Sectional Preface

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

In this section


Sectional Preface.

(i) Earthworks, etc., Pre-historic and Later.

There are comparatively few earthworks of any importance in this quarter of Essex, and only four appear to be of prehistoric origin. They are Wallbury Camp, near Bishop's Stortford (Plan p. 94), Loughton Camp and Ambresbury Bank (Plans pp. 165, 64), both in Epping Forest, and fragments of a camp in South Weald parish. Wallbury Camp is the finest hill-camp in the County; its defences enclose an area of about thirty-one acres.

At Witham (Plan p. 266) and Maldon there were earthworks which have been ascribed to Edward the Elder, but of the former only fragments remain, and the latter have quite disappeared. Uphall Camp, on the east bank of the River Roding (Plan p. 98), was a large, nearly rectangular work, with a mound near the northeast corner, but it has been almost obliterated by modern buildings. Roman pottery, etc., has been found on this site. There are also fragments of an entrenched position in Chignall parish.

There are three mount and bailey castles, all in an excellent state of preservation, at Pleshey, Ongar and Great Canfield respectively. Pleshey Castle (Plan p. 202) a stronghold of the de Mandevilles, is especially interesting as it retains, in addition to the mount and bailey, the complete outline of the town enclosure within an area of about thirty-four acres, and a fine single-span brick bridge (Plate p. 202), probably of fifteenth-century date. Ongar Castle, built by Richard de Lucy, also retains trace of an outer enclosure (Plan p. 54).

There are about two hundred and fifty homestead moats scheduled in the Report, and there are probably many more of which only small fragments remain.

The unclassified earthworks include mounds, mill-dams, fascine dwellings and works of doubtful origin. Amongst the most interesting are the long series of mill-dams at Leighs Priory (Plan p. 84); a large mound, apparently partly artificial, by the railway line in Latton parish, upon which Roman remains have been found; and a length of entrenchment, known as Moore's Ditch, in ingatestone parish.

(ii) Roman Remains.

To judge by the scanty number and little importance of the Roman finds in this part of the county it would appear that the population was small in Roman times. On the other hand, very extensive use of Roman material is noted in the churches of the twelfth century and earlier date. Roman brick is incorporated in the fabric of thirty-two churches in the one hundred and nine parishes with which this volume is concerned. The insignificance and paucity of the discovered sites from which this material may have been drawn is therefore probably purely fortuitous and may point to considerable periods of destruction and desolation in the dark ages.

Settlements and Houses.—No remains of military works have so far come to light, and there are likewise no indications of towns. Remains of buildings and burials sufficient to suggest a small settlement have been discovered at Chelmsford, and remains of houses at Chigwell, Latton, Pleshey, and Wanstead. Other Roman sites, of doubtful character, occur at Chipping Ongar, White Roding, Epping and Leyton. The pottery, coins, etc., found at Chelmsford and Pleshey belong to the first generation of the Roman occupation, and include Aretine ware at Pleshey, while at Chigwell, where the structural remains are less pretentious, the coins and the pottery begin with the second and appear to end early in the fourth century. Further south, the flats of Plaistow, East and West Ham and Ilford have produced many burials, both by incineration and inhumation, and much pottery, but few structural remains have been recorded. There is evidence that some at least of the inhabitants lived in huts, often circular, and built largely of wattle and daub (as at West Tilbury). The associated finds cover the whole period of the Roman occupation, but pottery of the second century is markedly predominant. In one instance, Uphall Camp, Great Ilford, a pre-Roman earthwork, was occupied at any rate during the second century.

Roads.—The general direction of the main road from London to Colchester, marked by the fords of Stratford, Romford, Chelmsford, and Easterford (Kelvedon), is never in doubt, and this must always have been the chief line of communication between London and Essex. But the detail is often obscure. West of Romford it is significant that the Roman sites—Valentines, Wanstead, Leyton—lie well to the north of the line of the present road, and it is possibly the modern highway does not follow exactly the Roman road.

The two roads running parallel north-eastwards through the Rodings and through Braintree have already been referred to in the sectional preface to North-West Essex, p. xxv. (4), where Professor Haverfield has discussed the possibility of their connection with a system of Roman centuriation.

