Pages 214-216

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. (a)xxxvii. N.E. (b)xxxvii. S.E.)

Thorrington is a small parish 2 m. N. of Brightlingsea. The church is interesting.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands on the E. side of the parish. The nave, N. aisle and S. porch are of rubble composed of septaria pebbles and flint pebbles, but the S. wall is largely of flint pebbles. The tower is faced with knapped flint with limestone dressings. The roofs are tiled. The Chancel, Nave and North Aisle appear to be of early 14th-century date but the aisle wall is much patched and the upper part possibly rebuilt. The S. wall is very neat and may have been refaced. The South Porch was added in the second half of the 14th century. In the 15th century the N. aisle was probably extended towards the W.; the West Tower was added c. 1480 (see brass of J. Deth). The church was drastically restored in the 19th century when the N. arcade was rebuilt and the E. gable and tops of walls also rebuilt.

The W. tower is a good example of the period and is of interest as being approximately dated.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (21¼ ft. by 18 ft.) has an early 14th-century E. window of three uncusped lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label and partly restored. In the N. wall is the E. bay of the modern arcade. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is of early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights in a two-centred head. The western is of the 14th century, partly restored, and of one obtusely pointed light; below it in continuation is a doorway of the same date with a segmental head. There is no division between chancel and nave.

The Nave (31 ft. by 18 ft.) has a modern N. arcade. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is of three cinquefoiled lights and all modern except parts of the jambs and splays which are of the 15th century; the western window is modern; between the windows is a modern doorway.

The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has in the E. wall a modern window. In the N. wall are five windows; the easternmost is of early 14th-century date, partly restored, and is of one trefoiled ogee light; the second is similar; the third is also of the 14th century, partly restored, and reset, it is of one obtusely pointed light; the fourth and westernmost are of 15th-century date, partly restored, and each of two trefoiled lights in a square head. Between the two western windows is the 15th-century N. doorway, with chamfered jambs and moulded two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of one trefoiled light.

The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of late 15th-century date and of three stages (Plate, p. 220), faced with knapped flint; it has a moulded plinth and a damaged embattled parapet enriched with cusped and crocketed panels of flint-inlay. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders on the E. side, the outer continuous and the inner resting on semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the N. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The W. window is of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head; below it is the W. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and a moulded label with headstops. The second stage has in the S. and W. walls a window of one pointed light with an inner order of brick. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two trefoiled ogee lights, with flowered points and vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label.

The South Porch is of the 14th century and has quoins and the jambs of the outer archway built of tiles. The archway has jambs of tiles and two-centred arch of brick of two chamfered orders. The side walls have each a window of two trefoiled lights in a square head and much restored.

The Roof of the ground stage of the tower has four curved braces meeting in the middle with a round carved boss with a quatrefoil enclosing a rose.

Fittings—Altar: In chancel—formerly in tower, slab of Bethersden marble 5 ft. by 2 ft. 3 in., with chamfered under-edge. Plain cross at each corner and large cross of unusual form in the centre, mediaeval. Bells: six; 5th by Henry Jordan, 15th-century, and inscribed "Sit Nomen Domini Benedictum." Brasses and Indent. Brasses: In N. aisle— (1) to John Clare, 1564, and his two wives, Joan and Katherine (Pirton), figure of woman, two sons and three daughters, scroll, mutilated inscription and two shields of arms. In tower—(2) to John Deth, 1477, and Margery, his wife, 1483, "specialis benefactor isti' eccli~e et campanil' ejusd~m," inscription only. Indent: In nave— of two figures, inscription-plate and groups of children. Chest: In vestry—plain oak, with strap-hinges, 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In vestry —tapering slab, partly hidden in wall. Font: octagonal bowl with panelled sides, three with instruments of the passion, others with pomegranate and flower, buttressed stem with trefoil-headed panels, moulded base, early 16th-century. Hour-glass Stand: In vestry—of wrought iron, late 17th-century. Lockers: In tower—in turret staircase, two plain recesses, late 15th-century; in side walls, two plain recesses, same date. Monument: In churchyard—S. of tower, to John Wilkins, 1700, head-stone. Niche: In porch— with pointed head, 14th-century. Piscina: In chancel—with trefoiled head and moulded label with head-stops, octofoiled drain, 14th-century. Scratchings: On tower-arch—various masons' marks. On jamb of west doorway—a rough fivepointed molet, the date 1659 and other marks. On buttress of tower, three molets. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window cut down to form seat. Sundials: On buttress of tower, two scratched. Table: In vestry—with heavy turned legs and carved upper rail, c. 1600.

Condition—Good, much restored.


b(2). Gateway, at Gatehouse Farm, 1 m. W.S.W. of the church, is of early 16th-century date and of brick with stone jambs, and four-centred arch of two chamfered orders. It is finished with a moulded and crow-stepped coping of brick and forms part of the garden wall of the house.

Condition—Wall, out of perpendicular.

Monuments (3–9).

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

Condition—Good or fairly good.

b(3). Thorrington Hall, 30 yards N. of the church, was built in the 16th century with crosswings at the N. and S. ends. The S. wing was extended in the 17th century and there is a modern extension to the N. wing. The E. front has been faced with modern brickwork.

a(4). Glebe Farm, house, about ¼ m. W.N.W. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century and has a 17th-century addition on the E. side. The doorway on the W. side has 17th-century shaped brackets to the hood.

a(5). Red Lion Inn, ¼ m. N.N.W. of the church, was built in the 17th century.

a(6). House, 360 yards W.N.W. of (5), was built probably in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N.E. and S.E.

a(7). House, three tenements, at Thorrington Cross, ¾ m. N.W. of the church, was built probably early in the 16th century, with a central hall and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The W. side of the main block has been refaced with modern brick.

a(8). Goldacre Farm, house, 700 yards N.N.E. of (7), was built probably early in the 16th century. The 17th-century central chimney-stack has three diagonal shafts. Inside the building some timberframing is exposed.

a(9). White House Farm, house, 1,200 yards N.N.W. of the church, was built in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and E. The upper storey projects at the N. end and on the S. side; at the N. end it has an original moulded bressumer. The central chimney-stack has five attached diagonal shafts. Inside the building the roof has an original cambered tie-beam and curved braces.