Pages 193-195

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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In this section

78. RIVENHALL. (B.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxiv. N.E. (b)xxxv. N.W. (c)xxxv. S.W.)

Rivenhall is a parish 2 m. N. of Witham. The church and Rivenhall Place are the principal monuments.


c(1). A large house existed near a stream at the lower end of the field E. of the church. It was opened during draining works in 1846 and again in 1894, but unfortunately has never been properly excavated. A red tessellated pavement 400 ft. long and 4½ ft. wide, presumably belonging to a corridor, with concrete foundation 18 in. thick, was found with other foundations, marble tesserae, hypocaust tiles, bits of coloured wall stucco, pottery and coins of Hadrian and Probus. Pieces of tile and pottery have been found in the churchyard and school garden adjoining.

The Roman brick at Faulkbourne and in the walls of Witham church, and the burials noted at Kelvedon may be connected with this building. (Brit. Arch. Assoc. Jour., 1846, II, 281, 339; Gent's. Mag., 1847, I, 185; Essex Rev., 1894, III, 145, quoting Chelmsford Chron., 15th May, 1846.) (See also Sectional Preface, p. xxvii.)


c(2). Parish Church of St. Mary and All Saints stands about 1 m. N.W. of the village. The walls are probably of flint-rubble but are thickly covered with plaster; the roofs are covered with slates. The church was almost entirely rebuilt in 1838–9, but the walls of the Chancel and Nave and West Tower may be partly old; the South Porch is modern.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (39 ft. by 20 ft.) has a plastered E. window of three uncusped lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head, all of doubtful date. In the N. wall are three windows, of which the two eastern are dummy or blocked windows; they are all of similar character to the E. window, but of two lights each. In the S. wall are three windows uniform with those in the N. wall; between the two western is a doorway of doubtful date with moulded jambs and two-centred arch, all covered with plaster. The chancel-arch is mostly modern.

The Nave (47 ft. by 24 ft.) has, in the N. wall, three windows; the easternmost is of the 16th century and of one square-headed light set low in the wall; the second and westernmost windows are uniform with the E. window; between the two western windows is the 15th-century N. doorway, now blocked; it has jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders; the internal splays and rear-arch are moulded. In the S. wall are four windows; the easternmost is uniform with that opposite in the N. wall, and the others are uniform with the E. window; between the two western windows is the 15th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch; the middle member of each jamb has a moulded capital and base; the segmental rear-arch is also moulded.

Fittings—Chair: In chancel—modern, incorporating one 17th-century carved panel. Chest: At rectory—iron-bound, 17th-century. Coffin-lids: (1) On floor of chancel, coped coffin-slab with raised stem and trefoiled head and foot, late 13th-century; (2) coped coffin-slab, ridged, with traces of cross, probably 13th-century. Communion Rails: moulded, with twisted balusters, c. 1700. Glass: In chancel —in E. window, four large roundels with borders, etc., and representing a Majesty, entombment of the (?) Virgin, the Virgin and Child (Plate, p. 193), and the Annunciation, late 12th-century; two large figures of bishops or abbots, 12th-century; a figure on horseback in banded mail with background, possibly heraldic, and inscription "Robert Lemaire" (Plate, p. 193), 13th-century; the Adoration of the Magi, fragmentary, late 15th or early 16th-century, a bishop and various panels with figure subjects, fragments, etc., various dates; in S.W. window—three roundels including one of God the Father, late 15th and 16th-century. In nave—in middle N. window, shields of arms, various fragments and two roundels one with a skull and one with the handkerchief of St. Veronica, 16th and 17th-century; in tracery, 14th-century ornament; in middle S. window, in tracery, 14th and 15th-century fragments. Nearly all this glass, with some other pieces at the Rectory, was brought here in 1840 from France by the then rector; the 12th-century panels are said to have come from the church of St. Martin at Chenu in Sarthe. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on S. side, (1) of Raphe Wyseman [1608], and Elizabeth (Barley), his wife, 1594, alabaster and black-marble altar-tomb (Plate, p. 197) with effigies of man in plate armour with ruff and feet on sea-horse, of lady in farthingale and rich head-dress; on front of tomb, kneeling figures of three sons and three daughters, against wall at back pilasters, cornice and cresting with three shields of arms; hanging above, a funeral helmet (Plate p. 133) with sea-horse crest; on N. wall, (2) to Samuel, son of Thomas Western, 1699, veined marble tablet with cherub-head, drapery and shield of arms. Floor-slabs: In chancel—under organ, name covered, 1706, of cast-iron, with achievement of arms. In tower—(2) to Jeremy Aylett, 1657, of Doreward Hall, with impaled shield of arms. Royal Arms: Above tower-arch—of James II, painted.