Place-names.—No certain identifications have yet been made with the placenames in the Antonine Itinerary in this part of Essex. According to one route Caesaromago is placed twenty-eight miles from London, and Colonia twenty-four miles further on. In another route Durolito is located fifteen miles from London, Caesaromago sixteen more, then Canonio twelve, and Camolodunum nine. There is no doubt of the identity of Camolodunum and Colonia with Colchester, which is pretty accurately set down as fifty-four miles from London according to the former route, and fifty-two according to the latter. Caesaromago, twenty-eight miles by one route, and thirty-one by the other, agrees fairly well with Moulsham (Chelmsford), which is twenty-nine English miles from London, and no other site in the neighbourhood has yielded remains commensurate even with the small size of a country town. To some the river-names Can and Lea have suggested the identification of Canonio with Chelmsford and Leyton with Durolito. But the numbers affixed do not suit, and the evidence is quite insufficient.

(iii) Ecclesiastical and Secular Architecture. Building Materials: Stone, Flint, Brick, etc.

The general characteristics—both ecclesiastical and secular—noted in the sectional preface of the volume on the N.W. part of the county are maintained in the corresponding types of buildings in the central area. Flint-rubble is still the normal material for churches, though a much greater use of septaria or boulder clay and pudding-stone is observable in the eastern half. As the distance increases from the chalk ridge of the Chilterns and its continuations there is a corresponding decrease in the use of clunch, the place of which is commonly taken by Reigate stone. The more extensive use of Roman bricks has already been noted and the use of late mediæval bricks is more common here than in the N.W. part of the county. Timber is employed exclusively in the bell-towers of four churches, and the nave of one church (Greensted) and the entire structure of another (Black Chapel, Great Waltham) are in this material.

Amongst secular buildings the use of stone except for dressings is practically unknown, but there is a considerable number of brick buildings of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, of which Faulkbourne Hall, Ingatestone Hall, Albyns, Hill Hall, Boleyn Castle, South Weald Hall and Eastbury House are the most important. The earlier houses in this part of the county are all of timber as well as the majority of the smaller houses of later date.

The remains of Beeleigh Abbey, now a house, are mainly of pudding-stone rubble.

Military buildings are represented only by a few fragments of rubble-core and a brick bridge at Pleshey, and still smaller rubble fragments at Ongar.

Ecclesiastical Buildings.

The churches of the central part of Essex are not remarkable either for size or elaboration of ornament, and none of them stands out as an architectural monument of first importance with the exception of Waltham Abbey.

Chronologically there is a great preponderance of 12th-century work, both the pre-Conquest and the 13th-century periods being poorly represented. There is every probability that the timber nave of Greensted (Plates pp. 112, 113) is the chapel built in 1013 to receive the remains of St. Edmund on their journey from London to Suffolk, and though drastically restored, this almost unique survival of a building of split oak logs of so early a date must always render it a structure of extreme interest. Apart from this, no other building is scheduled as of pre-Conquest date, though fragments of Saxon or Danish work are to be found at Barking (part of the stem of a cross); White Notley (a headstone); and at Great Canfield (re-used stone with carving). Of the period immediately succeeding the Conquest, interesting examples are to be found at Boreham (Plates pp. 16, xxx), Chipping Ongar (Plate p. 52), Broomfield (Plate p. 43), and a piece of walling in the S. transept at Waltham Abbey; good 12th-century work occurs at Margaret Roding (Plate p. xxxi), Great Canfield (Plates pp. 92, 93), East Ham (Plates pp. 60, 61), High Ongar (Plate p. xxxi), Blackmore (Plate p. 17), Hatfield Broad Oak (Plate p. 119) and Hatfield Peverel.

Good examples of typical masonry of this period are found in the churches at Ingatestone (N. wall of nave), Fryerning (Plate p. 134), Magdalen Laver (Plate p. 52) and elsewhere.

The nave of Waltham Abbey (Frontispiece and other plates), represents in its best form the gradual progress of a great church during the first half of the 12th century.

The 13th century is best exemplified in the remains of the domestic buildings of Beeleigh Abbey (Plates pp. 178, 179), and there are remains of the same period at Leighs Priory (Plate p. 161). In the parish churches this period is poorly represented and the existing examples are undistinguished.

