38. HATFIELD BROAD OAK. (D.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxiii. S.W. (b)xxxii. N.W. (c)xxxi. S.E.
(d)xxxii. S.W. (e)xli. N.E. (f)xlii. N.W.)
Hatfield Broad Oak is a large parish and village
6 m. S.W. of Great Dunmow. The Church is the
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin,
with foundations, precinct-wall and fish-ponds,
stands immediately N. of the village. The walls
of the church are mostly of flint-rubble with some
17th and 18th-century brickwork and incorporating
some old ashlar; the N. vestry is of brick; the
dressings are of Barnack and clunch, patched
with cement; the roofs are covered with lead.
The building (Plate p. 119) formed the structural
nave of the church of a priory founded probably
c. 1135 as a cell to the abbey of St. Melaine at
Rennes in Brittany, by Aubrey de Vere the second.
The church was cruciform, and originally had an
aisleless nave, with the conventual buildings on
the N. side; the eastern arm and transepts are only
represented by foundations which were left exposed
after the excavations of 1897. The remains of
the former Presbytery and Central Tower and the
N. wall of the present North Aisle probably
represent the original monastic structure of c. 1140–
50. There were also North and South Chapels,
dedicated respectively to St. Katherine and St.
Melaine, each of two bays and opening into the
Presbytery by arcades, and by W. arches into the
transepts. Between 1317 and 1330 many alterations and enlargements were carried out, including
the extension of the Presbytery towards the E.
At the end of the 14th century the aisleless nave
was removed except the N. wall and a new parish
Nave and Chancel and South Aisle built to the
S. of it, thus throwing the axis of the nave several
feet to the S. of that of the monastic quire and
necessitating the blocking of the W. arch of the
crossing. The North and South Chapels were
also added but the N. chapel was subsequently
shortened by a wooden screen, the eastern part
being divided into two storeys. Early in the 15th
century the South Porch and West Tower were
built, the top stage of the tower being completed
late in the century. The Priory was dissolved
in 1536 and probably shortly afterwards the
monastic part of the church was pulled down.
The North Vestry was added late in the 17th
century. The church was restored in the 19th
century, when the Library was added.
The church is interesting as structurally part
of a small monastic building, and among the
fittings the 13th-century effigy and the early
18th-century reredos are noteworthy.
Hatfield Broad Oak, The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin
Architectural Description—The monastic
Presbytery (56½ ft. by 26 ft.), North Chapel (32½ ft.
by 16 ft.), South Chapel (33½ ft. by 16½ ft.), North
Transept (16½ ft. by 29¼ ft.), Sacristy (10 ft. wide),
South Transept (30½ ft. by 30 ft.), are represented
only by foundations left exposed in the church-yard. E. of the presbytery was an extension
(28 ft. long), the foundations of which were not left
exposed, except a short length on the S. side.
The Crossing (28 ft. by 26 ft.) has been destroyed
except for the two western piers which are standing
to just below the springing level. The S.W. pier
is of mid 12th-century date and the N.W. pier is
rather later in detail. The N.W. pier has an
attached keeled shaft to the N. and W. arches,
with hold-water base and spur ornaments; the
shaft to the W. arch also retains its moulded capital
and square abacus. The angles of the responds
have keeled rolls and the main angle of the crossing
two round shafts; the S.W. angle of the N. transept
has a single round shaft. The S.W. pier is generally
similar to the N.W. pier on plan, but all the rolls
and shafts are round, the bases are plain and no
The Parish Chancel (28 ft. by 20½ ft.) has a
modern E. window. In the N. wall is a late 14th-century arch, reduced late in the 15th century by
the insertion of an inner E. respond; the original
moulded responds had each three attached shafts
with moulded capitals and bases; the inserted
respond is similar but of slightly different detail;
the moulded arch is four-centred; E. of the inserted
respond are two late 15th-century windows lighting
the lower and upper chamber at the end of the N.
chapel; the lower window has moulded oak jambs
and four-centred head with foliated spandrels;
the upper window is of three cinque-foiled lights
with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed head;
W. of the lower window is a doorway with moulded
jambs and four-centred head. In the S. wall is a
late 14th or early 15th-century arch, two-centred
and of similar detail to the earlier arch in the N.
wall; the bases of the responds are modern.
