An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
34. GREAT SAMPFORD. (C.b.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Michael (see Plate, p. 134) stands at the S.W. corner of the village. The walls are of flint rubble with dressings of limestone and clunch; the roofs are covered with tiles except the south aisle, which is slated. The South Chapel is of late 13th-century date, but the church was almost entirely rebuilt during the 14th century; the N. arcade of the Nave, and the North Aisle are of c. 1320–30; the Chancel is of c. 1340, and the South Aisle, South Porch, and West Tower of c. 1350. A parapet was added to the S. aisle in the 15th century. In the 16th century a brick staircase was built inside the tower. The church was repaired with cement in the 18th or 19th century, and the chancel was restored in 1874.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (46 ft. by 18¾ ft.) is entirely of c. 1340, and is divided into three bays by buttresses; the walls have a deep moulded plinth. The E. window is of five cinquefoiled lights with modern tracery under a two-centred head, which has an external moulded label and mask-stops; the jambs, sill and mullions are moulded, and the internal splays have attached shafts with moulded bases and capitals; the moulded two-centred rear arch has a moulded label. The N. wall has, below the windows, an internal wall-arcade (see Plate p. 136) of eleven bays (interrupted by a doorway); the arcade stands on a stone bench with a moulded edge, partly restored; the moulded and cinquefoiled arches have moulded labels mitreing with a horizontal string-course continued round the chancel; between the bays are clustered shafts with moulded bases and capitals. Above the arcade are three windows, the easternmost and westernmost each of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the middle window is similar to the others, but of two cinquefoiled lights; the details of all three windows are similar to those of the E. window. Below the third or westernmost window and within an arch of the wall-arcade is a blocked low-side window of a single trefoiled light with moulded jambs, head and external label. Between the two western windows is a doorway with richly moulded jambs, two-centred arch and moulded segmental-pointed rear arch. The S. wall has an internal wall-arcade of fifteen bays, similar to that on the N. wall, slightly restored; it is continued as a screen-wall to the S. chapel, and the fifth bay from the west is pierced to form a doorway; the piscina and sedilia (see fittings) occupy the four eastern bays. Above the arcade are two windows similar in detail to those in the N. wall; the eastern is of three lights with modern tracery in a two-centred head; the western window is of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a two-centred head. Further W. is a moulded two-centred arch opening into the S. chapel, with a moulded label on each side; the lower part is filled in with a screen-wall finished with a moulded and embattled coping, mostly modern. W. of the doorway the screen-wall is pierced by four quatrefoils, and above the three western quatrefoils are arched openings, now blocked. The moulded two-centred chancel-arch has a moulded label on the E. side; the responds are hollow-chamfered and have attached clustered shafts with moulded capitals and bases; each side shews traces of the base of a former stone screen about 4¾ feet high.
The South Chapel (22 ft. by 16 ft.), has a gabled S. wall with kneelers carved as large grotesque animals. In the E. wall are coupled windows of late 13th-century date, each of two-trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the two-centred rear arch is common to the two windows, and the spandrel between them is pierced with a sexfoil; the internal sill has been cut down, probably for an altar and reredos. In the S. wall is a large blocked window of c. 1340, with moulded external jambs, two-centred head and label with carved animal-stops; the shafted internal splays have moulded capitals and bases. In the W. wall is a two-centred archway of c. 1340, and of two hollow-chamfered orders; the responds have clustered attached shafts with moulded bases, and capitals richly carved with foliage, grotesque heads, etc. (see Plate p. xxxii).
The Nave (50 ft. by 19 ft.) has N. and S. arcades each of four bays. The N. arcade, of c. 1320–30, has two-centred arches of two moulded orders; the piers are of quatrefoil plan with small rolls between the foils and moulded bases and capitals; the E. respond has a semi-octagonal attached shaft with a moulded capital, partly cut away; the W. respond has an attached half-column. The S. arcade, of c. 1350, has two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, resting on octagonal piers, and attached half-columns as responds; all the capitals and bases are moulded. The clearstorey has, at the E. end of the S. wall, a 15th-century window, to light the former rood-loft; it is of three cinquefoiled ogee lights under a square head.
The North Aisle (11 ft. wide) is entirely of the 14th century, and has, in the E. wall, a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded external label; below the internal sill is a moulded string-course. In the N. wall are three windows; the eastern and western are each of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a square head with a moulded external label; the middle window is of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, under a moulded external label with one mask-stop; all three windows have moulded internal splays and rear arches, and the two eastern are patched with cement; below the internal sills is a moulded string-course. Between the two eastern windows is the N. doorway, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch under a chamfered external label. In the W. wall is a window similar to that in the E. wall, but the internal splays and rear arch are moulded.
The South Aisle (12 ft. wide) is entirely of the 14th century, except the 15th-century embattled parapet and the S.W. window. It has, in the S. wall, two windows, the eastern is of three trefoiled ogee lights and tracery under a segmental-pointed head, with a moulded external label which has carved animal-stops; the jambs and head are richly moulded and part of the tracery is modern; the 15th-century western window is of three cinquefoiled lights under a segmental-pointed head with a moulded external label which has one carved head-stop; the jambs are moulded and the head is apparently modern; the eastern light is blocked by a modern buttress. Between the windows is the S. doorway, with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and external label with carved head-stops. In the W. wall is a window of two uncusped lights with a pierced spandrel in a two-centred head under a moulded external label; it is of uncertain date.
The West Tower (11¼ ft. square) is of four stages, the ground stage being divided into two internal storeys; it has right-angled buttresses, and is entirely of c. 1350, except the 16th-century circular staircase of brick, and the 15th-century embattled parapet which has carved gargoyle heads on the N. and S. sides. The two-centred tower-arch is of two moulded orders with a moulded label on the E. side; the outer order is continuous and the inner rests on moulded attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window is of three cinquefoiled lights with modern tracery in a two-centred head; the external label is moulded and has carved head-stops; the chamfered rear arch has a moulded label with a carved head-stop. The third stage has, at the base of the N., S. and W. walls, two cruciform loops. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window, originally of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the E. and S. windows are much decayed, and in the N. and W. windows the tracery has been replaced by a plain mullion carried up to the apex. The staircase within the N.E. angle is entirely of brick with oak treads, and has loop lights; the three doorways have plain oak frames.
The South Porch is of c. 1350 and has a two-centred outer archway of two moulded orders with a moulded external label; the outer order is continuous and the inner rests on moulded and much damaged shafts with moulded capitals. In the E. wall is a window of two lights under a square head; the jambs are moulded, but the tracery has been destroyed. In the W. wall is a similar window, much decayed and without a mullion.
The Roof of the chancel is of the trussed-rafter type with moulded wall-plates, all of the 14th century, partly restored. The 14th-century roof of the S. chapel is of the trussed-rafter type, plastered on the soffit; parts of the moulded wall-plates are exposed. The nave roof is similar to that of the chancel, but three tie-beams have been inserted at a later date; at the N.E. corner is a wall-post resting on a carved grotesque wood corbel. The 14th-century lean-to roof of the N. aisle has curved braces at the foot of each rafter and a moulded wall-plate. The 15th-century lean-to roof of the S. aisle is of four bays with moulded principals and wall-posts, at the upper ends the principals have curved braces with pierced spandrels resting on grostesquely carved stone corbels; the lower ends have small curved brackets resting on wood corbels; the remains of the upper wall-plate are embattled. The ceiling of the tower has a richly moulded 14th-century beam, with curved braces resting on plain wood corbels and a moulded wall-plate. The plain trussed-rafter roof of the S. porch has moulded and embattled wall-plates, and is of the 14th century.
Fittings—Bells: five; 1st, 3rd and 4th by William Laud, 1624; 2nd probably by Henry Yaxley, 1684; 5th by John Hodson, 1664; bellframe, old. Brackets: In chancel—flanking the E. window, two, square, richly moulded and mitreing with the string-course, 14th-century, top of S. bracket modern. In N. aisle—on E. wall, remains, mitreing with string-course, 14th-century. Chest: In S. chapel—of oak, with iron bands and strap-hinges, 17th-century. Cupboard: In S. chapel—of oak, framed and panelled, door with moulded muntins and strap-hinges, four plain legs, late 16th-century. Doors: In doorway between chancel and S. chapel—of oak, with studded battens and strap-hinges, mediæval; in S. doorway—of oak battens on diagonal framing, with strap-hinges, probably 16th-century. Font: (See Plate p. xxix) with moulded octagonal bowl probably 15th-century, stem with ogee-headed panels, alternately trefoiled and traceried, square chamfered base with moulded angles, 14th-century. Gallery: In N.W. corner of tower—of oak, on double-chamfered beams, one supported on a curved bracket; plain post at S.E. angle, 15th or 16th-century. Glass: In N. aisle—in N.E. window, fragments of diapered quarries, etc., 14th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monument: In S. chapel—in S. wall, tomb recess with moulded and segmental-pointed arch springing from shafted jambs with foliated capitals, label gabled and crocketed, with foliated spandrel; on each side of the recess a small buttress with a crocketed pinnacle, E. pinnacle destroyed, 14th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Burrowes, 1694, and Thomas Burrows, 1780; (2) to James Calthorp, 1694. Niches: External— below E. window, with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled head with moulded label, plain pedestal, 14th-century; in each of the E. and S. buttresses of chancel—similar to that under E. window, but with mask-stops to label, 14th-century. In S. chapel, W. of tomb recess, pierced at back with a low-side window, now blocked, 14th-century. Piscina: In chancel in E. bay of S. wall-arcade with quatrefoil drain, 14th-century. In S. chapel— E. of tomb recess, partly blocked by modern fireplace, with cinquefoiled head and crocketed and gabled label, 14th-century. Plate: includes a cup of 1562 with a cover-paten, probably of the same date, and a secular dish of 1630 with repoussé ornament and two handles. Screen: Remains (see architectural description). Sedilia: In S. wall of chancel—in three bays of the wall-arcade W. of the piscina, 14th-century. Miscellanea: In N. aisle—Bier, with plain legs and top with moulded edge, possibly 17th-century. On exterior of building—six Consecration Crosses, two flanking niche under E. window, with modern filling. On buttresses of tower—four of same form, roughly cut. Interior—On S. wall of tower, foiled cross, set diagonally; on W. wall of tower— inserted foiled cross, possibly from gable. On E. jamb of S. doorway—circle with scratches. In N. aisle—desk of oak with sloping top of deal and small door in front, possibly 17th-century. Built into tower stair-turret—carved female head, 14th-century.
