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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'Boreham', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 22-27. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section

10. BOREHAM. (F.b.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xliv. N.W. (b)xliv. S.W.).

Boreham is a parish and small village 3½ m. N.E. of Chelmsford. The Church and New Hall are the principal monuments.


b(1). Parish Church of St. Andrew stands in the village. The walls are of flint-rubble with some ironstone and freestone; the dressings of the 12th-century work are largely of Roman brick, the other dressings are of limestone and clunch; the roofs are tiled, except that of the N. aisle which is of lead. A chancel, nave, and the Central Tower were built in the 11th or first half of the 12th century, but the upper part of the tower was added or re-built probably c. 1200. The Nave was reduced in width and almost entirely re-built c. 1230, when the North and South Aisles were added; c. 1300, the E. half of the S. aisle was widened to form a South Chapel, and in the 14th century the Chancel was re-built and probably lengthened. During the 15th century the N. aisle was widened and the South Porch added, and late in the 16th century the Sussex Chapel was built. The church was restored in the 19th century when the Sussex Chapel was largely re-built and the S. chapel refaced. The Annexe N. of the chancel and the South-West Vestry are modern.

The church is interesting for its plan and for the exceptional height of its 11th or early 12th-century W. tower-arch, with flanking altarrecesses; amongst the fittings, the Sussex monument and the font are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (38 ft. by 16½ ft.) has a moulded internal string-course of the 14th-century, largely restored. In the E. wall is a modern window. In the N. wall are two windows; the eastern is of three cinque-foiled lights under a square head with a four-centred rear-arch; it is perhaps a 15th-century enlargement of a 14th-century window, but is largely restored; the western is an early 14th-century trefoiled light under a square head with an almost semi-circular rear-arch, the jambs partly restored. In the S. wall is a modern window, and a modern archway to the Sussex Chapel.

The Sussex Chapel (15½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a modern window in each of the E., S. and W. walls.

The Central Tower (17 ft. square) is of three stages and has an embattled parapet with 17th-century brick quoins to the merlons and a moulded brick coping; it is surmounted by a pyramidal tiled roof. The semi-circular E. tower-arch is of two square orders on the W. and of one square order on the E., and has a hollow-chamfered impost. The mid 14th-century W. tower-arch (Plate p. 16) is two-centred and of three chamfered orders, the innermost springing from concavesided semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and modern bases; above the arch is visible part of the semi-circular late 11th or early 12th-century arch, built of brick interspersed with stone voussoirs. In both the N. and S. walls is a late 11th or early 12th-century round-headed window built partly of Roman bricks; E. of the S. window is a modern doorway. In the S.W. angle is an internally projecting stair-turret with a late 11th or early 12th-century round-headed doorway with chamfered imposts; it is now blocked and replaced by a modern external doorway; higher up on the W. side is the blocked 15th or early 16th-century doorway to the former rood-loft. The second stage or ringing-chamber has in both the E. and W. walls an 11th or 12th-century semi-circular headed doorway with stone jambs and Roman-brick arch; in both the N. and S. walls is a contemporary window of two semi-circular headed lights under a semi-circular outer order with a solid tympanum; the central shaft has a cushion capital. The third stage or bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two two-centred lights under a two-centred outer order with a solid tympanum; the mullion has a chamfered impost; all of late 12th-century date restored.

Boreham, The Parish Church of St. Andrew.

The Nave (60½ ft. by 17 ft.) has in the E. wall, N. of the tower-arch, the N. half of a late 11th or early 12th-century semi-circular wall-arch for a side-altar, with Roman brick voussoirs interspersed with stone; it springs from underneath the N. arcade, showing that the original nave was wider than the present one (Plate p. xxx). The N. and S. arcades are each of four bays of c. 1230, the arches are two-centred and of one chamfered order springing from octagonal pillars with moulded capitals and bases; at the E. end they die on to a moulded corbel and at the W. on to a chamfered impost, partly restored. In the W. wall is a late 15th-century window of five cinque-foiled and transomed lights and vertical tracery under a four-centred head with a moulded label.

The North Aisle (14 ft. wide) has a moulded plinth. In the N. wall are four windows, all of the first half of the 15th century and of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery under a two-centred head; the moulded labels have head-stops, some repaired with cement. In the W. wall are traces of a former 13th-century window.