Condition—Good, much restored or rebuilt.


a(3). Bowser's Hall, house and moat, about 1¼ m. N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N.; there are modern additions on the S. and E. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster strips. Inside the building the ceiling-beams and some joists are exposed and there is an iron fire-back with the royal Stuart arms.

The Moat, N.E. of the house, is rectangular.

Condition—Of house, good.

b(4). Rivenhall Place, 1 m. N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick; the roofs are tiled. The E. part of the house was built in the second half of the 16th century with a cross-wing at the N. end. The main staircase was added c. 1700, and in the 18th century the E. front was refaced and three ranges added on the W. side making the plan quadrangular. The elevations have no ancient features except the N. end and W. side of the original block. At the N. end is an original chimney-stack with three octagonal shafts having modern tops. The W. side of the original block has at the N. end a gable with a brick coping and at the apex the base of a pinnacle, set diagonally; in the gable is an original window of three lights; further S. is a chimney-stack with the bases of three octagonal shafts. Inside the building the original staircase has a central newel-post. The staircase of c. 1700 has turned and twisted balusters and a moulded rail ramped over square newels; the walls have a bolection-moulded and panelled dado. The house contains a considerable quantity of reset 16th and 17th-century panelling and two fire-backs dated 1651 and 1652 respectively.

Condition—Good, much altered.

Monuments (5–20).

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 ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

a(5). Groom's Farm, house, three tenements, about 1½ m. N.W. of the church, has a cross-wing at the S. end.

a(6). Boarstye Farm, house and barn, ¼ m. N.N.W. of (5). The House is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W.

The Barn, S.E. of the house, is of five bays.

a(7). Rolphe's Farm, house, 600 yards N.N.W. of (6), has a cross-wing at the N.W. end. The original central chimney-stack has three diagonal shafts. Inside the building is a door made up of linen-fold panelling and an original window with diamond-shaped mullions and now blocked.

a(8). Wright's Farm, house, 550 yards N.W. of (7).

a(9). Egypt Farm, house, 260 yards W.S.W. of (8), was built about the end of the 15th century with cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The N. cross-wing has an 18th-century addition at the E. end and the upper storey projects at the E. end of the S. cross-wing. Inside the building the two cross-wings have original roofs of king-post type with central purlins; in the main roof only a cambered tie-beam is visible. In the S. wing are two original windows with diamond-shaped mullions, and now blocked.

a(10). Sheepcote Farm, house and barn, nearly 2 m. N.N.W. of the church. The House was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E.

The Barn, S.W. of the house, is of five bays and of early 16th-century date with a roof of king-post type.

b(11). Parkgate Farm, house, two tenements, ¼ m. E.N.E. of (4), has been largely rebuilt in the 18th century.

b(12). Ford Farm, house and barn, ½ m. N. of the church. The House was built in the 15th century with cross-wings at the N.W. and S.E. ends. There is a 17th-century addition on the N.W. side and modern additions at the N.E. and S.W. ends. Inside the building the main block has an original collar-beam roof-truss with curved braces; the cross-wings probably both have original roofs with king-post trusses, but one is now ceiled. There is one 17th-century door of moulded battens.

The Barn, E. of the house, is of five bays and of 17th-century date.

b(13). Rivenhall Hall (Plate, p. xxxi), 300 yards N. of the church, was built early in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. There is a large 17th-century addition on the N. side. The upper storey projects at the S. end of both cross-wings. The 17th-century chimney-stack at the W. end has the base of attached diagonal shafts. Inside the building one room has late 16th-century panelling and there are remains of the original roof construction.

c(14). Hoo Hall, ½ m. E.S.E. of the church, was largely rebuilt in brick late in the 18th century.

c(15). Cottage, two tenements, 600 yards W.S.W. of (14), has two gabled dormers on the E. front.

c(16). Cottage, two tenements, 600 yards S. of the church.

c(17). Stovern's Hall, two tenements, 300 yards W.S.W. of (16), has a modern addition of red brick. One original chimney-stack has a shaft of cross-shaped plan.


c(18). Rickstones, house, ¼ m. S.W. of (17), has been much altered within recent years.

c(19). Pond Farm, house, nearly 1 m. S.E. of the church, was built about the middle of the 16th century with cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The S. cross-wing has been destroyed. The upper storey projects at the E. end of the N. cross-wing on curved brackets. The chimney-stack on the W. side has three 17th-century shafts, set diagonally.

c(20). Fox Inn, 250 yards S.E. of (19), was built c. 1700 and has 18th-century additions.