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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'Chigwell', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 47-49. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

In this section

17. CHIGWELL. (C.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)lviii. S.E. (b)lxv. N.E. (c)lxvi. N.W.)

Chigwell is a parish and village 5 m. N. of Ilford. The Church, Woolston Hall, Rolls and the Grammar School are the principal monuments. The King's Head Inn (8) has been identified with Dickens' Maypole Inn.


a(1). In the N. of the parish, in gravel beds, about ½ m. N.E. of Woolston Hall, a tesselated pavement and "some oak dovetailed boards," together with pottery, etc., were found in or shortly before 1765; and Roman pottery and other objects have been found at various times in the neighbourhood, especially in digging gravel about 300 yards N.E. of the Hall. In each of these two main sites a well has also been found, one of which had later in the Roman period been used as a rubbish pit. Both coins and pottery are of all dates. The evidence is insufficient to indicate the nature or extent of the settlement. (See Sectional Preface, p. xxix.)


c(2). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are of flint-rubble covered with cement and with dressings of limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Nave and Chancel, now the South Aisle, were built in the 12th century. Late in the 15th century the N. arcade and a N. aisle were built, the bell-turret added, and the chancel perhaps extended. In the 19th century the existing Chancel and Nave were built on the site of the former N. aisle and the former chancel and chancel-arch re-built.

The S. doorway is interesting 12th-century work, and among the fittings the Harsnett brass and the Tudor cup are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The South Chapel (former Chancel) is modern except for an arch in the N. wall which forms the easternmost bay of the N. arcade.

The South Aisle (49 ft. by 23 ft.) former nave, has a late 15th-century N. arcade of four bays of which one overlaps the former chancel; the two-centred arches are moulded and the moulded piers have each four attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-piers. In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost is of c. 1400 and of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head, mostly plastered; the second window is entirely modern; the third window is probably of the 12th century, but has an inserted mullion and is modern externally; the E. splay has been cut back to widen the glass space; further W. is the mid 12th-century S. doorway with semi-circular arch of four orders, of which one has cheveron ornament and the innermost forms a panelled tympanum with indented ornament with a segmental soffit; the jambs have each a free shaft with cushion capital and re-cut base. In the W. wall is a window of three pointed lights in a segmental-pointed head, probably of the 15th century but covered with plaster. The bell-turret at the W. end of the S. aisle stands on eight posts with tie-beams, curved braces and curved struts of the 15th century, partly restored.

The Roof of the S. aisle is of 15th-century date and of three bays with hollow-chamfered tie-beams, rebated king-posts, four-way struts and a central purlin.

Fittings—Brasses: In chancel—in recess on S. side, (1) of Samuel Harsnett, Archbishop of York, 1631, bearded figure in mitre, cope, rochett, etc., with book and crosier, foot and marginal inscriptions and four shields of arms, evangelists with their symbols and cherub-heads. In nave— on S. wall, (2) inscription recording benefactions of Robert Rampston, 1585. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In S. chapel—on S. wall, (1) of Thomas Colshill, 1595, and Mary (Crayford) his wife, 1599, wall-monument with kneeling figures of man, wife and two daughters at prayer-desk, with side pilasters, entablature, urns and a shield of arms. In nave—on S. wall, (2) to George Scott, 1683, and Elizabeth (Cheyne) his wife, 1705, black and white marble tablet with Corinthian columns, broken pediment and three shields of arms, two in detached panels. In church-yard—(3) to William Browne, 1653, Sarah, his wife, 1643, and their son, (1711?), table-tomb of red brick with plain stone pilasters and top slab. Floor-slabs: In S. aisle—(1) to Sarah (Abdy) wife of John Penington, 1690, also John Penington, 1702, with shield of arms; (2) to Ann Pelling, 1712, with shield of arms. Plate (Plate p. xxxix): includes a secular cup of 1605 or 10 engraved with Tudor roses alternating with sunflowers; cover-paten of 1559; cup and paten of 1633; paten of 1633 and a flagon of 1713 with a shield of arms. Stoup: In S. aisle—E. of S. doorway, with chamfered jambs and round head, date uncertain.



b(3). Homestead Moat, about 1 m. W.N.W. of the parish church.

a(4). Rolls, house about ¾ m. N.N.W. of the parish church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly timber-framed and partly of brick, and the roofs are tiled. The kitchen block, in the middle of the house, was built c. 1600, and late in the 17th century the N.E. and N.W. wings were built or re-built, making the plan L-shaped. Early in the 18th century a long addition was made on the S.E. side of the N.E. wing and there are modern additions on the S. and S.W. The elevations have been very largely re-faced, but on the N.W. side there are two late 17th-century chimneystacks with pilasters at the angles. Inside the building the kitchen has some original shelves with elaborately shaped and moulded framing carried down to the floor as arms to a former bench. The staircase in the kitchen wing has original square, moulded balusters, square newels with moulded tops and bases carved with roses, moulded strings and rails. The attic staircase has original flat shaped balusters. There is also a little panelling, some 17th-century doors and exposed ceiling-beams.


a(5). Woolston Hall, about 1¼ m. N.W. of the parish church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly of plastered timber-framing and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600 on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N.W. and N.E.; there are modern additions on the N. The chimney-stacks have grouped rectangular shafts, one being of cross-shaped plan set diagonally. The front has an early 18th-century eaves-cornice. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling beams, and the fireplace in the entrance hall has a 17th-century moulded shelf with a panel above it, painted with an achievement of the Scott arms and trophies. The garden in front of the house has fine early 18th-century wrought-iron gates with an elaborate overthrow.


c(6). The Grammar School, 60 yards N.E. of the parish church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built probably when the school was founded in 1629. The master's house at the E. end and the porch are modern. In the N. wall are several original windows, now blocked, and of two pointed lights in a square head with a moulded label. On the S. side most of the windows are modern, but two stone windows on the first floor are original and have square heads and four lights. Inside the building the Hall rises to the full height and has two original tie-beams with curved braces and moulded and shaped queen-posts. There are also some original doors.


c(7). Church House, S.W. of (6), is of two storeys timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century but has been much altered. The original chimney-stack is cross-shaped on plan. Inside the building are some original ceiling-beams.


c(8). King's Head Inn, opposite the church, is of three storeys with attics and cellars; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century and has a late 17th-century wing at the back; there are many modern additions. On the W. front (Plate p. 49) the first and second floors project and have original carved brackets and modern bressumers. Set in the wall of the second storey are carved brackets indicating the former bases of the gables. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts. On the S. side of the late 17th-century wing are fragments of a Doric frieze and cornice of wood. Inside the building one room on the first floor has panelling partly of mid 17th-century date and a cornice returned along the cased and panelled ceiling-beam; the fireplace (Plate p. 247) has a carved, eared architrave flanked by diminishing pilasters supporting a moulded shelf and an overmantel divided into three bays by Ionic columns; the side bays have pedimented panels with strapwork and the freize has carved swags. The upper staircase has original and symmetrically turned balusters and square newels with moulded caps.


Monuments (9–16).

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

Condition—Good, or fairly good.

c(9). Harsnett House, N.E. of (8), has modern additions at the S. end. Inside the building the staircase has a few original turned balusters of symmetrical form.

c(10) The Grange, house in Chigwell Road, ¼ m. N.N.E. of the parish church, was originally built in the 15th century, but has been entirely re-built and altered except for part of the roof. This has an original king-post with moulded capital and base, four-way struts and a central purlin. There is also a little 17th-century panelling.

a(11). Pettits Hall, about 1 m. N.E. of the parish church, was built in the 16th century, but the N.E. end has been re-built and there are various modern additions. On the S.E. front the upper storey projects at the S. end and is gabled. The central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts partly of the 17th century. Two windows have original moulded mullions.

a(12). Turnours Hall, about 1¾ m. N.E. of the parish church, has been much altered and enlarged. Inside the building the entrance hall has a moulded cornice and an original doorway with a four-centred head and moulded architrave; the fireplace (Plate p. 247) is flanked by Ionic pilasters supporting carved terminal figures with an enriched entablature; between the figures are two panels with enriched bolection mouldings; the work is of early 17th-century date refixed with some later details.

a(13). Marchings, house ¼ m. S.E. of (12), was built probably early in the 16th century, but has been almost entirely altered. Inside the building is an original window with diamond-shaped mullions, and now blocked.

c(14). Brownings, house in Gravel Lane, about 1½ m. E.N.E. of the parish church, has a late 17th-century addition at the E. end and a modern addition at the back. The original chimney-stack has two diagonal shafts.

c(15). The Retreat, house, at Chigwell Row, 600 yards N.E. of All Saints Church, was built probably in the 16th century, but has been almost entirely altered. On the S. front the upper storey projects at the W. end and is gabled.

b(16). Brookhouse Farm, house 650 yards S.W. of the parish church, has on the S.E. front two gables with original moulded and carved bargeboards. The central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building is some original panelling with fluted pilasters.