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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13. BROOMFIELD. (F.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xliii. N.E. (b)xliii. S.E. (c)xliv. S.W.)
Broomfield is a parish 2½ m. N. of Chelmsford. The Church and Priors are the principal monuments.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary The Virgin (anciently St. Leonard), stands in the village. The 11th-century walls are chiefly of lumps of brown boulder-clay with a few flints and short courses of Roman brick; the tower is of coursed flint with a few pieces of pudding-stone and Roman bricks; the remainder of the structure is largely of flint-rubble containing much re-used material; the dressings of the 11th and 12th-century work are all of Roman brick; the remainder are chiefly of sandy limestone; the roofs are tiled, the spire is oak-shingled.
The Nave and part of the Chancel were built in the second half of the 11th century. Early in the 12th century the West Tower was added, and early in the 15th century the chancel was lengthened to its present extent. The North Chapel, North Vestry, North Aisle, and South Porch are modern.
The church is noteworthy for its round tower and for its building materials, which include an unusual quantity of apparently Roman brick.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (36 ft. by 16 ft.) has in the E. wall a 15th-century window, partly restored, of three cinque-foiled lights and vertical tracery under a two-centred head with a two-centred and hollow-chamfered rear-arch. In the N. wall is a modern arcade opening into the N. chapel. In the S. wall are three windows, each of a single cinque-foiled light under a square head with a moulded label, probably of early 15th-century date; between the easternmost and middle windows is a modern doorway; E. of the easternmost window are the Roman-brick quoins marking the end of the 11th-century chancel. The chancel-arch is modern.
The Nave (39½ ft. by 22 ft.) has a modern N. arcade. In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost is a transomed 'low-side' window of c. 1340 and of a single cinque-foiled ogee light; the label has head-stops; the two western windows are modern; between them is the 11th-century S. doorway with partly restored jambs of Roman brick and modern stone lintel.
The circular West Tower (15 ft. diameter) is of two storeys, unmarked externally (Plate p. 43); it has a conical roof rising into an octagonal spire. The early 12th-century tower-arch has a semi-circular head and plain responds, much restored. In the ground storey are three round-headed windows with jambs and head of Roman bricks. In the upper storey are three similar windows repaired with 17th-century brick. The spire has four gabled spire-lights.
The Roof of the W. tower is probably of the 15th century; the octagonal spire has double chamfered principals and four tie-beams with curved braces forming two-centred arches.
Fittings—Book: In nave—in glass case, Bible formerly in library of Charles I. Brass: In N. aisle—against W. wall, to Thomas Huntleye, 1613, two inscription plates with figure of one daughter, indents of two figures and son or sons, and of shield of arms. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Patrick Younge, 1652, with defaced cartouche of arms. Font: square, slightly tapering bowl, each face having three shallow panels with pointed heads; at each angle an attached shaft with rounded base and capital carved with water-leaf; bowl stands on a modern pier and has at each angle a round shaft with scalloped capital and moulded base, of old material re-cut; probably of Barnack stone; late 12th-century. Plate: the old plate now belongs to a church in Margate. Stoup: In S. porch—E. of S. doorway, with hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred head, bowl broken, 15th-century.
c(2). Homestead Moat at Belstead Hall, about 1 m. E. of the church.
