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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'Harlow', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 113-116. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol2/pp113-116 [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section

37. HARLOW. (C.b.)

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

Harlow is a parish and small town 6 m. N.N.E. of Epping. The Parish Church, the Chapel at Harlowbury and Chantry House are the principal monuments.


a(1). Foundations thought to be of Roman buildings were casually observed about 1 m. N.E. of the mound by Harlow railway station, in making a ditch in 1819 (Archæologia xix, 410; Wright's Essex i, 269). Nothing further is known of the site or nature of these discoveries.


a(2). Parish Church of St. Mary and St. Hugh stands in Churchgate Street, 1,200 yards E. of the centre of the town. The walls are of flint-rubble intermixed with some pieces of freestone, and with a few Roman bricks in the S. wall of the nave; the dressings are of stone, and the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built probably in the 12th century, and the original Central Tower was possibly of the same date, or may have been added with the North and South Transepts late in the 13th century. The Chancel and North-East Vestry are probably of late 14th-century date. In the 19th century, the Organ-chamber, Vestry and South Porch were added, the central tower largely re-built, and the whole structure so drastically restored that its history is almost entirely obscured. A west tower of brick is said to have been removed in the 19th century.

The cruciform plan is unusual in Essex, and the old glass, brasses and chest are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (35½ ft. by 20 ft.) has in the E. wall a window entirely modern except the splays and rear-arch with label, which are probably of late 14th-century date. In the N. wall, opening into the vestry is a late 14th-century doorway of clunch with moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels and a modern label; further W. are a modern doorway opening into the organ-chamber, and an archway for the organ. In the S. wall are two windows, all modern except for the jambs, splays and segmental rear-arches, which are probably of late 14th-century date; between the windows is a doorway similar to the doorway in the N. wall but of different detail and with an original moulded label.

The North East Vestry (10 ft. by 8 ft.) has both in the E. and N. walls a late 14th-century window of a single trefoiled light with moulded jambs under a square head. In the W. wall is a modern doorway.

The modern North Vestry has, in its E. wall, a window all modern except the jambs, splays and label, which are probably of late 13th or early 14th-century date; this window was originally in the E. wall of the N. transept.

The Crossing (17½ ft. by 18½ ft.) has on each side a modern arch with re-built or much restored piers. In the N.W. pier is a modern stair to the bell-chamber.

The Central Tower is modern with the possible exception of the core of the lower walls.

The North Transept (10½ ft. by 10 ft.) has in the N. wall a window of five trefoiled lights with tracery, all of the 18th century except the splays, which are possibly of late 13th-century date.

The South Transept (10 ft. by 7½ ft.) has at the N. end of the E. side a window now entirely modern but probably of late 13th-century origin, as the thickened pier of the central tower is cut back to avoid blocking it. In both the S. and W. walls is a modern window.

The Nave (59 ft. by 22½ ft.) has in the N. wall four windows, all modern except the westernmost, which is a single round-headed light of the 12th century. In the S. wall are four windows and a doorway, all modern. The window in the W. wall is also modern.

