Pages 14-18

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


(O.S. 6 in. xxxvii. S.E.)

Brightlingsea is a parish and small town on the left bank of the Colne estuary, 7½ m. S.E. of Colchester. The church and Jacobes Hall are the principal monuments.


(1). In a garden on the N. side of a deserted cottage called "Noah's Ark," half a mile W. of Moveron's Farm, trenches made during the war revealed sections of walls, pavements, etc., of a fair-sized house, 2 or 3 ft. below the surface. The site is just above the saltings on the E. bank of the River Colne, close to the railway. Many portable objects, including "bricks with hieroglyphics on them," are said to have been dispersed by the Australian troops who occupied the trenches. A note of the place had previously been made.

(2). In Brightlingsea itself, on the top of the hill, near the waterworks, in laying pipes at the cross-roads, Church Road, Walnut Street, Park Chase and Spring Road, mosaic pavements were found in 1884. Roof and flue-tiles, with 'Samian' and other pottery, were turned up in 1888 in Well Street, and in 1900 similar finds were made in Spring Road, close to a spring. The site is now built over. (Essex Arch. Soc. Trans., 1907, N.S., X, 88. E. P. Dickin, Hist. of Brightlingsea, 1913, p. 5.) (See also Sectional Preface, p. xxiv.)


(3). Parish Church of All Saints (Plate, p. 11) stands 1½ m. N.N.W. of the town. The walls are of flint-rubble, with knapped flint facing to the N. chapel (E. bay), S. vestry and W. tower. There is much brick in the rubble of the N. aisle. The dressings are of Reigate, Barnack and other freestone. The roofs are slated, except the vestry and tower, which are leaded. The Chancel was built about the middle of the 13th century. At the end of the same century the North Chapel was added, and perhaps the South Chapel also, and the Nave and Aisles were rebuilt of three bays. In the 15th century the S. arcade was rebuilt with the old materials and the aisle remodelled; remains of 13th-century work are said to have been found between the two windows E. of the porch. Towards the end of the 15th century the West Tower was built well to the W. of the church. It was finished c. 1490–1500. The Nave was lengthened shortly afterwards by two bays to join it. The South Vestry was added c. 1518 and the North Chapel was lengthened towards the E. c. 1521; this was the Lady Chapel. About this time or shortly after the S. chapel arch and windows were built. About 1530–40 the North Aisle was reconstructed up to the W. bay (which is of c. 1500). The South Porch is also of early 16th-century date. The clearstorey and roofs fell in 1814, and the church has been restored in modern times.

Brightlingsea, the Parish Church of all Saints

The tower is a very lofty and handsome example of the period, the N. chapel and vestry are good examples of flint-inlay work, and the S. porch has good detail. The tower, S. vestry and N. chapel can be approximately dated from evidence furnished by wills. Among the fittings the many niches, all with remains of colour, and the image of a bishop are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (29 ft. by 18 ft.) has a 15th-century E. window of three cinquefoiled lights, with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label, jambs and mullions. In the N. wall are two arches, the eastern is of early 16th-century date, four-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on round attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the western arch is of c. 1300, two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases; this arch is blocked on the S. face; E. of the eastern arch is a mid 13th-century lancet window, now blocked and only visible on the N. side. In the S. wall is an arch of c. 1530, four-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on round attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; further E. is a doorway of c. 1520, with stop-moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels enclosing a rose and a fleur-de-lis; further E. is a mid 13th-century lancet window, blocked on the outside face. The chancel arch is modern.

The North Chapel (29½ ft. by 13½ ft.) has the eastern bay and buttresses, of c. 1520, faced with knapped flint; the moulded plinth embattled parapet and buttresses have flint-inlay work in traceried panels; the plinth has a series of shields, one with the sacred monogram, and nearly all the others with a merchant's mark (a variety of the Beriffe mark). In the E. wall is a window of three cinquefoiled lights, with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. In the N. wall are two windows of c. 1520 and each of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with transoms and vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label; both are blocked below the tracery. In the W. wall is a plain plastered, four-centred arch of doubtful date.

