Little Horkesley

Pages 169-172

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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(O.S. 6 in. (a)xviii. N.E. (b)xviii. S.E.)

Little Horkesley is a parish on the right bank of the Stour, 5 m. N.N.W. of Colchester. The principal monuments are the church, Josselyns and Lower Dairy Farm.


a(1). Parish Church Of SS. Peter and Paul stands on the E. side of the parish. The walls are probably of rubble, but are covered externally with Roman cement; the rubble of the tower is much mixed with brick; the dressings are of limestone and the roofs are lead-covered. The Priory of Little Horkesley was founded temp. Henry I by Robert, son of Godebold, and Beatrice, his wife, for Cluniac monks and as a cell to the priory of Thetford. There is no remaining work of this period, except perhaps the N. wall of the Nave, which is 3 ft. thick. About 1340 the West Tower was built and a South Aisle added; the W. wall of the existing aisle is of this date (see Scratchings). About the middle of the 15th century the S. arcade was built or rebuilt and the South Chapel and Aisle rebuilt. Early in the 16th century a N. chapel was added and the South Porch built. The priory was suppressed in 1525. It appears probable that the priory chapel extended E. from the existing chancel and that the cloister lay to the N. of it with the domestic buildings on the site of the existing house (2). There is no evidence of cloister or adjoining buildings on the N. side of the existing nave. If the priory chapel extended E. then the E. wall of the existing parish Chancel must be of post-suppression date. The S. porch was largely rebuilt probably in the 18th century. The church was extensively restored in the 19th century when the North Chapel was rebuilt.

The church though much restored is interesting as the parochial portion of a small monastic church. Among the fittings is a fine series of Brasses and Monuments.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (24½ ft. by 19 ft.) has an E. window, all modern except the splays and hollow-chamfered segmental-pointed rear-arch, possibly of early 16th-century date. In the N. wall is an early 16th-century arch, four-centred and of three orders, the two outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases, all much scraped: the E. capital is modern; further W. is a doorway with wave-moulded jambs and four-centred arch entirely re-cut; further W. is a modern arch. In the S. wall is a low four-centred arch of the 15th century, over a tomb, with stop hollow-chamfered jambs and arch. Further W. is the first bay of the arcade (see Nave). The clearstorey has on the N. side two windows, each of two trefoiled lights in a four-centred head and both much restored.

The Nave (31¼ ft. by 21 ft.) has in the N. wall two windows, the eastern is modern except for the E. splay and two-centred, hollow-chamfered rear-arch which are probably 14th-century; the western is modern except for the splays and hollow-chamfered, segmental-pointed rear-arch which are probably of the 16th century; E. of the windows are the upper and lower doorways and the rood-loft staircase in the thickness of the wall; the lower doorway has a square and the upper a rounded head, and the stairs are of brick, all of early 16th-century date. The S. arcade (overlapping the chancel by one bay) is of four bays and of mid 15th-century date; the two-centred arches are of two moulded orders and the piers have each four attached shafts with moulded capital and bases; the moulded responds have each one attached shaft.

The North Chapel is modern, but reset in the N. wall is a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head; the mullion and middle part are modern.

The South Chapel and Aisle (12½ ft. wide) are without structural division. In the E. wall is a window, modern except the splays and hollowchamfered segmental-pointed rear-arch. In the S. wall are four windows, all modern except the splays and segmental-pointed rear-arches and parts of the moulded labels of the two western, which are of the 15th century; further W. is the 15th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label with angel stops and spandrels carved with foliage and a rose. In the W. wall is a window, all modern except the splays, which have (on N. splay) the same mason's mark as the tower, and are therefore of the 14th century.

The West Tower (11 ft. by 12 ft.) is of three stages with a modern embattled parapet and is of c. 1340. The tower-arch is two-centred and of one continuous hollow-chamfered order. In the N. wall is a doorway to the stair-turret, with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; further W. is another similar but larger doorway with the rebate on the outside. In the S. wall is an arch similar but lower than the tower-arch. The W. window is modern except the splays; the W. doorway has double hollow-chamfered jambs and restored two-centred arch with a moulded label and head-stops. The second stage has in the S. and W. walls a window of one plain pointed light. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinquefoiled ogee lights with flowing tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the S. and W. windows have been restored externally.

