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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38. HATFIELD BROAD OAK. (D.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxiii. S.W. (b)xxxii. N.W. (c)xxxi. S.E. (d)xxxii. S.W. (e)xli. N.E. (f)xlii. N.W.)
Hatfield Broad Oak is a large parish and village 6 m. S.W. of Great Dunmow. The Church is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, with foundations, precinct-wall and fish-ponds, stands immediately N. of the village. The walls of the church are mostly of flint-rubble with some 17th and 18th-century brickwork and incorporating some old ashlar; the N. vestry is of brick; the dressings are of Barnack and clunch, patched with cement; the roofs are covered with lead. The building (Plate p. 119) formed the structural nave of the church of a priory founded probably c. 1135 as a cell to the abbey of St. Melaine at Rennes in Brittany, by Aubrey de Vere the second. The church was cruciform, and originally had an aisleless nave, with the conventual buildings on the N. side; the eastern arm and transepts are only represented by foundations which were left exposed after the excavations of 1897. The remains of the former Presbytery and Central Tower and the N. wall of the present North Aisle probably represent the original monastic structure of c. 1140– 50. There were also North and South Chapels, dedicated respectively to St. Katherine and St. Melaine, each of two bays and opening into the Presbytery by arcades, and by W. arches into the transepts. Between 1317 and 1330 many alterations and enlargements were carried out, including the extension of the Presbytery towards the E. At the end of the 14th century the aisleless nave was removed except the N. wall and a new parish Nave and Chancel and South Aisle built to the S. of it, thus throwing the axis of the nave several feet to the S. of that of the monastic quire and necessitating the blocking of the W. arch of the crossing. The North and South Chapels were also added but the N. chapel was subsequently shortened by a wooden screen, the eastern part being divided into two storeys. Early in the 15th century the South Porch and West Tower were built, the top stage of the tower being completed late in the century. The Priory was dissolved in 1536 and probably shortly afterwards the monastic part of the church was pulled down. The North Vestry was added late in the 17th century. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the Library was added.
The church is interesting as structurally part of a small monastic building, and among the fittings the 13th-century effigy and the early 18th-century reredos are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The monastic Presbytery (56½ ft. by 26 ft.), North Chapel (32½ ft. by 16 ft.), South Chapel (33½ ft. by 16½ ft.), North Transept (16½ ft. by 29¼ ft.), Sacristy (10 ft. wide), South Transept (30½ ft. by 30 ft.), are represented only by foundations left exposed in the church-yard. E. of the presbytery was an extension (28 ft. long), the foundations of which were not left exposed, except a short length on the S. side.
The Crossing (28 ft. by 26 ft.) has been destroyed except for the two western piers which are standing to just below the springing level. The S.W. pier is of mid 12th-century date and the N.W. pier is rather later in detail. The N.W. pier has an attached keeled shaft to the N. and W. arches, with hold-water base and spur ornaments; the shaft to the W. arch also retains its moulded capital and square abacus. The angles of the responds have keeled rolls and the main angle of the crossing two round shafts; the S.W. angle of the N. transept has a single round shaft. The S.W. pier is generally similar to the N.W. pier on plan, but all the rolls and shafts are round, the bases are plain and no capital remains.
The Parish Chancel (28 ft. by 20½ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a late 14th-century arch, reduced late in the 15th century by the insertion of an inner E. respond; the original moulded responds had each three attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the inserted respond is similar but of slightly different detail; the moulded arch is four-centred; E. of the inserted respond are two late 15th-century windows lighting the lower and upper chamber at the end of the N. chapel; the lower window has moulded oak jambs and four-centred head with foliated spandrels; the upper window is of three cinque-foiled lights with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed head; W. of the lower window is a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred head. In the S. wall is a late 14th or early 15th-century arch, two-centred and of similar detail to the earlier arch in the N. wall; the bases of the responds are modern. The late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders dying into the walls; at the springing level on the N. side is a carved head-corbel.
The North Chapel (28 ft. by 10 ft.) now includes the area formerly occupied by the two chambers at the E. end. In the N. wall are two late 15th-century windows, the eastern of four and the western of three cinque-foiled lights under a square head; they are set high in the wall to clear the former roof of the cloister. Further E. and partly under the eastern window is a recess with an oak frame and a roughly pointed arch; it probably enclosed a former staircase to the upper chamber. On the external face of the wall further to the E. of the recess is a pair of 14th-century doorways with moulded jambs, two-centred arches and labels with head-stops; they probably formed the eastern processional entrance and are now blocked. The late 14th-century W. arch of the chapel is two-centred and moulded.
