Pages 1-3

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 3, North East. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1922.

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In this section

2. ALDHAM. (C.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxvi. N.E. (b)xxvii. N.W (c)xxvii. S.W.)

Aldham is a parish with a small village at Fordstreet, 5½ m. W. of Colchester. The house (5) is the principal monument.


b(1). Parish Church of SS. Margaret and Catherine stood ¾ m. W.S.W. of the modern church. The foundations indicate a building 72 ft. by 21 ft. The old church was pulled down and the modern church erected on the present site in 1855. It contains much reused material in Barnack and limestone of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, distributed as follows:—

Architectural Description—The Chancel has a 15th-century E. window, with moulded and shafted splays with embattled capitals. In the N. wall are two 15th-century windows, each of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head and mostly old. Between them the arch over the doorway is hollowchamfered and two-centred; the jamb-shafts have moulded capitals and bases, all of the 14th century; the doorway is mostly modern. In the S. wall are two windows similar to those in the N. wall, but mostly modern. The doorway between them is modern, except the moulded early 15th-century label.

The North Vestry has in the E. wall a much restored 14th-century window of two pointed lights in a two-centred head

The Nave has in the N. wall two windows, all modern except part of the splays.

The South Aisle has an E. window, modern except part of the splays; further N. is a 14th-century doorway to a turret stairway, with moulded jambs and two-centred arch. The turret has two lights, one quatrefoiled and one traceried, both small and of the 14th century. In the S. wall are three lancet windows, mostly modern externally, but with 13th-century splays and rear-arches. Further W. is the 13th-century S. doorway, with roll-moulded jambs and two-centred arch, much restored. In the W. wall are two lancets and a round window, all of the 13th century internally.

The West Tower has in the S. wall a doorway with 13th-century chamfered jambs of Barnack stone. The W. window has some old jamb and splay-stones.

The South Porch (Plate, p. xxxvi) is of timber on modern walls, and of 14th-century date. The moulded two-centred outer archway has quatrefoiled and traceried spandrels; above it is a moulded head-beam and foiled barge-boards; flanking the arch are single lights with trefoiled ogee heads and tracery. The side walls are of two bays each of three similar lights and tracery. The roof is of two bays, with curved and hollow-chamfered braces to the tie-beams, ogee curved braces to the collars and double hollow-chamfered plates.

The Roofs of the chancel, nave, and S. aisle are each of trussed-rafter type, with moulded plates, and are probably of the 15th century. The E. bay of the chancel roof has more richly moulded and double embattled plates. The roofs of the vestry and tower have old rafters.

Fittings—Bells: Inaccessible, but said to be two; 1st by Thomas Bullisdon, and inscribed "Sancta Margareta Ora Pro Nobis," early 16th-century; 2nd by William Dawe, and inscribed "Sum Rosa Pulsata Mundi Katerina Vocata," c. 1400. Chest:: In vestry—plain with iron-bound angles, 17th-century. Doors: In chancel—in N. doorway, of nail-studded battens with hollowchamfered fillets and frame, planted on, 14th-century. In S. doorway of chancel—of old battens with modern fillets, 15th-century. In S. doorway —of overlapping battens with strap-hinges and pierced traceried scutcheon - plate, 15th-century. In S. doorway of tower (Plate, p. 132)—of three wide battens with good domed scutcheon from which radiate four foliated iron branches, c. 1300. Floor-slab: On site of old church—to Sir George Sayer, 1650. Piscinae: In chancel—with modern jambs and 14th-century cinquefoiled head, quatrefoil drain. In S. aisle—in S. wall, with moulded jambs and two-centred head, square drain with stone rosette, 14th-century.

Condition—Good, rebuilt.


b (2). Aldham Hall, house and moat, 1,100 yards S. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 16th century, and has 17th-century additions; it is now of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N.E. and S.E. The N.E. wing has some exposed timberframing. The porch on the N.W. side has 17th-century billeted barge-boards and a pendant; the doorway has a fluted lintel. Two windows have moulded frames and mullions. One chimney-stack has two original octagonal shafts. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams and one room is lined with late 16th-century panelling and has an overmantel with two panels divided by fluted pilasters. Another room has an overmantel made up of 16th-century panelling. There are also two doorways, one with a four- and one with a three-centred head.

The Moat is fragmentary.

Condition—Of house, good.

a(3). Checkley's Farm, house and moat, about 1 m. W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, and has exposed ceiling-beams and joists.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, ruinous.

Monuments (4–11).

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

Condition—Good, or fairly good.

b(4). Bourchier's Hall, 700 yards N.N.W. of the church, has been rebuilt except for the kitchen wing, which is of early 18th-century date and has a modillioned eaves-cornice.

Fordstreet, W. side

b(5). Boy Scouts' Hall, house and tenement, ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church. The house was built early in the 16th century, with a two-storeyed Hall and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends; the tenement is an early 17th-century addition. The upper storey projects, on curved brackets, at the E. ends of the cross-wings and also on the E. and W. sides of the addition. The gables of the original wings have moulded barge-boards. Inside the building the former Hall has original moulded ceiling-beams and joists, and the wide fireplace has a moulded lintel. The N. wing has an original window, with a four-centred head and a doorway with a two-centred head. The S. wing has two original windows with diamond-shaped mullions. The roof is original and of king-post type; the tie-beams have curved braces.

b(6). House, now mission hall, 60 yards N. of (5), was built probably late in the 16th century, and has an original chimney-stack, with three octagonal shafts.

E. side

b(7). House, 50 yards S.E. of (6), was built probably early in the 18th century, and has a modillioned eaves-cornice on the W. front. The doorway has a pediment above it, carried on consoles. Inside the building is an original fireplace with a moulded architrave.

b(8). House and shop, 70 yards S. of (7), was built probably in the 16th century.

b(9). House, S. of (8), was built probably early in the 18th century and has a coved eaves-cornice of plaster on the W. front.

b(10). House, 60 yards S. of (9), was built probably in the 16th century, but was entirely remodelled early in the 18th century. It has a cross-wing at the N. end, and the main block has a coved cornice of plaster on the W. side. The porch has a pine-apple ornament in plaster and the date 1706. Inside the building one room has early 18th-century panelling, and the staircase has slight turned balusters of the same period.

b(11). Cottage, ½ m. S.W. of the church, was built in the 17th century and has exposed timberframing.