fire but by the end of 1775 St Mary’s was fully restored for worship. A spire was finally blown down in 1779. Many of the present features in the church date from the 1870s: the east window, the open bench pews and the pulpit.
Both the organ console and choir stall had originally been installed in 1922 at the front of the church before being moved to the rear between 1964/65.
The old vestry, in the west end of the centre aisle was converted into a toilet and tea point in 2008 when the organ console and choir stalls were moved to the front of the south aisle. The area has retained the screen installed by the architect Eric Rouse in 1950 and the original staircase to the ringing chamber for the ringing of a peal of six bells. A new vestry was created at the west end of the north aisle which is named after the Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham, the Patrons of St Mary’s. This vestry contains memorials to two previous incumbents of the parish Revds. R. I. Becket and C. J. M. Mitchell.
St Mary’s Church is on the northern edge of the town of Burnham-on-Crouch. The church sits towards the north side and west end of a large graveyard, which is closed for burials. There is a new landscaped memorial garden in the south-east corner for the burial of ashes.