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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39. GREAT OAKLEY. (F.c.)
(1). Parish Church of All Saints stands W. of the village. The walls are of flint and septariarubble, with dressings of limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Nave is of the 12th century but has been lengthened at some uncertain period. Early in the 14th century the Chancel was rebuilt and probably late in the 15th century a W. tower was added. The West Tower was rebuilt in the 18th century and the church has been restored in modern times when the walls generally were refaced; the South Porch is an 18th-century addition.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (37½ ft. by 18 ft.) has an E. window of c. 1420 and of four cinquefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops; high in the wall is a small opening with a pointed head. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern is of the 14th century, much restored, and of one trefoiled light; the western window is of late 14th-century date and of two trefoiled ogee lights under a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label and defaced headstops; E. of the windows is a doorway of c. 1500 (Plate, p. 142), now blocked but formerly opening into a vestry; it has hollow-moulded jambs and four-centred arch, all enriched with carvings, heads in foliage, crowns and half-angels holding crowns or shields, the latter (a) a border, (b) a cross engrailed in a border engrailed. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is modern, except for the splays and rear-arch, which are probably of early 14th-century date; the middle window is of late 14th-century date and of one trefoiled light; the westernmost window is similar in form and date to the western window in the N. wall; between the two western windows is a late 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. The late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals.
The Nave (67 ft. by 21 ft.) has in the N. wall three windows, the easternmost is similar to the N. W. window of the chancel and is partly restored; the middle window is modern except for the 14th-century splays and rear-arch; the westernmost window is of mid 16th-century bricks and of three four-centred lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label; between the two western windows is a blocked 12th-century window of one round-headed light; the E. jamb of a similar window remains further E.; below the blocked window is the N. doorway of c. 1300 with double-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch, it is now blocked; at the E. end of the wall is the 15th-century rood-loft staircase; the lower doorway has hollowchamfered jambs and two-centred head carved with square flowers. In the S. wall are three windows, the two eastern are modern except for the early 14th-century splays and rear-arches; the westernmost window is of late 14th-century date, much restored and of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head, with a moulded label; E. of it is the late 14th-century S. doorway with double-chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and moulded label, with head-stops.
Fittings—Communion Table: with turned legs, panelled rail with jewel ornament and curved brackets, early 17th-century. Font: square bowl, each face with five round-headed panels, moulded lower edge, moulded base of Purbeck marble, late 12th-century, stem modern. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Elizabeth (Cole), wife of Rev. Richard Drake, 1706. In nave—(2) to Sara, daughter of Thomas Savell, 1619, white marble slab. Glass: In chancel—in S.W. window, fragments of tabernacle work, etc., late 14th-century. Indents: In chancel—(1) of figure, probably of woman under canopy, three shields and marginal inscription, 15th-century; (2) of figure; (3) defaced; (4) of foliated cross, enclosing shield, and marginal inscription, late 14th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—double, with moulded jambs and pointed heads under an ogee arch, octofoiled drains, 14th-century. In nave—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and two-centred head, octofoiled drain, mid 14th-century. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall, with plain square head, date uncertain. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat. Stoup: In S. porch—with reused trefoiled head, 14th-century. Tiles: In chancel—stamped with rose designs, mediaeval. Miscellanea: In walls of chancel—fragments of cheveron ornament, 12th-century; on sill of S.E. window, stone quatrefoiled panels, 15th-century.
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. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
(2). Cottage, on N. side of road, 700 yards E.N.E. of the church, was built in the 15th century. The upper storey projects on the S.E. side In the N.W. wall is an original two-light window. The king-post roof is original and of five bays.