22. DOWNHAM. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)lx. S.E. (b)lxi. S.W. (c)lxix. N.W.)
Downham is a parish, about 3½ m. E. of
Billericay. The principal monument is Fremnells.
c(1). Parish Church of St. Margaret stands
about the middle of the parish. The W. tower is
of red brick. The church has been entirely re-built
except the West Tower which is of late 15th or
early 16th-century date; the chancel and nave
incorporate some re-used material.
Architectural Description—The Chancel has
re-set in the S. wall an early 14th-century window
of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a
two-centred head with a moulded label and modern
stops; it has been partly restored.
The Nave has re-set in the N. wall two windows,
the eastern of late 14th-century date, partly
restored and of one cinque-foiled light in a square
head with a moulded label and jambs; the
western window is similar to that in the S. wall of
the chancel but with old head-stops; the 13th-century N. doorway has jambs and two-centred
arch of two chamfered orders, partly restored.
The 14th-century S. doorway is partly restored and
has double chamfered jambs and two-centred arch
with a moulded label and head-stops.
The West Tower (10½ ft. by 11 ft.) is of late
15th or early 16th-century date and of red brick
with black brick diapering (Plate, p. xxxviii); it is
of three stages with a restored embattled parapet
and S.E. stair-turret. The two-centred tower-arch
is mostly covered with modern plaster but the two
chamfered orders on the E. are of stone and
probably 13th or 14th-century material re-used.
The W. window has been completely restored;
the W. doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred arch, the latter mostly restored. The
second stage has in the N., (S. ?) and W. walls a
single-light opening. The bell-chamber has in
each wall a window of two four-centred lights in
a four-centred head.
The modern timber-framed S. Porch incorporates
some old timbers.
Fittings—Bells: four; 2nd by John Clarke,
1621; 4th by Miles Graye, 1677. Brasses: In
chancel—on N. wall, (1) to "good" Sir Henrie
Terrell and Thomassin his wife, 1588, inscription
only; (2) to Joyce (Baker), wife of John Tyrrell,
1594, inscription only. In nave—on N. wall, (3)
to Thomas Tyrell, 14th-century, inscription only,
in French; (4) to Alice, wife of Thomas Tyrell,
14th-century, inscription also in French, with
shield-of-arms, checky for Adeleigh. Chest: In
vestry—with plain panelled front, made up of 17th
or 18th-century panelling. Communion Table: In
vestry—with heavy turned legs, fluted top rails
with carved brackets, 17th-century, modern rails,
etc. Door: In turret-staircase to tower—of nail-studded battens, early 16th-century. Glass: In
nave—in N.E. window, various fragments including
several crowns four in a border, pieces of tabernacle
work and foliage, mostly 14th-century; fragment
of black-letter inscription, 15th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In W. tower—
to Sarah (Norden), wife of Benjamin Disbrowe,
1692, and to Benjamin Disbrowe, 1707–8, altar-tomb, stone sides carved with emblems of mortality
and two achievements-of-arms, black marble slab
with inscription and shield-of-arms. Floor-slabs:
In tower—(1) to Sir Thomas Raymond, 1683, with
achievement-of-arms; (2) to Rebekah, wife of
Francis Platt, 1703, and to Francis Platt, 1714;
(3) to Sir William Andrew, 1684. Plate: includes
a small cup and cover-paten of 1562, both with
modern lining. Scratchings: On jambs of S. doorway, various scratchings, including a cross low down
on the E. jamb, letters, etc., various dates. Stoup:
In S. porch—with depressed elliptical head and
restored basin, probably early 16th-century.
Condition—Of W. tower, bad cracks in E. wall
and much ivy.
c(2). Homestead Moat (Plate, p. xxxvii), at
Barn Hall, ¾ m. S.E. of the parish church.
a(3). Fremnells, house (Plate, pp. 56–7), outhouse and moat, about 1¼ m. N.N.W. of the church.
The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls
are partly of plastered timber-framing and partly
of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1670
on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings on the
N. and S. and has modern additions on the E.
The house is an interesting example of its period.
On the W. front the cross-wings are gabled and
there is a similar gable rising above a central
projecting bay. At the first-floor level is a heavy
moulded cornice. but a cornice at the attic level
has been cut off flush with the general face. Above
it, connecting the gables, is a plain panelled parapet
and there are similar panels between the windows.
The windows have solid moulded frames, transoms and mullions; most of these are original but
a few have been renewed. There are three original
chimney-stacks, two plain but the third has
three diagonal shafts. Inside the building the
main hall is panelled with late 16th-century
panelling and in one of the rooms in the N. wing
are some panels of the same date. A room in the
S. wing is lined with linen-fold panelling.
In front of the house is a garden enclosure within
a brick wall entered between two brick pillars
with ball finials (Plate, p. 64). In each pillar is
a sunk panel, one with initials TRA &c., the other
with the date 1676.
An Outhouse to the E. is timber-framed, of two
storeys and tiled. It contains heavy beams and
is probably of 17th-century date.
The Moat is imperfect.
Condition—Of house, good.
Monuments (4 and 5).
The following monuments are of the 17th century,
of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded,
and have tiled roofs. They have original chimneystacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
b(4). Cottage, at road-fork, ½ m. N. of the church,
was built on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing
at the W. end. The central chimney-stack has
three diagonal shafts.
(5) Castledon, house, now tenements, nearly
1 m. S. by E. of the church.
Condition—Poor (now demolished.)