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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4. AVELEY. (B.e.)
(1). Parish Church of St. Michael stands in the village. The walls are of roughly coursed flint and ragstone with some Roman and 16th-century bricks; the tower and the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are covered with tiles, slates and lead. The Nave was built early in the 12th century and c. 1160 the South Aisle was added. The North Aisle was added c. 1220 and about the middle of the 13th century the Chancel was re-built and the North Chapel added; the West Tower is of almost the same date. In the 14th century the S. aisle was much altered and partly re-built. In the 15th century the N. aisle was extended one bay to the W., the North Porch added and the upper part of the tower re-built. The clearstorey is probably of 15th-century date but has been largely re-built. The church was restored in the 19th century and the chancel partly refaced or re-built.
Architectural Description— The Chancel (34 ft. by 16 ft.) has a modern E. window incorporating some old stones. The N. arcade is of c. 1240 and of two bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical column has a moulded bell-capital and base, and the responds have attached half-columns. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is modern except the 13th-century E. splay and the 15th-century W. splay and rear-arch; the middle window is modern except for the 13th-century splays and rear-arch; the westernmost window is of the 15th century and of three cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; below the middle window is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch, probably of the 15th century. There is no chancel-arch.
The North Chapel (37 ft. by 9¾ ft.) has a modern window in the E. wall. In the N. wall are two windows mostly modern except the splays and rear-arches, which are of 13th-century material, re-built in the 15th century.
The Nave (41 ft. by 18 ft.) (Plate, p. 8) has a N. arcade of c. 1220 and of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical columns have moulded bases and bell-capitals; the responds have each a semi-octagonal attached shaft with moulded imposts; the E. impost is modern; E. of the arcade is a round headed opening to the rood-loft, covered with modern plaster. The S. arcade is of c. 1160 and of three bays with round arches; the two easternmost are of two plain orders but the westernmost has been re-built with the original material and is of one wide chamfered order; the piers and responds are of the same section as the arches and have moulded imposts at the springing level; the impost of the W. respond is continued a short distance along the wall and the W. wall of the S. aisle is built against it; over the E. arch is part of the round head of an early 12th-century window. The clearstorey has three modern windows on each side.
The North Aisle (9¾ ft. wide) has in the N. wall two partly restored 15th-century windows each of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; between them is the modern N. doorway. In the W. wall is a window similar to those in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has a 14th-century E. window, entirely modern externally and of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-century head. In the S. wall are two windows all modern except the splays and rear-arches which are probably of the 14th-century; between them is the 14th-century S. doorway with a two-centred head and now blocked.
The West Tower (12½ ft. by 15½ ft.) is of two stages with an embattled parapet. The 13th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of one continuous chamfered order. The 15th-century W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label and modern mullions; the 15th-century W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch. The bell-chamber has in the E. wall a window all modern except the splays and rear-arch; the N., S. and W. walls have each a two-light window modern externally but with 15th-century splays and rear-arches.
The Roof of the nave is of the 16th century and of three bays but the trusses have been cased except the westernmost which has a tie-beam with curved braces forming a four-centred arch. The tower has the framing for the old roof.
