Pages 35-37

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

12. BRENTWOOD. (D.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. lxvii. N.E.)

Brentwood is a small town and parish 6 m. N.E. of Romford. The White Hart Inn is of interest.


(1). Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr stands on the S. side of the High Street 300 yards W. of the junction with Herongate Road. The walls are of flint and pebble-rubble with courses of freestone in the W. wall and with dressings of a sandy limestone. It was founded in or about 1221 by the Abbot of St. Osyth for the use of the Abbey's tenants, but fell into disuse early in the 19th century and was partly destroyed about 1870; it is now represented only by part of the W. end of the Nave and the North-West Tower; the former was re-built, probably in the third quarter of the 14th century, and the latter appears to have been inserted late in the same century.

Chapel of St. Thomas the Martyr, Plan

The Chancel (formerly 27 ft. by 17½ ft.), has been entirely destroyed.

The Nave has in the N. wall, of which a length of 13 ft. remains E. of the tower, a doorway of continuously moulded jambs and two-centred head with a moulded label, much perished, and a hollow-chamfered four-centred rear-arch. Of the W. wall the lower half remains, showing that the nave was 27 ft. wide; in it is a much defaced doorway apparently similar to that in the N. wall, and above it are remains of the former W. window.

The North-West Tower (8 ft. square), has E. and S. arches, each two-centred and of two moulded orders, with plain chamfered responds of two orders having moulded bases; the S.E. angle has an attached octagonal shaft, now almost entirely concealed by ivy and of uncertain use; the stair in the N.W. angle is entered by a doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head.

Fittings—Door: In N. doorway—of elm battens with strap-hinges ornamented with incised lozenges, probably 16th or 17th-century. Stoup: E. of N. doorway—with trefoiled and two-centred head and jambs of two orders, basin destroyed, probably late 13th or early 14th-century.

Condition—Ruinous and overgrown with ivy.


(2). White Hart Inn, on N. side of High Street, 100 yards W. of (1), is of three storeys, the uppermost modern; the walls are timber-framed, plastered and weather-boarded, the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the second half of the 15th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and N., but there may originally have been a second wing on the N. side of the main block; at a slightly later date the N.W. wing was lengthened and a further block built out towards the E. from the N. end of this wing; in the 19th century the main block was extended towards the E. and a wing added to it on the N.

The N.W. wing with its long range of 15th-century windows is noteworthy.

The main block is pierced by an archway which retains two original four-centred arches with sunk spandrels and the outer with moulded wall-posts. On the S. front the upper storey originally projected. The N.W. wing (Plate p. 49) is of two storeys; the upper projects towards the E. on curved brackets and contained a gallery which opened towards the courtyard by a range of arches now partly blocked; those of the original wing have chamfered three-centred heads with sunk spandrels, but those of the later extension have chamfered four-centred heads with plain spandrels.

Inside the building in the main block are old ceiling-beams, now partly cased. The upper storey over the passageway was formerly gabled, and retains an original hollow-chamfered tie-beam. In the N.W. wing some of the original beams are moulded and supported by curved brackets; in the upper storey are three 15th or early 16th-century doors, one with a two-centred, the others with four-centred heads, all chamfered.


Monuments (3–14).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

High Street, N. side

(3). House, now shop, 230 yards W. of (2), has been partly demolished. The original chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.

(4). House, now shop, 100 yards E. of (2), was built in the second half of the 16th century but has been much altered. Inside the building is a moulded ceiling-beam; the original staircase has a square newel-post, straight string, moulded rail and flat balusters.

(5). House, now four shops, N.E. of (4), incorporates two L-shaped buildings with the wings extending towards the E. and N.; at the back are modern additions.

(6). House, now shop, 220 yards E. of (5), incorporates a small fragment of an old house.

S. side

(7). Chequers Inn, opposite (5), was built in the second half of the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.; at the back are modern additions. The N. front has been re-faced, and has a gable at each end; at the W. end is an old doorway, now blocked. Inside the building are two original doorways, one now blocked, with four-centred heads, and an original fireplace in the W. wing, also has a four-centred head. An original ceiling in the E. wing is partly divided by moulded plaster ribs into hexagonal panels enclosing figures of men in short pleated skirts, horses, birds, pigs, etc. In the upper storey are braced tie-beams.

(8). House, now shops, 60 yards W. of (7), was built early in the 15th century, possibly with a central Hall and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends; probably in the 16th century a passageway was pierced through the main block and a wing was added at the back; there are also modern additions at the back. On the N. front are three gables. In the passageway, which is probably on the site of the former 'screens,' is an original doorway with a massive two-centred head. In the roof of the central block is an original king-post with a moulded capital.

(9). House, formerly the George and Dragon Inn, now shops, at the corner, 60 yards W. of (8), was built probably late in the 15th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.; at the back are modern additions. At the S. end of the W. wing the upper storey projects on curved brackets. The original chimney-stack has diagonal pilaster-strips. Inside the building, a modern staircase incorporates some late 16th-century symmetrically turned balusters. The roof of the main block is of two bays with original king-post trusses.

(10). House, now shops, 100 yards W. of (9), has been largely re-faced and altered. At the back are five gables. The original chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.

(11). House, now shop and granary, at the corner, 200 yards W. of (10). The House was built probably early in the 16th century but modern alterations obscure the original plan. The early 16th-century Granary S. of the house is of two storeys and is weather-boarded. It is pierced by a central archway, the roof of which is supported on curved braces. E. of the archway are remains of an original doorway with a four-centred head and moulded jambs, and opening into the upper storey are two original doorways with hollow-chamfered jambs and three-centred heads. Inside the building the roof has an original king-post truss.

(12). Stonard's Farm, house, now three tenements, 90 yards S.S.W. of (9), was built probably in the first half of the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.; at the back are modern additions. On the N. front the upper storey projects at each end under a gable, but has been under-built at the E. end; the main block has two gables, probably of later date. The central chimney-stack is probably original and has two square shafts. Inside the building in the E. wing is an original doorway with a four-centred head. Two rooms are partly lined with 16th-century panelling. In the upper storey of the W. wing is a tie-beam with curved braces.

(13). Grammar School, 350 yards E. of (1), on the E. side of Herongate Road, was built in 1568, but of the original building only the lower part of the walls of the Hall remain. The W. doorway is original and has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. Inside the building, above the N. door, is a stone with inscription and date.

(14). House, 230 yards N.W. of (13), on W. side of Ongar Road, was built probably on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.W. and N.W., but has modern additions at the back. The original central chimney-stack has a square shaft with rebated angles.