Fittings—Brasses: In N. transept, mounted on boards—(1) inscription lost, small figures of man in armour with wife, c. 1430; (2) of Thomas Aylmer, 1518, and Alys, his wife, small figures of man in civil dress, with wife, seven sons and four daughters, and shield of arms; (3) of [William Sumner, 1559] figure in civil dress, inscription lost; (4) to George Deryngton, 1575, inscription only; (5) of Jane, wife of Edward Bugge, 1582, figures of man and wife above small figures of three sons and two daughters; two shields of arms; (6) of W. Newman, 1602, cloaked figure in civil dress, and figure of death holding a dart; (7) of John Gladwin, 1615, figure in civil dress; (8) of Margery (Cely), wife of Robert Lawson, 1617, figures of man in civil dress, with wife, and shield of arms; (9) of Richard Bugges, 1636, and his two wives, Vahan (Streinsham) and Elizabeth (Bowles), figure of man in armour with lace collar and walking stick, two wives and three shields of arms; (10) probably of Francis Reve, 1639, and his wife, Joan (Jocelin), 1642, figures of man and wife kneeling, and shield of arms, inscription lost. On floor of crossing—(11) figures of civilian, late 15th-century, with wife, four sons and five daughters, inscription lost. Chest: (Plate p. xxxiii) In S. transept—front with shallow carving and poker-work in three bays between tall niches containing armed figures similarly rendered; the panels indistinctly depict some military scene; above each panel a frieze containing amorini standing in an arcade, and grotesque animals; inside lid, poker-work of nude figures, etc., probably Italian work, early 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In organ-chamber—on floor, tapered slab with foliated cross on calvary, 13th-century. Glass: In N. vestry—in E. window, re-set from E. window of chancel, 14th-century panel (Plate p. xxxiv.) with representation of the Blessed Virgin and Child; fragments of a vine-leaf border, probably 14th-century; quarries of oak-leaves, flowers, etc., 15th-century. In N. transept—in N. window, much old glass re-set, including 14th-century canopied heads; 15th-century fragments; two crowned wreaths each surrounding roses and panels containing the portcullis badge and the initials H.R. and fleurs-de-lis, all early 16th-century; crown and garter with shields of royal arms, France modern quartering England, and crowned wreath with similar shield, 16th-century; a series of round-headed panels with inscriptions and date 1563, representing incidents in the life of Solomon, in faded yellow and white, the panels surrounded by arabesque ornament, herms, satyrs, etc., oval panel with achievement of arms, probably late 16th-century; panel of lion holding shield bearing ermine, a knot; a garter enclosing the royal arms, and an oval cartouche with a shield of the arms of Compton, bishop of London, and a mitre, all late 17th or early 18th-century; fragments of brown-line heads of men and women, and wreathed panels containing portraits of Charles I. with martyr's crown, and Queen Anne crowned, all early 18th-century. In S. transept—in E. window, angel seated on clouds and playing a horn, angel holding crown, and two shields of arms, all 17th or early 18th-century. Monuments: In N. transept—on W. wall, (1) to Peter Gunning, bishop of Chichester and afterwards of Ely, buried at Ely, 1684, square wooden tablet, with sides broken by curves, and containing inscription panel flanked by small terminal figures. In S. transept—on E. wall, (2) to John Wright, 1659, wooden tablet with grotesque flanking figures and surmounted by figures of Faith, Hope and Charity; on W. wall, (3) of Alexander Stafford, 1652, and Julian (Stacey), his wife, 1650, life-size figures of man in armour and of woman kneeling and praying, in modern recesses. In churchyard —at E. end, (4) to Ann Waylett, 1676, headstones with incised skull and cross-bones; (5) to John Waylett, similar stone, date buried. Plate: includes flagon of 1618, another of 1623, both with donor's name and date 1640; large cup and paten of 1639 with name and Stafford knot; two silver candlesticks of 1697, and spoon of 1709, all inscribed. Sedilia: In S. transept—in triple recess with chamfered jambs and two-centred heads Tiles: In floor of E. vestry—several ornamented in red and buff with fleurs-de-lis, birds, beasts, small shields, etc., mediaeval. Miscellanea: In N. transept—on E. wall, panel with Lord's Prayer in frame, carved with foliage, instruments of the Passion, etc., late 17th or early 18th-century.

Condition—Good, largely re-built.

a(3). Chapel (Plate p. 115), in the grounds of Harlowbury, ½ m. N.W. of the church, now desecrated. The walls are of flint-rubble with dressings of Reigate stone; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1180 and is a simple rectangle (33 ft. by 15 ft.).

Chapel, Plan

Architectural Description—In the E. wall are three original round-headed windows, two of which are now blocked; above them are remains of two other windows. In the N. wall are two original windows with round heads; between them are traces of a third and similar window; further W. is the original N. doorway with semi-circular arch of two moulded orders; the jambs had each two shafts, the inner attached and the outer free but now lost; the capitals have carved water-leaf ornament. In the S. wall are two windows, both blocked, the eastern is original and similar to those in the N. wall; the western is of early 14th-century date and has part of a trefoiled ogee light; further W. is a doorway, probably modern. In the W. gable is an original round-headed window and above it are traces of another window cut away by the later roof.

The two inserted floors are probably of the 16th century and have heavy chamfered beams.

The Roof is of five bays with chamfered tiebeams and king-posts with moulded capitals and bases, all probably of the 15th century.

Condition—Fairly good.


b(4). Homestead Moat, at Harlow Tye, 1 m. E.S.E. of the church.

a(5). Harlowbury, house, ½ m. N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The eastern wing of the house was built probably late in the 16th century and the western wing late in the 17th century. The walls have mostly been refaced and there are modern additions on the N. side.

Condition—Good, much altered.

