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.
41. HENHAM. (B.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xiv. S.W. (b)xxiii. N.W.)
Henham is an agricultural parish, and the village is about 6 m. N.E. of Bishop's Stortford. The Church is the principal monument.
a (1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin stands at the N.W. end of the village. The walls are built of flint rubble with dressings of shelly oolite and clunch; the roofs are tiled, except those of the aisles and spire, which are covered with lead. The Chancel was built early in the 13th century, and c. 1290 a S. transept was added to the Nave; c. 1300 the South Aisle was added and the S. transept destroyed, except the arch opening into the nave; the North Aisle and West Tower were built c. 1325. Late in the 15th century the South Porch was added. The church was restored in the 19th century, but has been little altered.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (26 ft. by 17 ft.) has a late 15th-century E. window of three cinquefoiled lights with transomed tracery in a four-centred head; the external jambs and head are moulded, and have been repaired with brick. In the N. wall are three windows, the two eastern are 13th-century lancets, externally chamfered and rebated; the second is blocked by a monument; the westernmost window is of late 15th-century date and of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a square head. In the S. wall are three windows; the eastern and western are of the same date and character as the westernmost window in the N. wall; between them is a 13th-century lancet, similar to those in the N. wall: below it is a 13th-century doorway, with jambs and two-centred arch of two orders, the inner moulded, the outer chamfered and with a moulded label. The late 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two orders, the outer order is chamfered on the E. face and dies into the wall: on the W. face it is continuously moulded; the inner order rests on semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The Nave (51 ft. by 22 ft.) has an early 14th-century N. arcade of four bays; the columns are quatrefoil on plan, with moulded capitals and bases, and the responds have attached half-columns; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders; on the capital of the second column is a beautifully carved group of two angels censing the Virgin and Child (see Plate, p. xxxii), and on the chamfer of two voussoirs of the second arch are carved designs of a leopard's head and foliage; one voussoir of the fourth arch is carved with a dragon; at the E. end the wall is thickened for the stairs to the rood-loft, and the outline of the doorway is visible. The S. arcade is of four bays; the easternmost arch formerly opened into a transept, and is of late 13th-century date; it is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds have semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases of unusual profile; the three western bays are of c. 1300; the columns are quatrefoil on plan, with moulded capitals and bases, and the responds have attached half-columns; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders.
The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a four-centred head; the external reveal is moulded. In the N. wall are two windows with 18th-century wood frames; the eastern window was formerly similar to the window in the E. wall, but probably of three lights; the mullions and tracery have been removed; the opening of the second window is possibly of the 14th century. Further W. is the N. doorway, with a two-centred head, probably of the 14th century, but now blocked; externally only traces are visible; the segmental rear arch is chamfered. In the W. wall is an early 14th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights with remains of flowing tracery in a defaced two-centred head.
The South Aisle (8 ft. wide) has an E. window similar to that in the N. aisle, but the tracery and mullion are modern. In the S. wall are three windows; the two eastern windows are of the 15th century, and of three cinquefoiled lights, but the heads and mullions are modern; the western window is of two uncusped 18th-century lights, of brick, apparently set in a late 15th-century opening. Between the second and third windows is the late 15th-century S. doorway, re-cut, and of two continuous moulded orders. In the W. wall is a much restored window, similar to the eastern windows in the S. wall.
The West Tower (11 ft. square) is almost entirely of c. 1325, and of three stages with an embattled parapet and a low lead-covered spire; the E. buttresses are carried on arched squinches in the W. angles of the nave; they are of five chamfered orders with an embattled moulding. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with square responds. The much weathered W. window is of two cinquefoiled lights in a pointed head, but much of the tracery has disappeared. The second stage has, in the W. wall, a window similar to the W. window of the ground stage. The E., N. and S. walls of the bell-chamber have each a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head; in the W. wall is a window similar to those in the lower stages.
