Pages 151-154

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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51. LAWFORD. (E.b.)

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

Lawford is a parish on the S. bank of the Stour and 7 m. N.E. of Colchester. The church and Lawford Hall are the principal monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate, p. 149) stands near the N. end of the parish. The walls are of flint and stone-rubble, septaria and brick; the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The Nave was built at the beginning of the 14th century and about the middle of the same century the Chancel was rebuilt and the South Porch added. The West Tower is perhaps of the same period, but was extensively altered and the tower-arch rebuilt early in the 16th century; it was again repaired late in the 17th century. The North Aisle was added in 1826 and the church has since been restored and the chancel-arch rebuilt.

The chancel is a remarkably rich example of 14th-century work and the woodwork of the S. porch is also noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (36½ ft. by 20 ft.) is of mid 14th-century date. It has a moulded plinth and the walls below the window sills are faced with brick and flint chequer-work. The S.E. and S.W. buttresses were each enriched with two niches with trefoiled ogee and crocketed heads and side shafts with pinnacles; the upper niche in the S.W. buttress has lost its head. The middle buttress on the N. of the chancel has a similar niche above which is a carved cock. The E. window is modern except for the splays, rear-arch and internal label. In the N. wall (Plate, p. 151) are four windows, of which the two western appear to be of earlier type than the others; the easternmost is of three trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with moulded labels, jambs and mullions; the second window is of three lights of which the middle one is cinquefoiled and the others trefoiled; the tracery is in a head similar to the easternmost window; the two western windows are each of three trefoiled ogee lights, with quatrefoils or trefoils in a two-centred head, etc., similar to the other windows; all four windows are included under an internal wall-arcade resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the arch-moulds are richly carved with foliage in the two western bays, with owls and foliage in the second bay, and with a series of figures, mostly male, in the easternmost bay; these figures form a chain, some holding each other by the leg, and two play on musical instruments; between the two pairs of windows is a narrow blind bay, behind the buttress, with a trefoiled and traceried head in a crocketed gable with side shafts and pinnacles. The S. wall (Plate, p. 150) is similar in general arrangement to the N. wall; the window tracery varying in each case; each window is of three trefoiled lights, except the westernmost, which is of three cinquefoiled lights; the wall arcade has arch-moulds carved in foliage, fruit, birds and squirrels; below the second window is a doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch carved with diaper ornament and a moulded label carved with running foliage; the rear-arch is in range with the sedilia (see Fittings). The chancelarch is modern.

Lawford Church, Figures on Rear Arch of Window in Chancel

The Nave (41½ ft. by 20½ ft.) has a modern N. arcade. In the S. wall are two windows both of early 14th-century date with an 18th-century wooden frame and mullion in a two-centred head with a moulded label; between them is the late 14th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with defaced head-stops

The West Tower (11 ft. by 9 ft.) is of three stages and is much repaired, if not largely rebuilt, with 17th-century brick. The early 16th-century brick tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and modern corbels. The W. window and doorway are modern. On the outer face of the N. wall are remains of a window design, in pudding-stone with flint-inlay. The second stage has in the E. wall an opening into the roof; in the N. wall is a broken quatrefoiled window of early 16th-century date and of brick. The bell-chamber has in each wall a late 17th-century brick window of two square-headed lights.

The South Porch is of mid 14th-century date and of timber-framing on dwarf rubble walls. The outer archway is modern but flanking it are a pair of lights with cinquefoiled ogee heads and traceried spandrels. The side walls are partly plastered externally and each consist of three bays, each bay containing three cinquefoiled lights (Plate, p. 133) with more or less elaborate tracery above them; the N.E. bay has lost its lights and tracery and the middle bay on both sides its mullions.

