An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3, North East. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1922.
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30. GOLDHANGER. (C.e.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xlv. S.E. (b)liv. N.E.)
Goldhanger is a village and parish on the N. side of the Blackwater estuary and 3½ m. E.N.E. of Maldon. The church is interesting.
b(1). During the excavation of a Red Hill in 1908 and 1909 near the outlet of the creek, in the northern part of Fish Pit Marsh, evidence of the intrusion of a Romano-British settler was disclosed. Below the extreme eastern edge of the red earth on the old salting surface was found a kitchen midden of considerable size, containing masses of oyster and mussel shells, animal bones, many of which had been cut and split, and Roman pottery, including "large jars with a heavy roll rim." Over this had been spread red earth from the mound on the west side, and over this again was a layer of brown mould. In the red earth and mould of the mound had been built some seven flues, and three or four fire-floors filled with Roman pottery. The flues were chiefly in parallel pairs, and were from 18 to 30 in. wide, 2 ft. deep and from 5 to 8 ft. long. They were carefully made and lined with puddled clay about an inch thick and were filled with black ash and burnt clay. Some of the flues were laid on the floors, some below them. The floors consisted of hard material burnt yellow, and from 1 to 3½ ft. in thickness, and measured from 9 ft. by 13 ft. to 12 ft. by 18 ft. 'Samian' and other ware, bones of domestic animals and shells were abundant in and about the flues, but details of the smaller finds are lacking, and the date of the occupation cannot be fixed. It was the opinion of the excavators that while the Red Hill itself had been built on the open marsh, the mould could only have formed after the sea-wall had been constructed. Hence they would assign a pre-Roman date to the Hill itself, and conjecture the seawall to have been built possibly in Roman times. The Roman occupation of a Red Hill, of which this is the only recorded instance, may possibly have been due to a recrudescence of the industry— whatever it may have been—with which the original formation of the Red Hill was connected. (Proc. Soc. Ant., XXIII, 69–76.) (See Sectional Preface, p. xxiii.)
b(2). Parish Church of St. Peter stands in the village. The walls are of coursed flint-rubble with dressings of Roman brick and limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built in the 12th century and there are some indications that a S. aisle existed at the same time. The South Aisle was probably rebuilt late in the 14th century. In the second half of the 15th century the West Tower was added and the W. end of the church rebuilt. The South Chapel was added shortly afterwards. The church was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries when the chancelarch and S. arcade were rebuilt and the South Porch added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 16½ ft.) has E. quoins of Roman brick. The E. window is modern. In the N. wall is a 12th-century window with jambs and round head of Roman brick. In the S. wall is a late 15th-century four-centred arch of two moulded orders; the responds have semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The chancel-arch is modern.
The South Chapel (20 ft. by 11¾ ft.) has in the E. and S. walls a window all modern or completely restored.
The Nave (45¾ ft. by 18½ ft.) has in the N. wall three windows, the easternmost and westernmost are modern; the middle window is of the 12th century and is similar to that in the N. wall of the chancel; between the two western windows is the N. doorway, possibly of the 12th century but much altered and with a two-centred arch of the 15th century. The E. quoins of the wall are of Roman brick. The S. arcade is modern.
The South Aisle (10¼ ft. wide) has in the S. wall two modern windows; between them is the late 14th-century S. doorway, partly restored, and with stop-moulded jambs and two-centred arch with a moulded label.
The West Tower (10 ft. square) is of the 15th century and of three stages, with an embattled parapet. The two centred tower-arch is of two hollow-chamfered orders; the responds have each a half-round shaft with moulded capital and base. In the N. wall is the doorway to the turret staircase, with a two-centred head. The W. window is of two cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; below it is the W. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label. The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a window of one trefoiled light. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded label and partly restored.
The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century and of three bays with moulded wall-plates, and tie-beams with curved braces and king-posts with four-way struts. The ground stage of the tower has 15th-century moulded ceiling-beams.
Fittings—Bells: six; 4th by Miles Graye, 1652. Brass: See Monument. Door: In second stage of tower—of battens with strap-hinges, probably 15th-century. Monument: In S. chapel—in N.E. angle to [Thomas Heigham, 1531, and Alys, Awdrie, and Frances, his wives] altar-tomb of Purbeck marble, sides, of disarranged stones, panelled with cinquefoiled and traceried heads and traces of former buttresses, each bay on S. side with shields having defaced charges (a) a pall with a cross erect; (b) a fesse between three (roses ?); (c) a cheveron between three . . . . . . ; on N. side one plain shield and one with the letters IHC; slab with moulded edge and brass figure of woman in pedimental head-dress, indents of man in armour and two other wives and four shields of arms; inserted later at top, brass inscription to Anthony Heyham, 1540, and Anne, his wife, with two shields of arms inserted in earlier indents—(a) a cheveron, over all a bend (b) (a) impaling a lion within a border engrailed; tomb either rebuilt or made up of pieces from another monument. Painting: slight traces on roof timbers of nave. Piscinae: In chancel—with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, foliated drain, probably 13th-century. In S. chapel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and ogee head, octofoiled drain, 15th-century. Miscellanea: In chancel—W. of S. arch, piece of carving with figures of angel bearing away soul of a bearded man, ivy foliage and dragon, possibly 14th-century, but of doubtful antiquity.
b(3). Cobb's Farm, house, ¾ m. W.S.W. of the church, was built in the 17th century but has been almost entirely rebuilt except for the central chimney-stack.
a(4). Falcon's Hall Farm, house, about ½ m. N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and plastered, and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The upper storey projects at the N. end of the cross-wings; the gable of the W. wing also projects and has a moulded and carved bressumer; in the wall of the ground floor is an original window with moulded mullions and now blocked. Two chimney-stacks are of the 17th century and have diagonal shafts. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams and some 16th-century doors with strap-hinges. The roof of the W. wing has curved braces to the tie-beams and curved wind-braces.
a(5). Folly Faunts Farm, house, 200 yards E. of (3), is of two storeys with attics. The walls are timber-framed and the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century and has a modern block on the S. front. The wing at the back was added c. 1700. Inside the building, is some exposed timber-framing and some of the ceiling-beams are also exposed.
Condition—Good, much altered.
b(6). Red Hill, in Fish Pit Marsh, west of Goldhanger Creek. There are many others along the line of the sea-wall.