Little Totham

Pages 174-175

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. xlv. S.E.)

Little Totham is a small parish 4 m. N.E. of Maldon. The Church is interesting.


(1). Parish Church of All Saints stands about the middle of the parish. The walls are probably of flint-rubble but except for the tower they are plastered; the dressings are of limestone and brick and the roofs are tiled. The Nave was built in the 12th century. In the 13th century the Chancel was rebuilt and perhaps enlarged. Probably in the 15th century the N. wall of the nave was rebuilt except for the lowest 3 ft. Early in the 16th century the West Tower was added but the upper part of it was rebuilt in the 17th or 18th century. The church was restored in the 19th century when the South Porch was added.

The S. doorway is an interesting example of 12th-century work.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (24½ ft. by 17 ft.) has in the E. wall three early 13th-century graduated lancet-windows; they are partly restored and have a moulded internal string course below the sills. In the N. wall is a 13th-century lancet-window, partly re-cut; further W. is a blocked window, probably also of the 13th century. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is a 13th-century lancet, subsequently widened and much restored; the 16th-century western window is of terra-cotta and of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head. There is no chancel-arch.

The Nave (38 ft. by 18½ ft.) has in the N. wall two 18th-century or modern windows; between them is the early 12th-century N. doorway (Plate, p. 132) with plain jambs, round arch and chamfered imposts, now blocked. The N. wall has an internal ledge of diminishing width and about 3 ft. above the floor, which indicates the line of the 12th-century wall. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern is of late 15th-century date, partly restored, and of two cinquefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; the western window is a 13th-century lancet with restored jambs; further W. is the S. doorway (Plate, p. 115) of c. 1160 with a round arch of three orders, the inner square and diapered and the two outer moulded, with embattled and billet ornament respectively; the moulded label has billet-ornament; the jambs have each a square inner order and two detached shafts with simply foliated capitals, moulded bases, and banding bosses, each with a disc on the face, enriched with diapering.

The West Tower (9¼ ft. square) is of two stages, the lower of 16th-century brick faced with knapped flint-work, and the upper timber-framed and weather-boarded and now divided into three storeys. The tower-arch which was probably never completed has semi-octagonal responds with moulded bases. The W. doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels and a moulded label; above it is a shield bearing the date 1527. The upper stage incorporates 16th-century timbers but was probably rebuilt in the 17th or 18th century.

The Roof of the chancel has a plain tie-beam and moulded wall-plates of the 15th century. The 15th-century roof of the nave is of four bays with moulded and embattled wall-plates and moulded or chamfered tie-beams; the moulded tie-beams have curved braces, and there are two carved grotesque corbels of wood. Incorporated in the modern porch is a reused beam with the mortices for diamond mullions.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed "Sancte Petre Ora Pro Nobis, A," 15th-century; 2nd (Plate, p. 133) by John Sturdy and inscribed "Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis, I.S.," 15th-century; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1663; bell-frame old. Chair: In chancel—with turned legs and rails, upholstered back with turned posts, probably late 17th-century. Doors: In N. doorway (Plate, p. 132)—of plain battens with ornamental iron hinges and strap with foliations, late 12th or early 13th-century. In S. doorway—of feathered battens with strap-hinges, 15th-century, elaborately foliated scutcheon-plate, late 13th-century. In W. doorway—of battens with strap-hinges, 16th-century. Font (Plate, p. xxxiv): octagonal, each face of bowl with different form of window tracery, moulded top-edge, 15th-century, stem and base modern. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel—against S. wall, of Sir John Samms (buried at Isendike) and Isabell (Garrard), his wife, mid 17th-century, marble monument (Plate, p. 97) with large kneeling figure of man in armour and wife on a shelf with a recess in the middle; at back of figures two arched recesses, flanked by panelled pilasters; loose in lower recess, kneeling figure of man in armour, probably Sir Garrard Samms, son of the above; monument reset. Floor-slab: In chancel—to John Sames, 1606, with achievement of arms and bevelled edge to slab. Piscina: In chancel—with defaced moulded and trefoiled head, shafted jambs with moulded capitals and bases, chamfered shelf and round drain, 13th-century. Pulpit: modern incorporating early 17th-century panelling and frieze with carved foliage. Scratchings: On tower-arch—various masons' marks and 17th and 18th-century names and dates.



(2). Moor's Farm, house and moat, ½ m. N. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century, and has an original chimney-stack with two diagonal shafts.

The Moat surrounds the house.

Condition—Of house, good.

(3). Little Totham Hall, N.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The middle part of the house is of the 15th century, and appears to have been the original great hall, the cross-wings of which have been destroyed. On the N.E. is an irregular addition, partly in brick and of the 16th century; it formed part of a much larger building, extending towards the N.E. There are various modern additions. In the S. wall of the original block is a blocked window of three lights with original moulded mullions. The E. end of the 16th-century addition has clasping pilasters at the angles and a blocked doorway with a four-centred head. Inside the building is an original window-head with the mortices for diamond-shaped mullions; it now forms a ceiling-beam. There is also some exposed timber-framing, and on the first floor a braced tie-beam.