The Roof of the S. porch is of the 14th century and is flat and divided into twelve square bays by moulded ribs with round bosses at the intersections, all defaced except two which have a face and a rosette respectively.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by Miles Graye, 1667; 3rd by John Thornton, 1714. Communion Table: In N. aisle—with turned legs, fluted top rail and carved brackets, early 17th-century. Cupboard: In tower—in N. wall of second stage, rectangular with slots for shelves, 17th-century. Door: In turret staircase to tower, of one piece with strap-hinges, early 16th-century. Glass: In chancel—in N.E. window, fragments of tabernacle work, etc.; in tracery of second N. window, trefoil with geometrical roundel, vine leaves and border, in situ; in third window, fragments only; in N.W. window, in tracery a considerable amount of oak leaf and acorn designs with borders, in situ, in heads of lights fragments of tabernacle work; in S.E. window and third S. window, fragments of foliage; in S.W. window, oak leaf and acorn design, with fragment of tabernacle work, sun, rosettes, etc.; all 14th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) of Edward Waldegrave, 1584, and Johan (Ackworth), his wife, alabaster and marble wall-monument, with kneeling figures of man in armour and wife, in arched recesses, divided and flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature, cresting and three shields of arms. In churchyard —S. of chancel, (2) to John Edes, 16(5)8, slab on modern base. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Sarah (Bingham), wife of Edward Waldegrave, 1634; (2) to Thomas Harris, 1699, rector of the parish, with achievement of arms; (3) to Edward Waldegrave, 1621. Niches: In chancel—flanking E. window, two, modern, but incorporating moulded jambs and bases, 14th-century. On S.W. buttress of nave—with cinquefoiled head, 15th-century. See also Architectural Description under Chancel. Piscina and Sedilia: In chancel—in one range, with rear-arch of doorway, piscina and three bays of sedilia divided by square piers with diapered faces and attached shafts with moulded and foliated capitals and moulded bases, cinquefoiled ogee heads with moulded and crocketed labels and finials carved on front of horizontal moulded string-course; piers or buttresses between bays, carried up as pinnacles also crocketed and finialed, moulded ogee rear-arch of doorway similarly treated; the spandrels are carved with vine and oak leaves and have a series of figures in high relief playing musical instruments, one in each spandrel; the spandrels of the doorway have each a large crowned head and a number of much mutilated smaller figures; the string-course is carved with grotesque beasts and heads, round drain to piscina, all mid 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1663 and a paten of 1695 given in 1696. Stoup: In S. porch—with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled head, broken bowl, late 14th-century. Sundial: On middle S. buttress of nave, scratched dial.

Condition—Good, except tower.


(2). Lawford Hall, 300 yards N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, partly timber-framed and plastered and partly of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1580 on an H-shaped plan, with the cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The S. front was entirely refaced about the middle of the 18th century. The upper storey projects at the N. ends of the cross-wings with original moulded bressumers; the projection of the E. wing has moulded brackets. In the N. part of both wings are some original windows with moulded oak mullions; that at the end of the W. wing is of five transomed lights, and, reused as a sill, is an original moulded bressumer carved with griffons, etc., and two shields with the initials A. and C.B. Two of the chimneystacks are original and have octagonal shafts, more or less rebuilt and moulded bases; at the back of the main block is a stack with 17th-century grouped hexagonal shafts.

Inside the building is some 17th-century panelling and an original doorway with a moulded frame. Reset in two windows on the N. of the main block is a collection of stained glass roundels and shields, including (a) royal arms within a crowned wreath, and crowned initials E.R., 16th-century; (b) two quartered coats of Bowyer, one dated 1596, and Bowyer impaling Brabant, dated 1599; (c) quartered coats of Fifield, one dated 1599; (d) quartered coat of Bulstrode, late 16th-century; (e) figure of a coped bishop with inscription Sc~s Rycarde, probably St. Richard of Chichester, late 15th-century; (f) 16th-century roundels of foreign glass, including a shield dated 1547; armorial device of the Imperial City of Fribourg with other towns; angel with a shield dated 1541; group of women playing instruments; St. John; and St. Quirinus (Plate, p. 192).

Condition—Good, much altered.

(3). Dale Hall, nearly ½ m. E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 17th century, with crosswings at the E. and W. ends. The S. front is of brick, with a band between the storeys. Inside the building are original ceiling-beams and some exposed timber-framing.


Monuments (4–9).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and 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.

(4). Cottage, at S.W. corner of churchyard, has been mostly refaced with brick.

(5). Cottage, now two tenements, on S. side of Mill Hill, 1,100 yards W. of the church.

(6). House, now three tenements, on S. side of road in W. outskirts of Manningtree and about 1 m. E.N.E. of the church, was built probably in the 15th century with the cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. Inside the building are original cambered tie-beams with curved braces.

(7). House, now four tenements, on W. side of road, 30 yards S. of (6), was built probably in the 16th century and has an early 17th-century extension on the N.

(8). House, now three tenements, 30 yards E. of (6), was built probably early in the 16th century. There is a 17th-century extension at the E. end. The upper storey formerly projected on the N. front, but has been under-built. Inside the building is an original doorway with a four-centred head. The middle room has original moulded joists and ceiling-beams and the roof has a king-post truss.

(9). House, now five tenements, 40 yards E. of (8), was built in the 16th century. There are late 17th-century additions on the E. and S. The timber-framing is exposed on the W. side.