Little Easton

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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'Little Easton', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916) pp. 180-184. British History Online [accessed 18 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxiii. N.E. (b)xxiii. S.E.)

Little Easton is a small parish and village about about 2 m. N.W. of Great Dunmow.


b (1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin (dedication doubtful), stands on the E. side of the park of Easton Lodge. The walls are of flint rubble, with a few pieces of brick, possibly Roman, and stone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built early in the 12th century. The Chancel was rebuilt and lengthened, and a S. chapel added c. 1230. The South Chapel was rebuilt, and the West Tower added late in the 15th century. In the 19th century the church was restored, and the North Vestry and Organ-chamber were added.

The remains of early 12th-century windows in the nave, the two 15th-century monuments in the chancel and the 13th and 15th-century paintings in the nave are especially noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (28 ft. by 18½ ft.) has an E. window of c. 1470, partly restored; it is of four cinquefoiled ogee lights, with a transom and tracery under a four-centred head; the jambs, head and label are moulded. In the N. wall is the eastern arch of a modern arcade of two bays, the western arch being in the nave. In the S. wall are two arches of an arcade of three bays, the westernmost bay being in the nave; the arcade is of the 13th century, rebuilt in the 15th century; the two-centred arches are moulded, and incorporate some 13th-century material; the E. respond and first pier have been cut back for a monument, but the pier had originally four attached shafts, with a 15th-century moulded capital, and a 13th-century moulded base; the second pier is complete and similar to the other, but the shafts on the N. side are detached; the W. respond has three attached keeled shafts, with 15th-century moulded capitals, and 13th-century moulded bases. The chancel is divided from the nave only by a difference in the levels of the roof, and by an offset in the N. wall.

The Organ-chamber is modern, but re-set in the N. wall is a 15th-century window, partly restored; it is of two cinquefoiled lights, with tracery in a two-centred head, which has a moulded label.

Little Easton, Parish Church

The South or Maynard Chapel, formerly the Bourchier Chapel (39¾ ft. by 18 ft.), has, in the E. wall, a modern blind window. In the S. wall are two windows, both modern, except the segmental-pointed rear arches, which are of late 15th-century date; the eastern rear arch is moulded, and the western hollow-chamfered. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window, partly restored and now blocked; it is of three cinquefoiled lights, with tracery under a two-centred head.

The Nave (54 ft. by 19 ft.) has, in the N. wall, two windows; the eastern is of the 15th century, partly restored, and of two cinquefoiled lights, with tracery under a two-centred head and moulded label; the splays and rear arch are hollow-chamfered; the western window is modern, but is between the remains of two early 12th-century windows consisting of part of the semi-circular heads of dressed stone, the E. jamb of one window and the W. jamb of the other, both of undressed stone and Roman brick. In the S. wall is a modern window; further E., a short, straight joint possibly represents the jamb of an early 12th-century window; near the W. end of the wall some flint probably indicates a former window, also of early 12th-century date; the 14th-century S. doorway, now blocked, has jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders.

The West Tower (11½ ft. by 9¾ ft.) is of two stages, the lower of two storeys, and has a S.E. stair-turret and an embattled parapet; the string-course of the parapet has a carved gargoyle on the N. side and another on the S. side. The late 15th-century tower-arch is two-centred, and of two orders, both chamfered, except the E. side of the inner order, which is moulded; the chamfered and shafted responds have moulded bases and capitals. The doorway of the S.E. stair-turret has chamfered jambs and a moulded four-centred arch. The W. doorway is modern, except the internal splays which have been re-cut; the late 15th-century W. window, restored and re-cut, is of three cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head with a chamfered label. The second storey of the ground stage has, in the S. wall, a lancet window possibly of the 13th century, re-set. A window in the W. wall is concealed by the face of the clock. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a late 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head under a moulded label.

The Roof of the chancel is old, and of the trussed-rafter type.

