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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'Fyfield', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 85-87. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/essex/vol2/pp85-87 [accessed 20 April 2024]

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28. FYFIELD. (D.C.)

Fyfield. The Parish Church of St Nicholas.

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xlii. S.W. (b)li. N.W.)

Fyfield is a parish and small village, 3 m. N.N.E. of Chipping Ongar. The Church, Fyfield Hall, and Lampetts are the principal monuments.


b(1). Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands on the E. side of the village. The walls are of flint-rubble with some modern brickwork and are mostly covered with plaster and cement; the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are tiled except those of the aisles which are covered with lead; the roofs of the tower and the spire are weather-boarded. The Central Tower and Nave were originally built in the 12th century. Early in the 13th century the N. arcade of the nave was built and the North Aisle added; the S. arcade and South Aisle followed about the middle of the same century. The Chancel with the Bone Hole under it was built c. 1330–40 and late in the 14th century the North Porch was added. The foundations of the whole building appear to have been defective, especially those of the tower, and in the 18th and 19th centuries numerous buttresses had to be added and part of the tower and the W. wall of the nave were re-built in brick. In the 19th century most of the external stonework was restored, the N. porch partly re-built, the bone hole under the chancel filled in and the Organ Chamber added.

The chancel is a good example of 14th-century work, and among the fittings the 14th-century sedilia and the 15th-century niche are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (Plate p. 84) (20 ft. by 17 ft.) has an E. window all modern except the splays and two-centred rear-arch which are of early 14th-century date; the splays are moulded and carved with alternate roses and four-leaved flowers; the rear-arch is carved with human heads on the S. and with various beasts connected with the chase on the N.; there is a moulded label with head-stops; below the window, externally, is an early 14th-century archway, partly restored and now blocked; it formerly opened into the bone hole and has moulded jambs and segmental-pointed arch. In the N. wall are two early 14th-century windows; the eastern is of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head and is partly restored; the jambs, splays, arch and rear-arch, internal and external labels are all moulded; the labels have head-stops and the splays have attached shafts with moulded bases; the western window is a single 'low-side' light with a trefoiled head, it is all modern externally but has splays and moulded rear-arch of the 14th century. In the S. wall are two windows similar in date and detail to the corresponding windows in the N. wall, but in the eastern window the shafted splays have also moulded capitals and the western window has a chamfered rear-arch.

The Central Tower (about 17 ft. square) is of two stages faced externally with 18th-century brick and plastered; above this the tower is finished with a hipped roof, a square timber lantern and a low octagonal spire, all weather-boarded. The arch between the chancel and tower is modern. In the N. wall is a modern opening into the organ chamber. In the S. wall is a single light window, all modern externally, but with shafted splays with moulded capitals and bases and hollow-chamfered rear-arch with moulded label and foliated stops, all of early 14th-century date. The western arch is of late 14th-century date much restored, especially on the W. face; the responds have each three attached shafts with modern capitals and bases; the two-centred arch is of two moulded orders. In the second stage the 12th-century walling is partly preserved, and in both the S. and W. walls is a 12th century window with splays and semi-circular arch of Roman brick; the S. window is blocked and the W. window opens into the nave roof. In the N. wall is a 17th-century window of brick with a round head. The turret staircase has a brick newel, probably of the 12th century, and stone steps.

The Nave (45 ft. by 20½ ft.) has at each end of both arcades a length of thick walling, probably part of the 12th-century building. The N. arcade is of three bays and of c. 1220; the two-centred arches are of two chamfered orders; the circular columns have moulded bases with square plinths and spur-ornaments and moulded capitals of which the upper members follow the outline of the orders of the arch above, except on the S. side where they have been cut back to the circular form; the responds have attached half columns but without the square plinths and with normal capitals. The S. arcade is of three bays and of mid to late 13th-century date; the two-centred arches are of two moulded orders and the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases; the eastern column appears to have a moulded sub-base, now buried. In the W. wall is a modern window and doorway.

The North Aisle (6½ ft. wide) has in the E. wall a mid or late 15th-century window formerly of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a triangular head with moulded splays and rear-arch; the mullion and part of the tracery have been removed and the window opens into the organ-chamber. In the N. wall are two windows; the eastern is modern; the western is of late 14th-century date and of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with tracery in a square head; between the windows is the late 14th-century N. doorway which has moulded jambs and two-centred arch, but is largely restored.

The South Aisle (7 ft. wide) has in the S. wall three windows; the two eastern are modern; the westernmost window is modern except for the late 14th-century splays and chamfered rear-arch; between the two western windows is the S. doorway, all modern except the splays and chamfered rear-arch of late 14th or early 15th-century date. In the W. wall is a single light window with a four-centred head and probably of the 13th century altered in the 16th century.

The North Porch was probably largely re-built in the 18th or 19th century, but incorporates in the gable a late 14th-century moulded and cambered beam and the wooden frame of the two-centred outer archway with open spandrels, probably once filled with tracery.

The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century and has three tie-beams and king-posts with four-way struts, two king-posts have moulded capitals and bases. The roof of the S. porch has a 14th-century moulded tie-beam and wall-plate.

