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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'Faulkbourne', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 67-72. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol2/pp67-72 [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxiv. S.E. (b)xxxv. S.W. (c)xlv. N.W.)

A small parish 2½ m. N.W. of Witham, with a detached portion 1 m. N.E. of Witham. The Hall is of exceptional interest as an elaborate example of 15th-century brickwork.


a(1). A silver coin of Domitian and Roman bricks re-used in a later wall may indicate a Roman building here; but they may equally well have come from the known foundations at Rivenhall, barely 2 miles N.W.


a(2). The Parish Church of St. Germain stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are of coursed flint-rubble with Barnack stone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The Nave and Chancel were built early in the 12th century, but late in the 13th century the E. end of the chancel was re-built. The Bell-turret was added probably in the 16th century. In the 19th century the South Porch and Vestry were built and the church was much restored. The church appears to have been damaged by fire at some time.

The early 13th-century military effigy is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (29 ft. by 21¼ ft.) has a late 13th-century E. window, partly restored, of three pointed lights with pierced spandrels under a two-centred head; both the internal and the external labels have carved headstops. In the N. wall, in the centre, is an original round-headed window of one light with widely splayed jambs, partly restored. In the S. wall are windows; the eastern, of late 13th-century date, two considerably restored, is of two pointed lights under a two-centred head; the western window is a 'low-side' of the first half of the 14th century, much restored, and is of one trefoiled and transomed light under a pointed head; between the windows is an original 12th-century doorway, now opening into the vestry; it has a semi-circular arch springing from chamfered abaci, which are carried a short way along the external face of the wall. There is no chancel-arch.

The Nave (43 ft. by 23 ft.), has, in the N. wall, three windows; the easternmost is of c. 1340, partly restored, and is of two trefoiled lights surmounted by a quatrefoil under a two-centred head; the other two windows are original and of single round-headed lights with widely splayed jambs; between them is a doorway, now blocked, with a square head on shouldered jambs, possibly 13th-century. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern (Plate p. 271) is of the 16th century and of brick, partly restored; it is of three lights with four-centred heads with vertical tracery in a square head with a moulded label; the western window is original, but considerably restored, and is similar to the other original windows; W. of this is the original S. doorway set in a gabled projection and with a semi-circular arch of two orders, the outer roll-moulded and supported on square shafts with chamfered edges; the capitals have a rough cross-shaped ornament and the bases resemble inverted capitals. In the W. wall are five windows arranged in two tiers; in the lower tier are two round-headed windows, apparently entirely modern; above them is a similar window flanked by two small circular windows, also modern.

The Bell-turret at the W. end of the nave is supported on two trusses, of which the western is carried on the W. wall; the eastern truss is carried on wall-posts, of which the southern stands on a frame around the S. doorway; the trusses support the four angle-posts of the turret, which is surmounted by a broached shingle spire crowned by a lead finial.

The Roof of the chancel has 15th-century moulded wall-plates; at the W. end is a tie-beam and king-post of the same date. The roof of the nave is of the trussed-rafter type with a central king-post truss, and is possibly of the 14th century; many of the timbers are much charred.