The late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred
and of two moulded orders dying into the walls;
at the springing level on the N. side is a carved
The North Chapel (28 ft. by 10 ft.) now includes
the area formerly occupied by the two chambers
at the E. end. In the N. wall are two late 15th-century windows, the eastern of four and the
western of three cinque-foiled lights under a square
head; they are set high in the wall to clear the
former roof of the cloister. Further E. and partly
under the eastern window is a recess with an oak
frame and a roughly pointed arch; it probably
enclosed a former staircase to the upper chamber.
On the external face of the wall further to the E.
of the recess is a pair of 14th-century doorways
with moulded jambs, two-centred arches and labels
with head-stops; they probably formed the
eastern processional entrance and are now blocked.
The late 14th-century W. arch of the chapel is
two-centred and moulded.
The South Chapel (18 ft. by 10 ft.) has in the E.
wall a modern doorway and a 15th-century window
of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head.
In the S. wall is a late 15th-century window of
five cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery under a
four-centred head. The W. arch of the chapel is
uniform with that in the N. chapel.
The Nave (74½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has late 14th-century N. and S. arcades each of four bays;
the two-centred arches are moulded and have
moulded labels on the nave side with head-stops of
a bishop, women and men, some crowned; the
columns have each four attached shafts with
moulded capitals and bases; the responds have
attached half columns. The clearstorey has on
each side five modern windows.
The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has in the N. wall
four windows, the two eastern are set high in the
wall to clear the former cloister roof, and are of
mid 15th-century date and of four cinque-foiled
lights with tracery in a square head; the third
window is modern but the westernmost is of late
14th-century date, much restored and of three
cinque-foiled lights under a segmental-pointed
head; between the second and third windows is a
modern doorway. In the W. wall is a window
all modern except for the late 14th-century jambs.
The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has in the S.
wall four windows, all modern except for the
jambs and parts of the heads and labels, which
are probably of late 14th or early 15th-century
date; at the E. end of the wall is a semi-octagonal
rood-stair turret, with a modern external doorway;
the upper internal doorway is now blocked and has
a four-centred head of the 15th century; between
the second and third windows is the late 14th-century S. doorway with jambs and two-centred
arch of two moulded orders. In the W. wall is a
window uniform with the W. window of the N.
The West Tower (15 ft. square) is of four stages
with moulded plinth and embattled crow-stepped
parapet. The three lower stages are of early
15th-century date and the bell-chamber of late in
the same century. The two-centred tower-arch
is of two moulded orders with a moulded label,
the outer order is continuous and the inner springs
from semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded
capitals; in the lower part of the opening is a
modern stone screen. In the S. wall is a doorway
to the turret-staircase with moulded jambs and
four-centred arch. The W. doorway has moulded
and shafted jambs with bases and a moulded two-centred arch with traceried spandrels under a
square label; the W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred
head with a moulded label and large carved stops.
The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls
a loop light with a trefoiled head and a moulded
label; above the loop in the W. wall is a late 16th-century window of a single cinque-foiled light with
carved spandrels under a square moulded label.
The third stage has in each wall a window of two
pointed lights under a four-centred head with a
moulded label, all partly restored. The bell-chamber has in each wall a late 15th-century
window of two four-centred lights in two tiers
and with a square head and label, all partly
restored; the W. window has interlacing tracery
in the head.
The North Vestry is of late 17th-century date
and of red and black bricks. In the E., N. and W.
walls are square-headed windows with oak frames,
transoms and mullions. In the W. wall is a modern
The South Porch is of the 15th century and has
an embattled parapet with carved, panelled and
crocketed pinnacles at the angles. The two-centred outer archway of two moulded orders,
the outer continuous and square and the inner
resting on attached shafts, with moulded capitals
and bases; the spandrels of the arch are traceried
on both sides and have blank shields externally
and a square-moulded label. The side walls have
each a partly restored window of three cinque-foiled lights and vertical tracery under a four-centred head.