The South Porch is of late 15th-century date, and has an entrance archway of two moulded orders, the inner order pointed, and the outer order square with a moulded label; the spandrels have cusped panels and small shields; the eastern shield is charged with a fesse between two cheverons, and the western shield with a saltire. The side-walls have each a blocked window of two cinquefoiled. lights with moulded external reveals and a square head with a moulded label and head-stops.
The Roof of the chancel is ceiled with plaster, but one cambered tie-beam, of the 15th or 16th century, is exposed. The roof of the nave is plain, but elaborately framed, with trusses of unusual type; there is some indication that it was altered at the W. end when the tower was built.
Fittings—Bells: four; 1st, blank; 2nd, by Miles Graie, 1636; 3rd, by Miles Graie, 1641; 4th, by Thomas Harrys, 15th century, inscribed 'Sit Nomen Domini Benedictum T H.' Brasses and Indents. Indent: In S. aisle—in front of S. doorway, slab with brass rivets. Communion Table: with turned bulging legs, early 17th-century. Door: In S. doorway—battened, possibly 15th-century. Font: octagonal bowl, each side with quatrefoil panel and shield—((a) a scratched cross; (b) an engrailed cross, for Ufford; (c) the emblems of the Passion; (d) a fesse between two cheverons, for Fitzwalter, impaling a quartered coat, the third quarter, quarterly palewise and fessewise indented, for Fitzwarren; (e) a cross engrailed between four water bougets, one missing, for Bourchier; (f) ermine a cheveron with three crescents thereon, for Durward; (g) barry; (h) three cheverons ermine; stem with trefoiled panels and moulded base, 15th-century. Glass: In chancel—in E. window, shield of the emblems of the Trinity, and fragments of foliage, 15th-century; in N.W. window—border of crowns, 15th-century; in S.E. window, incomplete quartered shield, 16th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Floor-slab: In chancel—near S. doorway, partly covered by seating, of Thomas Kyrbie, 1603, and Anne (Brewster) his wife, slate slab, inlaid with white stone, and said to have had an incised effigy. Niche: In S. aisle—high up on S. wall at E. end, with pointed head, and, at the back, traces of painting, possibly a figure, probably 15th-century. Paintings: In porch—on E. wall, traces of decoration, possibly a cross (see also Niche). Piscinæ: In chancel—with trefoiled ogee head, late 15th-century. In N. aisle—with chamfered, pointed head, 15th-century. In S. aisle—with trefoiled head, late 13th-century. Pulpit: of oak, hexagonal, painted and grained, panels with cinquefoiled heads and blind tracery, buttresses at each angle with carved pinnacles, 15th-century; carved book-rest, 17th-century (see Plate, p. xxxi). Screen: Under chancel-arch—with central archway and septfoiled side-lights with embattled transoms and tracery in obtuse main heads, close lower panels with blind tracery, mullions with panelled buttresses, late 15th-century. Stalls: In chancel—desk, painted and grained, in front, arched panel with guilloche ornament, two turned corner-posts, mid 17th-century.
Condition—Structurally sound, but external stonework and plaster in a bad state of repair.
a (2). Homestead Moat, at 'The Hall', 200 yards N.W. of the church.
a (3). Pledgdon Hall and moat, ¾ m. S.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, on the site of the S. arm of the moat, and a low modern wing has been added at the back. The plaster on the walls is pargetted, and on the S. front are two half-gables. One original chimney-stack remains. Inside the house are some original ceiling-beams.
The Moat lies N. of the house.
