Pages 299-301

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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In this section

73. TAKELEY. (B.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxiii. N.W.; (b)xxiii. S.W.; (c)xxiii. S.E.)

Takeley is an agricultural parish about 4 m. E. of Bishop's Stortford. The village, known as Takeley Street, extends for some distance along the N. side of the Stane Street, which forms the S. boundary of the parish. The Church is the principal monument.


b (1). Parish Church of the Holy Trinity stands N. of the village, some way back from the Stane Street. The walls are probably all built of flint rubble, and there are a few tiles, apparently Roman, but the walls of the aisles are heavily cemented, and the tower is plastered, the lower stage being also cemented; the dressings are of shelly oolite and the original detail is of clunch. The roofs are covered with tiles. The Nave is probably of the 12th century; the Chancel was rebuilt about the middle of the 13th century; a S. transept was added towards the end of the same century and was thrown into the present South Aisle when it was built about the middle of the 14th century. The West Tower and South Porch are of late 15th-century date. The church was completely restored in 1874 and the organ-chamber was added.

The late 15th-century font-cover and pulpit are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (25 ft. by 20½ ft.) has a modern E. window; the external jambs and the rear arch of the larger early 14th-century E. window are still visible. In the E. bay of the N. wall is a mid 13th-century window, completely restored externally; it is of two lancet lights with external rebate and linked labels; the moulded two-centred rear arch is common to both; and has shafted jambs. Further W. is a modern arch to the organ-chamber. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is similar to that in the N. wall, but retains more original work, and the western is modern, except part of the splays. Between the windows is a doorway with a rear arch probably of the 13th century, but otherwise almost entirely modern. The chancel-arch is modern.

The Nave (55 ft. by 21 ft.) has two windows in the N. wall; the eastern is of three cinquefoiled lights, and apparently of the 15th century, but only the rear arch and splay are original, and they have been much scraped; the western window is of 16th-century brick and of two four-centred lights under a square-headed external outer order; below it are the jambs of a blocked doorway of brick and tiles; some of the brick is Roman; at the E. end in the thickness of the wall are the stairs to the rood-loft, but the doorways are blocked and plastered; on the N. side of the stairs is a small loop, and below it are the jambs and sill of a larger blocked window of uncertain date. The S. arcade, opening into the S. aisle, is of four bays; the eastern or transept-arch is of late 13th-century date; the E. respond has a half-octagonal shaft with a moulded and scraped capital, and a defaced moulded base; the W. respond was altered into an octagonal column when the aisle was built in the 14th century, and has a straight joint down the middle; the capital was also altered, but the original base, now defaced, was retained and completed; the two-centred arch is of two moulded orders; the remaining bays of the arcade have octagonal columns with moulded bases and capitals, and a half-column as a W. respond; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders.

The South Aisle (12½ ft. wide) incorporates the E. and S. walls of the late 13th-century transept; a gable was added to the E. wall and the W. wall was destroyed about the middle of the 14th century. In the E. wall is a 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a two-centred head; the external and internal reveals are hollow-moulded and much defaced with cement. In the S. wall of the former transept some traces of a window are apparent under the plaster and cement with which the wall is covered. Further W. are two windows, the eastern is of mid 14th-century date, and of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the western window is of late 13th-century date, and was probably originally in the transept; it is of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. Further W. is the S. doorway, probably of the 14th century; it is of two chamfered orders, much scraped and restored. In the W. wall is a modern window.

The West Tower (10½ ft. by 9 ft.) is of late 15th-century date, much restored, and of three stages with diagonal buttresses and a S.E. stair-turret, an embattled parapet, and a small timber spire or spike. The tower-arch is of two moulded and chamfered orders, the outer order is continuous, and the inner rests on half-round shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window is of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery, almost entirely modern, under a two-centred head; the external label has head-stops. Below the window is the W. doorway of two moulded orders, the inner order two-centred, and the outer squareheaded, with quatrefoils containing blank shields in the spandrels. In the N. and S. walls of the second stage are small single-light windows, that on the S. is much restored. The bell-chamber has four windows each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, under a label with head-stops, much restored.