The South Aisle, including the former South Chapel (13½ ft. wide at the E. end and 6 ft. wide at the W. end), has in the E. half of the S. wall two windows all modern except the splays which are of c. 1300, re-set; W. of the western window, of the N. end of the return-wall is a half-arch at c. 1300 spanning the aisle and abutting against the wall above the middle column of the S. arcade; further W. are two doorways; the eastern retains its 13th-century chamfered jambs but has otherwise been altered in the 18th or 19th century; the western is modern. In the W. wall is a 13th-century lancet window restored with cement.

The South Porch has a modern S. wall and entrance, but the side walls are of the 15th-century and of open timber-framing now glazed; each side is of six cinque-foiled lights under square heads; the posts are moulded, and a heavier moulded post against the N. wall supports a curved brace forming a four-centred arch under a cambered tie-beam.

The Roof of the S. porch has a moulded wall-plate and cornice and a central purlin with curved braces, all of the 15th century. The roof of the N. aisle is a flat lean-to of six bays; the three eastern bays have 15th-century moulded principal rafters and central purlin; the three western bays have chamfered timbers of later date and one moulded 15th-century principal; the wall-plates are all moulded and of the 15th century.

Fittings— Bells: eight, 3rd and 8th by W. Whitmore and J. Hodson, 1653; 5th by Miles Graye, 1626. Brass and Indent. Brass: In nave—on E. wall, S. of tower-arch, of Alse, wife of Thomas Byng and late wife of James Chancellor, gentleman of the Queen's Chapel, 1573, figure of woman with close cap, puffed and slashed shoulders, etc., and group of one son and five daughters kneeling at desk, monogram, inscription-plate and indent of scroll. Indent: In S. aisle—of bracket(?) inscription-plate and shield, date uncertain. Chest: In tower—in 2nd stage, with four legs, two locks and staple, possibly 16th-century. Font (Plate p. xxxii): hexagonal with moulded top-edge, each side with deeply sunk trefoil-head panel with acutely gabled label, moulded base and chamfered plinth, early 14th-century, partly restored in cement. Glass: In Sussex chapel—in S. window, fragments of foliage, etc., 14th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In Sussex chapel (Plate p. 23)—of Robert Radclif, Earl of Sussex, Viscount Fitzwalter, Lord Egremont and Burnal, K.G., Great Chamberlain of England, etc., 15(4)2; and of his son, Henry Radclif, Earl, Viscount, etc., as above, K.G., Chief Justice and Justice Itinerant of all forests, parks, chases and warrens S. of the Trent, 1556/7, and of Thomas Radclif, Earl, etc. as above, K.G., Chief Justice of the forests, parks, etc., S. of the Trent, Captain of the Gentlemen Pensioners and Gentlemen at Arms, etc., 1583; large altar-tomb of alabaster and black and coloured marble, each side of three panels with moulded frames and panelled pilasters; the middle panel on the E., N. and S. sides has a shield with a garter, but the former brass shields are gone; one panel on the N., S. and W. sides has an inscription; the slab has a moulded edge and bears on rush mattresses three recumbent effigies of the three Earls in enriched plate armour with peascod breast plates, swords broken, feet against couchant apes each wearing a hat; garter on left leg of each effigy, heads on cushions and behind them three couchant oxen, much mutilated, chained and collared with crowns; remains of fixing of metal chains round neck of each effigy, and traces of red colour on collar of N. effigy. Floor-slabs: In chancel— (1) to Thomas Morriss, L.L.B., 1684/5, with arms; (2) to ......... Bramston and his (wife(?)) Elizabeth, their eldest son ........ 1710 (?), two shields of arms. In Sussex chapel—(3) to Jane, daughter of Joseph Fountaine, 1705; (4) to Joseph Fountaine, 1695, and Susannah, his wife, 1739. In nave—(5) to Ann, wife of Richard Collins, 1670, formerly a headstone with shaped head; (6) to Richard Collins, gentleman harbinger to Charles II., 1678, and his two infants, Christopher and Elizabeth. Panelling: In nave—against W. wall, dado of late 16th-century panelling with moulded rail, part modern. Piscinæ: In nave—in E. wall N. of and adjoining tower-arch (Plate p. xxx), with trefoiled ogee head, c. 1340, basin gone. In wide S. chapel—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and large trefoiled head, points of foils formerly joined to form shelf, plain round drain in hexagonal sinking, front broken away, former gabled label cut back, c. 1300. Plate: includes cup of 1699, inscribed and dated 1700. Screens: Under E. arch of tower—of six bays, two forming doorway; the two northern have triple trefoiled and traceried heads with modern shafts; the bays of the doorway and two southern bays have each two trefoiled, sub-cusped and crocketed heads with modern shafts to the S. bays and modern central pendant to the doorway; the moulded head is continued beyond the ends; moulded posts; rail, lower panels, sill and cresting modern, rest late 15th-century, not in situ. Enclosing vestry at W. end of N. aisle—modern screens incorporating twelve cinque-foiled and sub-cusped heads with foliated or grotesque main points, 15th-century, parts restored; lower part incorporates late 16th-century wall-panelling. Sundial: On re-set stone on S.E. angle of S. Aisle, large scratched sundial, date uncertain. Miscellanea: In nave—built into recess N. of tower-arch, slab with grooved and chamfered front edge and now forming narrow shelf, 12th-century.



