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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33. GREAT SALING. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. xxiv. N.E.)
Great Saling is a small parish, nearly 4 m. W.N.W. of Braintree. Saling Hall is the principal monument.
(1). Parish Church of St. James stands on the N. side of the parish. The walls are built of flint rubble with occasional blocks of freestone, and the dressings are of shelly oolite and clunch. The roofs are tiled. The early history has been much obscured by 19th-century repairs, and nothing remains to indicate the date of the Chancel. The S.E. angle of the Nave is possibly of the 12th century. The West Tower was added towards the end of the 14th century, and a little later the nave was widened towards the N. In the 19th century the whole church was restored, and the North Organ-chamber and Vestry and the South Porch were added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22 ft. by 16 ft.). All the details, including the chancel-arch, are modern.
The Nave (46 ft. by 23 ft.) has, in the walls, a few stones which apparently have diagonal tooling, and the S.E. angle somewhat resembles 12th-century work. In the N. wall are two windows, each of two lights; the eastern has modern mullions and tracery in a late 14th-century opening, with a moulded external reveal and an external label; the western window is almost entirely modern. Between the windows is a late 14th-century doorway, now blocked; the jambs and two-centred arch are of two continuous chamfered orders. In the S. wall are three windows each of two lights; the two eastern are probably of the 15th century, but almost completely restored; the westernmost is also almost entirely restored. Between the second and third windows is the S. doorway; the splays and rear arch are probably of the 15th century, but the rest is modern.
The West Tower (8½ ft. by 8 ft.) is of three stages, with a parapet, and of late 14th-century date, much restored. The tower-arch is modern. In the W. wall is a window of one trefoiled light. In the second storey of the first stage, in the S. wall, is a window of one trefoiled light, externally restored; in the second stage is a similar window. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of one trefoiled light, much restored.
The Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century, much restored; it is of braced collar-beam construction, and has a moulded wall-plate. The roof of the porch is similar to that of the chancel, but has been re-set.
Fittings—Bells: One and sanctus; 1st by Miles Graye, 1623. Chest: In organ chamber—with panelled front, shaped feet and two locks, early 17th-century. Font: With octagonal bowl, having sunk traceried panels, early 15th-century, stem, modern. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1559, gilt inside. Stoup: In nave—E. of S. doorway, recess with pointed head, probably for stoup.
Condition—Good, but very much restored.
(2). Saling Hall, N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly of brick and partly of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built, probably early in the 17th century, on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings on the E. and W. Late in the 17th century the E. and W. elevations were re-faced in brick and in 1699 the S. front was also re-faced. The additions at the back are modern.
Elevations—The S. Front (see Plate p. 133) has a moulded plinth and brick bands between the storeys, continued round the E. and W. sides. The two projecting wings have each a curvilinear gable with moulded copings; in the E. gable is a panel with the date 1699. The doorways and windows, symmetrically placed, have plain square heads of rubbed brick; the windows have each a solid mullion and transom, except those in the gables, which are without transoms. The late 17th-century chimney-stacks are plain and have oversailing courses. The E. and W. Elevations are similar to the S. front, but have no gables. Near the N. end of the W. elevation is an early 17th-century chimney-stack. The N. Elevation is of plastered timber-framing.
Interior—On the ground floor, four rooms have early or mid 17th-century panelling, re-set. In the Hall there is also some 16th-century linen-fold panelling, and the late 17th-century doors have moulded architraves. In the Study is a considerable quantity of 16th-century linen-fold panelling, said to have come from Little Leez Priory, Essex. The main Staircase has moulded rails, twisted balusters and square newels, of late 17th-century date. The late 17th-century secondary Staircase is enclosed, and has, at the head, a balustrade of plain bars set fret-wise. On the first floor, in the W. wing, are two late 17th-century fireplaces with moulded architraves.
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, without exception.
(3). Cottage, two tenements, on E. side of road, 300 yards S.E. of the church. The original central chimney-stack has two shafts, set diagonally.
(4). House, three tenements, on W. side of road, ¼ m. S. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end, and has 18th-century or modern additions on the W., N. and E. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal shafts and pilasters. Inside the building, in the N. wall of the cross-wing, is an original window of two lights, now blocked, and a door made up of original panelling.
(5). Picott's Farm, house and barn, ½ m. E. of the church. The House has a late 17th-century addition at the S.W. end, making the plan F-shaped, with the wings extending towards the S.E.; the main block was extended further towards the N.E. at the same time. At the back, the upper storey of the smaller wing projects and has curved brackets.
The Barn, N. of the house, is of the 15th-century, and of seven bays with aisles; the walls are weather-boarded. There are two original doorways on the S. side. The roof is of the braced king-post type.
(6). Mount's Farm, house, 1 m. S.E. of the church, is of unusual plan, consisting of a long and narrow range, with two small wings projecting towards the N.E.; in the angle of one of the wings and the main block is a one-storeyed lean-to outhouse. The end of the main block has a cross-ridged roof with a gable at each end.
(7). Hyde Houses, two tenements, about ½ m. N.E. of the church, with modern additions on the E. and N. The original central chimney-stack has two grouped diagonal shafts.
(8). Lower Hyde Houses, two tenements, 3/8 m. N.N.E. of the church, with a modern addition on the N. side.