The South Porch (12 ft. by 10 ft.) is of late 15th-century date, and has been much restored. The entrance has a two-centred arch of two orders, the outer order is moulded and continuous, the inner is chamfered and rests on engaged octagonal shafts; above the arch is a niche flanked by two loops. The E. and W. walls have each a square-headed window of two cinquefoiled lights with moulded internal and external reveals.

The Roof of the nave is high-pitched and ceiled with modern boarding; four late 15th-century king-post trusses are exposed; the king-posts have moulded capitals and bases. The roof of the aisle is high-pitched and plastered internally. The roof of the porch is high-pitched, and has late 15th-century moulded wall-plates and tie-beam. The first floor of the tower has chamfered beams framed round a square bell-way of the 15th-century.

Fittings—Bells: four; 1st dated 1579; 2nd by William Calverden, late 15th or early 16th-century, inscribed "Assit principio Sancta Maria meo"; 4th by Robert Oldfield, 1604. Bracket: On second column of arcade—with carved head-corbel and above it a trefoiled canopy cut in the capital of column. Brass: In chancel—on N. wall, recording the benefactions of Hannah Knollys, 1689. Cupboard: In S. aisle—with linen-fold panels, formerly a font-case, late 16th-century. Doors: In S. doorway—modern door with strap-hinges, probably 15th-century. In tower—in W. doorway, framed and boarded, with strap-hinges, 15th-century; in doorway of stair-turret—with straphinges, scutcheon, and drop-ring ornamented with two four-leaf flowers, 15th-century. Font-cover: octagonal, spire-shaped, with elaborate traceried sides, crocketed and finialled canopies and buttresses, late 15th or early 16th-century, much restored. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to William Collyn, 1684, with arms; (2) to Hannah (Collins) widow of Francis Knollis, 1689, with arms; (3) to John Kendall, 1679, with arms; (4) to William Touse, Sergeant-at-Law, 1632; (5) to Mary English, 1695, and John, her husband, vicar of the parish, 1716, with arms. In S. aisle—in S. doorway, (6) coffin-shaped slab, used as threshold. Niches: In tower—over W. window, with embattled pedestal, cinquefoiled head and square label with a foliated cross above it, late 15th-century. On porch—over entrance, with cinquefoiled head, shaped canopy and crocketed spire, much restored, late 15th-century; (see also Miscellanea). Piscina: In chancel—with shafted jambs and trefoiled head, mid 13th-century, scraped and restored, basins modern. Pulpit: Of oak, hexagonal, five sides remain, panels with moulded frames and rich cinquefoiled and pinnacled designs, panelled trumpet-shaped base, late 15th-century. Recess: In nave—in N. wall towards E. end, set above floor, tall, with sub-cusped trefoiled head, embattled cornice and flanking buttresses, probably the doorway of the rood-stairs, late 15th or early 16th-century. Seating: In chancel—four traceried heads from old seating or screen, incorporated in modern work; in nave—eleven bench-ends with traceried heads, partly original; on S. side, at W. end, four complete open seats with traceried bench-ends; in clerk's desk, four traceried heads, all late 15th or early 16th-century. Miscellanea: In S. aisle—on E. wall, S. of window, cinquefoiled head, probably of niche, not in situ, 15th-century.

Condition—Good, much restored.


b (2). Moated Site, about ¾ m. E. of the church, with a wide rectangular moat enclosed by a narrower moat. In the inner enclosure is Warish Hall, a modern house, said to occupy the site of the alien priory of St. Valery, founded between 1066 and 1086. On the S. side, the inner moat is crossed by a wooden bridge, some of the timbers of which are ancient.

b (3). Homestead Moat, at Jacks Green, nearly 1 m. E. of the church, rectangular, but incomplete.

b (4). Homestead Moat, at Bassingbourn Hall, nearly 1 m. N.W. of the church, a semi-circular dry ditch; the site of the hall is indicated by the uneven surface of the ground.

b (5). Barns and Moat, at Colchester Hall, 1¼ m. N. of the church. The three Barns are of timber with thatched roofs and were built in the 17th century. The largest barn has an aisle of five bays on the N. side and is partly covered with weather-boarding and plaster. The second barn adjoins the first and is of brick on the W. side, and the third is weather-boarded.

