An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Chrishall', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West, (London, 1916) pp. 64-67. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section

18. CHRISHALL. (A.b.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)ii. S.W. (b)viii. N.W.)

Chrishall is an agricultural parish and village on the borders of Cambridgeshire, about 6 m. W. of Saffron Walden.


b (1). Parish Church of the Holy Trinity stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of flint rubble with dressings of limestone and clunch. The roofs are covered with lead, tiles and slate. The West Tower and the nave were built towards the end of the 12th century. In the 13th century a N. aisle or N. transept was added, which was destroyed when the present North and South Aisles were built c. 1400. The Nave was rebuilt in the 15th century, and the clear-storey was added probably at the same time. The Chancel, except the W. wall, was rebuilt about the beginning of the 15th century, probably outside the walls of the former chancel, and shortly afterwards the tower was much altered, and the second stage was added. The North Porch was built possibly in the 16th century. The church was restored in 1868–9, and again in 1878, when the N. porch was much altered and the North Vestry and South Porch were added.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (23½ ft. by 20 ft.) has a modern E. wall and window. In the N. wall are three windows of mid 15th-century date, much restored; they are each of two cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head, and have moulded external reveals; the sill of the easternmost window was raised during a 19th-century restoration, together with the floor and the lower part of the middle window was destroyed when the modern doorway of the vestry was inserted below it. In the S. wall are two late 15th-century windows; the eastern window is of three uncusped lights under a four-centred head; externally the heads of the lights are modern; the western window is of two cinquefoiled lights, with tracery under a segmental head, all much restored, except the tracery, which has been slightly renewed; between the windows is a doorway, probably of mid 15th-century date, but almost completely restored. The chancel-arch is modern, except possibly the responds, which are of doubtful date; on the gable above the arch is a sanctus bell-cot of c. 1400, with a stone roof and a modern gable-cross.

The Nave (57½ ft. by 19 ft.) has an embattled parapet. The 15th-century N. and S. arcades are each of four bays, almost uniform in detail, the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders; the outer order is continuous, and the inner order springs from semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and simple bases; in the N.E. angle, embedded in the wall about 7 feet above the floor, is the defaced capital of a 13th-century semi-circular respond of an earlier arcade. On the S. side of the E. respond is the upper doorway of the rood-loft, with a few steps in the thickness of the wall. The clearstorey has four modern windows on each side.

The North Aisle (8 ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, a modern window. In the N. wall are three windows of c. 1400; the easternmost is of three trefoiled lights under a square head with trefoiled spandrels, and the others are each of two lights. Between the two western windows is the N. doorway of c. 1400, with jambs and two-centred head of two continuously chamfered orders, much restored and entirely modern inside. In the W. wall is a two-light window of the same date and design as those in the N. wall.

The South Aisle (11½ ft. wide) has a modern window in the E. wall, and three modern windows in the S. wall, containing a few old stones re-set in the splays; between the two western windows is the S. doorway of c. 1400, with jambs and two centred head of two continuous orders, the inner order moulded and the outer chamfered; the moulded label is of ogee form and finished with a moulded pedestal for a niche; on each side of the doorway is a shield; the eastern shield is represented as hanging from its strap and is charged with two bars wavy; the western shield has been restored and is charged with a fesse.

The West Tower (9½ ft. by 9 ft.) is of two stages with 15th-century diagonal buttresses; the lower stage is of two storeys and of the 12th century; the upper stage is of the 15th century and finished with an embattled parapet of flint and stone chequerwork; it is surmounted by a small lead-covered spire, probably of late 18th-century date. The 15th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of three chamfered orders; the outer order on the E. side is continuous, and on the W. side dies into the wall; on each side the two inner orders spring from two moulded corbels attached to semi-circular responds of 12th-century material, re-used in the 15th century; the bases of the responds are apparently the original late 12th-century capitals inverted; they are hollow-chamfered, and have octagonal scalloped abaci. The 15th-century W. window is of two lights, but is modern externally except the sill. In the upper storey of the first stage, the S. wall has a 15th-century single-light window with a square head externally restored. The bell-chamber has, in the E. wall, a 15th-century window of one cinquefoiled light under a pointed head with moulded reveals. The N., S. and W. walls have each a 15th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights, with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, which has moulded reveals and an external label.