The 14th century on the other hand has excellent examples in several churches, the work at Maldon All Saints, S. aisle (Plate p. 172); Fyfield, chancel (Plate p. 84); Waltham Abbey, Lady Chapel (Frontispiece), and W. front being particularly rich; other good work of the same period occurs at Springfield (Plate p. xxx), Little Baddow (Plate p. 155), Latton Priory (Plate p. 147), North Weald Bassett (Plate p. 197) and Witham. The stone-vaulted crypts or bone holes of Maldon All Saints and Waltham Abbey both belong to the 14th century.

A large part of the structure of Chelmsford Cathedral (Plates pp. 42, xxx), dates from the 15th century, as does that of Writtle Church, but though both buildings are on a fairly large scale the work is of no particular excellence. Elsewhere the best examples of the period are to be found at South Weald and Barking.

To the 15th and early part of the 16th century belong a series of brick towers corresponding in general character with those scheduled in N.W. Essex. They include Epping Upland, Nazeing (Plate p. 196), North Weald Bassett (Plate p. 197), Ingatestone (Plate p. 135), Theydon Garnon and Fryerning (Plate p. 134). Of these the tower at Ingatestone is the finest, while that at Theydon Garnon is definitely dated 1520. The small church at Chignall Smealey is entirely built of brick. Side by side with these brick towers is a series of timber belfries built during the same period. They occur at Blackmore (Plate p. 17), Margaretting (Plate p. 186), Navestock and Magdalen Laver, the timber-work of the first being of particularly striking and massive character. Timber arcades occur at Shenfield (Plate p. 113), and Theydon Garnon (Plate p. 231).

To the Elizabethan period belong two complete churches both of brick, Woodham Walter, built in 1564, and Theydon Mount, of rather later date (Plate p. 271). The N. aisle at Theydon Garnon is dated 1644 and the S. and N. chapels at Ingatestone are respectively Elizabethan and Jacobean buildings.

Early 18th-century Nonconformist chapels occur at Felstead, Terling and Little Baddow.

So far as Church plans are concerned, an almost unique apsidal W. end survives at Langford, and the plan of the destroyed E. apse of the same church has been recovered by excavation. An apsidal E. end is still standing at East Ham and the plan of another E. apse at White Notley is known from excavation. There are also possible indications of former apses at Mashbury and Fairsted, and foundations of one are reported to have been found at Stondon Massey. Two churches, Little Laver and Little Canfield, have modern apses, but there is no evidence that they represent ancient features. Apsidal chapels formerly existed at Barking Abbey.

Central towers are still standing at Boreham, Fyfield, Pleshey and Harlow, though in the three latter instances they have been largely re-built. The extraordinary 13th-century triangular tower at All Saints, Maldon, is probably without a parallel in this country. Its form appears to be due to constricted space caused by the adjoining highway. Round towers, both of considerable size, occur at Broomfield and Great Leighs, both of the 12th century.

There are remains of an ankar-hold at Chipping Ongar and possible indications of another at East Ham.

Fourteen churches have low-side windows.

At High Easter is a richly decorated flat-pitched roof of early 16th-century date (Plate p. 123), and there are hammer-beam roofs of the same period at Great Waltham and Little Hallingbury. Many churches have timber porches, and of these the best are at Little Hallingbury (Plate p. 186), late 14th-century, Margaretting (Plate p. 187) and Terling (Plate p. 38), both 15th-century, and Doddinghurst (Plate p. 186), late 15th or early 16th-century.

A desecrated chapel at Harlowbury, Harlow, and another at Clayhall Farm, Great Ilford, are scheduled in the inventory.

Monastic and Collegiate Buildings.

