South Shoebury

Pages 143-145

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section


(O.S. 6 in. lxxix. S.W.)

South Shoebury is a small parish including the town of Shoeburyness, 3½ m. E. of Southend-onSea. The church and Manor House are the principal monuments.


(1). A Roman kiln was discovered in 1892 about 300 yards W.N.W. of (5). It consisted of a furnace with an oven above it, a platform 18 in. square and 4 in. above the furnace forming the floor of the latter. The roof and walls were domed, about 5 ft. high and 4–5 ft. in diameter, and made of the sandy loam in which it was built, worked up into clay about 2 in. thick and burnt. When it fell into disuse in the Roman period it became a grave. Human bones and red and black potsherds were found inside it, and an urn containing bones just outside it. The burial had been disturbed (Essex Arch. Soc. Trans., N.S., IV, p. 202 ff.).

(2). Another kiln, probably Roman, was discovered in 1895 nearly 500 yards S. of (1) and 17 yards S.W. of the War Department's forty-fifth boundary-stone. It was a little over 5 ft. high and 3 ft. in diameter and originally dome-shaped. The circular floor of the oven (2–3 in. thick) rested on an inverted cone-shaped pedestal 16 in. high and narrowing to a diameter of 1½ ft., and was heated from the furnace below by eight equidistant circular holes, 2–3 in. in diameter, in the circumference; from the furnace a circular flue 8–9 in. in diameter passed round it and extended from it for 5 ft. or more, first, apparently, going below the furnace level and then ascending. It was probably a flue connecting the furnace with an outside stoke-hole, as in a New Forest kiln (H. Sumner, A descriptive account of Roman pottery sites at Sloden, etc., p. 19), but it may have been just a chimney. It should be noted that the potsherds found in the oven were Late Celtic rather than Roman, but were thought to have been brought with the surface-soil and to have fallen in through the broken dome.

Two other kilns of a similar type are said to have been found in the same field, and other evidence of occupation during the Roman period has been noted in the neighbourhood.

(See Sectional Preface, p. xxxviii; and H. Laver, Essex Arch. Soc. Trans., N.S., VI, p. 13 ff.; Sir C. H. Read, Proc. Soc. Antiq. (2 s.), XVI, 40 ff.)


(3). Parish Church of St. Andrew stands on the W. of the town. The walls are of ragstone-rubble except the tower, which is of flint-rubble; the dressings are of Reigate and other limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built about the middle of the 12th century. The West Tower was added early in the 14th century. The South Porch was added in the 15th century. The church was restored in the 19th century, and the South Vestry is modern.

The chancel-arch, with its flanking recesses, is an interesting feature.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 14½ ft.) has an E. window of c. 1400 and of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a mid 12th-century window of one round-headed light with diapered spandrels to the external head; further W. is a modern recess. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern similar to that in the N. wall but unornamented; the western window is a 13th-century lancet, restored externally; partly below the eastern window is a doorway of doubtful date with plain jambs and a modern head; W. of the eastern window, externally, is a 13th-century mask-corbel, as though to support a pent roof. The mid 12th-century chancel-arch is round and of two orders, the outer moulded and the inner with cheveron ornament; the responds have a plain inner order and attached shafts to the outer order with capitals, one scalloped and one of cushion form; the moulded abaci are continued round as imposts and are partly ornamented with diapering.

The Nave (34¾ ft. by 19¾ ft.) has in the E. wall flanking the chancel-arch two recesses; that on the N. is of late 13th-century date and has a chamfered two-centred arch springing on the N from a moulded bell - corbel with a voluted termination, which also carried the arch of a similar recess in the N. wall, now altered; the S. recess (Plate, p. 104) is higher and of early 13th-century date; it has a moulded two-centred arch springing on the N. from an attached keeled shaft with moulded capital and base and on the S. from a large square corbel with a moulded capital and a square coneshaped termination ending in a volute; this corbel forms the support of another arched recess in the S. wall with a W. jamb similar to the N. jamb of the adjoining recess. In the N. wall is a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label, and the head of a muzzled bear and a lionheaded monster as stops; further E. is the 15th-century rood-loft staircase, the lower doorway has rebated jambs and segmental-pointed head and the upper has a plastered segmental head and is blocked; the 12th-century N. doorway is of one plain order with moulded imposts and a round head. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is set in the recess above described, and is of late 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the second window is a 13th-century lancet with a trefoiled head and a weathered label; the westernmost window is modern except for the much-restored 15th-century splays, the rear-arch and the carved stops to the external label; the 12th-century S. doorway has a round arch of two orders, the inner plain and the outer moulded and with a billeted label; the outer order of the jambs has attached shafts with scalloped or cushion capitals, moulded abaci and simple bases, the E. shaft has been repaired in 16th or 17th-century brick.

The West Tower (9¾ ft. square) is of three stages, undivided externally, and with an 18th-century brick parapet. The 14th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders dying on to the side walls; the E. angles of the jambs have small traceried stops. The 14th-century W. window is of two trefoiled lights with star-shaped tracery in a two-centred head. The second stage has a square-headed opening in the W. wall. The bell-chamber has in both the E. and W. walls an early 14th-century window of one trefoiled ogee light. The N. and S. walls have each one 18th-century window with a round head of brick.

The South Porch is of the 15th century, and is timber-framed with old main timbers and a middle king-post truss with curved braces; the front and mullions have been restored.

The Roof of the chancel has 15th-century moulded wall-plates. The 15th-century roof of the nave has three king-post trusses; the three tie-beams are moulded and the wall-plates moulded and embattled; the octagonal king-posts have moulded capitals and bases, and the curved braces to the tie-beams have traceried spandrels and spring from roughly moulded square capitals. Against the E. wall is a 15th-century arched principal, and below it a moulded beam of the same date.

Fittings: Plate: includes a cup with a short stem, probably Elizabethan, but without marks and with a band of engraved ornament round top, and a paten of 1630, the gift of Elizabeth Goodwine. Recesses: In nave—see Architectural Description. Miscellanea: In nave—carved stone head, possibly label-stop, 14th-century.

The churchyard has an old N. wall of rubble.

Condition—Fairly good, but much ivy on tower.


(4). Camp. Supposed to be that constructed by the Danish leader Hasten c. 894. Little remains of the defences, as the site has been built over by the Artillery Barracks, etc. Rampart Street marks the N.E., and about 70 yards of rampart with traces of an external ditch extends from Smith Street in a S.W. direction. Excavation has shown the ditch to have been originally 40 ft. wide and 9 ft. deep. A bank near the magazine marks the western angle of the camp. The original plan of the camp is problematical, as the sea has encroached on the S.E. side. Length approximately 500 yards from N.E. to S.W.


(5). Manor House, or Suttons, 1¼ m. N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1681. The S.E. front has a modillioned eaves-cornice and a brick band between the storeys. The windows are symmetrically arranged and the doorway has an original shell-hood. The hipped roof has small dormers, the middle one having a segmental pediment; the roof is finished with a lead flat surmounted by a square bell-turret. The weather-vane has the initials and date F.M.R. 1681. Inside the building there is some 17th-century panelling, and the staircase has original turned balusters and moulded string.

The garden has brick walls of the same date as the house.


(6) House, at cross-roads, 1 m. N.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. The house was built c. 1673, the date on a brick tablet or panel on the E. end; the tablet has an eared architrave and a dentilled pediment and bears also the initials FMR and two hearts. There is a brick band between the storeys and the windows have solid frames; on the E. side is a small oval window, now blocked.