Pages 41-42

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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13. BORLEY. (F.a.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)vi. S.W. (b)vi. S.E.)

Borley is a small parish and village on the Suffolk border, 2 m. N.W. of Sudbury. The Church has interesting monuments of the 16th century.


a (1). Parish Church, dedication unknown, stands in the middle of the village. The walls are of flint rubble, with dressings of limestone and clunch; the roofs are covered with tiles. The thick S. wall of the Nave, with the S.W. angle, is probably of the 12th century, but no detail of that date remains. At the end of the 15th or beginning of the 16th century, the West Tower was added, and at the same time the Chancel, and possibly the N. wall of the nave, were rebuilt. Later in the 16th century the South Porch was added. The church was restored in the 17th century, and again in the 19th century.

The 16th-century monuments, with their effigies, are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 17½ ft.) has a pair of buttresses at each E. angle; those projecting E. are of early 16th-century date, probably rebuilt in the 17th century; they have moulded and chamfered plinths with quatrefoiled panels enclosing blank shields. The early 16th-century E. window is of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a two-centred head; the external jambs and head are moulded; the head is of plastered brick and probably of the 17th century. In the N. wall is an early 16th-century window of two plain four-centred lights under a four-centred head; externally the head is moulded. In the S. wall is a window of the same date and similar detail to that in the N. wall, but with a plain external head. Further E. is a doorway with a four-centred head, all covered with modern cement. The early 16th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases; possibly the arch itself has been rebuilt.

The Nave (36 ft. by 23 ft.) has a S.W. angle built of 'long and short' work. In the N. wall are three windows; the easternmost, probably of late 15th-century date, is of two cinquefoiled lights under a square head; the second window is of the 14th century, and of two trefoiled ogee lights under a square head; the westernmost window is modern, except perhaps the splays and rear arch; between the two western windows is the N. doorway; it has a two-centred head, but is now blocked and only visible in outline. In the S. wall is a window with an 18th-century or modern frame of wood, set in a late 14th-century opening with a four-centred rear arch. Further W. is the S. doorway with a segmental-pointed arch and a heavy oak frame, probably of the 17th century.

The West Tower (10 ft. by 9 ft.) is of early 16th-century date, and of three stages undivided by string-courses; it has an embattled parapet and a S.E. stair-turret; the string-course of the parapet has a grotesque gargoyle in the middle of each side; on the plinth of each of the two W. buttresses is a quatrefoiled panel with a blank shield. The tower-arch is two-centred and of three chamfered orders on the E. side and two on the W. side; the outer orders are continuous, and the inner order rests on semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the S. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is a doorway with a four-centred head. The W. window is of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery under a two-centred head; the label is moulded. The second stage has, in the W. wall, a window of one rectangular light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two cinquefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil under a two-centred head; the label is moulded; some of the jamb-stones are grooved for glass, and are probably re-used material; in the S. wall is a segmental-pointed arch of brick, probably a former doorway to the stair-turret, but now blocked.

The South Porch is entirely of brick and of the 16th century. The four-centred outer archway is plastered and of two chamfered orders. The side walls have each a window of one four-centred light under a square head with a moulded label, all formerly covered with plaster.

The Roof of the chancel has an early 16th-century truss near the W. end, with curved braces to the collar beam; the main timbers are moulded; the rest of the roof is of the trussed-rafter type. The 15th-century roof of the nave is of three bays, each truss consisting of a collar-beam, wall-posts, braced principals and a king-post above the collar-beam; against the E. wall is a tie-beam and king-post; the wall-plates are embattled.

Fittings—Bells: two; 1st by Stephen Tonne, 1574; bell-frame, old. Brasses and Indents. Brass: loose in church—to John Derhame, 1601, inscription only. Indents: In nave—near E. end, of small figures of man and woman, groups of children, and inscription plate, mid 15th-century. Monuments; In chancel—on N. wall, (1) of Magdala (Waldegrave) wife of [John] Southcote, 1598, painted tablet with kneeling figure of woman in flat head-dress and ruff, flanked by Ionic columns, shield of arms above cornice. In nave—in N.E. corner, (2) of Sir Edward Waldegrave, 1561, and Francis (Nevill) his wife, 1599, altar-tomb of clunch with painted recumbent effigies, of man in plate armour and ruff; of woman in flat cap and large ruff; crests at the feet of both effigies; tomb with panelled sides and kneeling figures of three sons and three daughters, each with an inscription and shield of arms; canopy with coffered soffit, resting on six Corinthian columns; cornice surmounted by cresting and achievement of arms and a shield of arms; at angles figures of cherubs holding cartouches of arms. Niches: In chancel—on E. wall, three, with trefoiled heads, all covered with cement and probably modern. On S. porch—over outer entrance, of brick, with cinquefoiled ogee head, 16th-century. Piscina: In chancel—with plain four-centred head, no drain, probably early 16th-century, but covered with plaster. Seating: In nave—near S. door, bench with popey standards, 15th-century.

Condition—Good, but some cracks in E. angles of the chancel.


b (2). Borley Hall, nearly 1 m. E.S.E. of the church. The house is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly of plastered timber-framing and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 17th century, on a modified L-shaped plan with the wings extending S. and W. There are modern additions at the S. end. On the E. elevation there are three gables; the N. end of the elevation is set back, and the upper storey projects. The upper storey also projects on the S. side of the W. wing. The original chimney-stack of the W. wing has two hexagonal shafts with moulded heads and bases. The central chimney-stack of the S. wing has two square attached shafts. Inside the building, on the ground floor, the room at the end of the W. wing has moulded ceiling-beams carried on chamfered wall-posts. In the room at the end of the S. wing the ceiling-joists are exposed.


a (3). Borley Place, house and barns, S.W. of the church. The House is modern, but in the cellar are some moulded joists of mid 16th-century date, and some chamfered beams, all re-used.

The Barn, S.E. of the house, is timber-framed and plastered; the roof is tiled. It was built in the 15th century, but has been partly rebuilt, and is of five bays with large old doors in the middle of the W. front. Three trusses of the roof are original, and have tie-beams with curved braces, king-posts, and central purlins.

The Barn, S. of the house, is timber-framed and plastered; the roof is thatched. It was built probably in the 17th century, and is of six bays.

Condition—Of house, rebuilt; of barns, good.

(4). Cottage, ¼ m. W. of the church, is of two storeys. The walls are partly of plastered timber-framing and partly of brick; the roofs are thatched. It was built in the 15th century, but was much altered early in the 17th century. There is a modern addition on the W. side. The early 17th-century chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters on each side. Inside the building the chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed in several rooms. On the S. side of the chimney-stack is an original roof-truss, with a cambered tie-beam which has curved braces, and an octagonal king-post with moulded capital and base and four-way struts. Another cambered tie-beam is visible on the N. side of the chimney-stack.

Condition—Fairly good; thatch defective.