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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50. LANGHAM. (D.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xix. N.W. (b)xix. S.W.)
Langham is a parish and small village 6 m. N.N.E. of Colchester. The church and Valley House are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate, p. 148) stands on the N. side of the parish. The walls are mostly of pebble-rubble with much iron pudding-stone in the extension of the chancel. The dressings are of limestone and oolite. The roofs are tiled. Part of the N. wall of the Nave and the W. part of the Chancel are probably of the 12th century. The lower part of the West Tower is perhaps of the 13th century. Early in the 14th century the whole church was remodelled, the chancel extended towards the E., the chancelarch rebuilt and subsequently widened, the S. wall being splayed to meet it, the South Aisle and arcade rebuilt, and the W. tower remodelled and heightened. The top stage of the tower appears to be a different ' build ' and may be rather later in date. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the North and South Porches were added.
The church contains some fairly good 14th-century detail.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 16¾ ft.) has a 14th-century E. window of three cinquefoiled lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and headstops. In the N. wall are two windows, the first is of early 14th-century date, much restored, and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a modern label; the western is a small single-pointed light probably of 12th-century origin but entirely restored. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is uniform with the corresponding window in the N. wall; the western (in the splayed wall) is similar to the eastern but with a moulded rear-arch and internal label with head-stops, one with a hood and one crowned; there is also a moulded external label. Between them is a 14th-century doorway with double-chamfered jambs and moulded two-centred arch and label with grotesque beast-stops. The early 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and restored bases and a restored moulded band-course and a moulded label; the capitals have a band of diapered flowers.
The Nave (52 ft. by 22¾ ft.) has Roman brick quoins at the N.E. angle, probably part of the 12th-century building. In the N. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of early 14th-century date and of two plain pointed lights with a spandrel in a two-centred head and with moulded jambs, rear-arch and label with head and beast-stops. The second window is similar in detail and tracery to the S.E. window of the chancel, but is of two cinquefoiled lights, partly restored. The western window is uniform with the second; between them is the 14th-century N. doorway, with restored jambs and double-chamfered two-centred arch with a moulded label.
The S. Arcade is of the 14th century and of six bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases; the bays are small and the arches partly restored.
The South Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has in the E. wall a 14th-century window of five trefoiled ogee lights and tracery in a square head, with moulded jambs and mullions. In the S. wall are four windows, the easternmost is early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with moulded jambs and label with head-stops; the second is similar to the N.E. window in the nave but with a moulded label and head-stops; the third and fourth windows are of early 14th-century date and similar to the chancel windows; between the second and third windows is the 14th-century S. doorway, with modern jambs and moulded two-centred arch with a moulded label and head-stops. In the W. wall is a 14th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label, one head and one dragon stop.
The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is possibly of the 13th century, with an added 14th-century bell-chamber. It is of four stages with a late 16th or early 17th-century brick parapet with crude crocketed pinnacles at the angles. The two-centred 14th-century tower-arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window is of one trefoiled ogee light with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops. The second stage has in the W. wall a window of one trefoiled ogee light with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label, one beast-head and one human head-stop. The third stage has in each wall a window of one trefoiled light with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a similar but smaller window.
The Roof of the nave is of the 14th century and of trussed-rafter type, with moulded wall-plates. The weathering of an earlier and higher roof remains on the E. face of the tower.
Fittings— Bells: six; 4th by Miles Graye, 1618. Chests: In S. aisle—heavy dug-out with small compartment in middle and money slot, lock gone, 12th or 13th-century. In nave—framed, with panelled lid, date uncertain. Coffin-lids: In churchyard—W. of tower, (1) part of tapering slab, with hollow-chamfered edge and base of cross, 13th-century; (2) with traces of cross; (3) plain slab. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In S. aisle—in S. wall, (1) tomb-recess with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed head with moulded label, recess set in an external projection, early 14th-century. In churchyard—S.W. of tower, (2) to Joseph Downes, 1714, and Debora, his wife, 1726, head-stone. Floor-slabs: In chancel—against N. wall, (1) to Jacob Nurth, 1714; against S. wall, (2) to Sir Arqlus Umfrevile, 1696, with two shields of arms. Piscinae: In chancel—with hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred head, quatrefoiled drain, 14th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, with re-cut jambs and head, septfoiled drain, 14th-century. Seating: In chancel—reused in stalls, moulded rails and shaped bench-ends (Plate, p. 181), with popey-heads, two ends carved with crowns and rampant leopards and with angels holding scrolls on the popey-heads, early 16th-century.
