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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38. GREAT HORKESLEY. (C.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xviii. N.E. (b)xviii. S.E.)
Great Horkesley is a parish 4 m. N.N.W. of Colchester. The church and the desecrated chapel (now a cottage) are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of All Saints stands in the N. part of the parish. The walls are of limestone and flint-rubble with some pudding-stone and septaria; the dressings are of limestone and brick and the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built in the 12th century. In the 14th century the Chancel was rebuilt, the North Vestry and Chapel added and the West Tower built. Early in the 15th century the North Aisle and arcade were built and later in the same century the South Porch was added. The church was restored in the 19th century when the chancel-arch was rebuilt.
The detail of the N. arcade is interesting.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24½ ft. by 15¼ ft.) has a 15th-century E. window of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical and embattled tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops. In the N. wall is a 14th-century archway, partly restored; it is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; further E. is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and moulded label. In the S. wall are two 15th-century windows, the eastern is of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; the western is similar but is continued down below an embattled transom with cinquefoiled heads beneath it; between the windows is a 15th-century doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label and quatrefoiled spandrels. The chancel-arch is modern.
The North Vestry has in the E. wall a window all modern except the moulded internal lintel which is perhaps of the 16th century. The late 15th-century N.E. diagonal buttress has a moulded plinth with quatrefoiled panels enclosing a shield and two roses.
The North Chapel (14¼ ft. by 15¼ ft.) has in the N. wall two 14th-century windows each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; between them is a buttress similar to that of the vestry and with two shields of the Trinity and St. George and a rosette. In the W. wall is a 15th-century archway, four-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; S. of it is a squint.
The Nave (40¼ ft. by 19 ft.), has an early 15th-century N. arcade (Plate, p. 126) of three bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders and a label on the S. side with head-stops; the inner order of the arches is carved with square flowers and bosses of foliage, shields with (a) five bells and (b) five chalices and hosts, crowns, an angel, man's head and a woman's head with head-dress of the period; the moulded columns have each four moulded and attached shafts with moulded capitals alternately plain and embattled, and moulded bases; the responds have each one attached shaft; piers and responds have been partly restored; E. of the arcade is a modern opening. In the S. wall are two much restored 15th-century windows each of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label; further W. is the 15th-century S. doorway with moulded and shafted jambs and two-centred arch with a moulded label and angel stops; the doorway has small square flowers carved in the hollow mouldings. The buttresses are similar to that of the N. vestry and carved with rosettes on the plinth; the S.W. angle of the nave has 12th-century quoins.
The North Aisle (17¼ ft. wide), is of the 15th century and has in the N. wall two windows similar to those in the nave and partly restored; further W. is the N. doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch with a moulded label. In the W. wall is a window uniform with those in the N. wall.
The West Tower (10½ ft. square) is of four stages the three lower of the 14th century and the uppermost of late 15th-century date with an embattled parapet. The tower-arch is two-centred and of one plain order and above it is the 12th-century window of the former nave and of one pointed light. The W. window is partly restored and of two pointed lights in a two-centred head. The second stage has in the N. and S. walls a single-light window with a two-centred head. The third stage has in each wall a single-light window with a two-centred head, all blocked and only the E. window showing externally. The bell-chamber has in each wall a late 15th-century window originally of two cinquefoiled lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label, but with mullion, etc., mostly broken away.
The South Porch is of late 15th-century date, much restored and of timber on modern dwarf walls. The outer archway is modern but above it is a moulded and embattled lintel. The side walls have each seven open lights with moulded mullions and cinquefoiled and traceried heads.
The Roof of the chancel is of mid 15th-century date and of two bays; it is of braced collar-beam type with moulded main timbers, curved braces forming two-centred arches with moulded pendants and springing from moulded and embattled corbels. The flat 15th-century roof of the N. chapel has curved braces to the principals and wall-posts resting on embattled stone corbels carved with heads; the moulded and embattled wall-plates have carved flowers. The early 15th-century roof of the nave is of braced collar-beam type and of three bays with moulded main timbers; the braces form two-centred arches and spring from wall-posts standing on stone corbels carved with heads, etc.; one wall-post has a figure holding a shield. The 15th-century roof of the N. aisle is of three bays and similar to that of the N. chapel but with intermediate tie-beams and moulded main timbers.
Fittings—Bells: six; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1679; 4th and 9th from the Bury Foundry, late 15th or early 16th-century, and inscribed respectively "Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis" and "Virgo Nos Ad Regna Coronata Duc Beata." Chair: In chancel —with richly carved and inlaid back, carved arms and turned legs, early 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In tower—tapering slab with double hollowchamfered edge, 13th-century. Communion Table: In vestry—with turned legs, late 17th-century. Doors: In chancel—in doorway to vestry, of overlapping battens with moulded frame planted on, strap-hinges, probably 14th-century. In nave—in S. doorway, of overlapping battens with strap-hinges, 15th-century. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Samuel Gibbs, 1692, with shield of arms. Font-cover: modern, but incorporating pierced and traceried panels, crocketed canopy, heads, etc., 15th-century. Glass: In N. aisle, in N.W. window, coloured fragments. Indents: In chancel—(1) of foliated cross springing from beast, marginal inscription in single Lombardic capitals "Dominus (?) Richardus Oliver quondam huius ecclesie rector qui obiit 11 die Junii Anno Domin MCCCX(X ?) VI (I?)." In nave—(2) of inscription-plate. Piscinae: In chancel—with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, quatrefoiled drain, 14th-century. In N. chapel—in E. wall, with two-centred head and multifoiled drain, 14th-century. In N. aisle—in front of squint, pillar-piscina with scalloped capital and chamfered shaft, square drain, 12th-century. Pulpit: octagonal with band of carved vine ornament at top, moulded panels in lower stage, carved arcaded panels above, early 17th-century. Sundial: On Nave buttress—scratched circle with Roman numerals.