Condition—Of house, good.
b (4). Broom House (see Plate, p. xxv), now a farmhouse, and barn, nearly 1½ m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timberframed and partly covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built on a plain rectangular plan in the second half of the 16th century; on the ground floor, the middle part was probably the Hall, now divided by modern partitions; on the N. was the original Buttery, and on the S. two rooms; one of them is now the kitchen. On the W. front the timber-framing is partly exposed, and there is a gable at each end; in the middle the upper storey projects and rests on a carved bressumer. The base of the chimney-stack at the N. end is original. At the back are two gables, corresponding to those in front, and a third smaller gable. Inside the building, many of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams and original panelled doors, some with cock's-head hinges; on the ground floor are also three plain original doors; the entrance passage represents the Screens, and is lined with original oak panelling which has a fluted frieze. On the first floor the ceiling of one room has a plaster rose, and three rooms are lined with panelling similar to that in the passage, but with fluted Corinthian pilasters.
The Barn, E. of the house, is timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roof is thatched. The building is of the 17th century and of three bays, with a small wing on the N. side.
The following buildings are generally of two storeys and of the 17th century; all of them are timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Many of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams, wide fireplaces and original chimney-stacks.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
Main Road, W. side
a (5). Cottage, now two tenements, with an 18th-century addition making a third tenement, stands about 80 yards N. of the church. The chimney-stack has two original octagonal shafts, and a third shaft has been added.
a (6). Cottage, 100 yards N.E. of the church, was built c. 1600, and has a modern addition at the back. On the S. front the upper storey projects. Inside the building the closely set vertical timber-framing is visible.
a (7). Mount House, 130 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It has been much altered and at the back is a low modern addition.
a (8). Cottage, 20 yards E. of (7), is of one storey with attics. Inside the building the timberframing is visible in the walls.
a (9.) Parsonage Farm, 80 yards S. of the church. The house has been restored, altered and enlarged.
a (10). Cottage, 60 yards E. of (9), much restored and altered. Inside the building some vertical timber-framing is exposed.
Crow Street, W. side
a (11). Bacon's Farm, ¼ m. S.S.E. of the church. The house is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end.
a (12). Cottage, now two tenements, 150 yards S.S.E. of (11), with a low modern addition at the back.
a (13). The White Cottage, 60 yards N. of (12). Inside the building the original vertical timberframing with curved braces is exposed.
a (14). House, now two tenements, 220 yards N. of (13), was built c. 1600. The plan is T-shaped; the upper storey of the cross-wing projects at each end.
Rotten Row, S. side
a (15). Cottages, a range of five, 400 yards S.E. of the church. In front, part of the upper storey projects.
a (16). Cottage, now a shop, 20 yards E. of (15), with modern additions on the E. side.
a (17). Cottage, 30 yards E. of (16).
Woodend Green, N. side
a (18). Cottage, now two tenements, 800 yards E. of the church, with a modern addition at the W. end.
a (19). Cottage, about 250 yards E. of (18).
a (20). Greenend Farm, about ¾ m. E.S.E. of the church. The house was built probably late in the 16th century, and has a low 17th-century addition at the back. The central chimney-stack has four diagonal shafts. Inside the building are some original doors of oak battens. On the ground floor one room has some carved oak panelling with the date 1589 roughly cut on it. On the first floor is a fireplace with a richly ornamented overmantel of plaster; in the middle is a blank shield and on each side a panelled pilaster.
a (21). Henham Lodge, about ½ m. N.E. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N.; in the angle between the wings is a square staircase wing. There are modern additions on the S. side.
a (22). Parsonage Cottage, about 1½ m. N.W. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S.
a (23). Old Meads Farm, about 1 m. S.W. of the church. The house was originally of plain rectangular plan with a projecting porch in the middle of the E. front, but an 18th-century wing has been added at the back. There is a gabled room above the porch. The ends of the house have half-hipped gables, and the central chimney-stack has four diagonal shafts.
b (24). Pennington Hall, about 1 m. S. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the W. and S. Part of the E. wall has been re-faced with modern brick; the plaster is ornamented with a rough zig-zag design.
a (25). Windmill, at Mill Farm, ¾ m. S. of the church, was built probably late in the 17th century, but has been completely rebuilt, except the lower courses of the walls, which are of original brick.