Abbess Roding

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

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'Abbess Roding', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 1-3. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]

In this section


ACCREDITED TO A DATE ANTERIOR TO 1714, arranged by Parishes.

(Unless otherwise stated, the dimensions given in the Inventory are internal. Monuments with titles printed in italics are covered by an introductory sentence, to which reference should be made. The key plans of those churches which are not illustrated by historically hatched plans are drawn to a uniform scale of 48ft. to the inch, with the monumental portions shown in solid black.)


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xlii. N.W. (b)xlii. N.E. (c)xlii. S.W.)

Abbess Roding is a parish and small village about 5½ miles N.N.E. of Chipping Ongar. The Church is the principal monument.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Edmund stands in the village. The walls are of flint-rubble partly coursed and with dressings of clunch; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was probably re-built in the 14th century, but the plan and the position of the doorways indicate a much earlier origin. The Chancel was probably re-built in the 15th century. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the West Tower and North Vestry were added and the South Porch re-built.

The projecting cupboard on the N. of the chancel is an unusual feature, and among the fittings the late 15th-century screen is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (22 ft. by 15½ ft.) has a modern three-light E. window. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern of two cinque-foiled lights with uncusped spandrels in a square head, all probably of late 14th-century date, re-set when the rear-arch was built blocking the outer spandrels; the re-set early 14th-century western window is of two trefoiled ogee lights under a square head, the outer spandrels are covered by the later rear-arch; between the windows is a 14th-century doorway or hatch with chamfered and rebated jambs and two-centred arch, now blocked but said to have opened formerly into a small chamber or cupboard; a rectangular external projection, covered by a pent roof, encloses this cupboard. In the S. wall are two windows of the 15th century, partly restored, and of two cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head; the jambs and arch are moulded; between the windows is a 15th-century doorway much restored, it has moulded jambs and two-centred arch under a square head with a moulded label and traceried spandrels enclosing blank shields. The late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders; the responds have each a semi-octagonal shaft with a modern capital.

The Nave (39½ ft. by 21½ ft.) has in the N. wall two windows, the eastern is of two lights with modern tracery in a two-centred head, probably of late 14th-century date; the western window is modern; between the windows is the mid 14th-century N. doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch of two orders with a label and defaced head-stops. In the S. wall are two windows uniform with the corresponding windows in the N. wall, but the eastern is unrestored; the S. doorway has been entirely restored.

The Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century and has embattled wall-plates, one moulded and one chamfered tie-beam with curved braces; the eastern tie-beam has a moulded straining beam and wall-posts. The 15th-century roof of the nave has two moulded tie-beams, curved braces with traceried spandrels and moulded wall-posts; the modern wall-plates at the W. end show the position of the former timber bell-turret.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by John Walgrave, 15th-century; 2nd uninscribed, probably 15th-century; 3rd by John Hodson, 1665. Brass: In nave—on S. wall, to Edward Humberstone, 1622, inscription-plate with shield of arms. Font: square bowl with carved sides, N. and W. with scrolled foliage, E. with large flowers, S. with crescent, disc, whorl, two circles with flowers, etc.; circular stem with four small shafts, square base with moulded edge, late 12th-century, bowl bound with iron. Glass: In chancel—in S.E. window, figures of bishop in mass vestments (Plate p. xxxiv), and of lady, probably St. Margaret, tabernacle work, fragments, etc., 15th-century. Piscinæ: In chancel—with cinque-foiled head, all modern or re-cut. In nave—in S. wall, with cinque-foiled ogee head and square drain, 14th-century. Hourglass Stand: fixed on splay of window, next pulpit, of wrought iron, plain, early 18th-century. Monuments: In nave—on N. wall, (1) of Sir Gamaliel Capell, 1613, tablet of alabaster and black marble with kneeling figures of man and wife at prayer-desk, flanked by Corinthian columns supporting entablature and achievement of arms, kneeling figures of children and two more shields of arms; on S. wall, (2) of Mildred (Capell) wife of Sir William Lucklyn, Bart., 1633, tablet of alabaster and black marble with half-length figure of woman in recess with cherubs holding back curtains; segmental pediment and achievement of arms. Screen (Plate p. 2): under chancel-arch, not in situ, of three and a half double bays, each sub-bay with cinque-foiled, sub-cusped and traceried head, rail with carved running ornament, close lower panels with traceried heads and bases, doorway of one double bay; late 15th-century, cresting modern. Sounding Board: over pulpit, supported by fluted Doric pilaster, inlaid soffit with enriched cornice, early 18th-century. Stoup: In S. porch—E. of S. doorway, with four-centred head and broken basin, 15th-century.

Condition—Fairly good.


Homestead Moats

a(2). At Berwick Berners Hall, ½ m. N.N.E. of the church.

a(3). At site of former Congregational Chapel, nearly ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church.

c(4). Rookwood Hall, house, barns and moat, ¾ m. W.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, partly timber-framed and plastered and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. It is part only of a larger house built early in the 16th century and is now L-shaped on plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W. The exterior is much patched and altered but the base of an original chimney-stack remains on the W. side. The N. end has a little diapering in black bricks. Inside the building the ground floor has original moulded ceiling-beams resting on moulded wall-posts. The modern staircase incorporates a newel and two turned balusters of the 17th century. On the first floor the main room is of three bays with moulded wall-posts and plates and a 17th-century barrel ceiling with chamfered oak ribs. In the W. wall is a blocked original doorway with stop-moulded oak jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with foliated spandrels. Another room has an original moulded ceiling-beam.

The two Barns E. of the house are timber-framed and weather-boarded and were built probably early in the 16th century. The larger barn is of seven bays with two porches and both have original roofs with tie-beams and octagonal king-posts (Plate p. 114). The smaller barn has original windows with the mullion bars set diagonally.

The Moat surrounds the house and outbuildings. It was formerly sub-divided and had an outer enclosure on the S.

Condition—Of house, ruinous.

b(5). Nether Farm, house and moat about ¾ m. N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on a rectangular plan. The original central chimney-stack has four conjoined shafts set square on plan.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good.

a(6). Barn, at Abbess Roding Hall, N. of the church. It is timber-framed, partly plastered and partly with brick filling; the roof is of corrugated iron. The barn was built in the 17th century and is of five bays with a porch on the N. side.

Condition—Fairly good.

Monuments (7–11).

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. Several of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

b(7). Cottage, 100 yards S.S.W. of (5) has an original central chimney-stack with four grouped shafts set diagonally.


b(8) Cottage, 100 yards S. of (7).

b(9) Hales Farm, house nearly 1 m. N.E. of the church. Inside the building are two original doorways with pedimental shaped heads.

a(10). Fairlands, house about 1 m. W. of the church, was built in the 16th century but has been refaced with modern brick. Inside the building one room has original moulded ceiling-beams.

c(11). Leader's Farm, house about 1¼ m. S.W. of the church. The original central chimney-stack has attached diagonal pilasters.