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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5. ARDLEIGH. (D.c.)
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the village. The walls are of mixed rubble, with much pudding-stone; the dressings are of limestone and brick, and the roofs are tiled. The W. bay of the Nave is of early to mid 14th-century date. The West Tower and the South Porch were added late in the 15th century. The rest of the church, including Chancel, Chapels, Nave and side Aisles, was entirely rebuilt in 1885.
Architectural Description—The Nave (53 ft. by 21 ft.) is modern except for the W. bay, which has on each side a mid 14th-century window of three trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in an obtuse two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops; one stop on the N. is modern.
The South Aisle is modern, but reset in the S. wall is a late 15th-century doorway (Plate, p. 132) with moulded and shafted jambs and two-centred arch, enriched with carved heads and foliage; the arch has a square head with a moulded label and spandrels carved with mutilated figures of Adam and Eve and a background of foliage.
The West Tower (15¼ ft. by 12¼ ft.) is of late 15th-century date and of three stages (Plate, p. 221), with a moulded plinth of flint-inlaid work and a modern parapet. The two-centred tower-arch is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on much restored semi-octagonal shafts, with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window is of three trefoiled ogee lights, with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the cusp points are foliated; the partly restored W. doorway has a moulded two-centred head with moulded labels and defaced head-stops. The second stage has in each wall a window of one cinquefoiled light; the external reveals of those in the N., S. and W. walls are of brick. The bell-chamber has in each wall a much restored window of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label.
The South Porch (Plate, p. xxix) is of late 15th-century date and has a moulded plinth and embattled parapet, both with flint-inlaid panels; the diagonal buttresses have stone panels with traceried heads to each stage, and are finished with octagonal shafts with embattled capitals, supporting seated figures of beasts. The S. front is of two stages and is entirely covered with flint-inlay in panels; at the top of the lower stage runs the name Maria in black letter, and at the base of the upper stage is a row of chalices and hosts in stone; below these is an ashlar band with the black-lettter inscription, "Orate p animabus Johīs Hūte at y~ wode et Alicie uxoris ejus Johīs Hute Willī Hūte." The outer archway is two-centred and is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the arch has a square head with double moulded labels, stopped with crowned lions on foliated brackets and spandrels carved with figures of St. George and the Dragon. Above the arch are three niches with buttressed jambs and elaborate traceried and crocketed canopies; the pedestals have each a half-angel issuing from clouds. The side walls of the porch have each a window of three cinquefoiled lights, with embattled tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label.
Fittings—Bells: eight; 3rd by John Darbie, 1676; 4th by the same founder, 1675; 6th by Charles Newman, 1689; 8th probably by Robert Burford, early 15th-century, and inscribed "Sum Rosa Pulsata Mundi Maria Vocata." Door (Plate, p. 132): In S. doorway—of two folds, each with three panels with elaborately traceried heads, moulded bars, late 15th-century, partly restored, old pierced scutcheon-plate. Monument: In S. porch—on S. wall, internally, to Barbara, wife of Henry Lufkin, 1706, and to Henry Lufkin, 1721, wooden 'marbled' tablet with side pilasters and broken curved pediment. Niches: In S. chapel— in E. wall, but formerly in E. wall of old S. aisle, with moulded and buttressed jambs and defaced vaulted canopy with rosette bosses, remains of colour, late 15th-century. In S. porch—over S. doorway, with buttressed jambs and ogee cinquefoiled canopy with crocketed label, late 15th-century, much defaced. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten, the former dated 1584 and both with bands of engraved ornament. Recess: In tower—in S. wall, small niche with triangular head of brick, late 15th-century. Screen (Plate, p. 181): Between chancel and nave—base of screen with moulded rail and two bays on each side doorway, flanked and divided by restored buttresses, each bay with two open panels with septfoiled ogee heads and tracery with spandrels richly carved with foliage, dragons, grotesque heads, etc., late 15th-century, partly restored. Stoup: In S. porch—with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled head, bowl cut away, late 15th-century.
a(3). Ardleigh Hall, 200 yards N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 15th century, but has a large modern block of brick added on the E. side. The upper storey projects and is gabled the E. end of the N. side. Inside the building the N. wing has an original king-post truss and central purlin; the S. wing has an original cambered tie-beam with shaped wall-posts. Some timber-framing and ceilingbeams are exposed.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. Many of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
a(6). House, two tenements, on S. side of road 60 yards S.W. of (5), was built in the 15th century; two wings were added at the back, one probably in the 16th century and one in the 17th century. The upper storey formerly projected on the N. front but has been under-built; the original bressumer is moulded and has defaced running foliage ornament. The upper storey has exposed timber-framing and three four-light windows with moulded sills and now blocked. In the E. wall is an original five-light window with moulded frame and mullions. Inside the building, two rooms on the ground floor have original moulded ceiling-beams and joists; the beams are carved with running foliage. The roof at the E. and W. ends has original tie-beams, those at the W. end with curved braces and king-posts.
c(10). Mose Hall, ½ m. W. of (9), was built in the 15th century with cross-wings at the N.E. and S.W. ends. On the S.E. side is a projecting chimney-stack with tabled offsets and there is a similar stack at the N.E. end. Inside the building the main block has an original roof of king-post type. There is also a door of 17th-century panelling.
c(11). Harvey's Farm, house, about 1¾ m. W.S.W. of the church, was built probably in the 15th century, with a cross-wing at the N.W. end. The upper storey projects on curved brackets at the N.E. end of the cross-wing. Inside the building is a door with old strap-hinges. In the garden is some 15th-century moulded stonework probably of ecclesiastical origin.
a(12). Gatehouse Farm, house, ½ m. N.W. of (11), was built in the 15th century and has a cross-wing at the E. end. There are also modern additions on the E. The upper. storey projects at the N. end of the cross-wing. The roof has an original king-post truss.