Fittings—Bells: two; said to be, 1st, uninscribed but ancient; 2nd, by Robert Burford, c. 1400 and inscribed "Sancta Katerina Ora Pro Nobis." Brasses: In chancel—(1) in N.E. corner, partly covered, with indent for inscription plate, two shields (a) quarterly 1 and 4 a cheveron vair, 2 and 3 an inverted cheveron (or voided pile), (b) paly of six a quarter ermine, early 16th-century; (2) of Henry Fortescue, Esquire of the body to Queen Elizabeth, 1576, figure in full armour, with three groups of children below, marginal inscription and four shields of arms; (3) of Mary, wife successively of Sir Edward Darrell, Philip Maunsell and Henry Fortescue, 1598, figure of lady with inscription plate and four shields of arms. Coffin-lid: In chancel—against N. wall, upper part of slab with chamfered edges and cross in low relief, 13th-century. Door: In doorway of nave, with pointed head, of battens with joints covered by vertical mouldings, three strap-hinges, probably 15th-century. Font: Octagonal with concave side, moulded lower edge and moulded base, 15th-century. Funeral-helm: In chancel—on N. wall, on wrought-iron bracket, a visored and combed helm, 16th-century. W. of this is a similar bracket. Glass: In nave—in N.E. window, in each light, spire of canopy with foliated border; in quatrefoil, shield (Plate, p. xxxvi) a cheveron between three lions, 14th-century, in situ but with a few fragments added. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel—(1) on N. wall, to Sir Edward Bullock, 1644, panel of black marble with white marble architrave, surmounted by cartouche with arms; against S. wall, (2) slab of Purbeck marble, with gabled head and carved figure of a knight with flat-topped helm, kite-shaped shield and long surcoat, illegible traces of Lombardic inscription, all much worn, fracture across middle, early to mid 13th-century. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Elizabeth Cracherode, 1693–4, with shield of arms. Plate: Includes silver cup and cover-paten, 1583–4, the cup with engraved pattern; a silver paten and a silver flagon, both 1665–6. Stalls: In chancel— made up with modern work, five bench-ends and two buttressed fronts, one with linen-fold panels, three carved popey-heads, early 16th-century. Weather-vane: On spire—of wrought-iron, dated 1701.



a(3). Faulkbourne Hall, S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The walls are chiefly of red brick, and the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 15th century, and was then a timber-framed structure. Of this structure a T-shaped fragment (rooms 1–4 on plan) with the cross-wing at the E. end, is embodied in the present house. In 1439 the owner, Sir John Montgomery, was granted license to crenellate in stone or brick, (Pat. Roll 18 Hen. VI, pt. 2, m. 33) and perhaps before his death in 1449 the E. front of the cross-wing was re-built in brick. The N. front, including the N.E. tower (rooms 5–8) were probably added by his son, Sir Thomas, who died in 1494. About 1637 the manor passed to Sir Edward Bullock (Morant II, 117), who probably inserted main staircase. C. 1693, the date on a rain-water head, the S.E. wing (rooms 9–10) was added to the S. end of the original cross-wing; at the same time the S. side of the original main block was re-faced with brick, the W. front was altered and perhaps set back some distance, and the semi-octagonal turret (11) was built. The S. front was then the entrance front, and the greater part of an avenue leading up to it still exists. About the same time the oldest part of the E. front, originally of two storeys only, was heightened to three storeys and an attic. Early in the 18th century sash-frames were inserted in many of the windows, especially on the E. front, the floor of the Library (4) was lowered to give the room greater height, and a small annexe or communicating lobby was added between it and the Tower Library (5). In 1832 the W. front was again largely re-built to form the main entrance front, and a central porch-wing was added. Soon afterwards the S.W. wing was built, followed by additions between this wing and the S.E. wing, and by various minor alterations.

The older part of the house is a remarkable example of 15th-century brickwork, and the 17th-century staircase is notable.

Elevations—The W. Front includes the modern S.W. wing, and the old but remodelled front of the main block, this is of symmetrical design, the main wall being of two bays divided by the modern porch and flanked by two semi-octagonal turrets; the N. turret retains its original brickwork on its northern faces, but the W. and S. faces have been partly re-built with later brick and have a moulded string-course; the S. side is also partly of late 17th-century brick with a moulded plinth. The S. turret is of similar design, but the brickwork is in Flemish bond with black headers. The brickwork of the main wall is modern. The whole elevation has a brick corbel-table like that of the N. Elevation (q.v.), but only that on the N. and part of the W. faces of the N. turret is original. Both turrets have embattled parapets and octagonal crocketed spires of brick, possibly 17th-century date. In the N.W. face of the N. turret are two of the original windows, each of a small single light, now blocked, with moulded jambs, square head and moulded label. Over each turret are two tall narrow chimney shafts with fluted sides and moulded caps, probably of the 17th-century. On the E. side of the modern porch is re-set a lead rain-water head, inscribed B.E.E. 1666.

