Tolleshunt D'Arcy

Pages 219-221

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


(O.S. 6 in. xlvi. S.W.)

Tolleshunt D'Arcy is a parish and village 6 m. N.E. of Maldon. The church and Hall are the principal monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands in the village. The walls are of rubble with dressings of limestone or clunch; the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The lower part of the West Tower has an early 14th-century window and may be of this date but it with the nave was remodelled or rebuilt late in the 14th century. Early in the 15th century the Chancel was rebuilt and later in the same century the North Chapel and South Porch were added. Early in the 16th century the North Vestry was added. The church was restored in the 19th century when the vestry was reduced in size by rebuilding the E. wall further W.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (20½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is an early 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; it was formerly covered by the vestry; further W. is a modern archway. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern similar to that in the N. wall and the western of a single cinquefoiled light in a square head and set lower in the wall. The early 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds have each a semi-octagonal attached shaft with moulded capital and base. N. of the arch is a rectangular squint.

The North Vestry has a modern E. wall in which is a reset 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a 15th-century window of one cinquefoiled light in a square head; further W. is a modern doorway incorporating old material. In the W. wall is a 16th-century doorway with a wooden frame and two-centred head with sunk spandrels.

The Nave (38½ ft. by 26½ ft.) has a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet. In the N. wall is a 15th-century archway four-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders, dying on to the hollowchamfered responds; further W. is a late 14th-century window of three trefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental head with a moulded label; further W. is a late 14th-century doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch; it may incorporate reused material of the 13th century and has been converted into a window. In the S. wall are two windows uniform with that in the N. wall, but the head of the western window is modern and above it is the mark of the 18th-century head; further W. is the late 14th-century S. doorway, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch; the splays have sockets for a draw-bar.

The North Chapel (16½ ft. by 11 ft.) has in the E. wall, above the doorway already described, a blocked window with a segmental rear-arch. In the N. wall is an early 16th-century window of brick with a later mullion; the window is of two lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of two lights similar to that in the N. wall of the chancel; it has been partly repaired in brick.

The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of three stages with a moulded plinth and embattled parapet. The late 14th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders, dying into the side walls. The early 14th-century W. window is of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops. The second stage has a rectangular opening in the S. and W. walls. The bell-chamber has in each wall a late 14th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head with a moulded label, partly restored.

The South Porch is of late 14th-century date and has carved figures at the angles of the parapet. The outer archway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch with a moulded label and much defaced stops carved with half-angels holding shields. The side walls have each a window of two trefoiled lights under a square head with a moulded label; they are now blocked.

The Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century and of two bays with a central truss having moulded tie-beam, king-post, struts and wall-plates, which are also embattled and returned along the E. wall. The late 15th or early 16th-century roof of the N. chapel is flat with moulded principal and purlin; the principal has curved braces springing from carved head-corbels of a man and woman.

Fittings—Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In N. chapel—on E. wall, (1) of man in plate-armour, sword mutilated, and wife (figure on N. wall) in veil head-dress and with dog at feet, c. 1420; (2) of Anthony Darcy, J.P., 1540, curious figure of man in plate-armour, copy of a much earlier figure, and now fixed on N. wall, palimpsest on back of inscription-plate, inscription to Robert le Wale and Maud, his wife, both died 1362; (3) of Philippe (Bedyngfeld), wife of Thomas Darcye, 1559, figure of woman in French hood, etc.; on N. wall, (4) of woman in pedimental head-dress, c. 1540; palimpsest on reverse, part of figure of an abbot or bishop in mass vestments with staff, c. 1400; (5) to Thomas Darce, 1624, inscription only; (6) two shields of arms of Darcy and Darcy imimpaling a fesse between three oak-leaves for FitzLangley (?), 16th-century; palimpsest on reverse, parts of figures of priests, 15th-century; on S. wall, (7) rectangular plate of Flemish design, engraved on both sides with figures of apostles, etc., a ribbon with portions of the Creed and vine decoration; the figures are St. Bartholomew, the Virgin and Child, St. Philip and the symbols of St. Mark and St. Luke on the one side and St. James the Less with the symbol of St. Mark on the other side, late 14th-century. Indents: In S. porch—of cross. See also Monuments. Doors: In S. doorway—of two folds with moulded ribs, trellis framing at back, early 15th-century, partly restored. Font: octagonal, with panelled bowl, panels filled with roses and shields one with a plain cross, moulded upper and lower edge, buttressed stem and hollow-chamfered base, late 15th or early 16th-century. Glass: In chancel—in N. window, plain foliage and a cinquefoil, 14th-century; in S.W. window, fragments, including tabernacle work, part of inscription, borders, etc., 14th to 16th-century. In N. vestry— in E. window, head of tabernacle work, 15th-century. In N. chapel—in N. window, quatrefoiled panel enclosing blank shield, late 14th-century, and other fragments. In nave—in tracery of N. window, small fragments, 13th and 15th century. In W. tower—in W. window, various fragments of uncertain date. Monuments: In chancel—in S. wall, (1) recessed and canopied tomb of Sussex marble, tomb cut down to form seat, canopy with shafted and panelled jambs, flat arch with traceried spandrels, quatrefoiled frieze with embattled cresting, soffit and reveals of recess panelled and at back indents of a cross, inscription-plate and four shields; reset in N. wall of chancel, front of this tomb, with three diamond-shaped panels enclosing the indents of as many shields; in S. porch, slab of this tomb, now broken, early 16th-century. In N. chapel—on N. wall, (2) of Thomas D'Arcy, 1593, and Camylla (Guycciardyne), his wife, marble wall-monument (Plate, p. 97) with moulded and enriched base having thereon kneeling figures of man in armour and wife at prayer-desk, and set in a recess flanked by square pilasters and surmounted by obelisks and an achievement of arms, in front of base, figures of three sons and six daughters. Piscina: In N. chapel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled arch in a square head with traceried spandrels, 15th-century, drain destroyed. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of c. 1570, with bands of engraved ornament, and stand-paten of 1699. Stoup: In S. porch— remains of hollow recess for stoup. Table: In chancel—made up of 16th and 17th-century woodwork, including linen-fold panelling and fluted rails.

