Pages 116-119

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1923.

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In this section

69. RAINHAM. (A.d.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)lxxiv. S.E. (b)lxxv. S.W.)

Rainham is a parish and village 5 m. E. of Barking. The church is the principal monument.


a(l). Parish Church of SS. Helen and Giles stands in the village. The walls are of septaria and flint-rubble, with limestone dressings; the roofs are tiled. The whole church, including Chancel, Nave, North and South Aisles and West Tower, was built c. 1170. The N. wall of the chancel, from its thickness and material, was probably re-built in the 13th or 14th century, and at some period the chancel-arch was widened. The top stage of the tower was built in the 13th century, but was largely reconstructed in the 16th century, when the diagonal buttresses were added to the lower part. There appears to have been a 15th-century vestry on the N. side of the chancel, but it no longer exists. The church was restored in the 19th century and the South Porch is modern.

Rainham. The Parish Church of St. Helen and St. Giles.

The church is of considerable architectural interest.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (31½ ft. by 19¾ ft.) has in the E. wall three round-headed windows, all modern except some re-used stones in the outer splays of the outermost windows; above them is a circular window flanked by two round-headed windows, all restored externally, but with 12th-century splays and rear-arches; below the circular window are traces of the two-centred rear-arch of a window, probably of the 15th century. In the N. wall is a single-light window, all modern except some stones in the W. splay; E. of it is part of the E. splay of a window, of uncertain date; W. of the existing window is a blocked doorway, probably of 15th-century date, with a segmental-pointed rear-arch on the outside face. In the S. wall are three lancet-windows, all modern except the 13th-century splays and rear-arches of the two W. windows and the W. splays of the easternmost; E. of the easternmost window, which also replaces a former larger window of the 14th century, is the E. splay and part of the round head of a destroyed 12th-century window; between the two western windows is a late 12th-century doorway (Plate, p. 120) with a semi-circular arch of two orders enriched with cheveron ornament and with a label carved with nail-head ornament; the jambs have each an attached shaft with the capital carved with water-leaf and a grotesque face; the lower parts of the jambs have been restored. The late 12th-century chancel-arch (Plate, p. 115) has probably been widened; the slightly distorted semi-circular arch is of two orders on the W. face, the inner plain and the outer with cheveron ornament; there is a shallow chamfered label on the W. face; the responds have scalloped capitals and moulded abaci continued along the E. face as a string-course; N. of the W. face is a moulded 13th-century wall-arch with a moulded label, a similar arch adjoins it on the N. wall of the nave; under the first wall-arch is a loop-squint to the nave, now blocked; S. of the chancel-arch the lower part of the wall has been cut back on the W. side, and in it is a 15th-century squint with a segmental-pointed head; above it the abacus of the chancel-arch is continued, as a string-course, to meet the label of the E. arch of the S. arcade; above this is the early 16th-century upper doorway to the rood-loft staircase; it has a square head with a wood lintel.

The Nave (39 ft. by 20 ft.) has N. and S. arcades (Plate, p. 115) of c. 1170, with round arches of one plain order with chamfered labels on the nave side and towards the S. aisle; the square piers have chamfered plinths and scalloped capitals with moulded abaci; the piers have attached shafts at the angles, each with a moulded band except the northern shafts of the N. arcade and the S. shaft of the S.E. respond; the responds are half-piers, but the W. responds have no shafts; the mouldings of the capitals and abaci are continued along the W. wall and returned round the tower-arch. The clearstorey has on each side three windows with 12th-century angles to the splays and segmental-pointed rear-arches, probably of the 13th century; the 17th or 18th-century outer stonework, of pointed oval form, is possibly a restoration of a 13th-century enlargement of the original openings, and has a cusp cut in the middle of each side.

The North Aisle (7¼ ft. wide) has an E. window, all modern except the rear-arch and N. splay, which are probably of late 15th or early 16th-century date. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern of the 14th century and of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a moulded label; the western window is a single 12th-century light with a round head; further W. is the 12th-century N. doorway, with a segmental arch and the W. jamb of brick, both of c. 1600; it has a round rear-arch and moulded imposts. In the W. wall is a window similar to the western window in the N. wall.

