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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6. BELCHAMP OTTON. (E.a.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)v. S.E. (b)vi. S.W. (c)xi. N.E.)
Belchamp Otton is a small parish and village about 4½ m. W. of Sudbury.
a (1). Parish Church of St. Ethelbert and All Saints stands in the village. The walls are of flint rubble, partly covered with cement; the dressings are of limestone and clunch; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built c. 1130. The present Chancel was built probably in the 13th century. Late in the 14th century the chancel-arch, with the E. and N. walls of the chancel, was rebuilt and the South Porch was added. Late in the 15th or early in the 16th century a bell-turret was built. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the North Vestry was added and the Bell-turret rebuilt.
The 12th-century S. doorway is interesting.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 17¼ ft. at the E. end and 16½ ft. at the W. end), has a late 14th-century E. window of three tre foiled lights under a segmental head; the moulded rear arch is of the 13th century. In the N. wall are two late 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights under a square head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are two windows, also of late 14th-century date, and of similar detail to those in the N. wall; the eastern window is set in an internal recess. Between the windows is a modern doorway, and above it are traces in the plaster, possibly indicating a former window of a single light. The late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred, and of two moulded orders dying on to the plain hollow-chamfered responds.
The Nave (41¾ ft. by 22½ ft.), has, at the apex of the E. gable, a 15th-century stone with the stump of a former cross. In the N. wall is a 14th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head under a moulded label. Further W. is the N. doorway, with 12th-century chamfered jambs, and a four-centred arch of the 16th century, or perhaps modern; the splays and semi-circular rear arch are original. In the S. wall are two 14th-century windows, the eastern is of three plain ogee lights under a square head; the jambs, mullions and head are moulded; the western window is of two trefoiled ogee lights under a square head. The S. doorway is of c. 1130; the semi-circular arch is of two orders, the inner roll-moulded, and the outer enriched with cheveron ornament; the jambs are each of two shafted orders, the shafts are spirally fluted and beaded; the bases are cable - moulded, and the capitals carved and scalloped, with moulded abaci; on the W. side, one capital has been reversed; the depressed rear arch is of the 14th or 15th century. In the W. wall is a modern window.
The Bell-turret is modern, but rest on a crossbeam and two chamfered posts of the 15th century, set against the walls of the nave; the S. post has an attached shaft formerly supporting a curved bracket; the shaft has been removed from the N. post, but part of the bracket remains; the cross-beam is further supported by two early 17th-century posts enriched with a large guilloche pattern.
The South Porch has a 15th-century outer archway, two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds are much restored and have each an attached shaft with a moulded capital and base. The E. and W. walls have each a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head, with a segmental outer order of brick; the mullion of the window in the E. wall is modern.
The Roof of the chancel is of the trussed-rafter type, and is probably of the 15th century; it is plastered on the soffit, but the moulded wall-plates are exposed. The roof of the nave is of the same date and type as that of the chancel, and has a plain rough tie-beam of later date. The roof of the porch has moulded and embattled wall-plates of the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st and 2nd by John Tonne, early 16th-century; 3rd by Henry Pleasant, 1695. Bell-frame, old. Communion Rails: with moulded rail and twisted balusters, early 18th-century. Font: octagonal, quatrefoiled panelled bowl, with embattled rim and moulded and carved lower edge, panelled stem, 15th-century, partly defaced. Glass: In chancel—in N.E. and S.E. windows, bordered heads to lights, late 14th-century, in situ. In nave—in N. window, fragments of tabernacle work, 15th-century; in second window in S. wall, fragments of tabernacle work and borders, partly in situ, late 14th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Robert . . . of Sudbury, 1699. Panelling: In nave—in back of W. pew on S. side, moulded, early 17th-century, re-used. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1567, foot of paten missing. Pulpit: octagonal, of oak, panelled, upper panels with arcaded enrichment, ribbed stem cut down, late 16th or early 17th-century, partly restored.
Condition—Good, but S. walls out of the perpendicular, and roof of nave has settled towards S.
a (2). Homestead Moat, at Whitehouse Farm, about ½ m. N.N.E. of the church. In a modern barn is a shaped and moulded bracket, with the date 1669, and initials I.W.
b (3). Bevingdon House, nearly ¾ m. E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and plastered, and the roofs are tiled. It was built, probably early in the 17th century, on a half-H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. There are several modern additions between the wings, and at the end of the S.W. wing. The original central chimney-stacks of the main block and of the S.E. wing have detached octagonal shafts. The main roof is hipped at the ends. Inside the building, the S.E. wing has chamfered ceilingbeams and flat joists partly exposed; the S.W. wing has an open timber ceiling. Some original panelling has been re-used in various parts of the house, and there is one original panelled door with cock's-head hinges.
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.
a (4). Cottage, three tenements, on the S.E. side of the road, 350 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the N.W. and N.E., and there is a modern addition between the wings. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters on a rectangular base with a moulded capping.
a(5). Cole's Farm, house, on the N. side of the road, 220 yards E. of the church, was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.W. and N.W. There is an 18th-century addition between the wings and a modern addition on the E. side. The original central chimney-stack has three grouped diagonal shafts.
a (6). Cottage, now three tenements, on the S.E. side of the road, 400 yards W.S.W. of the church, with an 18th-century addition in front, and a modern addition at the back.
a(7). Inn, about 550 yards W.S.W. of the church, was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W. There are modern additions at the S. end.
c (8). Fowes Farm, house, 1 m. S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The N.W. wing was built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. The S.W. wing was added at right angles to the original block, probably late in the 17th century. The gable-ends of the N.W. wing have original moulded barge-boards. In the modern porch is some early 17th-century panelling, re-used.
a (9). Manor Farm, house, 1,000 yards W.S.W. of the church, with modern additions on the W. side and at the N. end.
a (10). Cottage, two tenements, at Waltersfield, about ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church, was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century. The gables are half-hipped.
b (11). Eyston Smith's Farm, house, about 1½ m. N.E. of the church, was built late in the 16th century, on a rectangular plan. A wing was added on the E. side, probably in the 17th century, making the plan T-shaped. There are modern additions on the S. side of the wing ; on the W. side the upper storey projects, and has curved brackets. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters. Inside the building a room in the E. wing has a moulded ceiling-beam, re-used.