68. STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET. (B.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxii. N.E. (b)xxiii. N.W. (c)xxii. S.E.
Stansted Mountfitchet is a large parish about
3 m. N.E. of Bishop's Stortford; the village was
always of some importance, and of late years it
has largely increased in size, and a second church
has been built. The Parish Church and the Castle
are the principal monuments.
c (1). Dwelling-house, found in 1887, in restoring the parish church; nothing is now visible
on the surface, and no plans or detailed descriptions
survive. A small bit of the tessellated floor is in
private hands at Bishop's Stortford.
c (2). Parish Church of St. Mary the
Virgin, stands some way from the E. end of the
village. The walls are of flint rubble with stone
dressings, and the tower is of brick with stone
dressings; the roofs are tiled. Of the early 12th-century church, the chancel-arch and two doorways
in the nave remain, but the latter are not in their
original position. Early in the 13th century the
Chancel was rebuilt, lengthened and widened, and
the North Chapel added. In the 14th century the
N. chapel was lengthened towards the E., and
possibly also towards the W. In 1692 the West
Tower was rebuilt. The church was completely
restored in the 19th century, when the nave was
rebuilt, the North Aisle added, and the walls of
the chancel and chapel re-faced.
The two doorways of the nave, and the chancel-arch are rich examples of 12th-century ornament.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35 ft.
by 15½ ft.) has a modern E. window, but in the
angles of the E. wall are 13th-century shafts with
moulded capitals, bands and bases. At the E. end
of the N. wall are remains of a blocked 13th-century lancet window with rebated jambs, now
covered by the N. chapel, and part of an internal
wall-arcade enclosing the window. Further W. are
two arches opening into the chapel; the eastern
is of the 14th-century, two-centred and moulded;
the responds are plain, but one of them has a
moulded stop; the western arch, also two-centred
and moulded, is of the 13th-century, and has
chamfered responds with foliated head-stops and
attached shafts with moulded capitals carved with
stiff-leaf foliage, square abaci, and moulded bases
with spur ornaments. The eastern part of the S.
wall has a 13th-century wall-arcade of four bays,
corresponding to the former arcade in the N.
wall; the arches are two-centred and rest on
detached shafts with moulded capitals and bases;
each bay was formerly pierced by a window, now
blocked, the jambs of two of the windows are
visible externally; the other two bays contain
modern windows, the easternmost is partly
blocked by a monument; further W. is a modern
window. The 12th-century chancel-arch is semi-circular and of three orders on the W. face, the outer
order is carved with small heads and other ornaments, the middle order with cheveron ornament
and the inner order is plain; the responds have each
a single shaft with a carved and scalloped capital,
carrying the middle order of the arch.
The North Chapel (35 ft. by 9 ft.) has, in the E.
wall, a modern window set in a 14th-century
opening. In the N. wall are two windows and a
doorway, all modern, except the openings of the
windows. In the W. wall is a moulded two-centred arch of the 14th century, and a round-headed window, probably modern.
The Nave (69 ft. by 21 ft.) is entirely modern,
but re-set in the S. wall is a 12th-century doorway
(see Plate, p. xxviii) which has a semi-circular
arch recessed in four orders, the two outer orders
are enriched with cheverons, the third with stars
of four points, and the inner order is plain; the
jambs have each two attached shafts with
scalloped capitals and moulded bases; the
tympanum is diapered and has a segmental sub-arch.
The North Aisle (17 ft. wide) is also modern,
but re-set in the N. wall is a 12th-century doorway
with a semi-circular arch of five orders enriched
respectively with billet-ornament and cheverons,
four-leaf flowers, cheverons and stars; the innermost order is plain; the jambs have each three
shafts similar to those of the S. doorway, and the
diapered tympanum has a segmental sub-arch.
The West Tower (15½ ft. by 13 ft.), built in 1692,
is of three stages with an embattled parapet and
shallow angle-buttresses; it is finished with a
short lead-covered spire. The doors and windows
Fittings—Brasses: In chancel—(1) to Robert
de Bokkyng, first vicar of 'Stanstede Mechet,'
1361, inscription only; (2) to George Raye,
1609, inscription only. Book: Bible of 1640.
Chairs: In chancel—plain, with arms, panelled
back and turned legs, early 17th-century. In
vestry—under tower, with carved arms and back,
twisted legs, back and seat upholstered, late
17th-century. Font and Font-cover. Font: round
bowl with four foliated projections forming
angles, round moulded base and stem, considerably restored, early 13th-century. Cover: ogee,
spire-form, octagonal and panelled, 17th-century.
Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In
chancel—against S. wall, (1) of Sir Thomas
Middleton, Lord Mayor of London, 1631, moulded
sarcophagus with effigy of man in fur cloak over
plate armour, with Mayoral collar of S.S. and
knots with portcullis clasp, all under an arched
recess of the Corinthian order with coupled columns
on pedestals and elaborate heraldry on seven
shields. In N. chapel—(2) of Hester (Middleton)
wife of ... Salusbury, 1614, altar tomb with
coloured effigy of woman, wearing a ruffled
farthingale, black gown, lace collar, cloak and
tall hat, S. side and W. end of tomb panelled
and carved with funeral emblems and oval
medallions with elaborate heraldry, tomb formerly
in chancel; in recess, in N. wall, (3) effigy
of man in armour wearing a surcoat, hauberk
and camail strapped round temples, remains
of shield, head on cushion supported by
two angels, legs crossed and feet on lion;
recess two-centred and moulded with moulded
label, all c. 1310. Floor-slabs: In chancel—
(1) to Thomas Ray, 16, and Dorothy
([Glas] cock) his wife, 1701; (2) to Richard
Mills, 1691, and Eleanor his wife, 1705.
Painting: On E. wall of chancel—N. side, near
floor, traces of painted decoration, early 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—in E. wall,
quatrefoil basin only, late 13th-century; in N.
chapel—S. wall, with moulded ogee cinquefoiled
head, label cut back and octofoil drain, 14th-century; in same wall between arches, with
chamfered, trefoiled head, moulded label with
mask-stops, worn multifoil drain, 13th-century.
Plate: includes a stand-paten of 1676. Screen:
At W. end of N. chapel—base of screen with five
large linen-fold panels, early 16th-century. Miscellanea: In N. chapel—under E. window,
Cartouche, of stone, with the heraldry of the
Passion; surrounded by the thirty pieces of silver,
also a kneeling cherub, a shield, with hands and
feet projecting from the corners, charged with the
various Instruments of the Passion, a heart below,
and a helm, with the crown of thorns as crest,
above the shield; below the cartouche four English
verses, early 17th-century. On S. wall of tower—
in modern frame, Inscription, recording the
rebuilding of the tower and porches, the ceiling,
repairing and 'whiting' of the church by Sir
Stephen Langham, 1692.
Condition—Good, much restored.
a (3). Stansted Castle (ring and bailey),
300 yards E. of the new church, stands on a
spur of high ground about 250 feet above O.D.
The general level drops from E. to W., the
bailey being on higher ground than the ring. A
small stream flows at the bottom of the slope to
the S. The castle now consists of a ring and an
adjoining bailey. The ring is a circular area of
about half an acre surrounded by a rampart
which contains the lower courses of a flint rubble
wall and is 8½ feet high and 12 feet wide at the
summit in places, and a dry ditch, 70 feet wide
from crest to crest and 10 feet deep from the
summit of the scarp. In the centre of this work
are slight traces of a small round enclosure,
probably the site of the keep. The ground drops
sharply to the S. and W., and the defences are
nearly obliterated on those sides. Projecting
towards the S. from the line of the wall is a short
length of flint rubble wall (13 feet long by 3 feet
thick and 9 feet high) which retains some of the
original surface of coursed flints, and seems to
indicate the presence of a tower on that side. On
the E. side a gap in the rampart leads by a causeway
across the ditch into the bailey. The bailey,
slightly over an acre in extent, is also defended by
a rampart and ditch, and is crossed from E. to W.
by a slight scarp, which possibly indicates the
foundations of a wall formerly dividing the bailey
into two wards, There is apparently no wall
within the rampart, which was probably
strengthened by a wooden palisade. The rampart
is about 13 feet above the bottom of the ditch,
which is well defined only on the N.W., and
communicates with the ditch of the ring work
on that side. The entrance on the N. is
flanked by a raising of the rampart on each side,
but on the W. side this extra elevation has been
partly thrown down. The rampart is obliterated on
the S. and only a steep scarp remains. The ground
near the bailey on the E. is considerably cut up
and altered by gravel pits, etc.
Condition—Of masonry, poor; of earthworks,
d (4). Moated Site and Font at Thremhall
Priory, about 2 m. S.S.W. of the parish church, on
the N. side of the Stane Street. The Enclosure is
almost rectangular, with a smaller moated area in
the S.E. corner, and also a large fish-pond. The
site is occupied by a modern house; no remains
of the Augustinian Priory now exist. Buried in
a flower bed is the bowl of a Font; it is octagonal,
with angle-rolls, and probably of the 13th century.
Condition—Of moat, incomplete; of font, poor.
c (5). Parsonage Farm, house and moat, about
½ m. S.W. of the parish church. The House is of
two storeys; the walls are of plastered timberframing, and the roofs are tiled. It was built in
the 17th century on a rectangular plan, and has
modern additions at the N.E. and S.W. ends,
making the plan Z-shaped. The walls have square
panels in plaster, and the original chimney-stack
at the S.W. end has two attached diagonal shafts.
The Moat is obliterated, except the broad N.E.
