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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'Rickling', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916) pp. 221-224. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol1/pp221-224 [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section

62. RICKLING. (A.c.)

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

Rickling is a small parish about 6 m. N. of Bishop's Stortford. The village is at Rickling Green some distance S.E. of the Church. The principal monuments are the Church and the Hall.


a (1). Parish Church of All Saints stands on the N.W. side of the parish. The walls are of flint rubble; the original dressings are of Totternhoe stone, except the quoins and part of the parapet of the top stage of the tower, which are of brick; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The unusual proportions of the Nave may indicate a preConquest plan, but the earliest detail is that of a 13th-century lancet in the W. wall. The present Chancel was built c. 1340; the South Aisle and West Tower were added at the same time. The chancel-arch was rebuilt above the springing line late in the 15th century, and a third stage was added to the tower early in the 16th century. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the North Vestry and Organ-chamber and the South Porch were added.

The 14th-century screen and the 15th-century pulpit are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (31 ft. by 18 ft.) has the axis deflected towards the N. The E. window is of three lights, all externally modern, but the moulded internal splays and chamfered rear arch, with a moulded label, are of the 14th century; below the ledge is a moulded internal string-course, partly cut away for the modern reredos. In the N. wall is a doorway opening into the vestry, and an arch into the' organ-chamber, both modern. In the S. wall are three 14th-century windows, the easternmost of two cinquefoiled lights in a two-centred head with a quatrefoiled spandrel and a chamfered label, all much restored, except the internal splays and chamfered rear arch with a moulded label; the second window is of one cinquefoiled pointed light with a chamfered label; externally the jambs have been much restored and the splays have moulded angles; the rear arch is chamfered; the third window is similar to the second, but the jambs and head are moulded and the label is modern; the rear arch is hollow-chamfered. Between the two western windows is a 14th-century doorway, with double-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch, with a moulded label, all partly restored. The two-centred late 15th-century chancel-arch is of two moulded orders, with a label on both faces; the shafted and moulded responds, with moulded capitals and bases, are of the 14th-century.

The Nave (30½ ft. by 22½ ft.) is not in line with the chancel. In the E. wall, N. of the chancel-arch, is a blocked doorway with chamfered jambs and arch. In the N. wall are two modern windows. The 14th-century S. arcade is of two bays; the column is quatrefoil on plan, with moulded base and capital; the responds are half-columns, and the two-centred arches are of two moulded orders, with moulded labels on both faces. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet window, partly restored, and now opening into the tower; below the window is a doorway, possibly of the 14th century, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head.

The South Aisle (8 ft. wide) has a window in the E. wall, a window and a doorway in the S. wall and a W. window, all modern.

The West Tower (9½ ft. square) is of three stages with a deep plinth, diagonal W. buttresses, finishing below the floor of the second stage, and an embattled parapet. The ground stage has, set high up in the S. wall, a 14th-century window of two trefoiled lights in a two-centred head with a quatrefoiled spandrel. The W. window is modern, except the internal splays, which are of the 14th century, and the rear arch is probably also original. The second stage has, in the E. wall, a single trefoiled light. In the N. wall is a small 14th-century window of two uncusped lights in a two centred head with a pierced spandrel; the S. and W. walls have each a 14th-century window similar to that in the N. wall, but with trefoiled lights. The bell-chamber has in the E. wall a plain squareheaded light, and the N., S. and W. walls have each a wide cinquefoiled light under a square head, with a moulded external label.

The Roof of the nave is plastered internally, but on each side is a small moulded wall-plate of the 14th century, now painted.

