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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84. THORPE-LE-SOKEN. (F.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxix. S.E. (b)xxxviii. N.E.)
Thorpe-le-Soken is a parish and village 4½ m. N. of Clacton-on-Sea.
(1). Parish Church of St. Michael stands in the village. The West Tower is of red brick with some limestone dressings. It was built early in the 16th century; the rest of the church was rebuilt in 1876.
Architectural Description—The West Tower (13 ft. by 11 ft.) is of three stages with a moulded plinth, modern parapet and a stair-turret at the S.E. angle; the walls have diapering in black brick. The two-centred tower-arch is of five chamfered orders with plain cemented responds. The much restored W. window is of four cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the W. doorway has splayed brick jambs and a two-centred arch of three moulded orders with a moulded label. The second stage has in the N. and W. walls a window of one four-centred light with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a partly restored window of two rounded lights with a quatrefoil in a four-centred head with a moulded label.
The North Porch is modern but incorporates a 16th-century moulded beam and chamfered joists in the roof.
Fittings—Bells: five; 4th by Charles Newman, 1688. Doors: In doorway to stair to room over porch—nail-studded battens, foiled scutcheonplate. In doorway of tower stair-turret—of nail-studded battens with hollow-chamfered fillets, 16th-century, partly restored. Font: octagonal bowl, faces with plain shields in star-shaped panels, panelled and cusped stem, 15th-century, moulded base, with spur ornaments, 12th-century. Monuments: In chancel—in arch in S. wall, (1) freestone effigy in mail with surcoat, remains of shield and sword, legs missing, feet on lion, mid 13th-century, arch with high cinquefoiled and sub-cusped ogee head, spandrels carved with foliage moulded label with very naturalistic crockets, on each side diapered buttresses carried up with crocketed finials, early 14th-century; upper part of arch with crockets restored. In tower—in S. wall, (2) to Thomas Wharton, 1669, inscribed slab with alabaster achievement of arms. Plate: includes stand-paten of 1695. Screen: In S. chapel—of three bays and double entrance bay, one bay destroyed; each bay with trefoiled ogee heads, moulded mullions and head-beam and carved cresting; below cresting, carved angels holding shields, chalice and host, crossed keys and swords, scroll with inscription in black letter. "This cost (? loft) is the bachelers made by Alles . . . . Jhesu be the(r ?) med," early 16th-century.
Condition—Of tower, good.
b(2). Bell Inn, N. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 16th century and has a projecting upper storey and gable on the N. front; the bressumers are carved with running foliage. There is a later wing on the W. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams.
b(3). The "Abbey," house, 150 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 16th century but has been much altered and the walls are covered with cement. The main block has crow-stepped gables and the two-storeyed porch has an embattled parapet; the entrance arch is four-centred and the jambs are shafted; above it is an original window with a four-centred head and a moulded label. There is one original chimney-stack with two octagonal shafts and a 17th-century stack with two shafts set diagonally. Inside the building is one original moulded ceiling-beam, carved with running foliage.
a(4). House, now tenements, on W. side of Thorpe Green, and ¾ m. N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century and has a cross-wing with a projecting upper storey at the S. end. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams.