Little Sampford

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 Sampford', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916) pp. 185-189. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol1/pp185-189 [accessed 2 March 2024]

In this section

50. LITTLE SAMPFORD. (C.b.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)x. S.W. (b)xv. N.W.)

Little Sampford is a parish and village about 8 m. E.S.E. of Saffron Walden. The principal monuments are the Church, and the staircase at Little Sampford Hall.

Ecclesiastical

b (1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin stands on the S.E. side of the parish. The walls are of flint and pebble rubble, except those of the S. porch, which are of red and blue bricks with dressings of limestone and clunch; the roofs are covered with lead.

The Nave is of uncertain date, but has detail of c. 1300. The two lower stages of the West Tower were built before the middle of the 14th century, but a break in the building seems to have occurred c. 1350; later in the same century the walls of the nave were raised, the clearstorey and North Aisle added, and the two upper stages of the tower built. The Chancel was rebuilt probably late in the 15th century. and the North Porch was added during that century. The South Porch was built probably in the second half of the 17th century, and the roof of the nave was renewed in 1682. Early in the present century the chancel was underpinned, and the church generally was restored. The North Vestry is modern.

The 14th-century W. tower and the 16th-century monuments in the chancel are interesting.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (29 ft. by 21 ft.). The N. and S. walls have a moulded external plinth and eaves-course. The late 15th-century E. window is of five cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head, all much restored. In the N. wall is a much restored window of late 15th-century date, and of four lights under a four-centred head. Further W. is a doorway of the same date, with moulded jambs and four-centred arch under a square head which has sunk spandrels. In the E. bay of the S. wall is a window of late 15th-century date, and of four cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a four-centred head, partly restored; in the W. bay are the inner jambs and arch of a similar window, now blocked. S. of the chancel-arch are external traces of a former stair-turret to the rood-loft, and built on the site of the turret is a 16th or 17th-century buttress which incorporates remains of steps, etc.; higher up in the wall is a segmental-pointed arch, probably that of the 15th-century upper doorway of the rood-loft. The 15th-century chancel-arch is four-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer order is continuous and the inner rests on semi-circular attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.

The Nave (62 ft. by 21 ft.) has a late 14th-century N. arcade of five bays; the two-centred arches are of three chamfered orders; the continuous middle order is sunk-chamfered and finished with ogee stops; the inner and outer orders spring from attached semi-circular shafts with moulded bases. The clearstorey has, in the N. wall, four windows above the piers of the arcade, and a half-window at each end; they are of late 14th-century date and of quatrefoil form set in a circular splay. In the S. wall are three windows, the two eastern are of late 15th-century date, partly restored, and each of three cinquefoiled lights in a four-centred head; the third window, of late 16th-century date, is of red brick, covered internally with plaster, and of three plain four-centred lights under a four-centred head, with pierced spandrels and a moulded external label. Between the second and third windows is the S. doorway of c. 1300, with continuously moulded jambs and two-centred arch and a moulded external label.

Little Sampford, Parish Church of Saint Mary

The North Aisle (64 ft. by 10½ ft.) has, in the E. wall, a late 14th-century window of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery under a segmental head. In the N. wall are three windows of the same date and character as that in the E. wall, but with square heads; the two eastern are each of two lights and the western is of three lights. Between the second and third windows is the late 14th-century N. doorway with elaborate continuously moulded jambs and two-centred arch; on each jamb is a defaced bracket, two orders of the moulding being diverted above it to form a head of ogee shape; the external label is moulded. In the W. wall is a window similar to that in the E. wall.

The West Tower (9 ft. by 8½ ft.) (see Plate, p. 186) is of four stages, with an embattled parapet; at the angles are solid octagonal turrets, which support modern pinnacles; each turret is partly masked by a pair of buttresses; the small spire is covered with lead, and is probably of 1687, the date on the weather-vane. The mid 14th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of two continuously chamfered orders stopped out at the base; the inner order has a small moulding at the base, only visible externally; above the arch is the weathering of the former steep-pitched roof of the nave; it is cut off at the base of the third stage, indicating that the roof was lowered before the two upper stages of the tower were built. The mid 14th-century W. doorway is two-centred and continuously moulded, with moulded stops at the base; the moulded external label is probably of later date; the W. window, of the same date as the doorway, is of two cinquefoiled lights with leaf-tracery in a two-centred head, all partly restored. The third stage has, in each wall, a late 14th-century window of one cinquefoiled light with moulded jambs and a two-centred head. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of the same date and design as those in the third stage, but of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; all have been partly restored.

