South Ockendon

Pages 140-143

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


(O.S. 6 in. (a)lxxv. S.E. (b)lxxxiii. N.W. (c)lxxxiii. N.E.)

South Ockendon is a parish and small village 3 m. N.N.W. of Grays Thurrock. The church is the principal monument.


South Ockendon, the Parish Church of St. Nicholas

a(l). Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands on the S. side of the green in the middle of the village. The walls are of flint and stone-rubble; the dressings are of Reigate stone; the roofs are tiled. With the exception of the circular West Tower, which was added c. 1230–40, to a building probably of early 12th-century date, practically the whole of the church was re-built late in the 15th century, when the North Aisle and Chapel were added, a late 12th-century N. doorway being re-set in the N. wall of the aisle. In 1744 the western part of the tower fell and was subsequently re-built. The Chancel and N. chapel were extensively restored in 1866, when much of the N. aisle was re-built, the South Aisle, South Vestry, North Porch and tower stair-turret were added and the building generally repaired.

The circular W. tower is of interest, and the N. doorway is a good example of 12th-century work. The monument to Sir R. Saltonstall, an early 17th-century Lord Mayor of London, is a good specimen of its type.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (22¼ ft. by 16¼ ft.) is, with the exception of the W. wall, completely modern. The chancel-arch is of late 15th-century date and of two hollow-chamfered orders, the outer continuous, the inner carried on responds of the same section with moulded capitals and hollow-chamfered bases.

The North Chapel (22 ft. by 17 ft.) has an embattled parapet. In the N. wall are two windows, each of a single cinque-foiled light with a square traceried head; both are possibly of the 15th century, but very much restored. In the W. wall is a 15th-century two-centred arch of similar detail to the chancel-arch, but the responds, carrying the inner order, have moulded bases.

The Nave (37½ ft. by 21¾ ft.) has a N. arcade of two whole bays and one half bay, the apex of the arch of the latter abutting against the E. wall. The arches are two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders; the piers are octagonal and the W. respond semi-octagonal, and all have moulded capitals and bases of similar detail to the W. arch of the N. chapel. At the N.E. end the angle of the E. wall is chamfered to mitre with the outer order of the easternmost arch, but the quoins in the wall are of earlier date than the arcade. The original N.W. angle of the nave is visible externally. Above the arcade is a clearstorey with three 15th-century windows, modern externally, and each of two cinque-foiled lights under a four-centred head. At the E. end of the S. wall is a 15th-century doorway to the rood-loft staircase, with hollow chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; the upper doorway also has a two-centred head, but is blocked. The S. arcade and clearstorey are modern.

The North Aisle (9¼ ft. wide) is lighted by modern windows. The re-set N. doorway (Plate, p. 120) is of late 12th-century date and of three moulded orders, elaborately carved with enriched cheveron ornament, and having a moulded label carved with billet enrichment. The outer order of the jambs has keeled angle rolls and square imposts; the second has detached shafts with spiral mouldings enriched with pellet and dog-tooth ornament; the inner order has attached columns with keeled angle-rolls to the adjoining reveals. The shafts and jambs have continuous carved capitals, partly restored moulded abaci and modern bases; the whole doorway has been considerably restored.

The West Tower (internal diameter 13½ ft.) is in four stages, of which the two uppermost are largely modern (Plate, pp. xxxii–iii). The tower-arch, of c. 1230–40, is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the inner carried on semi-circular attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the upper member of the capital is continued round the respond as an impost; the outer order is moulded on the E. side. The 15th-century W. doorway has jambs and two-centred head of two hollow-chamfered orders with a restored moulded label; above the doorway is a brick window, all modern except the re-used sill. The second stage has, low down on the E. side, two blocked openings with semi-circular heads; above are two large corbels, probably marking the level of a previous floor. On the N. side is a small 13th-century window with a square head and modern internally. On the W. side is a brick window similar to that below.

