17. CRESSING. (A.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxv. S.E. (b)xxxiv. N.E (c)xxxiv. S.E.)
Cressing is a parish and village 3 m. S.E. of
Braintree. The principal monuments are the
church and Cressing Temple.
b(1). Parish Church of All Saints (Plate,
p. xxviii) stands at the S. end of the village. The
walls are of flint-rubble with some brick; the
dressings are of limestone and clunch, and the
roofs are tiled. The Nave is probably of the 12th
century, but there is no detail in situ of that date.
The Chancel was rebuilt c. 1230. In the first half
of the 15th century the walls of the nave were
raised and early in the 16th century the S. wall
of the chancel was rebuilt, the chancel possibly
shortened and the Bell-turret added. The church
was restored early in the 19th century, when the
E. wall was rebuilt and the North Vestry added;
the South Porch is also modern.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft.
by 20 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall
are two windows of the first half of the 13th
century, each of one lancet light; the western
has been completely restored externally. In the
S. wall is an early 16th-century window of two
cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a four-centred head, the external jambs and head are
moulded, and the mullion and sill are modern;
further W. is a doorway, all modern, except the
internal splays and rear-arch, which are of early
The Nave (50¾ ft. by 21¾ ft.) is structurally
undivided from the chancel, but the internal
angles of the set back in the N. and S. walls are
splayed. In the N. wall are two windows of
c. 1440, and each of two cinquefoiled lights with
tracery in a two-centred head and a moulded
label; further W. is the 14th-century N. doorway
with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch;
the moulded label has mutilated head-stops;
above the rear-arch is set a voussoir carved with
cheveron ornament, of c. 1130. In the S. wall are
two windows; the eastern is of c. 1340 and of two
trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred
head; the external label and rear-arch are moulded;
the western window is similar in date and detail to
those in the N. wall; at the E. end of the wall is
a recess of uncertain use and date, with splayed
jambs and a segmental arch; W. of the windows
is the late 14th-century S. doorway, with moulded
jambs, two-centred arch and label. In the W. wall
is a window, all modern, except the splays and
rear-arch, which are of c. 1440.
The Bell-turret, probably of early 16th-century
date and placed over the W. end of the nave, is
square, covered with modern boarding, and has
a short shingled spire. It rests on four hollowchamfered posts set against the walls of the nave,
with chamfered cross-beams and curved braces
supporting a timber-frame with diagonal bracing;
between the posts on the N. and S. sides are
horizontal struts with arched braces.
The Roof of the chancel is of early 16th-century
date and of the trussed-rafter type, with moulded
and embattled wall-plates. The 15th-century roof
of the nave is steep pitched and of four bays;
the trusses have chamfered tie-beams with curved
braces, and two collar-beams, the lower with curved
braces and pierced traceried filling between it and
the tie-beam; the upper collar supports a king-post with four-way struts.
Fittings—Brass: In chancel—of Dorcas (Bigg),
wife of Thomas Musgrave, of Norton, Yorks, 1610,
seated figure of lady, left hand pointing to figure
of infant, two inscription-plates. Communion
Table (Plate, p. xxxii): In vestry—of oak, with
square and turned legs, top-rail with raised panels,
lower rails carved with incised inscription: "Dorcas Smith wife of William Smyth Esquier gave
this to the churche, A. dom, 1633." Glass: In
nave—in tracery of two windows in N. wall,
fragments of figures, foliage, etc., 15th-century.
Helms: In chancel—at W. end, two, one with
crest of Smith, early 17th-century. Monument
and Floor-slab. Monument (Plate, p. 97): In
chancel—on S. wall, of Anne (Grene), wife of
(a) Thomas Newman, (b) Henry Smith, of Cressing
Temple, 1607, alabaster and marble tablet, with
kneeling figures of man in plate-armour, and lady,
with four shields of arms; panelled base with small
figures of a daughter and a swaddled infant. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Willyam Smith and Dorcas,
his wife, mid 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel
—with chamfered jambs and four-centred head,
early 16th-century; octofoil drain, probably 14th-century. In nave—in sill of S.E. window, rough
sinking to drain, date uncertain. Royal Arms:
In nave—on S. wall, of Queen Anne before the
Union, on canvas in carved frame. Sedilia: Sills
of S.E. window of chancel and N.E. and S.E.
windows of nave carried down to form seats.