Fittings—Bells: three and sanctus, 1st by John Tonne, early 16th-century, inscribed "Vox Clara Ecce Intonat Campana" with the founder's name, a cross, coin, and the Bouchier knot; 2nd, by Henry Pleasant, 1693; sanctus, uninscribed, probably 17th-century; bell-frame, old. Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In chancel—of Robert Fyn, c. 1420, figure of priest in mass vestments, and inscription (see also Monuments). Indents: In chancel—(1) of foliated cross and marginal inscription, early 14th-century, much worn; (2) of richly foliated cross and marginal inscription to Margerie, daughter of Sir Thomas de Lovaine, early 14th-century. Chest: In vestry—plain, with iron straps and three locks, 17th-century, now painted. Door; In tower—in doorway to stair-turret, of one piece of oak, panelled, late 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel— in N. wall, (1) said to be to [Eleanor (Lovaine), wife of Sir William Bourchier] (see Plate, p. xxx) altar tomb with cusped panelled front, having three shields of arms—(a) a saltire engrailed; (b) billetty a fesse, for Lovaine; (c) a fesse and a border engrailed, for Weston; moulded plinth and slab; recess with two-centred cinquefoiled arch, crocketed and finialed ogee label, and cusped spandrel; buttressed and crocketed side pinnacles; below main cornice, six shields of arms—(d) a cross paty; (e) a cross engrailed between four water-bougets with a ring on the cross, for Bourchier quartering Lovaine; (f) Lovaine; (g) Bourchier; (h) barry; (i) Bourchier; at back of recess, shield of arms— Bourchier impaling Lovaine; all c. 1400; fixed on slab, small effigy, 2 ft. long, in mail armour, with long surcoat and knee-cops, long shield suspended from shoulder, mid 13th-century (see Plate, p. xxx); in E. bay of S. arcade, (2) of [Sir Henry Bourchier, K.G., Earl of Eu and Essex, Viscount Bourchier, 1483, and Isabel, his wife, daughter of Richard, Earl of Cambridge, 1485] (see Plate, p. xxx) rich canopied altar tomb of Purbeck marble, tomb with panelled and traceried sides and ends, having eight plain shields, formerly with brasses, moulded plinth and slab, on slab, brass figures, of man in plate armour with Garter and mantle of the Order, collar of suns and roses, head on helmet with rich mantling, crest missing, feet on eagle, remains of red and purple enamel on mantle and mantling; figure of woman, short sideless gown of ermine, red dress and long cloak, collar of suns and roses, coronet, two angels at head, eagle at feet, considerable remains of enamel; indents of fetter-locks, Bourchier knots, two scrolls and marginal inscription; canopy resting on four buttressed, shafted and pinnacled piers at angles of tomb; on each side of canopy, three richly foiled and panelled bays with crocketed ogee labels, and various badges, etc.; main cornice with cresting of "Tudor" flowers; soffit with elaborate traceried vault; canopy continued at lower level, one bay beyond tomb at each end, of similar character to panelled outer jambs; indents of shields on the E. and W. internal walls. In chancel—on S. side, partly under quire-stalls, (3) Purbeck marble slab with moulded edge, formerly on altar tomb, late 15th-century. In S. chapel—against S. wall, (4) of Sir Henry Maynard, 1610, and Susan (Pierson) his wife, altar tomb with alabaster effigies of man in plate armour, ruff, etc., woman in fardingale, ruff and hood; in front, kneeling figures of eight sons and two daughters, on wall at back, marble tablet with Ionic pilasters, entablature, achievement and two shields of arms (see Plate, p. 182); (5) of [Frances] daughter of William, Lord Cavendish, and wife of Sir William Maynard, baronet, 1613, altar tomb with reclining effigy of woman in loose dress, ruff and hood, on wall at back, tablet with cartouche and two lozenges of arms; against W. wall, (6) of William, Lord Maynard, 1640, and Anne (Everard), his wife, 1647, erected in the 18th century. Floor-slabs: In S. chapel—(1) to William and Mary Maynard, children of Hon. William Maynard, 1688, 1687–8; (2) to Lady Fisher, wife of Hon. William Maynard, 1675–6, with shield of arms. Niche: On S. wall of tower— outside, with chamfered jambs and four-centred head, cusping destroyed, late 15th-century. Paintings: In nave—on N. wall, seated figure, below it, border of foliage and small figure, 13th-century; on S. wall, series of eight subjects representing incidents of the Passion, each with canopied background—(a) the procession to Calvary; (b) the Crucifixion; (c) the Descent from the Cross; (d) defaced, one figure remaining; (e) a "pietà," surrounded by apostles; (f) remains of figures of seven saints; (g) Christ before Pilate; (h) Christ crowned with thorns; late 15th-century, all much defaced. Piscina: In S. chapel—with two-centred arch and square head with traceried spandrels, 15th-century, cusping and sill destroyed. Plate: includes silver-gilt cup and stand-paten of 1618, stand-paten of 1634, large silver flagon of 1641, the gift of William, Lord Maynard, 1640, with a quartered shield and crest of Maynard. Royal Arms: In nave—on N. wall, painted on square panel, with date 1660. Screen: Between chancel and Maynard chapel—of wrought iron, early 18th-century. Stoup: In E. jamb of S. doorway— carved circular basin, date uncertain. Tiles: In chancel—round Bourchier tomb, small, with geometric patterns, 14th-century, defaced. Miscellanea: Built into walls of tower—worked stones, including fragments of cheveron ornament, shafts and tracery, 12th—15th-century. Built into churchyard wall—to form eleven loops, fragments of heads, jambs, moulded base, etc., 13th— 16th-century.

