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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19. DOVERCOURT. (G.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxi. S.W. (b)xxi. S.E.)
Dovercourt is a parish and town adjoining Harwich on the S.W. The church is the principal monument.
b(1). A tessellated pavement and a wall built entirely of Roman bricks is recorded by Morant on a small farm belonging to Dovercourt Vicarage, apparently in Beacon Hill field near a 'tumulus' on which stood a windmill about half a mile S. of Harwich. He also mentions various earthworks, which have now disappeared, and the "mutilated parts of a considerable large stone pavement," running hence to Harwich. This was the high road, and was called 'the Street,' and Roman coins were found in it. His information points to the site of a house, and possibly to traces of a Roman road from Colchester to Harwich, and across the harbour to the former fort at Walton. (Morant, Hist. Essex, 1768, I, 499; hence Gough's Camden, 1789, II, 60; Brayley and Britton, Beauties of England, V, 330; S. Dale, Antiquities of Harwich, 1732, p. 19.) (See also Sectional Preface, p. xxvii.)
a(2). Parish Church of All Saints stands on the W. side of the parish. The walls are of septariarubble with dressings of limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built in the 12th century. Early in the 14th century the Chancel was rebuilt and a porch was probably added during the same period. About 1400 the West Tower was added. The chancel-arch was replaced in timber c. 1615. The church has been restored in modern times, the chancel partly rebuilt, the top stage of the tower rebuilt, the North Vestry added and the South Porch rebuilt.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35¾ ft. by 23½ ft.) has a modern E. wall and window. In the N. wall are three windows, the two eastern of early 14th-century date but completely restored externally; they are each of two pointed lights in a two-centred head; the westernmost window is a 'low-side' of a single lancet light of the same period but modern externally. In the S. wall are three windows similar to the corresponding windows in the N. wall; between the two eastern windows is a modern doorway. Between the chancel and the nave is a moulded and richly carved beam with acanthus and conventional foliage ornament and consoles at each end; it rests on moulded posts and has on the W. face three shields, two with the date and initials 1615, G.W.; on the soffit of the beam are the initials R.H.
The Nave (61½ ft. by 23½ ft.), has in the N. wall two windows, both of early 14th-century date and similar to the eastern windows in the chancel; both are partly restored; between them is the 14th-century N. doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred head; further W. is a 12th-century window of one round-headed light, now blocked; E. of the eastern window is the 15th-century rood-loft staircase; the lower doorway has restored jambs and rebated four-centred head; the upper doorway incorporates the jambstones of a 12th-century opening. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is modern except part of the jambs and rear-arch which are of the 16th century; the middle window is of c. 1340 and of two trefoiled ogee lights with flowing tracery in a two-centred head; the westernmost window is modern except for part of the rear-arch; between the two western windows is the mid 14th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label; near the W. end of the wall is a blocked 12th-century window, similar to that in the N. wall.
The West Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three stages of which the two lower are of the 15th century and the top stage modern. The two-centred tower-arch is of three orders, the two outer chamfered and moulded and continuous and the inner hollow-chamfered and resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. There are indications of a former ringing-gallery on the N. and S. walls. The W. window is of c. 1400, partly restored, and of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the W. doorway is of the same date and has double-chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and label. The second stage has in the S. and W. walls a blocked window of one trefoiled light.
The South Porch is modern except for the re-set 14th-century outer archway which has a moulded two-centred arch; the responds have attached shafts with re-cut capitals and defaced bases.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st by Robert Mot, 1572; 2nd by William Burford, late 14th-century and inscribed "In Multis annis resonet campana Johannis." Brass: In chancel—on N. wall, of civilian in fur-trimmed gown and belt, inscribed scroll, mid 15th-century. Coffin-lid: In nave— with foliated cross in relief, 13th-century. Door: In S. doorway—of four upright panels, with moulded fillets, plain strap-hinges and stock lock, 17th-century. Font (Plate, p. xxxiv): octagonal bowl with moulded edges and traceried panels of various designs, square stem with attached shaft at each angle, moulded base, mid 14th-century. Panelling: In vestry—incorporated in modern cupboard, three traceried heads, mid 15th-century. Piscina: In nave—in S. wall, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, 14th-century. Poor-box (Plate, p. xxxii): iron-bound oak box with two strap-hinges to lid, painted date on side 1589.
The following monuments are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. All the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.
a(3). Cottage, about 700 yards E. of the church.
a(4). Manor House, 70 yards E. of (3), has a modern addition on the N.
a(5). Dovercourt Hall, 600 yards S. of (4), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E.
a(6). House, nearly 1 m. W.S.W. of the church, has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.