Magdalen Laver

Pages 168-170

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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In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xli. S.E. (b)l. N.E.)

Magdalen Laver is a small parish 4 m. N.W. of Chipping Ongar. The Church is the principal monument.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalen stands N. of the middle of the parish. The walls are generally of flint-rubble, set in herring-bone courses in the lower parts of the walls of the nave (Plate p. 52), and elsewhere mixed with fragments of Roman brick; the dressings are of spongy limestone, clunch and Roman brick; the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built early in the 12th century. In the 13th century the Chancel was largely re-built and enlarged but above the level of the window sills the walls appear to be of rather later date. A former W. bell-turret was replaced by the timber West Tower probably in the 16th century. The South Porch is modern.

The 14th-century rood-screen is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (29 ft. by 20 ft.) has in the E. wall a window all modern except the splays, chamfered and two-centred rear-arch, and two male head-stops to the label, all probably of the 14th century. In the N. wall is a window all modern except the splays and segmental rear-arch, which are probably of the 14th century. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern, modern externally but with widelysplayed jambs and segmental-pointed rear-arch, probably of early 14th-century date; the western is similar to that in the N. wall; between the windows is a doorway, all modern except the splays and segmental-pointed rear-arch, which are probably of early 14th-century date. There is no chancel-arch.

The Nave (43½ ft. by 21½ ft.) has in the N. wall two windows; the eastern is of two lights with modern tracery in a square-headed opening of mid 14th-century date with a moulded internal label; the western is modern except the splays and chamfered segmental rear-arch which are possibly of the 15th century; under this window are traces of a former doorway; between the windows is a small round-headed window of the 12th century, now blocked. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern uniform with the eastern window in the N. wall; the western window is modern except the 14th-century splays and rear-arch; between them are traces of a former window of the 12th century; W. of the windows is the late 14th-century S. doorway, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch. In the W. wall are two 12th-century bulls-eye windows, now blocked; the 12th-century W. doorway has jambs of Roman brick, chamfered imposts and a segmental head perhaps of a former tympanum.

The West Tower (18½ ft. by 25 ft.) is of heavy timber-framing weather-boarded; it has four corner-posts, which carry queen-post trusses; the ground stage has a square aisle with a pent-roof, and over the bell-chamber is a pyramidal weather-boarded roof.

The Roof of the chancel has three rough chamfered tie-beams, the middle beam with a much defaced inscription IT ANNO DOM 1615 H L. The roof of the nave has two rough chamfered tiebeams, the western surmounted by queen-posts and framing suggesting a former bell-turret; the wall-plates are moulded and probably of the 15th century.

Fittings—Bells: two; 1st dated 1567; 2nd, inscribed in Lombardic letters "In honore Sancte Johannes," probably early 14th-century. Doors: In S. doorway of nave—of oak, internal framing of cross-rails and uprights, joints covered externally with moulded fillets, the outer following the outline of the door and ornamented with five and four-leaved flowers, strap-hinges, late 14th or early 15th-century, slightly restored. In W. doorway—of oak battens heavily riveted, two strap-hinges incised with zig-zag pattern, uncertain date. Font: Disused and now in W. tower— octagonal bowl with quatre-foiled panels, beneath each panel a carved foliated boss; octagonal stem, with a two-centred trefoiled panel on each face; base replaced by modern cement, 15th-century, much damaged. Glass: In chancel— in S.E. window, re-set, quatrefoils with yellow leaves, foliage, roundels, etc., 14th and 15th-century. In nave—in S.E. window, two blue cinquefoils, yellow star in roundel, yellow leaf patterns, tabernacle work, etc., 14th and 15th-centuries, partly in situ; in N.E. window, tabernacle work, vine-leaf pattern, etc., 14th-century, in situ. Helm (funeral): In nave—on W. wall, armet with vizor, on original iron bracket; three other iron brackets for former trophies, 16th-century. Indent: In nave—by S. door, slab with indent of inscription-plate. Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In chancel—on E. wall, to George Kindleton, Rector, 1667, marble tablet surmounted by cornice and segmental pediment containing a flaming vase; inscription in oval panel with laurel wreath and cherub's head. Floor-slab: In chancel—to William Rawlins and Ann Rawlins, his sister, 1703. Panelling: in nave—on W. wall, six oval panels enriched with incised ornament. Plate: includes cup of 1665, engraved with shield of arms and dated 1666; small paten similarly engraved and inscribed and of same date; salver of 1683 with same inscription; large flagon of 1665 with same inscription. Screen (Plate p. 3): Under chancel-arch, oak, with doorway and six bays each side; each bay with moulded and cinque-foiled ogee arch springing from banded shafts with moulded capitals and bases; above each arch tracery consisting of two moulded and quatre-foiled circles, 14th-century; three bays, doors and several shafts, modern; moulded middle rail and close panelling, partly 17th-century and partly modern. Seating: In nave—some pews have moulded capping, etc., probably early 17th-century.

Magdalen Laver. The Parish Church of St Mary Magdalen.

Condition—Good, much restored.


(2). Moated Mound, in Pole Lane, 300 yards N.E. of the church, with modern causeway on S.E. The mound is about 80 ft. in diameter at the base and rises to a height of about 15 ft. above the bottom of the moat, which is 6 ft. deep.

Condition—Fairly good.

a(3). Homestead Moat, at Ashlings, ¾ m. E.S.E. of the church.


a(4). Spencers, house and moat, ¼ m. S.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed, plastered and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on a plain rectangular plan with a small staircase-wing at the back. On the N.W. front are two gables. The two chimney-stacks are original, but now plastered. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good.

a(5). Bushes, house and moat, 250 yards E. of (3). The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 15th or early in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and N., and has a still later addition in the angle between the wings. The S. front has a gable at each end, and an original timber-framed porch with a moulded square-headed doorway and in each side-wall a blocked window of three lights with moulded mullions. On the W. elevation are two similar windows, one now blocked, and the upper storey projects on curved brackets. The chimney-stacks are old, and one has diagonal pilaster-strips. Inside the building are moulded ceiling-beams, an original door-frame, much 16th-century panelling and a cupboard with cockspur hinges. In the upper storey each chimney-stack has an old fireplace, one with square head, the other with a four-centred head. The roof of the N. wing has an original king-post truss.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good.

b(6). Mollmans, house and moat, ¾ m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered, the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 17th century on a plain rectangular plan. On the E. front are three gables. The chimney-stack is original. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good.

a(7). Rolls, house and moat, 1,500 yards W.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the N. end and a slight projection on the W. side. Two of the chimney-stacks are probably original.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good.

a(8). Wynters, house and moat, 300 yards N.N.W. of (7). The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 16th century with a low wing at the back and a slight projection at the W. end of the S. side. On this side are two gables at the W. end and one at the E. The central chimney-stack is of cruciform plan and probably original. Inside the building some of the ceiling-beams have curved braces, and there is an original queen-post truss.

Condition—Of house, poor.

b(9). Whites, house, 1,100 yards S.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed, plastered and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S. end. The central chimney-stack is original.



a(10). Irregular four-sided site enclosed by a ditch at the site of the Manor House. There are slight traces of an inner rampart on the E. side. Possibly an unusually large homestead moat.