A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.
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The advowson of the church of Lambourne was originally appurtenant to the manor of Lambourne. It was given by Robert of Lambourne to Waltham Abbey. This grant was confirmed by the Bishop of London in 1218. (fn. 1) The confirmation appears to have included the permission required for the ordination of a vicarage, but there is no evidence that this ever took place. (fn. 2)
The first presentation to the rectory after the Dissolution was made in 1546 by Sir Anthony Cook. (fn. 3) In 1553 the king granted the advowson to Lord Francis Russell and James Bridges. (fn. 4) Robert Taverner of Arneways (see above) who died in 1556 was said to own the advowson. (fn. 5) In 1557, however, Sir Nicholas Bacon and George Medley presented. (fn. 6) Katherine Barfoot, widow of Robert Barfoot (see above, Manor), presented in 1569. (fn. 7) She is stated to have done so by reason of a grant of the advowson for one turn, made by Waltham Abbey. It is not unlikely that the presentations of 1546 and 1557 also derived from grants made before the dissolution of the abbey.
The advowson appears to have been held for some time by the Taverners, although the presentation was made by a member of the family on one occasion only (1608). (fn. 8) The advowson was sold with Arneways to Robert Draper in 1625. (fn. 9) In 1641 William Draper conveyed it to William and Thomas Overman. (fn. 10) The presentation of 1642 was made by the king; it had previously been granted for this turn by Robert Taverner to Thomas Winniffe, Rector of Lambourne. (fn. 11) Winniffe was Dean of Gloucester (1624) and later of St. Paul's (1631). He was chaplain to Charles I and became Bishop of Lincoln in 1642. (fn. 12) No doubt the king presented on his behalf. In 1646, after the revenues of his see had been confiscated by Parliament, Winniffe retired to Lambourne where he died in 1654. He bought the next presentation and evidently intended to give the living to his nephew Peter Mews (1619-1706). (fn. 13) Mews, who served in the royalist forces during the Civil War, presented to the rectory in 1660. (fn. 14) He later became Bishop of Winchester.
The advowson appears to have descended subsequently along with Pryors (see above) but to have been granted for single turns to persons not connected with that manor. In 1712 it was sold by Nicholas Staphurst to Dr. Thomas Tooke, then rector. Tooke provided in his will that his heirs should have the advowson for 50 years after his death and that it should then pass to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. (fn. 15) The college presented for the first time in 1778 and has continued to do so ever since. (fn. 16)
The Old Rectory, now called Lambourne Place, was originally a timber-framed house, probably of the 17th century. (fn. 20) It was largely faced with red brick about 1740. The fine symmetrical front has rusticated brickwork to the lower story, while above there are rusticated quoins, a moulded brick cornice, and a central pediment. A high parapet conceals the dormer windows. The pedimented doorcase of wood is said to have come from Dews Hall (see above). (fn. 21) It formerly had a shield of arms in the tympanum. Inside there are panelled rooms and a staircase with turned balusters of about 1740. Some of the chimney pieces are of this date and some later. There are later additions at the back of the house. It is now the home of the Rt. Hon. John Strachey, P.C., M.P., Minister of Food 1946-50 and Secretary of State for War 1950-1.
The present rectory was built in 1925 on a site presented by Lord Lambourne. (fn. 22) It is a two-story house of dark-red brick.
The church of ST. MARY AND ALL SAINTS consists of nave, chancel, and west bell turret. It formerly had north and south porches. The walls are of flint rubble with stone and brick dressings and are covered externally with cement. The bell turret is timber-framed and weather-boarded and has a lead spire.
The nave dates from the middle of the 12th century. It has north and south doorways which were blocked and reset in the 18th century. The south door has some of the original voussoirs to the semicircular arch. The north doorway has original scalloped capitals externally but the shafts are missing. The outer order of the opening is semicircular, enriched with chevron ornament. Below is a tympanum now resting on a wood lintel. Some of the reset stones of the tympanum are decorated with axe-cut formy crosses and similar designs. At a high level and partly behind the timber-work of the bell turret on both north and south sides are round-headed single-light 12th-century windows. Part of the internal jamb and arch of a similar window was uncovered farther east on the north side in 1951.
An original chancel, built at the same time as the nave, was largely rebuilt in the 13th century. The thicker walls adjoining the nave may be the remains of the 12th-century chancel. A 13th-century blocked lancet window is visible externally on the south side.
In 1704-5 the west gallery was built at the expense of William Walker of Bishops Hall. It is supported on moulded columns and is ornamented with foliage carving incorporating Walker's monogram. The panels are inscribed with a list of benefactions to the parish. A new chancel screen may have been inserted soon afterwards. The panels, which now form a dado at the back of the choir stalls, have similar foliage carving and the monogram T.T. (possibly Thomas Tooke, rector 1707-21).