The South Chapel (18 ft. by 10 ft.) has in the E. wall a modern doorway and a 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head. In the S. wall is a late 15th-century window of five cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery under a four-centred head. The W. arch of the chapel is uniform with that in the N. chapel.
The Nave (74½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has late 14th-century N. and S. arcades each of four bays; the two-centred arches are moulded and have moulded labels on the nave side with head-stops of a bishop, women and men, some crowned; the columns have each four attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half columns. The clearstorey has on each side five modern windows.
The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has in the N. wall four windows, the two eastern are set high in the wall to clear the former cloister roof, and are of mid 15th-century date and of four cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a square head; the third window is modern but the westernmost is of late 14th-century date, much restored and of three cinque-foiled lights under a segmental-pointed head; between the second and third windows is a modern doorway. In the W. wall is a window all modern except for the late 14th-century jambs.
The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) has in the S. wall four windows, all modern except for the jambs and parts of the heads and labels, which are probably of late 14th or early 15th-century date; at the E. end of the wall is a semi-octagonal rood-stair turret, with a modern external doorway; the upper internal doorway is now blocked and has a four-centred head of the 15th century; between the second and third windows is the late 14th-century S. doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders. In the W. wall is a window uniform with the W. window of the N. aisle.
The West Tower (15 ft. square) is of four stages with moulded plinth and embattled crow-stepped parapet. The three lower stages are of early 15th-century date and the bell-chamber of late in the same century. The two-centred tower-arch is of two moulded orders with a moulded label, the outer order is continuous and the inner springs from semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals; in the lower part of the opening is a modern stone screen. In the S. wall is a doorway to the turret-staircase with moulded jambs and four-centred arch. The W. doorway has moulded and shafted jambs with bases and a moulded two-centred arch with traceried spandrels under a square label; the W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and large carved stops. The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a loop light with a trefoiled head and a moulded label; above the loop in the W. wall is a late 16th-century window of a single cinque-foiled light with carved spandrels under a square moulded label. The third stage has in each wall a window of two pointed lights under a four-centred head with a moulded label, all partly restored. The bell-chamber has in each wall a late 15th-century window of two four-centred lights in two tiers and with a square head and label, all partly restored; the W. window has interlacing tracery in the head.
The North Vestry is of late 17th-century date and of red and black bricks. In the E., N. and W. walls are square-headed windows with oak frames, transoms and mullions. In the W. wall is a modern doorway.
The South Porch is of the 15th century and has an embattled parapet with carved, panelled and crocketed pinnacles at the angles. The two-centred outer archway of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and square and the inner resting on attached shafts, with moulded capitals and bases; the spandrels of the arch are traceried on both sides and have blank shields externally and a square-moulded label. The side walls have each a partly restored window of three cinque-foiled lights and vertical tracery under a four-centred head.
The Roof of the chancel is modern but incorporates four large carved angels holding shields or scrolls and of the 15th century. The roof of the N. chapel has rough chamfered timbers possibly of the 17th century. The late 14th-century roof of the N. aisle has chamfered principals with curved braces (one missing) under the N. ends, springing from stone corbels carved with angels holding shields, scrolls, etc. The late 14th-century roof of the S. aisle has moulded wall-plates, purlins and principals with curved braces forming four-centred arches.
