An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.
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4. BARDFIELD SALING. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. xxiv. N.E.)
Bardfield Saling is a small parish with no village, about 5 m. N.W. of Braintree. The Church is the principal monument, and was formerly a chapel of Great Bardfield.
(1). Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of flint rubble with dressings of shelly oolite and clunch; the roofs are tiled. The church, consisting of the present Nave, South Aisle, and West Tower, and possibly a S. porch, was built in the first half of the 14th century, but was probably left unfinished at the time of the Black Death, 1348–9. It was consecrated in 1380, when the Chancel was added. In the 19th century the chancel was shortened at the E. end, the South Porch was added, and the church generally restored.
The round tower is one of a group in the N.W. part of the county, and an unusually late example.
Architectural Description—All the original details of the chancel are of c. 1380, and those of the rest of the church of the first half of the 14th century, except where otherwise stated. The Chancel (10½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a modern E. wall and window. The N. and S. walls have each a window of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head; the label is moulded and the rear arch has a hollow-chamfered rib. The chancel-arch is two-centred and of two orders, the outer hollow-chamfered and the inner moulded; on the E. side the moulded jambs have each one semi-octagonal shaft and two semi-circular shafts with moulded capitals and a chamfered plinth; S. of the chancel-arch is an ogee-headed squint, which has been cut down to the floor level.
The Nave (58 ft. by 20 ft.) has, on the E. gable, the base of an old cross. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern is of two trefoiled ogee lights with flowing tracery in a two-centred head; the western window is of two pointed lights with a circle in a two-centred head. Further W. is the N. doorway, now blocked; it has jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label. The S. arcade is of three bays, and has two-centred arches of two moulded orders with moulded labels which have foliated head-stops; the columns are of quatrefoil plan, with keeled rolls between the foils, and moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns; at the W. end of the wall is a window of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head under a plain label. Further E. is the S. doorway which is similar to the N. doorway, but is not blocked; above it outside, is a recessed arch, covered with plaster, and probably indicating a former S. porch.
The South Aisle (34 ft. by 9 ft.) has, in the E. wall, a window of three trefoiled ogee lights with flowing tracery in a two-centred head; the label and all the various parts are moulded. In the S. wall are two windows, each of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head; the details are similar to those of the window in the E. wall. The S.W. angle was rebuilt, probably when the former S. porch was destroyed.
The West Tower (11½ ft. in diameter) is of the same date as the nave and is circular on plan, and of three stages, with a plain parapet and two gargoyles. The doorway, on the E., has chamfered jambs and a two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label and head-stops; high above it, but below the roof of the nave, is a window of one trefoiled light. The ground stage has three windows facing respectively N., S. and W., and each of one trefoiled light. The second stage has two windows, similar to the others and facing S. and W. The bell-chamber has four windows facing N., S., E. and W., and each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. The stair-turret is lighted by cruciform loops.
The Roof of the chancel is ceiled with plaster, and has moulded wall-plates of the 14th century. The roof of the nave is also ceiled, and has four hollow-chamfered tie-beams and moulded wallplates.
Fittings—Brasses and Indents. Indent: In chancel—of man and woman, and inscription plate, mid 15th - century. Font; octagonal bowl with ogee-headed panels, panelled stem, possibly late 15th-century. Glass: In nave—in tracery of N.E. window, foliated ornament, 14th century. Niche: In E. gable of nave—pointed, 14th-century. Panelling: In nave—incorporated in two modern pews, elaborate panels of c. 1625. Piscinæ: In S. aisle—with moulded trefoiled ogee head and label, 14th-century, drain destroyed; lying loose in piscina, roughly worked bowl, apparently of pillar-piscina, enriched with crude acanthus foliage, date uncertain. Pulpit: hexagonal, with diminishing pilasters at the angles, and on each side panels carved with arches in perspective, c. 1625. Screen: In chancel—now placed against E. wall, of two bays, each of four trefoiled ogee lights with quatrefoiled tracery, moulded mullions and posts, and richly moulded head-beam, 14th-century. Sedile: In S. aisle—sill of S.E. window carried down low to form seat, splays cut back and with cinquefoiled squinches.