Fittings—Bells: five; 1st and 2nd by Richard Keene, 1699; 5th by Richard Keene, 1700. Brasses and Indents. Indent: In nave—under E. bay of arcade, of kneeling figure holding a model of a church, over the head the lower end of a cross, rest hidden by seating, marginal inscription, early 14th-century; (see also Monuments (1) and (2)). Chest: In chancel—standing on tomb on S. side, of oak, iron bound, with remains of leather covering, iron handle at each end, truncated gabled lid, 17th-century. Font: octagonal bowl of coarse limestone, 15th-century, restored where staples for cover were inserted, modern sunk panel in one face; octagonal stem of Totternhoe stone with moulded top and chamfered base, possibly 14th-century, re-cut. Monuments: In chancel— in N. wall, (1) large recess with richly moulded ogee arch having label with finial, c. 1340, restored with brick on E. side; in recess, moulded Totternhoe stone slab, 14th-century, much damaged and standing on a modern base; on it a second slab of Purbeck marble with indent of marginal inscription; in S. wall, (2) recess, moulded and segmental-pointed arch with label; under it, altar tomb with moulded top and base, the front with seven panels, that in the middle, small and blank, with quatrefoiled head, other panels quatrefoiled, and each with a shield of arms:—(a) a cross potent, probably for Fox; (b) quarterly 1 and 4 two bars with three cinquefoils in the chief, for Walden, 2 and 3 two cheverons with two molets in the chief, for Breton; (c) fretty a border with roundels, probably for Fitzwilliam; (d) paly, for Langley, impaling Walden, quartering Breton; (e) Langley impaling party a cross potent, for Fox; (f) Langley; at each end of tomb, panel with blank shields; on the top, slab of Purbeck marble with indents of two shields and traces of two others; all 15th century, but tomb ascribed to Thomas Langley, 1670. In vestry—on E. wall, (3) tablet to Robert, third son of Edmund Turner, 1657. Niche: In chancel—at E. end of N. wall, with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, 14th-century, much worn. Piscinæ: In chancel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and two-centred trefoiled head, label moulded and continued a short distance towards the W. as string-course, sexfoil basin and remains of wooden shelf, c. 1340. In S. aisle— in S. wall, with moulded jambs and two-centred cinquefoiled head and moulded label, all of Totternhoe stone, 14th-century, completely re-cut. Pulpit: (see Plate, p. xxxi) of oak, octagonal, with moulded base and cornice, each side having carved base, moulded mullions and panel with traceried head, 15th-century, cornice largely modern. Screen: (see Plate, p. 222), Under chancel-arch—of oak, with twelve lights above rail, including four in the double doors, each light trefoiled. with continuous tracery above it and resting on shafts with moulded capitals, necking and bases. beam carved at each end with leaf ornament, 14th-century; base of screen plain and boarded, all modern except base of doors, beam apparently 15th-century, modern beam above it. Sedilia: In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down to form three stepped seats with chamfered edges, E. jamb, against piscina, moulded and broken off, possibly originally finished with canopied heads, 14th-century. Miscellanea: Built into wall of modern porch—outside, two stones with traces of inscriptions in black-letter capitals. On jambs and splays of S. doorway of chancel—scratched names, etc. including Chyne (?) Walden, Isabel (?), Langley and Thomas Langley, some on scrolls with flowered sprigs attached to them. In W. tower— four fragments of moulded string-course, apparently part of that below sill of E. window.



b (2). Mount and Bailey Castle, S. of Rickling Hall. The mount is 18½ ft. high and 135 ft. in diameter at the base. The ditch, now 5 ft. deep, has been partly destroyed. The ditch and part of a bailey which apparently existed on the N. have been converted into the moat of the present house (see (3)).

Condition—Much altered.

b (3). Rickling Hall, now a farm-house and two tenements, with outbuilding and moat, ¾ m. S. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of brick with some plastered timberframing and the roofs are tiled. It stands probably in the bailey of the former castle and was built apparently c. 1500. It then consisted of two blocks, the northern rectangular and pierced by a gateway near the middle, and the southern block of half-H-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the N. and partly enclosing a courtyard; c. 1600 the E. side of the courtyard was completely enclosed by a long range of buildings, to which a staircase-wing was added on the courtyard side, c. 1620. The W. side of the courtyard was completed by the addition of a granary to the W. range, probably late in the 17th century. At that time the S. range apparently became ruinous and the remains were transformed into a large barn; the N. range was then sub-divided, the gateway blocked and a staircase inserted W. of it. Parts of the N. and E. ranges were probably pulled down in the 18th century, and the modern alterations include the addition of a low building on the inner courtyard side of the E. range.

The N. Range is built of thin red bricks on a plinth of flint rubble and has a chamfered stone coping; the plinth is continued completely round the E. end, indicating that it originally stood free of the other buildings; at the W. end, part of the range has been destroyed. The gatehouse rises slightly above the rest of the range, and has on the N. side a blocked four-centred archway of c. 1500, and of stone, with a moulded label; above the archway is a window of three square-headed lights with a moulded label, all of stone; near the E. end of the range is a blocked doorway with traces of a wall on each side, probably part of a small garderobe-wing; only two original single-light windows with cinquefoiled heads and moulded labels remain on the N. side. The courtyard elevation has a blocked archway to the gatehouse similar to the outer archway, and four original windows with cinquefoiled heads; in the brickwork are remains of lozenge diapering in blue bricks.

Rickling Hall

The E. Range is built of thin red bricks, apparently re-used material, and has been shortened at the S. end. The E. elevation has been entirely altered. The courtyard elevation has, built against it, a staircase-wing of timber-framing covered with plaster; in the main building, partly covered by the roof of the wing, is a re-used 14th-century window of two ogee trefoiled lights with a transom; further N. are two square-headed windows of stone and probably of c. 1600.