The Roof of the chancel is modern but
incorporates four large carved angels holding
shields or scrolls and of the 15th century. The roof
of the N. chapel has rough chamfered timbers
possibly of the 17th century. The late 14th-century roof of the N. aisle has chamfered principals
with curved braces (one missing) under the N.
ends, springing from stone corbels carved with
angels holding shields, scrolls, etc. The late
14th-century roof of the S. aisle has moulded wall-plates, purlins and principals with curved braces
forming four-centred arches.
Fittings—Books: In Library, S. of chancel—
about 300 books collected and given to the church,
c. 1680; includes the Aldine Aristotle, 1498, Paraphrases of Erasmus, 1551, etc. Brasses: In N.
chapel—on N. wall, (1) to Thomas Baryngton and
Anne his wife, 1472, inscription. In S. aisle—(2)
inscription-plate commemorating benefactions of
John Gobert of Coventry, 1623, further secured
by Sir John Barrington, 1661. In library—(3)
head of woman, c. 1390, found on site of priory.
Candelabra: In nave—large, of brass with three
tiers each of twelve ornamental branches, probably
early 18th-century. Chairs: In chancel—two,
with carved backs and turned legs, probably early
18th-century. Chest: In N. vestry—framed, with
chamfered styles and rails and bound with iron
bands, late mediæval. In library—with carved
and poker-worked front, 17th-century, foreign.
Communion Rails: with carved standards and
rails, and carved and twisted balusters, early 18th-century. Communion Table: In N. vestry—
small oak table, probably former communion table,
with turned legs, late 17th-century. Door: In
S. doorway—of two leaves with moulded styles
and head and moulded fillets, nail-studded, 15th-century, frame modern. Font-cover: of oak,
octagonal, each side with cinque-foiled head and
tracery, moulded standards, pyramidal spire with
open traceried sides, made up of various fragments,
15th and 18th-century; recently purchased from a
dealer. Grille: In chancel—in lower window in
N. wall, with plain iron uprights and saddle-bars,
probably early 16th-century. Monuments and
Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—(1)
of [Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford, 1221];
but monument late 13th-century; said to
have been removed from the priory church
in 1536; clunch slab with effigy of man
(Plate p. 122) in chain mail and long surcoat,
with heater-shaped shield of Vere enriched with
diaper ornament; the cushion under his head is
supported by remains of two figures; at the foot a
double desk with the damaged figures of two monks
reading; round the slab a fragmentary inscription
in Lombardic capitals. In N. chapel—on N. wall,
(2) to Sir John Barrington, Bart., 1691, white
marble wall-monument with flanking pilasters,
an urn, two cherubs, skull and cross-bones, shield
of arms, etc. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to
John Hawkins, 1680, and Mary his wife, 1688, two
infant children, and Alice Masters, aunt of Mrs.
Hawkins' father, 1683, with shield of arms; (2)
to Philip Scarth, 1695, and Dorothy (Hawkins) his
wife, 1704, with shield of arms; (3) to Rev. Thomas
Boteler, 1708, with shield of arms. In N. chapel—
(4) to Sir John Barrington, Bart., 1682, and his
eldest daughter, 1668; (5) to Thomas Barrington,
son and heir of above, 1681. In S. chapel—(6) to
Mary, wife of Jeffery Stanes, 1709, with shield of
arms. Paintings: In chancel—on N. wall, traces
of red paint, and the black foliated framework of a
16th-century text-panel. Piscina: In S. chapel
—modern recess with carved quatre-foiled drain
probably late 14th-century. Reredos: In chancel
—bolection-moulded panelling (Plate p. 118)
with carved and panelled pilasters and moulded
cornice. Other portions, dispersed about the
church, include carved emblems of the four
Evangelists, a cherub's head and panelling; work
said to be by Woodward, pupil of Grinling Gibbons,
early 18th-century. Screen: At W. end of N.
chapel—of nine bays, the three southernmost
occupied by doorway; each bay with a cinque-foiled ogee head and vertical tracery, formerly
closed but now open above the moulded middle rail;
doorway with four-centred arch in square head
with crocketed cresting; 15th-century, restored
and re-set. Stall: Now in S. aisle—seat with
high panelled back of four bays and shaped side
wings with pierced carvings, early 18th-century,
of similar work to reredos. Tiles: In chancel—
14th-century slip tiles with geometrical
patterns, re-set from site of priory; also black
and white marble paving, early 18th-century.