The Moat enclosed two adjoining sites, but the dividing arm is partly destroyed.

Condition—Of barns, fairly good.

b (6). The Grange, house, barns and moat, 1¼ m. N.E. of the church. The House is of one storey with attics, timber-framed and covered with plaster and weather-boarding; the roofs are tiled. The building is rectangular and of mid 17th-century date with modern additions at the back and N. end. The E. front has three gabled dormers. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts and pilasters. Inside the building, one room has a wide fireplace, partly blocked.

The four 17th-century Barns E. of the house are placed symmetrically on each side of the entrance gateway. The walls are weather-boarded; the two larger barns have slate roofs, and the others are thatched.

A small rectangular Moat surrounds the house, and some adjoining ditches suggest an outer moat.

Condition—Of house and barns, good.

c (7). Barn and Moat at Sheering Hall, Bambers Green, 1½ m. N.E. of the church. The Barn is of the 17th century, timber-framed and covered with weather-boarding and plaster; the roof is tiled.

The Moat enclosed a large rectangular site, but the N. arm is completely obliterated.

Condition—Of barn, fairly good.

b (8). House, now two tenements, barn and moat, at Smith's Green, 1,200 yards E.S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timberframed, and covered with plaster and weather-boarding; the roof is tiled. It was built early in the 17th-century. The middle part of the E. front, between two slight projections, at each end, has a coved eaves-cornice. The square central chimney-stack is original. Inside the building one room has exposed ceiling-beams and joists and a wide open fireplace.

N.W. of the house is a Barn of the same date, with an aisle of three bays; it is of timber, weather-boarded, and has a thatched roof.

The Moat surrounds the house and barn, but is incomplete on the N. side.

Condition—Of house, good; of barn, fairly good.

Monuments (9–20).

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. Most of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

Takeley Street, N. side

b (9). Cottage, now two tenements, 1 m. W.S.W. of the church. The front and back elevations each have a slightly projecting half-hipped gable and a small gabled dormer.

b (10). Cottage, now two tenements, 480 yards E. of (9), was built c. 1600, and has a low addition of later date at the back. The S. front is of close-set vertical timber, and the upper storey projects. Inside the building, the middle room has a wide open fireplace with corner seats and recess, and an original carved lintel.

b (11). Cottage, E. of (10), has a gabled dormer on the S. side.


b (12). House, now two tenements, 180 yards E. of (11), is of early 16th-century date. It formerly extended further towards the W.; the tenement on that side probably formed one bay of the Hall. The S. or main front has a projecting gable resting on modern uprights. The W. end shows the roof construction of the former Hall, with king-post, tie-beam and curved struts forming an arch. Inside the building, the W. room has an original moulded beam.

b (13). House, 140 yards E. of (12), has a wing projecting towards the N. The original chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters.

b (14). The Green Man Inn, 130 yards E. of (13). At the W. end of the front is a gable.

b (15). House, W. of (14), with a low modern addition at the W. end of the main front.

Brewer's End

b (16). The Post Office, ¼ m. S.E. of the church, has weather-boarded walls, except at the back where there is some modern brickwork.

Jack's Green

b (17). Cottages, a range of tenements, nearly 1 m. E. of the church. Between the two western tenements is an original chimney-stack with diagonal pilasters.

The Stane Street, N. side

c (18). Cottage, now two tenements, 1¾ m. E.S.E. of the church, at the E. corner of the road to Bambers Green.

c (19). Cottage, S.E. of (18).

Molehill Green

a (20). The Three Horseshoes Inn, about 2 m. N.N.E. of the church, has on the S. front an original chimney-stack with two attached shafts on a square base.