Fittings—Books: In Library, S. of chancel— about 300 books collected and given to the church, c. 1680; includes the Aldine Aristotle, 1498, Paraphrases of Erasmus, 1551, etc. Brasses: In N. chapel—on N. wall, (1) to Thomas Baryngton and Anne his wife, 1472, inscription. In S. aisle—(2) inscription-plate commemorating benefactions of John Gobert of Coventry, 1623, further secured by Sir John Barrington, 1661. In library—(3) head of woman, c. 1390, found on site of priory. Candelabra: In nave—large, of brass with three tiers each of twelve ornamental branches, probably early 18th-century. Chairs: In chancel—two, with carved backs and turned legs, probably early 18th-century. Chest: In N. vestry—framed, with chamfered styles and rails and bound with iron bands, late mediæval. In library—with carved and poker-worked front, 17th-century, foreign. Communion Rails: with carved standards and rails, and carved and twisted balusters, early 18th-century. Communion Table: In N. vestry— small oak table, probably former communion table, with turned legs, late 17th-century. Door: In S. doorway—of two leaves with moulded styles and head and moulded fillets, nail-studded, 15th-century, frame modern. Font-cover: of oak, octagonal, each side with cinque-foiled head and tracery, moulded standards, pyramidal spire with open traceried sides, made up of various fragments, 15th and 18th-century; recently purchased from a dealer. Grille: In chancel—in lower window in N. wall, with plain iron uprights and saddle-bars, probably early 16th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—(1) of [Robert de Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford, 1221]; but monument late 13th-century; said to have been removed from the priory church in 1536; clunch slab with effigy of man (Plate p. 122) in chain mail and long surcoat, with heater-shaped shield of Vere enriched with diaper ornament; the cushion under his head is supported by remains of two figures; at the foot a double desk with the damaged figures of two monks reading; round the slab a fragmentary inscription in Lombardic capitals. In N. chapel—on N. wall, (2) to Sir John Barrington, Bart., 1691, white marble wall-monument with flanking pilasters, an urn, two cherubs, skull and cross-bones, shield of arms, etc. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Hawkins, 1680, and Mary his wife, 1688, two infant children, and Alice Masters, aunt of Mrs. Hawkins' father, 1683, with shield of arms; (2) to Philip Scarth, 1695, and Dorothy (Hawkins) his wife, 1704, with shield of arms; (3) to Rev. Thomas Boteler, 1708, with shield of arms. In N. chapel— (4) to Sir John Barrington, Bart., 1682, and his eldest daughter, 1668; (5) to Thomas Barrington, son and heir of above, 1681. In S. chapel—(6) to Mary, wife of Jeffery Stanes, 1709, with shield of arms. Paintings: In chancel—on N. wall, traces of red paint, and the black foliated framework of a 16th-century text-panel. Piscina: In S. chapel —modern recess with carved quatre-foiled drain probably late 14th-century. Reredos: In chancel —bolection-moulded panelling (Plate p. 118) with carved and panelled pilasters and moulded cornice. Other portions, dispersed about the church, include carved emblems of the four Evangelists, a cherub's head and panelling; work said to be by Woodward, pupil of Grinling Gibbons, early 18th-century. Screen: At W. end of N. chapel—of nine bays, the three southernmost occupied by doorway; each bay with a cinque-foiled ogee head and vertical tracery, formerly closed but now open above the moulded middle rail; doorway with four-centred arch in square head with crocketed cresting; 15th-century, restored and re-set. Stall: Now in S. aisle—seat with high panelled back of four bays and shaped side wings with pierced carvings, early 18th-century, of similar work to reredos. Tiles: In chancel— 14th-century slip tiles with geometrical patterns, re-set from site of priory; also black and white marble paving, early 18th-century. Miscellanea: In library—mostly from site of priory, angle-shafts, mask-heads, moulded bases, etc., 12th to 14th-century. In nave—carved oak figure, probably from former roof now incorporated in lectern, late 14th or early 15th-century.
The Domestic Buildings of the priory adjoined the church on the N. The plan has been recovered by excavation but nothing is now visible on the site. The cloister (70 ft. by 67 ft.) had the chapter house and probably the dormitory on the E., the Frater on the N. and the Cellarer's building on the W. A group of buildings to the N.E. of the cloister was probably the Infirmary.
The Precinct-wall is probably represented by a length of late 15th or early 16th-century brick wall to the W. of the church.
The Fish-ponds and Ditches of the former Priory lie E., N. and W. of the site and consist of four roughly rectangular ponds, and numerous ditches probably marking the extent of the precinct.
Condition—Of church, good.
d(2). At Waters, ½ m. E. of the parish church.
d(3). At Pierce Williams, ¾ m. S.S.E. of the parish church.
d(4). At Lancasters, 2,000 yds. S. of the parish church; two moated enclosures.
c(5). N.W. of Ongars and 500 yards N.N.E. of Hatfield Heath church.
d(6). At Ryes, nearly 1½ m. N.N.E. of Hatfield Heath church.
c(7). ½ m. W. of Hatfield Heath church.
c(8). Nearly ½ m. S.W. of Hatfield Heath church.
d(9). Braintrees, house, barn and moat, 1,500 yards N.E. of the parish church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century probably on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E.; it has been refaced with modern brick and much altered. Inside the building are chamfered ceiling-beams and wall-posts, and one room is lined with original panelling.
The Barn, N. of the house, is timber-framed and weather-boarded. It was built probably in the 15th century, with a porch on the S. side, and is of seven bays divided by king-post trusses.