Condition—Of house, good, much altered.
d (6). Wurmans Farm, house and moat, about
¾ m. S.E. of the parish church. The House is of two
storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing,
and the roofs are covered with slate. It was built
probably in the 17th century, but the central
chimney-stack with two attached diagonal shafts
is the only original feature.
The Moat encloses an oblong area; the S.W.
side is partly obliterated.
Condition—Of house, good, much altered.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century, and of two
storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs
are tiled or thatched. Many of the buildings have
exposed ceiling-beams, wide fireplaces and original
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
Lower Street, W. side
a (7). House, now two shops, about 130 yards
E.S.E. of the new church, was built in the 16th
century; a wing was added at the back, probably
in the 17th century, and there is a small modern
addition, also at the back. On the E. front the
upper storey projects, and is gabled at each end.
In the plaster are small panels with fleurs de lis, a
Tudor rose, and a reversed lion (?).
a (8). House, N. of (7), is of two storeys with
attics and cellar. It was built probably in the
second half of the 16th century on an L-shaped
plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and
W., and has modern additions at the W. end. On
the E. front the upper storey projects, and there
is a plaster cove under the eaves; the entrance
doorway has moulded wooden posts and a segmental
head; at the top of each post is a small panel
carved with a crowned rose and the initials E.R.;
the chimney-stack has three original octagonal
shafts with moulded bases.
a (9). House, now four tenements, 150 yards
N.N.E. of (8), was built on an L-shaped plan, with
the wings extending towards the N. and E.; it
has been partly re-faced with modern brick and
weather-boarding, and has two modern additions
at the back. On the E. front the upper storey
projects, and the gable of the E. wing has
original carved barge-boards. The original
chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters on a rectangular base.
a (10). Cottage, at the corner of Grove Hill,
200 yards E. of the new church. On the W. front
the upper storey projects, and the plaster is orna
mented with scale pattern.
a (11). House, now three tenements (see Plate,
p. xxv), at the junction of High and Workhouse
Lanes, is of two storeys with attics. It was built
probably c. 1600 an a half-H-shaped plan, but the
space between the wings has been filled in by a
modern addition. The timber-framing is exposed,
and has been considerably restored. The two
original chimney-stacks have attached octagonal
Grove Hill, E. side
a (12). Cottage, now two tenements, about
200 yards E. of the new church, with an addition
of later date at the back. On the W. front, at the
S. end, is a projecting gable and an oriel window
of slight projection, with the original moulded
frames and glazing.
a (13). Cottage, now two tenements, adjoining
(12) on the N.E.
Chapel Hill, N. side
a (14). House, now two shops and dwellings,
about 160 yards S.E. of the new church. On the
S. front at the W. end is a tile-hung gable; the
upper storey projects.
a (15). The King's Arms Inn, at the corner of
Lower Street, was built on an L-shaped plan, with
the wings extending towards the N. and E. A
wing of one storey, with a S. wall of brick, was
added on the W. side later in the 17th century, and
there are various modern additions. The original
chimney-stack on the S. front has two attached
Church Road, E. side
a (16). House, near the railway bridge, 300 yards
S.E. of the new church (see Plate, p. xxv), was built
early in the 16th century, but the ground floor has
been almost entirely re-faced. The timber-framing
of the upper storey is exposed, and on the W. or
main front is a gabled projecting bay, which rests
on two posts, and forms a porch; the posts have
curved angle-brackets with a series of cusped panels
supporting a plate with carved foliage. The
entrance doorway has an original moulded frame
with a four-centred inner head and foliated spandrels, and the battened door has three vertical
panels and strap-hinges. The gable over the porch
projects and has curved braces in the framing, and
square pendants with foliated terminals. Inside
the building the kitchen has two moulded ceilingbeams.
Cambridge Road, S. side
a (17). Western House, at the N. corner of Chapel
Hill, is of two storeys with attics and cellar. It
was built on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing
at the N.W. end, and with a small staircase wing
in the S. angle. The front was rebuilt in brick,
and a wing was added at the N.E. end of the main
block c. 1726. Various modern additions have
been made on the S. side. The original central
chimney-stack has grouped linked hexagonal
a (18). Cottage, on the S. side of the W. green,
about 820 yards N.W. of the new church, has at
the S.W. angle a projection with a lower storey of
brick; the upper storey projects on both sides of
the angle. The original chimney-stack at the S.
end of the cottage has two attached diagonal shafts.
