Pages 21-23

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

12. CANEWDON. (F.c.)

Canewdon, the Parish Church of St. Nicholas.

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

Canewdon is a parish and village on the S. of the Crouch estuary, 6 m. N. of Southend-on-Sea. The church is the principal monument.


a(1). A Roman building of some kind is possibly indicated by Roman tiles "excavated on the S. side of the churchyard" about 1848, but no further information is available. Burial-urns, recorded to have been discovered in a gravel-pit near Canewdon Hall about 1712, may have been either Roman or Saxon.

(For the tiles, B. A. A., IV (1849), 74. For the urns, Salmon, Hist. of Essex (1743), 385; Morant, Hist. of Essex (1768), I, 313—both apparently from Holman, quoted Essex Arch. Soc. Trans. (N.S.), XII, 113–5. Marked Roman on O.S. 6 in. lxx. N.E.)


a(2). Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are mainly of ragstone-rubble with some septaria and flint; the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The Nave, Chancel and North Aisle were built in the 14th century. Early in the 15th century the West Tower and South Porch were added and the S. wall of the nave re-built; a N. vestry was probably added at the same time. Later in the same century the two eastern bays of the N. arcade were re-built and the N. aisle largely re-built. Late in the 18th century the N. vestry was pulled down. The church has been restored in modern times when the chancel was largely re-built.

The Tower is a good example of its period and among the fittings the altar-slab and pulpit are noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (34½ ft. by 19 ft.) has an E. window all modern except the 15th-century rear-arch and parts of the splays, jambs and head. In the N. wall is a modern window with re-used stones in the splays; E. of it is a 15th-century doorway to the former vestry of which the toothing of the E. wall remains; the doorway has hollow-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch and is now blocked. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of the 15th century but mainly modern externally and of two cinque-foiled lights in a segmental head; the western window is of late 15th-century date and of two cinque-foiled and transomed lights in a segmental-pointed head, much restored; between the windows is a 14th-century doorway, now blocked, with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with defaced stops. The chancel-arch is modern.

The Nave (56½ ft. by 22½ ft.) has a N. arcade (Plate, p. 24) of four bays originally of the 14th century with the two eastern bays re-built and widened by the cutting back of the respond late in the 15th century; the first bay has a re-set two-centred arch of three chamfered orders; the second arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the inner of the 15th and the outer of the 14th century, re-set; the remaining two arches are each of three chamfered orders, two-centred and of the 14th century. The outer orders spring from carved figures including a woman's head, beasts and a bird all much defaced, a beast holding a shield a cheveron between three rings for Chanceaux and a shield seven lozenges and a border (perhaps voided lozenges for Robert Braybroke, Bishop of London). The octagonal columns of the arcade have moulded capitals all of the 14th century, the first column having been re-set; the 15th-century E. respond is square with a moulded impost; the 14th-century W. respond has an attached half-column. At the E. end of the wall is the 15th-century rood-loft staircase, now blocked but with the N. jamb of the lower doorway exposed. In the S. wall are three early 15th-century windows, the two easternmost are of three pointed lights with uncusped tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops; the westernmost window is modern except for the splays and part of the rear-arch and a label with grotesque stops; further E. is the early 16th-century S. doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with moulded labels and traceried spandrels enclosing blank shields.

The North Aisle (11¼ ft. wide) is said to have a blocked window in the E. wall. In the N. wall are four windows, the easternmost is of the 14th century much restored and of three cinque-foiled lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head; the second window is of the 15th century and of three pointed lights with uncusped vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops; the third window is similar to the second but partly restored; the westernmost window is all modern except the heads of the two 15th-century cinque-foiled lights; further E. is the 15th-century N. doorway with moulded jambs and two-centred arch.

The West Tower (16 ft. square) (Plate, p. 21) is of dressed ragstone, of early 15th-century date and of three stages with an embattled parapet of flint and stone chequer-work with crosses in the merlons. The two-centred tower-arch is of four orders; the three inner are chamfered and of these the outer is continuous and the inner two rest on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stop; below the window are three moulded panels (Plate, p. 84) containing shields-of-arms (a) defaced; (b) France modern quartering England; (c) a bend cotised between six lions for Bohun impaling a lion for Fitzalan quartering checky for Warrenne; the W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label, angels holding shields, as stops, and traceried spandrels enclosing defaced shields. The E., N. and S. walls of the second stage have each a window of one trefoiled light with a moulded label; in the W. wall is a window of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with moulded jambs and label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a square outer order and label.

The South Porch is of early 15th-century date and has an embattled parapet of flint and stone chequer-work with plain crosses on the merlons. The outer archway has moulded and shafted jambs and a two-centred arch in a square outer order with a defaced label; the traceried spandrels enclose small blank shields. The side walls have each a window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label.

The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century and of four bays with plain king-post trusses; the third tie-beam is inscribed R.H., T.D. 1698, the date of some repair. The N. aisle has a plain lean-to roof of uncertain date with main timbers dividing it into eight bays. The 15th-century ceiling of the ground-stage of the tower has heavy chamfered braces crossing in the middle and formerly having a boss at the intersection. The flat-pitched 15th-century roof of the S. porch is of two bays with chamfered main timbers.