Homestead Moats.

b(2). At Boreham Hall, nearly ½ m. S.S.W. of the church.

a(3). At Brent Hall, 2 m. N. of the church.


b(4). New Hall, nearly 1½ m. W.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with a basement; the walls are of brick with stone dressings and the roofs are slate-covered. The house was built by Henry VIII. soon after 1518, on a quadrangular plan with a gatehouse in the S. range, Great Hall in the E. and Chapel in the W. ranges. The house was granted in 1573 to Thomas Radclif, Earl of Sussex, who soon after re-built or remodelled the N. range as it still remains, retaining the earlier basement. c. 1738 the whole house except the N. range was pulled down, the adjoining portions of the E. and W. ranges being remodelled to correspond with it.

The house is a good example of Elizabethan work and the stone achievement of the arms of Henry VIII. is a fine piece of carving.

Elevations—The S. front (Plate p. 22) has seven bay windows with panelled mullions and one or two transoms; between the storeys is a moulded string-course and the parapet has in each bay a small pilaster and pedestal carved with a star and surmounted by a ball. The middle bay is similar to the others but has on the parapet a stone sundial of 1660 with a segmental pediment; in place of a middle window on the ground floor there is a square-headed doorway flanked by Doric pilasters; the entablature has in the metopes alternate stars and porcupines; above the doorway is a carved panel of the royal Tudor arms with the inscription, "[Viva Elizabetta] in terra la piu savia regina | en cielo la piu lucenta stella | virgine magnanima dotta divina | legiadra honesta e bella." The short projecting side wings on this side are built of old brick but they must have been reconstructed in the 18th century as they do not correspond with engravings of the house before the demolition. The N. front has a number of modern additions and the late 16th-century building has a series of projecting bays and wings as shown on the plan and more or less symmetrical. The general details are similar to those of the S. front and there are seven late 16th-century chimneystacks with octagonal shafts, all partly restored. The E. side has at the basement level, three original early 16th-century windows with four-centred lights under square heads. The remaining windows are of late 16th-century date and of similar character to those on the other fronts. One part of this side rises to a third storey. Adjoining this side is a courtyard of the 18th century, largely built of refused material from the demolished portions of the house. In the E. side is a gateway with two re-set arches of the 16th century, each with chamfered jambs, four-centred arch and label. Lying in the courtyard is a large carved stone inscribed C(V)NCTANDO. Some outbuildings and the walls of a small garden on this side are built of old brick and may be of the 16th century. The W. side is almost entirely covered by modern additions but retains some late 16th-century windows.

New Hall, Boreham.

Interior—The Basement under the E. end of the house had originally two ranges of octagonal columns, one running N. and S., the other E. and W., and both of early 16th-century date. The elliptical arches are of two chamfered orders, but some have been cut away and others have been built up. There are also two original doorways, one with moulded and one with chamfered jambs; both have four-centred heads. In the modern chapel, in the middle of the main block is a re-set and repainted stone panel (Plate p. 85) with a carved achievement of the arms of Henry VIII with dragon and greyhound supporters, crowned rose, pomegranate, foliage, etc., with a black letter inscription—"Henricus rex octavus rex inclit' armis | magnanimus struxit hoc opus egregium." On the first floor the projecting bay-windows of the S. front have ribbed and vaulted ceilings three of which have, in the middle, the arms of Radclif, Earl of Sussex.

In the garden S.W. of the house is a carved stone dragon of 16th-century date.


Monuments (5–21).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 16th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; 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.

b(5). Bull's Lodge, house and barn, ¼ m. E. of (4). The House has on the W. side an original porch with carved barge-boards and enriched plaster work: the sides are open at the top and have flat shaped balusters. Inside the building there is an original doorway with a moulded frame and panelled door. The roof is of queen-post type.

