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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87. STANFORD RIVERS. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)l. S.E. (b)lviii. N.E. (c)lix. N.W.)
Stanford Rivers is a parish 2 m. S.W. of Chipping Ongar. The Church and Littlebury Hall are monuments of interest.
c(1). Parish Church of St. Margaret stands on the E. side of the parish. The walls are of flint-rubble rendered externally in Roman cement, the dressings are of clunch much weathered; the roofs are tiled and the bell-turret is weather-boarded and has a small spire, covered with lead. The Nave was built about the middle of the 12th century. The Chancel was re-built c. 1340. Late in the 15th century the North Porch was added and a S. Porch was probably added in the same century. Early in the 16th century the clearstorey was added to the chancel. The West Porch was added in 1812, and the church was restored in the 19th century, when the South Vestry was built, probably incorporating portions of the former S. porch.
The timber N. porch is interesting and among the fittings the traces of early 14th-century paintings are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (38 ft. by 19 ft.) has an E. window, apparently all modern or plastered over. In the N. wall is one window in the lower range and three clearstorey windows, the lower window is of early 14th-century date, and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the three early 16th-century clearstorey windows are each of one light with a rounded head and a square moulded label; the rear-arch is of brick. In the S. wall are three windows in the lower range and three clearstorey windows; in the lower range the easternmost and second windows are uniform with the lower window in the N. wall; the westernmost window is of 15th or early 16th-century date and of three cinque-foiled lights in a segmental-pointed head; it has a thin screen of plaster on the external face and is unglazed; between the two eastern windows is a doorway with a two-centred head; it is probably of the 14th century and is blocked at the jambs; the three clearstorey windows are uniform with those in the N. wall. The rough wall face at the W. end of the chancel and the gap between the timbering of the roofs of the chancel and nave indicates the former existence of a chancel-arch, now destroyed.
The Nave (56 ft. by 23 ft.) has in the N. wall two windows, the eastern is of early 14th-century date and of three trefoiled lights in a two-centred head; it is cemented externally; the western window is a mid 12th-century single light with a round head cemented externally; further W. was a similar window, now blocked and only visible externally; between it and the western window is the modern N. doorway with traces above it of the segmental-pointed rear-arch of the earlier doorway. In the S. wall are two windows and a blocked window all uniform with the corresponding windows in the N. wall; opposite the N. doorway is the modern S. doorway with traces above it of the semi-circular rear-arch of the 12th-century doorway. In the W. wall is a modern W. doorway and window, above which is a single-light round-headed window probably of the 12th century, with the opening enlarged.
The North Porch is of late 15th-century date and of timber; it is at present used as a tool-shed. The outer archway, now blocked, has chamfered jambs and four-centred arch with trefoiled spandrels and narrow panels above the arch; flanking it on each side are two uprights divided by a narrow panel with a trefoiled and traceried head. In the gable the upright above the tie-beam has a sunk panel with a trefoiled ogee head terminating in a small cross.
The Roof of the chancel is of early 16th-century date, and has moulded embattled wall-plates and four curved and moulded principles; the western of these is wide and in the form of a chancel arch. The 15th-century roof of the nave is of three bays, with chamfered wall-plates and three trusses with curved braces and rebated king-posts with four-way struts. The bell-turret at the W. end of the nave stands on four rebated and chamfered oak posts, stop-chamfered above the floor and with crossbeams and curved braces at the level of the wall-plates; above this level the framing is ceiled in; the timbers of the turret itself are old and probably the whole of is the 15th century. The late 15th-century roof of the N. porch has elaborately moulded wall-plates and tie-beams at each end with hollow-chamfered braces. In the modern S. vestry is a 15th-century tie-beam with curved braces and old wall-plates.