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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'Barnston', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 11-12. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]

In this section

4. BARNSTON. (E. a.)

(O.S. 6 in. xxxiii. N.W.).

Barnston is a small parish, 2 m. S.E. of Great Dunmow. The principal monument is the Church.


(1). Parish Church (dedication unknown), stands towards the N. end of the parish. The walls are probably of flint-rubble but are covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built probably c. 1160–70. The Chancel was probably re-built in the 13th century. The Bellcote may be of the 17th century.

Among the fittings the piscina is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (29¾ ft. by 16½ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern completely restored and the western a small 13th-century lancet window with chamfered and rebated jambs and head. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern similar to the eastern window in the N. wall; the western has a segmental-pointed head and is possibly a 13th-century 'low-side' window, enlarged; between the windows are traces of a doorway.

The Nave (43½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has in the N. wall three windows, the easternmost is completely restored; the two western windows have each a single 12th-century light with a round head but the eastern window of the two is now blocked; between the two western windows is the blocked N. doorway with hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch, probably of late 13th-century date. In the S. wall there are two windows in the lower range, the eastern is of the 15th century and of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery under a square head; the moulded label has head stops; the western window is modern; further W. is the 12th-century S. doorway (Plate p. xxxi) with a moulded semi-circular arch of two orders, the outer is original and the inner with the tympanum is modern; the outer order of the jambs has attached shafts with scalloped capitals; adjoining the W. capital is a spiral ornament; the inner order has grooved and chamfered imposts; high up in the wall are two modern windows. A narrow space at the W. end of the nave is shut off by a timber-framed partition partly made up of 15th-century moulded timbers, re-used.

The Roof of the nave is plastered internally, but has two late 15th-century or early 16th-century moulded tie-beams with four-centred arched braces and moulded wall-plates.

Fittings—Bells: two, undated but said to be of c. 1665. Brass: In nave—on S. wall, to Petyr Wood, 1525, inscription only. Chest: In gallery —of oak with moulded feet, 17th-century. Communion Table: In chancel—with turned legs and moulded top rails with carved consoles, mid or late 17th-century. Door: In S. doorway—with feathered battens and strap-hinges, probably 16th-century. Glass: In nave—in S.W. window, round-headed panel with trellis pattern and quarries with half fleur-de-lis, probably early 14th-century, made up with modern glass. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel—on S. wall to Robert Scott, S.T.P., Dean of Rochester, etc., 1620, slate and marble tablet with strap ornament and three shields of arms. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Richard Scott, 1625; (2) to Dorothy, 1706; (3) Anne, 1712; and (4) Elizabeth, 1699, daughters of Robert and Barbara Stile; (5) to William Collard, 1688, and Judeth, his wife, 1665; (6) to Nicholas Collard, 1680; (7) to William Collard, 1698. In nave—(8) to Nicholas Exton, 1651. Piscina (Plate p. 6): In chancel —double, with moulded, interlacing and semi-circular arches resting on a free shaft and jambs with attached shafts all with foliated capitals and moulded bases; arches set in a square moulded head with foliated spandrels; central lintel and responds with moulded and foliated imposts, quatre-foiled drains, c. 1200, and possibly brought from elsewhere, middle shaft modern. Plate: includes cup and stand-paten of 1712. Poor Box: of oak with three locks, probably 17th-century.

Condition—Fairly good, some stone work much weathered.


(2). Newhouse Farm, house and moat, 1,400 yards S. by E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 17th century. The original central chimney-stack has grouped shafts set diagonally on a cross-shaped base.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good.

(3). Barnston Hall, house and outbuilding, 150 yards W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and plastered and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1570–80, but may incorporate portions of a 15th-century house with a Hall and a Solar Wing at the W. end. There are modern additions on the N. side. On the N. side there are several late 16th-century windows with solid moulded frames and mullions. The central chimney-stack, of the same date, has grouped shafts set diagonally on a rectangular base. Inside the building the easternmost room on the ground floor has an open fireplace of brick, with stop-chamfered jambs and four-centred arch set in a square head. The westernmost room has an open fireplace with a chamfered oak lintel and two late 16th-century doors with moulded muntins and ledges. On the first floor there are two brick fireplaces with four-centred arches and one with a raised hearth and moulded oak curb. The reconstructed roof includes smoke-blackened timbers, probably those of the original Hall.

The Outbuilding, N.E. of the house, is of one storey, timber-framed and plastered; the roof is tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. The timber-framing of the W. wall has brick nogging. The interior is divided into three bays by chamfered tie-beams.


Monuments (4–11).

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

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

(4). The Rectory, 440 yards E.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; it has large modern additions on the E. and S. sides. Inside the building the hall has 16th and 17th-century panelling brought from elsewhere and made up with modern work. The staircase has some late 17th-century turned balusters.

(5). Aptonfield Farm, house at Hounslow Green, 1600 yards S. by E. of the church. It is of two storeys with attics, and was built in the 15th century with a central Hall and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. A floor was inserted in the Hall in the 16th century and the cross-wings have been shortened making the plan rectangular. The late 16th-century central chimney-stack has attached diagonal pilasters and rectangular base. Inside the building on the first floor there is an original chamfered tie-beam and shaped wall-posts in the westernmost room.

(6). Shoulder Hall, house 1 m. S. by W. of the church. The original central chimney-stack is cross-shaped on plan.

Wellstye Green

(7). Mawkinherd's Farm, house about 1 m. S.W. of the church, was built originally in the 15th century to which date the cross-wing at the E. end belongs; the main block has been subsequently re-built. On the N. front the upper storey formerly projected at the end of the cross-wing but has been under-built. Inside the building on the ground-floor the E. wing has an original tie-beam with curved braces. In the main block, the westernmost room has early 16th-century moulded beams with foliated stops; there are indications that the house formerly extended further W.

(8). Wellstye Farm, house 180 yards N.W. of (7), is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S.W. end. The upper storey projects at the S.E. end of the cross-wing with one curved bracket. The gable-end of the N.E. wing has a late 16th-century moulded barge-board possibly re-used.

(9). Albanes, house, 300 yards N.E. of (8), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.E. and N.E. There are modern additions on the N.E. On the N.W. side there is a door of moulded battens and a three-light window, both original. Inside the building there is a panelled door and some panelling forming a dado, both original.

(10). Brook Farm, house 500 yards W. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and N. In the 17th century a large wing and staircase were added in the angle of the earlier wings. Inside the building, on the first floor, there are three original windows with moulded frames and mullions, and a 17th-century door.

(11). Cottage, now two tenements, 660 yards N.W. of (10). The roof has chamfered tie-beams and wall-plates and wind-braced purlins.