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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77. RAMSEY. (F.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xx. S.E. (b)xxi. S.W.)
Ramsey is a parish and village on the S. of the Stour estuary, 3½ m. W.S.W. of Harwich. The church is the principal monument.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Michael stands E. of the village. The walls are probably of septaria and flint-rubble but except those of the tower they are covered with plaster; the dressings are of limestone, and the roofs are tiled. The Nave is of early 12th-century date. The Chancel was rebuilt in the 13th or 14th century. Early in the 15th century the West Tower was added and late in the same century the upper walls of the chancel were built. The tower was restored in the 17th century and the upper part rebuilt in the 18th century. The South Porch was rebuilt in 1816 and the church has since been restored.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 18¼ ft.) has a late 16th-century E. window of three square-headed and double-transomed lights with 13th-century splays. In the N. wall is a similar window, but of two transomed lights; further E. is the E. part of a 13th-century window with a two-centred head; at the W. end of the wall is a blocked square-headed window. In the S. wall is a window similar to that in the N. wall; further W. is an early 16th-century doorway, partly restored, with moulded jambs and five-centred arch; immediately W. of it is part of the rear-arch of a blocked doorway, probably of the 13th century; at the W. end of the wall is a blocked window similar to the corresponding window in the N. wall. The late 14th-century chancel-arch is partly restored; it is two-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals carved with half-angels and moulded bases; below the base on the N. side is a plinth.
The Nave (56½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has in the N. wall four windows; the easternmost is of early 14th-century date and of two pointed lights in a two-centred head; the second window is a single, 12th-century, round-headed light; the third window is of late 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a square head with a moulded label; the westernmost window is a 13th-century lancet; between the second and third windows is the early 12th-century N. doorway, partly restored; the round arch is of one plain order and the imposts have diaper ornament and a chamfered under-edge carved with zigzags: at the E. end of the wall is the late 15th or early 16th-century rood-loft staircase, set in a brick projection; the lower doorway has double-chamfered jambs, partly restored, and four-centred arch; the upper doorway has a square head. In the S. wall are four windows; the easternmost is of the 16th or 17th century, partly restored, of two square-headed lights; the second is of mid 14th-century date, partly restored, and of two pointed lights with uncusped tracery in a square head with a moulded label and grotesque headstops; the third window is of early 14th-century date, partly restored, and of two pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the westernmost window is similar to the third window in the N. wall; E. of it is the early 15th-century S. doorway, with jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label and head-stops; the inner order is carved with moons, stars, crowned initials I.M., heads, and leopards' heads, the outer order is carved with a Coronation of the Virgin, crowns and hanging shields; the label is carved with shields, winged hearts and leaves.
The West Tower is of three stages with a modern parapet. The early 16th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of two orders, the outer moulded and continuous, and the inner chamfered and resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window, of the same date but much restored, is of three ogee lights with plain vertical tracery in a four-centred head with moulded label; the early 16th-century W. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels and a moulded label. The second stage has in the N. and W. walls an early 16th-century window of one trefoiled light in a square head with a moulded label; the window in the S. wall was similar, but has now a 17th-century head to the light. The bell-chamber has 15th-century E., N. and W. windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label; the window in the S. wall is of 18th-century or modern date.
The Roof of the chancel is dated 1597 on the middle collar-beam; it is of four bays and of collar-beam type, at the junctions of principals and collars are carved double consoles with enriched spandrels; the collars and wall-plates are moulded and carved with running ornament. The roof of the nave is mostly modern, but incorporates some old material, including three tie-beams probably of the 17th century.
Fittings—Bells: five; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1638; 4th by John Darbie, 1676. Chest: In tower—plain, possibly 17th-century. Door: In S. doorway—with moulded frame and vertical fillets, shafts with moulded bases and capitals, cut from the solid, to support former figures, 15th-century, partly restored. Font: octagonal bowl, mostly re-cut, octagonal stem and moulded base, 15th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel— (1) to William Whitmore, 1678, with shield of arms; (2) to Penelope, his wife. Indent: In chancel—of inscription-plate. Niches: In nave— in E. wall, N. of chancel-arch, two, narrow with triangular heads, date uncertain. Paintings: In nave—on second and westernmost windows on N. side, remains of decorative designs, probably 15th-century. In nave—on S. wall, head of large figure with nimbus and remains of decorative band above; on W. jamb of second window, similar ornament, probably 15th-century. On soffit of middle tie-beam in nave, running stencilled ornament, 16th or 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—with triangular head and round drain, date uncertain. In nave—in S. wall, with chamfered jambs and cinquefoiled head, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1576, with modern base; Elizabethan cup and secular dish of 1707. Pulpit: octagonal, with modern stem and base, tub divided into three ranges with bolection-moulded panelling, enriched arcading and carved conventional foliage, respectively, early 17th-century. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall, with moulded cinquefoiled head and shafted jambs with moulded capitals and bases, 14th-century, possibly Easter sepulchre. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window, carried down to form seat. Stoup: In S. porch— with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. Miscellanea: In nave—in N. wall, sawn-off end of moulded rood-beam. In rood-loft staircase, architectural fragments of stonework; trefoiled head of window used as step in second stage of tower. In bell-chamber—carved on head of N. window, small mitre; on key-stone of W. window, I. H. S. monogram.
Condition—Generally good, but, of tower, bad.
a(2). Roydon Hall (Plate, p. 176), 1¾ m. W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built about the middle of the 16th century and has a 17th-century wing projecting S. from the E. end. The upper storey projects on the S. front and on the W. side of the S. wing. The W. end is of brick with octagonal turrets at the angles carried up as pinnacles with panelled sides; the gable has a moulded coping and a similar pinnacle at the apex; there are two blocked windows, each with a pediment and in the gable is a round opening. The chimney-stack on the N. side has two original octagonal shafts with panelled ornament and moulded capitals and bases. The E. end of the house is also of brick and retains the lower part of octagonal turrets similar to those at the W. end. The N.E. chimney-stack is original, with modern shafts. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and original chimney-stacks.
a(3). Stourwood Farm, house, ½ m. N.N.E. of (2), was built in the 17th century.
b(4). Bridgefoot Farm, house, about 600 yards W. of the church, was built early in the 16th century and has been refaced with modern brick. The doorway has moulded jambs and head carved with spiral leaf pattern. Inside the building the N.E. room has an original moulded and carved ceiling-beam and moulded joists; another room at the back also has moulded beams and joists.
b(5). Whitehouse Farm, house, 350 yards S.W. of (4), was built early in the 16th century, with a cross-wing at the S.W. end. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam and at the back is an original window of four lights, now blocked.
b(6). Mill Farm, house (Plate, p. 234), ¼ m. S.E. of (5), was built late in the 16th century. The walls are of original brick, except on the S.E. side, which is modern. On the N.W. front are two gables with moulded corbelling to the base of the parapets and octagonal pinnacles at the apex. The porch on this side has an original embattled parapet and a doorway with chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and moulded label. Two windows in the gables have original moulded labels.