(2). Homestead Moat, at Parsonage Farm, 200 yards N.W. of the church.
(3). Pollard's Farm, house and moat, ¼ m. N.N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century and has modern additions at each end. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building one room has an open timber ceiling.
The Moat surrounding the house is very imperfect.
Condition—Of house good.
(4). Farmhouse, 70 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics and a cellar; the walls are timber-framed and plastered, and the roofs are tiled. It was built in the second half of the 16th century, on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W. Late in the 17th century the N. wing was extended further N. The W. wing formerly extended further E., as a chamfered beam at that end, now visible externally, was formerly within the building. The original central chimney-stack has moulded and enriched capping and a shaft with diagonal pilasters.
Interior—The original Hall in the middle of the N. wing has moulded ceiling-beams and joists; the N.W. wall has chamfered studs forming panels. At the head of the cellar staircase is an original ledged door of moulded battens. A ceiling-beam with mortises for uprights shews the position of the former N. end of the N. wing. The sitting-room in the W. wing has moulded beams dividing the ceiling into three bays. On the first floor, the rooms over the Hall and sitting-room have open timber ceilings, and original fireplaces, now blocked; the fire-place in the W. wing has a three-centred head; there are three original doors similar to that on the ground floor.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century, and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
(5). Cottage, 50 yards N. of (4), was built c. 1600, and has a modern addition at the E. end. The original central chimney-stack has two grouped shafts, set diagonally.
(6). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 600 yards S.S.E. of the church, was built c. 1600, and has a late 17th-century addition at the N. end. The original central chimney-stack has a shaft, cross-shaped on plan, and set diagonally.
Condition—Bad, partly ruinous.
(7). Cottages, two in one range, opposite (6), with an 18th-century extension at the N.W. end. Inside the building in the N.E. wall, is an original window with diamond-shaped mullions, now blocked.
(8). Taborsfield Cottages, two tenements, on the N.W. side of the Stebbing Road, ¾ m. S.E. of the church, were built probably early in the 18th century. There are several old casement windows.
(9). Pigeon House, at Woolpits Farm, 700 yards E.S.E. of the church, is square and built of red brick; the roof is pyramidal with a timber lantern or cot. Inside the building an upper floor has been inserted; the clay nests remain on that floor.
(10). Elms Farm, house and barns, 1,100 yards N.E. of the church. The House was built late in the 15th century on the usual mediæval plan with the Hall in the middle, the Solar on the E. and the Buttery on the W. A chimney-stack and an upper floor were inserted in the Hall c. 1600, and the Buttery wing was possibly pulled down at the same time. The house was repaired in 1752 and 1870. The upper storey of the Solar projects on the N. front, and has curved brackets. The central chimney-stack of c. 1600 has grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building, in the E. wall, are two original doorways with four-centred heads; they are now blocked, but formerly opened into the Screens. The roof of the Solar is ceiled in, but the curved braces of the middle truss are visible.
The Barns, two, W. of the house, are both of five bays. One barn is of the 15th or 16th century, and the other, N.W. of the first, is of the 17th century. Both have weather-boarded walls.
(11). Cottage, two tenements, at Four Elms, 1 m. N.E. of the church. The N. tenement is an 18th-century or modern addition.
(12). New Green Farm, house and barn, 1,150 yards N.N.E. of the church. The House has an 18th-century addition at the E. end. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters and shafts.
The Barn, N.E. of the house, is of late 16th-century date, and of three bays with aisles. The walls are weather-boarded.
(13). Cottage, 120 yards N.E. of (12), has an original central chimney-stack with a shaft, cross-shaped on plan, and set diagonally.