The South Vestry is of c. 1520 and has walls faced with knapped flint, moulded plinth, embattled parapet and buttresses, both enriched with flint-inlay in traceried panels. In the E. wall is a window of one four-centred light in a square head with a moulded label and partly restored. In the S. wall is a window of two trefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; both windows are heavily barred with iron.

The South Chapel (15 ft. by 9¼ ft.) has in the E. wall, above the vestry roof, an early 16th-century window of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with cusped spandrels in a square head with a moulded label. In the S. wall is a window uniform with those in the N. wall of the N. chapel, but not blocked; further W. is an early 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch and a series of square carved flowers in the moulding. In the W. wall is a plain two-centred and plastered arch of doubtful date.

The Nave (64½ ft. by 18 ft.) has a N. arcade of five bays; the three eastern bays are of c. 1300, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders and finely jointed voussoirs; the columns are octagonal and of small stones, with moulded capitals and bases (detail as N.W. arch of chancel); the corbel, from which the easternmost arch springs, is modern; the two western bays are of early 16th-century date, with two-centred arches of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on round attached shafts, with moulded capitals and bases; the third pier of the arcade consists of two half-columns of the different periods, set back to back as responds. The S. arcade is uniform with the N. arcade, except that the three eastern bays have apparently been rebuilt in the 15th century, reusing some of the old material, but with large stones in the arches; the columns and respond of this part have double chamfered bases.

The North Aisle (13 ft. wide) has in the N. wall four windows, the three eastern are of c. 1510 and of three cinquefoiled lights, under a four-centred head with a moulded label; the fourth window is of three ogee cinquefoiled lights, with vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head; between the two middle windows is the 14th-century N. doorway, reset; it has hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch. The parapet of the aisle has three carved gargoyles.

The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has in the S. wall four windows, the two eastern are uniform with that in the S. wall of the S. chapel; the two western are uniform with the westernmost in the N. aisle; between the second and third windows is the 13th-century S. doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders and a moulded label with mask-stops. The parapet of the aisle has five carved gargoyles.

The West Tower (16¼ ft. by 14¼ ft.) is of c. 1500 and of four stages, faced with knapped flint and with a pierced and embattled parapet enriched with flint-inlay; the moulded plinth has on the western face traceried panels with blank shields and the remainder ornamented with flint-inlay.

The buttresses have each a series of canopied niches, eight in the height, with moulded and foliated pedestals, and crocketed canopies, the lower six of which have ribbed vaults; the buttresses are finished with restored pinnacles above the parapet. The stair-turret is lit by quatrefoiled openings and the parapet has two shields of St. George and a molet and rose. The two-centred tower-arch extends through two stages and is of three orders, the two outer continuous and the inner with attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. doorway has moulded and double-shafted jambs and a two-centred arch with a square head and a moulded and crocketed ogee label, carried through the square head and finished with a finial; the spandrels are carved with oak foliage. The second stage is formed by an open gallery half the height of the tower-arch. In the W. wall is a window of four cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded arch and crocketed ogee label with a traceried spandrel. The third stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a window of two ogee lights with plain vertical tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label and a transom with four-centred heads beneath it. In the E. wall is a similar window without a transom; below it is a blocked doorway with a four-centred head. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of three cinquefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the transom has four-centred heads beneath it.

The South Porch is of early 16th-century date and has a moulded plinth with flint-inlay ornament; the carved and enriched parapet has two carved gargoyles, and is embattled at the sides and has a front gable with a series of blank shields divided by ' Tudor flowers.' The two-centred outer archway is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the outer order of the arch has on the S. side carved square flowers alternating with diadems and two shields one with the arms of the Trinity and one defaced; the outer order on the N. side has a series of blank shields, hanging from straps and some bearing scratches like masons' marks; the archway has a double moulded label enclosing a square outer head and carved with square flowers; the spandrels are foliated and have each a large shield, one with the crossed keys of St. Peter and one with the crossed swords keys of St. Paul and both with a small ship in base. Above the arch and in each side buttress is a niche with a moulded pedestal, trefoiled and sub-cusped head, with crockets, carved cresting and flanking buttresses. The side walls have each a window of three depressed trefoiled lights with embattled tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label; they are mostly blocked.