Fittings—Bells: five; 1st and 2nd by John Waylett, 1712; 3rd by William Culverden, early 16th-century and inscribed "Sancte Petre Ora Pro Nobis"; 4th by James Bartlct, 1692; 5th by Thomas Bartlet, 1618. Bracket: In nave—on S.W. respond, moulded corbel for image, 15th-century. Brasses: In chancel—(1) groups of six sons and two daughters and four shields-of-arms, (a) and (d) crusily fitchy three lions, (b) a fesse and a pierced molet in chief impaling three eagles, (c) (a) impaling the two coats of (b), indents of figures of man and wife, and marginal inscription, c. 1520; (2) (Plate, p. 160) of Ralph de Knevynton, 1370, rectangular plate with figure wearing mail hauberk with pointed skirt, rivet-studded haketon on breeches; plate pauldrons, arm-pieces, knee-cops, bainbergs, and sollerets with chains attaching the hilts of the sword and dagger to the plastron of the haketon, head bare, feet on dog, cusped canopy with traceried spandrels, Flemish work, indents of two shields; (3) of Nathaniell and Elizabeth, infant children of Edward Bacon, 1588, with small figures of children, shield-of-arms and two crests; (4) to Edward Barette, 1585, with one shield and one lozenge-of-arms. In N. chapel—(5) to Charles Barett, 1584, with shield-of-arms; palimpsest on the reverse of inscription, part of a Flemish inscription of c. 1420. See also Monuments. Chair (Plate, p. xlii): In chancel— with carved back, shaped arms and turned front legs, c. 1620. Coffin-lid: In nave—with raised ornamental cross, late 13th or early 14th-century. Communion Table: In tower—with turned legs, cut down, 17th-century, modern top. Font: square bowl with four shallow round-headed panels on each face, cylindrical stem with a small detached shaft at each angle, late 12th-century. Glass: In tower—in W. window, four quarries with small quatrefoils and fragments of tabernacle work, head, etc., 14th-century and later. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In N. chapel —on E. wall, (1) of Elizabeth, infant daughter of Edward Bacon, 1583, Purbeck marble tablet with side columns of Gothic type with round arch, initials E.B. in spandrels, at back brass of a swaddled infant, head and feet missing, indent of a small lozenge-shaped plate; on N. wall, (2) Purbeck marble tablet with side columns and round moulded arch, indents of man and woman, one son and one daughter, inscription-plate, Trinity, scrolls and two shields-of-arms, c. 1520. In churchyard—W. of tower, (3) to James Jeffery, 1703, and seven children, head-stone. Floor-slab: In nave—to Rafe (R ?)ingsall, 1632. Niche: In nave—in S.E. respond, with trefoiled head and moulded sill, late 14th or early 15th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—sunk in wall, pillar-piscina with scalloped capital, 12th-century, trefoiled ogee recess, 14th-century. In N. chapel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and unusually cusped head, octofoiled drain partly broken, 14th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and trefoiled head, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1620 and late 17th-century alms-dish given by Thomas Latham, who died 1726. Pulpit: hexagonal, pilasters at the angles with strap-ornament, moulded cornice with carved frieze, on S.E. face reversed panel with date 1621, stem springing from hexagonal fluted shaft with moulded base; hexagonal sounding-board with strap-work frieze and consoles at the angles, panelled soffit with arabesque panel in the middle. Screen: Between chancel and nave—moulded head, middle doorway with modern posts, moulded middle rail, on either side of doorway five open panels with cinque-foiled and traceried heads, similar head divided and re-used under lintel of doorway, early 15th-century, lower part modern. Stoup: In nave—W. of N. doorway, round bowl with triangular brick head, early 16th-century.
(2). Chapel de la lee, about 150 yards N.E. of the church, has been completely demolished except for a length of about 50 ft. of the N. wall adjoining the main road. It is built of ragstone-rubble repaired with brickwork of varying dates and has a chamfered stone plinth. It is possibly of 14th-century date.
(4). Kenningtons, house and moat, about 1 m. N.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It is possibly the end wing of a 15th-century house, the major part of which has been demolished, and has 17th-century alterations, and modern additions at the back. The central chimney-stack is of 17th-century brickwork. Inside the building some of the timber-construction is exposed and on the first floor is a heavy cambered tie-beam with curved braces.
(5). Bretts, house and moat, about 1¼ m. N.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing and brick and the roofs are covered with slate. It was built possibly in the 14th century and is of half H-shaped plan with the cross-wings extending towards the E. Alterations were made in the 16th and 17th centuries. Modern work includes the one-storey addition on the E. front and considerable alterations to the roof. The re-set 15th-century entrance doorway has a four-centred head with trefoiled spandrels, within a square moulded frame. The 17th-century chimney-stacks are rectangular and have moulded stringcourses just above the ridge of the roof. Inside the building some of the main ceiling-beams are exposed and the passage in the N. wing has the joists showing, and a four-centred archway. In the E. wall of the original hall are two blocked windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; they have stone dressings and are of 15th-century date. There are two moulded batten doors of early 17th-century date and the N.W. room has a fireplace with a segmental-pointed head. On the first floor some of the timber-construction is exposed. In the E. wall are two blocked windows with diamond-shaped mullions and two of the rooms have open fireplaces with four-centred heads. The hall was divided into three bays and had curved braces to the roof-trusses, forming two-centred arches. The wall-plates to the middle bay are richly moulded but are apparently not in situ. The roof over the N.E. wing is of central-purlin type with curved braces.
