Pages 135-136

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

79. SHOPLAND. (F.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. lxxviii. N.E.)

Shopland is a small parish on the S. bank of the River Roach, 3 m. N.E. of Southend-on-Sea. The church and Beauchamps are the principal monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene stands on the E. side of the parish. The walls are of rubble covered with cement and rough-cast; the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are tiled and the bell-turret boarded. The Nave was built early in the 12th century. The Chancel was re-built and widened in the 13th or 14th century. The South Porch was added early in the 15th century and the bell-turret in the 16th century.

The timber S. porch is interesting, and amongst the fittings the font is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description— The Chancel (21½ ft. by 18¾ ft.) has an E. window all modern except the plastered splays and two-centred rear-arch, which are possibly of the 14th century. In the N. wall is a doorway with a four-centred rear-arch, probably of the 15th century; it is blocked and not visible externally. In the S. wall is a 14th-century window of one cinque-foiled light, set in a cemented lancet-shaped opening, probably of the 13th century. There is no chancel-arch.

The Nave (39¼ ft. by 19 ft.) has in the N. wall two windows, the eastern of the 15th century, and of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head having a moulded label with defaced head-stops; the splays have small carved head-stops at the springing level; the western window is a single small early 12th-century light with a round head; between the windows is the blocked N. doorway; it is not visible externally, but has a hollowed chamfered rear-arch, probably of the 14th century. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern is of the 14th century, and of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a square head; the western window is similar to the corresponding window in the N. wall, but is blocked; further E. the outlines of a similar window are visible internally; the 14th-century S. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with head-stops. In the W. wall is a window probably all modern. The bell-turret, at the W. end of the nave, stands on four oak posts with curved braces, probably of the 16th century.

The South Porch (Plate, p. 137) is of early 15th-century date, timber-framed and of two bays. The square-headed outer archway is flanked by ogee-headed openings; above the moulded lintel are three ogee-headed niches, the middle one having a number of round mortice-holes at the back; the western niche contains remains of a carved head, cut back. The side walls have in the outer bay three cinque-foiled lights with traceried heads. The wall-plates and tie-beams are moulded, and the ties, which are steeply cambered, have curved braces.

The Roof of the chancel is possibly of 14th or 15th-century date and of trussed-rafter type, ceiled on the soffit; the plates are hollow-chamfered. The nave has three late 14th-century king-post trusses; two tie-beams and the plates are moulded; the slender king-posts of the two western trusses are octagonal and have moulded capitals and plain bases.

Fittings: Bells: Inaccessible, but said to be by Peter Hawkes, 1608. Brass: In nave—slab partly under pews [of Thomas Stapel, 1371], serjeant-at-arms, mutilated figure in armour with pointed bascinet, camail, etc., knee-cops and legs below missing, indents of marginal inscription and cinque-foiled crocketed canopy and shields, fragment of inscription remaining at top. Coffin-lid: In nave—as threshold of S. doorway, with hollow-chamfered edge, probably 13th-century. Doors: In chancel—in blocked doorway, roughly framed door, 17th or 18th-century. In nave— in N. doorway, possibly 15th or 16th-century. Font (Plate, pp. xlii-iii): Square bowl, S. face with interlacing arcade of round arches resting on shafts with moulded capitals and ' hold-water' bases; W. face with three trefoiled arches with flattened shafts having similar capitals and bases, roses in the spandrels and fleur-de-lis cusp-points to the middle bay; E. and N. faces each with three large incised fleurs-de-lis and two formy crosses in circles, stem consists of a middle and four side shafts with moulded caps and bases, early 13th-century. Glass: In chancel— in tracery of E. window, numerous fragments, partly old and including crowns, foliage, borders, heraldic mantling and drapery, 13th, 15th and 17th-century. In nave— in S. window, yellow oak-leaf ornament in tracery, late 14th-century, in situ. Monument: In churchyard—slab to William Haker, yeoman, 1639. Paving: In nave— numerous small tiles with remains of glaze, one with a crown, mediaeval. Piscina: In chancel—with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, sex-foiled drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1683. Seating: In nave—one bench with a shaped standard and rail, of the 16th century, partly repaired. Another with 17th-century bench-ends. Sedile: In chancel—in S. wall, wide recess with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch, 14th-century.

Condition—Good, much restored except N.E. window of the nave, which is badly decayed.


(2). Homestead Moat, at Butler's Farm, 1,100 yards N. of the church.

(3). House, now two tenements, 50 yards W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of timber-framing, partly plastered and partly weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century, and has a modern addition at the back. On the E. front are two gabled dormer-windows, and the central chimney-stack is original. Inside the building there are some exposed ceiling-beams in the ground-floor rooms.


(4). Beauchamps, house (Plate, p. 136), ½ m. E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It is a long rectangular building of c. 1688, with a two-storeyed porch on the E. front. On the E. front there are considerable remains of elaborate pargeting, the lower storey being treated in the form of rusticated masonry, the upper with scrolls, swags and fruitornament and the date 1688 in Roman figures with a large rose above (Plate, p. 152). At the eaves-level is a modillioned cornice, which is continued round the porch. The central chimney-stack is original, but the upper part of the chimney-stack at the N. end of the house has been re-built. Inside the building the southernmost room has a fine plaster ceiling divided into two bays by a cased beam. In each bay is a large elliptical wreath (Plate, p. 152) of laurel leaves and berries and with a pendant of fruit and flowers in the centre surrounded by four cherubs' heads alternating with rosebuds; outside the wreath at either end of the ceiling are roses and fleurs-de-lis.


(5). Fox Hall, 750 yards S S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. The cross-wing at the E. end of the house and the E. end of the main block are the remains of a 15th-century building, the W. end of which was re-built in the 16th century. There is a modern addition on the E. The upper storey of the cross-wing projects on the S. front and is supported on two curved brackets, and on the W. front is a 16th-century chimney-stack with crow-stepped offsets and an oversailing cap. Inside the building the ceiling-beams in the ground-floor rooms of the E. wing are exposed, and in the W. cross-wall is a blocked doorway with a four-centred head. Springing from the side walls of the room occupying the W. end of the former hall are two curved braces which probably supported the tie-beam of the original hall roof. In this room is a wide 16th-century fireplace with a four-centred head. The roof over the E. wing has an original tie-beam with a mortice for a king-post.