The N. Elevation (Plate p. 75) has its main wall divided by a two-storeyed bay window, and flanked on the W. by the turret described above, and on the E. by the great tower. The W. part of the main wall has a moulded string-course between the two storeys, partly restored, and the whole elevation is crowned by an embattled parapet, below is a corbel-table of cinque-foiled arches with trefoiled spandrels; many of the machicolations have small square holes in the back like put-log holes. The main wall E. of the N.W. turret has, in the upper storey, an original late 15th-century oriel window, carried on five tapering and moulded brick corbels to represent fan-vaulting with moulded pendants; the window is of four square-headed lights with brick transoms and mullions; on either side of it is a blocked window in the main wall; the other windows in the main wall are modern restorations. The semi-octagonal bay window in the middle of the front has, on the ground floor, in each face an original square-headed window, the easternmost altered to a doorway, the others widened by partly cutting away the moulded jambs; on the first floor are three similar but unaltered windows, they have transoms and are under a single label, as are also the three middle lights below. On the main wall E. of the bay window is a rain-water head, bearing the date 1637, and a shield of arms of Bullock. The great N.E. tower (Plate p. 71) is of four storeys including the basement; at the N.W. and N.E. angles are diagonal buttresses of two stages which carry octagonal turrets boldly corbelled out at the level of the main parapet and have similar parapets at a higher level. In the outer faces of the turrets and the upper stages of the buttresses are vertical rows of small holes resembling put-log holes. Built against the W. wall of the tower, above the roof of the main block, is a projecting bay, now inacessible, but probably intended to contain a narrow staircase, of the 16th century; it has a small quatrefoil piercing in its W. face. The merlons of the parapet on the W. face are pierced with cross loops. In the middle of the N. side of the tower is a slightly projecting chimney-stack, corbelled out from the wall about 7 feet above the ground and broadening at intervals as it rises; at the top are stumps of three octagonal shafts. Under the chimney-stack are traces of a doorway or window which formerly opened into the basement. The ground floor is lighted by two windows in the N., two in the E. and one in the W. wall, and the first floor has one in each wall; these are all of two lights with transoms and moulded labels and are original, partly restored. The second floor has a window in each wall, of one light with a label.

Faulkboune Hall, Plan

The E. Elevation (Plate p. 71) consists of three divisions—the great tower, the end of the oldest building, and the 17th-century S.E. wing. At the S.E. angle of the tower is an octagonal stair-turret which rises above the top of the tower and has a similar embattled parapet and a corbel-table; it is lighted by square loops, probably all originally quatre-foiled. The main parapet of the tower has, in the middle, the stump of a diagonal pinnacle. The next division, S. of the tower, is of three storeys and is flanked by two bay windows, of the full height of the wall. The two lower storeys are of early 15th-century brickwork; the bricks are somewhat larger than those of the N. elevation. The third storey is a late 17th-century addition or rebuilding. The original first floor level is marked by a moulded string-course. The northern bay window is semi-hexagonal, and has, at the angles, small shafts of cut brick with moulded bases resting on the chamfered plinth of the bay. In the middle and S.E. faces on the ground floor are original windows; the S.E. window is now blocked; the middle window is of two four-centred lights under a three-centred head. The second storey of the bay window has, in each face, a tall early 18th-century window cutting through the original string-course the third storey is lighted by late 17th-century casement windows with high transoms. The space between the E. main wall and the tower stair turret has been filled in, and the closing wall has the remains of a window with a three-centred head, and two late 17th-century transomed windows. The main wall between the bay windows has a chamfered plinth and windows of late 17th and early 18th-century date, like those in the bay window. The southern bay window is semi-octagonal and of greater projection than the northern window; at the outer angles it has low buttresses, apparently original; in each of the three outer faces on the ground floor is an original window, the middle window of two four-centred lights, restored, under a three-centred head, and the side windows of a single three-centred light; the two upper storeys have late 17th-century transomed windows, the lower ones set in original openings. The late 17th-century S.E. wing is of three storeys divided by moulded string-courses, and has, on this elevation, two gables. The first and third storeys have late 17th-century casement window, and the second storey has five 18th-century sash-windows. There are three rain-water heads, two with the letters and date EBM 1693. On the elevation are three chimney-stacks with octagonal shafts, all probably of the 17th century and restored.