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st by Joseph Carter, 1609; 2nd by Anthony Bartlet, 1662. Brasses: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Thomas Grene, "bayle of this town," 1535, and Margaret and Margaret, his wives, inscription only; on S. wall, (2) to Katherine, wife of Richard Mulcaster, parson of the church, 1609, inscription only; on floor, (3) shield of arms and defaced indent, late 16th-century, fragment of slab only; (4) of Thomas, infant son of Giles Greville, 1492, figure of chrisom child and shield of arms, a cross engrailed; (5) of Robert Borrow, 1503, and Alys, his wife, figures of man in plate armour with dog at feet and lady with pedimental head-dress, shield of arms, quarterly: 1 and 4, three fleurs-de-lis, a crescent for difference; 2 and 3, a lion quartering three pales, indents of shield and group of children; (6) to Lucy, daughter of William Petre, born and died 1637, inscription only. In nave—on S. wall (7), of Anne (Shelton), wife of William Napper, 1584, kneeling figure of woman and six sons, all set in stone tablet with flanking pilasters and a round arch. Chest: In vestry—plain oak with modern locks, probably 17th-century. Communion Table: In vestry— with turned legs, early 18th-century. Communion Rails: with turned balusters and posts, late 17th-century. Font: of Barnack stone, octagonal bowl with two pointed panels in each face, round stem with eight detached shafts, early 13th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel—on E. wall, to Dr. Charles Gibbs, 1681, white marble tablet with shield of arms; see also Brasses (7). Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to William, 1686, and Anne Petre, 1688, with shield of arms; (2) to William, son of William, Lord Petre. 1677, and Lucy (Fermor), his wife, 1679; (3) to Ann (Powtrel), wife of William Petre, 1688, with shield of arms; (4) to John, son of William Petre, 1697. Paintings: In nave—on splays of eastern window in S. wall, traces of two figures each under gabled and crocketed canopy with trefoiled arch and flanking pinnacles, two shields with defaced arms above; one shield on W. splay is quarterly, early 14th-century. Panelling: In chancel—at back of seating, late 16th or early 17th-century. Pulpit: modern but incorporating six panels, late 16th-century. Screen: In nave—incorporated in gallery-front, nine traceried heads from former screen, 15th-century. Seating: In nave—18 oak benches with moulded rails, ends with moulded buttresses, 15th-century, two restored. Sundial: On nave— on external jamb of S.E. window, probably late 17th-century.
Condition—Fairly good structurally, but external stonework much decayed.
c(2). Littlebury Hall, 1 m. E. of the church, is of two storeys, the lower of brick and the upper of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 16th century and was then of much greater extent than at present. There are traces of brick foundations to the E. of the present house, which is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N. end. At the E. end of the cross-wing is an original chimney-stack, modern at the top. On the W. side of the S. wing are two original windows, one of four and one of eight transomed lights, and both with moulded oak frames and mullions. On the E. side of the same wing is an original doorway with a moulded oak frame. Inside the building the cross-wing has an original moulded ceiling-beam and joists, and a doorway with a moulded frame. On the first floor the S. wing has original panelling with fragments of a frieze of arabesque ornament, all re-set. In a window on the S. side is a glass shield of arms. In the house there are also two panelled doors.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered, the roofs are tiled. Many of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good unless noted.
c(3). Little Colemans, cottage on main road, 1,100 yards E. of the church, has an original chimney-stack with two attached shafts set diagonally.
b(4). The Woodman Inn, ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church, has weather-boarded walls and an original chimney-stack with three grouped shafts set diagonally.
b(5). Murrells, house ¼ m. W. of (4), was built probably in the 16th century. The upper storey projects and is gabled at each end of the S.E. front.
b(6). Wayletts, house nearly 1 m. S.S.W. of the church, has a gable at each end of the S.W. front, and an original chimney-stack of cross-shaped plan set diagonally on a square base with a moulded capping. Inside the building one room has some original panelling.
b(7). Lawns, house, 200 yards S.S.W. of (6), was built probably late in the 16th century. The upper storey projects and is gabled at each end of the N.W. front. In each gable is a bay window supported on original foliated brackets. The central chimney-stack is partly original and has six octagonal shafts with moulded bases.
a(8). Does, house (Plate p. 129), 1¾ m. N.W. of the church, was built late in the 16th century, but has been refaced with modern brick. The original central chimney-stack has five octagonal shafts with moulded bases set on a cruciform stack.
a(9). Cottage, three tenements, ¼ m. E. of (8), is weather-boarded in front. The original chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.
a(10). Cottage, at Toot Hill, ¼ m. N.E. of (9). The upper storey projects on curved brackets and is gabled at the N. end of the W. front.
a(11). Newhouse, house and barn, about ¾ m. N. of the church. The house is of two storeys with attics. The central chimney-stack has an original base with a moulded capping.
The Barn stands N. of the house.