An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.
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100. WHITE NOTLEY. (G.a.)
(O.S.6in. (a)xxxiv. N.E. (b)xxxiv. S.E. (c)xxxiv.S.W.)
White Notley is a small parish and village about 3½ m. S.E. of Braintree. The Church and Hall are the most important monuments.
(b)(1). Parish Church, dedication unknown, stands in the village. The walls are of flint-rubble all plastered except the E. wall; the dressings are of limestone, clunch and brick, probably Roman; the roofs are tiled. The chancel-arch and the western part of the Chancel were built probably late in the 11th century, when the chancel terminated in an apse. In the 13th century the apse was removed, and the present square extension built; about the same time a recess or arch was made in the N. wall of the chancel. The S. arcade of the Nave and the South Aisle were built c. 1250, and at the end of the same century the N. arcade and the North Aisle were built. The South Porch was added in the 14th century. The timber Bell Cote is possibly of the 16th century. The church was restored during the 19th century, and in 1885 the North Vestry was added, possibly on the site of a former chapel.
The pre-conquest headstone with a later window cut in it, the late 11th-century chancel-arch and the 13th-century glass are all interesting.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (28 ft. by 15 ft.) formerly terminated in an apse extending a few feet beyond the present E. wall; the foundations with those of the sanctuary arch were discovered during the restorations, and in the S. wall are remains of the brick quoins of the angle of the former quire. In the E. wall are three modern lancet windows. In the N. wall is an archway of uncertain date and opened out or completed at the Restoration; it is two-centred and has a plain impost, possibly original on the E. side. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is of lancet form and is all modern, except for the 13th-century shouldered rear-arch and the internal splays; the second window is of similar form and date, but much restored externally; the westernmost window is of c. 1330 and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head; (Plate p. xxx) the label has carved head-stops; below the second window is a 13th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; immediately to the E. are traces of the E. side of the arch of an 11th-century doorway of Roman bricks. The 11th-century chancel-arch has square responds and semi-circular arch of Roman bricks; the projecting imposts are of thicker bricks and the N. respond has been partly restored.
The North Vestry is modern, but re-set in the E. wall is a window of one round-headed light cut in a single stone and removed from the arch or recess in the N. wall of the chancel; externally the stone has remains of a sunk cross-head, partly cut away by the window opening; the stone is evidently a pre-conquest head-stone with a late 11th-century window cut in it.
The Nave (50 ft. by 16½ ft.) has a N. arcade of the second half of the 13th century and of three bays; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases, and the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders. The S. arcade is of c. 1250 and of three bays, with arches similar to those of the N. arcade, but the outer chamfer on the S. side is stopped half-way up each arch; the circular columns have moulded capitals and bases, and the square responds are chamfered at the angles. In the W. wall is a late 14th-century window of three trefoiled ogee lights with modern tracery in a segmental head; the label is moulded; in the gable is a small triangular-headed light with a moulded label.
The North Aisle (8 ft. wide) has in the E. wall a modern arch. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern is modern, except for the internal splays, rear-arch and jambs, which are possibly of the 14th century; the western is modern; between them is the 13th-century N. doorway with double-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. In the S. wall, E. of the E. respond, is the two-centred arch of the former doorway to the rood-stair, now plastered and blocked. In the W. wall is a modern window.
The South Aisle (8 ft. wide) has in the E. wall a window of single square-headed light of doubtful date. Adjoining the S. wall of the chancel is the angle of the 11th-century nave. In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of mid 14th-century date, partly restored, and of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery under a two-centred head, having a moulded label; the second window is of c. 1330 and of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the label is moulded; the westernmost window is modern; between the two western windows is the S. doorway, with double hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; it is of the 14th century but incorporates some mid 13th-century stonework. In the W. wall is a modern window.
The Bell Turret, over the W. end of the nave, rests on four chamfered posts of early 16th-century date, with cross-beams and curved braces at the ceiling level, and braced ties half-way up on the N. and S. sides. The square turret is weather-boarded and surmounted by a short broach spire covered with shingles.
The South Porch (Plate p. 186) is timber-framed and of the 14th century, much restored. The two-centred outer archway has chamfered posts and head. The E. and W. sides are each divided into six lights by diamond-shaped mullions.
