An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3, North East. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1922.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
3. ALPHAMSTONE. (B.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xii. S.E. (b)xvii. N.E.)
Alphamstone is a parish and small village 5½ m. N.E. of Halstead. The church is interesting.
a(1). Parish Church (dedication unknown) stands towards the N. end of the parish. The walls are of flint rubble, except the S. wall of the chancel, which is partly of brick; the dressings are of limestone and the roofs are covered with tiles and slates; the bell-turret is weather-boarded. The Nave was built probably in the 12th century. A West tower was added at some uncertain date and subsequently demolished. Early in the 14th century the Chancel was rebuilt; shortly afterwards the chancel-arch and S. arcade were built and the South Aisle added. In the 15th century the North Porch was added. In the 15th century the S. wall of the chancel was partly rebuilt and the South Porch added. The church was restored at the end of the 19th century, when the Bell-turret was repaired and the chancel largely refaced. There is a considerable collection of sarsen stones in and about the churchyard, which appear to have been brought together by human agency.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (34 ft. by 18½ ft.) is faced on the E. and N. with black flints; it has a modern E. window, with some reset stones in the splays, rear-arch and the external sill. In the N. wall are three windows, the two eastern are modern except for the splays and reararches, which are of c. 1300; the westernmost window is of c. 1300, partly restored, and of two pointed lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; it is carried down below a transom to form a 'low side,' which is fitted with old iron grilles and modern shutters with old hinges. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern is modern except for the 14th-century splays and rear-arch; the western is uniform with the westernmost in the N. wall, but one of the shutters is ancient; between the windows is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed arch. The 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of three chamfered orders; the semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases.
The Nave (39 ft. by 20 ft.) has in the N. wall two windows, the eastern is of early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the western window is of the 15th century and of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label; further W. is a 12th-century round-headed window, now blocked and only visible internally; W. of this window is the 13th-century N. doorway, probably reset, and with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. The early 14th-century S. arcade is of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases. In the W. wall is a modern window and on either side of it and visible externally are the responds and springers of a 14th-century tower-arch.
The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has an early 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights with net tracery in a two-centred head. In the S. wall are three windows, the two eastern are of the 14th century and of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the westernmost has a 17th-century oak frame and a square head; between the two western windows is the early 14th-century S. doorway with chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and moulded label with headstops.
The North Porch is timber-framed on modern dwarf brick walls. The timber-framing is partly of the 15th century and the outer archway has posts and a two-centred head of that period.
The South Porch is probably of the 16th or 17th century and has a four-centred outer archway and moulded barge-boards. In the E. wall is a plain loop.
The Roof of the chancel is probably of the 17th century and has plain and very light tie-beams and posts. The roof of the nave has tie-beams, collars and rafters probably of the 15th century. The 15th-century roof of the N. porch has a tie-beam with curved braces. The S. porch has old rafters and collar-beams.
Fittings—Bells: three, 1st and 3rd from the Bury foundry, c. 1500, and inscribed "Sancte Gorge Ora Pro Nobis" and "Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis"; 2nd by Austen Bracker, c. 1550, inscribed "In Honore Scaunte Marie." Brass: In chancel—to Margaret Sidey, widow, 1607, inscription only. Chests: In S. aisle—(1) panelled, each panel in front with a lozenge ornament, early 17th-century; (2) of hutch form with iron straps and lock, 16th or 17th-century. Communion Table: plain with square stop-chamfered legs, 16th or 17th-century. Doors: In N. doorway—of feathered and nail-studded battens, strap-hinges and pierced scutcheon-plate with drop-handle, 15th-century. In S. doorway— similar to that in N. doorway but without scutcheonplate and handle, 15th-century. Font (Plate, p. xxxiv): square, Purbeck marble bowl, each side with five shallow, round-headed panels, late 12th-century, stem modern. Font Cover: of oak, domed and panelled, with turned ball-finial with shaped supports, probably late 17th-century, Glass: In chancel—in N.E. window, blue and gold roundels; in N.W. window, grisaille quarries, 14th-century. In S.W. window, similar grisaille. In nave—in middle N. window, fragments of figures, suns and tabernacle work, etc., 15th-century. In S. aisle—in S.E. window, borders of yellow fleurs-de-lis and cups on a black ground, and fragments, 14th-century. Locker: In chancel —in N. wall, with moulded jambs and trefoiled ogee head with finial, early 14th-century, fitted with modern door. Paving: In chancel—slip-tiles with conventional patterns, 14th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—in range with sedilia with mutilated moulded and cinquefoiled head and moulded label, octofoiled drain, 14th-century, jamb-shaft modern; in N. wall, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, damaged quatrefoiled drain, 13th-century, but probably not in situ. In S. aisle—in S. wall, with chamfered jambs and trefoiled ogee head, round drain, 14th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—in range with piscina, of three bays, with detached shafts with moulded bases and capitals, moulded and cinquefoiled arches with moulded labels, and horizontal string, early 14th-century. In nave—sill of N.E. window carried down low to form seat. In S. aisle—sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat.
a(2). At Moat Farm, 300 yards N.E. of the church.
b(3). At Mosse's Farm, nearly 1 m. S.S.E. of the church.
b(4). Barn and moat, at Clees Hall, ¼ m. N.W. of (3). The Barn (Plate, p. xxxvii) is timberframed and weather-boarded. It was built in the 16th century, and is of ten bays and about 120 ft. long. The roof is of queen-post type.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of barn, fairly good.
b(5). Upper Goulds Farm, house and moat, 600 yards W. of (4). The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the N. end. The upper storey projects at the W. end of the cross-wing. Inside the building the ceiling-beams and wall-posts are exposed.
The Moat is fragmentary.
Condition—of house, good.
a(6). Ivy Cottage, house and moat, about ¾ m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, refaced with modern brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century, and has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.
The Moat is fragmentary.
Condition—Of house, good, much altered.
a(7). Cottage, 700 yards S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are thatched. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed ceiling-beams.
a(8). Cottage, 60 yards N. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century and has exposed ceiling-beams.
a(9). King's Farm, house, nearly 1¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century, and has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams.