Pages 78-80

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

17. CRESSING. (A.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxv. S.E. (b)xxxiv. N.E (c)xxxiv. S.E.)

Cressing is a parish and village 3 m. S.E. of Braintree. The principal monuments are the church and Cressing Temple.


b(1). Parish Church of All Saints (Plate, p. xxviii) stands at the S. end of the village. The walls are of flint-rubble with some brick; the dressings are of limestone and clunch, and the roofs are tiled. The Nave is probably of the 12th century, but there is no detail in situ of that date. The Chancel was rebuilt c. 1230. In the first half of the 15th century the walls of the nave were raised and early in the 16th century the S. wall of the chancel was rebuilt, the chancel possibly shortened and the Bell-turret added. The church was restored early in the 19th century, when the E. wall was rebuilt and the North Vestry added; the South Porch is also modern.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. by 20 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are two windows of the first half of the 13th century, each of one lancet light; the western has been completely restored externally. In the S. wall is an early 16th-century window of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a four-centred head, the external jambs and head are moulded, and the mullion and sill are modern; further W. is a doorway, all modern, except the internal splays and rear-arch, which are of early 16th-century date.

The Nave (50¾ ft. by 21¾ ft.) is structurally undivided from the chancel, but the internal angles of the set back in the N. and S. walls are splayed. In the N. wall are two windows of c. 1440, and each of two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head and a moulded label; further W. is the 14th-century N. doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; the moulded label has mutilated head-stops; above the rear-arch is set a voussoir carved with cheveron ornament, of c. 1130. In the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is of c. 1340 and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the external label and rear-arch are moulded; the western window is similar in date and detail to those in the N. wall; at the E. end of the wall is a recess of uncertain use and date, with splayed jambs and a segmental arch; W. of the windows is the late 14th-century S. doorway, with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label. In the W. wall is a window, all modern, except the splays and rear-arch, which are of c. 1440.

The Bell-turret, probably of early 16th-century date and placed over the W. end of the nave, is square, covered with modern boarding, and has a short shingled spire. It rests on four hollowchamfered posts set against the walls of the nave, with chamfered cross-beams and curved braces supporting a timber-frame with diagonal bracing; between the posts on the N. and S. sides are horizontal struts with arched braces.

The Roof of the chancel is of early 16th-century date and of the trussed-rafter type, with moulded and embattled wall-plates. The 15th-century roof of the nave is steep pitched and of four bays; the trusses have chamfered tie-beams with curved braces, and two collar-beams, the lower with curved braces and pierced traceried filling between it and the tie-beam; the upper collar supports a king-post with four-way struts.

Fittings—Brass: In chancel—of Dorcas (Bigg), wife of Thomas Musgrave, of Norton, Yorks, 1610, seated figure of lady, left hand pointing to figure of infant, two inscription-plates. Communion Table (Plate, p. xxxii): In vestry—of oak, with square and turned legs, top-rail with raised panels, lower rails carved with incised inscription: "Dorcas Smith wife of William Smyth Esquier gave this to the churche, A. dom, 1633." Glass: In nave—in tracery of two windows in N. wall, fragments of figures, foliage, etc., 15th-century. Helms: In chancel—at W. end, two, one with crest of Smith, early 17th-century. Monument and Floor-slab. Monument (Plate, p. 97): In chancel—on S. wall, of Anne (Grene), wife of (a) Thomas Newman, (b) Henry Smith, of Cressing Temple, 1607, alabaster and marble tablet, with kneeling figures of man in plate-armour, and lady, with four shields of arms; panelled base with small figures of a daughter and a swaddled infant. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Willyam Smith and Dorcas, his wife, mid 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel —with chamfered jambs and four-centred head, early 16th-century; octofoil drain, probably 14th-century. In nave—in sill of S.E. window, rough sinking to drain, date uncertain. Royal Arms: In nave—on S. wall, of Queen Anne before the Union, on canvas in carved frame. Sedilia: Sills of S.E. window of chancel and N.E. and S.E. windows of nave carried down to form seats. Miscellanea: In nave—on sill of W. window, two carved heads, 14th-century.



b(2). Homestead Moat at Wright's Farm, about ¾ m. W.N.W. of the church.

b(3). Cressing Temple, house, outbuilding, barns and moat, about 1¼ m. S.S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600 on a T-shaped plan, with the cross-wing at the S.W. end. There are modern additions on the N.W. side. Inside the building, one room is fitted with original panelling, having a carved frieze; the panelled overmantel has reeded pilasters and carved conventional foliage and dragons.

The Garden, E. of the house, is surrounded by late 16th-century walls of red brick. In the walls are two doorways with moulded jambs and four-centred arches with square labels; a third doorway is similar, but with chamfered jambs, and is flanked by pilasters on the inside face.

The Outbuilding, E. of the house, is of two storeys, partly of brick and partly of plastered timberframing; it was built probably early in the 17th century. S. of the house is another outbuilding, now stables, also of two storeys and timberframed. It was built c. 1623, the date on a carved panel on the N.W. side; the gable above this has barge-boards carved with conventional foliage.

The Barn, N.E. of the house, is timber-framed, with brick nogging. It was built probably late in the 16th century, and is of five bays with two half-bays and a porch. The second barn, N. of the house, is timber-framed and weather-boarded. It was built early in the 16th century and is of similar plan to the larger barn; the roof has king-post trusses.

There are traces of foundation mounds in the area enclosed by the above buildings.

The Moat is fragmentary.

Condition—Of all buildings, good.

b(4). Hawbush Farm, house, barn and moat, ½ m. W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in the 16th century but has 17th-century and modern additions on the W. side. On the W. side is an old door of overlapping battens. A 17th-century chimney-stack on the W. side has two diagonal shafts. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams including one original moulded beam. There is also some late 16th-century panelling. The roof has remains of the original king-post construction but has been much altered.

The Barn N.E. of the house is timber-framed and probably of the 16th century.

The Moat is incomplete.

Condition—Of house, fairly good.

a(5). Langham Farm, house and moat, about ¾ m. N. of the church. The House is of two storeys, partly timber-framed and plastered and partly of brick; the roofs are covered with slate. It was built in the 16th century but was altered in the 17th century and the roof rebuilt in the 19th century. The W. end of the main block is of original brickwork. In the N. wall are several original doorways with four-centred heads; there are also indications of a former N. wing. Inside the building one room is lined with early 17th-century panelling with a fluted frieze and fluted pilasters flanking the windows.

The Moat surrounds the house.

Condition—Of house, fairly good.

Monuments (6–15).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. Several of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

a(6). Field's Farm, house, ¼ m. N.N.E. of (5).

b(7). Rook Farm, house and barns, 300 yards N.W. of the church. The House was built c. 1600 and has an original central chimney-stack with four detached shafts having ornamental caps. Inside the building are some original doors of moulded battens.

The Barns S.E. of the house are probably of the 17th century.

b(8). House, three tenements, 80 yards N.W. of the church.

b(9). Cottage, three tenements, 700 yards W. of the church.

b(10). Newhouse Farm, house, nearly ¾ m. S.S.E. of the church, has an original central chimney-stack with four detached octagonal shafts on a rectangular base with a moulded capping. The N. stack is of later date than that in the centre but was built to correspond with it.

c(11). Hungry Hall, about 1½ m. S.S.E. of the church, has an original central chimney-stack with the lower parts of several octagonal shafts.

b(12). Cottage, two tenements, 750 yards S.S.W. of the church.

b(13). Cottage, with outbuildings, 1,600 yards W. of the church, has been reduced to one storey in height. The E. gable has original barge-boards.


b(14). Jeffrey's Farm, house, N. of (13), has inside the building two original moulded wallplates.

b(15). Cottage, nearly 1 m. W.N.W. of the church, was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century. The upper storey projects at the S. end.