Monuments (6–26).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. Many of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

High Street, S. side

a(6). House and shop, 100 yards E. of the crossroads, has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

a(7). The Gables, house, on W. side of crossroads, was built about the middle of the 16th century with cross-wing at the E. and W. ends. On the N. front the upper storey projects at the ends of the cross-wings and the timber-framing is exposed. In the E. wing is an original doorway with a four-centred head and now blocked. Inside the building are some original moulded ceiling-beams and king-post roof construction.

Back Street, N. side

a(8). House, now two tenements, 20 yards N. of (7).

a(9). Cottage, now two tenements, N. of (8).

a(10). Crown Inn, 50 yards S. of St. John's Church, was built late in the 16th century and consists of a main block with a cross-wing at the W. end. There are modern additions on the E. and N.

Mulberry Green

a(11). Green Man Inn, 600 yards W. of the parish church, was built late in the 16th century. Late in the 17th century it was extended towards the W. Inside the building are two blocked windows with diamond mullions.

Churchgate Street

b(12). Almshouse (Plate p. 44), three tenements, E. of the parish church, was built, according to an inscription over the door, by Julian, wife of Alexander Stafford, in 1630. The doorway and windows have original shaped brackets supporting hoods, and a similar bracket supports the eaves gutter. The door is nail-studded and the S. gable has original moulded barge-boards. The upper storey projects at the back.

b(13). Queen's Head Inn, 20 yards S. of (12). The upper storey projects on the E. front.

b(14). House and shop, on the E. side of the road opposite the parish church.

b(15). The Chantry (Plate p. 111), house, 200 yards S.E. of the parish church, is of three storeys and was built late in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the E. and S. There are late 17th-century and modern additions in the angle between the wings. The original entrance porch on the N. front is of timber and has a round-headed archway (Plate p. 80) flanked by Doric pilasters with entablatures, the spandrels have incised ornament and the soffit of the arch has guilloche ornament; the panelled key-block has a moulded pendant. The door itself is elaborately panelled. Some of the windows have original moulded frames and mullions and there are remains of pargeted fleurs-de-lis and Tudor roses on the walls. Inside the building, the late 17th-century staircase has turned and twisted balusters and a panelled dado. In the N. window of the hall are two 16th-century glass roundels illustrative of the months.

b(16). Cottage, 600 yards N.N.E. of the parish church.

b(17). Cottage, ¾ m. E.S.E. of the parish church, has an original central chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

b(18). Cottage, at Harlow Tye, 1 m. E.S.E. of the parish church, has an original central chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

d(19). Franklins, house, about ¾ m. S.E. of the parish church, was built late in the 16th century and has a wing at the back added late in the 17th century. Inside the building is an oak door-head with a panel inscribed "John Ha (with a rebus) anno domenoe 1583." In the N. wall is an original window, formerly with diamond-shaped mullions and now blocked.

d(20). Shonks, cottage, 2¼ m. S. of the parish church, has an original central chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

Potter Street, E. side

c(21). House, now four tenements, 150 yards E. of St. Mary Magdalen Church.

c(22). Red Lion Inn, 300 yards N. of (21), was built late in the 16th century and has a 17th-century extension on the N. There are extensive modern additions. Inside the original part of the house, now used as stables, are moulded ceiling-beams.

c(23). House, two tenements, 80 yards N. of (22), has modern additions on the S. side. The original chimney-stack has two shafts set diagonally.

W. side

c(24). House, 270 yards N.N.W. of (23), has a later addition at the back and modern additions on the N. The original chimney-stack has a square moulded panel with the initials and date M.W.B.T. 1659 and two fleurs-de-lis. Inside the building, the original staircase has turned balusters and a moulded hand-rail.

c(25). Izards, house, about 700 yards N.N.W. of (24), was built early in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and N.


a(26). New Hall (formerly Brent Hall), house, outbuildings and moat, 250 yards W.N.W. of the parish church. The House was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century and has 18th-century and modern additions on the W. side. At the N. end is a chimney-stack of c. 1600 with crow-stepped offsets and two shafts, one octagonal and one hexagonal; on the face is a sunk panel enclosing a heart. Inside the building one room is lined with 17th-century panelling and a room on the first floor has exposed timber-framing including two posts with traces of figure painting; a fireplace in this room has original moulded jambs and four-centred arch of brick. The S. wing has original king-post roof-trusses.

The Outbuildings W. of the house include a barn of six bays and a square building with a blocked original window, having bar mullions, set diagonally.

The Moat is incomplete.