S. Elevation. The end of the S.E. wing is of red and black bricks and has a crow-stepped gable; there are two similar gables and like brickwork on the W. side of the wing. Some of the original late 17th-century windows are retained, and on the W. side of the wing is a late 17th-century wood-framed doorway with a plain battened door. Above the modern additions on the S. side of the main block appears the wall of the staircase faced with late 17th-century red and black bricks, and surmounted by an embattled parapet. Rehung in the wall of one of the modern additions is a mid 17th-century door with the original iron plate and knocker between the eared and moulded panels enclosing small lozenge-shaped panels.

Interior—The main entrance-lobby has a pavement of black and white marble squares, probably of late 17th-century date, re-used. The ceiling of the Dining Room (7) has three original late 15th-century moulded beams; a passage has been cut off from the E. end of the room by a partition, above which is another original moulded ceiling-beam; the E. side of the partition is lined with early 17th-century oak panelling, and the opposite wall of the passage is lined with late 16th-century panelling. The passage ends in the N. bay window, which has an elaborate vault with brick ribs and liernes, and with stone or plaster shields at the intersections (Plate p. 70). The floor is similar to that of the entrance hall.

A passage running E. from the passage to the basement of the great tower has some pieces of early 17th-century panelling. The Tower Library (5) forming the ground floor of the tower is lined partly with similar panelling re used from other parts of the house. The stair-turret at the S.E. corner of the tower (Plate p. 70) has brick winding steps and central newel; in the outer wall are sunk moulded hand-rails; the steps rise from the basement, where they are entered by a four-centred doorway. The Kitchen (3) retains the original early 15th-century timber-framed W. wall and part of the similar S. wall; the W. wall is of three bays divided by moulded wall-posts, and has, at the S. end, an original doorway with a moulded frame and a heavy six-panelled door with deep styles, muntins and rails. Over this is a 16th-century window of five lights with moulded oak jambs and mullions and intermediate iron stanchions. In the W. end of the S. wall of the room is another 16th-century window of three lights, and under it a recess, possibly a former doorway; near the N. end of the W. wall is an old serving-door of feathered battens, which retains an old strap-hinge and iron knocker. The ceiling has a moulded beam across the mouth of the bay window. In the window is a 16th-century quarry with a bird. The S.E. wing has chamfered ceiling-beams, and retains in one doorway an old battened door. The main staircase (Plate p. 70), of c. 1640, is of the well type, and has square panelled newels with modern caps, heavy turned and square balusters, and moulded close string. The stairs N. of the main staircase are of the 17th century, re-fixed, and have turned balusters and plain hand-rail.

Glass, Quarry with Belt and Cords

On the first floor the oriel window in the W. bay of the N. elevation has, re-set in the two middle lights, some diamond quarries of white and yellow glass, probably of early 16th-century date; thirteen bear the badge, a black belt with yellow lining, combined with a cord or leash; other quarries bear the initial E, a cock holding in its beak a sprig of foliage, etc. The upper storey of the bay window in the middle of the N. elevation has a vaulted ceiling similar to that on the ground floor, and is entered through an 18th-century partition closing the original brick archway which has a four-centred head. Several of the rooms in the upper and attic storeys have old battened doors. The roof over the oldest part of the house (1–4) has hollow-chamfered purlins, probably of the 15th-century, re-used, showing below the collar-beam ceilings. In the vaulted cellar of the great tower, in the W. wall, is a four-centred archway and recess, which possibly opened into a former staircase. In the S. wall is a pointed recess, possibly a former doorway. The S.E. stair-turret is entered by a doorway with a four-centred arch. The third floor of the tower is entered only from this stair-turret by a doorway with a four-centred arch; on this floor in the N. wall is a four-centred fireplace of brick.