Inside the building one room has a cupboard door
of early 17th-century panelling.
a (19). Cottage, almost adjoining (18) on the
N.W., is L-shaped on plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and E.; the addition in the
angle between them is modern. The plastering
has traces of herring-bone and scale patterns. At
the end of the N. wing the gable has original
moulded barge-boards and the upper storey
projects. One of the two original chimney-stacks
has attached diagonal shafts.
a (20). House, N.W. of (19), has been partly refaced with modern brick. Some of the plastering
has scale ornament.
a (21). Cottage, now two tenements, about 900
yards N.W. of the new church. On the N. front
the upper storey projects.
a (22). Cottage, between the two greens, on the S.
side of the road leading from the W. end of the
green, with later additions. On the N. front the
plastering has traces of scale pattern. One casement window is original.
a (23). Cottage, now two tenements (see Plate,
p. xxvi), on the N. side of the E. green, about ½ m.
N.E. of the new church, was built late in the 16th
or early in the 17th century. On the S. front the
upper storey projects at each end; the eaves are
continuous and are supported in the middle by
two curved braces. The roof is carried down low
at the back.
a (24). Cottage, on E. side of E. end of green.
a (25). Cottage, now two tenements, ¾ m. W.N.W.
of the new church, is partly weather-boarded.
a (26). Hole Farm, house and barns, 90 yards
E. of (25). The House was built probably early
in the 16th century on a T-shaped plan with the
cross-wing at the N. end. In the 18th century a
wing was added at the back, and on the main or E.
front the lower storey was re-faced with brick. The
upper storey originally projected at the back, but
has been under-built. One of the two original
chimney-stacks is cross-shaped on plan, with a
pointed nib in each angle. Inside the building, the
beams of the former over-hanging storey are visible,
and there is a moulded beam in the sitting-room.
Two oak archways, with four-centred heads, one
of them with carved spandrels, remain, but are not
in situ. In a room on the first floor is a small arched
fireplace with moulded jambs and head, probably of
plaster. A room at the N. end of the house is
lined with early 17th-century panelling, and has a
fluted frieze; the sitting-room contains some
panelling of the same date.
The Barns are of the 17th century. The larger
barn is timber-framed and weather-boarded, and the
roof is tiled. It is of five bays with two aisles.
The smaller barn is of similar construction with a
thatched roof. It is of five bays with a small
projection in the middle.
a (27). Bentfieldbury, house and barn, 1 m. N.W.
of the new church. The House was originally
rectangular on plan, but has been considerably
restored and enlarged at the S. end and on the W.
side, in the 19th century. The N. end is of brick,
some of the plinth being original.
The Barn, E. of the house, is timber-framed and
weather-boarded, and is of six bays with side
a (28). Bentfield Mill, now a private house, ¾ m.
S.W. of the new church, has been partly re-faced
with modern brick. There is a small entrance
wing on the E. side, and the plastering has scale
a (29). Cottage, now three tenements, 1 m. N.N.E.
of the new church, and opposite Norman House,
is covered with modern rough-cast and weather-boarding. On the E. elevation the upper storey
a (30). The Old Workhouse, now a private house,
700 yards N.E. of the new church, has a modern
extension at the back, and has been much
altered and restored. Some casement windows
a (31). Cottage, S. of (30).
a (32). Ravens House, on the N. side of the
Elsenham Road, 580 yards E.N.E. of the modern
church, is of two storeys with attics and a cellar.
It was built in the 16th century, but the walls
were rebuilt in brick and an addition made on the
E. side in the 19th century. The two original
chimney-stacks retain the moulded bases of
octagonal shafts, but the shafts themselves have
been destroyed. Inside the building, under the
stairs, is an original door of moulded and nail-studded battens. In the attics are two original
fireplaces with four-centred heads; one of them is of
moulded and plastered brick, and the other is
d (33). House, on the N. side of the road, about
550 yards E. of the old church, has been entirely
rebuilt, except one wing, which was formerly
a timber-framed cottage, but has been re-faced
with brick. An outhouse, S.E. of the house, by
the road side, is built of 17th-century brick.
d (34). Cottage, opposite Burton Bower, has some
original casement windows.
d (35). Cottage, now two tenements, 250 yards
S.E. of (34), has an original doorway with a
d (36). The Ash Inn, opposite Wurmans (6), has
been re-faced with modern plaster.
d (37). Ryder's Farm, house, 350 yards S.E. of
(36), was built on a half-H-shaped plan, with the
wings extending towards the N.E. The S.W. or
main front has a gable at each end; at the W. end
the upper storey projects. The chimney-stack
with grouped shafts, is partly original.
d (38). House, 250 yards E.S.E. of (37). The
walls have been re-faced with modern brick; the
addition at the back is modern.
d (39). Cottage, now two tenements, 270 yards
S.W. of (38), with modern additions at the back
and the W. end.
d (40). Monks, farmhouse, opposite (37), with a
modern addition at the back. The plastering has
d (41). Barns, two, at Bury Lodge, about ¾ m.
S.S.E. of the parish church, are both weather-boarded. The larger barn is of six bays with side-aisles, a projecting entrance and a tiled roof. The
smaller barn is of four bays with a projecting
entrance and a thatched roof.