With three exceptions, all the monastic establishments of the district have extant remains. Of the Benedictine order there are slight remains of the great Nuns' church at Barking and a small fragment of the cell at Bedeman's Berg (Writtle). The parochial naves of Hatfield Broad Oak and Hatfield Peverel Priories both survive, and at the former place the plan of the rest of the church and of the domestic buildings has been traced by excavation. The Cistercian house of Stratford Langthorne (West Ham) has practically entirely disappeared. The Austin Canons are well represented; the great church at Waltham, though built for a secular college, came into their hands, and there are scattered remains of the monastic buildings. At Little Leighs, the remains of the priory have been recovered by excavation and are now exposed to view (Plate p. 161). The nave of the Canons church at Blackmore is still the parish church, and the crossing at Latton does duty as a barn (Plate p. 147). The Premonstratensian Abbey at Beeleigh (Plate p. 179, etc.) has interesting remains of the domestic buildings, including the whole of the E. range, now a private house. Of the two Friars' houses at Chelmsford and Maldon there are apparently no remains in situ. Mediæval hospitals are represented by the interesting ruins of St. Giles at Maldon (Plate p. 176), the hospital chapel at Great Ilford and the much altered Monox Almshouses at Walthamstow (Plate p. 270). The 16th-century school-house at Feltead is interesting and complete though not now put to its former use.

Secular Buildings.

About two hundred and thirty houses in this part of the County have been assigned to the period preceding the Reformation. They occur most frequently in the N.E. quarter of the district. The earliest domestic work is of the 14th century and is in every case of timber. Remains of aisled halls with oak columns occur at Stanton's Farm, Black Notley (Plan, etc., p. 20 and Plate p. 114), and probably at Fyfield Hall, and remains of other houses of the period with Halls of ordinary type are to be seen at Porter's Farm, Boreham; Lampetts, Fyfield; Green Man Inn, Great Waltham; Ringers' Farm, Terling, and the Blue Boar, Maldon. Gatehouse Farm, Felstead, of late 14th-century date, has a roof of unusual type (Plan p. 77).

Of the 15th and early 16th century the most interesting timber buildings are at Colville Hall, White Roding; Hoe Street, Roxwell; Roydon (10); Golden Fleece Inn, South Weald; Terling (12); Witham (41); and Aubyns, Writtle. (See illustrations of these and others in plates, pp. 44, 110, etc.)

Late timber building is well exemplified at Boote's House, Felstead; Terling (22); Fitzjohns Farm, Great Waltham (front), and Waltham Cross (5). There are good late 17th or early 18th-century houses at South Weald (6 and 10); Shenfield (8); Wanstead (3), and Walthamstow (7 and 8).

In two cases in Felstead parish the former Halls remain open to the roof. In the 15th century began the series of brick houses of which there are many excellent examples. Faulkbourne Hall (Plates pp. 71, 75) is perhaps the earliest, and ranks as one of the best examples of brick building in the country. The ruins of Nether Hall, Roydon (Plates pp. 208, 209), are of rather later date. To the 16th century belong Ingatestone Hall (Plate p. 144); New Hall, Boreham (Plate p. 22), a former palace of Henry VIII; Hill House, Theydon Mount (Plates pp. 236, 237); Boleyn Castle, East Ham; Leighs Priory, Little Leighs (Plates pp. 158, 159); Weald Hall, South Weald (Plate p. 215); Eastbury House, Barking (Plate p. 11), and the surviving fragments of Great Graces, Little Baddow; New Hall, High Roding (Plate p. 145), and Toppinghoe Hall, Hatfield Peverel (Plate p. 256). The early 17th-century house of Albyns, Stapleford Abbots (Plate p. 214), is more remarkable for its internal decorations than for architectural excellence. Smaller examples are shown in Plate p. 270.

Amongst minor buildings of unusual character may be mentioned "Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge," Chingford (see page 51), the Court House at Barking, built over an open market house and dated 1567; the Marriage Feast Room at Matching (Plate p. 48) still occasionally used for this purpose, and the Priest's House adjoining the timber Black Chapel, Great Waltham.

The Moot hall at Maldon (Plate p. 177) is a rectangular brick tower of late 15th-century date, loop-holed in places for defence.

The cottages in this district are normally of the central chimney type, and the mediæval houses of rather larger size all follow the usual plan of a central Hall with a cross-wing at each end, except in the towns where considerations of space rendered this arrangement impracticable. The normal mediæval roof is of the king-post and central purlin type, giving place in the 16th century to the queen-post truss and side purlins.