The Roof of the chancel is possibly of the 14th century and is of the trussed-rafter type; some of the timbers are modern, and fixed on the wall-plates are four 17th-century shields. On the N. (a) the arms assigned to Sir Gilbert Neville; (b) with the inscription "Henry Nevill Esquier and Alice his wife daughter of Sir John Duckombe Knight Chancellor of the Dutchie had issue sonnes, William Thomas and John and daughters Dorcas, Mellior and Alice, and did adorne this chancell anno domini 1639"; on S. side (c) the date 1638; (d) on a roundel surmounted by a crest, the arms in the first quarter of (a) with the initials G.N. and the inscription "Gylbart Lord Nevil bourne in Normandy and weas Admirale to the same." The late 15th-century roof of the nave is of the trussed-rafter type, now plastered, and is divided into three bays; against the E. wall are moulded and embattled corbels of wood; the second truss has a moulded and cambered tie-beam; the third truss is plain. The pent roof of the N. aisle is probably of the 14th century, and is of six bays; the principals have curved braces and the wall-plate is moulded. The roof of the S. aisle is of the same date and character; at the feet of the principals are carved human heads. The 14th-century roof of the S. porch is plain, but has cinque-foiled bargeboards to the gable.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st and 3rd by Miles Graye, 1662; 2nd, 17th-century, but uninscribed. Chair: In chancel—with moulded and carved head and back, moulded legs and carved rail, early 17th-century. Chest: square dug-out with heavy bevelled lid, hinged by two straps; probably 12th or 13th-century. Doors: In chancel—in S. doorway, framed and battened, with round handle, late 14th or early 15th-century, partly restored. In S. doorway—moulded and panelled, upper part traceried, strap-hinges, 14th-century, tracery mostly restored. Font: octagonal with quatre-foiled panels to bowl filled with carved heads, foliage or plain shields, moulded and carved lower edge, and panelled stem, 15th-century. Glass: In vestry—in small window in E. wall, crowned figure (Plate p. xxxiv), holding a book, grisaille background of fleurs-de-lis, early 13th-century, lower part of figure lost. In S. aisle—in tracery of two eastern windows in S. wall, white and yellow glass, late 14th or 15th-century; in modern dormer window, two roundels of fragments with figure of saint, initials, etc., probably Flemish, late 16th or early 17th-century. Niches: In nave—on N. and S. of chancel-arch, one, with semi-circular head and painted ornament (see Paintings), date uncertain. Paintings: In nave—in niches flanking chancel-arch, conventional ornament (Plate p. 85), in black line on red, early 16th-century. In N. aisle—on E. wall, traces of figures, mediaeval. Piscinœ: In chancel—double, with trefoiled heads and sunk quatrefoil above them, 13th-century, rest modern. In vestry—in S. wall, plastered recess with modern head in larger pointed and plastered recess, said to be old. Plate: includes a pewter flagon, possibly of the 17th century. Royal Arms: In nave on W. wall, Stuart arms with initials G.R. Screens: In N. aisle—at E. end, of five bays including middle doorway with trefoiled and sub-cusped head and carved spandrels, side bays with ogee heads, moulded mullions and cornice with three mortices in upper face, early 16th-century, not in situ. In S. aisle—at E. end, of five bays, including middle doorway with trefoiled and sub-cusped head, side bays with cusped and traceried heads, moulded cornice and mullions, early 15th-century. Miscellanea: In chancel—on stone in middle window in S. wall, fragment of incised ornament, date uncertain, stone re-used.
(a)(2). White Notley Hall, and outbuilding 200 yards N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly timber-framed and plastered, and partly of red brick; the roofs are tiled. The middle part of the house was built c. 1530, and is of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the W. and N., and a staircase in the angle between them. In the second half of the 16th century the brick W. wing was added, possibly on the site of a former wing, and the porch, now a staircase wing between it and the main block, was added at the same time. There are modern additions on the E. and W.