Miscellanea: In library—mostly from site of
priory, angle-shafts, mask-heads, moulded bases,
etc., 12th to 14th-century. In nave—carved oak
figure, probably from former roof now incorporated
in lectern, late 14th or early 15th-century.
The Domestic Buildings of the priory adjoined
the church on the N. The plan has been recovered
by excavation but nothing is now visible on the
site. The cloister (70 ft. by 67 ft.) had the chapter
house and probably the dormitory on the E.,
the Frater on the N. and the Cellarer's building
on the W. A group of buildings to the N.E. of
the cloister was probably the Infirmary.
The Precinct-wall is probably represented by a
length of late 15th or early 16th-century brick wall
to the W. of the church.
The Fish-ponds and Ditches of the former Priory
lie E., N. and W. of the site and consist of four
roughly rectangular ponds, and numerous ditches
probably marking the extent of the precinct.
Condition—Of church, good.
d(2). At Waters, ½ m. E. of the parish church.
d(3). At Pierce Williams, ¾ m. S.S.E. of the
d(4). At Lancasters, 2,000 yds. S. of the parish
church; two moated enclosures.
c(5). N.W. of Ongars and 500 yards N.N.E.
of Hatfield Heath church.
d(6). At Ryes, nearly 1½ m. N.N.E. of Hatfield
c(7). ½ m. W. of Hatfield Heath church.
c(8). Nearly ½ m. S.W. of Hatfield Heath church.
d(9). Braintrees, house, barn and moat, 1,500
yards N.E. of the parish church. The House is
of two storeys with attics; the walls are of plastered
timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built
in the 17th century probably on an L-shaped plan
with the wings extending towards the S. and E.;
it has been refaced with modern brick and much
altered. Inside the building are chamfered ceiling-beams and wall-posts, and one room is lined
with original panelling.
The Barn, N. of the house, is timber-framed
and weather-boarded. It was built probably
in the 15th century, with a porch on the S. side,
and is of seven bays divided by king-post trusses.
The Moat almost surrounds the house; on the
E. are traces of an outer enclosure.
Condition—Of house and barn, good.
b(10). Benningtons, barn and moat, 2,000
yards N.E. of the parish church. The Barn is
timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs
are tiled. It was built probably in the 16th century,
with two porches on the N. side. The roof is
supported by queen-post trusses.
The Moat, S. of the barn, is incomplete.
Condition—Of barn, good.
b(11). Whiteheads, house, barn and moat,
nearly 1¾ m. N.E. of the parish church. The
House is of two storeys; the walls are of plastered
timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built
probably in 1560 on a rectangular plan. One
window has an original moulded mullion, and the
original chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster strips
and a sunk panel bearing the initials E.T. and the
date 1560. Inside the building are massive
ceiling-beams and an original wide fireplace with an
iron fire-back bearing a shield of arms. In the
upper storey is an original window of three lights,
now blocked, with diamond-shaped oak mullions.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, good.
d(12). Broomshawbury, barn and moat, nearly
1¾ m. E. of the parish church. The Barn is of
plastered and weather-boarded timber-framing;
the roofs are thatched. It was built probably in
the 17th century, with one porch and six bays.
The Moat, S.E. of the barn, is almost complete.
Condition—Of barn, good.
f(13). Parvills, house and moat, 2¼ m. S.S.W.
of the church. The House is of two storeys;
the walls are of weather-boarded timber-framing;
the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early
in the 17th century on a rectangular plan with a
small staircase wing at the back; in the 18th
century a brew-house was added. The original
central chimney-stack has six grouped diagonal
shafts. Inside the building the original staircase
has carved and pierced balusters.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, good, much altered.
d(14). Lea Hall and moat, ½ m. N.E. of Hatfield
Heath church. The House is of two storeys;
the walls are of plastered timber-framing, the
roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th
or early in the 17th century on a Z-shaped plan
with the wings extending towards the N. and
S.; a brew-house has been added at the W. end.