The church was restored and altered between 1723 and 1727. In 1726-7 about £220 was spent on this work. (fn. 23) The renovations were inspired by Catlyn Thorogood of Dews Hall, a churchwarden. After his death in 1732 there was a dispute between the parish and his executors concerning his accounts for the period of renovation. (fn. 24) The work included the removal of the timber porches to north and south and probably the blocking and resetting of the 12th-century doorways. A new west door was inserted, having a moulded hood on foliated brackets (dated 1726) and an oval window above it. New or altered windows were provided in the chancel and nave. At the same time the interior was decorated. The chancel arch is now three-centred, resting on voluted brackets and enriched with 18th-century plasterwork. The tie-beams across the nave and chancel are covered with moulded and enriched plaster, the mouldings being carried round the walls to form a cornice. The king-post of the nave roof has been clothed in ornamental plaster and acanthus leaves. It was probably at this time, also, that the oak reredos with its fluted Corinthian pilasters was installed, and also a three-decker pulpit and box pews. The renovation was so thorough that the interior gives the impression of a Georgian church, an effect heightened by the large number of painted hatchments and of 18th- and early 19th-century monuments. A print dated 1824 gives a good general view of the interior at this time, including the three-decker pulpit with an enriched soundingboard and the box pews. It also shows a late-18th-century monument above the altar, blocking the east window. (fn. 25) An upper tier was added to the gallery in 1820. (fn. 26)
In 1889 a new organ was installed and a new brick organ chamber was built for it on the north of the chancel. At the same time the church was reseated, the pulpit probably lowered, and a new heating system installed. These alterations were the gift of Col. Lockwood of Bishops Hall. (fn. 27) In 1933 a new vestry and entry were constructed under the gallery, the partitions being of oak from Bishops Hall. (fn. 28) There is a two-light window in the vestry, on the north wall of the church.
There are three bells, of 1640 by John Clifton, of 1684 by James Bartlet, and of 1784 by William Mears. In 1552 there were three bells, breadth 24 in., 20 in., and 21 in., and also two little handbells and a sacring bell. (fn. 29) The Bartlet bell was installed in obedience to the direction of the archdeacon at his visitation of 1683. (fn. 30)
The glass in the south windows of the chancel was installed in 1817, having been brought from Basle. (fn. 31) The subjects are as follows: the Choice between Good and Evil, dated 1630; the Adoration of the Magi, dated 1637; the Incredulity of St. Thomas (with the Annunciation in the spandrels) dated 1623; Christ and St. Peter on the sea (with the Apocalyptic Vision in the spandrels) dated 1631; the Adoration of the Shepherds, the Virgin and Child and St. Anne and the Virgin and Child (with St. Christopher and a female saint in the spandrels) dated 1631. The inscriptions are in German. (fn. 32) The glass in the east window, representing the Adoration of the Shepherds, was presented in memory of Lord Lambourne (d. 1928).
During repairs in 1951 part of a wall-painting of St. Christopher was uncovered between the windows on the south side of the nave. It is thought by Mr. Clive Rouse to be of the 15th or early 16th century and to show traces below of an earlier painting of the same subject. At the same time painted red and yellow strapwork was uncovered farther west. This formed a frame for texts and is of post-Reformation date. (fn. 33)
The pulpit in oak is four sides of an octagon. The panels are enriched with carved arcading dating from the 16th or early 17th century. This was probably incorporated in the 18th-century three-decker pulpit and retained when the pulpit was lowered in the 19th century. The base is probably part of one of the lower tiers of the three-decker. The font has an 18th-century marble bowl on a tall moulded stone base.
The plate consists of a communion cup of 1559, a plain silver paten of 1703 presented by John Wroth, a silver flagon of 1736 presented by Richard Lockwood, and a silver alms dish of 1817. In 1552 the commissioners found at Lambourne a chalice weighing 170z. They delivered for divine service an 8 oz. chalice, of silver parcel gilt. (fn. 34)
At his visitation of 1683 the archdeacon directed that a bible of the new translation should be provided. (fn. 35) This suggests that the Great Bible was still in use at Lambourne more than 70 years after the publication of the Authorized Version.
In the chancel is a brass to Robert Barfott (1546) and Katheryn his wife. (fn. 36) It has figures of a man and woman together with a group of five sons and another of four sons and ten daughters, also the arms of the Mercers' Company and a merchant's mark. Also in the chancel is a black and white marble tablet with a broken pediment and three shields of arms to Thomas Wynnyff (1654) (see above). On the south wall of the chancel is a tablet with shield of arms and Latin inscription to Thomas Tooke, rector (1721). There are also other tablets to later members of the Tooke family who were rectors. Both in the chancel and nave are many memorials to members of the Lockwood family. Richard Lockwood, the Turkey merchant who bought Dews Hall, is commemorated by a white marble tablet with an urn, broken pediment, garlands, and shield of arms. On the wall of the nave is a tablet in memory of Capt. George Lockwood, killed at Balaclava in 1854. There are floor slabs in the chancel to John Wynnyff (1630), father of Thomas, to Robert Bromfield (1647), and members of his family. In the churchyard are the tombs of Admiral Sir Edward Hughes (1794), his wife, and his two stepsons. (fn. 37)
The church of THE HOLY TRINITY, Abridge, was built in 1836 as a chapel of ease to the parish church. (fn. 38) It was then a plain rectangular building with lancet windows along the sides and was of gault brick with red brick dressings. The gabled street front dates from 1877. A new chancel and vestries were added in 1938. (fn. 39)