The Moat almost surrounds the house; on the E. are traces of an outer enclosure.
Condition—Of house and barn, good.
b(10). Benningtons, barn and moat, 2,000 yards N.E. of the parish church. The Barn is timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 16th century, with two porches on the N. side. The roof is supported by queen-post trusses.
The Moat, S. of the barn, is incomplete.
Condition—Of barn, good.
b(11). Whiteheads, house, barn and moat, nearly 1¾ m. N.E. of the parish church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in 1560 on a rectangular plan. One window has an original moulded mullion, and the original chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster strips and a sunk panel bearing the initials E.T. and the date 1560. Inside the building are massive ceiling-beams and an original wide fireplace with an iron fire-back bearing a shield of arms. In the upper storey is an original window of three lights, now blocked, with diamond-shaped oak mullions.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, good.
d(12). Broomshawbury, barn and moat, nearly 1¾ m. E. of the parish church. The Barn is of plastered and weather-boarded timber-framing; the roofs are thatched. It was built probably in the 17th century, with one porch and six bays.
The Moat, S.E. of the barn, is almost complete.
Condition—Of barn, good.
f(13). Parvills, house and moat, 2¼ m. S.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of weather-boarded timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan with a small staircase wing at the back; in the 18th century a brew-house was added. The original central chimney-stack has six grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building the original staircase has carved and pierced balusters.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, good, much altered.
d(14). Lea Hall and moat, ½ m. N.E. of Hatfield Heath church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing, the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on a Z-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and S.; a brew-house has been added at the W. end. On the N. front are four gables; each of the two gables on the main block has an original moulded pendant. On the S. elevation are two gables, the western with original carved barge-boards. Several of the windows have moulded oak frames and original latches. The original chimney-stack, now covered with cement, has rectangular shafts divided by narrow pilasters. Inside the building is some early 16th-century linen-fold panelling said to have been brought from Ryes in this parish.
The Moat surrounds the house.
Condition—Of house, good.
d(15). House (Plate, p. 45), formerly the Town Farm, on the W. side of Cage End, 200 yards S.S.W. of the parish church, is of two storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing, and the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 15th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W.; early in the 16th century a fire place was inserted in the central Hall, and a small staircase-wing added at the back; probably at the same time the N.W. wing was extended towards the W., and the upper floor in the central Hall may date from this period or may not have been inserted until 1630, the date carved below one of the ceiling-beams; at the back of the Hall and on the N. side of the N.W. wing are 18th-century and modern additions. On the E. front are three gables under which the upper storey projects; the middle gable was added when the upper floor was inserted in the Hall. On the S. elevation is a 17th-century chimney-stack, largely re-built, and E. of it the plaster retains some old rosette-pattern. On the W. elevation are three main gables and a small gable on the staircase-wing. Inside the building are massive ceiling-beams. On the ground floor, in the central room, is a wide fireplace, probably of early 16th-century date, with richly moulded oak bressumer in the form of a flat four-centred arch; in the fireplace is an old wrought-iron jack. In the S. room above the fireplace is a plaster panel stamped with rosettes and other patterns, probably of early 17th-century date. The N. room is lined with panelling partly of early 17th-century date, re-set. The front door is of the 17th century and retains its original oak lock.
d(16). Barns, two, S. of and formerly belonging to (15), are of weather-boarded timber-framing. They each have four porches and are of seven bays divided by king-post trusses. They were built probably in the 15th century.
d(17). Brick Wall, S.E. of the parish church, on the S. side of the street, was built probably in the 17th century.
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, with fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
d(18). House, 75 yards S.W. of the parish church, on the N. side of the street, was built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S. On the S. front the upper storey of the S. wing formerly projected and is gabled; the gable has an old carved barge-board. The W. wing is pierced by a passage, in which is an original doorway with part of a round or four-centred head. W. of this passage on the N. elevation is a gable.
d(19). Old Cock Inn, 12 yards W. of (18), has been re-built except for the heavily timbered passageway, which is probably of 16th or 17th-century date.
d(20). House, opposite (19), has fleurs-de-lis on the plaster of the N. front.
d(21). House, 12 yards E. of (20), has an 18th-century addition at the back. On the N. front the plaster has an old circular pattern. Inside the building are two doors, probably original, one of moulded battens, the other of panelling.
