High Ongar

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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'High Ongar', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 131-133. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol2/pp131-133 [accessed 21 April 2024]

In this section

43. HIGH ONGAR. (D.c.)

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

High Ongar is a parish and small village 1 m. N.E. of Chipping Ongar. The Church is a monument of some interest.


c(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin stands at the N.W. corner of the parish. The walls are of flint-rubble, roughly coursed in the nave and uncoursed in the chancel; the dressings are of limestone and clunch; the modern tower is of brick. The roofs are tiled. The Nave was built about the middle of the 12th century. In the middle of the 13th century the Chancel was re-built. The South Tower was added in 1858 and the church was generally restored in the 19th century; the North Vestry and West Porch are also modern.

The S. doorway is a rich example of 12th-century work, and among the fittings the early 16th-century heraldic glass is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (28ft. by 24½ ft.) is undivided, structurally, from the nave. In the E. wall is a graduated triplet of 13th-century lancets, modern externally, but with internal splays having attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases and chamfered rear arches. In the N. wall are three windows: the easternmost is of two lights and modern except for the early 15th-century splays and hollow-chamfered segmental rear-arch; the second and westernmost windows are 13th-century lancets with wide external chamfers. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost and second are uniform with the corresponding windows in the N. wall; the westernmost window is uniform with the easternmost but is of three lights; partly below the second window is a doorway with chamfered brick jambs and segmental arch, probably of the 17th century. The N. and S. walls have each a plain stone band externally, possibly a string-course cut back.

The Nave (59½ ft. by 24 ft.) has in the N. wall four windows; the easternmost and the third window are single 12th-century lights with semi-circular heads; the second window is of three cinque-foiled lights in a two-centred head with moulded jambs and mullions and a chamfered segmental-pointed rear-arch, all of early 14th-century date, restored externally in the 18th century; the westernmost window is probably of the 13th century and is of one trefoiled light; between the two western windows is the 12th-century N. doorway with a semi-circular arch of one plain order and moulded imposts. In the S. wall are four windows: the easternmost is a 'low-side' window with double chamfered jambs and a square head, probably of early 16th-century date. The second window is uniform with the second window in the N. wall, but is old externally and has a moulded label with head stops; the third and westernmost windows are uniform with the corresponding windows in the N. wall; between these two windows is the 12th-century S. doorway (Plate p. xxxi), the arch is of two orders, the outer semi-circular with cheveron ornament and an axe-worked and billeted label; the inner order has a segmental arch with cheveron ornament supporting a tympanum of four courses of stonework set radially and ornamented with formy crosses in circular and rough foliage; the outer order of the jambs has shafts with moulded bases, scalloped capitals and moulded abaci; the inner order has twin shafts worked on the inner face, with scalloped capitals, necking of cable ornament and moulded abaci. In the W. wall are two lancet windows with modern external heads, all plastered internally; the W. doorway is modern.

The Roof of the chancel is of trussed-rafter type and is ceiled; it has moulded wall-plates probably of the 15th century. The 15th-century roof of the nave is of five bays; the trusses have octagonal king-posts with moulded capitals and bases, four-way struts and a central purlin; the trussed rafters are ceiled.

Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd by William Carter, 1610. Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In chancel —(1) to William Tabor, rector and archdeacon of Essex, 1611; (2) to M.T., 1610, text only. In nave—(3) of civilian, c. 1510, inscription lost. Indents: In chancel—(1) of inscription-plate; (2) of foliated cross with figure in head, foot on Agnus dei; 14th-century. Chest: In nave—of panelled oak, plain lid, 17th-century. Communion Rails: with moulded rail, turned balusters and mortices for former flat intermediate balusters, mid 17th-century. Glass: In E. window—two shields, one (Plate p. xxxvii) of six quarters of Seymour encircled by wreath and surmounted by crown, with initials I.R. (for Jane Seymour); the second similar but with the royal arms and the initials H.I. (for Henry and Jane), c. 1536. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel—on N. wall, to Richard Stane, 1714, black and white marble tablet with side pilasters, cornice and four shields of arms. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to William ....lch, rector, 1701; (2) to Mrs. Josiah Tomlinson, 1651; (3) to Alice, wife of Josiah Tomlinson, 1656; (4) to Daniel Joyner, rector of Hockwell, 1695, and John Lavender, rector of High Ongar, 1670, with Margaret and Johanna, his two wives, with shield of arms; (5) to Richard Carter, 1659. Panelling: In chancel—on N. side, early 18th-century. Made up in modern reading-desk panels enriched with jewel-ornament and arabesques, late 16th-century. Piscinœ: In chancel with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, 13th-century. In nave—in S. wall, with ogee head, late 15th or early 16th-century. Plate: includes large cup and cover-paten of 1696–97, also large cup and cover-paten of 1702, given in 1703. Pulpit: octagonal, panelled sides with arabesque ornament, top modern, early 17th-century. Seating: In chancel —two bench-ends with shaped heads, one with initials R.S. and the other with date 1680; box-pew with panelled sides and foliage enrichments, old hinges to door, early 18th-century.