Little Horkesley, the Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

The South Porch has a modern outer archway and openings in the side walls; the early 16th-century roof has moulded and embattled wallplates and cambered tie-beam at the S. end, also moulded and embattled.

Fittings—Altar: In chancel—under communion table, slab, broken in three pieces, and formerly used as threshold, three incised consecrationcrosses, back part cut away. Bells: five; 2nd by Miles Graye, 1686; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1615; 5th by John Bird, 15th-century and inscribed " Eternis Annis Resonet Campana Johannis." Bracket: In chancel—on E. respond of N. arch, early 16th-century, scraped. Brasses and Indent. Brasses: In S. chapel—(1) of [Katherine? Leventhorp, 1502], figure in shroud with shield of arms— quarterly 1 and 4 a bend gobony between two cotises, 2 and 3 a fesse engrailed between three bulls' heads cut off at the neck, indent of inscription-plate; (2) shield of arms, fretty on a chief three roundels, indents of figure of woman and inscription-plate; (3) of John, 1430, and Andrew Swynborne, 1418, mutilated marginal inscription and indents of two figures in armour, four shields and evangelistic symbols. Indents: In S. chapel—(1) of shield and inscription-plate; (2) of shield. See also Monuments (1), (2), (3). Chest: In vestry—of oak, bound with iron and 6½ ft. long, two round lock plates and money-slot, 16th-century, lid partly repaired. Coffin-lids: In S. chapel—(1) part of slab with raised cross and 'omega' ornament, 13th-century, also detached portion with similar ornament. In S. porch (2) and (3), plain tapering slabs, one much broken. Coffin-stool: In S. chapel—with carved rail and brackets and turned legs, 17th-century. Font: plain octagonal bowl, stem and base on one step; remains of red colour; hard limestone, 15th-century. Font-cover: of oak (covered with modern paint) in three stages; octagonal base with cresting, lowest stage with traceried projections; middle stage with canopied niches divided by buttresses and having pinnacles and crocketed finials; top stage with range of crocketed gables and above them a central crocketed spire; early 16th-century, partly restored. Glass: In S. chapel—in E. window, tracery lights, fragments and roundels with blue and green borders and large initials M, S, M, W, also two suns in splendour, 15th-century. In S. aisle—in S.E. window, in tracery, oak foliage in white and yellow, fragments and four roundels as above, with initials M, I, B, S. In heads of lights, three scrolls with remains of black-letter inscriptions, 15th-century. Lectern: made up of 15th-century tracery probably from a screen. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel— on N. side, (1) of Brygete, wife successively of Thomas Fyndorne, and John, Lord Marney, 1549, low altar-tomb with moulded slab inlaid with brass figure of woman in pedimental head-dress and heraldic mantle with the arms of Waldegrave quartering Montchensy, and figures of two husbands in armour with tabards of arms: (a) Fyndorne, and (b) Marney quartering Sergeaux and Venables; two shields of the arms (a) and (b) impaling Waldegrave quartered with Montchensy; on S. side —(2) altar-tomb with moulded base and slab and indents of figures of man in armour and wife, double canopy, inscription-plate, six shields and several monograms, c. 1425. In S. chapel—(3) of Sir Robert Swynborne, 1391, and his son, Sir Thomas Swynborne, 1412, lord of Hammes, mayor of Bordeaux and captain of Fronsac, low altar-tomb with moulded slab inlaid with large brass figures (Plate, p. 171) of two men in armour, one in camail, jupon and hip-belt, the other in complete plate with SS. collar, palettes, taces, diagonal sword-belt, etc., elaborate triple-arched canopies with middle and side standards, the latter with five attached shields of arms—(a) crusily three boars' heads; (b) paly wavy; (c) as (a); (d) a scutcheon in an orle of owls; (e) a fesse between two cheverons, indents of ten shields on sides of tombs; (4) oak effigy (Plate, p. 170) of man in mail armour with legs crossed, long surcoat, knee-cops, feet on lion, and the whole on a moulded oak slab, c. 1250, much broken; (5) similar figure of oak (Plate, p. 170), with remains of shield on left arm, and hands of figures formerly supporting head, crossed legs, feet on lion, c. 1270; (6) oak effigy (Plate, p. 170) of woman, with head on two cushions supported by angels, feet against two dogs, long gown, wimple and veil, chamfered oak board, late 13th-century, much decayed; (7) loose in S. chapel, part of side of altar-tomb of Purbeck marble, with cusped panelling enclosing shields with rivets of former brasses, late 15th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Elizabeth, wife of Edward Husbands, 1687, and to Elizabeth, their daughter, 1707; (2) to Azariah Husbands, 1666; (3) to Elizabeth, wife of Richard Knight and widow of Azariah Husbands, 1684, also to Azariah Husbands, —76; (4) to Susanna, daughter of Thomas Lock, 1649; (5) to Anne Gardiner, 1706; (6) to Audery (Wates), wife of William Lynne, 1625, John Lynne, 1680, and Jacob Lynne. 1708. In nave—(7) to Margaret, wife of Thomas Smith, 1641. Niches: In nave—in E. jamb of N.E. window, shallow, with 14th-century trefoiled head not fitting the recess, recess plastered with remains of red colour, 15th-century. In S. aisle—in E. splay of middle window, plain plastered niche as in nave, but with restored pointed head, 15th-century. Paintings: In S. aisle—on E. splay of S.W. window, remains of conventional ornament, uncertain date. Piscina: In S. chapel—in S. wall, plain plastered niche with two-centred head, date uncertain. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten and flagon of 1705, paten of 1684 and dated 1685, all pieces have original cases with stamped leather lining. Scratchings: On tower arches and on N. splay of W. window of aisle, several mason's marks, all the same, 14th-century. Screen: Between S. chapel and aisle—of five bays, one forming doorway, with moulded rail, buttressed posts and moulded head with carved flowers and cresting, side bays with double cinquefoiled and traceried heads, trefoiled and sub-cusped head to doorway with remains of pendant in middle, close lower panels with two groups of six round holes for peepholes, 15th-century, partly restored. Between the chancel and N. chapel, grille of wrought iron forming a screen, standards with fleur-de-lis heads and attached to each other by curved ornamental ironwork, late 17th-century. Table: In vestry— with fluted top-rail, shaped brackets and turned legs, c. 1660. Miscellanea: In porch—nine carved heads from label-stops, etc., 14th and 15th-century.