Fittings—Chest: In N. aisle—with two plain hinges and three locks, probably late 17th-century. Floor-slabs: In nave—(1) to Ann, daughter of James Beverley, 1702, and to Thomas Beverley and Elizabeth, his wife, with shield of arms; (2) to Mary, wife of John Collins, 1714; (3) to George Pochin, 1704, his wife, 1706, and John, his son, 1723, with shield of arms. Font: with square and slightly tapering bowl of Purbeck marble, sides carved on E. and N. with a fleur-de-lis and two quatrefoil leaves and on W. and S. with shallow round-headed panels, octagonal stem and square base, 12th-century. Indent: said to be under organ—of foliated cross and two square pennons with staves. Niche: In N. aisle—across N.E. angle, with elaborately carved canopy, ribbed vault with carved bosses, flanking buttresses, moulded cornice and bracket with plain shield in front, 15th-century, shield plastered. Painting: traces of colour decoration on arcades of nave. Piscina and Credence: (Plate p. 84) In chancel—piscina with moulded and shafted jambs with moulded bases and capitals, moulded and cinque-foiled head with moulded label, round drain, c. 1330–40; credence E. of piscina, with plain jamb and two-centred head with moulded label, recess and arch not complete but interrupted by E. wall. Plate: includes cup and stand—paten of 1638 and large cup of 1699. Seating: In chancel and nave—modern seating incorporating moulded rails, early 16th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—of three bays with moulded and cinque-foiled arches with moulded label having head stops, one of a bishop, moulded string-course above arches resting on two octagonal shafts with moulded bases and capitals; moulding of capitals returned along lintels to the back wall, responds with attached half shafts, in one spandrel of arcade three roundels in high relief, probably for St. Nicholas, shafts of Purbeck marble, remainder clunch, c. 1330–40. Stoup: In N. aisle—E. of N. doorway, with re-used trefoiled head from window, 14th-century, no basin.

Condition—Good, much repaired.


Homestead Moats.

a(2). At Green's Farm, about 1 m. N.N.W. of the church.

a(3). At Holme's Garden, 500 yards N.N.E. of (2).

b(4). At Pennyfeathers, nearly 1 m. W. of the church.

b(5). At Herons, about ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church.

b(6). Lampetts, house and moat, about ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the 14th century with a central Hall and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The E. cross-wing was probably built in the 15th century. The W. cross-wing is modern and a floor has been inserted in the Hall. The exterior has no ancient features except two chimney-stacks which have grouped diagonal shafts of the 17th century. Inside the building there is a little 17th century panelling and some chamfered ceiling-beams of the same date; in the N. wall is an original doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The roof of the Hall has an original king-post with moulded capital and base and four-way struts; the timbers are smoke-blackened. The E. cross-wing has two 15th-century octagonal king-posts with moulded capitals and bases.

The Moat surrounds the house on three sides.

Condition—Of house, good, much altered.

a(7). Dame Anna's Farm, house and moat, nearly 1½ m. N.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, partly timber-framed and plastered and partly re-faced with modern brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 16th century and has an original gabled porch of two storeys with a moulded frame to the doorway. The early 17th-century central chimney-stack has four conjoined shafts set diagonally.

The Moat is fragmentary.

Condition—Of house, bad.

b(8). Fyfield Hall, house and fish-pond, 100 yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The house has been much altered but appears to have had an aisled central Hall, lying N. and S. and dating probably from late in the 14th century. The N. cross-wing is of early 16th-century date and the S. cross-wing has disappeared. There are later and modern additions on the E. and W. sides and the Hall has been entirely altered. There are two old chimney-stacks, that over the Hall with grouped diagonal shafts and a plaster panel dated 1700, and that in the N. wing plain but with a sunk panel with a crow-stepped head. On the N. front the upper storey projects on curved brackets and has an early 16th-century moulded bressumer carved with running foliage; the door has nail-studded rails and muntins. Inside the building, the Hall retains one oak column, now in a cupboard and with stop-chamfered angles and a moulded capital. The N. cross-wing has ceiling-beams and tie-beams with curved brackets and a rebated and hollow-chamfered king-post.

The Fish-pond, S.E. of the house is rectangular and is known as the "Catholic Pond."

Condition—Of house, good, much altered.

b(9). The Rectory, 400 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are partly timber-framed and plastered and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. There are remains of a 15th-century house incorporated in the modern building. The upper storey formerly projected and is gabled at the back. Inside the building is an original doorway with a flat four-centred head and fragments of 16th-century panelling; there are also two old doors, one panelled and one of moulded battens. In the roof is an original cambered tie-beam with curved braces and the mortice for a king-post.

Condition—Good, much altered.

Monuments (10–15).

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, wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good.

b(10). White Hall, about 80 yards E. of the church has modern additions on the E. side. Inside the building are original moulded ceiling-beams and a staircase with a moulded hand-rail, turned balusters and newels with moulded pendants.

b(11). Cottage, now tenements, E. of the church-yard, has an original central chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts.

b(12). House, two tenements, 300 yards N.W. of the church, has an original central chimney-stack with three conjoined diagonal shafts.

b(13). Cottage, 170 yards N.E. of (12).

b(14). Ponder's Lodge Farm, house, 100 yards N.E. of (13), is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end.

a(15). Malting Farm, house, about 1 m. N.W. of the church. The original central chimney-stack of cross-shaped plan and set diagonally.