Great Hallingbury

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1921.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Great Hallingbury', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 2, Central and South west, (London, 1921) pp. 93-97. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxii. S.E. (b)xxxi. N.E.)

Great Hallingbury is a parish adjoining Bishop's Stortford on the S.E. Wallbury Camp and the Church are the principal monuments.


b(1). Cliff Camp, known as Wallbury Camp (Plan p. 95), 1½ m. S.W. of the church, occupies the end of a spur on the 200 ft. contour-line, overlooking the valley of the Stort on the W. and formerly flanked by marshland on the N. and S. The work consists of a roughly pear-shaped area of about 31 acres surrounded by a double rampart, the outer member of which is intermittent on the W. slope and may never have been strongly marked on that side. The inner rampart now reaches a height of 7 ft. above the interior surface, and from 12 ft. to 20 ft. above the bottom of the ditch, which is from 50 ft. to 70 ft. wide. At the N.E. and S.E. bends are traces of a second, shallow ditch beyond the outer rampart. There are now five gaps in the defences, but the two original entrances appear to have been on the east and west sides. On the hillside immediately below the S.W. angle is a spring. The work has not been properly excavated, but urns of the late Celtic cordoned type have been found in the vicinity. Three of these urns are preserved in Little Hallingbury church.

Condition—Fairly good; the banks and ditches are thickly planted.


b(2). Parish Church of St. Giles stands on the N.W. side of Hallingbury Park. The walls are of flint-rubble with dressings of Barnack stone, clunch and Roman brick; the roofs are tiled. The reconstructed chancel-arch is of late 11th-century date and the S.W. window of the nave is of the same period. The chancel was re-built late in the 13th century. C. 1400 the West Tower was added or re-built. The Chancel and Nave are said to have been re-built in 1874 when the North Chapel and North Aisle were added and the South Porch added or re-built.

The late 11th-century chancel arch and window are interesting, and among the fittings the alabasters and rood-loft piscina are noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The whole of the detail work of the chancel and nave is modern externally. The Chancel (32 ft. by 21½ ft.), has a three-light E. window with a moulded rear-arch and label and modern or re-cut Purbeck marble shafts to the splays, probably all of the late 13th-century date re-set. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern has splays with attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases and a moulded rear-arch and label, all of late 13th-century date re-set; the western window is carried down low and has moulded splays and a hollow-chamfered rear arch, probably of the 14th century re-set; between the windows is a doorway all modern except the re-set splays and the base of the outer jambs.

The late 11th-century chancel arch (Plate p. xxx) is of Roman bricks except part of the N. respond which is of stone; the semi-circular arch is of two plain orders with the springing set back from the face of the responds; the responds have imposts of two courses of bricks set oversailing; in the face of the N. respond is a modern doorway representing the former entrance to the rood-loft staircase; the whole arch has been re-set. S. of the arch is a recess with a re-set segmental head and S. jamb, which is splayed back with an ogee stop of the 14th century.

The Nave (44½ ft. by 25½ ft.), has in the S. wall three windows; the two eastern have 14th-century stonework in the splays and rear-arches, re-cut and re-set; the internal sill of the easternmost is carried down to form a seat; the western window is a single late 11th-century light with a round head and all of Roman brick; between the two western windows is the S. doorway with a moulded two-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label, traceried spandrels and blank shields, of c. 1400.

The West Tower (10½ ft. square) is of c. 1400 and of three stages with diagonal buttresses, S.E. stair turret, an embattled parapet and an octagonal shingled spire. The two-centred tower-arch is of three orders, the two outer continuous and moulded on the E. face, and the inner order chamfered and resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the S. wall is a doorway with a two-centred arch opening into the turret staircase. The W. doorway and window are modern except for the moulded labels with head-stops and the splays and rear-arch of the window. The second stage has modern loops in the S. and W. walls. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window all modern except the label with head stops.

Fittings—Bells: five; 3rd by John Tonne, 1542; 4th by John Waylett, 1713. Brasses and Indents. Brass: In tower—on N. wall, to Agnes Parker, 1440, Elizabeth (de la Pole), wife of Henry Lovell, Lord Morley, 1480, William Parker, 1520, Alice (Lovell), his wife, 1528, Alice, wife of Henry Parker, 1552, erected by Sir Henry Parker, 1556. Indent: In tower—(1) of man in armour under crocketed and gabled canopy, marginal inscription and two shields, mid 14th-century; (2) of priest and inscription plate. In churchyard—by chancel door, (3) of foliated cross with marginal inscription, early 14th-century. Glass: In glass case in tower—fragments, 15th-century. Helms: In tower—two funeral helms (one inlaid) with vizors, probably 16th-century. Images: In nave—on S.E. window ledge, fragment of small alabaster images, etc., with original colour decoration, probably part of former altar "table," 15th-century. Monument: In tower— on N. wall, small niche of marble with flanking columns, entablature and pediment and containing a figure of Death, probably part of same monument as brass. Piscina (Plate p. xxx): In nave—high up in E. wall, S. of chancel arch, with triangular head of Roman brick, fluted drain, probably of former rood-loft altar, date uncertain. Plate: includes cup of 1661 and paten inscribed 1675.