Elevations—The S. front has a gable at each end and is plastered with sham quoins at the angles. The ground floor windows of the main block are original, but are not in situ; they have moulded mullions and transoms; the original doorway has a moulded frame and a door of moulded panels, not in situ. The windows of the first floor are of the 17th century. The E. bay has a similar window at the first floor level. The W. bay has a 17th-century window to the ground floor and a late 16th-century window to the first floor, with four lights and moulded mullions of brick. The E. elevation has twin gables, and the N. wing has a late 16th-century chimney-stack with diagonal shafts, partly renewed. The N. elevation (Plate p. 256) has six gabled bays on different planes, and of these the two westernmost are of brick and the rest of plastered timber-framing; the original staircase-wing has three light windows with moulded mullions; the main block has two gables, one with original barge-boards and pendant; further W., in the main block, is an original window of five lights with moulded mullions and two transoms. The late 16th-century chimney-stack has three shafts set diagonally, one being modern. The two westernmost bays have a moulded plinth and five late 16th-century windows of moulded and plastered brick; the other windows are modern. The W. elevation has a late 16th-century chimney stack with two diagonal shafts, restored at the top.
Interior—The Hall now occupies the whole ground floor of the main block, but a bay at the E. end was formerly partitioned off; the walls have exposed timber-framing and the ceiling has stop-chamfered beams resting on wall-posts with moulded corbels; in the E. wall are two original doors of reeded battens, and in the N. wall, at the W. end, is a late 16th-century doorway with a moulded frame, which formed the inner doorway of the former porch; near it, in the W. wall, is a similar doorway with a moulded panelled door; on the N. side is a late 16th-century fireplace of brick with a three-centred arch. Other rooms on the ground floor have exposed ceiling-beams and timber-framing. The original staircase has a central newel, but the lower flight has been altered and incorporates two late 16th-century turned balusters, not in situ. The former porch has, in the W. wall, a doorway with a late 16th-century moulded lintel. Some of the rooms in the upper floor and attics have exposed timber-framing and ceiling-beams. There are several original doors of reeded battens, and one of late 16th-century panelling. Two rooms have brick fireplaces with three-centred heads, and one room over the Hall has a fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. At the back of this fireplace is an enclosed space now entered from the adjoining staircase.
The Outbuilding, adjoining the S.W. angle of the house, is of two storeys; the walls of the lower storey are of brick and those of the upper storey of timber-framing with brick nogging; the roof is tiled. The structure was built late in the 16th century, but has been much repaired with modern brick. Inside the building, the ground floor has an open timbered ceiling.
Condition—Of house, good, much restored.
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. Many have original chimneystacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Unless specially noted, good or fairly good.
a(3). The Cross Keys Inn, 200 yards N. of the church. The walls are mainly of brick, and there is a band course between the storeys. There are modern additions on the W. and N. Inside the building is a carved console, not in situ.
a(4). House, now two tenements, opposite (3) and on the E. side of the road, with modern additions at the back. At each end of the front the upper storey projects and is gabled.
a(5). House, now three tenements, N. of (4), is of two storeys with attics. The front has the initials and date M.M. 1714, and there is a modern addition at the N. end.
a(6). Pennett's Farm, house, nearly 1 m. N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The N. end of the building formed the Hall and S. wing of a 15th-century house of which the N. wing has been pulled down. Early in the 17th century a long wing was added to the S., itself of T-shaped plan. There are modern additions on the E. side.
The original Hall is noteworthy as retaining its open roof.
On the W. front, the upper storey of the original S. wing formerly projected, but has been under-built. Inside the building, the former Hall, now an outbuilding, is of two bays with one original king-post truss; the cambered and chamfered tie-beam has curved braces, and the rebated king-post has four-way struts. In the staircase of the later wing is some late 16th and early 17th-century panelling, re-set.
a(7). The Plough Inn, about 11/8 m. N.W. of the church, was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N. There is a modern addition between the wings.
c(8). Weststock Farm, house, about 1½ m. W. of the church, is of T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the N. end. There is a modern addition on the E. side. The W. end of the cross-wing has two gables, one belonging to a staircase wing. The original central chimney-stack has four detached octagonal shafts on a square base.
b(9). Cottage, two tenements, on the W. side of the road, 650 yards S.S.E. of the church, with a modern extension at the E. end.
a(10). Mill Dam, S.E. of the Hall, a large millpond, is held up by a bank on the E. side. There are still remains of the mill, though the mill race is now blocked. S. of the pond is a deep ditch, 45 ft. wide, which partly encloses a large area.