Timber barns of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries are common, the largest being the 16th-century structure at Leighs Lodge, Felstead, which is 159 ft. long. There is a good example of the 15th century at Powers Hall, Witham (Plate p. 114).

Thatched roofs, though gradually decreasing in number, are still fairly numerous throughout the district.


Altars.—Mediæval altar-slabs remain at Dagenham, White Roding and Willingale Spain, and there is a possible example also at Wickham Bishops.

Bells.—Thirty-six bells are of pre-Reformation date. Of these nine are of the 14th century and a further four are of c. 1400. The treble at Little Hallingbury, though uninscribed, is perhaps the oldest. The third at Fairsted bears the name of Peter de Weston, but the other 14th-century bells can only be provisionally ascribed. Amongst the post-Reformation bells the most prolific foundry appears to have been that of the Miles Graye family at Colchester.

Brasses.—The earliest brass is the late 13th-century enamelled shield of the arms of Gernon found at Leighs Priory. Two 14th-century heads of effigies survive, one of a priest at Great Leighs and one of a woman at Hatfield Broad Oak. A few Lombardic letters found on the site of Barking Abbey complete the list of 14th-century brasses. The 15th-century and later brasses are none of them of particular excellence. There are armed figures of interest at Springfield (1421), Little Waltham (1447) and Roydon (1471 and 1521), and priests at Theydon Garnon (1458) and Barking (of c. 1480 and 1485). The earlier figure at Barking is in academic robes, and the later is that of a chantry priest. The brasses of Sir Peter Arderne (1467) at Latton and of Sir Christopher Urswick (1479) at Dagenham represent the judicial costume of the period. At Walthamstow is the brass of Sir George Monox (1543), Lord Mayor of London. A schoolboy is represented on the brass of Thomas Heron (1517) at Little Ilford, and among the daughters of Sir C. Urswick is one habited as a nun. Of the later brasses the figures of Thomas Palmer (1621), at Epping, is in academic costume, and the large figure of Samuel Harsnett (1631), Archbishop of York, at Chigwell, is a curious and interesting example of episcopal costume of the Laudian period. Palimpsest brasses so far have only come to light at Fryerning, Walthamstow, and Stondon Massey, the latter being on the reverse of a Flemish plate.

The vanished brasses were evidently of much greater interest than those that have survived. Early 14th-century slabs with indents of inscriptions and sometimes of crosses occur at Blackmore, Black Notley, Felstead and Great Hallingbury. At Waltham Abbey is the indent of a mitred abbot, at Great Hallingbury of an armed figure and canopy, and at High Ongar of a cross and figure, all of the 14th century. A curious indent of a cross and two pennons exists at Fyfield, and at Pleshey is the indent of the fine brass of Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham, and his wife. An indent with incised inscription at St. Mary Maldon commemorates John Fenne (1488), Merchant of the Staple.

Ceilings and Plaster Work.—In domestic buildings there are ornate plastered ceilings of early 17th-century date at Albyns, Stapleford Abbots (Plates pp. 223, 225) and Langleys, Great Waltham (Plates pp. 106, 107), with enriched ribs and of either flat or wagon-headed form with moulded pendants. Others are found at Stone Hall, Wanstead (Plate 246), and the Chequers Inn, Brentwood.

The 15th-century vaulted ceilings with brick ribs in the bay windows at Faulkbourne Hall (Plate p. 70) is a decorative treatment not met with elsewhere in this quarter of Essex.

Pargeted ornament is ill represented, but a few fragments remain externally at Braintree (No. 47); Grandcourts, Felstead; Fitzjohns, Great Waltham; The Chantry, Harlow; and Ingatestone (No. 10); and internally at Beauchamp Roding (No. 5); and elsewhere.

Chairs.—Many churches contain 17th and 18th-century chairs, more or less elaborately carved. That at Great Waltham is perhaps the best example.

Chests.—The most interesting chest in the district is that at Little Canfield, a 13th-century piece of hutch type with ornamental legs (Plate p. xxxiii). There are early dug-out chests at Fairsted, Little Waltham (Plate p. xxxiii), White Notley and Mashbury, and good iron-bound chests at Margaret Roding, Hatfield Peverel, Hatfield Broad Oak and Nazeing (Plate p. xxxiii). The chest, dated 1668, at Theydon Garnon and the Italian chest at Harlow (Plate p. xxxiii) are also interesting.