Condition—Good, mostly re-built.


Homestead Moats.

b(3). At the Rectory, 300 yards N.E. of the church.

b(4). At the Hall, W. of the church.

b(5). At How Green, 1,000 yards S.S.W. of the church.

b(6). At Bedlar's Green, near the inn, ¾ m. N.E. of the church.

b(7). Great Jenkins, house, barn and moat, 1,000 yards N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built possibly in the 16th century, but alterations and additions obscure the original plan and date.

The Barn, N. of the house, is of weather-boarded timber-framing, with a thatched roof. It was built probably in the 17th century.

The Moat is fragmentary.

Condition—Of house and barn, good.


b(8). Howlets, house and moat, 1,400 yards E.N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts and a sunk panel. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams and a wide-open fireplace.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, good, much restored.

b(9). Hallingbury Place, house and stables, 1,200 yards S.E. of the church. The House is of three storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. Eighteenth-century and modern alterations and additions obscure the original plan, but the W. half of the building incorporates a house probably of early 16th-century date and possibly of half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. The original main block is indicated by thick brick walls; part of the W. or Buttery wing survives as the present kitchen, and the position of the former E. wing is indicated by the roof-construction approximately behind the central pediment of the present N. front. On the W. elevation, some original brickwork with diaperpattern in black headers is still visible. Inside the building an upper room of the original main block is lined with 16th or early 17th-century panelling, now painted. In the kitchen is a long table with heavy turned legs and carved upper rail, probably of 16th-century date. In a modern room at the back of the house is some 16th or early 17th-century panelling and a door of linen-fold panels with cock's-head hinges. The oak overmantel of this room is of the first half of the 17th century; on each side of the fireplace is a tapering enriched pilaster supporting a carved cornice, above which are two large bolection-moulded panels, divided and flanked by tapering pilasters with jewel-ornament, etc.; above them is a carved frieze with dentils and a cornice supported by a console over each pilaster. The overmantel and part of the panelling are said to have been brought from Coopersale Hall, Epping.

The Stables, W. of the house, are a rectangular block built of 16th-century brick with modern roofs and an addition at the E. end.

Condition—Of house and stables, good, largely re-built.

Monuments (10–24).

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

Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.

b(10). Cottages, on S.E. side of the road, 150 yards N.E. of the church, consist of two rectangular blocks connected by a low building of one storey; at the back are modern additions.

b(11). Little Jenkins, farmhouse, ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church, was built in the 15th or early in the 16th-century on a rectangular plan with a small staircase-wing at the back; adjoining this wing is an 18th-century addition. Inside the building is an old oak door of moulded battens, and in the roof an original king-post truss is visible.

b(12). Great Beldams, house, 1,500 yards N.W. of the church, has two modern wings on the N. On this elevation the upper storey of the original block projects.

a(13). Lewis's, farmhouse at Tilekiln Green, over 1 m. N.E. of the church, was built on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N.E. end.

b(14). Harps, farmhouse near Bedlar's Green, 1,400 yards N.E. of the church, was built in the 15th century. The original plan probably consisted of a central Hall with cross-wings at the N. and S. ends, but the whole building has been extensively altered; the N.W. and S. wings are modern. Inside the building the roofs of the N. cross-wing and of the former Hall each retain an original truss with king-post having moulded capital and base and four-way struts.

b(15). House, now tenements, at Bedlar's Green, 1 m. E.N.E. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E. Inside the building an original wide-open fireplace has a moulded oak bressumer.


b(16). Farmhouse, at Hallingbury Street, 1,500 yards E. of the church, was built on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the W. and N.

b(17). Lodge Farm, house, 1 m. S.E. of the church, was built on a half H-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. At the E. end of the S. front is a gable. Inside the building is some 17th-century panelling said to have been brought from a former house in the neighbourhood.

b(18). Farmhouse, at Woodside Green, 1 m. S.S.E. of the church, was built on an L-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the W. and S.

b(19). Cobbs Farm, house now tenements, at Woodside Green, 1,600 yards S.S.E. of the church, was built on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S. end; at the N. end are modern additions. On the W. elevation is an original window of three lights with moulded oak mullions. The original chimney-stack is T-shaped on plan.

b(20). Cottage (Plate p. 97), on W. side of the road, 1,500 yards S.W. of the church.

b(21). Cottage, on E. side of the road, 200 yards W. of (20).

b(22). George Inn, at cross-roads, 1¼ m. S.W. of the church, has an 18th or 19th-century wing on the W. side.

b(23). House, on W. side of road at Beadle Common, was built probably in the 16th century on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the N.E. end; at this and at the S.W. end are modern additions.

b(24). Barn, in the N.W. angle of Wallbury Camp, was built probably in the 15th century. It is of five bays divided by king-post trusses.


b(25). Moated Mound, probably site of mill, in Hallingbury Park, 550 yards S.S.E. of the church.