24. ELMSTEAD. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a) xxviii. N.W. (b)xxviii. N.E. (c)xxviii.
S.W. (d)xxviii. S.E.)
Elmstead is a parish and village 4 m. E. of
Colchester. The church, Hall and Allen's Farm
are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Anne and
St. Laurence stands in the N.E. corner of the
parish. The walls are of mixed rubble with some
puddingstone; the dressings are of limestone and
the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The
Chancel, Nave and South Tower were built probably
c. 1310 but the nave may possibly be earlier; about
twenty years later the South Chapel was added
and the chancel-arch rebuilt. The tower was
probably never completed. The church has been
restored in modern times.
The church with its South Tower is of some
architectural interest and has been little touched
by modern restoration. Among the fittings the
wooden effigy is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (34 ft.
by 19½ ft.) is of early 14th-century date and has
a modern E. window set in the old opening with a
two-centred head and moulded labels with external
stops carved as kneeling angels. In the N. wall
are two windows each of two pointed lights with a
spandrel in a two-centred head with a moulded
label and head-stops. In the S. wall are two
windows, similar to those in the N. wall, but
the label of the eastern has a carved head at the
apex; between the windows is a doorway with
hollow-chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and
moulded label with defaced head-stops. The
mid 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred
and of two moulded orders; the chamfered responds have each an attached and filleted shaft
with a moulded capital cut back on the face;
S. of the arch is a squint with a round sexfoiled
The Nave (42½ ft. by 21½ ft.) has in the N.
wall three windows, the easternmost is of the 14th
century and of two trefoiled ogee lights with
tracery in a segmental-pointed head, with a moulded
label; the middle window is of c. 1400 and of
three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in
a two-centred head with a moulded label; the
westernmost window is of early 16th-century date
and of three cinquefoiled lights in a four-centred
head with a moulded label; between the two
western windows is the N. doorway with a round
plastered head of uncertain date; it is now
blocked. At the E. end the wall has been cut
back to provide access to the former rood-loft and
the N. rebated jamb of the former lower doorway
remains. The mid 14th-century S. arcade (Plate,
p. 93) is of two bays with two-centred arches of
two moulded orders; the column is of quatrefoiled
plan with moulded capital and base and the
responds have attached half columns; further
W. is the 14th-century S. doorway with double
chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; above
and to the W. is a second doorway, at the gallery
level, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch.
In the W. wall is a window similar to those on the
N. side of the chancel.
Elmstead, The Parish Church of St Lawrence.
The South Chapel (22¼ ft. by 10¼ ft.) is of c. 1340
and has an E. window of three lights with moulded
jambs and shafted splays; the head has been
replaced by a flat lintel and the lights are mostly
blocked. In the S. wall is a wall-arcade of two
bays with moulded, two-centred arches and labels
with head-stops; the pier and responds are of
semi-quatrefoiled plan and have moulded capitals
and bases; each bay has a window similar to the
N.E. window in the nave but with head-stops to
the label. Below each is a small trefoiled ogee
light set low in the wall and now blocked.
The South Tower (8½ ft. square) is of the 14th
century and of one and half stages high and finished
with a pyramidal roof. The ground stage forms
the S. porch and has on the N.E. and N. sides a
wall-arch with chamfered jambs and two-centred
head; in the S. wall is a doorway with a two-centred arch of two moulded orders; the jambs
have each an attached shaft with a moulded
capital. The upper part of the tower has in the
S. and W. walls a plain loop.
The Roof of the S. chapel incorporates some
moulded tie-beams, rafters and a wall-plate of
c. 1500 but has been much restored.
Fittings — Brass and Indents. Brass: In
chancel—two hands issuing from clouds and holding
a heart inscribed "credo," above a scroll, indent
of inscription-plate. Indents: In chancel—(1) of
figure; in S. chapel (2) of armed figure, inscription-plate and four shields, 15th-century. Communion
Table: with heavy turned legs, moulded end
rails, early 17th-century, top and sides modern.