d(22). House, formerly an almshouse, on the W. side of Cage End, 150 yards S.W. of the church. It was built probably late in the 15th or early in the 16th century, and has at the S. end a passageway above which the upper storey is gabled on the E. and W. and projects on the E. side. The passage-way has at each end a four-centred arch of oak; the E. arch has sunk spandrels, and the N.E. jamb has an attached oak shaft with a moulded capital, much defaced. The upper storey over the archway has a moulded bressumer and is supported by hollow-chamfered brackets; the gable also has a moulded bressumer, and elaborately cusped barge-boards.
d(23). House (Plate, p. 45), three tenements, on the E. side of Cage End, N.E. of (15), was built probably in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W.; in the 18th century a wing was added at the back.
d(24). House (Plate, p. 45), two tenements, 70 yards S. of (23), has a modern addition at the back. On the W. front the upper storey projects. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.
d(25). Farmhouse, at Broad Street Green, ¾ m. E.S.E. of the parish church, was built probably early in the 16th century on a rectangular plan with a gable at the S. end of the E. and W. elevations; probably in the same century a small staircase-wing was added on the E., and the N.E. and S.W. wings are modern. On the W. and S. elevations the upper storey of the original block projects. The 16th-century chimney-stack has two diagonal shafts. Inside the building is a wide fireplace with corner-seats and an elaborately moulded bressumer.
b(26). Little Barrington Hall, 1½ m. N. of the parish church, was built probably late in the 16th century, but has an 18th or 19th-century wing at the back. On the S.E. front the upper storey projects. The original chimney-stack has two diagonal shafts. Inside the building several of the walls are lined with late 16th or early 17th-century panelling.
b(27). Cottage, at Bush End, about 2 m. N.N.E. of the parish church, has a gable at the S. end of the E. and W. elevations.
b(28). Cottage (Plate, p. 97), W. of Greenhill, 1¼ m. N. of the church. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster-strips.
b(29). Wises, cottage, 1½ m. N.E. of the parish church, was built probably in 1649, the date carved on a beam above the fireplace. The central chimney-stack has an original moulded cornice.
d(30). Woolard's Ash, house, 1½ m. E.N.E. of the parish church, was built probably late in the 16th century on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N. end; in the S.W. angle is a small 17th-century addition. At the W. end of the main or cross-wing the upper storey projects. Inside the building is an original doorway with a four-centred head.
f(31). Farmhouse (Plate, p. 111), at Manwood Green, nearly 2¾ m. S. of the parish church, was built probably c. 1600 on a rectangular plan with a small staircase-wing at the back; adjoining this wing are 18th-century additions. On the S. front are three gables. The original chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster strips.
c(32). White Horse Inn, 200 yards E. of Hatfield Heath church, was built probably on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and S.; at the W. end and at the back are modern additions.
c(33). Shrubs, farmhouse, nearly ¾ m. S.W. of Hatfield Heath church, was built on a modified L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W.
d(34). Corringales, house, ¾ m. N.N.E. of Hatfield Heath church, was built probably on a rectangular plan with a small staircase-wing at the back; also at the back are 18th and 19th-century additions. The original central chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster strips.
b(35). Cottage, S. of Forest Hall, and about 1 m. N.W. of the parish church.
b(36). Cottage at Wood Row, ¼ m. N. of (35), has a gable at the N. end of the E. and W. elevations.
b(37). Cottage, N. of (36), has a modern addition at the back. The original chimney-stack has three grouped shafts.
b(38). Cottage, N.E. of the Doodle Oak beerhouse and 1¾ m. N.N.W. of the parish church.
b(39). Cottage, N.E. of (38).
b(40). Wallis's, farmhouse, 100 yards N.E. of (39), was built in the 16th century or earlier, probably on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.E., but the N.E. wing has been removed. The central chimney-stack is probably of late 16th-century date and has diagonal pilaster-strips; on the base is a sunk panel. Inside the building is a door of late 16th-century panelling.
b(41). Portingbury Hills, in Beggarshall Coppice, Hatfield Forest, 2½ m. N.N.W. of the parish church. A low, nearly square mound, about 100 ft. in diameter and 5 ft. high, surrounded by a shallow ditch.
b(42). Small Mound, near Hatfield Park house, nearly 2½ m. N.N.E. of the parish church; the surrounding moat has an arm extending 80 yards towards the S. The work was possibly a duck decoy.
c(43). Mill-mound, with moat, 100 yards S. of Hatfield Heath church.
a(44). Mill-mound, with moat, in the N.W. angle of the parish.