Pages 17-19

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

10. BURNHAM. (G.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)lxiii. S.W. (b)lxxi. N.W. (c)lxxi. N.E.)

Burnham is a parish and small town 9 m. S.E. of Maldon. The church is the principal monument.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate, p. xxxii) stands about 1 m. N. of the town. The E. wall of the chancel is of squared diaper of flints, ragstone and 17th-century brick. The S. chapel is of roughly coursed flints; the S. aisle of flint-rubble; the N. aisle of rag-rubble; and the S. porch of flint and rag-rubble. The lower stage of the W. tower is of septaria with some Roman brick and flint; the upper stages are of ragstone-rubble. The N. porch is of brick. The dressings are of limestone and the roofs are tiled, except those of the N. and S. aisles which have lead flats. The Chancel, Nave, North Aisle, and lower stage of West Tower were built towards the middle of the 14th century. In the middle of the 15th century the two upper stages of the tower were added or re-built. Late in the same century the N. aisle was lengthened towards the E., forming a North Chapel. The South Aisle was added c. 1500, and lengthened eastward a few years later to form a South Chapel and the South Porch was also built. The church has been restored in modern times and the upper part of the tower partly re-built.

Burnham. The Parish Church of St Mary

Architectural Description — The Chancel and Nave (93 ft. by 16½ ft.) are structurally undivided. The 14th-century E. window is modern externally and is of three trefoiled lights in a four-centred head; the splays have attached shafts with modern capitals and bases. The N. arcade is of nine bays of which the three eastern are of late 15th or early 16th-century date and the six western are of the 14th century; the arches of the later bays are lower than the rest; all the arches are two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the columns are octagonal and have moulded capitals and bases differing in the earlier and later work; the responds have attached half-columns. The S. arcade is also of nine bays, the six westernmost of c. 1500 and the three easternmost of early 16th-century date; each arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders; the columns have each four attached shafts, filleted on the outer face and with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns.

The North Aisle (12 ft. wide) has in the E. wall a late 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights in a pedimental head with a moulded label. In the N. wall are five windows, the easternmost is of the 14th century re-set, restored externally, and of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a segmental head with a moulded rear-arch; the second and third windows are of the 14th century, partly restored and each of two trefoiled lights with a moulded label. The two westernmost windows are of mid 14th-century date and have trefoiled ogee lights and moulded rear-arches. The head-stops to the labels are modern and the tracery has been restored. Between these windows is the 14th-century N. doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with headstops. In the W. wall is a window all modern except for parts of the splays and rear-arch which are of late 15th-century date.

The South Aisle (12 ft. wide) has a late 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are seven windows, the three easternmost of c. 1520 and the others of late 15th-century date; each window has three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label; all have modern repairs; between the two western windows is the early 16th-century S. doorway with chamfered jambs and three-centred arch and between the second and third windows is a doorway in the buttress with moulded jambs and four-centred head. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a label.

The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of three stages with an embattled parapet. The 14th-century two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered orders; the responds are plain. The W. window of c. 1360 is of three trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head, repaired in the 16th or 17th century and having a moulded label with head-stops. The internal label has a head-stop on the S. side and the moulded rear-arch springs from attached shafts with foliated capitals and moulded bases. The W. doorway has chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and moulded label; it is now partly blocked. The N. and S. walls of the second stage have each a 15th-century window of one cinquef oiled light. The bell-chamber has in each wall a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head. In the W. wall above the window is a large cross in knapped flints.

The North Porch is of early 16th-century brickwork with a crow-stepped N. gable. The outer archway has chamfered jambs and a four-centred head. The side walls have each a window of one four-centred light with a square moulded label and now blocked. The E. and W. walls have brick diapering.

The South Porch has an early 16th-century outer archway with moulded head and jambs, four-centred arch and label; above is a shield-of-arms, a cross between four stars probably for Dunmow Priory; round it is a much weathered inscription perhaps reading "Hoc opus erat quod dominus Johannes Harvy vicarius fieri curavit cujus animae et animabus omnium fidellum deus propicietur Amen 1523." Above are two shields-of-arms and a badge (a) Fitzwalter; (b) the quartered coat of Radcliff, Lord Fitzwalter impaling the quartered coat of Stafford, Duke of Buckingham; (c) square stone with a star. The side walls have each a window with a four-centred moulded head and moulded label. The parapet wall is embattled.

The Roof of the S. Porch has moulded wall-plates of early 16th-century date.

Fittings—Bells: five; 1st and 2nd by Anthony Bartlet, 1673; 3rd by John Walgrave, 15th-century and inscribed "Sancta Katerina Ora Pro Nobis." Brass Indent: In N. Porch—cracked and broken, 16th-century. Doors: In N. doorway —with moulded fillets planted on, trellis-framing, 15th-century. In S. doorway of S. Porch—of linen-fold panels with moulded fillets, early 16th-century. In turret-staircase to tower, with nail-studded iron bands, 15th-century. Font: square bowl of Purbeck marble with moulded under-edge, worked round heads of side shafts, cylindrical stem and four small angle shafts, late 12th-century; plinth modern. Glass: In W. window of tower— portions of kneeling male and female figures, yellow white and ruby, 14th-century. Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: E. of N. porch— to Sarah, wife of Josiah Kingsman, 1703, table-tomb with moulded edge and achievement-of-arms. Floor-slab: In N. aisle—with inscription illegible except for the date 1678. On same stone to ——(M)iddleston, 1680. Niche: In N. aisle— now in N. wall, but not in situ, with moulded jambs and triangular head with carved crockets and finial, border of carved fruit and foliage bosses and two shields-of-arms, (a) Fitzwalter, (b) a cross formy, late 14th-century. Piscina: In N. aisle— in E. wall, with moulded jambs and trefoiled head, 15th-century. Plate: includes cup and stand-paten of 1638. Scratching: On S. door of S. aisle —1623 W.M.; on buttress W. of door to S. chapel, scratched dial.

Condition—Fairly good.


a(2). Homestead Moat at Burnham Hall, N. of the church.

Monuments (3–8).

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

Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.

a(3). Cobbin's Farm, house, 750 yards N. of the church, has an original chimney-stack with two diagonal shafts.

a(4). Cherrygarden, house, ½ m. W. of the church, is built of red brick. The porch on the N. has a gable with concave sides and a moulded pediment. The original chimney-stack at the E. end has four diagonal shafts.

a(5). Pinner's Farm, house, 600 yards N.W. of (5).

a(6). Cottage, 100 yards S.E. of the church. Inside the building are original shaped brackets.

b(7). House on N. side of High Street, 150 yards W. of the end of the street, was built probably in the 16th century and has cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The walls have been partly refaced with brick.

b(8). House opposite (7).



c(9). Red Hill at Coleward Farm, 2 m. E.S.E. of the church, and another at Redward Farm, about ½ m. N.E. of Coleward Farm.

Burstead, see Great Burstead and Little Burstead.