Fittings—Altar: In N. aisle—at E. end, slab with chamfered under-edge and broken in two, four consecration crosses remaining. Bells: Five; 1st by John and Christopher Hodson, 1678; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1634; 5th by John Waylett, 1707; bell-frame old. Brass Indents: In nave —(1) of figures, scroll and inscription-plate. In S. porch—(2) of man and two small figures and inscription-plate; (3) of inscription-plate; (4) of man, three wives and children; (5) of marginal inscription. Chests: In chancel—small, of hutch-type with moulded edge to lid, early 17th-century. In N. aisle—with panelled front and ends and moulded edge to lid, 17th-century. Doors: In nave —in S. doorway, of overlapping battens with trellis-framing and strap-hinges, 15th-century. In tower —in W. doorway, of nail-studded battens with hollow-chamfered fillets, mostly missing, 15th-century; in bell-chamber doorway, of overlapping battens with strap-hinges, 15th-century. Glass: In nave—in middle S. window, remains of border of crowns and ruby glass, fragments of black-letter inscription, etc., early 15th-century. Monuments: In churchyard—S. of nave, (1) to John Bishop, 1709, brick and stone table-tomb; (2) to John Allen, 1691, headstone with skull and cross-bones. Niches: In N. aisle—in E. wall, (1) with cinque-foiled head from former window, 15th-century, remains of red and black paint; (2) with cinque-foiled ogee head and broken sill, 14th-century, with painted red stars on a black ground. On W. tower— flanking W. doorway, two with moulded jambs and cinque-foiled heads and square moulded labels, moulded pedestals, early 15th-century; on W. buttress, two with moulded jambs and trefoiled ogee heads, and pedestals, early 15th-century. Painting: In N. aisle—on E. splay of N.E. window, remains of black border, etc.; see also Niches and Miscellanea. Piscinae: In chancel—with moulded jambs and cinque-foiled square head, early 15th-century, round drain partly broken, above it a shield-of-arms—a cheveron between three rings, 15th-century. In N. aisle—in E. wall, with moulded jambs and trefoiled head with defaced label, quatre-foiled drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1665, dated 1665. Poor-boxes: In N. aisle—(1) small iron-bound box with strap-hinges and two straps, 15th-century; (2) cylindrical box with concave lid and iron lock, probably 17th-century. Pulpit: hexagonal, panelled sides with carved and moulded cornice, cherub-heads and swags of fruit and foliage, pendants of foliage at the angles, late 17th-century. Sedile: In chancel—in S. wall, with hollow-chamfered jambs, 15th-century, modern head. Miscellanea: In N. aisle—a collection of objects including part of a circular base of font-stem; late 17th-century twisted baluster from communion rails, 15th-century popey-head and traceried panel. In W. tower is a 15th-century head-stop. In chancel—built into S. wall, parts of panelled buttresses or shafts of a tabernacle and also a painted head belonging to the same work, original red, dark green and gold colour, 15th-century.

Condition—Poor, cracks in walling and stonework much decayed.


a(3). Homestead Moat, at Canewdon Hall, N.E. of the church.

b(4). Lambourne Hall, house and moat, about 1 m. E.S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built possibly late in the 15th or early in the 16th century but the S.E. end was re-built in the 17th century when a two-storeyed porch was added on the S.W. front and a chimney-stack inserted at the W. end of the original hall. There are 18th-century and modern additions. On the S.W. front the upper storey of the porch projects and is gabled. The upper storey projected on the N.E. side of the main block, but has been under-built. One chimney-stack has a 17th-century hexagonal shaft. Inside the building a few of the curved braces supporting the main beams are exposed as are also some of the ceiling-beams.

The Moat formerly surrounded the house.

Condition—Of house, good.

a(5). Scott's Hall, house and moat, about ¾ m. S. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on a rectangular plan but has later additions. Inside the building there are exposed ceiling-beams.

The Moat N. of the house is now dry.

Condition—Of house, good.

Monuments (6–9).

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. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and original chimney-stacks.

Condition—Good or fairly or fairly good.

a(6). House, now three tenements, on S. side of road, about 350 yards E. of the church, was built possibly in the 15th century. It has been much altered and partly refaced with modern brick. The upper storey projects at the E. end of the N. front.

a(7). House, 200 yards E. of (5), was built possibly in the 16th century and has later additions. The upper storey of the W. wing projects on the N. front.

a(8). White House, about 380 yards S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. It is of the central-chimney-type and has low additions at the E. end.

a(9). Sturgeon's, house, 750 yards S. of the church, is of one storey with attics and was built in the 16th century. Inside the building is an original fireplace and the roof has exposed wind-braces.


a and c(10). Red Hills, S. of and following line of the River Crouch, at Norpits Farm, 1½ m. N.W. of the church, and some others further E. in detached portion of parish.