The S. Range, now used as a barn, formerly contained the Great Hall, Kitchen, etc., and has a porch on the courtyard side which probably represents the position of the original hall-porch; the roof is thatched. The lower part of the walls of the W. half of the range are of original brickwork with a plinth of flint rubble. On the S. elevation the brickwork rises to the eaves and has a cross in blue headers; there are three original windows of brick with semi-circular heads, and two doorways, all now blocked. On the N. elevation are courses of blue brick regularly laid, and there are three original windows, one of stone with a square head, and a doorway, all blocked. At the W. end of the range is the original projecting chimney-stack of the Kitchen, flanked by windows now blocked.

The W. Range has been much altered and rebuilt and is now used as cow-houses and a granary with an entry between them. The S. half appears to be partly original but the N. half is probably of late 17th-century date.

Interior:—The N. range is divided by the Gatehouse, and has three bays on the E. and four on the W. In the E. wall of the gatehouse is a doorway with a pointed stone head, now opening into a cellar; W. of the gatehouse is a late 17th-century staircase with moulded handrails and twisted balusters. The upper floor was originally open to the roof, which has a series of trusses, with hollow-chamfered moulded wall-plates, tie-beams with curved braces, king-posts with four-way struts, and massive wall-posts partly set in the side walls and carried down to the ground. The E. range, forming the present farmhouse, retains some 17th-century ceiling-beams and an old door of moulded battens. In the W. wall of the southern room is an early 17th-century doorway with a moulded four-centred head now blocked, and N. of the doorway is a square-headed window, also blocked. The upper part of the staircase has flat shaped balusters of c. 1620. and square newels with round heads. The Kitchen was originally at the W. end and between it and the Hall were Butteries, etc.

The Outbuilding, originally a cottage. N. of the house, is of two storeys, built c. 1500. The walls are of brick; the roof is tiled. The chimney-stack. of brick, is probably original. Inside the building is an open fireplace; the roof is of king-post type and one beam has moulded stops.

The Moat (see (2)) is rectangular. The E. arm. with part of the N. arm. is obliterated.

Condition—Of house, fairly good.

Monuments (4–23).

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

Condition—Good, or fairly good, without exception.

a (4). Cottage, about 250 yards W. of the church, has walls covered with weather-boarding. The roof is hipped.

The Green, W. side, N. to S.:—

b (5). Cottage, about 1¼ m. S.E. of the church, with a small gable on the E. side. The lower part of each wall is weather-boarded.

b (6). Cottage, 50 yards S.W. of (5), has some original casement windows.

b (7). Cottages, a range of three, 120 yards S.W. of (6).

b (8). Cottage, now three tenements, 50 yards W. of (7). The walls are weather-boarded.

b (9). Cottage, S. of (8), has a small gable in front; the walls are partly weather-boarded.

b (10). Cottage, 180 yards S. of (9).

S. side:—

b (11). Cottage, now three tenements, 100 yards S.E. of (10). has a weather-boarded plinth.

E. side, S. to N.:—

b (12). Cottage, 70 yards E. of (11). The walls are partly weather-boarded.

b (13). Cottage, N.E. of (12). The walls are partly weather-boarded.

b (14). Cottage, N.E. of (13). The walls are partly weather-boarded.

b (15). Cottage, now two tenements, 150 yards N. of (14), with a modern addition at the back.

b (16). The Cricketers' Inn, N. of (15).

b (17). Cottage, 120 yards N. of (16), with a small gable in front.

The Manuden Road, N.W. side:—

b (18). Cottage, now two tenements, nearly 1½ m. S.E. of the church.

b (19). Cottage, S.W. of (18).

The Cambridge Road, W. side:—

b (20). Bradbury Hall, about 630 yards S.W. of Quendon Church, is of two storeys with attics. The E. front is of brick, and has three gabled dormer windows.

b (21). Cottages, a range of four, N. of (20), at the S. corner of the road leading to the green. The N. end has been re-faced with brick.

a (22). Cottage, now three tenements, 150 yards S.W. of Quendon Church, has a weather-boarded plinth. The plan is T-shaped and the vertical N. wing is probably an addition. The original central chimney-stack in the S. wing has three linked shafts set diagonally.

a (23). The Coach and Horses Inn, 300 yards N.E. of (22), was built probably late in the 16th century; the front and ends have been re-faced with modern brick. The plan is rectangular, with a staircase-wing at the back. Inside the building, at the S. end, a large room is lined with 17th-century panelling, not in situ.