Door: In S. doorway—of battens with broken
strap-hinges, date uncertain. Glass: In vicarage
—grisaille foliage, with border of castles and
fleurs-de-lis, from heads of pointed lights, c. 1300.
Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In
chancel—on E. wall, (1) to Thomas Martin, 1672,
vicar of the parish, and to William, his son, 1664,
two small rectangular wooden panels with moulded
frames. In S. chapel—(2) on sill of E. window,
carved oak effigy (Plate, p. 170) of man in mail
with pointed bascinet, short surcoat, knee and
elbow cops, heater-shaped shield, legs crossed,
head on lion, feet against female figure, c. 1310.
Floor-slab: In nave—to William Bendische, 1627.
Panelling: In chapel—incorporated in 18th-century pews, early 17th-century. Piscinae:
In chancel—in range with sedilia and forming
together four bays each with moulded jambs and
cinquefoiled head with a moulded label and headstops including a king and bishop; the jambs of
the third bay have carved stops of a stag and a
male head; trefoiled drain to piscina, late 14th-century. In S. chapel—in S. wall, with shafted
jambs and moulded trefoiled head with moulded
label, sexfoiled drain, moulded sill and plain
shelf, 14th-century. On wall in S.E. angle, moulded
shelf. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup with
engraved bands, and cover-paten with Tudor rose
on foot. Sedilia: See Piscina.
d(2). Homestead Moat at Parsonage Farm,
600 yards S.S.W. of the church.
b(3). Elmstead Hall, W. of the church, is
of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1500
with a central Hall and cross-wings at the E. and
W. ends. The back part of the E. wing was rebuilt
and heightened probably late in the 16th century.
The gables at the S. end of the E. wing, at the
back of the main block and the three gables of the
W. wing have moulded barge-boards. Inside the
building is a considerable amount of 17th and
18th-century panelling; the room above the Hall
has fluted pilasters and a moulded cornice. There
are some original doorways with four-centred
heads and on the first floor is a doorway with
original jambs and square head. The room above
the kitchen has a 16th-century door with moulded
vertical fillets. The W. staircase leading to the
attics has solid winding treads. In the attic
of the W. wing is a 16th-century window of six
lights with moulded mullions. There are several
16th and 17th-century doors.
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 or thatched. Some
of the buildings have original chimney-stacks
and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good.
a(4). Allen's Farm, house, about ¾ m. W. of
the church, was built c. 1584. The upper storey
projects on the N. front and the ground storey
is divided into bays by five posts carved with twostage panelled buttresses on which stand crested
shafts supporting curved brackets with foliated
spandrels, two of these have shields each charged
with a mill-rind cross. Beside the front door is a
carved panel with two similar shields and the date
1584. Inside the building, above the fireplace of a
room on the first floor is a 17th-century panel with
a reversed fleur-de-lis between two wreaths.
d(5). Cottage, three tenements at S.E. corner of
cross-roads, about 1 m. S. of the church.
d(6). King's Arms Inn, E. of (5), has been
d(7). House and shop, 30 yards E. of (6).
d(8). Cottage, three tenements 200 yards N.E.
of (7), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the N. and W.
e(9). Fen Farm, house, 1¼ m. S.S.W. of the
church, was built in the 15th century with a
central Hall and cross-wings at the N. and S.
ends. In the 16th century the N. wing was extended
towards the E., the S. wing probably rebuilt and
the Hall divided up and a gable added. The
upper storey projects at the W. end of the N. wing
and the W. gables of the main block and the
W. wing also project. Inside the building the
S. room has an original moulded ceiling-beam.
The top staircase has late 17th-century turned
balusters. The roof of the N. wing is original
and of two bays with a cambered tie-beam, stop-chamfered king-post and four-way struts. The
roof of the main block has been much altered
but has an original king-post with a moulded
capital and stop-chamfered central purlin and base;
the timbers are smoke blackened; the roof extended
down over an annexe or aisle on the W., but
whether this was the original arrangement is
doubtful. There are some 17th-century doors.