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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36. GREAT HENNY. (B.b.)
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of flint-rubble with limestone dressings. The roofs are of tiles; the spire is covered with shingles. The two lower stages of the West Tower are perhaps of late 11th or early 12th-century date. The rest of the church consisting of Chancel, Nave and the upper part of the W. tower were apparently rebuilt about the middle of the 14th century. Early in the 16th century the South Porch was added. The church was restored in the 19th century when the E. wall was rebuilt and the North Vestry and Transept added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (34¼ ft. by 19½ ft.) has no ancient features, except the 14th-century splays and moulded rear-arch of the S.W. window and a 'low-side' loop further W. and probably of the same date.
The Nave (50 ft. by 20½ ft.) has in the N. wall two 14th-century windows, much restored and each of two pointed lights with a spandrel in a two-centred head with a moulded label; further W. is a 14th-century doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders and now blocked. In the S. wall are three windows, the eastern and westernmost are uniform with those in the N. wall; the middle window is of early 16th-century brick, partly restored, and of two four-centred lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. E. of the windows are the late 15th-century upper and lower doorways of the former rood-loft staircase; the lower is of brick with a four-centred head; the upper is similar but plastered and is now blocked. W. of the windows is the S. doorway uniform with the N. doorway but not blocked.
The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of three stages, undivided externally, and with a wooden cornice at the base of the spire. The tower-arch is modern. In the W. wall is a modern window. The second stage has in each of the N., S. and W. walls two internal recesses, with rough round heads and without dressings; they are of late 11th or early 12th-century date. The bell-chamber has in each wall a 14th-century window of one trefoiled light with a moulded label; below the window in the E. wall are the weatherings of a former gabled roof of the nave.
The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century and of four bays with moulded main timbers and curved braces springing from corbels carved with figures holding musical instruments; two of the trusses have queen-posts and curved braces to the collars. The early 16th-century roof of the S. porch has moulded and embattled wall-plates, a moulded and cambered tie-beam and a moulded ridge.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by Robert Burford, inscribed "Sancta Katrina Ora Por Nobis," early 15th-century; 2nd and 3rd by Miles Graye, 1655 and 1652 respectively. Brasses and Indent. Brasses: In chancel—on S. wall, (1) of William Fyscher and Anne, his wife, c. 1530, with figures of man and wife in civil dress, six sons and nine daughters. In nave—on S. wall, (2) to George Golding, 1617, inscription only. Indent: In tower —of brass (1). Chair: In vestry—with carved back, with enriched arched panel, turned legs, and shaped arms, early 17th-century. Chest: In tower—front with fluted pilasters and enriched arcaded panels enclosing inlaid ornament, moulded base and drop handles, 16th-century, partly restored, probably Italian. Door: In N. doorway —of battens with moulded fillets, probably 15th-century. Floor-slab: In nave—to Thomas Sewell, 1707, with shield of arms. Niche: In gable of porch—of brick with segmental-pointed head, early 16th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—double with shafted jambs and column having moulded capitals and bases, trefoiled heads, one sexfoiled and one octofoiled drain, early 14th-century, column modern. In nave—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and trefoiled head, sexfoiled drain, 14th century. Recess: In S. porch—in S. wall, squareheaded recess, date uncertain. Sedilia: In chancel —in recess with segmental-pointed arch, three stepped seats, probably 14th-century. Table: In vestry—with turned legs, late 17th-century. Scratchings: On jamb of S. doorway, crosses, etc.
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 and exposed ceiling-beams.