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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34. GREAT WAKERING. (G.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. lxxix. N.W.)
Great Wakering is a small parish on the coast, 4 m. E.N.E. of Southend-on-Sea. The church is the principal monument.
(1). Roman tiles from Great Wakering, possibly from brick-earth pits near Wakering Stairs, are in Prittlewell Priory Museum, and may indicate continued occupation in a place known, by the discovery of many Late Celtic burial-urns, now in the Colchester Museum, to have been inhabited just before the Roman occupation.
(2). Parish Church of St. Nicholas (Plate, p. 60) stands at the E. end of the village. The walls are of roughly coursed ragstone-rubble with some septaria and flint; the dressings are of Reigate and other limestone; the roofs are tiled and the spire boarded. The Chancel and Nave were built c. 1100. The ground-stage of the West Tower was added c. 1130, the upper part of the tower being completed towards the end of the same century. The chancel-arch was re-built in the 15th century re-using older material and late in the 15th century the West Porch with the room over were built. The South Porch was added early in the 16th century. The North Chapel or annexe was built in 1843 and the church has been restored in modern times.
The 12th-century W. Tower is interesting and the W. Porch is an unusual feature.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (25 ft. by 19 ft.) has an E. window all modern except the splays and segmental-pointed rear-arch which are probably of the 14th century. The N. arcade is modern. In the S. wall are three windows, the two eastern are early 13th-century lancets restored externally in Roman cement; the westernmost window is of late 15th-century date and of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head; E. of the middle window is the E. jamb and part of the head of a single-light window of c. 1100. The 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and hollow-chamfered bases; the responds, except the capitals, are of the 13th century, possibly re-set.
The Nave (50½ ft. by 22¼ ft.) has in the N. wall three windows, the easternmost is of early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the W. jamb and the rear-arch are modern; the second window has late 14th-century splays, cut back for wider lights, two-centred rear-arch and moulded external label; it is fitted with an 18th-century wooden frame; the westernmost window is of the 18th century, set high in the wall and blocked internally; W. of the easternmost window is the 15th-century rood-loft staircase with a lower doorway having rebated jambs and two-centred head; a wooden beam set in the W. splay of the adjoining window was possibly part of the construction of the rood-loft; the 14th-century N. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; it is now blocked; above it is a blocked window of c. 1100 with a round head; part of a similar window is visible above the middle window in the same wall. In the S. wall are three windows, the two eastern are similar to the easternmost in the N. wall but the second of these is modern externally and the splays have been cut back; the westernmost window is of early 14th-century date and of two plain pointed lights with a spandrel in a two-centred head with a moulded label, partly restored; the mid 13th-century S. doorway has jambs and a two-centred arch of two chamfered orders, moulded imposts and a moulded label with mask-stops; above the W. wall of the porch is the E. jamb of a window of c. 1100. In the W. wall above the tower-arch is a window of c. 1100 with a round head and is now blocked internally.
The West Tower (about 13½ ft. square) is of three stages, the lowest of c. 1130–40, with flat pilaster buttresses of rubble at the angles; while the two upper stages are of late 12th-century date and without buttresses. The semi-circular tower-arch is of two plain orders with chamfered imposts; the wall was probably thickened when the tower was added. In the N. wall is a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label; W. of it is a round-headed window of c. 1130, blocked externally. In the S. wall is a similar 12th-century window also blocked and hardly visible externally. The early 15th-century W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label; the spandrels have quatre-foiled circles enclosing foliage; the jambs and label are much defaced. The N., S. and W. walls of the second stage have each a window with late 12th-century splays and slightly pointed rear-arch; the N. window is partly blocked and fitted with a 16th-century window; the S. window is blocked externally; the W. window is covered by the added porch-building. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window with late 12th-century splays and two-centred rear-arch; the E. window has 16th-century jambs of brick, a four-centred head, remains of a label and an inner order of 18th-century brickwork; the other three windows have each two trefoiled 15th-century lights and a three-centred head with a moulded label.
The West Porch is of late 15th-century date and has an outer archway with splayed responds and two-centred arch with a moulded label. In the N. wall is a small square-headed window now blocked. In the S. wall is the doorway to the large projecting turret-staircase, it has hollow-chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The room over the porch has in the W. wall a plain square-headed window and below it is what appears to be a small niche, now blocked.
The South Porch is of early 16th-century date and of timber-framing on dwarf rubble walls; the outer archway has moulded jambs, three-centred arch and sunk spandrels; above it is a moulded and embattled beam at the base of the gable. The openings in the side walls are now blocked.
The Roof of the chancel is of trussed-rafter type, ceiled on the soffit. The late 14th or early 15th-century roof of the nave is of three bays with king-post trusses; the wall-plates are moulded and the king-posts have moulded capitals and bases; the two eastern trusses rest on carved stone corbels.
Fittings—Brass Indents: In chancel—of priest with crocketed canopy and inscription-plate, c. 1400. In nave—as threshold of S. doorway, defaced. Chest: In N. chapel—of oak with cambered lid, iron-bound, probably 16th-century. Door: In S. doorway of nail-studded battens with fillets planted on and strap-hinges, probably 15th-century. Monuments: In churchyard— S. side—(1) to John Fitzlewes, 1699, and John, his father, 1701, table-tomb; (2) to Priscilla Skinner, 1711, head-stone; (3) to Nicholas Kennett, 1713, head-stone; (4) to . . . Coll . . ., 170., headstone. Paintings: In nave—on N. and S. walls, remains of black-letter inscriptions in rectangular frames, 17th-century; on chancel-arch, remains of red and black colour. Piscina: In chancel— under S.E. window, recess with re-set moulded head, possibly piscina, 13th-century. Stoup: In S. porch—rough recess, date uncertain.
Condition—Fairly good, some stonework much decayed.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. Some of the buildings have original chimneystacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
(3). House, now two tenements, on S. side of road, 300 yards W. of the church, was built in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S.; there are modern additions on the S. of both wings.
(4). House, now three tenements, on N. side of road, 230 yards W. of (3), was built in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W. There is a modern addition at the back.
(5). House, at Samuel's Corner, ½ m. E. of the church, was built possibly in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W. Chimney-stacks were added early in the following century and there is a modern extension on the W. side of the S. wing.
(6). Friends Farm, house, 750 yards S.E. of the church, was built in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W. There is a modern addition on the S. side of the S. wing. The upper storey originally projected at the W. end of the S. wing but has now been under-built.