b(2). Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin (Plate, p. 127), now a cottage, 1 m. S.S.E. of the church. The walls are of red brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 15th century, the eastern part forming the chapel and the western part a priest's house of two storeys. The walls have a moulded plinth and crow-stepped gables at the E. and W. ends. In the E. wall is a large blocked window with a two-centred head; above it, in the gable, is a small niche with a cinquefoiled head. In the N. wall is an original doorway of stone with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a square moulded label and spandrels carved with foliage, a shield and a rose; further W. is a window with a cinquefoiled head and now blocked. In the S. wall are two modern windows with traces of old openings above them; between them are remains of the moulded label of the S. doorway. At the W. end is a chimney-stack with two shafts, set diagonally; further S. is a blocked window with a two-centred head.
Inside the building the division between the chapel and house has been removed on the ground floor, but the moulded head of the former partition remains; the upper storey of the house projected into the chapel and the moulded joists of this projection remain. In the S. wall is an original piscina with a four-centred head, and a cinquefoiled drain with a carved boss in the middle. The roof of the chapel has collar-beams and chamfered wind-braces; in the S.E. angle is a carved corbel.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Many of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
b(3). The Causeway, house, two tenements, 320 yards S. of (2).
b(4). Barrack Yard (Plate, p. 189), house, four tenements, 220 yards S. of (3), was built in the 15th century and is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S. Inside the building is an original king-post roof-truss.
b(5). Woodlands, house, 120 yards N.E. of (4), was built in the 15th century with cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. It has been much altered but the roof has remains of the original king-post trusses.
b(6). New Barn, house, 300 yards W. of (3).
b(7). Knight's Farm, house, about 1,000 yards W.S.W. of (6).
b(8). Cottage, near Mount Hall, and 750 yards S.W. of the church.
b(9). The Grove, house, 1,000 yards S.S.E. of the church, has been almost completely altered and refaced. There is an original chimney-stack with three grouped diagonal shafts.
b(10). Grove Cottage, two tenements, 100 yards N.E. of (9), was built in the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. In the 17th century the space between the wings was filled in. Inside the building is a blocked doorway with a four-centred head.
b(11). Whitehouse Farm (Plate, p. xxxi), house, 100 yards E.S.E. of (10), was built early in the 16th century with cross-wings at the N. and W. ends. The upper storey projects at the W. end of the cross-wings. Inside the building one room has original moulded ceiling-beams and hollowchamfered joists.
b(12). Hospytt, house, 300 yards S. of (11), was built in the 16th century or earlier with a cross-wing at the E. end.
b(13). Baytree Farm (Plate, p. xxx), house, ¼ m. N.E. of (11), was built in the 15th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the cross-wings and the whole of the timber-framing is exposed on the S. front.
b(14). House, opposite (13), was built in the 15th century with a cross-wing at the S.W. end. There it a 17th-century addition, possibly on the site of the other cross-wing. The upper storey projects at the S.E. end of the cross-wing. Inside the building is an original doorway with a four-centred head. The cross-wing has an original roof with a king-post truss.
b(15). Rookery Farm, house, ¼ m. E. of (14).
a(16). Potter's Farm, house, 600 yards N.N.E. of (15), was built possibly in the 15th century but has been much altered. The 17th-century chimney-stack has two grouped diagonal shafts.
a(17). Ridgenall, house, 300 yards W. of (16). has a mid 16th-century N. wing and an L-shaped 17th-century addition to the S. of it. The rest of the building is modern. Inside the building are two original moulded ceiling-beams and some 17th-century panelling.
a(18). Whitepark Farm, house, nearly ¾ m. N.E. of the church, was built in the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. The central chimney-stack has four grouped diagonal shafts.
a(19). Bridge House, 1 m. N. by E. of the church, was built probably early in the 16th century. The upper storey formerly projected in front, but has been under-built. Inside the building the W. room has original moulded ceiling-beams and joists.
b (20). Pitchbury Ramparts, in Pitchbury Wood, about 2 m. S. of the church, are the N. end of a large camp, roughly oval in shape, and defended by a double rampart and ditch. The defences are well preserved in the wood, the inner rampart being 10 ft. above the ditch, which is 60 ft. wide from crest to crest, but the greater part of the work has been almost obliterated by the plough, and is now only faintly discernible in a large field S. of the wood. The camp appears to have been 800 ft. long and 600 ft. wide. (Plan over page.)