Pages 208-211

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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58. PENTLOW. (E.a.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)v. N.E. (b)vi. N.W.)

Pentlow is a small parish and village on the border of Suffolk, about 5 m. N.W. of Sudbury. The principal monuments are the Church and Pentlow Hall.


b (1). Parish Church of St. Gregory, formerly of St. George, stands on the N. side of the parish (see Plate, p. 208). The walls are of flint and pebble rubble, with dressings of limestone and clunch; the roofs are tiled. The apsidal Chancel and the Nave were built probably in the middle of the 12th century. Possibly in the 14th century a N. chapel was added, and the West Tower early in the same century. Late in the 16th or early in the 17th century the North Chapel was rebuilt. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the South Porch was added.

The 12th-century apse and the 14th-century tower are interesting. The 12th-century font, and the 16th-century monument in the chancel are also noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (23 ft. by 16½ ft.) terminates in a semi-circular apse, and has an E. window, all modern, except part of the 14th-century splays and rear arch. In the N. wall is a late 16th or early 17th-century arch; it is four-centred and of one double chamfered order on the N. side; the responds are chamfered. In the S. wall are two early 14th-century windows, much restored; they are each of two pointed lights in a two-centred head; between them is a doorway, probably of c. 1400, with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. The 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous on the W. face, and the inner resting on attached semi-circular shafts with moulded and embattled capitals and moulded bases; on the W. face is a moulded label with a carved head at the apex and modern stops.

Pentlow, the Parish Church of St. Gregory

The North Chapel (16 ft. by 9½ ft.) was almost entirely rebuilt c. 1600, and has crow-stepped brick gables at the E. and W. ends. In the E. wall is a late 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights in a two-centred head; the jambs are probably of the 14th century. In the N. wall is a window of c. 1600, and of three four-centred lights under a square head. Further W. is a doorway of c. 1600, with a moulded four-centred arch.

The Nave (39 ft. by 20 ft.). The western angles are largely built with rough flint quoins. In the N. wall are three windows, the easternmost is modern, except the sill and the internal splays, and the two western windows are of the same date and detail as those in the S. wall of the chancel, and are much restored; between them is the 14th-century N. doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. The N.E. angle is splayed across and may contain the staircase to the former rood-loft. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern is modern, except the splays, and the western is uniform with the western windows in the N. wall. Further W. is the S. doorway, which is uniform with the N. doorway. In the W. wall is a 12th-century doorway with a semi-circular arch of two orders, the outer moulded and the inner order plain; at the apex is the carved head of a muzzled bear; the jambs have each a circular attached shaft with scalloped and carved capital, square carved abacus and moulded base.

The West Tower (about 16 ft. in diameter) is round, and of three stages, undivided externally; the parapet is embattled. The ground stage has, facing N. and S., a loop, and facing W. a window, all modern, except the splays and rear arch, which are of c. 1400. The second stage has, facing N. and S., a loop similar to those in the ground stage. The bell-chamber has, facing N.E. and W., an early 14th-century window of two uncusped lights in a two-centred head, much restored; facing S. is a window of c. 1400, and of two cinquefoiled lights under a two-centred head, much restored.

The Roof of the N. chapel has a moulded wall-plate with billet ornament, of c. 1600.

Fittings—Bells: five, 1st by John Thornton, 1711; 2nd and 5th by Miles Graye, 1665; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1635; 4th by Miles Graye, 1628. Brasses and Indents. Indent: In chancel—of figure probably of civilian, and inscription plate, early 16th-century. Chest: In tower—plain, iron-bound with curved lid, lock and two hasps, probably 16th-century. Communion-Table and Rails. Table: with turned legs and moulded upper rails, 17th-century, lengthened. Rails: with twisted balusters and moulded rail; similar balusters reused in modern stalls, early 18th-century. Font and Font-cover (see Plate, p. 193). Font: square, with attached shafts at angles, capitals scalloped and bases moulded; three sides elaborately carved with interlacing ornament and foliage, fourth side also carved, but now hidden, first half of the 12th century. Font-cover: with seven sides exposed, spire-shaped with traceried and crocketed panels, divided by buttresses and pinnacles; three panels of lower stage made to open, 15th-century, much restored, top stage modern. Glass: In chancel— in tracery of E. window, foliage ornaments, probably in situ, 14th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—against N. wall, (1) probably to Edmund Felton, 1542, and Frances (Butler), his wife, altar-tomb with cusped and panelled S. side and W. end, panels enclosing the following shields—(a) two crowned lions passant ermine with a molet for difference, for Felton, impaling crusily three luces, for Lucy; (b) Felton impaling three covered cups with a crescent for difference, for Butler; (c) Felton impaling a cheveron between three molets, for Broughton; (d) Felton impaling six scallops: top slab with roughlycut date 1542 on edge. In N. chapel—in N.E. corner, (2) of George Kempe, 1606, John Kempe, 1609, and Elinor (Drewe), his wife, altar-tomb with recumbent effigies of two men in furred robes and woman in ruff and elaborate head-dress, at W. end two cartouches of arms, on S. side group of ten daughters and four sons, text inscribed on edge of slab; against E. wall, tablet with inscription and shield of arms (see Plate, p. 210). In churchyard— S. of chancel, (3) to Roger Green (?), 1710 or 1719, headstone. Niches: In N. chapel—over N. doorway, with rounded head and back, date uncertain. In nave—in N. wall, with rounded back and pointed head, both painted red; in S. wall, two, one with rounded head and one with obtuse triangular head, all possibly 16th-century. Piscinæ: In chancel—with trefoiled head, 14th-century. In N. chapel—in S. wall, with crude four-centred head, probably 16th-century. Stoup: In nave—E. of S. doorway, plain, date uncertain, basin destroyed.



b (2). Pentlow Hall and moat, 100 yards N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, with attics, the walls timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably c. 1500, on an H-shaped plan, with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends, and a central Hall. The Hall was probably divided into two storeys, c. 1580. There are modern additions on the N. side of the main block, at both ends of the E. wing, and at the S. end of the W. wing.