Consecration Crosses.—Painted consecration crosses occur at Fairfield, Great Canfield (Plate p. 92) and Sheering, all internally. At the first-named place there are remains of two series of different dates.

Doors.—The finest doors in the district are the great W. doors at Waltham Abbey, now disused. Early doors with contemporary ironwork occur at Mashbury, High Roding and elsewhere, and there are fairly good examples of later panelled doors at Sheering, Magdalen Laver and Witham (Plate p. 38).

Easter Sepulchre:—That at Felstead (Plate p. 85) appears to be the only example.

Fireplaces.—Only one enriched fireplace occurs of earlier date than the 16th century. This is the late 15th-century stone structure at Beeleigh Abbey (Plate p. 178). Stone fireplaces of the 16th century are to be found at Maldon (Beeleigh Abbey (Plate p. 247) and in the house adjoining All Saints' Church) and Eastbury House, Barking, all of semi-Gothic design, and there are interesting early Renaissance fireplaces at Walnut Tree House, Low Leyton, and at Ingatestone Hall, now removed (Plate p. 247). Elizabethan overmantels occur at Skreens, Roxwell; and later overmantels at Albyns, Stapleford Abbots (Plates pp. 222, etc.); Langleys, Great Waltham (Plates pp. 106, 107); Stone Hall, Wanstead (Plate p. 247), and elsewhere.

Fonts.—No font in this part of the county can be definitely assigned to the 11th century, but there is a fairly long list of 12th-century examples; among these is a curious group of four square bowls (Abbess Roding, Fryerning, Little Laver (Plate p. xxxii) and Moreton), somewhat rudely carved with various designs including the sun, moon, stars, whorl (for a comet ?), etc. There is a richly carved bowl, dating from the end of the century, at Springfield (Plate p. xxxii). The later mediæval examples are generally undistinguished, but the late 13th-century font at Roydon (Plate p. 6) and the early 14th-century one at Boreham (Plate p. xxxii) are of unusual form. The font at Chignall Smealey is entirely of brick. Renaissance fonts occur at Barking, Theydon Mount, East Ham and Walthamstow (Plate p. xxxii). The first of these has a richly ornamented stem of double console form; the second is a very unusual type, set against the wall and resembling a Renaissance Holy Water stoup; the other two are of the more ordinary baluster form, and dated 1639 and 1714 respectively.

A large number of churches have lost their original fonts, and in some instances they have been removed to private property.

Glass (Plates pp. xxxiv–vii).—There are two complete examples of glass in the district—the late 15th-century Jesse window at Margaretting, the only Jesse window in Essex (restored), and the tracery lights with the coronation of the Virgin surrounded by the heavenly host at Sheering (all original), of late 14th-century date.

Two late 13th or early 14th-century panels at Forest School, Walthamstow, deserve attention, the Eagles in particular, as an unusual subject—the mother bird teaching the young to look at the sun. Of single figures, those of a crowned saint at White Notley (13th-century); of St. Edward the Confessor at Stapleford Abbots (14th-century); the sainted Bishop and St. Margaret at Abbess Roding (15th-century); the Virgin and Child at Harlow (14th-century); the Evangelists' Symbols and S.S. Mary Salome and Cleophas at Netteswell (15th-century) call for notice. The Marys at Netteswell are of special interest, being figures of Saints not commonly represented in mediæval art. Of early quarries, borders and canopy work valuable for study, good examples are at Great Leighs, North Weald and Margaret Roding (14th-century), and at Barnston (13th-century). The 14th-century shields at Great Waltham are the best examples of early heraldry. Monastic arms are represented by a 15th-century shield of Evesham Abbey, Worcestershire, at Hatfield Peverel, and there are 16th-century coats of William, Lord Burghley, at Great Parndon; of Sir John Gresham at the Hospital Church, Great Ilford; of several royal personages at Springfield; of Queen Jane Seymour at High Ongar and All Saints, Maldon, and her badge at Noak Hill. A full achievement of the arms of Queen Elizabeth is at Hatfield Peverel. Good examples of foreign heraldry are at the Hospital Church, Great Ilford (Flemish, 16th-century), and at Noak Hill (French, 17th-century). Finely executed and well-preserved enamel-painted glass is found in the Swiss panels at Lambourne, and the shield of William of Wykeham at Writtle (all 17th-century). The glass at Noak Hill is part of the large collection made in the 19th century by Sir Thomas Neave, Bart., of Dagenham Park, and that at Hatfield Peverel was brought from various places by Mr. Thomas Wright, who bought the Priory estate about 1760.

