Great Maplestead

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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'Great Maplestead', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916) pp. 128-132. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xi. S.E.; (b)xii. S.W.; (c)xvi. N.E.; (d)xvii. N.W.).

Great Maplestead is a parish and scattered village about 2 m. N. of Halstead. The Church is the principal monument.

Great Maplestead, Parish Church of St. Giles


a(1). Parish Church of St. Giles stands in the village. The walls are of flint and pebble rubble with dressings of limestone and clunch; the roofs are tiled. The Apse and West Tower were built in the 12th century. Early in the 13th century the Quire was rebuilt. About the middle of the 14th century the S. arcade of the Nave was built and the South Aisle added; a few years later the South Transept was added. Early in the 17th century the upper part of the W. tower, including most of the E. half, was rebuilt; soon afterwards the S. transept was probably extended towards the S. to contain the Deane monuments. The church was restored in the 19th century when the North Vestry, the North Transept and Aisle and the South Porch were added.

The 12th-century apse, and the 17th-century monuments in the S. transept are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Apse (6 ft. by 8½ ft.) has three round-headed windows, all modern except the E. window, which is probably of the 12th century. The semi-circular arch between the apse and quire has plain chamfered imposts; it has apparently been entirely restored.

The Quire (18 ft. by 15 ft.) has, in the N. wall, an early 13th-century lancet window, almost entirely restored; below it is a 13th-century low-side window of slightly later date, with a lancet head and segmental rear arch; the opening has an old iron stancheon and bars; further E. is the head of another lancet, now blocked, and beyond it is a modern doorway. In the S. wall are two windows, both of c. 1330, but almost completely restored; they are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; between them was formerly a doorway. The chancel-arch is probably of mid 14th-century date and is two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds have each an attached semi-octagonal shaft with moulded capital and base.

The Nave (35½ ft. by 19 ft.) has a modern N. arcade of three bays. The mid 14th-century S. arcade is of three bays; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders, and the columns are octagonal with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns.

The South Transept (20½ ft. by 12 ft.) has, in the E. wall, a mid 14th-century window of three lights, the middle one cinquefoiled and the side lights trefoiled, and all under a two-centred head. In the S. wall is a window, all modern except the internal splays. In the W. wall is a late 14th-century arch of two chamfered orders; it is of four-centred form but broken on the N. side to abut on the arcade wall above the capital of the first column.

The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, a 13th-century doorway, probably not in situ; it has roll-moulded jambs and a two-centred arch with a moulded label. In the W. wall is an early 17th-century window of red brick and of two four-centred lights under a square head.

The West Tower is of two stages, the lower being of two storeys; the walls of the ground storey, with the western half of the upper storey and of the second stage are of 12th-century rubble, the rest is of early 17th-century brickwork; the parapet is embattled. The early 17th-century tower-arch is probably all of brick; it is two-centred and of two orders, the outer square, and the inner chamfered; the responds have semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The N. and S. walls of the ground storey each have a 12th-century window of one light, with a modern wood frame; in the W. wall is a modern window. In the second storey the N., S. and W. walls each have a rectangular loop of early 17th-century date, with internal splays of the 12th century. In the bell-chamber the N., S. and W. walls each have a window of two pointed lights in a two-centred head, probably of the 13th century, rebuilt early in the 17th century; in the E. wall is an early 17th-century window of brick with two four-centred lights under a four-centred head.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by John Danyell, 15th-century, inscribed 'Sancta Margareta Ora Pro Nobis'; 2nd by Henry Pleasant, 1700; bell-frame with curved braces, 16th-century or earlier. Brasses and Indents. Indents: In nave— in middle, of figures of man and two women, inscription plate, two groups of children and four scrolls, 15th-century. Coffin-lid: In quire—set in sill of S.E. window, with cross in relief, early 13th-century, part missing. Cupboard: In vestry— corner cupboard, with attached and twisted balusters at sides, carved upper rails, panelled door formerly with moulded fillets, late 17th-century. Monuments: In S. transept—on E. wall, (1) of Sir John Deane, Deputy Lieutenant and J.P. for Essex, 1625 (see Plate, p. xxx.), of alabaster and marble, set in recess, with Ionic side-columns, reclining effigy in plate armour, feet on crest—a muzzled bear's head; on shelf at the back, kneeling figures of widow, four daughters and two sons, three shields or cartouches of arms; on W. wall (2) of [Anne (Drury)] wife of Sir John Deane, 1633, erected by her son, Sir Dru Deane, 1634 (see Plate, p. 130), of alabaster and marble, with projecting shelf resting on Ionic columns and supporting recumbent effigy in plate armour, large round-headed recess at the back of shelf containing upright figure of woman in shroud, broken pediment at the top with two angels; two cartouches of arms. In church-yard—S. of chancel, (3) to John Bourchier, M.D., 1690, and John, his son, 1689, table-tomb of brick with stone slab with shield of arms. Piscina: In S. transept—in E. wall, with chamfered jambs and cinquefoiled ogee head, cinquefoiled drain, late 14th-century. Plate: includes pewter flagon dated 1709 and pewter salver, probably of the same date, with initials J. D. Miscellanea: S. transept—on S. gable, square stone sundial, with iron gnomon, dated 1660.