Condition—Good, much restored.


Monuments (2–7).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good.

a(2). Priory Farm, house, N.E. of the church, was built probably late in the 16th century but may occupy the site of the priory buildings. In an addition on the N. side is a reset original window of five lights with moulded mullions.

a(3). Josselyns (Plate, p. xxx), house, nearly ½ m. N.N.E. of the church, was built probably late in the 15th or early in the 16th century, with a central hall and cross-wings at the N.E. and S.W. ends. In the 16th or 17th century the S.W. cross-wing was included in the main block and large additions made on the N.E. and S.E. The timberframing is exposed throughout the house. The upper storey projects on the N.W. front of the original house, on curved brackets; the doorway has original moulded jambs and a door with moulded fillets, planted on. Inside the building is some 17th-century panelling and a mutilated overmantel with two arched panels and inlaid ornament. On the first floor one room has the walls largely covered with stencilled decoration of c. 1600 in red, blue and brown; above the fireplace in another room are remains of painted decoration. The roof of the main block has remains of the original construction and the N.E. cross-wing has a king-post roof-truss.

a(4). Cottage, 110 yards N.E. of (3), on opposite side of road, was built early in the 17th century and has exposed timber-framing.

a(5). Lower Dairy Farm (Plate, p. xxx), house, ¼ m. N.E. of (4), was built c. 1601, with a cross-wing at the S. end. The timber-framing is exposed and the cross-wing has original bressumers to the first floor and to the projecting gable, carved with foliage, conventional monsters and the date and initials 1601, I. H. K.; each floor has a pair of original windows of three and four lights, now blocked; the gable has an original barge-board carved with running foliage. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

b(6). Cottage (Plate, p. 188), 250 yards S.S.E. of the church, was built c. 1600. The upper storey projects on the S. front on curved brackets. The original central chimney-stack has six dwarf octagonal shafts with moulded bases.

b(7). Hammond's Farm, house, 1¼ m. S. of the church, was built probably in the 17th century. The upper storey projects in front.