(O.S. 6 in. (a)v. S.W. (b)v. S.E.)
a(1). Parish Church of St. Margaret, at the
S.E. end of the village, is built of flint rubble
with stone dressings. In the walls of the tower
the flints are uncut and mixed with water-worn
pebbles, both, in patches, being set in a herringbone pattern. The lower stages of the West
Tower are of early 12th-century date. The
Nave has been enlarged and there is nothing to
show its original date; the earliest detail is of the
13th century. A South Aisle was added at the
end of the 13th century and was widened c. 1340.
In the 15th century a new bell-chamber was
added to the tower, and in the 16th century
windows were inserted in the S. aisle, its walls
being raised and embattled. From photographs
in the possession of the rector, it appears probable that the former chancel, if not re-built, was
much altered in the 15th century, but in 1872 it
was destroyed and re-built a bay further E., the
nave was made a bay longer and a little wider,
the S. aisle was also lengthened to the E., a N.
aisle and porch were built, and a small spire
was added to the tower.
Architectural Description—The Chancel
(34½ ft. by 21 ft.) was built in 1872. The Nave
(now 48 ft. by 20 ft., originally 38 ft. by 18 ft.)
is modern on the E. and N., but on the S. has
an arcade of four bays, of which the first is also
modern, but the others are of late 13th-century
date; the arches are of two orders with octagonal
columns and plainly moulded bell capitals. The
North Aisle (9½ ft. wide) was built in 1872.
The South Aisle (15 ft. wide) has two restored
windows of early 16th-century date in the S.
wall, and, between them, a window of slightly
later date, and a blocked doorway of c. 1340,
of two wave-moulded orders. In the W. wall is
a window, also of c. 1340, with flowing tracery.
The West Tower is of three stages with an
embattled parapet and a small modern spire of
wood. The semi-circular tower arch of one
square order is original. On the S. is a 14th-century doorway opening into the aisle, with a
pointed chamfered head, and above it is a small
widely splayed round-headed window of early
12th-century date, without a rebate. In
the second stage are the original bell-chamber
windows, much restored. The present bell-chamber lights, with tracery, are of the 15th
century. The Roofs are modern.
Fittings—Brasses: in the nave, of Andrew
Willet, 1621, with inscription: in the organ
chamber, part of palimpsest plate with 16th-century inscription on one side and part of a 15th-century inscription on the other. Chest: in S.
aisle, large, iron bound, mediæval. Glass: in a
window of S. aisle, some figures, and the date
1536: in W. window of tower and E. window
of N. aisle, fragments, late 14th-century.
Piscina: in S. aisle, on the S.E., mutilated,
15th-century. Plate: includes a chased, covered
cup of 1612 and a small salver of 1618.
Pulpit: richly carved oak, dated 1626. Screen:
some tracery from 15th-century oak screen incorporated in the modern chancel stalls.
Condition—Good; largely re-built.
b(2). Homestead Moat, at Abbotsbury,
consists of two deep ditches with traces of a
connecting arm. There are remains of an
entrenchment on a slight slope S. of the moat.
a(3). The Town House, formerly The
Guildhall, N. of the church, was built
early in the 16th century, of timber and
plaster, with an overhanging upper storey.
The roof is tiled and ridged from end to
end. The original plan was rectangular,
but late in the 17th century a N. wing
was added, making the building L-shaped;
the straight-run stairs, with solid steps, are in
a small wing at the S.E. corner. The ground
floor is divided into several small rooms, once
used as almshouses. The upper floor remains
an open hall, and has a trussed roof with plain
timbers and curved ogee struts and braces,
ceiled over the collar beams with plaster: it is
lighted by modern windows, carried up to the
roof as dormers.
Condition—Good, very much restored.
a(4). Cottages, in the village, several small
buildings of the 17th century or perhaps earlier.
Most of them are plastered, and have overhanging upper storeys and thatched roofs.
a(5). The Fox and Hounds Inn, about
¼ mile N.W. of the church, built early in the
17th century, is of timber and plaster, with an
overhanging upper storey; the roof is thatched.
The sign of the inn is in the form of painted
silhouettes of huntsmen, fox, and hounds in full
cry, on a beam which spans the road. The
plan is of the L type; the shorter wing faces the
street and contains an entrance passage with a
bar-parlour on one side and a parlour on the
other. The kitchen and offices occupy the
longer wing, and the fireplaces of kitchen and
parlour stand back to back: the enclosed
staircase is built in the width of the chimney
stack. The interior has been much altered; a
few plainly moulded 17th-century beams
remain, but the wide fireplaces have been filled
in. A small cellar under the kitchen is said to
have communicated with the attics, now
destroyed, as the ceiling of the first floor has
been raised. This may have been used as a
hiding place: the house is traditionally connected with "Dick Turpin," the highwayman.
a(6). The Cage, at Crosshill, by the side
of the main road, about 250 yards W. of the
church, is a small wooden hut, possibly of late
17th-century date, now used as a tool house by
the road makers employed by the County
Council. It is built of upright timbers a few
inches apart, the spaces being filled with
boarding; the timbers of the door, which is of
similar construction, were probably originally
open. The pyramidal roof is covered with
slates. The hut is said to have contained, until
about 18 years ago, a central pillar of iron, with
chains, etc., attached to it.
Condition—The timbers are well preserved.
b(7). The Big House, in the hamlet of
Shaftenhoe End, ½ mile S.E. of the church,
originally the Manor House of the Burnels,
now a farmhouse, was built c. 1624, and is of
two storeys and an attic; the walls are timber-framed, covered with lath and plaster, on brick
foundations; the roofs are tiled. The plan is F-shaped, the wings being on the S.; the smaller
wing contains the staircase, and has an over
hanging gable, supported on a pair of
carved figures, half beast, half human, blowing
trumpets. On the beam between these brackets
is carved the inscription: "W.L. 1624. So
God may still me blesse, I care the lesse, Let
envy say her worst, and after burst." At the
W. end of the main block the roof is
hipped; the S. end of the larger wing is gabled,
and has a brick chimney stack with two square
shafts set diagonally; the other stack, over
the main block, also has square shafts. The
entrance is on the E. front; all the doors and
window frames are modern. The hall, now
divided into two rooms and a passage, occupies
the greater part of the main block; in it is a
large fireplace with a carved wood lintel and
mantel board with brackets, and some original
oak panelling. The ceiling joists of both floors
are moulded, and in one of the attic windows is
an old iron fastening.
Condition—Fairly good, but the attic floors
are unsafe for use.
b(8). Cottages, in the hamlet of Shaftenhoe,
built early in the 17th century, are timber-framed and plastered. One cottage has a wood
lintel above a mullioned window, carved with
key ornament in low relief, and a thatched roof.
b(9). The Manor House of Mincinbury
(now a farmhouse), and Barn, 1¼ miles S.E. of
the church. The house has been entirely remodelled, but a lofty, mediæval barn (82½ ft.
by 33 ft.) remains; it is timber-framed, on
brick foundation walls, with heavy queen-post
trusses of oak reaching to the gabled roof:
the exterior has been renewed.