The North Porch (8 ft. by 7½ ft.) has been almost completely restored, but in the gable are a few courses of brickwork, apparently of the 16th century.

The Roof of the N. aisle is of eight bays and of early 16th-century date; the easternmost and westernmost bays have moulded main timbers and foliated bosses, and the alternate principals have wall-brackets with foliated spandrels.

Fittings—Bells: four; 2nd probably cast at Bristol in the 17th century; 3rd by W. Haulsey, of St. Ives, 1621. Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In S. aisle—at W. end, (1) of [Sir John de la Pole and Joan, his wife, daughter of John de Cobham] c. 1375, knight in bascinet, camail, jupon, etc., right hand bare and holding that of lady, feet on lion, lady in gown buttoned down front, close sleeves, 'nebuly' head-dress, feet on dog; above the figures a triple canopy with three shields; (a), two bars wavy for de la Pole, (b), a cheveron with three lions thereon for Cobham, (c) de la Pole impaling Cobham, marginal inscription, modern; (2) of a woman, with high-waisted gown and head-veil, c. 1450, indents of man's figure, scrolls and inscription-plate; (3) of civilian and wife, c. 1480, kneeling figures of man in robe and woman in gown with fur trimming, wired head-dress, indents of a 'Trinity' (?), scrolls and inscription-plate. Indent: In N. aisle—at W. end, figures of man in civilian dress and woman, inscription-plate and two other plates, early 16th-century. Font: (see Plate p. xxix) square bowl with chamfered angles, resting on round central stem and two circular and two octagonal corner columns with rough capitals and moulded bases, late 13th or early 14th-century. Glass: In N. aisle, in N. wall—in tracery of two eastern windows, remains of oak leaves with borders late 14th-century. Monuments: In N. aisle —on sill of E. window, (1) white marble fragments of tablet, possibly to [Sir John James, 1676], including Corinthian capitals, heads of cherubs and broken shield of arms. In S. aisle—in S. wall, at E. end, (2) in recess, stone effigy of a woman, wearing close-fitting gown and cloak, corded across breast, 'nebuly' head-dress; head, hands and part of body, restored; recess with moulded segmental head and crocketed label, flanked by small buttresses above an embattled cornice; all late 14th-century, cornice much restored. Niche: S. aisle—over S. doorway outside, with cinquefoiled head, c. 1400. Plate: includes cup and standing paten of 1686. Seating: In nave—eight open benches, modern, but incorporating much late 15th or early 16th-century material; two benches, with traceried panels at the back, four corner posts surmounted by kneeling figures, the lower part of one figure is old. Miscellanea: In tower—ladder to first floor, every sixth rung is a narrow board with an ogee-shaped soffit.

Condition—Good, much restored; tower now (1914) being restored.


b (2). Fortified Mount, in S.W. corner of Park Wood, about 70 yards N.E. of the church, is a circular work about 120 feet in diameter, surrounded by a ditch, now dry, except on the W. side.

Condition—Fairly good.

b (3). Homestead Moat, at Parsonage Farm, ½ m. N.E. of the church, has banks revetted with brick.

b (4). Chiswick Hall, house, moat and fishpond, about ¾ m. S. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and covered with plaster and rough-cast; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600 on an H-shaped plan with the central block facing S.E., and a staircase at the back, in the angle between the central block and the S.W. wing. Originally there were probably three rooms on the ground floor, one in each part of the house, but the wings have now been subdivided. The wings and staircase are gabled, and the central block has, in front, a gable resting on shaped brackets, all the gables project and have heavy verge-mouldings. The original chimney-stack has four grouped shafts, set diagonally. Inside, the building has been much altered, but the heavy chamfered lintel of the fireplace in the central block is visible in two cupboards on each side of the modern grate.

The Moat, has been filled in at the S.W. angle.

The Fishpond is S.W. of the moat.

Condition—Of house, bad.

a (5). Chrishall Grange, about 2½ m. N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of brick, and the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century on a simple, symmetrical plan, and has a modern wing on the N. side. The storeys are divided externally by a string-course and at both the E. and W. ends are two curvilinear gables with moulded copings. The S. front and the back have each a slightly projecting bay in the middle, and a moulded cornice.


Monuments (6–28).

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 original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

b (6). Cottage, 150 yards W. of the church. At the E. end the upper storey projects.


Church Street, W. side

b (7). Cottage, two tenements, 750 yards N.W. of the church, has a half-hipped gable at each end. The original central chimney-stack has four grouped shafts, set diagonally.

b (8). House and barn, 150 yards N.W. of (7). The House has a few original iron casements.

The Barn, S. of the house, has one aisle, and the walls are of weather-boarded timber-framing.

Condition—Of barn, poor.

b (9). Cottage, at the cross roads opposite the Post Office, about ¾ m. N.W. of the church. The walls are probably partly of plastered mud. In front is a dormer window.

b (10). Post Office, W. of (9), at the corner of Abram's Lane, was almost entirely rebuilt with brick in the 19th century. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters.

High Street, E. side

b (11). The Red Cow Inn, house and barn, about ½ m. N.E. by N. of the church. The House was built probably in the 15th century, but in the 17th century the first floor was inserted and the whole structure altered. There is a low modern addition on the E. side. Inside the building, in the roof, S. of the central chimney-stack, there is an original steeply cambered tie-beam.

The Barn, S. of the inn, is of three aisled bays, and probably of the 15th century. The cambered tie-beams have curved braces.

b (12). Cottage, 75 yards S. of (11). The roof is half-hipped at each end. The original central chimney-stack has two square shafts with indented angles.

b (13). Cottage, 100 yards S. of (12), is of one storey. The original central chimney-stack has one shaft, set diagonally.

b (14). Cottage, two tenements, 100 yards S. of (13), is of two storeys with attics.

Broad Green, W. side

b (15). Cottage, two tenements, about ¾ m. N.W. of the church.

b (16). Cottage, 80 yards N. of (15). Some original iron casements remain.


b (17). Gentleman's Farm, house, barns and sheds, 60 yards N. of (16). The House has an 18th-century addition, making the plan L-shaped. It was much altered, and partly rebuilt with brick in the 19th century.

The Barns and cow-sheds, S. of the house, are weather-boarded, and probably of the 17th century.

(18). Cottage, 60 yards N.E. of (17), has an original central chimney-stack with diagonal pilasters. A few original iron casements remain.

b (19). Cottage, two tenements, 40 yards N.E. of (18). A few of the windows have old iron casements.

b (20). Cottage; two tenements, N. of (19).

Crawley End, W. side

a (21). Cottage, nearly 1 m. N.N.W. of the church. The upper storey projects at the E. end.

a (22). Cottage, 110 yards N.E. of (21). The original chimney-stack is of cross-shaped plan.

a (23). Cottage, 40 yards N.E. of (22). The original central chimney-stack has one square shaft, set diagonally.

E. side

a (24). Cottage, two tenements, 100 yards S. of (23). Some of the windows have old iron casements.


a (25). Cottage, two tenements, W. of (24). Some old iron casements remain.


a (26). Cottage, two tenements, S. of Mill Causeway, about 1 m. N. by W. of the church.

Building End, N. side:—

b (27). House, on the S. side of the road, about ¾ m. S.W. of the church, was built probably c. 1710 on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the E. and S. The doors and windows have plain solid frames, and the windows have old iron casements.

b (28). Cottage, 60 yards N.W. of (27).