(6). Belhus, house, stables and outbuildings, ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church. The House is mainly of three storeys; the walls are of brick with some stone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The building to which reference is made in the will of John Barrett, who died in 1526, as "my place called Bellhouse Hall, alias Barretts, which I have newly builded," forms the nucleus of the present house, but it seems probable that only part of the building was completed at the time of his death. It was built round a rectangular court-yard with the principal front facing the S. and the N. range extending eastwards some distance beyond the E. wall of the main building. The Hall was in the middle of the S. range and had at the S.E. corner a tower; in the S.E. angle of the courtyard was the staircase-block. Late in the 16th century an extension or rebuilding was made of the N.E. wing and about the same time a bay-window of two storeys was built on the S. side of the Hall, when it is probable that the S. wall of the original building was raised to its present height. Very considerable alterations and additions were made during the 18th and 19th centuries which include the rebuilding of the whole of the W. wall and redecoration of the rooms in the W. range, the building of a staircase and rooms on the S. and W. sides of the courtyard, the extending eastwards of the S. range and the widening of the middle part of the E. range by the removal and rebuilding of the E. wall further towards the E. In recent years one storey additions have been made at the E. end of the N. and S. ranges.
The S. Front (Plate, p. 9) is flanked at either end by modern towers and includes, at the E. end, the modern S.E. addition. The rest of the front, including the tower in the middle, is mainly of 16th-century date and of red brick with the original walling diapered with black headers. It has a plinth with a moulded stone offset, and, on either side of the tower, a plain continuous parapet with a moulded brick coping. The S. walls of the side ranges project beyond the face of the Hall block and were originally gabled; the moulded brick corbelling which carries the upper part of the return wall on the E. side of the W. wing probably indicates the eaves-level of the original gable. The tower is of four storeys, undivided externally, and has at the N.W. corner an octagonal stair-turret leading from the second floor and carried up above the parapet; it rests on a four-centred arch across the external N.W. angle. At the other angles are polygonal clasping buttresses which rise above the parapet and terminate in conical caps. The windows to the ground-storey are modern, the southern one replacing the original entrance-doorway; the remaining windows are original and each of one or two four-centred lights. The stair-turret has nine small loops, mostly blocked. The bay-window to the hall is of late 16th-century date and has two four-centred lights in each face; the remaining windows are modern except for some small blocked lights. Inserted in the plinth W. of the tower are five square panels of plastered brick with heraldic figures in relief; two with a double-headed spread-eagle, two with a swan and one with a fleur-de-lis.
The N. Elevation (Plate, p. 9) is unsymmetrical and of two storeys except the modern N.W. tower and the N. ends of the cross-ranges which are of three stages. The W. bay is semi-hexagonal on plan and is flanked on either side by a buttress which is surmounted by a twisted shaft with a moulded capping; the parapet of the N. wall has a finial of a similar twisted form. On the remainder of the front are three original projecting bays each with crow-stepped gables, the westernmost forming a porch with a four-centred entrance - archway, internal side-recesses or seats, and an inner doorway, now blocked. Most of the small single-light windows are original and have four-centred heads but only two of the larger ones are entirely of 16th-century date.