Condition—Good, the side walls of the chancel incline outwards, but there is no sign of recent settlement.


Homestead Moats.

a(2). At site of Ashlyns, about 1 m. N.W. of Bobbingworth church.

b(3). At Spriggs, nearly 1½ m. E.N.E. of Norton Mandeville church.

d(4). At Old Withers, about 1 m. E. of the parish church.

d(5). Cozen's Farm, house and moat, ¼ m. N.E. of (4). The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century and has an original chimney-stack and chamfered ceiling-beams.

The Moat is fragmentary.

Condition—of house, fairly good.

c(6). Marden Ash, house, about ½ m. S. of Chipping Ongar church, is of two storeys with basements and attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are covered with slate. It was built late in the 17th century, but about the middle of the 18th century the whole building was refaced and the roof probably raised. Inside the building, the original staircase has moulded hand-rails and strings and twisted balusters. One room has a late 16th-century carved overmantel, brought from elsewhere and made up with modern work. Another room has an original architrave to the fireplace, carved with egg and tongue ornament. Several rooms have moulded cornices and doors with raised panels and moulded architraves.


c(7). Newhouse Farm, house, 500 yards E.N.E. of (6), is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600 and has an 18th-century addition making the plan rectangular. The entrance at the E. side has an original door of nail-studded battens. The original central chimney-stack has six octagonal shafts with moulded bases. Inside the building, the S.E. room is lined with original panelling with a moulded cornice, carved frieze and dentilled architrave; the fireplace is modern but is flanked by Ionic pilasters, carved with arabesque ornament and supporting a panelled overmantel of three bays divided by coupled Doric columns on pedestals; the frieze and panels have jewel enrichment, the middle panel with an enriched arch and the side panels with keyed circles. The moulded ceiling-beams rest on a Corinthian capital at one end as a corbel. The S.W. room is partly lined with original panelling. Some windows at the top of the house have original moulded frames and mullions.


Monuments (8–15).

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

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

c(8). Cottage, in Mill Lane, nearly ¾ m. S.S.W. of the parish church.

c(9). House, four tenements, E. of the parish church, is of half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. The original chimney-stack has four octagonal shafts with moulded bases.

c(10). Nash Hall, 400 yards E.S.E. of the parish church. The original central chimney-stack has grouped shafts set diagonally.

d(11). Cottage, in King Street, 1½ m. E. by S. of the parish church. The original central chimney-stack has grouped shafts set diagonally.

d(12). Cottage, nearly ½ m. E. of (5).

d(13). Manor House, ¼ m. S.E. of (12), was built probably in the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. Between the wings is a late 17th-century addition. The original timber-framing of the N.E. wing is partly exposed and there is a chimney-stack with 17th-century shafts set diagonally. Inside the building there is a 17th-century door of moulded battens.


d(14). House, at Nine Ashes, 1,000 yards S.W. of (13). The upper storey projects and is gabled at the S. end of the W. front. The original chimney-stack at the S. end has grouped diagonal shafts.


b(15). Newarks Hall, about ½ m. N. of Norton Mandeville church, was built early in the 16th century, and has a cross-wing at the E. end and a porch on the S. side. The doorway in the porch has an original moulded frame.