On the N. front are four gables; each of the two
gables on the main block has an original moulded
pendant. On the S. elevation are two gables,
the western with original carved barge-boards.
Several of the windows have moulded oak frames
and original latches. The original chimney-stack,
now covered with cement, has rectangular shafts
divided by narrow pilasters. Inside the building
is some early 16th-century linen-fold panelling
said to have been brought from Ryes in this
The Moat surrounds the house.
Condition—Of house, good.
d(15). House (Plate, p. 45), formerly the Town
Farm, on the W. side of Cage End, 200 yards
S.S.W. of the parish church, is of two storeys;
the walls are of plastered timber-framing, and the
roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 15th
century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the W.; early in the 16th
century a fire place was inserted in the central
Hall, and a small staircase-wing added at the back;
probably at the same time the N.W. wing was
extended towards the W., and the upper floor in
the central Hall may date from this period or may
not have been inserted until 1630, the date carved
below one of the ceiling-beams; at the back of
the Hall and on the N. side of the N.W. wing
are 18th-century and modern additions. On the
E. front are three gables under which the upper
storey projects; the middle gable was added when
the upper floor was inserted in the Hall. On the
S. elevation is a 17th-century chimney-stack,
largely re-built, and E. of it the plaster retains some
old rosette-pattern. On the W. elevation are
three main gables and a small gable on the staircase-wing. Inside the building are massive ceiling-beams. On the ground floor, in the central room,
is a wide fireplace, probably of early 16th-century
date, with richly moulded oak bressumer in the
form of a flat four-centred arch; in the fireplace
is an old wrought-iron jack. In the S. room above
the fireplace is a plaster panel stamped with
rosettes and other patterns, probably of early
17th-century date. The N. room is lined with
panelling partly of early 17th-century date, re-set.
The front door is of the 17th century and retains
its original oak lock.
d(16). Barns, two, S. of and formerly belonging
to (15), are of weather-boarded timber-framing.
They each have four porches and are of seven bays
divided by king-post trusses. They were built
probably in the 15th century.
d(17). Brick Wall, S.E. of the parish church,
on the S. side of the street, was built probably
in the 17th century.
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. Some of the buildings
have original chimney-stacks, with fireplaces and
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
d(18). House, 75 yards S.W. of the parish church,
on the N. side of the street, was built probably
late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on an
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the W. and S. On the S. front the upper storey
of the S. wing formerly projected and is gabled;
the gable has an old carved barge-board. The
W. wing is pierced by a passage, in which is an
original doorway with part of a round or four-centred head. W. of this passage on the N.
elevation is a gable.
d(19). Old Cock Inn, 12 yards W. of (18), has
been re-built except for the heavily timbered passageway, which is probably of 16th or 17th-century
d(20). House, opposite (19), has fleurs-de-lis
on the plaster of the N. front.
d(21). House, 12 yards E. of (20), has an 18th-century addition at the back. On the N. front
the plaster has an old circular pattern. Inside
the building are two doors, probably original,
one of moulded battens, the other of panelling.
d(22). House, formerly an almshouse, on the
W. side of Cage End, 150 yards S.W. of the church.
It was built probably late in the 15th or early
in the 16th century, and has at the S. end a passageway above which the upper storey is gabled on the
E. and W. and projects on the E. side. The
passage-way has at each end a four-centred arch
of oak; the E. arch has sunk spandrels, and the
N.E. jamb has an attached oak shaft with a
moulded capital, much defaced. The upper storey
over the archway has a moulded bressumer and
is supported by hollow-chamfered brackets; the
gable also has a moulded bressumer, and elaborately
d(23). House (Plate, p. 45), three tenements, on
the E. side of Cage End, N.E. of (15), was built
probably in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan
with the wings extending towards the S. and W.;
in the 18th century a wing was added at the back.
d(24). House (Plate, p. 45), two tenements,
70 yards S. of (23), has a modern addition at the
back. On the W. front the upper storey projects.
