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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57. PANFIELD. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. xxv. N.W.)
Panfield is a small parish with no village, about 2½ m. N.W. of Braintree. The Hall is the principal monument.
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, formerly of St. Christopher, stands towards the E. side of the parish. The walls are of flint and pebble rubble with some ironstone; the dressings are of limestone and clunch; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was rebuilt, possibly early in the 15th century, the date of the earliest detail in situ; the Chancel was rebuilt late in the 15th century, and the Bell-turret and South Porch were added at the same time. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the North Vestry and the Organ-chamber were added.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a modern arch. In the S. wall are two modern windows with some old material re-used in the splays; between the windows is a doorway, possibly of the 15th-century, but almost completely restored. The 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two orders, the outer moulded and continuous and the inner hollow-chamfered and springing from semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The Nave (34½ ft. by 22 ft.) has, in the N. wall, an early 15th-century window, partly restored and of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head; the rear arch and splays are moulded; further W., high up in the wall, is a sinking which possibly represents a former window. In the S. wall are two windows of the same date and detail as that in the N. wall, but of two lights; the eastern window has been almost completely restored, and the western slightly restored: between them is the early 15th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label. In the W. wall is a moulded recess, containing the W. window and doorway; the early 15th-century window is of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head; the doorway is of earlier date, re-set, and has continuously moulded jambs and arch, with a moulded external label which has head-stops.
The South Porch is timber-framed, and of the 15th century, much restored. The outer archway is two-centred and the E. and W. walls have each a window of six open lights with trefoiled and traceried heads; the mullions and internal framing are moulded.
The Roof of the nave has a king-post truss probably of the 15th century. At the W. end are two beams which support the bell-turret and are carried on four massive posts against the walls; the eastern pair have attached shafts with moulded bases from which spring curved braces.
Fittings—Bells: three, 2nd by Miles Graye, 1655. Brasses and Indents. Indents: In nave— (1) of figures of woman and three men, inscription plate, groups of children and two shields, early 16th-century. In churchyard—near doorway of chancel, (2) defaced. Doors: In S. doorway—of ridged battens, with strap-hinges, probably 15th-century; in W. doorway, similar to the other, with head cut down; both doors partly restored. Glass: In nave—in N. window, canopy-head in each light, 15th-century; in middle light figures of two saints, symbol of St. John the Evangelist, and various made up fragments, 14th to 16th-century, probably foreign work, inserted in the 19th-century. Monument: In nave—in N. wall, tomb recess with hollow-chamfered and segmental-pointed arch, 15th-century. Piscinæ: In chancel—with moulded and cinquefoiled head, opening with four-centred arch from sedilia, 15th-century, sill modern. In nave—in S. wall, with trefoiled head and grooves for shelves, square drain, probably 15th-century, head defaced. Plate: includes cup, late 17th-century, and cover-paten, late 16th-century, both without marks. Pulpit: modern, incorporating four lengths of pierced tracery, late 15th-century, said to have come from Panfield Hall. Seating: In organ-chamber— bench with turned legs and moulded seat, mid 17th-century. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down low to form seat.
Condition—Good, much restored.
(2). Homestead Moat, at Coldhall Farm, about 1 m. W.N.W. of the church, very incomplete.
(3). Panfield Hall (see Plate, p. 207), and moat, 400 yards S.S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick with some dressings of stone; the roofs are tiled. The plan is of modified half-H shape, with the wings extending towards the N. The Hall (A) (see plan) forming the W. half of the main block was built c. 1500, and about the middle of the 16th century the E. half of the main block (B) was rebuilt, the N.E. wing (C) and the tower (D) were added, and a small S.W. wing (E) was built. The N.W. wing (F.) was added or rebuilt in the 18th century. The house was originally much larger than it is at present, and foundations have been found on the N. side which suggest that it was of quadrangular plan.
The remains of the original roof are interesting.
At the E. End is a projecting tower, formerly divided into four storeys, but now only into three storeys; it has a moulded plinth, a moulded string-course below the third storey, and is finished with a roof of ogee form. The ground storey forms a porch, and has a semi-circular outer archway with a keystone and moulded imposts; above the archway is a sunk panel with a 17th-century shield of arms—a cheveron engrailed between three trefoils, and for crest a boar's head, for Symonds of Great Yeldham. The two lower storeys have windows of two lights, of brick, covered with cement, and several of them are now blocked; the third storey has round-headed windows, all now blocked. The rest of the elevation has a moulded plinth; on the second floor of the N.E. wing is a stone window of three lights with moulded mullions and transom.
On the N. Elevation the original part of the main block has a moulded brick plinth, returned at the E. end; the original Hall is lighted by a window of three pointed lights with sunk spandrels and moulded mullions and transom; above it is a similar window of two lights: further E., in the 16th-century part of the main block, is a doorway with moulded jambs and square head, and E. of it a single-light window; on the first floor, above them, is a window of four lights with moulded mullions and transom; all these windows and the doorway are of stone.
On the S. Elevation the E. part of the main block has a moulded brick plinth, and a window of four lights, similar to that on the N. elevation; the label is moulded; above it are traces of a similar window, now blocked; further E. is a projecting 16th-century chimney-stack, with three octagonal shafts, two ornamental and one plain, all with moulded bases and caps (see Plate, p. xxvii).
Interior:—On the ground floor, at the E. end of the original Hall, is a doorway of c. 1500, with moulded jambs and four-centred head. The 16th-century part of the main block has two moulded ceiling-beams. At the first floor level and in the roof of the former Hall are remains of a fine hammerbeam roof of three bays; below the hammer-beams on the N. side, are two curved brackets with traceried spandrels, carved corbels and moulded wall-posts and plate; the lower collar-beam has curved braces with pierced spandrels, moulded side-posts and purlin; the ridge-board has pierced quatrefoils; the wind-braces are of ogee form. A room in the N.E. wing has a 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs. The E. gable of the former Hall, now covered by the adjoining roof, has a blocked window of brick of three pointed lights with a transom, the wall has been almost entirely covered with much defaced pargetting, and there are traces of an achievement of royal arms of c. 1660.
The Moat formerly surrounded the house, but only the S. arm and an outer enclosure remain.
Condition—Of house, good.
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 exposed ceiling-beams and original chimney-stacks.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, without exception.
(4). Great Priory Farm, house, barns and probable site of the Priory, 600 yards N.N.W. of the church. The House was built probably in the 16th century; an E. wing was added at the N. end in the 17th century, making the plan L-shaped. Inside the building, on the first floor, is a tie-beam with a curved brace.
The two Barns N.W. of the house, are probably of the 17th century.
The probable Site of the Priory, a cell of St. Stephen's Abbey, at Caen, is in a field N. of the house, where there are traces of foundations.
(5). The Rectory, W. of the church, was much altered in the 18th century, and considerable additions were made on the W. side in the 19th century. The original chimney-stack has four grouped diagonal shafts.
(6). The Bell Inn, ¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, was built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. On the N. front the upper storey projects and is gabled at the W. end. At the back are three gables. Inside the building is an original panelled door of oak, with cock's-head hinges and an original latch.
(7). Cottage, two tenements, on the N. side of the road, ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church. The plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the W. and S. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters.
(8). Cottage, two tenements, on the S. side of the road, 60 yards S. of (7). The plan is L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the E. and N.