The E. wall of the N.E. Wing is gabled and the S. wall has some diaper-work on the early 16th-century part of the wall. The windows are square-headed and in the S. wall are two doorways, one blocked, the other which has a four-centred head is covered by a modern porch. The E. wall of the E. cross-wing is modern but, inside the building, part of the original wall remains and has in the N. end a blocked square-headed window to the kitchen (H). Re-set in the modern porch is a 16th-century doorway (Plate, p. 64) with richly carved frame and head; the frame has two female figures, one holding a bird, the other a looking-glass and both standing on corbels; carved on the head of the doorway is a cherub and various emblematic figures, now much defaced. The door is divided into eight panels by moulded and nail-studded rails and muntins and is hung on three strap-hinges with fleur-de-lis ends. The elevations to the original courtyard have been almost completely covered by later additions but in the S. wall is a large window of four four-centred lights in a four-centred head and now blocked.
Interior. The Ground Storey of the tower (A) originally formed the main entrance porch and has a quadripartite vault now plastered over. The original Hall (C) contains some fragments of 16th and 17th-century panelling but the screen is modern. Between room (E) and the W. porch are two large doors of c. 1540; they are remarkably fine examples of Flemish workmanship with the lower part of carved and linen-fold panels and the upper divided into open trefoiled lights by richly carved posts. At the sides are re-used panels carved with tracery and figures. In room (F) is some re-used panelling and some tapestry of c. 1700. The original main beams are exposed in the ceilings of the Kitchen (H) and the rooms adjoining on the S.; the W. fireplace in (H), though partly bricked up, retains an original four-centred arch-recess. In the N. wall of room (I) is a re-used mantelpiece and overmantel of c. 1600 (Plate, p. 65). The overmantel is carried on two fluted pilasters and is divided into two main panels by tapering pilasters supporting a moulded cornice and frieze carved with strapwork ornament; each panel has a raised and arched recess containing a small obelisk. Room (J) has some 17th-century panelling and incorporated in the window of the staircase (K) are some fragments of carved woodwork from a doorway or fireplace. The projecting bay (M) originally contained a staircase, since removed. On the First Floor, in the room over (F), is some early 18th-century tapestry and on the N. wall of the passage or gallery, on the N. side of the court-yard, are the remains of an early 16th-century painting in black and red probably historical and representing numerous mounted figures of men and women in contemporary costume; some of the men carry shields one of which has a double-headed eagle. Only part of the painting is exposed the remainder being covered with plaster. The room over the W. end of (L) is entered from the adjoining passage through a four-centred doorway and there is a blocked doorway in the E. wall, the timber-framing of which is exposed. There is some 17th-century panelling in the modern staircase leading to the second floor of the tower and the staircase between the third and fourth stage has its original treads and circular newel. The Roof over the Hall block has tie-beams with curved struts supporting purlins with curved wind-braces and collar-beams; the roof over the N.E. wing is of similar construction. The roof of the W. range is now inaccessible.
A considerable amount of glass of varying dates is incorporated in the windows. In the Library (B) is a panel with an early 17th-century portrait and arms of Sir Francis Bacon. In the ground-floor of the Tower in the S. window (brought from Hurstmonceaux) are two shields (a) Fiennes impaling Holland; (b) France; in the E. window are two roundels with the Fiennes badge, a wolfhound, contained in a wreath of foliage and pomegranates; set in fragmentary quarries with the initials R. and E. (for Roger Fiennes and Elizabeth Holland), all within a border of dog collars and chains and fragments of the Fiennes motto. In the W. window is similar glass, all 15th-century. In the Hall (C) in four middle lights of bay-window are (1) a roundel within a bay chaplet with the quartered shield of Norris and Mountfort impaling Vere quartering Howard; some of the glass is diapered, and some has small modern repairs; (2) a strap-work medallion with the arms of Barrett, parted palewise barry of four argent and gules counterchanged quartering Belhouse argent crusily fitchy sable with three lions gules; (3) similar medallion to (2) with the arms of Norris quartering Mountford and impaling Lovell quartering Deyncourt, Burnell and Holland; (4) a circular medallion of green bay-leaves with the quartered arms of Lovell impaling Beaumont quartering Comyn of Badenoch, Bardolf and Phelips Lord Bardolf, all 16th-century. In the Dining room (D) are (a) a repaired 16th-century shield with the arms of Barrett and Belhouse quarterly impaling Dineley; (b) a medallion with a Tudor rose on a shield within a chaplet and a strapwork frame, 16th-century; (c) quartered shield of Barrett and Belhouse, mainly 16th-century; in the heads of two lights are figures of cherubs, 17th-century. In the windows of the modern S.W. tower are some fragments of 15th-century heraldic glass incorporated in a modern setting and in the S. drawing room is a gartered shield of Vere, 16th-century, but partly modern. In the W. porch are two circular medallions, (a) a representation of the Marriage at Cana, probably Flemish; (b) a domestic scene of unknown significance; both 16th-century. In Room (N) is a 17th-century quartered shield of Barrett. In Room (F), some fragments of canopy-work in brown line on white glass, green diapered glass, 15th-century and some older pieces of ruby. On the first floor in room above (D) are two 15th-century roundels with the Fiennes badge, a large subject panel of c. 1630-40 and of foreign workmanship, and some miscellaneous glass. In the small room above (E) are two medallions, probably of German origin and representing (a) Joseph's brethren casting him into a pit, 16th-century, and (b) a nimbed saint, probably St. Matthew, 17th-century.
