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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44. LISTON. (F.a.)
(O.S. 6 in. vi. N.W.)
Liston is a small parish about 5 m. S.E. of Sudbury. The principal monument is the Church.
(1). Parish Church, dedication unknown, stands on the E. side of the park of Liston Hall. The walls are of flint rubble, with dressings of limestone and clunch, except the tower, which is of red brick; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The Nave was built in the first half of the 12th century, and the E. wall of the Chancel is apparently of that date. Probably c. 1230 the chancel was widened on both sides, making it the same width as the nave; possibly at the same time, but more probably in the 15th century, the chancel-arch was removed. In the first half of the 16th century the West Tower was added. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the North Vestry, South Chapel and South Porch were added. The W. tower is a good example of 16th-century briokwork.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has an E. window, entirely modern except the internal splays and moulded two-centred rear arch, which are of c. 1230; at the springing of the rear arch are foliated capitals; the S. capital is apparently modern. In the N. wall is a modern doorway and a modern recess. In the S. wall are two modern windows. In place of the former chancel-arch is a moulded beam, resting on chamfered wall-posts, with curved brackets, and probably of late 15th-century date; the spandrels of the brackets are plastered, and a spandrel on the S. side has a four-leaf ornament; above the beam on the W. side is an oval panel of plaster, with foliage, dated 1701; it is flanked by the initials I.S. and some ornamental plasterwork.
The Nave (35 ft. by 20½ ft.) has, in the N. wall, a 15th-century window of three trefoiled ogee lights, with tracery in a two-centred head; the jambs, mullions and arch are externally moulded. Further W. is the early 12th-century N. doorway, now blocked; it has plain jambs and a semi-circular arch enclosing a plain plastered tympanum and a lintel ornamented with cheverons, etc., all much weathered. In the S. wall is a 15th-century window similar to that in the N. wall, but with different detail and modern mullions. Further E. is a modern doorway; W. of the window is the 12th-century S. doorway, with a four-centred arch of the 16th century, and 12th-century jambs, with a chamfer cut in the 16th century; the semi-circular rear arch is original.
The West Tower (10 ft. by 9 ft.) is of early 16th-century date, and of three stages, undivided externally; the brick walls are diapered with blue brick; the parapet is crow-stepped and embattled, and there is a corbel table of trefoiled arches, and a N.E. stair-turret. The tower-arch is two-centred and of three orders, the two inner orders being chamfered on the E. side; the responds have each an attached semi-octagonal shaft, with moulded capital and base of stone. The W. window is of brick and of three lights, with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head; the label is moulded; the external jambs and arch are also moulded, and the mullions have been renewed in wood. In the N. wall is a doorway to the stair-turret with chamfered jambs and four-centred arch. The second stage has, in both the S. and W. walls, a brick window of one pointed light. The bell-chamber has, in each of the E., S. and W. walls, a pair of coupled windows of brick with four-centred heads; in the N. wall is a similar single window.
The Roof of the chancel is of c. 1500. and of two bays with moulded timbers, curved principals with traceried spandrels, and moulded wall-plates with carved cresting; at the feet of four of the principals are carved angels holding plain shields and standing on foliated corbels of Renaissance character. The roof of the nave is ceiled below the rafters and collars, and the plaster is enriched with lozenges and foliage ornament, probably all of 1701; the 15th-century wall-plates are moulded and embattled.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st probably by Reignold Chirche, 15th-century, inscribed, "Sancta Katerina Ora Pro Nobis"; 2nd, by Miles Graye. 1675; bell-frame, probably 16th-century. Brackets: In nave—two, one on N. wall and one on S. wall, not in situ, moulded, with small cresting, 15th-century. Doors: In S. doorway—of studded battens with moulded strips planted on, and straphinges, early 16th-century. In doorway to stair-turret—of studded battens with hollow-chamfered strips planted on, and strap-hinges, early 16th-century. Font: octagonal, bowl with richly traceried panel on each side, lower part moulded with carved square bosses, stem with traceried sides; moulded base and projecting W. step enriched with a band of quatrefoils, first half of 15th century, much defaced. Glass: In nave—in tracery of N. window, fragments, including figures of (a) St. Michael and part of group; (b) probably St. Anne and the Virgin; (c) probably St. Mary Magdalene; (d) St. George; all with diapered backgrounds, 15th-century. Piscinæ: In chancel—with moulded jambs and trefoiled head, 14th-century, basin, modern. In nave— with hollow-chamfered jambs and cinquefoiled head, with carved spandrels, 15th-century; basin, back and sides cased with modern marble. Plate: includes large plate of 1683, stand-paten, probably of the same date, but without marks, flagon of 1702, and cup probably of the same date, but marks obliterated. Seating: In chancel—on S. side, seat made up with two standards with carved popeys. and attached shaft on front edge, one standard with traceried panelling; back with moulded rail and band of cusped panelling, 15th-century; near the organ, stool with turned legs and carved strap-work rails, 17th century.
(2). The Rectory, ¼ m. S. of the church, is of two storeys, the original part being timber-framed and covered with rough-cast; the roofs are tiled. The N. wing of the present T-shaped plan was built probably in the 17th century, but the cross-wing at the S. end is modern. There is a small gable at the N. end of the W. elevation, and on the E. side of the N. wing the roof has two hipped ends. Both the chimney-stacks of the N. wing are original and plain. Inside the building, the rooms on the ground-floor of the N. wing have stop-chamfered ceiling-beams. At the foot of the stairs is an original three-centred arch with hollow-chamfered jambs and head, partly restored.