The original central chimney-stack has grouped
d(25). Farmhouse, at Broad Street Green, ¾ m.
E.S.E. of the parish church, was built probably
early in the 16th century on a rectangular plan
with a gable at the S. end of the E. and W. elevations; probably in the same century a small
staircase-wing was added on the E., and the N.E.
and S.W. wings are modern. On the W. and S.
elevations the upper storey of the original block
projects. The 16th-century chimney-stack has
two diagonal shafts. Inside the building is a
wide fireplace with corner-seats and an elaborately
b(26). Little Barrington Hall, 1½ m. N. of the
parish church, was built probably late in the 16th
century, but has an 18th or 19th-century wing
at the back. On the S.E. front the upper storey
projects. The original chimney-stack has two
diagonal shafts. Inside the building several of
the walls are lined with late 16th or early 17th-century panelling.
b(27). Cottage, at Bush End, about 2 m. N.N.E.
of the parish church, has a gable at the S. end
of the E. and W. elevations.
b(28). Cottage (Plate, p. 97), W. of Greenhill,
1¼ m. N. of the church. The original central
chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster-strips.
b(29). Wises, cottage, 1½ m. N.E. of the parish
church, was built probably in 1649, the date carved
on a beam above the fireplace. The central
chimney-stack has an original moulded cornice.
d(30). Woolard's Ash, house, 1½ m. E.N.E.
of the parish church, was built probably late in the
16th century on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N. end; in the S.W. angle is a small
17th-century addition. At the W. end of the main
or cross-wing the upper storey projects. Inside
the building is an original doorway with a four-centred head.
f(31). Farmhouse (Plate, p. 111), at Manwood
Green, nearly 2¾ m. S. of the parish church, was
built probably c. 1600 on a rectangular plan with a
small staircase-wing at the back; adjoining this
wing are 18th-century additions. On the S.
front are three gables. The original chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster strips.
c(32). White Horse Inn, 200 yards E. of Hatfield
Heath church, was built probably on an L-shaped
plan with the wings extending towards the W.
and S.; at the W. end and at the back are modern
c(33). Shrubs, farmhouse, nearly ¾ m. S.W. of
Hatfield Heath church, was built on a modified
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the N. and W.
d(34). Corringales, house, ¾ m. N.N.E. of Hatfield
Heath church, was built probably on a rectangular
plan with a small staircase-wing at the back;
also at the back are 18th and 19th-century additions.
The original central chimney-stack has diagonal
b(35). Cottage, S. of Forest Hall, and about
1 m. N.W. of the parish church.
b(36). Cottage at Wood Row, ¼ m. N. of (35),
has a gable at the N. end of the E. and W.
b(37). Cottage, N. of (36), has a modern addition
at the back. The original chimney-stack has three
b(38). Cottage, N.E. of the Doodle Oak beerhouse and 1¾ m. N.N.W. of the parish church.
b(39). Cottage, N.E. of (38).
b(40). Wallis's, farmhouse, 100 yards N.E. of
(39), was built in the 16th century or earlier,
probably on a half H-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the S.E., but the N.E. wing
has been removed. The central chimney-stack
is probably of late 16th-century date and has
diagonal pilaster-strips; on the base is a sunk panel.
Inside the building is a door of late 16th-century
b(41). Portingbury Hills, in Beggarshall
Coppice, Hatfield Forest, 2½ m. N.N.W. of the
parish church. A low, nearly square mound,
about 100 ft. in diameter and 5 ft. high, surrounded
by a shallow ditch.
b(42). Small Mound, near Hatfield Park house,
nearly 2½ m. N.N.E. of the parish church; the
surrounding moat has an arm extending 80 yards
towards the S. The work was possibly a duck
c(43). Mill-mound, with moat, 100 yards S.
of Hatfield Heath church.
a(44). Mill-mound, with moat, in the N.W.
angle of the parish.