The Roofs of the chancel and nave are modern but fixed to them are a number of square foliated bosses, which may be old; one has a molet and another a sheaf, both on shields. The S. vestry has plain 16th-century beams and joists. There is reused material in the roofs of both aisles. The floor of the third stage of the tower has moulded main beams and joists, with curved braces springing from moulded capitals. The early 16th-century roof of the porch is of two bays with moulded main timbers and curved braces to the principals.

Fittings—Bells: one and sanctus; 1st by William Dawe, c. 1400 and inscribed "Dulcis Sisto Melis Vocor Campana Michaelis"; sanctus uninscribed. Brasses: In N. chapel—(1) of William Beriffe of Jacobes, 1578, and John, his father, 1542, figure of civilian in gown and ruff and inscription-plate; (2) of [John Beryf, 1496, and Margaret, Amy, and Margaret, his wives] figures of civilian in long gown with belt and pouch, woman in butterfly head-dress, five sons, four daughters, and merchant's mark, indents of figures of two wives, two groups of children and inscription-plate; (3) of [Alice Beriffe, 1536, and her daughter Margaret] shaft and bracket of c. 1420 with indents of two figures on it, filled with figures of two women, one a widow and one with flowing hair, indents of shield and two inscription-plates; (4) of [John Beriff, 1521, and Mary and Alice, his wives] figures of civilian in fur-lined gown and two women with pedimental head-dresses, four sons, one daughter and merchant's mark; indents of group of children and inscription-plate. In nave—(5) of [William Beryff, 1525, and Joan, his wife] figures of civilian in fur-lined gown and woman in pedimental head-dress, two scrolls, indents of two groups of children, two scrolls and inscription-plate. In N. aisle—(6) of [Margaret Beriff, 1505] figure of woman in pedimental head-dress, indents of inscription-plates; (7) to Mary Beryf, 1505, figure of woman in pedimental head-dress, four sons and one daughter, indent of inscription-plate. Coffin-lid: In N. chapel— with incised foliated cross, 13th-century; four consecration crosses at angles, subsequently used as altar (?). Doors: In chancel—in doorway to vestry, of moulded battens with strap-hinges and stock-lock, early 16th-century. In tower—in W. doorway, with moulded fillets, planted on, and remains of former traceried heads, c. 1500; in doorway of staircase, of nail-studded battens, with strap-hinges, c. 1500. Floor-slab: In S. chapel—to Francis Wheeler, 1692, and Susan, his wife, 1679, and Francis, their son, 1694. Font: octagonal bowl, each face with a quatrefoil enclosing a rose, moulded underside with carved flowers, stem with sunk panels with cinquefoiled heads, traces of colour and gilding, late 15th-century. Gallery: Under tower—with moulded beams, opening in middle with 18th-century balustrade, gallery front with moulded uprights and rail, c. 1500. Glass: In N. chapel—in N.W. window, two pieces of foliage and two small boar's heads in a border, early 16th-century. Image: In S. chapel—in niche in S. wall, of bishop blessing, in mass vestments, head gone, remains of colour and gilding, early 16th-century. Lockers: In tower, in third stage, four rebated for doors, two with inner recesses, c. 1500. Niches: In chancel —in S. wall, with double cinquefoiled canopy with crockets, finials, and cresting, remains of colour, 15th-century. In N. chapel, two flanking E. window, both cut back flush with wall and each with ribbed canopy remains of crocketed head and finial, remains of colour, early 16th-century, loose in N. niche, crested pedestal with remains of colour and powdered with I H C. In S. chapel—in E. wall, with cinquefoiled head and ribbed vault, carved crockets and cresting. small head at top of one jamb, moulded pedestal, remains of colour and below a black-letter inscription—" Ora Pro aībus Johīs Mors et Dionisiie ux ej(us) et p~ aībus [oim] fideliū," in S. wall, in splay of S. window, with double cinquefoiled head and crocketed and crested canopy, remains of colour, early 16th-century. In nave—in second pier of N. arcade, with ogee head, 15th-century; in second pier of S. arcade, two, one with ogee and one with trefoiled head, 15th-century. Painting: In tower—on W. wall, name Robert Cooe (?) in red colour, 16th-century; see also niches, font, etc. Piscinae: In S. chapel—with hollow-chamfered jambs and cinquefoiled head, jambs with carved flowers, drain with carved boss, early 16th-century. In tower—in 1st stage, round drain, perhaps from chancel, date uncertain. Plate: includes two cups, large and small, both with band of incised ornament round bowl and both of 1620. Recesses: In vestry—in S. wall, square-headed recess with elbow-bend, possibly oven, early 16th-century. In S. aisle—W. of S. doorway, with plastered round head, jambs and sill, date and purpose uncertain. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat, 13th-century. Stoup: In S. aisle—E. of S. doorway, with chamfered jambs and two-centred head and restored basin, 15th-century. Table: In tower—made up of early 17th-century material.