The Barn, N. of the house, is thatched and has two porches.

a(6). Bird's Farm (Plate p. 110), house, 2½ m. N.N.W. of the church, has cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. On the W. front the upper storey projects at the ends of the cross-wings. The original central chimney-stack has three diagonal shafts. Inside the building there are original fireplaces with three-centred heads and a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred head.


a(7). Holt's Farm, house, nearly 1 m. S.S.E. of (6). The upper storey projects and is gabled at the W. end of the N. front. On the W. side is a plaster panel with conventional foliage and the initials and date—R.M., 1692.

b(8). Wallace's Farm, house, nearly 1¼ m. N. of the church, was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The E. cross-wing has been re-built and the upper storey projects at the end of the W. cross-wing. Inside the building the W. wing has an original king-post truss.

b(9). Porters, house, nearly ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church, was built late in the 14th or early in the 15th century, with cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The main block has been entirely altered and there are modern additions at the back. The upper storey projects at the E. ends of the crosswings. A door on the E. front is of nail-studded battens with strap-hinges. Inside the building in the S. wall of the N. cross-wing are two original oak doorways with chamfered jambs and two-centred arches. There was probably a third doorway further W. and all three no doubt communicated with the former 'screens.' One room has a dado of 17th-century panelling.

b(10.) Cock Inn, 70 yards S. of (9), is of half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. The S. front has been refaced with modern brick. Inside the building is an original doorway with a four-centred head.

b(11). Clock House, now three tenements, 300 yards S.W. of (10), has cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The upper storey projects at the E. end of the S. wing; a similar projection to the N. wing has been under-built. An early 17th-century chimney-stack at the S. end has grouped diagonal shafts and on the E. front is an original window of four transomed lights with moulded frame and mullions. Inside the building there is an original doorway with a three-centred head, and the S. wing has a king-post roof-truss. The S.E. room has remains of paintings on the walls, but these are now papered over.

b(12). House, now Post Office, 600 yards N.W. of the church, has cross-wings at the N.E. and S.W. ends and two modern additions. Inside the building is an original window with diamond-shaped mullions and now blocked.

b(13). Buckshorns, house, 300 yards W.S.W. of (12), was built probably in the 17th century, and has cross-wings at the N. and S. ends.

b(14). Boreham Mill, 200 yards W.S.W. of (13), was built early in the 17th century.

b(15). House, formerly the General's Head Inn, 500 yards W.S.W. of (14), has cross-wings at the N.E. and S.W. ends.

b(16). Cheese Farm, house, 100 yards S.W. of (15), was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century, but only an L-shaped building remains. The 17th-century chimney-stack has pilasters at the angles. Inside the building the S.W. room has original moulded ceiling beams. The mid 17th-century staircase has heavy turned balusters, square newels with ball finials and close strings. There are two doors probably of the same date. The roof has an original king-post truss.

b(17). House, now three tenements, 100 yards S.S.W. of the church, was built probably late in the 15th century and has cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. There is a 17th-century wing at the back. In front the upper storey projects at the ends of the cross-wings and it also projects at the end of the added wing. The W. chimney-stack is corbelled and crow-stepped at the top and has two diagonal shafts. Inside the building in the same stack is an original fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch. The crosswings have each an original king-post truss.

b(18). House, two tenements, 50 yards S.E. of the church, was built in the 17th century and has later and modern additions at the back.

b(19). House, now three tenements, E. of (18), was built probably in the 15th century, with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The Hall was divided into two storeys probably late in the 16th century. The upper storey projects at the N. end of the W. wing. The W. chimney-stack is original and has diapering in blue bricks and two octagonal shafts. Inside the building are two original windows, each of three lights with square mullions and now blocked. There is also a late 16th-century window with a moulded mullion. One room is lined with 16th-century panelling. The former Hall has an original king-post truss dividing it into two bays. The W. wing has original tie-beams with curved brackets.

b(20). House, five tenements, known as the Old Workhouse, 200 yards E. of the church, has crosswings at the E. and W. ends. Inside the building are two late 17th-century fireplaces with moulded architraves and overmantels with a panel and two fluted pilasters on each. There is also an original panelled door.

b(21). Culvert's Farm, house, ¾ m. E.S.E. of the church, was built in the 17th century but has large modern additions.