The bay-window on the S. front and the carved brackets in the Hall are noteworthy.

The S. Front has, in the main block, a fine bay-window of c. 1580, at the first floor level; it is of twelve lights with moulded frame, mullions and transom, and a band of carved foliage on the head and sill. The modern porch incorporates some carved 17th-century oak. On the W. Elevation is a modern porch with a carved shield of Cavendish, quartering a cheveron between three crosslets, and two re-used carved brackets. The E. Elevation has a gable in the middle, and a modern porch which incorporates some late 16th-century timbers.

Interior:—The former Hall has exposed ceilingbeams with a foliated boss at the intersection. The walls are lined with linen-fold and moulded panelling; on the N. wall and over the fireplace are four panels, three of them are carved with heads and one with a shield of arms of three quarters, (1) a cheveron between three crosslets; (2) a bend between three molets; (3) a cheveron between three lions' paws razed. On the N. wall of the Hall, formerly external, are four original brackets; two of them are carved and probably supported a former oriel window, and the other two possibly carried a projecting upper storey. The kitchen in the W. wing has moulded ceiling-beams. On the first floor some rooms have open timber ceilings and 17th-century panelling. The oriel window in front contains four roundels of 16th-century glass, including a hawking scene in yellow on a white ground and three shields of arms—(a) or a bend azure cotised gules with three roundels argent on the bend, for Felton of Playford, impaling azure three scallops argent (probably six originally); (b) azure six scallops argent, for Ratisdon (?); (c) as the first coat of (a); in the same window are two quarries with two scratched designs.

The Moat is incomplete, as the W. arm has been filled in.

Condition—Of house, good.

a (3). Bower Hall, barn and outbuilding, nearly 1 m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600, on an irregular L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N. At the N. end of the N. wing the upper storey projects and has a projecting gable; both projections have original moulded bressumers with carved brackets. Projecting towards the E. from the N. wing is a small staircase wing gabled at the E. end; there is a moulded beam at the base of the gable, and another at the base of the gable at the S. end of the N. wing. The upper storey projects on the N. side of the W. wing. The E. chimney-stack is original and has three octagonal shafts. The S. chimney-stack, also original, is stepped and has an embattled cap.

Interior:—On the ground floor the rooms have chamfered ceiling-beams, partly encased with 17th-century panelling. In the S. wall of the N. wing are two original windows, now blocked, and each of five lights with moulded mullions. In the staircase-wing is a similar blocked window of three lights. On the first floor, one room has early 17th-century panelling, shaped wall-posts and chamfered ceiling-beams. In the roof are two beams carved with 17th-century ornament.

The 17th-century wall surrounding the former garden N. of the house, has a moulded stone coping.

The Barn, N. of the house, has weather-boarded walls and a thatched roof. It was built in the 15th century, and is of five bays with rough king-post trusses.

The Outbuilding, now a stable, has weather-boarded walls and is of the 17th century.

Condition—Of house, fairly good.

a (4). Paine's Manor, house, about 1¼ m. S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics, timberframed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1607 and the rectangular middle block is of that date. There are extensive 18th-century and modern additions on the N. and S. sides and at the E. end. At the E. end of the S. front the upper storey projects and has a projecting gable; the upper projection has a carved bressumer dated 1607, and carved brackets; the modern lower bressumer has also original carved brackets. The S. addition has two original doors with elaborate fastenings, but they are not in situ. Inside the building, some rooms have chamfered ceilingbeams, and the E. room of the original block has a moulded ceiling-beam. Several fragments of panelling, mullions and some large hinges, all original, have been re-used in the house.

Condition—Good, much altered.

Monuments (5–11).

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 (5). Pannel's Ash, house and barn, 200 yards S.W. of (4). The House is of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S. and E. At both ends of the W. front the upper storey projects and is gabled. The original W. chimney-stack in the E. wing has an octagonal shaft. Inside the building, on the first floor, the shaped and chamfered wall-posts are exposed. The Barn is of six bays.

a (6). Parmenter's Farm, house, now three tenements, 530 yards E. of (4), was built c. 1600. Inside the building, in the N. wall of the upper storey, is an original window with diamond-shaped mullions, now blocked.

a (7). Cottage, three tenements, 300 yards E.N.E. of (6), has an original central chimney-stack of T-shaped plan. In the N. wall is an original window with diamond-shaped mullions, now blocked.

a (8). Larks in the Wood, house, nearly 1 m. S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It was built about the middle of the 16th century on a rectangular plan, and was extended towards the S. early in the 17th century; late in the same century additions were made on the N.E. and S.W., making the plan L-shaped. At the N. end of the W. elevation the upper storey projects and is gabled. The original central chimney-stack has three octagonal shafts. Inside the building, on the two lower floors, the original block has moulded ceiling-beams and wall-plates; those on the ground floor have moulded joists with foliated stops and shaped wall-posts.

b (9). Skillet's Farm, house, nearly 1 m. S. of the church, with modern additions at the E. and W. ends.

b (10). Cottage, 500 yards E.N.E. of (9), with modern tenements at the N. and S. ends. The original central chimney-stack has two octagonal shafts. Inside the building are several old doors, two of them have strap-hinges. The original staircase has solid oak steps.

b (11). Pentlow Street, house, ½ m. S.E. of the church, was built in the second half of the 16th century, on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N.W. end. There are two modern additions on the N.E. side. Inside the building, a room in the S.E. wing has an original moulded ceiling-beam with carved foliage ornament.