The North Porch has the axis deflected towards the W. The 15th-century outer archway has continuously chamfered jambs and two-centred arch under a square head with traceried spandrels, all much perished. In each side-wall is a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head.

The South Porch is probably of late 17th-century date. The outer archway has a four-centred arch of clunch and of two chamfered orders dying on to the hollow-chamfered jambs; above it, externally, is a small panel, also of clunch, enclosing a plain shield. In each side-wall is a window of one four-centred light under a square head with sunk spandrels, all of clunch.

The Roof of the chancel is modern, but on the N. wall is a 15th-century corbel carved with an angel holding a harp. The roof of the nave is of five bays, and almost flat, with plain, heavy chamfered tie-beams and purlins; the soffits of the principals are carved, and on the E. faces of the fourth and fifth beams is inscribed "M.M. Churchwarden", "1682." The roof of the N. aisle is modern, but has some old timbers, re-used.

Fittings—Bell: one; inscribed "Sca Maria ora pro nobis," probably by William Rofford, late 14th-century, frame old and set skew-wise across the chamber. Bracket: In chancel—on N. wall, moulded, with corbel carved as lion's head, 15th-century. Brasses and Indents. Indents: In chancel—(1) of man in armour, two wives, three groups of children, inscription plate, and four shields, probably late 15th-century; (2) of man in armour, and woman in veiled head-dress, inscription plate and two shields, probably late 15th-century; (3) of figure and inscription plate, much defaced; (4) of figure, inscription plate and shield, much defaced. In nave—(5) of inscription plate. Chairs: In chancel—(1) modern, on the back carving, re-used, of Christ with eleven apostles in a building, above it, God the Father, and the Dove descending, probably late 16th or early 17th-century; (2) with turned and carved legs, back carved with grapes, possibly late 17th-century. Chest: In nave—'dug-out,' of solid oak, lid with three strap-hinges, one lock with staple, probably 14th or 15th-century. Door: In chancel—in N. doorway, plain, of oak, nail-studded, strap-hinges with incised ornament, probably 15th-century. Glass: In chancel—in E. window, fragments of tabernacle work, inscriptions, etc., late 14th and 15th-century; in N. window, four shields, (a) or three roundels gules; (b) or a fesse between two cheverons gules, for Fitzwalter, both probably 14th-century; (c) gules a fesse indented between six crosslets or, probably 16th-century; (d) argent a cross between four scallops sable, for Coggeshall; in S. window, two shields; (e) sable three sleeping lions argent, for Bateman, impaling Coggeshall quartered with argent a cheveron sable with three scallops argent thereon, for Hall; (f) Vere, fragmentary, probably 16th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—under N. window, (1) to Sir Edward Grene, 1556, and 'Margerye' his wife, 1520; tablet of clunch, panelled, and flanked by diminishing Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature, in the middle, a shield of six quarters, on border, four other shields of arms, much defaced; (2) of William Twedy, 1605, Mabel (Curwen) and Margaret (Greene) his wives; kneeling figures of man in armour and woman at a prayer-desk, in a round-headed niche flanked by carved pilasters, at the top, achievement of arms; on S. wall, (3) tablet similar to (1), no inscription, painted arms almost obliterated. In N. aisle—on N. wall, (4) to William Peck of Samford Hall, and Gertrude his daughter, marble tablet erected in 1713, with coat of arms; (5) of Bridget, wife of William Peck, 1712, large, of marble, with effigy of woman, and achievement of arms (see Plate, p. 187). Floor-slab: In chancel—to Mary (Altham) wife of Sir William Halton, baronet, 1649.

Niche: N. porch—over entrance archway, outside, with ogee arch and sunk traceried spandrels in square head, 15th-century, partly restored, not in situ, found buried in porch. Piscina: In chancel—cinquefoiled head with sunk spandrels, groove for former shelf at back, quatrefoil drain with rose boss in the middle, 15th-century. Plate: includes a cup of 1604, and a small paten probably of the 17th century. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall, outline of blocked recess with four-centred head, partly hidden by monument. Screen: Under chancel-arch—middle doorway with three bays on each side, with moulded posts and muntins, cinquefoiled and traceried heads, carved rose cusp-points, plain rail, below rail open, probably early 16th-century. Seating: In nave—at W. end, ten oak seats, with moulded capping, panelled standards and moulded buttresses, probably early 16th-century, painted. In N. aisle—oak bench with shaped standards and crudely moulded finials, 15th-century. Miscellanea: In N. entrance to churchyard—oak gate-posts, with perished moulded heads, probably late 17th-century.