a(2). Panelling, etc., at Langham Hall, 250 yards W. of the church. A number of rooms in the modern house are lined with 16th and 17th-century panelling. There are also two fireplaces of c. 1600 and an early 16th-century beam carved with running foliage. All these are said to have been brought from neighbouring houses.
a(3). Valley House, (Plates, pp. 101, 176) nearly 1 m. W.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 16th century and is rectangular with a large early 17th-century staircase-wing projecting towards the N.
The staircase is a fine example of the period.
On the S. front is an early 17th-century porch (Plate, p. 101), much restored, but with an original carved lintel over the outer archway and four large carved brackets with voluted ornament; the inner doorway has an original moulded frame with carved stops. The brick staircase wing has early 17th-century windows with square heads and moulded labels and there are three chimney-stacks of the same date, each with three octagonal shafts with moulded caps and bases. Inside the building the entrance hall has original carved wall-plates and the western room has moulded ceiling-beams. There are several doorways with three-centred heads and a fireplace with chamfered jambs and four-centred head. There is also an original door of nail-studded battens. The early 17th-century staircase (Plates, pp. 7, 101) has a square well, symmetrically turned balusters and moulded hand-rails and strings; the newels are richly carved and are surmounted by moulded and carved vases, the lowest one ending in a terminal figure.
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. Several of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceilingbeams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(4). Church Farm, house, N. of the church, has a cross-wing at the E. end. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the cross-wing. The porch on the S. side is of two storeys and has an original bressumer carved with leaf ornament.
a(5). Broomhouse (Plate, p. xxxi), 1,100 yards N.N.W. of the church, was built probably early in the 16th century, with cross-wings on the E. and W. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the E. cross-wing.
a(6). House, now two tenements, about ½ m. S.W. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century with cross-wings on the E. and W. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the E. cross-wing and the timber-framing is exposed at each end of the house.
a(7). Glebe Farm, house, ½ m. S.S.W. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the S. end. The upper storey projects at the E. end of the cross-wing.
a(8). Priory Farm, house, ¼m. S.S.W. of (7), has a cross-wing at the W. end.
a (9). Cottage, 120 yards S.W. of (8), was built in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the W. end. The upper storey projects at the S. end of the cross-wing. Inside the building the roof has cambered tie-beams with curved braces.
b(10). Langford Hall, about ¼ m. S. of (9), was built probably in the 16th century. The upper storey projects on the S. and W. sides and has a moulded diagonal angle-bracket.
a(11). Hill Farm, house, about 1¼m. S.W. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S. The original chimney-stack has two octagonal shafts. Inside the building is some original panelling and a fireplace with a richly carved overmantel with two arcaded panels and flanking pilasters. There are three old panelled doors.
a (12). Wybourne, house, 600 yards S.E. of (11), was built early in the 16th century and is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S. The upper storey formerly projected at the E. end. Inside the building are some shaped wall-posts and an original cambered tie-beam.
a (13). House, now two tenements, 350 yards S. of (12).
b (14). House, now two tenements, W. of (13).
b(15). House, now two tenements, at Langham Moor and 750 yards S.W. of (14).
b (16). Chaplin's Farm, house, 90 yards N.W. of (15), has a S. wing of 16th-century date. The main block is of the 17th century.
b (17). Woodhouse Farm, house, 170 yards S.S.W. of (16).
b(18). Langham Lodge Farm, house, nearly 1 m. S. of (17). The upper storey projects on one side.