(5). Byeball's Farm, house and moat, ¾ m. W.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster and weather-boarding; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan, and has modern additions on the N. and W. On the S. front the upper storey projects and has, at the E. end, a gable with original moulded barge-boards. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts on a small rectangular base; the top is modern. Inside the building two rooms have chamfered ceilingbeams, and one room has a wide open fireplace, partly converted into cupboards.
(6). Godd's Farm, house and moat, nearly 1 m. W.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roof is tiled. It was built in the first half of the 17th century and is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E. The original central chimney-stack has grouped shafts set diagonally on a rectangular base with a moulded capping. Inside the building two rooms have each a chamfered ceiling-beam, and one room has a wide open fireplace.
(7). The Howe, house and moat, nearly 1 m. N. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. The structure is modern, except a rectangular block on the N.E. side, built in the middle of the 17th century. It has a central chimney-stack with four grouped shafts on a square base with a moulded capping.
(8). Calthorp's Farm, house and moat, about 1¼ m. N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century. The large chimney-stack is original, except at the top.
(9). House, now four tenements and a shop (see Plate p. xxvi), 40 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are partly tiled and partly thatched. It was built in the 15th century with a central Hall and Solar and Buttery wings at the S. and N. ends. In the 17th century the Hall was divided into two storeys and a chimney-stack inserted; a modern tenement has been added at the back. The upper storey of the Solar projects on the E. front. Inside the building, the former Hall has an original roof-truss (see P ate, p. xxxiv) with a chamfered and cambered tie-beam, and curved chamfered braces; a moulded oak corbel supports one of the braces; the octagonal king-post has a moulded base and capital with four-way struts, of which only two remain.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams, wide fireplaces and original chimney-stacks.
(11). The Stow, house and barn, about 50 yards N. of (10). The House is of two storeys with attics, and was built in the second half of the 16th century. The plan is irregular and has gabled wings of slight projection on the E. and W. sides. The two chimney-stacks are original, but the shafts have been rebuilt. Inside the building, in a room on the first floor, are moulded beams and joists, and a large wall-plate. All the roof-timbers are original, and there is a truss with a square king-post set diagonally, and two curved braces supporting the central purlin.
(15). House, three tenements and Post Office, 20 yards E. of the church, was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. Later in the 17th century a block was added at the E. end of the S. wing. Two original chimney-stacks have grouped diagonal shafts on rectangular bases with moulded cappings. Inside the building, on the ground floor, a room has a moulded ceiling-beam. The upper part of the staircase, which is in the main block, has a square newel, moulded rails and twisted and turned balusters, all of the second half of the 17th century.
(25). White House, 650 yards N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, with attics and cellar, and is of irregular T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the N.W. end. The N.W. elevation has three gabled dormers, each with a pendant which has remains of shaped and pierced ends. The original central chimney-stack has grouped square shafts on a square base with a moulded capping; on one side is a raised heart, said to have contained a date. Inside the building, there are several old richly moulded and panelled doors, and one studded battened door with strap-hinges. There are two original fireplaces with chamfered jambs and three-centred arches; one fireplace has a moulded shelf, above which is a band of plaster, ornamented with small birds, snails, wyverns, heads, etc. The N.E. staircase is of the second half of the 17th century, and has square newels with moulded ball-tops, moulded pendants, richly moulded hand-rail, and twisted and turned balusters, many of which are missing; the plastered soffit of the stairs has moulded carriers.
(29). Free Roberts Farm, house and barns, about ¾ m. N. of the church. The House is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S.W. end, and has a gable at the S.E. end of the S.W. front. The original central chimney-stack has two attached shafts set diagonally. The two Barns are partly weather-boarded.
(32). Hill Farm, house, ¼ m. S. of the church, was originally of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S.E. and N.E. There are modern additions on the N.E. side. The gable at the N.W. end of the S.W. front projects, and has a moulded bressumer apparently not in situ. The original central chimney-stack has grouped shafts set diagonally, with small coped pilasters at the angles and modern tops. Inside the building a small cupboard has an original panelled door.
(33). Gifford's Farm, house, about 1 m. W.S.W. of the church, is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S.E. end, and has a later addition at the N.E. end, and a modern addition of stone at the N.W. end. The original chimney-stack, partly rebuilt, has four attached shafts set diagonally on a rectangular base, which has plastered panels on two sides, one bearing the date 1626.
(34). Tindon End, house and moat, nearly 1¾ m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics. It was built probably in 1684, and was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. There are extensive modern additions at the N. and S. ends, and on the W. side. At each end of the S.E. front is a gable. Inside the building is an oak panel with the date 1684.