An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.
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3. ASHINGDON. (F.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. lxx. N.W.)
Ashingdon is a small parish about 5 m. N. of Southend-on-Sea. The church is the principal monument.
(1). Parish Church of St. Andrew (Plate, p. xxxii) stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of ragstone and flint-rubble with septaria, Roman and 16th-century brick; the dressings are of various limestones and brick; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built early in the 14th century and the West Tower was added late in the same century. Early in the 16th century the E. wall of the chancel was re-built in brick and the South Porch added; the chancel-arch was perhaps removed at the same time. The church was restored in the 18th century when the S.E. angle of the nave was re-built, and again in modern times when the North Vestry was added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 17½ ft.) has an E. wall of brick with black brick diapering; the E. window is all modern except the splays and rear-arch which are probably of the 14th century. In the N. wall is an early 16th-century brick window of two four-centred lights with a square moulded label. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; the western window is a 14th-century 'low-side' with a plain pointed head. The chancel-arch has been removed except the early 14th-century N. respond of trefoiled plan with moulded capitals and bases.
The Nave (25 ft. by 19 ft.) has in the N. wall an early 14th-century window of the pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the rear-arch is of 16th-century brick; the 14th-century N. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label. In the S. wall is an 18th-century window and further W. is the early 14th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label. In the W. wall N. of the tower is a 14th-century window of one trefoiled light.
The West Tower (7 ft. by 7½ ft.) is of late 14th-century date and of three stages with a low pyramidal roof with a small saddle at the top. In the E. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. In the S. wall is a plain square-headed window. The second stage has in the S. wall a similar window. The bell-chamber has in the E. wall a square-headed window and the N., S. and W. walls have each a window of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the mullions and tracery of the S. and W. windows are missing.
The South Porch is of timber and of early 16th-century date partly restored. It has a flat three-centred outer archway, chamfered wall-plates, wall-posts, plates, tie-beam and curved braces.
The Roof of the chancel is of early 16th-century date and of two bays with braced principals forming almost semi-circular arches and an inserted tie-beam; the wall-plates are moulded. The 15th-century roof of the nave is of two bays with moulded wall-plates and tie-beams with king-posts; on the N. side the trusses rest on oak posts, owing to the insecurity of the N. wall.
Fittings—Book: Bible of 1683, oak leather-covered binding with pierced brass mountings. Font: octagonal bowl with concave faces and moulded under-edge, plain stem and moulded base, early 16th-century. Piscinae: In chancel— with chamfered jambs and pointed head, round drain cut back, 14th-century, re-set. In nave—in N. wall, with octofoiled drain and trefoiled head from a former window, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1564 with band of engraved ornament, cup of 1640 with baluster stem and a late 17th-century paten; the two last belonged to South Fambridge. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall, square-headed recess with oak lintel, date uncertain, now covered by modern panelling. Royal Arms: In nave—on N. wall, Stuart arms painted on wood with moulded frame. Sundial: In porch—loose stone with roughly cut sundial. Miscellanea: In nave—damaged moulded capital, 14th-century.
Condition—Good, recently restored.
(2). Rouncefall, house, about ½ m. W.S.W. of the church, is of one storey with attics, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on a rectangular plan and has an original central chimney-stack, square on plan with rebated angles. Inside the building the timber-framing and ceiling-beams are exposed.
(3). Red Hills, at Beckney Farm, about 2 m. N.W. of the church.