Pages 124-126

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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74. RETTENDON. (D.b.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)lxi. N.E. (b)lxi. S.W. (c)lxix. N.W.)

Rettendon is a parish about 7 m. E.N.E. of Billericay. The church is the principal monument.


(1). Parish Church of All Saints stands at the S. end of the parish. The walls are of ragstone-rubble with some flint, septaria and puddingstone; the dressings are of Reigate stone, and the roofs are covered with tiles and slate. The Nave is of uncertain date, the earliest detail being the S. doorway, of c. 1200. Early in the 13th century the Chancel was re-built and probably lengthened. In the 15th century the North Aisle and arcade, the West Tower and the North Chapel and Vestry were added; the chancel-arch was probably removed at the same period. The church has been restored in modern times, when the S. walls of the chancel and nave were refaced, the pyramidal spire added, and the South Porch re-built with some old material re-used.

The two-storeyed Vestry or Priest's House is interesting, and among the fittings the carved 12th-century slab and the 15th-century bench-ends are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (36½ ft. by 19¾ ft.) has an E. window all modern except the 13th-century shafted splays and moulded rear-arch and label. In the N. wall is a window of one pointed light opening from the upper storey of the vestry; further W. is a 15th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label; the late 15th-century arch to the N. chapel is two-centred and of two hollow chamfered orders; the responds have attached semi-octagonal shafts with concave faces and moulded capitals and bases; further W. is an opening about four feet above the floor with a round head. In the S. wall are two windows, both modern except for the splays and rear-arch of the western, which are possibly of the 14th century; between them is a modern doorway; at the E. end of the wall is a blocked window.

The North Vestry is of the 15th century and of two storeys, with a chimney-stack against the N. wall. The ground-storey has in the E. wall a modern window. In the W. wall is a doorway to the staircase with hollow-chamfered jambs and four-centred arch. The upper storey has in the E. wall a modern window and the sill of a 15th-century window. In the N. wall is a small square-headed window; E. of the modern fireplace is a blocked doorway, formerly approached by an external stair. In the S. wall are two wide recesses with flat two-centred heads. In the W. wall is a doorway from the staircase, with a four-centred head.

The Nave (44½ ft. by 20 ft.) has a late 15th-century N. arcade of three bays with two-centred arches of two hollow-chamfered orders; the octagonal columns have concave faces and moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns. In the S. wall are three windows, each of three lights and all modern except for the re-set 15th-century rear-arches and splay-stones; between the two western windows is the S. doorway of c. 1200, partly restored and with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch with a chamfered label.

Rettendon, the Parish Church of All Saints

The North Chapel and Aisle (12 ft. wide) has in the N. wall three windows, the easternmost and westernmost are each of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; the middle window is modern except for the re-set 14th-century splays and part of the moulded label with stops carved as a beast and a serpent with a human head; W. of the windows is the blocked N. doorway, with chamfered jambs, possibly of the 13th century re-set, and a modern head. In the W. wall is a window similar to the westernmost window in the N. wall, but with a restored label; above it is a single-light window, modern externally.

The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of the 15th century and of three stages with an embattled parapet. The two-centred tower-arch is of three hollow-chamfered orders; the chamfered responds have each an attached shaft with moulded capital and base. The W. window is of two four-centred lights with uncusped tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; below it is the W. doorway, with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label; both doorway and window are set in a recess with a two-centred head. The second stage has in the E. wall a square-headed opening to the roof of the nave. In the N. wall is a window of one four-centred light with a square moulded label. In the S. wall is a window of one cinque-foiled light in a square head with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a two-light window with a square head and a moulded label; the lights of the E. window are four-centred and the others cinque-foiled.

The Roof of the N. aisle is of late 15th-century date and of four bays with moulded and curved braces to the collar-beams, forming two-centred arches; the wall-plates are moulded.

Fittings—Bells: six; 6th by Samuel Newton and John Peele, 1704. Brackets: In chancel— on S. wall, of stone, moulded and with trumpet-stem knotted at the end, 13th-century. In vestry —in N. wall, semi-octagonal and hollow-chamfered, 15th-century. Brasses: In chancel—on N. wall— (1) to Margaret, wife of [George] Hayes, 1552. In N. aisle—(2) of Richard Humfrie, 1607, in civil dress with kneeling figures of three sons; (3) of Richard Cannon, 1605, in civil dress; on loose slab (see Monument (1)), (4) of civilian and two wives, c. 1535, with group of three sons and four daughters, indents of a third wife, two groups of children and inscription-plate. Chest: In vestry —of hutch-type with old lock-plate and hinge, 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In vestry—at head of turret-staircase, with hollow-chamfered edge and remains of raised cross, 13th-century. Font: octagonal bowl with moulded under-edge, plain stem and moulded base, 15th-century. Locker: In chancel—in N. wall, with rebated reveals and triangular head, probably 14th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab—Monuments: In N. aisle— (1) loose slab (Plate, p. 25), probably part of former monument, with later brass (4) set in it, cablemoulded edges and between them on each side bands of conventional foliage, birds, etc., late 12th-century. In churchyard—S. of church—(2) to James Stillemen (?), 1694, table-tomb; (3) to Ambrose S . . . ., 1684, slab. Floor-slab: In N. aisle—to William Humfrey, 1628. Piscina: In chancel (Plate, p. xlv)—with moulded and trefoiled head with a moulded label, dog-tooth ornament and foliated stops, octofoiled drain, early 13th-century. Plate (Plate, p. xliv): includes cup of 1562 with two bands of engraved ornament and a stand-paten of 1641, given in 1642. Seating: In chancel—incorporated in modern work six elaborately traceried panels with heads of several others, also ten bench-ends, nine with carved popey-heads (Plate, p. 5), some having carved badges—the eagle and child (eagle missing), bear and ragged staff, two apes, a lion and a dog, also a fir-cone, late 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel (Plate, p. xlv)—of two bays with hollow-chamfered trefoiled heads with moulded labels and mask-stops, 13th-century, jambs and shaft modern. Miscellanea: In N. aisle—fragment of square bowl of 12th-century font. Incorporated in external walling, fragments of window tracery, etc., 14th-century.



b(2). Barn (Plate, p. xli), at Rettendon Place, 100 yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with brick walls and a tiled roof. It was built in the 16th century, and has a modern extension at the E. end. The E. and W. walls are gabled, and each has within the gable a blocked three-light window. The S. wall has three gables, with blocked windows in two of them. The roof is divided into five bays by queen-post trusses.


Monuments (3–6).

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


b(3). Pound Farm, house, about 1¼ m. N.N.W. of the church, was built in the 16th century with a cross-wing at the N. end, and has two modern additions on the N. and S. The upper storey of the cross-wing projects on the E. front, and the main chimney-stack has four grouped shafts set diagonally.

a(4). Hyde Hall, farmhouse, about 2¼ m. N.N.E. of the church, has been added to on the E. and W. and considerably altered.

a(5). Cottage, 750 yards W. of (4), is of centralchimney type with a modern extension at the back.

c(6). Hawk Inn, S. of Battlesbridge Station, nearly 1 m. S.E. of the church, is a small rectangular building of 16th-century date, which has been added to on the N., E. and W.