b(3). Priors, house and moat, ¾ m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are partly of brick and partly of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built of brick, probably about the middle of the 16th century with a central Hall and cross-wings at the N.W. and S.E. ends; late in the 16th or early in the 17th century a timber-framed staircase-wing was added on the N.E. side of the main block, and was extended towards the S.E. probably in the 18th century; the original S.E. cross-wing has been re-built in modern times. On the N.E. front the original wall has a moulded brick plinth and between the storeys a moulded string-course; the N.W. wing is gabled and has an original three-sided bay with much altered or modern windows in the ground storey, but with original windows of three and two lights in the front and side faces respectively of the upper storey; the plastered mullions are of moulded brick. On the N.W. elevation are a similar plinth and string-course, and in each storey are two original windows, now blocked, each of two lights with moulded and plastered brick jambs, mullions and heads. The S.W. elevation was probably the original entrance front, but the old doorway is now blocked and the whole elevation was largely altered in the 18th century; straight joints indicate the position of a former bay window corresponding to that on the N.E. front; further S.E. there are indications possibly of a former porch of two storeys. The original central chimney-stack has a moulded capping and four partly restored octagonal shafts on moulded bases. Inside the building the original Hall was of three bays divided by moulded ceiling beams. In various rooms are pieces of late 16th and 17th-century panelling, and in the upper storey is a plain late 17th-century mantel-piece. The staircase-wing is entered by a 16th or early 17th-century oak doorway with moulded jambs and lintel; the staircase (Plate p. 39) is of c. 1600 and of the wall-type, with moulded handrail and string, turned symmetrical balusters, and square newels having moulded and panelled heads.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, good.
a(4). Partridgegreen, house and moat, over 1 m. N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the N., but a modern addition between the wings makes the present plan rectangular. The wings are gabled on both the S. and N. elevations. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams and a wide open fireplace.
The Moat is fragmentary.
Condition—Of house, good.
b(5). Broomfield Hall, 100 yards S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with basement and attics; the walls are of plastered timber-framing with some modern brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 15th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.; late in the 17th century the S.E. wing appears to have been re-built, and a small wing was added at the W. end of the main block; the S.W. wing has been partly re-built in modern times and there are modern additions between the main wings. Two chimney-stacks are of late 16th or 17th-century date; one has two conjoined shafts, the other has a large shaft with diagonal pilaster-strips on a base with a moulded capping. Inside the building are chamfered ceiling-beams, and part of the central newel of a former circular staircase. The roof retains an original king-post truss.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, but much altered.
b(6). House, 50 yards E. of the church, was built probably early in the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the N. and a central Hall of one storey; the N.E. wing was lengthened in the 17th century, and there is a small modern addition at the W. end and at the back of the main block. The S. front is gabled at each end. The upper storey of the N.W. wing appears to have projected on the W. and N., but has been under-built with modern brick. Inside the building, in the original N. wall of the main block is an old window, now blocked, of two lights with a square mullion having rebated angles.
b(7). Well House, on E. side of main road 200 yards E.S.E. of the church, was built probably late in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the N. and S. ends; at the back are extensive modern additions. At each end of the W. front is a gable; under the N. gable the upper storey projects. The original S. chimney-stack is stepped and has two conjoined hexagonal shafts. Inside the building, in the lower storey of the main block and in both storeys of the S. wing the original ceiling-beams are moulded; this wing also retains two original overmantels, each of two moulded panels, divided and flanked by carved pilasters and surmounted by a carved frieze. In the upper storey massive tie-beams are visible.
b(8). Angel Inn, on E. side of main road 600 yards S.S.E. of the church, was built in the 15th century with a central Hall of one storey and a cross-wing at the N. and S. ends; in the 17th-century an upper floor was inserted in the Hall, and at the back are modern additions; the roof of the former S. cross-wing is now ridged continuously with the main block. Inside the building, the roof of the former Hall is of two bays divided by an original king-post truss; of the king-post, only the moulded base is now visible. The N. cross-wing is of three bays divided by trusses with curved braces. The central chimney-stack contains a fireplace of the 16th century with a three-centred arch of brick.
b(9). House, now three tenements, on W. side of main road 150 yards S. of (8), has modern additions at the back. On the E. front it was originally gabled at each end, but only the N. gable remains. Inside the building the original staircase retains a few turned balusters.
b(10). Gutter's Farm, cottage on E. side of main road nearly 1 m. S.S.E. of the church, has been refronted and has modern additions at the back. The original central chimney-stack has three conjoined diagonal shafts. Inside the building is an original fireplace with a three-centred head of brick.
b(11). Cottage, 10 yards S. of (10), has an original chimney-stack with a shaft rebated at the angles.
b(12). Cottage, now two tenements, S. of Chobling's Farm about 1¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, with modern additions at the back and at the S.W. end.