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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33. GREAT STAMBRIDGE. (F.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)lxx. S.E. (b)lxxi. S.W.)
Great Stambridge is a small parish on the estuary of the River Roach, 4 m. N.E. of Southend-on-Sea. The church is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary and All Saints stands in the S.W. corner of the parish. The walls are of ragstone, flint and septaria-rubble with some pudding-stone and brick and with dressings of Reigate and other limestone; the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. Parts of the Nave and Chancel are of pre-Conquest date. The South Aisle was added c. 1300, and in the 14th century or earlier the greater part of the chancel was re-built. The West Tower is a 15th-century addition and the North Porch is probably of the same date. The chancel-arch has been removed and a modern Vestry and Organ-chamber erected on the N. and S. side of the chancel respectively.
The pre-Conquest origin of the church gives it some architectural interest.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24 ft. by 17 ft.) has an E. window, all modern except the splays and chamfered two-centred rear-arch which are probably of the 14th century. In the N. wall is a 14th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head with a moulded label. W. of the doorway the wall is of pre-Conquest date with an external set-back about 9 ft. from the ground; high up in the wall is the relieving-arch or head of a pre-Conquest window. The existing window is modern except for the splays. In the S. wall is a modern arch and window.
The Nave (40¾ ft. by 20½ ft.) has in the N. wall three windows, the easternmost a much repaired square-headed window, probably of 13th-century origin; the other two windows are of the 15th century and each of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; between them is a late 14th or early 15th-century doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred head with a moulded label. The N. wall is of rag and puddingstone and is of pre-Conquest date. At about 9 ft. from the ground is a rough external offset, continued along from the chancel. Immediately E. of the second window of the nave and above the offset are the remains of one external splay of a pre-Conquest window and immediately W. of the porch is a patch of yellow septaria-filling which suggests the previous existence of a similar window. The S. arcade is of c. 1300 and of three bays with two-centred arches of two hollow-chamfered orders resting on octagonal piers and semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and bases of varying detail, the arches have on the N. side a moulded label. The S.W. angle of the nave retains the pre-Conquest walling of rag and pudding-stone.
The South Aisle (7¾ ft. wide) has been partly refaced and partly cemented over externally; the windows are modern.
The West Tower (about 9 ft. square) is of 15th-century date and of three stages with an 18th-century embattled brick parapet and two courses of flint and stone chequer-work above the plinth. The tower-arch is pointed and of two continuous chamfered orders, the inner interrupted by moulded capitals. In the W. wall is a 15th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head and external label now covered with modern cement. Above is a 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in the E. wall a single-light window with a two-centred head and moulded label; in the S. wall is a similar window. There are probably other windows in the N. and W. walls, and a second in the E. wall, now obscured by a thick growth of ivy. On the face of the S.W. buttress is a cross of red and yellow bricks.
The North Porch (9½ ft. by 7¾ ft.) has a two-centred and chamfered outer archway in a square moulded outer order, probably of 15th-century date. The walls have been refaced externally with modern brick and plaster. The roof is of the 15th century and of two bays with cambered tie-beams supported by four-centred arched braces carrying king-posts with curved struts and a central purlin.
Fittings—Font (Plate, pp. xlii–iii): octagonal bowl with concave sides, one blank, the others each with a quatre-foiled circle enclosing (a) a four-leafed flower, (b) shield with fleur-de-lis, (c) a four-leafed rose, (d) shield with the letter W surmounted by a crown, (e) eight-leafed flower, (f) shield with four bars, (g) shield with three pierced molets and a border; moulded under-edge and hollow-chamfered base, late 15th-century. Monuments: In churchyard—on N. side, (1) to Samuel, son of Samuel and Sarah Sharp, 1680, head-stone; (2) to Sarah, daughter of the above, 1680, head-stone. Niche: By W. door of tower—with chamfered jambs and four-centred head, probably 15th-century. Piscina: In chancel—with moulded ogee head and jambs and corbelled-out basin resting on a man's head and having tapering trefoiled traceried panels, 14th-century. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup, date-mark obliterated. Recess: In N.E. corner of nave across the angle—with rounded chamfered head, of 15th-century date, probably formerly part of rood-stairway.
a(2). At Great Stambridge Hall, ¼ m. S.E. of the church.
a(3). At Hampton Barns, nearly 1 m. E.N.E. of the church.
a(4). Shepherd and Dog Inn, at Ballards Gore, nearly 1½ m. N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 15th century and is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the E. end. In the 17th century the roof to the W. wing was raised and an upper floor and chimney-stack inserted; modern additions have been made on the N. and W. The S. end of the E. wing has a projecting upper storey and the main chimney-stack is of 17th-century date. Inside the building some of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams.
a(5). Cottage, 100 yards W. of (4), is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 16th century and has modern additions on the S. The E. end of the original building has a projecting upper storey with a moulded bracket at the N. end.
b(6). Red Hills, two on Wallsea Island, S.W. of Oldpool Farm. Another has been located at the E. end of the island.