Miscellanea: In nave—on sill of W. window, two
carved heads, 14th-century.
b(2). Homestead Moat at Wright's Farm,
about ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church.
b(3). Cressing Temple, house, outbuilding,
barns and moat, about 1¼ m. S.S.E. of the church.
The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600
on a T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the
S.W. end. There are modern additions on the
N.W. side. Inside the building, one room is fitted
with original panelling, having a carved frieze;
the panelled overmantel has reeded pilasters and
carved conventional foliage and dragons.
The Garden, E. of the house, is surrounded by
late 16th-century walls of red brick. In the walls
are two doorways with moulded jambs and four-centred arches with square labels; a third doorway is similar, but with chamfered jambs, and is
flanked by pilasters on the inside face.
The Outbuilding, E. of the house, is of two storeys,
partly of brick and partly of plastered timberframing; it was built probably early in the 17th
century. S. of the house is another outbuilding,
now stables, also of two storeys and timberframed. It was built c. 1623, the date on a carved
panel on the N.W. side; the gable above this has
barge-boards carved with conventional foliage.
The Barn, N.E. of the house, is timber-framed,
with brick nogging. It was built probably late in
the 16th century, and is of five bays with two
half-bays and a porch. The second barn, N. of
the house, is timber-framed and weather-boarded.
It was built early in the 16th century and is of
similar plan to the larger barn; the roof has
There are traces of foundation mounds in the
area enclosed by the above buildings.
The Moat is fragmentary.
Condition—Of all buildings, good.
b(4). Hawbush Farm, house, barn and moat,
½ m. W. of the church. The House is of two storeys,
timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled.
It was built probably early in the 16th century
but has 17th-century and modern additions on
the W. side. On the W. side is an old door of
overlapping battens. A 17th-century chimney-stack on the W. side has two diagonal shafts.
Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams
including one original moulded beam. There is
also some late 16th-century panelling. The roof
has remains of the original king-post construction
but has been much altered.
The Barn N.E. of the house is timber-framed
and probably of the 16th century.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
a(5). Langham Farm, house and moat, about
¾ m. N. of the church. The House is of two storeys,
partly timber-framed and plastered and partly
of brick; the roofs are covered with slate. It
was built in the 16th century but was altered in
the 17th century and the roof rebuilt in the 19th
century. The W. end of the main block is of
original brickwork. In the N. wall are several
original doorways with four-centred heads; there
are also indications of a former N. wing. Inside
the building one room is lined with early 17th-century panelling with a fluted frieze and fluted
pilasters flanking the windows.
The Moat surrounds the house.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century and of two
storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. Several of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
a(6). Field's Farm, house, ¼ m. N.N.E. of (5).
b(7). Rook Farm, house and barns, 300 yards
N.W. of the church. The House was built c. 1600
and has an original central chimney-stack with
four detached shafts having ornamental caps.
Inside the building are some original doors of
The Barns S.E. of the house are probably of the
b(8). House, three tenements, 80 yards N.W. of
b(9). Cottage, three tenements, 700 yards W. of
b(10). Newhouse Farm, house, nearly ¾ m.
S.S.E. of the church, has an original central
chimney-stack with four detached octagonal shafts
on a rectangular base with a moulded capping.
The N. stack is of later date than that in the centre
but was built to correspond with it.
c(11). Hungry Hall, about 1½ m. S.S.E. of the
church, has an original central chimney-stack
with the lower parts of several octagonal shafts.
b(12). Cottage, two tenements, 750 yards S.S.W.
of the church.
b(13). Cottage, with outbuildings, 1,600 yards
W. of the church, has been reduced to one storey
in height. The E. gable has original barge-boards.
b(14). Jeffrey's Farm, house, N. of (13), has
inside the building two original moulded wallplates.
b(15). Cottage, nearly 1 m. W.N.W. of the church,
was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th
century. The upper storey projects at the S. end.