Condition—Good.

Secular

Homestead Moats.

b (2). 600 yards W. of the church.

b (3). At Folly Barn, 800 yards S.S.W. of the church; half the moat remains; fragments of thin bricks and tiles have been found on the site.

b (4). At Hawkin's Farm, ¾ m. E. of the church.

a (5). At Hawke's Farm, 1¼ m. N. of the church.

a (6). Maynard's Farm, house, barn, moat and fishpond, 1m. N.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timberframed and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 17th century, on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings on the S.W. and N.E., and has a modern addition on the N.W. side between the wings. The central chimney-stack is of late 17th-century red and black bricks, with modern bricks at the top. Inside the building are chamfered ceiling-beams and a wide fireplace.

The Barn, S.W. of the house, is weather-boarded and probably of late 17th-century date; the roof is thatched.

The Moat is complete, and has a small Fishpond on the N.E. side.

Condition—Of house and barn, good.

a (7). Hole Farm, house and moat, 1½ m. W.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and covered with lath and plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan, and has a modern addition on the N.E. side. On the S. front, in the plaster, is a rough indented floreated design and a raised wreath enclosing the date 1695, evidently the date of some of the plaster-work; under the modern plaster, near the E. end, are traces of a more elaborate design.

The Moat is very incomplete.

Condition—Of house, fairly good.

b (8). Tilehall Farm, house and moat, 2 m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed, and covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S.W. and N.W. The base of the central chimney-stack is original.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—of house, fairly good.

b (9). Little Sampford Hall, 150 yards N.W. of the church, is partly of two storeys with attics, and partly of one storey; the plastered walls are probably of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built about the middle of the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S.W. and N.W.; in the first half of the 17th century another wing was built across the end of the N.W. wing; the rest of the house is of one storey; it fills the space between the wings and extends towards the W., and is probably modern. The S.E. Front is of three bays; the bay at each end projects and has a curvilinear gable; all the windows have mullions and transoms covered with cement, and are possibly original; on the ground floor the space between the projecting bays is filled by a modern porch. The N. E. Elevation of the original block has windows similar to those on the S.E. front, and there are three projecting chimney-stacks with octagonal shafts, which have moulded bases and are modern at the top. The S.E. and N.E. Sides of the 17th-century wing each have a curvilinear gable. On the S.W. Elevation, at the end of the original S.W. wing, is an original projecting chimney-stack with three octagonal shafts repaired at the top; in the modern part of the house a doorway has a 16th-century frame, re-set, with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with foliated spandrels.

Interior—Some of the rooms have pieces of 17th-century panelling. In the original N.W. wing is a door-frame similar to that on the S.W. elevation, and also re-set. Between the original wing and the 17th-century wing is a door of moulded oak battens, and of late 16th or early 17th-century date. The 17th-century wing has, in the E. room, panelling of various dates, chiefly of c. 1630; the overmantel is made up of six pieces of early 16th-century linenfold panelling, eight pierced frieze-panels carved with heads in Tudor caps, scroll cartouches with grotesques, etc. probably Flemish, and two narrow panels carved with molets, boars, fleurs de lis, pomegranates, etc.; round the room is a fluted frieze of the 17th century. The principal staircase (see Plate, p. 188) rises to the first floor of the 17th-century wing; it is of the well type and has a heavy moulded handrail, moulded outer string, and turned diminishing balusters; the newels are square and have carved strap-ornament in alternate rectangular and oval panels, carved pendants, and moulded and carved pedestals, partly modern; one pedestal still supports two carved grotesque figures.

Condition—Bad, much neglected.

Monuments (10–27).

