An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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'Gosfield', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916), pp. 102-105. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol1/pp102-105 [accessed 24 June 2024].

. "Gosfield", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916) 102-105. British History Online, accessed June 24, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol1/pp102-105.

. "Gosfield", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916). 102-105. British History Online. Web. 24 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol1/pp102-105.

In this section

27. GOSFIELD. (E.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xvi. N.E., (b)xvi. N.W., (c)xvi. S.E.)

Gosfield is a parish and small village about 4½ m. N.N.E. of Braintree. The principal monuments are the Church, Gosfield Hall, and the old houses in the village.


c (1). Parish Church of St. Katherine stands in Gosfield Park near the N.E. corner of the lake. The walls are of flint and pebble rubble, except those of the N. chapel and the S. wall of the chancel, which are probably of brick; the dressings are of clunch and brick; the roofs are covered with tiles. The Chancel and Nave were built c. 1435 with a timber bell-cot at the W. end of the nave. The bell-cot was removed and the West Tower added c. 1500; the North Chapel was added, and the chancel widened on the S. side, c. 1560. The N. chapel was extended about two feet towards the W., and the westernmost bay converted into a private pew, c. 1733. The church was restored in the 19th century; the North Vestry and South Porch are modern.

The 15th-century brass of Thomas Rolf, and the 15th and 16th-century altar tombs are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (32½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has two diagonal buttresses at the S.E. angle, one at the former angle of the 15th-century building, and one at the angle of the 16th-century extension. The 15th-century E. window is of four cinquefoiled lights with an embattled transom and vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the jambs and head are moulded on both sides, and the mullions have been scraped. In the N. wall is a mid 16th-century arcade of two bays and of plastered brick; the arches are four-centred, and the splayed responds and pier have moulded capitals and plain bases; in the splays of the pier are sunk panels. The S. wall has a moulded brick plinth and a corbel-table covered with cement; the two windows are each of mid 16th-century date, of brick, and with four four-centred and transomed lights under a square head; the external jambs, heads and labels are moulded; between the windows is a modern doorway. The 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders; on the W. side is a moulded label which has stops carved with angels holding shields— (a) a raven, for Rolf; (b) a cheveron with three scallops thereon, for Hawkwood; the responds have moulded capitals.

The North Chapel (32½ ft. by 10 ft.) is of three bays; the westernmost bay overlaps the nave and is separated from the others by an 18th-century wall. The 16th-century walls each have a plinth and corbel-table similar to those of the S. wall of the chancel. In the E. wall is a 16th-century window, of brick, with four three-centred and transomed lights under a square head; the jambs and head are moulded and plastered. In the N. wall are three windows similar to that in the E. wall; the westernmost window is now blocked. E. of the second window is a 16th-century doorway of brick, with a moulded four-centred arch in a square head which has a moulded label. The W. wall is of the 18th-century; the 16th-century N.W. buttress of the former wall still remains about two feet E. of the present N.W. angle.

The Nave (43 ft. by 25 ft.) has, at the E. end of the N. wall, a four-centred arch of brick, and of three chamfered orders; it formerly opened into the N. chapel, but has been partly filled in, and has an 18th-century arch under it. Further W. are two 15th-century windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a two-centred head; the jambs and head are moulded on both sides; the E. light of the eastern window has been blocked by the W. wall of the N. chapel. Between the windows is the 15th-century N. doorway which has moulded and shafted jambs; the shafts have moulded and embattled capitals; the two-centred arch is also moulded. In the S. wall are three windows of the same date and detail as those in the N. wall; between the two western windows is the 15th-century S. doorway, uniform with the N. doorway, but with a modern label.

