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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'Navestock', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 190-193. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section

70. NAVESTOCK. (D.d.)

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

Navestock is a large parish N.W. of Brentwood, with small hamlets at Navestock Heath and Navestock Side. The Church is the principal monument.


c(1). Parish Church of St. Thomas stands on the N. side of the parish. The walls are of flint-rubble covered externally with plaster and cement; the dressings are of limestone and clunch; the roofs are tiled; the bell-tower weather-boarded and the spire shingled. The N. wall of the Nave was built probably late in the 11th century. c. 1250 the S. arcade was built and the South Chapel and South Aisle added. Probably about the same time an arch was built in the N. wall of the nave, either opening into a chapel or to form a recess. The Chancel was re-built c. 1320, and in the 15th century the Bell-tower and the South Porch were added. Probably in the 16th or 17th century, and possibly owing to a collapse of the E. pier of the arcade, this pier with the arches springing N., S. and E. were renewed in timber. The church was restored in the 19th century.

Navestock. The Parish Church of St Thomas.

The timber bell-tower is a good example of its class and of unusual plan.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (38 ft. by 17½ ft.) has in the E. wall an early 14th-century window of three trefoiled ogee lights, with net-tracery under a two-centred head with a moulded label, all badly weathered. In the N. wall are three windows; the easternmost and second are of early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil under a two-centred head with moulded labels; the second with head-stops; both windows are much weathered; the westernmost is a 'low-side' window of the 15th century, and of one light with a four-centred head and moulded label. In the S. wall is a window uniform with the eastern window in the N. wall; further W. is a three-centred arch of whitewashed timber and of uncertain date; the E. respond is probably modern, possibly with a re-used capital, and the W. end of the arch rests on the E. pier of the nave arcade. The chancel-arch and N. respond are similar to those just described.

The 13th-century South Chapel (19½ ft. by 15 ft.) has in the E. wall a window of two roughly pointed lights under a segmental-pointed rear-arch; the opening is probably of the 13th century, but the lights are probably of the 17th century; under the sill internally is a moulded string-course. In the S. wall is a window of c. 1400, and of two cinque-foiled and sub-cusped lights with vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a cement label; the window is badly weathered and restored in cement; immediately W. of it is a blocked lancet-window of c. 1250; further W. is a modern doorway. On the W. side is a timber arch similar to those in the chancel and with a similar S. respond.

The Nave (44¼ ft. by 20 ft.) has in the N. wall at the E. end a mid 13th-century wall-arch acutely pointed and of one chamfered order; on the E. side it dies into the wall, on the W. the respond has a small shaft worked on the angle with a moulded capital carved with 'stiff-leaf' foliage; in the wall are three windows: the easternmost, set in the arched recess, is of the 14th century, and of two trefoiled lights with net-tracery under a two-centred head; the second window is of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head; the jambs and head are moulded; the westernmost window is similar to the second, but the cusping has perished; between the two western windows is the late 11th-century N. doorway with distorted semi-circular arch; below the arch, and from the same springing, is a flat segmental arch supporting a palin tympanum and having under it a series of rounded billets alternating with plain stones. The S. arcade is of c. 1250 and of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the circular columns have moulded capitals and bases on square chamfered plinths; the base of the second pier stands higher than the others; the E. pier is of oak roughly cut to a polygonal form, with a moulded capital and brick base, probably modern; the W. respond is of two chamfered orders, the inner having an attached shaft with a moulded capital, the outer having on each side a moulded corbel resting on carved knots of foliage; the base of the respond is concealed by a raised flooring. The W. wall is of modern brick.

The South Aisle (15 ft. wide) has in the S. wall two windows: the eastern is similar to the second in the N. wall of the nave, but is of three lights; it is badly weathered; the western is a mid 13th-century lancet; between the windows is the mid 13th-century S. doorway, much restored, with jambs and two-centred head of two chamfered orders and a moulded label with mask-stops. In the W. wall is a doorway with double hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch with a moulded label, all of c. 1400; above it is the internal head of a blocked lancet window of the 13th century.

The West Bell-Tower is timber-framed and weather-boarded. It is square on plan, with a semi-octagonal aisle covered with a lean-to roof. The principal framework is carried on four massive posts, each with an octagonal oak column attached to its internal angle; the pillars have moulded capitals and bases, and carry curved and chamfered principals meeting at the centre in a carved foliage boss. The bell-chamber has a rectangular louvered opening in each face.

The South Porch is of early 15th-century date and of timber. The four-centred outer archway has sunk spandrels, each with a shield, the eastern a fesse between two cheverons, the western said to have been Waldegrave; on each side of the doorway is an open bay with plain two-centred head and pierced spandrels. In the gable is an 18th-century clock-face. The sides are modern except for the posts and moulded wall-plates.

The Roof of the chancel has an old tie-beam with trefoiled spandrels to the braces, and two rough tie-beams probably of the 18th century. The S. chapel also has an old rough tie-beam.

Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd and 5th by Miles Graye, 1637; 3rd by John Walgrave, 15th-century, with inscription "Sancta Katerina Ora Pro Nobis;" 4th by John Hardyng, c. 1560. Brasses: In chancel—on E. wall, (1) to Agnes (Colford), wife 1st of Thomas Shouncke and 2nd of Richard Makyn, 1589, inscription-plate with English verses; on N. wall, (2) to John, son of Edward Moore, one of the cursitors of the Court of Chancery, 1624; (3) to James, son of Edward and Ann Makyn, 1616; on floor, (4) to Richard Makyn, "sworne ordinary groome in the chaundrie to King Edward VI," 1603, three small inscription-plates; (5) to James Wallenger, 1603. Coffin-lids: In S. aisle—(1) large tapered slab carved with foliated cross on a stepped calvary, 14th-century; (2) smaller but similar, damaged. Doors: In nave—in N. doorway, (1) of oak battens with ornamental strap-hinges and straps, 12th-century; in S. doorway, (2) of oak battens with ornamental strap-hinges, 13th-century; in S. doorway of chapel, (3) round-headed, of oak battens, with ornamental strap-hinges, 13th-century. In bell-tower—(4) of large oak battens with ornamental strap-hinges, c. 1400. Font: In floor near modern font, base with mortises for round stem and eight detached shafts, 13th-century. Glass: In E. window of chancel and N. windows of nave, fragments including borders of oak-leaves, trefoils, etc., 14th-century. Helm: In chancel—over monument, (1) with stag's head crest, early 17th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments; In chancel—on E. wall, (1) to Agnes (Colford), 1589, and her second husband, Richard Makyn, 1603, white marble tablet with flanking pilasters; (2) of John Greene, Serjeant-at-Law and Judge of Sheriff's Court, 1653, and Anne (Blanchard), his wife, 1641, large tablet with recess containing half length figure of man in judge's robes and flanked by Corinthian pilasters supporting an entablature and broken pediment with ten shields of arms; on N. wall, (3) of Ann (Nicolls), wife of Charles Snelling, 1625, also Rowland, their child, 1625, slate panel within arched marble frame, with small effigies of woman, now headless, and swaddled child, two shields of arms. In S. aisle—on S. wall, (4) to John Greene, 1625, slate tablet in marble frame with pediment, cherubs and shield of arms; (5) to Rebecca (Greene), wife of Thomas Thorold, 1625, slate tablet in marble frame with shield of arms. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Sheffeld, 1670. In S. chapel—(2) to John Partridge, 1653, and his son, John, 1671; (3) to Jane, daughter of Walter Radcliffe, 1692; (4) to Elizabeth, wife of Robert Hulson, 1689; (5) to John Partridge, 1682. Piscina: In S. chapel—in E. wall, trefoiled head and moulded jambs, 13th-century, drain missing. Plate: includes cup of 1624, inscribed with date 1625: paten similarly inscribed; and two flagons with arms and inscriptions, one of 1626, the other of 1630. Miscellanea: In piscina, small early 13th-century foliated capital. Behind organ in S. chapel—two stones with 12th-century cheveron moulding. In entrance to bell-tower—stone in floor scratched with rays (?).

Condition—Poor; external stonework very badly weathered, interior heavily whitewashed.


a(2). Moated Mount, moat and fishponds on site of Slades, about 1 m. N.E. of the church, forms a small group of earthworks at the foot of a hill. The Mount is probably the earliest work; it is 8 ft. high above the ditch and about 65 ft. in diameter at the base. S.E. of the mount are two fishponds and two arms of a large rectangular moat. A large excavation at the S.E. end of the moated enclosure shows the site of the former house, and there are many Tudor bricks on the island. There is a strong retaining bank between the moat and the fishponds, which formerly had a sluice in the centre.

Condition—Of Mount and fishponds, good. Of Moat, imperfect.

Homestead Moats.

d(3). N. of Yewtree Farm (12) and nearly ¾ m. S.W. of the church.

b(4). At Dycotts, 2 m. S.W. of the church.

c(5). Navestock Hall, S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The only remaining part of the old house is in an angle on the W. front, where there is some 16th-century timber-framing and part of a doorway with moulded jamb and four-centred head; there are also traces of a former window with bar-mullions set diagonally.


c(6). Bois Hall, 1 m. E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 17th century, but has been considerably altered in the 18th century. On the N. front are two moulded rain-water heads with the arms and crest of Greene and the date 1687.


c(7). Beacon Hill Farm, house and cottage, 1¼ m. E.N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are covered with slates. It was built probably late in the 17th century on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end. In the cross-wing are two windows with chamfered jambs and mullions. Inside the building two rooms have original panelling and round-headed doorways with moulded imposts and architraves. The easternmost room has also a round-headed recess with pilasters and architrave.

The Cottage adjoins the house on the N.W. It was built about the middle of the 17th century, and has a blocked window at the N.W. end with an original brick pediment. One of the chimneystacks has an original octagonal shaft with a moulded capping.


Monuments (8–12).

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


c(8). Cottage, about 300 yards N. of (6), has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

d(9). Cottage, about 1 m. S.S.E. of the church. At the E. end the upper storey projects on exposed joists.

b(10). Brook House, about 1¾ m. S.W. of the church, has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

b(11). Hole Farm, house, about 1 m. W.S.W. of the church, is of three storeys. The upper storeys project on the S. side.

d(12). Yewtree Farm, house, nearly ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church. The original chimney-stack is cross-shaped on plan.

a(13). Bridge, at side of Shonk's Mill, about ¾ m. W. of the church, is of brick, and was built probably in the 17th century. It has one arch and a plain parapet.



c(14). Enclosure, in Fortification Wood, about ½ m. E. of the church, stands on high ground which drops fairly sharply from South to North.

The work consists of a rectangular site, about 350 ft. by 240 ft., enclosed within a shallow ditch, about 30 ft. wide at its strongest point. There are traces of an inner rampart in places, but the greater part of it has disappeared. The ditch, which was not made to hold water, has been destroyed for some distance on the W. and N. There is a deep cutting across the S. end of the work, probably of later date than the enclosure.

The work appears to have been too strong for a wood boundary and occupies a good defensive site.

Condition—Poor. Thickly overgrown and difficult of access.

c(15). Earthwork, about 300 yards E. of the church, consists of two square islands surrounded by a rectangular ditch with a long arm projecting towards the N.E; probably a duck-decoy.

Condition—Fairly good.