Condition—Good, much restored.


b (2). Easton Lodge, ¾ m. N.W. of the church, is of three storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. The house was built, probably about the middle of the 16th century, on a plan of half-H-shape, with the wings extending towards the S. In the 17th century, a wing was added, extending towards the W. from the N.W. corner. About the middle of the 19th century the greater part of the house was destroyed by fire and rebuilt. The 17th-century wing, and part of the adjoining block of the 16th-century building remain incorporated in the modern house.

The N. elevation of the main block has a two storeyed bay-window of the 16th century with moulded frames, mullions and transoms. The N. side of the N.W. wing is continuous with the N. wall of the main block, and is of brick with three gables; the central chimney-stack has four square shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the western stack is similar, but has three shafts. On the S. elevation the N.W. wing is partly timberframed and partly of modern brick. The main block has three original chimney-stacks with octagonal shafts, which have moulded bases and are modern at the top. Projecting from the S.W. wing are two original chimney-stacks, one with modern shafts and the other with octagonal shafts, modern at the top.

Interior—Some of the rooms and passages in the 17th-century wing have stop-chamfered ceilingbeams and panelled dados; one room is said to be completely panelled, but the panelling is now covered with canvas. On the ground floor the servants' hall has a stone fireplace with moulded jambs and straight-sided four-centred head. In a room on the first floor, above the fireplace, are two Ionic pilasters, formerly part of an overmantel. On the second floor there is an elaborately panelled overmantel.

Some of the garden walls are partly of 16th-century brick. In the garden there is also a stone font of uncertain date, with an octagonal bowl and circular stem.


b (3). The Manor House (now used as a Rectory), barn, and moat, 100 yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timberframed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It is of late 16th or early 17th-century date. The S. front has two gables and a modern porch; the central chimney-stack is original and has four grouped diagonal shafts on a rectangular base with a moulded capping. Inside the house, two rooms have original moulded ceiling-beams, and there is a detached oak bracket, with the date 1624 carved on it.

The Barn, S.E. of the house, is of late 16th or early 17th-century date, and of four bays with aisles.

The Moat lies S.E. of the house. Only part of the E. arm, with a bank on the counterscarp, remains.

Condition—Of house and barn, good, much restored.

Monuments (4–14).

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

Condition—Good or fairly good, without exception.

b (4). Ravens Farm, house, 1,000 yards S.E. of the church, is of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the E. and N. The walls are partly of modern brick. The main block has two gables on the N. side and one on the S. side.

b (5). Cottage, two tenements, 750 yards E. of the church, with two modern additions at the back. The original central chimney-stack has two attached shafts, set diagonally. Inside the building the staircase N. of the chimney-stack is original.

b (6). Northamptons, house, now two tenements, 50 yards N.E. of (5), with modern additions on the S. and E. sides. The original central chimney-stack has a moulded capping and modern shafts.

b (7). Cottage, three tenements, 370 yards N.E. of (6), with modern additions on the N.W. and N.E. sides. In one doorway is an old battened door. The original central chimney-stack has two attached shafts, set diagonally.

b (8). Cottage, two tenements, ¾ m. E.N.E. of the church.

b (9). Farmhouse, 230 yards E.S.E. of (8). The plan is of modified half-H-shape, with the wings extending towards the N.E. There are two modern additions on the N.E. side. The S.W. front has three gables. The original central chimney-stack has a moulded capping and diagonal pilasters.

Duck Street, E. side

b (10). The Stag Inn, 760 yards N.E. of the church, with modern additions at the back.

W. side

b (11). Cottage, three tenements, 100 yards N.W. of (10), with large 18th-century or modern additions at the S. end. The original central chimney-stack has a moulded capping and modern shafts.

a (12). Cottage, 150 yards N.N.W. of (11). The original central chimney-stack has grouped square shafts.

a (13). Spade Cottage, 200 yards N.N.W. of (12), with a modern addition at the back.

a (14). Easton Farm, house, 7/8 m. N. of the church, with 18th-century or modern additions in front and at the back. On the W. front the upper storey projects, and at the S. end is gabled. On the first floor the N.E. room has an original window with moulded mullions. The original central chimney-stack has a moulded capping and square pilasters at the angles of the shaft. Inside the building, on the ground floor, one room has original panelling, not in situ. On the first floor one room has a moulded mantelshelf. The roof, with curved wind-braces, is original.

a (15). Stocks and Whipping Post, in the garden of a lodge at Easton Lodge, 40 yards W. of the church, are probably of the 18th century. The stocks have a large and a small pair of holes, and the ironwork of both stocks and whipping-post is original.

Condition—Fairly good.