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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85. SOUTHCHURCH. (F.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. lxxviii. S.E.)
Southchurch is a small parish on the S. coast of the county adjoining Southend-on-Sea on the E. The church is interesting.
(1). Parish Church of the Holy Trinity stands on the S. side of the main road. The walls are of ragstone and flint-rubble, coursed in S. wall of the nave; the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are tiled and the bell-turret weather-boarded. The Nave was built about the middle of the 12th century. The Chancel was re-built about the middle of the following century. The chancel-arch and bell-turret are of the 15th-century. The church was restored in the 19th century, when the South Porch was added. A new church was built in 1906 N. of the old building, the N. wall of the nave being replaced by an arcade and its windows and doorway re-set in the modern nave.
The two 12th-century doorways are interesting, and among the fittings the Easter Sepulchre is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (30½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has an E. window all modern except the 14th-century splays and rear-arch. In the N. wall is a mid 13th-century lancet-window, partly restored and now opening into the modern church; further W. is a modern arch. In the S. wall are three windows, of which the easternmost and westernmost are mid 13th-century lancets, the westernmost being a 'low-side' and having traces of the ironwork and fixings of a former shutter; the middle window is modern except the 14th-century moulded splays and rear-arch; further W. is a doorway, all modern except the splays. The 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and hollow-chamfered bases.
The Nave (40½ ft. by 19 ft.) has a modern N. arcade of three bays; E. of it is the rood-loft staircase; the lower doorway has rebated jambs, but the head is covered by a monument. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern is a mid 13th-century lancet, restored externally; the western is of 14th-century date and of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with tracery in a segmental head and moulded splays; further W. is the mid 12th-century S. doorway with round arch of two orders, the outer moulded and the inner plain; there is a line of zig-zag ornament between the two orders, and the label is chamfered; the jambs have each a round shaft with moulded base and scalloped capital with a moulded abacus continued round the inner order. In the W. wall is a window, all modern except the 14th-century splays and rear-arch. The bell-turret stands over the W. part of the nave, and is probably of the 15th century; it stands on eight chamfered oak posts with curved braces. Re-set in the N. wall of the modern nave are three old windows, two of the 14th century and similar to the western window in the S. wall of the old nave, and one a plain 12th-century round-headed light. Re-set in the W. wall is the former N. doorway; it is of mid 12th-century date and generally similar to the S. doorway, but with a billety label, zig-zag ornament to the outer order of the arch and cushion capitals to the side shafts. Over the doorway is a re-set corbel-head of the 12th-century.
Fittings—Bell: inscribed "Johannes," probably by Geoffrey of Edmonton, early 14th-century. Door: In S. doorway—of modern battens on an old frame, drop-handle, pierced scutcheon-plate and strap-hinges, 15th-century. On modern W. door of modern nave—two strap-hinges, 15th-century. Easter Sepulchre: In chancel—in N. wall, recess with moulded jambs and flat segmental-pointed arch, cusped and sub-cusped late 14th-century. Indent: In chancel—of half figure, probably of a priest, and marginal inscription with separate capitals, much defaced, early 14th-century. Locker: In chancel—in N. wall, rectangular recess, date uncertain. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel— in N. wall below Easter Sepulchre, (1) recess with cusped and sub-cusped segmental arch in a square head with sunk spandrels, altar-tomb with modern slab, front with seven cinquefoil-headed panels, late 14th-century; in S. wall, (2) recess with moulded and depressed ogee arch, jambs each with attached shaft with moulded capital and base, probably tomb-recess, 14th-century, much restored and probably re-set. In churchyard—(3) to John Buxton, 1702, table-tomb. (4) to Christopher Parsons, 1713, table-tomb. Floor-slab: In nave— to Henry Moore, 1678, and to Henry Moore, junior, 1689. Piscinae: In chancel—with moulded head and attached shafts to jambs with moulded capitals and bases, round drain and shaft, 13th-century, head modern. In nave—on sill of second window, double scalloped capital of pillar-piscina with square drains, 12th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1682. Sedile: sill of S.E. window of nave carried down to form seat. Sundials: on jambs of two windows on S. side of chancel, two scratched dials.
(2). Southchurch Hall and moat, 1,050 yards S.W. of the church. The House is of one storey with attics; the walls are of plastered timber-framing; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the middle of the 14th century, and is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and E. and has modern additions on the S. On the N. front are four gabled dormers. In each side of the N. porch is the traceried head of a trefoiled ogee light, not in situ. The chimney-stack at the E. end of the house is original, and on the W. side of the S. wing is an original stack with stepped offsets and two diagonal shafts. Inside the building some of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams, and in the N.W. room is a stone fireplace with a segmental head.
The large Moat surrounds the house, but is now dry.
Condition—Of house, good.
(3). Samuel's Farm, house and moat, about 1 m. E. of the church. The House is of two storeys; timber-framed and refaced with modern brick; the roofs are tiled. It was built probably in the 17th century on a rectangular plan, but a modern addition on the S. makes the present plan L-shaped. One of the chimney-stacks is original and has three grouped diagonal shafts; inside the building some of the timber-construction is exposed.
The Moat surrounds the house.
Condition—Of house, good.
(4). Bournesgreen Farm (Plate, p. xxxv), now two tenements, at Bournes Green, nearly ¾ m. E. of the church, is of timber-framing, partly plastered and partly weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built, possibly in the 16th century, on a half H-shaped plan with the cross-wings projecting towards the W. In the 17th century a first floor was inserted in the hall, and the S. wing has a later extension on the W. The upper storey of the S. wing projects on the E. front, and in the roof of the central block are two dormer-windows. The chimney-stack in the middle of the central block is of 17th-century date. Inside the building some of the ceiling-beams are exposed.