The Stable (Plate, pp. 56–7), to the S.E. of the house, is a rectangular building of two storeys with attics. The walls are of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th century with N. and S. gabled walls and is now connected on the E. by a modern addition with another stable. It has a plain plinth, projecting string-courses of brick at the floor-levels and shaped kneelers of moulded bricks to both gables. The clock-turret and chimney-stack are modern. Inside, the building is divided into three bays by heavy ceiling-beams.
The Stable adjoining on the E. is also of two storeys with attics and has brick walls and a tiled roof. It was remodelled early in the 18th century and has a projecting plinth and plain string-course at the first-floor level. The roof is hipped and has a modillioned cornice at the eaves. With the exception of a five-light window with diamond-shaped mullions in the W. wall all the windows are 18th-century or later insertions. The roof is of collar-beam construction.
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 exposed ceiling-beams and original chimney-stacks.
(7). House, now two shops, 60 yards N. of the church, is part of a 16th-century house and has a modern addition at the back. The upper storey projects on the N. front and is gabled at the E. end, it also projected at the E. end of the S. elevation but has been under-built.
(9). House, now two tenements, E. of (8), is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of brick and the house was built probably late in the 16th century. The entrance door to the W. tenement is of three vertical moulded panels. In the S. wall are two blocked windows each of a single light with chamfered jambs and the S. chimney-stack is original and has two diagonal shafts set on a rectangular base.
(11). House, now tenements, E. of (10), has walls of weather-boarded timber-framing and was built probably in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E. The upper storey projects at the W. end of the N. front on three brackets. The original W. chimney-stack has three diagonal shafts. Inside the building some of the timber-construction is exposed.
(12). House, 20 yards E.N.E. of (11), is of two storeys with attics. It was built probably in the 16th century and has modern additions. The upper storey of the original building projects along the whole of the N. front and has a bracket at either end.
(14). Prince Albert Inn, 60 yards N.W. of (7), is of two storeys with attics and was built in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E.; it has been added to on the N. and E. The roof over the front block has been raised and in it are three gabled dormers. The main chimney-stack is of cruciform plan, set diagonally on a square base.
(15). House, now three tenements, and garden wall, 20 yards W. of (14). The House was built on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. but a later addition in the angle and modern additions on the N. make the existing plan very irregular. The W. wing is gabled at either end and the E. end of the S. front has been refaced with modern brick. Inside the building, on the first floor, is some early 17th-century panelling. The Wall running N. from the W. end of the house for a length of about 20 ft. is of old flint-rubble.
(16). House, now two tenements, at W. corner of road running N., ¼ m. W.N.W. of the church, is of one storey with attics. It is of the centralchimney type with a modern addition on the N. and has a thatched roof.
(17). Courts, house, ¼ m. N.E. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W. It has a later extension on the E. and modern additions on the N. The upper storey of the original building projects on the S. front and is supported on three heavy carved brackets. Inside the building in the entrance passage is some early 17th-century panelling.