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

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

b (10). Green Farm, house, 200 yards N.E. of the church is of two storeys with attics. It was built originally on a modified H-shaped plan, with the cross-wings at the N.E. and S.W. ends; the S.W. wing projects only towards the N.W.; later in the 17th century a wing was added in the middle, on the S.E. side. On the N.W. front the wings are gabled. In the attic is an original door, now used as a screen.

b (11). Cottage, now two tenements, 50 yards S. of the church.

a (12). Cottage, now three tenements, on the Great Sampford Road, 370 yards N.N.E. of the church, with a modern addition at the W. end. The central chimney-stack is modern above the roof; the W. chimney-stack is of late 17th-century date and has chamfered diagonal shafts.

b (13). Cottage, now two tenements, 350 yards S.E. of (12).

b (14). Clock House Farm, house, 650 yards E.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the W. and S., and there are modern additions on the S. side. The gate opening into the garden has an ornamental iron latch, probably of the 17th century.

b (15). Cottage, now two tenements, 800 yards E. of the church, on Hawkin's Hill.

b (16). Cottage, on the S. side of the road, 350 yards E. of (15).

a (17). Whitehouse Farm, house, 700 yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics, built probably late in the 16th century. The plan is of half-H shape, with the wings extending towards the N. The house was formerly larger than it is at present, as there are traces of blocked doorways in the upper part of the N. front. The wings are gabled at each end; many of the windows and the original S. doorway have been blocked. The original central chimney-stack has clustered diagonal shafts on a rectangular base with moulded capping, and small brick gables at the angles. On the E. side of the E. wing is a projecting chimney-stack of late 17th-century date, repaired at the top. Inside the building, on the ground floor, in the W. room is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

a (18). Oldhouse Farm, house, about 1½ m. N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The original plan was L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the E. and N.; late in the 17th century the N. wing was lengthened towards the W., and the E. wing was widened on the N. side. The addition to the E. wing has two gables on the N. side. The gable at the end of the N. wing has foiled plaster decoration, and a panel with the initials M.M.M., probably of late 17th-century date. The original central chimney-stack in the E. wing has three grouped shafts set diagonally.

Interior:—On the E. side of the original chimney stack is a fireplace with an arched oak lintel, and on the N. side of the stack is a piece of plaster crudely ornamented with a swag and grotesque birds' heads, probably of late 17th-century date. Adjoining the stack is an original dog-legged staircase, with moulded handrail and wavy balusters to the upper flight.

a (19). Cottage, at Hawke's Farm, 1¼ m. N. of the church. The original central chimney-stack has rebated angles; the top has been removed. In the roof is a braced purlin.

Condition—Bad, unoccupied.

a (20). The Rectory, ¾ m. N. of the church, has an 18th-century addition at the N.W. end, and extensive modern additions on the S.W. side and at the S.E. end. On the N.E. front the original block and the 18th-century addition have tile-hung gables. The original central chimney-stack has clustered diagonal shafts.

b (21). Tewes Farm, house and barn, about 1,100 yards W.N.W. of the church. The House was built probably in 1541, the date (restored) on the original central chimney-stack. The plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the N.E. and N.W., and there are modern additions on the N.W. side. On the S.E. front the upper storey projects.

Interior:—The central Hall, now divided into two rooms, has, in the N.E. wall, a doorway of oak, with moulded jambs and four-centred head, and carved spandrels; in the ceiling are moulded and carved beams, and part of the wall-plate and some of the joists are moulded. The rooms on each side of the Hall have similar moulded beams and joists; the S.W. room has a carved wall-plate and panelling of late 16th or early 17th-century date; the S.E. room has two original windows, now blocked, and only visible inside the building; they are each of four lights, with moulded mullions. In the upper storey are some doors of oak battens, and a panelled door; one door-frame is fitted with heavy metal sockets to take a bar.

The Barn, E. of the house, is partly weather-boarded.

a (22). Bush Farm, house, 1½ m. W.N.W. of the church. On the E. side the upper storey projects.

b (23). Sprigg's Farm, house, 1½ m. W.S.W. of the church, is of the 16th century, and has a modern addition on the N. side. At each end of the S. front, the upper storey projects and is gabled.

b (24). Cottage, opposite Tilehall Farm, 2 m. S.W. of the church.

b (25). Little Clark's, house, now two tenements, nearly 1½ m. W. of the church, is of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S.W. and N.W.

Condition—Poor.

b (26). Great Clark's Farm, house, about 13/8 m. S.W. of the church, is of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the S. and E. At one end of the W. front, and also in the E. wing, the upper storey projects and is gabled.

b (27). Highgates, house, 1¼ m. S.W. of the church, is of T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the N. end. On the E. front the upper storey projects at the S. end, and is gabled at each end.

b (28). Cottage, now two tenements, at the corner of the Thaxted Road, ½ m. W. of the church.