Condition—Good, much restored.


c (2). Dynes Hall, house, stables, outbuilding, pigeon-house and barn, 1 m. S. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of brick, and the roofs are tiled. A projecting wing at the N. angle of the house was built probably in the 16th century, but the main block was rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. There is a modern wing on the N.E. side.

The S.W. front has rubbed brick quoins and a dentilled cornice surmounted by a low parapet. The middle bay projects slightly, and between the lower storeys is a moulded string-course. The windows are symmetrically placed and have eared architraves of rubbed brick; in addition, the windows of the ground floor have moulded cornices. The other sides of the main block are similar in character to the front elevation; the roof is hipped at the angles. Over a doorway in the N. wing is a late 17th-century flat hood, supported by carved brackets.

Interior—The principal rooms on the ground and first floors of the main block have late 17th-century panelling, except the W. room on the ground floor, which is lined with late 16th-century panelling, re-used, and with an enriched frieze; the fireplace in the same room has a late 16th-century mantelpiece carved with arabesque ornament. The late 17th-century staircase in the main block is panelled, and has heavy moulded strings and twisted balusters. The walls of the modern drawing-room are lined with late 16th-century panelling, and the doors and fireplace have carved heads and floriated ornament of mid-16th century date, brought from Cust Hall, Toppesfield. The late 17th-century staircase in the N. wing has twisted balusters and a moulded hand rail. In the cellar are 16th-century ceiling-beams, reused, and preserved there are some carved bargeboards of the same date. Some early 17th-century panelling has been re-used in the attics.

The Outbuilding, N. of the stables, is of two storeys, partly timber-framed and plastered, and partly of brick; the roof is tiled. It was built early in the 17th century.

The Pigeon-house, S.W. of the stables, is timberframed and plastered, and has a pyramidal tiled roof gabled at the apex. It was built c. 1600.

The Barn, N.W. of the stables, is timber-framed and weather-boarded and has an aisle on the S. side. It was built early in the 17th century.

In the Bathing-house are some late 16th-century quarries of glass, including the Royal Arms and badges, the date 1595, and initials, E. I. B. etc.

Condition—Of all the buildings, good; barn destroyed by fire since investigation.

b (3). Byham Hall, farmhouse, about 1 m. N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timberframed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It is of half-H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. Probably it incorporates part of a 15th-century building and was partly rebuilt late in the 16th century, when the chimney-stacks were inserted. The S. front has been re-faced with modern brick, and some of the plaster has fallen off the other walls, exposing the close-set timberframing. At the N. end of the E. elevation are remains of a plaster scroll and foliage-ornament of the 17th century. The late 16th-century W. chimney-stack has four octagonal shafts on a square base. Inside the building, several rooms have exposed ceiling-beams. The entrance hall has a dado of late 16th-century panelling, re-used. On the first floor a room in the N.E. wing has a cambered tie-beam with one curved brace. Behind the modern staircase is a rounded newel post, possibly that of the former staircase. The roof of the main block has cambered collar-beams.


Monuments (4–18).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century, and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

c (4). Cottage, two tenements, on the W. side of the road, 200 yards S.W. of the church, was built probably late in the 16th century; the addition at the back is modern. The N. end of the front elevation projects slightly and is gabled; further S. is a blocked original doorway with chamfered jambs and a four-centred head. The original central chimney-stack has three octagonal shafts, modern at the top; on the base is a cemented panel with a date in pebbles, apparently 1637.

c (5). Cottage, 130 yards S. of (4), has three gabled dormers on the E. front; on one of them is the modern painted date 1672. The original central chimney-stack has a shaft T-shaped on plan.