Fittings—Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In N. chapel—on E. wall, (1) to Gilbert Saltonstall, 1585, with four shields-of-arms; on N. wall, (2) (Plate, p. 56) [of Sir Ingram Bruyn, 1400] with part of figure, head and helm missing, blackletter inscription on breast, "Ecce nunc in pulvere dormio sed scio quod redemptor meus vivit," upper halves of two side shafts and fragments of arch and canopy, two shields-of-arms—a mill-rind cross quartering lozengy (?); on W. wall, (3) of Margaret Barker, 1602, figure in dress of period, with shield-of-arms; on floor, (4) to Gilbert Saltonstall, 1585, with shield-of-arms. Indents: In N. chapel, mostly hidden by the organ, of brasses (2) and (3). Chest: In N. chapel (Plate, p. xliii)—bound with broad iron bands, two ring-handles at each end, and one lock, 14th-century or earlier. Coffin-lid: In N. chapel —13th-century tapering slab of Purbeck marble with double hollow-chamfered edge. Hour-glass stand: attached to pulpit, wrought-iron, 17th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In N. chapel—on E. wall, (1) to Philip Saltonstal, 1668, erected 1670 by his widow Alice, mural monument of marble, with side columns, entablature with broken pediment and achievement-of-arms; against N. wall, (2) of Sir Richard Saltonstall, 1601, Lord Mayor of London, erected by Suzanne (Poyntz), his wife; alabaster and marble wall-monument (Plate, p. 141) on double base with two arched recesses above, flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature with elaborate achievement-of-arms; in recesses kneeling figures of man in armour and wearing the mayoral cloak and chain, and lady in furred gown, ruff and widow's veil; below figures of six sons and nine daughters separated by prayer-desk; against W. wall, (3) to George Drywood, 1611, and Elizabeth (Samson), his first wife, 1595, black and white marble tablet flanked by Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature and achievement-of-arms. In churchyard—N. of tower, (4) to Thomas Elderton and Alse, his wife, both 1703, head-stone. Floor-slab: In N. chapel —to Sir William How, 1650 (?), black marble slab with inscription and three shields-of-arms.



a(2). Rectory, house and moat, 450 yards S.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. The middle part of the house is of 17th-century date, but has 18th-century and modern additions on all sides and has been much altered. The central chimney-stack is original and has four re-built shafts set cross-wise on a rectangular base.

The Moat surrounds the house.

Condition—Of house, good, much altered.

South Ockendon

a(3). South Ockendon Hall, gatehouse, barn, moat and mill-ponds, 900 yards E.N.E. of the church. The present house is modern, but, judging from the remains of the walling to the gatehouse which stands at the N.E. corner of the moat, the original house must have been a building of considerable importance. A length of about 40 ft. of the outer wall of the Gatehouse is standing, with the remains of an entrance 9½ ft. wide. It is 3 ft. thick and has two offsets. The lower part of the wall, to the height of about 20 ft., is of coursed Reigate stone and of mediaeval date, and the upper part of c. 1700, is brickwork. Across the moat, leading to the gatehouse, is a bridge, all modern except the lower part of the retaining wall on the W. side, which is of limestone-rubble.

The Barn (Plate, p. xli) stands outside, at the N.E. corner of the moat, and has brick walls with internal timber-construction; the roof is partly tiled and partly slated. It is of eleven and a half bays with side-aisles and has two projecting porches on the S. side. It was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century, but the two easternmost bays are of later date. The roof rests on heavy squared posts and braced main purlins and has braced tie-beams and king-posts supporting a central purlin below the collars to the principal rafters.

The Moat surrounded the original house and is exceptionally large and well-preserved.

The Mill-ponds are marked by three large shallow depressions in the ground, and the S. arm of the moat was also probably used in connection with the mill. A windmill now stands on the site.

Condition—Of gatehouse, good, but fragmentary; of barn, good.

Monuments (4–13).

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


a(4). Royal Oak, inn and tenement, on E. side of the green, 100 yards N. of the church, is of weather-boarded timber-framing and built on a half H-shaped plan with the cross-wings extending towards the E. The N. wing and N. half of the central block are of 15th-century date, and the S. half is a 17th-century addition or rebuilding. The S. chimney-stack is of T-shaped plan and of 17th-century date. Inside the northern half of the building the beams are of much heavier timbers than in the southern half, and on the first floor some of the timber-framing is exposed. In the N. wing is a blocked window of four lights with diamond-shaped mullions, and the roof is of the king-post type with curved braces and central purlin.