Condition—Good, except for a number of cracks in the brickwork of the Tower and the E. Front.

Monuments (3–15).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing and the roofs are tiled or thatched. Many of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams, wide fireplaces, and one or more original chimneystacks.

Condition—Unless otherwise stated, good, or fairly good.

a(4). Home Farm, house, now two tenements, 800 yards W.S.W. of the church, was built in the second half of the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and W. It was much altered late in the 17th century, when a block was added between the wings, and this addition has a modern extension on the W. side. On the E. front are two gables. The late 17th-century central chimney-stack has pilasters on two sides and at one angle, and the W. chimney-stack, of late 17th or early 18th-century date, is of cross-shaped plan. Inside the building, on the ground floor of the N. wing, is a moulded wall-post, apparently re-used. On the first floor, in the E. wall of the N. wing, are visible five small original windows, now blocked. In the same wing are the shaped wall-posts of a former heavy roof-truss.

a(5). Little Troys, house and barn, 600 yards N.W. of (4). The House was built about the middle of the 16th century, but has been largely re-built. At the back are modern additions. Inside the building, some of the ceiling-beams are supported by curved brackets, and in the N.W. room on the ground floor are three moulded joists, possibly re-used.

The Barn, S.E. of the house, is of three bays with a central porch; it may be of mediæval origin, but seems to have been re-built.

a(6). Hill Farm, house, 700 yards N. by W. of the church, on the W. side of the road, is of two storeys with attics. It was built on a T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the S. end. On the E. front the upper storey projects and is gabled in the middle of the main block.

Condition—Very much altered.

a(7). Cottage, now two tenements, on the E. side of the road, 60 yards N.N.E. of (6).

a(8). Cottage (Plate p. 97), N. of (7); of one storey.

a(9). Cottage (Plate p. 97), N. of (8); of one storey.

a(10). Cottage (Plate p. 97), now the Post Office, N. of (9), with modern addition at the W. end. Visible internally at the E. end is an original window, now blocked, with diamond-shaped mullions.

a(11). Oak Farm, house, now two tenements, and barn, 280 yards N.W. of (10). The House was built on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and W. On the E. side are modern additions.

The Barn, N. of the house, is weather-boarded and of three bays with a central porch; at the S. end is a modern extension.

a(12). The Grove, cottage, two tenements, 700 yards N. by E. of the church, with modern additions at the back and ends.

a(13). Hole Farm, house, now two tenements, 550 yards N.E. of (12), was built early in the 17th century, and was extended or re-built at the E. end later in the same century. On the N. side are modern additions.

b(14). Coleman's Farm, house and barn, about 2½ m. E.S.E. of the church, in the detached portion of the parish. The House was built probably in the 15th century, but the N.W. end has possibly been re-built, and the roof has been altered. The 16th-century chimney has the stumps of four octagonal shafts on a square base with a moulded capping. Inside the building some of the ceiling-beams are carried on shaped wall-posts. The 16th-century staircase in the S.W. part of the building has flat-shaped balusters and a moulded handrail. On the first floor are tie-beams with curved braces.


c(15). Cottage, 160 yards S.W. of (14), was built early in the 16th century on a modified L-shaped plan, with the main block extending towards the E. and a wing of slight projection towards the S. Inside the building, in the N.W. end of the house, is a 16th-century door and blocked window with moulded stop-chamfered frame. On the first floor is a similar window, also blocked; some of the ceiling-beams are carried on shaped wall-posts. The roof has cambered tie-beams with curved braces.