Pages 213-214

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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84. SHENFIELD. (E.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)lix. S.E. (b)lxvii. N.E.)

Shenfield is a parish and village adjoining Brentwood on the N.E. The Church is the principal monument.


b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin stands N. of the village. The walls are probably of flint-rubble covered with cement and some brickwork; the roofs are tiled, the bell-turret weather-boarded and the spire shingled. The Chancel and Nave were built probably in the 15th century, and the Tower Extension and South Porch are of the same period. The North Aisle was added at the end of the 15th or at the beginning of the 16th century. The church was thoroughly restored in the 19th century, when the chancel was extended to the E., the North Chapel and Vestry added and the S. porch re-built.

The timber N. arcade is an interesting feature, and among the fittings the 17th-century monument is unusual.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (16 ft. by 18½ ft.) is structurally undivided from the nave. The E. window is modern except for the moulded jambs, the splays, rear-arch and moulded label, which are of the 15th century. In the N. wall is a modern arch, and in the S. wall two modern windows and a doorway.

The Nave (57 ft. by 18½ ft.) has a late 15th or early 16th-century timber N. arcade (Plate p. 113) of six bays with moulded columns, each with four attached shafts, which have moulded capitals, bases and sub-bases; the E. respond and easternmost columns have been partly restored and the arches are entirely modern. In the S. wall are three windows, all modern, except the segmental-pointed rear-arches, which are of the 15th century; further W. is the 15th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs, four-centred arch, and label with voluted stops.

The North Aisle (15 ft. wide) has in the N. wall six modern windows; between the two westernmost is the late 15th or early 16th-century N. doorway (Plate p. 271) of red brick, set in a slight projection embattled at the top; the doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred arch under a square moulded label; it is now blocked. In the W. wall is a modern doorway.

The West Tower Extension (18 ft. square) has walls carried up about 3 ft. higher than those of the nave. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights in a segmental head, with a moulded label. The extension encloses the timber frame-work carrying the bell-turret; the frame-work consists of four posts on each side, from which spring curved principals forming four four-centred arches and supporting heavy tie-beams; the N. and S. sides have cross ties and diagonal cross-braces, all of the 15th century.

The Roof of the nave is modern, but has a moulded and embattled rood-beam at the E. end and a chamfered tie-beam at the W. end, with a rebated king-post and four-way struts all of the 15th century. The 15th-century roof of the S. porch has moulded wall-plates and two cambered tie-beams with arched braces; one tie-beam has a king-post and four-way struts.

Fittings—Book: Bible of 1611. Bracket: In chancel—on N. wall, semi-octagonal, moulded and carved with foliage and two defaced shields, 15th-century, probably not in situ. Brass Indent: In S. porch, defaced. Door: In N. doorway, of nail-studded battens, late 15th or early 16th-century. Monuments: In W. extension—against W. wall, (1) of [Elizabeth Robinson], 1652, panelled and moulded altar-tomb with reclining effigy in alabaster of woman in shroud with infant, two shields of arms above. In churchyard—S. of church (2) to Ann, wife of Thomas Bird, 1708, head-stone. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1663, and salver, apparently of 1709 and given in 1740. Seating: In tower-extension—twelve pews with moulded rails and panelled ends, early 17th-century. Miscellanea: In churchyard—fragments of window tracery, 15th-century.

Condition—Good, much restored.


Homestead Moats.

b(2). At Sawyer's Hall, ¾ m. W. of the church.

a(3). At Fitzwalters, 1½ m. N.E. of the church.

a(4). Shenfield Hall, house, and moat, 100 yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably on an L-shaped plan early in the 17th century, but has modern additions on the N.E. and W. On the S. front the upper storey of the porch projects on three sides. Inside the building is an original moulded corbel.

The Barn, N. of the house, is of early 17th-century date, timber-framed and weather-boarded; there are two porches on the W. side.

Condition—Of house, good.

b(5). Shenfield Place, 250 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1700 and has a large modern addition on the N. side. The windows have flush frames and the hipped roof has a deep modillioned eaves-cornice and hipped dormers with moulded cornices. Inside the building many rooms have original panelling and cornices, and the staircase has twisted balusters, close string and square newels. One room has an early 17th-century overmantel brought from elsewhere.


Monuments (6–10).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered. The roofs are tiled. Several of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.


b(6). Green Dragon Inn, 200 yards E. of (5), was built in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. There are modern additions on the N. and S. sides. The original chimney-stack has six grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building is an original window with moulded mullions, and now blocked.

b(7). Eagle and Child Inn, 60 yards N.E. of (6), was built late in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. Late in the 17th century the W. cross-wing was extended towards the S. and there are modern additions on the S. and W. The original chimney-stack has four octagonal shafts with oversailing caps. Inside the building is an original fireplace with a four-centred head.

b(8). House, attached to Brentwood Grammar School and nearly 1 m. S.W. of the church, was built probably late in the 17th century, but has been almost entirely altered and refronted with brick. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building the staircase has an original moulded hand rail.

b(9). Mitre House, 70 yards S.E. of (8), was built c. 1600 on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S. The S. wing was extended early in the 17th century. The original chimney-stack has three diagonal shafts. Inside the building several rooms have original panelling and the easternmost room has a moulded cornice. There is also an original door with strap-hinges and doorway with a four-centred head.

a(10). Brick House Farm, house (Plate p. 270) about 1 m. N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of red brick. It was built early in the 17th century and has three gables with moulded barge-boards and a gabled, two-storeyed porch on the S. side. The archway of the porch is semi-circular and has moulded imposts and a key-block. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.