a(5). Street Farm, two tenements, 160 yards N.W. of the church, has modern additions at the back.

a(6). House and shop, at S.W. corner of the green, 80 yards N.W. of the church, has been partly refronted with brick. The S. end is a cross-wing of a 15th-century house, the major part of which was apparently re-built in the 17th century; there are modern additions at the back. The roof of the S. wing has been heightened on the S. side, and in the W. wall is an original door of three nail-studded and moulded battens with two shaped wrought-iron hinges. Inside the building, below the ceiling in the first floor of the S. wing, is an original cambered tie-beam with the foot of a king-post.

a(7). Inn, 50 yards W. of (6).

a(8). House, now four tenements, 60 yards S. of (6), is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of weather-boarded timber-framing, and there are additions at the back. The chimney-stack is original, and has a square base with a moulded capping surmounted by four shafts set diagonally on a cross-shaped plan; on the front of the base is a sunk panel.

a(9). Quince Tree Farm, on W. side of the road, 60 yards S. of (2), is of two storeys with attics. The E. end of the N. wing of the present building is part of a house of early 16th-century date. The S. wing was added or re-built in the 17th century, and a modern addition on the W. side of the N. wing makes the present plan T-shaped. The upper storey of the N. wing projects on the E. and is supported on two curved brackets.

a(10). Glasscocks Farm, on S. side of the road, 660 yards W. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings projecting towards the N.W. and S.W. and has modern additions at the back.

b(11). Little Belhus, house and garden wall, about ¾ m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics and is timber-framed and weather-boarded. It was built in the latter part of the 16th century on a half H-shaped plan with a two-storeyed porch on the N. front and with the cross-wings extending towards the S. It has, at the S.W. corner, a small later addition. Above the roof of the central block is a small bell-turret. The N. Front is gabled at either end and has, at the W. end of the central block, a gabled porch, the upper storey of which projects on all sides. The doorway to the porch is four-centred with sunk spandrels, and in each of the side walls is a four-light window with chamfered jambs and mullions. The inner doorway has a moulded frame and a door of eight panels with moulded rails and muntins. On the S. Front is an original window of two lights with diamond-shaped mullions, and there are two original chimneys, one with two and the other with three diagonal shafts. At the N. end of the W. front is another original chimney-stack, and further S. a panelled door similar to the inner door of the porch. Inside the building, the ground-floor room of the E. wing has a stone fireplace with a frieze carved in a series of circular and diamond-shaped foliated panels, in the centre one of which is a small blank shield. The four-centred arch has been cut away to form a square head. The room is lined with early 17th-century panelling and has an original doorway with a moulded frame. In the passage on the N. side of the central block is a similar doorway with a panelled door. Three of the rooms on the first floor are lined with early 17th-century panelling, and at the head of the staircase is a panelled door. The two rectangular gardens, one on the N. and the other to the S. of the house, are both enclosed by 16th-century brick walls. In the W. wall E. of the entrance gateway are two segmental-headed niches, and in the E. wall of the S. garden is a four-centred opening in a square head.

a(12). Gateway and wall, at Groves Barns, about ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church, are built of brick with some tile and are of late 16th-century date. There is about 100 ft. of walling, 7 ft. high with a chamfered base and projecting coping with a blocked gateway 9 ft. wide in the middle. The gateway is in the form of a semi-circular rusticated arch springing from moulded imposts and flanked by pilasters with moulded capitals and bases which rest on plinths and support a wide entablature, the upper part of the cornice of which has either been demolished or was never built. Over the pilasters are triglyphs, and the spandrels to the arch are rusticated.

c(13). Great Mollands, house, about ¾ m. E.S.E. of the church, is timber-framed and weather-boarded and has 18th-century and modern additions at the E. end.


a(14). Mounds, three, at South Ockendon Hall, on the edge of a steep scarp overlooking Mar Dyke. The first stands 160 yards N. of the moat, and is 150 ft. in diameter at the base and about 17 ft. high, with a flat summit. It is surrounded by a dry ditch.

The second stands about 200 yards S. of the moat, and is about 130 ft. in diameter at the base and 10 ft. high; the northern part of the mound has been removed.

There was formerly a third mound in the vicinity.

Condition—Of N. mound, good; of S. mound, bad.