The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of two stages, with a square S.E. stair-turret; the moulded plinth has chequer-work of brick and stone; the embattled parapet is probably of brick, but is covered with cement. The early 16th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of three chamfered orders; the two outer orders are continuous, and the inner order springs from semi-circular attached shafts with moulded bases and embattled capitals. In the S. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is a doorway with a four-centred arch in a square head. The W. window is in two tiers; the 15th-century upper part is probably the original W. window of the nave, re-set, and is of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head; the 16th-century lower part is of brick and of three plain four-centred lights. In the upper storey of the ground stage the N., S. and W. walls each have a window of one trefoiled light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two cinquefoiled lights under a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label; the window in the E. wall has now only a plain mullion.

The Roof of the two E. bays of the N. chapel is of c. 1560, and is flat, with moulded main timbers dividing it into square panels, the principal tiebeams have curved braces with carved spandrels. The roof of the nave is of the 15th century and of four bays with curved and hollow-chamfered principals and moulded wall-plates; the westernmost bay is divided from the rest by a hollow-chamfered tie-beam with curved braces, and wall-posts which rise from the floor and formerly supported the bell-cot; the spandrels are filled with tracery.

Fittings—Bells: three; 2nd by Miles Graye, 1637; 3rd probably by Thomas Potter of Norwich, 15th-century, and inscribed 'Triplex Persona Trinitas Nunc Gaudia Dona'; bell-frame, old. Brasses and Indents. (See also Monuments.) In nave—in Purbeck marble slab, (1) two shields, (a) a crowned lion party fessewise, for Greene; (b) the same, impaling a defaced coat; indents of figure of civilian, scroll, two shields, marginal inscription and roundels, late 15th-century. In vestry—loose, (2) shield, a cheveron engrailed between three leopards' heads a crescent with a martlet thereon for difference, for Wilford, impaling a fesse between three lions' heads razed with three anchors on the fesse, for Fermour. Door: In S. doorway—of two folds, each with three cinquefoil-headed panels and tracery planted on, 15th-century partly restored. Glass: In nave—in tracery of eastern window in N. wall, blue flames, fragments of foliage, tabernacle work, etc. 14th and 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—under eastern bay of N. arcade, (1) to [Sir John Wentworth, 1567] altar tomb of Purbeck marble, with moulded base and slab and fragments of brass marginal inscription; N. and S. side each with four cinquefoiled panels between smaller trefoiled panels; similar panels at ends; on S. side three brass shields of arms of Wentworth and alliances, one with mantled helm and crest; slab with rivet holes for brasses, but apparently planed down, tomb probably late 15th-century, re-used : against S. wall, (2) of Thomas Rolf, 1440, altar tomb with slab of Purbeck marble, and brass figure in robes of a Sergeant-at-Law, Latin inscription; indents of scroll and shield; on N. side of tomb, quatrefoiled circular panels between narrow trefoiled panels, in four pieces, apparently re-set; the quatrefoils charged with shields of arms—(a) a raven, for Rolf.; (b) a lion; (c) a cross between four scallops; at W. end similar panels, shield in quatrefoil bearing a raven, for Rolf. In N. chapel—(3) to [Sir Hugh Rich], 155[4], altar tomb of Purbeck marble, with moulded and panelled plinth and moulded slab with remains of brass marginal inscription, and rivet holes of former brasses; sides of tomb elaborately panelled and traceried and with blank shields of arms; tomb possibly of earlier date than inscription, re-used. In churchyard—near S. porch, (4) to Dorcas, wife of Solomon Philbrige, 1706, table tomb. Floor-slabs : In nave—(1) to Elizabeth, wife of ... . 1711, much defaced; (2) and (3) of grey marble, inscriptions defaced, late 17th-century; forming threshold of S. doorway (4) tapering slab of Purbeck marble, defaced. Panelling: In chancel—on N. and S. sides, of linen-fold pattern, frieze carved with foliage, grotesque ornament and human heads, early 16th-century. Piscina: In nave—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and four-centred head, ogee label cut away, but two head-stops remaining, 15th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1604, elaborately engraved, cover of same date with steeple top; large cup of 1610, richly chased, cover with steeple top apparently of 1613; stand paten of 1704, richly engraved; large flagon of 1704, with steeple top now broken off; all silver-gilt. Stalls: In chancel—four bench-ends with foliated popeys, two panelled fronts with four-centred heads and moulded muntins, 16th-century, one bench-end restored. Miscellanea: In N. chapel—on N.E. buttress, large painted molet, possibly old.



b (2). Liston Hall Farm, house and moat, nearly 1½ m. N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 17th century, and has 18th-century additions at the N. end and on the E. side. On the W. front of the original block the upper storey projects, and at the back is an original chimney-stack. Inside the building some chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed.

The Moat is incomplete and now nearly dry.

Condition—Of house, good.

c (3). Gosfield Hall, ¼ m. N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars. The walls are of brick with some stone dressings, and the roofs are mostly tiled. The house was built on a quadrangular plan about the middle of the 16th century, with the Great Hall in the E. wing and the entrance gateway in the middle of the W. wing. Early in the 18th century the E. wing was rebuilt and the N. and S. wings were probably extended beyond the main E. front; late in the 18th century the W. elevation of the E. wing was re-faced and an additional storey added to the middle block of the same wing; about the same time the N. elevation was re-faced and shortly afterwards the S. elevation was re-faced or re-built. Probably early in the 19th century two short flanking wings were added to the W. front.

The W. Front (see Plate, p. 104), is divided into five bays by three gabled projections. The middle projection contains the entrance gateway of brick, with moulded jambs and a four-centred arch, set in a square head with a moulded label; the spandrels have ornamental cartouches of cut brick. Above the arch is a bay window of two tiers, each of six four-centred lights, resting on corbelling of moulded brick covered with plaster; the gable above it is perhaps a later alteration, and has a plastered window of four lights; on the apex of the gable is a square pinnacle set diagonally. The middle bay is flanked by projecting chimney-stacks, each with a crow-stepped head and two octagonal shafts with moulded bases and modern caps; at the ground-level in each stack is a recessed seat with a four-centred head, and in the return wall of the northern stack is a small window commanding the entrance archway. The recessed bays flanking the middle bay have each a small central projection, with a window of six four-centred lights in two tiers; the main wall of both bays has a brick corbel-table. The gabled outer bays on each side have pinnacles and are pierced by windows similar to those in the other bays; the lower windows in the N. bay are set in a slight projection with an embattled coping. Two other chimney-stacks have modern shafts.

The E. Front (see Plate, p. 104), with its projecting wings, is of early 18th-century date, and has an eaves-cornice of wood enriched with modillions, a hipped roof and windows with flush frames symmetrically arranged. In the roof are a series of dormer windows finished with wooden pediments. The middle part of the front has an additional storey built late in the 18th century.

The W. and N. Elevations of the courtyard are finished with a brick corbel-table, and have windows similar to those on the W. front. In the middle of the W. elevation is an inner entrance archway uniform with that on the W. front, and at each end of the elevation is an original doorway of several chamfered orders, with a four-centred arch in a square head, which has a moulded label; the doors are also original and have moulded battens with strap-hinges. Above the entrance archway is a gable with the stumps of original pinnacles; on the roof behind it is an early 18th-century bellcupola. In the middle of the N. elevation is an added storey of late 18th-century date.

The S. Elevation of the courtyard is similar to the N. elevation, but has probably been rebuilt from about eight feet above the ground.

Interior :—On the ground floor, the W. wing forms a corridor, and immediately N. of the entrance is an early 17th-century fireplace and overmantel, re-set; the opening is flanked by hunch-backed terminal figures, and has an arabesque frieze; the overmantel has four terminal figures, and in the middle panel is an achievement of arms within the Garter, and a re-painted shield, vert a cross argent with five roundels gules therein, for Grenville; the cornice is surmounted by vases. A room at the N. end of the corridor has one original moulded beam. The first floor of the W. wing is occupied by the Long Gallery, which is lined with original linen-fold panelling, and has a 17th-century iron fire-back, representing the return of the spies from Canaan. In the S. wing the Library has a late 17th-century fireplace of stone, re-set, with Ionic columns and a carved frieze. On the first floor, a small room is lined with original panelling, re-set. In the E. wing, a small room is lined with linen-fold panelling, probably partly original and partly modern. On the first floor another room has 16th or 17th-century panelling. Other rooms in the E., S. and N. wings have early 18th-century panelling.


c (4). The Vicarage, 130 yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, partly of brick and partly timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 17th century, and has modern additions on the S. side. The two chimney-stacks at the ends are original. Inside the building, two rooms have chamfered ceiling-beams with moulded stops.


c (5). Highgates, house and outhouse, 250 yards E. of (4). The House is partly of two storeys, and partly of two with attics; the walls are timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built, probably early in the 16th century, with a central Hall, a Buttery wing and a Solar wing at the E. and W. ends respectively. Shortly afterwards a wing was added on the N.W. and a small projection on the S.W. There are 18th-century additions on the S. side and at the W. end. At the W. end of the former Hall on both the N. and S. sides there is a gabled bay window. The upper storey of the Buttery wing projects on the N. front, and the upper storey of the N.W. wing projects on the E. side. Two chimney-stacks are of old bricks. Inside the building, some rooms have chamfered ceiling-beams. The roofs of the former Hall and of the N.W. wing have king-posts with two-way struts.

The Outhouse, S. of the house, is built partly of 17th-century brick.

Condition—Fairly good; of N.W. wing, poor.

Monuments (6–12).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. Many of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

c (6). House and shop, 150 yards E.N.E. of (5), was built early in the 16th century, with a central Hall, Buttery and Solar wings. The central chimney-stack has three octagonal shafts. Inside the building the former Hall has a carved wall-post, a moulded beam and a hollow-chamfered tie-beam in the roof.

c (7). The King's Head Inn, 30 yards N.E. of (6), has been partly re-faced with modern brick. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan, but there are extensive modern additions on the E. and W. sides and at the S. end. At the N. end of the E. front the upper storey projects and is gabled; there is also a gable in the middle of the original block at the back. Inside the building, one room has original moulded ceiling-beams; there is an old window, now blocked, in the S. wall of the original block, which shows the former extent of the building.

Condition—N. end, dilapidated.

c (8). House and smithy, 30 yards N.N.W. of (7), was built probably in the 15th century, but the form of the house is the only evidence of date. The Hall formed the main block, with projecting wings on the N. and S. There are modern additions on the W. side and at the N. end.

c (9). House, three tenements, on the E. side of the Bocking Road, 200 yards S.S.E. of (8), was built early in the 17th century, on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending S. and W. There are modern additions on the N. The S. wing is gabled at the W. and E. ends, and the original central chimney-stack has diagonal shafts and pilasters.

c (10). Oxyard, house, 240 yards S.E. of (9), was built, probably early in the 16th century, with a central block and gabled wings. There is an 18th-century addition at the back. On the S. front the upper storey projects under the western gable; the original projecting chimney-stack is pierced at the base by a window; the twisted shaft is a modern copy of the old shaft. Inside the building, the room on the ground floor of the main block has original moulded ceiling-beams and joists. A room in the E. wing has much late 16th-century panelling, including two panels carved with human heads. In the upper storey, some rooms have moulded beams, and a rough king-post truss is visible.

c (11). Bridge House, four tenements, 240 yards S. of (10), on the W. side of the road, is timberframed, partly plastered, and partly with brick nogging. It was built late in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S. and E. The original chimney-stack of the S. wing has two attached diagonal shafts. The chimney-stack of the E. wing has a corbelled projection on the E. side. Inside the building, in the S. wing, is an original ledged door of moulded battens. In the E. wing is an original truss with shaped wall-posts, and chamfered braces to the tie-beam.


a (12). Hawkwood's Farm, about 1½ m. N.W. of the church, was built in the 17th century, and has modern additions at the back.