Libraries.—Small libraries belonging to the church are preserved at Chelmsford and Hatfield Broad Oak, and the Plume Library is housed in the desecrated church of St. Peter at Maldon.

Monuments.—The funeral monuments of this part of the county are distinguished both by their numbers and their variety. The proximity of London is no doubt responsible for much of this profusion, and there are an unusually large number of memorials to mediæval and later judges. At White Notley is a pre-Conquest headstone with a late 11th-century window cut in it. Seven mediæval effigies remain in the district, including an early 13th-century figure in relief at Faulkbourne and the fine cross-legged figure at Hatfield Broad Oak (Plate p. 122). The two effigies at Little Baddow (Plates p. 154) and the priest at Little Leighs (Plate p. 173) are carved in oak. Other mediæval monuments, without effigies, remain at Great Leighs (Plate p. 103), Latton (Plate p. 103), Margaret Roding, West Ham and elsewhere. Of the numerous Renaissance tombs, perhaps the finest is that to the three Earls of Sussex (1583) at Boreham (Plate p. 23). Theydon Mount (Plates p. 203, etc.) and Ingatestone (Plates pp. 138, 139) have remarkable series of monuments to the Smyth and Petre families respectively. Other good 16th-century monuments occur at Felstead (Plate p. 74), Blackmore, Romford (Plate p. 203), Witham (Plate p. 251) and Waltham Abbey, and of the 17th-century at Barking, Great Waltham (Plate p. 102), Low Leyton (Plate p. 150), Little Baddow (Plate p. 151) and Shenfield. The contract for the Denny Monument (1599) at Waltham Abbey has been preserved, and there are two undoubted works of Nicholas Stone at Walthamstow (Plate, p. 251) and Writtle (Plate p. 273). Of late monuments, the most remarkable is the towering memorial to Sir Josiah Child (1669) at Wanstead (Plate p. 250).

At Barking is an early 14th-century incised slab of a priest (Plate p. 103), and at Ingatestone is a mid 16th-century slab with an incised inscription in pseudo-Lombardic capitals.

Paintings.—Several churches have remains of important paintings, but in almost every case they are much defaced. The earliest is the well-preserved Virgin of c. 1200 at Great Canfield (Plate p. 92). The "doom" at Waltham Abbey and the series at Fairsted and Latton are all much damaged. There are painted decorative designs at East Ham, Beeleigh Abbey and White Notley.

Of secular decorative work there is a mediæval example at the Vicarage, All Saints, Maldon (Plate p. 246); and later instances at Beeleigh Abbey, Maldon St. Peter; South Weald Hall (Plate p. 246), Shelley Hall; Takeleys, Epping Upland; and the Welsh Harp, Waltham Cross. Royal Arms are painted on walls at Braintree (37) and at Hoe Street, Roxwell; at the King's Head, Ongar, is a painted portrait. The architectural, landscape and seascape paintings at Eastbury House, Barking (Plate p. 10) indicate an unusually extensive use of this form of ornament taking the place of panelling. The late 17th-century painted ceiling at Coopersale House, Epping, has recently been removed.

Piscinæ.—The finest piscina is the early 13th-century example at Barnston (Plate p. 6), perhaps not in situ. There are 12th-century pillar-piscinæ at Norton Mandeville and Willingale Doe, and good later piscinæ at East Ham (13th-century), Fyfield, Great Leighs and Little Baddow (14th-century); at Fyfield and Great Leighs they range with handsome sedilia, and at Little Baddow with a pair of tomb-recesses. At Great Hallingbury there is a small piscina, apparently to serve as altar on the former rood-loft (Plate p. xxx).