Lucking Street, W. side

d (6). House, 400 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics and a cellar. The main block is of rectangular plan with a wing projecting from the W. end; the W. half of the wing is probably an 18th-century addition, and there are modern additions on the S. side of the main block. On the S. elevation is a gabled dormer, dated 1612. The original central chimney-stack has one square and two diagonal shafts grouped together.

d (7). Cottage, three tenements, 80 yards S. of (6), with an 18th-century addition on the W. side.

d (8). Cottage, two tenements, 140 yards S. of (7), with a modern addition at the S. end. Inside the building is a board with an inscription recording the purchase of the land by John Morley of Halstead, 1681, but the cottage is possibly of later date.

d (9). Little Lodge Farm, house, now two tenements, 1,000 yards E.S.E. of the church, with a modern addition on the N. side. The roof is hipped at both ends and the original central chimney-stack is of T-shaped plan.

d (10). Cottage, on the S. side of the Little Maplestead road, ½ m. S.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics, and has a modern addition at the E. end. The front and back elevations have each a gable at the E. end.

d (11). Cottage, two tenements, 30 yards W. of (10), with a modern addition at the W. end.

d (12). Mill Farm, house, 280 yards S. of (11), is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end. Inside the building, in the cross-wing a wide fireplace has an old iron rack and hook. In the upper storey of the E. wing is a cambered tie-beam with curved braces.

c (13). Warden's House, attached to the House of Mercy, 650 yards S.S.W. of the church, was built, possibly early in the 16th century, with a central Hall and Buttery and Solar wings at the N. and S. ends. A wing was added on the E. side probably in the 17th century. There are small modern additions on the E. side. The W. front has a gable at each end.

c (14). Barrett's Hall, farmhouse, 100 yards W. of (13), was originally a cottage of rectangular plan with a central chimney-stack of late 15th-century date. The additions on the W. and S. sides are of the 18th century, and there is a large modern block on the E. side. At the N. end of the original building the upper storey projects. The central chimney-stack has two attached diagonal shafts with a modern top.


c (15). Cottage, now two tenements, 640 yards W.S.W. of (14), with modern additions on the N. and E. sides. The roofs are covered with slate. The original central chimney-stack has two attached diagonal shafts, modern at the top.

c (16). Cottage, on the W. side of the Halstead road, 280 yards S. of (15), with a modern addition at the back.

c (17). Hull's Farm, house, about 1¼ m. S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It was originally of L-shaped plan with the wings extending N. and E. The space between the wings was enclosed in the 18th century and there are modern additions on the E. side. Inside the building, on the first floor, the shaped wall-posts are exposed.

a (18). Hosden's Farm, house now two tenements, ¾ m. N.N.W. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters.

a (19). Chelmshoe House, ½ m. N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of brick, and the roof is hipped and has a wooden eaves-cornice. It was built early in the 18th century. On the S. front the doorway has an original rusticated architrave, a frieze and a pediment, all of wood. Inside the building, five rooms are partly lined with original panelling and have white veined marble fireplaces. The original well-staircase has columnar newels and balusters with the rail carried over the newels; the cut-strings have brackets carved in low relief. The ceiling of the staircase is panelled and enriched with a rose in the middle, and palm branches; the cornice has egg and tongue ornament. In the attics are four doors made up of early 17th-century panelling.

a (20). Hopwell's Farm, house, 1 m. W. of the church, has 18th-century or modern additions on the W. and E. sides. On the S. front, below the eaves, are four shaped Jacobean brackets probably not in situ. In the W. wall is an original window of two lights with a moulded frame; the casement has an ornamental hasp. Inside the building, on the ground floor, the entrance hall has a dado made up of original panelling; in the N.E. corner is a small staircase with original newels, two of them have moulded raking finials and another has a pierced finial. In the E. wall is a wide open fireplace with a late 17th-century moulded architrave. The S.E. room has a fireplace with a similar architrave. On the first floor the front room has a late 17th-century fireplace with a panelled overmantel.