Condition—Fairly good, but some stonework much decayed.


(2). Tolleshunt D'Arcy Hall, house, dovecote, outbuilding, bridge and moat, S. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timberframed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The main block of the house was built c. 1500 and at that time probably included a cross-wing at the E. end and a wing projecting southwards from the W. end. The E. wing has been destroyed and the S. wing was rebuilt late in the 17th century. There is a modern addition at the N.E. angle. On the S. side of the main block is the original entrance (Plate, p. 100) with moulded jambs and lintel carved with a band of conventional ornament, above it are three plain panels divided by studding; the door is of moulded and overlapping battens and is nail-studded. Further E. is an original doorway and window with moulded jambs and now blocked. In the N. wall is an original window, at the back of the staircase, of six transomed lights with moulded frame and mullions; most of the lights are now blocked.

Interior—The main block consists of five bays of building of which the second and third from the E. formed the Great Hall with the 'screens' at the E. end. The wall at the back of the 'screens' has two original doorways with stop-moulded jambs and four-centred heads with spandrels carved with pomegranate and leaf ornament; the post between the doorways is carved with twisted leaf ornament and above the door-heads is a moulded, carved and embattled cornice; the southern doorway has a door of linen fold panelling. At the N. end of the 'screens' and behind the staircase is part of the four-centred head of an original external doorway. Another doorway has a door of linen-fold panelling and there is some early 17th-century panelling on the staircase and in the hall itself. The great fireplace has a chamfered oak lintel and niches in the side walls. The middle room of the late 17th-century wing is lined with reused early 16th-century panelling (Plate, p. 180), mostly linen-fold but with a range of carved panels at the top and near the middle of the walls; the upper carved panels have conventional foliage and various heads and figures, including a mermaid, eagle and child, grotesques, etc., also the initials A.D. for Anthony Darcy; the lower carved panels have conventional foliage and cartouches with the Darcy arms differenced by a crescent, the initials A.D., etc.; the panelling is finished with an embattled cornice. The ceiling of this room has reused moulded and traceried ceiling-beams with moulded ribs forming geometrical designs. There are two wall-posts in the form of Ionic pilasters and having carved foliage; another wall-post with cusped panelling has been reused as a ceiling-beam. On the first floor the roof of the main block has original king-post trusses with hollow-chamfered tie-beams, four-way struts and central purlin. In the E. wall and at the E. end of the S. wall are blocked doorways, indicating the position of the destroyed E. wing.

The Dove-cote (Plate, p. 231) at the N.E. corner of the site is of brick with a tiled roof. It was built probably late in the 16th-century, and the interior is fitted with nests on each wall. In the W. wall is an original window of two four-centred lights. The doorway has an oak frame and a four-centred rear-arch.

The Outbuilding at the S.E. corner of the site is of brick and timber-framing and of eight bays. It was built probably late in the 16th-century.

The Bridge (Plate, p. 231) over the S. arm of the moat is of brick and stone and was built c. 1585. It has four semi-circular arches and the wall above is of alternate bands of brick and stone. At the S. end are two square piers of brick with moulded cappings; each has a carved achievement of the arms of Darcy impaling Sulyard (?) and inscriptions "Ao. Dni. 1585" and "Ao Regny Regina Elyzabeth 27." The island has a brick revetment wall, buttressed at intervals.

The Moat surrounds the house.

Monuments (3–10).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceilingbeams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good.

(3). Red Lion Inn, 200 yards N.E. of the church, is partly built of brick.

(4). Spring Farm, house and cottage, 300 yards E. of (3).

(5). House and shop, on E. side of road, 200 yards N. of (3), has been rebuilt except the middle portion.

(6). Rolfe's Farm, house, on N. side of road, 100 yards N.W. of (5), was of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N. There is an 18th-century addition making the plan T-shaped.

(7). Cottage, two tenements, 40 yards W. of (6).

(8). Cottage, 40 yards W. of (7), was built c. 1700.

(9). Limesbrook Farm, house, ½ m. W.N.W. of (8), was built late in the 15th century and of this building the E. cross-wing remains. The main block was rebuilt late in the 16th century and there are modern additions on the N. side. The upper storey projects on the S. side, the overhang being carried across the earlier E. wing in the 16th century. The W. chimney-stack has five octagonal shafts on a rectangular base of late 16th-century date. Inside the building is some early 17th-century panelling and a ceiling-beam with billet ornament. The roof of the E. wing has an original king-post truss.

(10). Freme Farm, house, 600 yards S.S.W. of (9).


(11). Mounds, on E. side of stream, 1½ m. S.S.W. of the church, are probably the remains of a dam.

Condition—Fairly good.

(12). Red Hills, about ½ m. S.E. of (11). Condition—Poor.