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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20. DEBDEN. (B.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)ix. S.W. (b)xiv. N.W. (c)xiv. N.E. (d)xiv. S.W.)
Debden is a large agricultural parish and village, about 3 m. S. of Saffron Walden. The Church is the principal monument.
b (1). Parish Church of St. Mary and All Saints, stands on the W. side of the village. The walls are of flint and pebble rubble, except the 18th-century parts, which are of brick; the walls of the nave are covered with cement; the dressings are of clunch and the walls have embattled parapets of brick. The roofs are covered with lead, except those of the chancel and porch, which are covered with slate. The arcades of the Nave are of early 13th-century date, the N. arcade being probably the earlier of the two. The South Aisle was rebuilt and probably widened c. 1340 and the South Porch was added at the same time. In the 15th century the North Aisle was rebuilt on the old foundations. A central tower is said to have fallen in 1698, destroying the chancel, and the Chancel was rebuilt in 1793, when the N. aisle was underpinned in brick, and the parapets of the nave and aisles were added; about the same time the bell-turret and spire and the North Vestry were built.
The 14th-century roof of the porch is noteworthy, and among the fittings the 16th-century iron-bound chest is especially interesting.
Architectural Description—The Chancel—with the chancel-arch, is entirely of the 18th century.
The Nave (61½ ft. by 15 ft.) has a N. arcade of four bays of c. 1210; the circular columns have moulded capitals and bases; the bases rest on square plinths, and were possibly restored late in the 18th century: the responds have attached halfcolumns; the angles of the E. respond have been cut away, and those of the W. respond restored in cement: the obtuse two-centred arches are of two orders, chamfered on the N. side; on the S. side they are moulded and have a moulded label. The S. arcade is of c. 1220, and is similar to the N. arcade, but with slightly different mouldings; the E. arch was rebuilt c. 1790 after the fall of the tower, and the E. column was banded with iron straps at the same time; the capitals of the second and third columns (see Plate, p. xxxii.) have carved foliage; the W. respond has, on the S. side, a chamfered angle with moulded stops. The clearstorey has, on each side, three windows of two lights, with wood frames, probably all of 1793. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head; below the window is the 14th-century W. doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two simply moulded orders; the label is plain.
The North Aisle (7½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall, three windows; the easternmost is of three lights, and probably a late 18th-century copy of the window opposite to it in the S. aisle; the other two windows are of the 15th century, and each of two lights with tracery under a segmental-pointed head; the heads, labels and tracery are probably of 1793. Between the two western windows is the 15th-century N. doorway, now blocked the jambs and two-centred arch are moulded, and the external label is of cement.
The South Aisle (9 ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, three windows, all of c. 1340; the easternmost is of three cinquefoiled lights, with leaf tracery in a two-centred head; the splays had originally small attached shafts, but have been cut back, only the moulded bases and a small part of each shaft now remain: the two western windows are each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; in both windows the mullions are modern, and the other stonework is badly weathered. Between the western windows, and probably of the same date, is the S. doorway, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch; the label has moulded stops.
The South Porch has a 14th-century outer archway, two-centred and of three orders, the two outer continuous and the inner resting on a moulded corbel similar to the label stops of the S. doorway. In each side wall is a 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights under a square head.
The Roof of the S.porch has a moulded tie-beam, king-post, wall-posts and purlin with curved braces all of the 14th century. The wall-posts rest on stone corbels and some of the rafters are original.
Fittings—Bells: two; 2nd said to be 14th-century, but inaccessible. Chest: In N. aisle—of oak, large, with close-set iron bands, drop-handles, three large locks and clamps, and key, probably 16th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Thomas Carter, rector of the parish, 1697, and his wife, 1698, tablet of stone and slate, with coat of arms. In N. aisle—on N. wall, (2) to James Stonehouse, 1638, tablet of slate and marble, with coat of arms, re-constructed in the 18th century. Piscina: In S. aisle—with cinquefoiled ogee head, chamfered jambs and broach-stops, c. 1340; basin missing.
Condition—Fairly good, original external dressings badly perished; some arches distorted by unequal settlement.
b (2). S. of Horseley Wood, nearly ¾ m. W. of the church.
b (3). At Witchbarns Farm, 1½ m. S.E. of the church.
d(4). At Lovecott Farm, fragments, about 2 m. S.S.E. of the church.
c(5). Tendrings Farm, house and moat, about 1¼ m. 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 an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the E. and N.; there is a projecting staircase on the S. front, and a low modern addition in the angle between the wings. The two chimney-stacks are original. Inside the building the original ceiling-beams are visible, and there are some wide fireplaces, now partly blocked.
The Moat surrounding the house is partly obliterated.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
b (6). Mole Hall, with outbuildings and moat, about 1 m. S. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 16th century. The plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the N.E. and S.E. The N.W. front has a projecting porch with an overhanging upper storey. On the S.W. side, is an original door with moulded top rail and muntins. On the N.E. side of the S.E. wing is an original window of three lights, with moulded frame and mullions. The N.E. wing has an original central chimney-stack with two square shafts set diagonally; at the end of the same wing is a large projecting stack, also original, with two linked hexagonal shafts. Inside the building the timberframing is visible; many of the rooms have stop-chamfered ceiling-beams, and some of the beams are supported on shaped posts.
An Outbuilding, S.E. of the house, and probably of the same date, is of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roof is tiled. Inside the building, the ground floor has stop-chamfered beams in the ceiling; the staircase has solid oak treads. N.E. of the house is a small square building of the same date and similar to the other outbuilding. A barn, N. of the house, is of five bays, and has timber-framed and weather-boarded walls, and a tiled roof. It is probably of late 17th or early 18th-century date, but has, re-used in the roof, two late 16th-century trusses.
The Moat surrounds the house and N.E. and S.E. outbuildings, the S. and E. arms have been widened.
Condition—Of house, good; of outbuildings, ruinous and overgrown with ivy.
b (7). Amberden Hall, with outbuilding and moats, about 1½ m. S.S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are chiefly of red brick; the roofs are tiled. The original part of the house was built c. 1560, and formed the N.W. wing of a building extending at right angles towards the S., as far as the present garden-wall, which apparently formed part of the S. wall of the house. The existing building has on the N. side, an 18th-century addition of the same length. At the E. end, on the ground floor, is a wide window with original moulded brick jambs and a modern head; on the first floor is an original window of moulded brick and of four lights with a transom, and an entablature which has the frieze enriched with sexfoil flowers; the cornice has been cut away; both the windows have traces of masonry imitated in plaster. The central chimney-stack is original, but restored at the top, and has six detached octagonal shafts with moulded bases.
Interior:—The ground floor has stop-chamfered ceiling-beams. On the first floor are two original fireplaces, each with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head, all of plastered brick. In the attic is an original fireplace similar to those on the first floor, but with a moulded cornice and a frieze enriched with guilloche ornament.
The garden-wall S. of the house includes apparently the S. wall and the S.W. angle of the destroyed wing; the wall has a moulded plinth and traces of a small blocked opening; further E. in the wall is an original garden doorway with moulded jambs and three-centred arch.
The Outbuilding, E. of the house, is also of c. 1560 and of the same construction as the original part of the house. It is of rectangular plan, with, a small wing projecting towards the E., and a modern extension at the N. end. The W., S. and E. elevations have some original windows, many of them now blocked, and others altered, all with moulded brick jambs, mullions and labels, and with traces of imitation masonry in plaster. Inside the building the ground floor has stop-chamfered ceiling-beams, one resting on a moulded bracket. In the N. room the wide open fireplace has an old iron hook and rack adjustment.
The Moats lie S. and N.E. of the house, and one arm of each moat has been obliterated. The N.E. moat is partly dry, and the N. arm is obliterated.
Condition—Of house, good; of outbuilding, fairly good.
b (8–9). New Amberden Hall and Thistley Hall, 1¾ m. and nearly 1½ m. S.S.E. of the church, are each of two storeys with attics. The walls, are of red brick; the roofs are tiled. Both houses were built c. 1670, and are almost identical in design. In each house the S. front has a brick band between the storeys; the central entrance doorway has a fanlight of two lights and a flat wooden hood; on each side of the doorway are two original windows, each of two transomed lights and on the first floor are five similar windows; the attics are lighted by dormer windows. The roofs are brought down low at the back, and the E. and W. ends have each an original chimney-stack, between two small blocked windows.
New Amberden Hall: On the S. front three of the windows are blocked. Inside the building on the ground floor the W. room has a moulded ceiling-beam, and other rooms have chamfered ceiling-beams; one wide fireplace remains unaltered. The original staircase in the middle of the house has square newels, turned balusters and moulded handrails. Two panelled doors are probably of the 16th century, and brought from elsewhere.
Thistley Hall (see Plate, p. xxiv.) has stop-chamfered beams in the ceilings of various rooms. The original staircase is similar to that at New Amberden Hall, but the newels have moulded ball-stops.
Condition—Of New Amberden Hall, fairly good; of Thistley Hall, good.
c (10). Weildbarns Farm, about 1¾ m. S.E. of the church, is a house of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 16th century on a rectangular plan, facing S., with a small wing at the back; the S.E. wing, which makes the plan L-shaped, is probably an addition on the S. front and at the W. end of the original block the upper storey projects. The E. end has been partly re-faced with modern brick, and has an original projecting chimney-stack. Inside the building the original ceiling-beams and wall-posts are exposed, and there is a wide open fireplace.
b (11). Dean's Farm, house and outbuilding, about ½ m. E.N.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 a rectangular plan, and an extension was made on the N. side in the 18th century. The chimney-stack is original. Inside the building, on the ground floor, the two western rooms have intersecting stop-chamfered beams in the ceilings, and in one room there is a wide fireplace now blocked. In the 18th-century part of the house is some early 17th-century oak panelling, re-used.
The Outbuilding, near the house and of the same date, was formerly of two storeys; the walls are partly timber-framed and weather-boarded, and partly of brick; the roof is tiled.
Condition—Of house, good; of outbuilding, poor.
a (12). Brick House, about ¾ m. N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly timber-framed and covered with plaster, and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 15th century on a rectangular plan, facing W., but in the 17th century a S.W. wing was added, making the plan L-shaped; the staircase-wing at the back was added at the same time. On the W. front of the main block the upper storey projects at each end, and has, in the middle bay, curved braces supporting the continuous eaves; the lower storey, with the N. end and part of the back, has been re-faced with modern brick. The central chimney-stack is of early 17th-century date, and has diagonal pilasters. The 17th-century wings have brick walls. Inside the building the rails of the staircase in the projecting wing are possibly of late 17th-century date. The roof of the main block has an original truss with an octagonal king-post, which has a moulded capital and curved four-way struts.
The following buildings, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century, and of two storeys, timber-framed and covered with plaster; 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 unless noted.
a (13). Pamphillion's Farm, house, nearly 1¼ m. N. of the church, is of two storeys, with attics. It was originally of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the W. and N., but modern additions have been made N. and W. of the W. wing. Inside the building the timber construction with shaped wall-posts, is visible in most of the rooms.
a (14). Cottage, 50 yards S.W. of (13).
a (15). Cottage, 370 yards E.S.E. of (14). The original chimney-stack is of cross-shaped plan.
a (16). Cottage, 210 yards S. of (14). The ends are weather-boarded, and the original chimney-stack is of cross-shaped plan.
a (17). House, 120 yards S. of (16) is of two storeys with attics. On the E. front the upper storey has a number of original plaster panels, one bearing the date 1660; three of the panels are lozenge-shaped, and one at the S. end has imitation quoins and pediment; they probably surround a blocked window, and traces of similar quoining adjoin three of the existing windows.
a (18). Newhouse Farm, house, 230 yards S.S.E. of (17), on the E. side of the road, is of two storeys with attics. The timber-framing has been partly re-faced with modern brick. The original rectangular plan has modern additions at the back, making it of irregular form. The original chimney-stack at the S. end is of unusually great projection. Inside the building the timber-framing is visible, and at the S. end is a wide fireplace with a cornerseat and a deep locker on the E. side, and a small blocked window on the W. side.
Condition—Plastering defective at the N. end.
a (19). Cottage, now two tenements, 430 yards S. of (18), on the W. side of the road.
Water Lane, S. side
a (20). Cottage, nearly ¾ m. N.E. of the church.
a (21). Cottage, 340 yards E. of (20) is of two storeys with attics. It was built c. 1700 on a rectangular plan; a modern addition at the back makes the plan L-shaped.
b (22). The White Hart Inn, on the N. side of the road, 550 yards E.N.E. of the church, has been much altered and enlarged; the roofs are partly covered with slate.
b (23). Cottage, now two tenements, and a clubroom, 80 yards E. of (22).
b (24). The Plough Inn, 200 yards E.S.E. of (23), has been much altered and enlarged.
b (25). Cottage, 60 yards S.E. of (24), is weather-boarded at the S. end.
b (26). Brocton's Farm, house, ½ m. S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It was built probably late in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and E. The N. wing was rebuilt towards the end of the 17th century, and the house was much altered in 1810. Inside the building, on the ground floor, the E. room is lined with, late 16th or early 17th-century oak panelling, with a fluted frieze. The entrance hall has a dado of similar character, and on the N. side of the fireplace is a locker with an oak door which has original cock's-head hinges. The upper part of the staircase, in the angle between the wings, has turned balusters and newels and a moulded hand-rail, all of late 17th-century date. On the first floor is some re-used panelling similar to that on the ground floor; in the N. wing is an original roof-truss with cambered tie-beam and shaped wall-posts.