Plate.—The only piece of pre-Reformation ecclesiastical plate is the paten at Great Waltham (Plate p. xxxix). Secular cups are in use at Chigwell and Chignall Smealey (Plate p. xxxix), and there is a secular dish and caudle cup at Little Canfield. There are twenty Elizabethan cups, of which one dates from 1560, six from 1562, three from 1563 and three from 1564–5.

Pulpits.—There are 15th or early 16th-century pulpits at High Roding and Leaden Roding (Plate p. xxxviii), neither of much distinction. The best Renaissance pulpits occur at Chipping Ongar, High Ongar, Lambourne, Matching, Stapleford Abbots, Stondon Massey and Waltham Abbey, of these that at Stondon Massey is the most interesting.

Rood.—The early 13th-century carved stone rood in the fire-bell gate at Barking (Plate p. 7) is a remarkable survival, especially as it seems to have had a wide reputation in the middle ages.

Screens.—There are 14th-century chancel-screens at Little Canfield, Magdalen Laver and Roydon (Plate p. 3), and 15th or early 16th-century examples at Abbess Roding (Plate p. 2), Springfield, Chignall Smealey, Black Chapel, North Weald (Plate p. 3), and Stondon Massey. All these are of the ordinary Essex type, the screens at Little Canfield and Abbess Roding being the richest, and that at North Weald having an interesting inscription. At Witham is a good, though restored, screen of the "East Anglian" type. The only surviving example of an original rood-loft is at North Weald Bassett, though many churches possess the doors and staircases connected with them.

Incorporated in the modern E. wall at Waltham Abbey is part of the stone rood-screen, with two doorways flanking the nave altar.

Sedilia.—The finest sedilia are those already referred to at Great Leighs and Fyfield (Plate p. 84). The majority of churches have simply a window recess carried down to form a seat.

Staircases.—Late 16th or early 17th-century staircases occur at Boleyn Castle, East Ham; Faulkbourne Hall (Plate p. 70); Albyns, Stapleford Abbots (Plate p. 224), Hill Hall, Theydon Mount; Priors Hall, Broomfield (Plate p. 39); and White Notley Hall. All these have balusters except that at Albyns, where the space between the rails is filled with strap work. The newels in several instances are capped by handsome turned vases. There are several examples of late 17th and early 18th-century staircases at Wanstead, Leyton and Walthamstow. There are newel staircases at Faulkbourne Hall (Plate p. 70), Nether Hall, Roydon, and Eastbury House, Barking. The first two have brick and the last oak treads.

Stalls.—There are good bench-ends at Hatfield Peverel and Writtle; the former have carved heads on the popeys, and at Writtle is a carved dog on the elbow-rest (Plate p. xxxviii).

Miscellanea.—At Great Hallingbury are fragments of a carved alabaster "table" of the 15th century. Three churches, Abbess Roding, Ingatestone and Norton Mandeville, have wrought-iron hour-glass stands. In the tower at Latton are some remains of parish armour, and at Witham is a late 15th-century armet.


1. Pre-historic and Roman.—Of the four camps, Wallbury, Ambresbury Banks and Loughton are fairly well preserved, but little is left at South Weald. The enclosure at Uphall has almost disappeared.

2. Mediæval Churches, etc.—Of the one hundred and nine churches of ancient foundation, twelve have been completely re-built, while several others retain only small portions of the old structure. Three churches, Chingford, Brentwood and Wickham Bishops are ruinous, and one at Chigwell has been completely destroyed. Of the remaining ninety-four, all but four are in fairly good condition, but the majority have been extensively restored.

About 6½ per cent. of the secular buildings are in a poor or bad condition, but most of these are unimportant as monuments. The ruined portions of New Hall, White Roding, and Toppingale Hall, Hatfield Peverel, require attention, but the ruins at Nether Hall, Roydon, though partly ivy-grown, do not seem to have suffered much during the last century. All the large houses are in excellent condition, and Eastbury House, Barking, has recently been put in repair. The earthworks of the three castles of Canfield, Ongar and Pleshey are well preserved, but the last century has seen the extensive alteration of the burghs at Witham and Maldon and the latter is now hardly recognisable.