(4). Jacobes Hall, house, two tenements and shop, on the S. side of High Street, 200 yards E.S.E. of the modern church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 16th century, with a two-storeyed hall in the middle and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The W. cross-wing has been largely rebuilt and there is a modern shop between the wings.

The house has good carved detail of the period, and the brick stair-turret is noteworthy.

The upper storey projects at the S. end of the E. wing, but has been partly under-built. The brick stair-turret (Plate, p. 176) is semi-hexagonal and stands in the N. angle between the W. wing and the main block; it has trefoiled corbelling between the stages, an embattled parapet, and a pyramidal capping with remains of crockets; there is one blocked window of two pointed lights in a square head. Inside the building the ground floor of the main block has moulded main beams with twisted leaf ornament, foliated stops and moulded joists; the wall-plates are moulded and embattled. In the W. wall are three doorways, two original and one of the 17th century; the original doorways have four-centred heads and one has foliated spandrels and a door with pierced scutcheon-plate and strap-hinges. In the E. wall is a fireplace with an original moulded lintel with foliated spandrels and probably not in situ. In the passage at the E. end is an original doorway, with a four-centred head and another doorway now blocked. The beams and joists of the hall continue up to this partition. On the first floor of the main block is an original king-post with a moulded base; the rest of the truss is concealed.

Condition—Good; timbered ceilings recently uncovered.

Monuments (5–13).

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 exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

High Street, S. side

(5). Inn, opposite modern church and 200 yards W. of (4), was built probably early in the 18th century and has a modillioned eaves-cornice to the N. front.

(6). House, three tenements, 70 yards E. of (4), was built probably late in the 16th or early in the 17th century, with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The upper storey originally projected at the N. end of both wings, but has been under-built.

N. side

(7). Swan Hotel, 50 yards E. of the modern church, was built late in the 16th century, with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. There is a 17th-century addition on the N. side and the house has been completely altered in recent years. Inside the building are some original moulded beams.

(8). House, three tenements, N.E. of (4), was built early in the 16th century, but was refronted in brick in the 18th century and the gables hipped back. Inside the building the middle block has original moulded joists.

Hurst Green

(9). House, three tenements, on N.W. side and 50 yards from the junction with High Street, was refronted in brick early in the 18th century.

(10). House, range of three tenements, 50 yards N.E. of (9), has a cross-wing at the N.E. end.

(11). Cottage, on E. side of road, 100 yards N.E. of (10), was built in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the N. end. The upper storey projects at the W. end of the cross-wing on curved brackets.


(12). Malting Farm, house, 1,200 yards S.E. of the old church, was built probably in the 16th century with cross-wings at the N.W. and S.E. ends. The house has been refronted and the roof raised.

(13). Moverons, house, 1,200 yards W. of the old church, has been rebuilt except for a wing on the W. side.

Bromley, see Great Bromley and Little Bromley.