Condition—Plaster defective in places.
Rook End, N. side
b (27). Rook End Farm, house, 1,000 yards S. of the church, with modern additions at the back.
b (28). Cottage, now two tenements, 220 yards W. of (27).
b (29). Cottage, 200 yards W. of (28).
b (30). Cottage, W. of (29), with a low modern addition on the W. side. The S. end is partly weather-boarded.
b (31). Miller's Farm, house, nearly ¾ m. E.S.E. of the church. The N. front has two ranges of plaster panels ornamented with zig-zag pattern; those in the lower range have each a round arch under a square head; almost all the panels in the upper range are rectangular; two of them each enclose a quatrefoil and a third an oval ornament.
b (32). Cottage, formerly two tenements, 200 yards E. of (31) has some original casement windows.
b (33). Slough Farm, house, nearly 1¼ m. E.S.E. of the church, was built in the 16th century, on a rectangular plan, facing N., with a slightly projecting cross-wing at the W. end. A kitchen-wing was added at the back in the 17th century.
c (34). Measant's Charity, house, 600 yards E.N.E. of (33), has some original casement windows.
c (35). Lacey's Farm Cottage, 1½ m. E.S.E. of the church, has some original casement windows
c (36). Cottage, ½ m. E. of (35), has been patched with modern brick and has some original casement windows.
c (37). Dick's Farm, house, now two tenements, nearly 2 m. E. of the church, with a low modern addition at the back.
c (38). Barnard's Farm, house, 360 yards N.N.E. of (37) has a small staircase wing at the back, and a low modern addition at the E. end. There are some original casement windows. Inside the building, the shaped wall-posts are exposed, and the open fireplace is fitted with an old iron hook and rack.
c (39). Cottage, 2 m. E.S.E. of the church, and 100 yards S.W. of the cross-roads, is partly weather-boarded.
c (40). Roother's Farm, house, 240 yards S.W. of (39), has an 18th century wing at the back, making the plan L-shaped. In front, the S.W. end of the upper storey projects, and is gabled; the bressumer has three old curved brackets beneath it.
c (41). Sparrow's Farm, house, 2 m. S.E. of the church. The front is plastered, the back and ends are weather-boarded.
c (42). Leggett's Farm, house, 430 yards S. of (41). is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S. The S. wing was lengthened in the 18th century.
c (43). Cottage, 580 yards W.N.W. of (42), with a low modern addition at the E. end.
c (44). Scot's Farm, house, 130 yards W. of (43), is of two storeys with attics, and was built 1570–80. The S. half of the building was probably altered late in the 17th century; there are 18th-century or later additions on the S. and E. On the E. front the N. end projects slightly, and has a gable with an original pierced barge-board, and a moulded pendant; on the return wall of the projecting end the upper storey overhangs and is gabled. At the back there is a gable similar to that in front, and in it is a small original window of two lights, with moulded jambs and mullion. The original central chimney-stack has four octagonal shafts, linked together and set saltirewise on a square base. Inside the building on the ground floor the N. room has a moulded and chamfered wall-post. On the first floor, in the N. room, is an original fireplace of plastered brick, with a four-centred arch under a square head; above the opening is a frieze with foliage ornament surmounted by a moulded shelf; the fireplace is flanked by pilasters carried up to support a frieze and cornice, which are continued along the wall at the ceiling level, and enriched with running ornament and lions' faces at intervals; the opposite wall has a frieze similar to that supported by the pilasters. The room S. of the central chimney-stack has a fireplace of similar type.
d (45). Old Hole Cottage, ¼ m. S.W. of New Amberden Hall, has a half-hipped gable at each end, and three flat dormer windows in front.
c (46). Mount, about 1¾ m. E.S.E. of the church and 300 yards N.E. of Weildbarns Farm, is surrounded by a circular ditch, except on the W.
Dunmow, Great and Little, see Great Dunmow and Little Dunmow.
Easton, Great and Little, see Great Easton and Little Easton.