The South Aisle (7½ ft. wide) has an E. window all modern except some stones in the two-centred rear-arch which are possibly of the 14th century. In the N. wall, E. of the arcade, is the early 16th-century lower doorway to the rood-loft staircase, with a rebated wooden frame and square head. In the S. wall are two windows similar to the corresponding windows in the N. aisle, but the western one is entirely modern and the other largely restored; further W. is the S. doorway, all modern except the splays, rear-arch and part of a round 12th-century inner order; one internal voussoir is carved with diaper ornament. In the W. wall is a window all modern except part of the splays, which are possibly of the 14th century.

The West Tower (15½ ft. square) is of three stages externally but of two storeys internally; it has a 16th-century embattled parapet of brick and a low pyramidal roof. The 12th-century tower-arch is of one plain round order and the responds have imposts continued round from the arcades. The N., S. and W. walls have each a 12th-century window of one round-headed light, restored externally. The bell-chamber has in each wall two narrow brick windows, probably of the date of the parapet; one window on the W. is blocked.

The Roof of the chancel is of the 15th century, and of two bays with tie-beams, king-posts with four-way struts under a central purlin and wall-plates with modern cornices. The modern gabled roof of the S. aisle incorporates some old material.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by Thomas Bartlet, 1618; 2nd and 3rd by John Hodson, 1670. Brasses: In chancel—(1) to Mary, wife of Anthony Ratcliffe, 1630, inscription only; (2) to Katherine, widow successively of George Frith and Robert Hollden, 1612, achievement-of-arms and inscription. In nave—(3) of civilian in fur-lined gown and wife in pedimental head-dress, c. 1500, with two shields-of-arms—(a) a griffon quartering a molet impaling a defaced charge quartering a cheveron engrailed between three molets; (b) a griffon impaling a cheveron engrailed between three molets; (4) in S. aisle—of woman in butterfly head-dress, c. 1480, and two shields-of-arms—(a) a griffon charged with three bars; (b) a molet and a border, indent of figure of husband and inscription-plate. Chest (Plate, p. xliii): In N. aisle—covered with leather and iron strap-work and with semi-hexagonal lid, three hasps, 16th-century. Coffin-lids: In churchyard—W. of tower (1) coped, with remains of raised lozenges; (2) and (3) with moulded edges and remains of crosses, all 13th-century, much damaged. Door: In N. doorway of three battens with remains of one ornamental iron hinge, late 12th or early 13th-century. Font: roughly circular bowl with chamfered under-edge and two projecting lobes, one broken, for fastening, 12th-century; octagonal stem with trefoil-headed panels on four sides and panelled buttresses on the other four, chamfered base, 15th-century. Locker: In chancel—in S. wall, with rebated jambs and triangular head, date uncertain. Niches: In nave —in E. pier of N. arcade, small and plastered, with four-centred head, date uncertain. In E. respond of S. arcade, with rough arched head, plastered back, date uncertain. Paintings: In chancel, on N. wall, remains of red foliage and on N. jamb of N. window traces of red border. In nave—on N. and S. walls, parts of conventional running borders in red, 13th-century; on W. wall, considerable remains of similar ornament, and on either side of tower-arch remains of 14th-century quatrefoils enclosing flowered crosses; on S. wall at E. end, remains of red paint on both arcades and remains of masoned lines and sexfoils on rear-arches of clearstorey windows. Piscina: In S. aisle—foliated head of pillar-piscina, late 12th or early 13th-century, now set on a modern corbel in front of an ancient square recess. Plate: includes cover-paten of 1563, cup of 1652 with baluster stem, and stand-paten of 1713, dated 1714. Scratching: On wall of rood-loft staircase, large drawing of ship with two masts, 16th-century. Screen (Plate, p. 115): Between chancel and nave—incorporates 15th or early 16th-century lower halves of moulded muntins and door-posts, the latter buttressed, and moulded middle rail. Seat: In chancel—chair partly made up of old work, including a 15th-century bench-end with a crouching lion on the shoulder, and half a popey-head, also seat-board and moulded top-rail of back.



b(2). Daymns Hall (Plate, pp. 56–7), 2½ m. E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century, and is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E. Both wings have a band-course between the storeys and a moulded cornice below the parapet; the E. wing has three gables with moulded copings. In the E. end is a window with an original moulded wooden frame. The S. doorway has an original door of nine moulded panels. Inside the building are exposed ceiling-beams and a door of moulded battens.


a(3). Cottage, two tenements, opposite the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the second half of the 17th century, and has exposed ceiling-beams and internal timber-framing and an original chimney-stack.