Little Wakering

Pages 88-89

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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(O.S. 6 in. lxxviii. N.E.)

Little Wakering is a small parish on the estuary of the River Roach, 4 m. N.E. of Southend-on-Sea.


(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the village. The walls are of mixed rubble except the tower, which is of coursed ragstone-rubble; the dressings are of limestone and the roofs are tiled. The Chancel and Nave were built early in the 12th century. In the 15th century the chancel was widened towards the S. and perhaps lengthened. The chancel-arch was re-built in the 15th century and the West Tower added c. 1425. A S. porch was added in the 15th or 16th century of which the base of the walls remains. The church, particularly the chancel, has been restored in modern times and the South Porch re-built.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (26½ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has an E. window, all modern except the 15th-century rear-arch and splays. In the N. wall is a 12th-century window with a round head and modern externally; below it is a 14th-century doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders; it is set with the splays outward and is now blocked. In the S. wall is a modern window incorporating some old stones in the splays; E. of it is a recess with a modern arch, but old stones in the jambs. The 15th-century chancel-arch is of distorted two-centred form and of two chamfered orders; the chamfered responds have moulded capitals and bases, the N. base being cut away.

The Nave (32¼ ft. by 18 ft.) has in the N. wall two windows; the eastern is a single 12th-century round-headed light, partly restored; the western window is of the 15th century and of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label. Below it, externally, is a blocked opening of uncertain date, with a rough segmental head and rising only about 4 ft. above the ground level; at the E. end of the wall is the 15th-century rood-loft staircase with upper and lower doorways having rebated jambs and two-centred heads; at the sill level of the upper doorway is a section of the former rood-beam, cut flush with the wall. In the S. wall are two windows, both modern except for the rear-arch and splays of the eastern, which are possibly of the 14th century; further W. is the 14th-century S. doorway, partly restored and with jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded base.

The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of c. 1425 and of three stages with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet of flint and stone chequer-work surmounted by a slender shingled spire (Plate, p. 70). The two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered orders; the responds have each an attached semi-octagonal shaft with moulded capital and hollow-chamfered base. The W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with a defaced moulded label and blank shields in the spandrels; flanking the doorway are two square sunk panels, each enclosing a shield (Plate, p. 84), (a) a pelican in chief a mitre for John Wakering, Bishop of Norwich (1416–1425); (b) a cheveron for Stafford impaling France, quartering England and Bohun, all within a border, for Anne, Countess of Stafford; the W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a defaced label; flanking it are four niches, the upper pair with pointed heads and the lower pair with cinque-foiled heads, square moulded labels and blank shields in the spandrels. The N., S. and W. walls of the second stage have each a window of one cinque-foiled light with a square moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall 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 with two king-post trusses, with chamfered main beams and one king-post with moulded capital and base.

Fittings—Bells: three; all by John Waylett, 1707. Doors: In tower—in lower doorway to turret, of nail-studded battens with strap-hinges and foiled scutcheon-plate, 15th-century; in doorway of second stage, of nail-studded battens with strap-hinges and foiled scutcheon-plate, 15th-century; in doorway of second stage, of nail-studded battens with ring-handle, 15th-century; in W. doorway, of two folds with overlapping nail-studded battens with strap-hinges, 15th-century, repaired. Locker: In W. wall of turret-staircase in tower—rectangular recess with rebated reveals, 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In churchyard—S. of chancel (1) to Thomas Wiggins, 1708, head-stone; (2) to William Archer, 1694, flat slab; (3) to Sarah, wife of William Archer, 1672, flat slab. Floor-slab: In nave—to Bradford Bury, 1675, with shield-of-arms. Painting: In chancel—on splays of N. window, on E. splay, remains of a Nativity under a round arch, on W. splay remains of a figure, possibly the Virgin, under arch, also bands of red on yellow ground, 12th or 13th-century, almost effaced. Piscina: In chancel—with chamfered jambs and cinque-foiled head, 15th-century, projecting octofoiled drain on moulded corbel, 13th-century, restored. Plate: includes cup of 1566. Recess: In nave—in N. wall, with moulded, two-centred arch, moulded and shafted jambs with moulded bases and foliated capitals, early 13th-century, possibly tomb-recess. Stoup: In nave— in E. splay of S. doorway, funnel-shaped recess with mortar of hard oolite or marble, set in it.



Homestead Moats.

(2). N. of Habits Hall and 600 yards W.N.W. of the church.

(3). At Barrow Hall, 1,500 yards W. of the church.

(4). Little Wakering Hall, house and outbuilding and garden-wall, 750 yards E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 15th century with a central hall and E. and W. cross-wings, but was considerably altered c. 1599, when the hall roof was raised, a floor inserted and a staircase added at the N.E. corner of the hall. In the 18th century a two-storeyed S. porch was built in the angle between the hall and W. wing and modern alterations include additions on the N. side of the house. The upper storey of the E. wing projects on the S. and E. fronts and is carried on heavy curved brackets with a heavy corner-post and diagonal bracket at the S.E. angle. The entrance doorway in the W. end of the S. wall of the hall has a moulded square head and jambs; it is now covered by the porch. The late 16th-century chimney-stack on the N. of the W. wing is rectangular and those to the hall are each of three grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building some of the ceiling-beams are exposed. The beam across the middle of the hall is supported on shaped and panelled brackets; on the northern one is the date 1599. The hall has a 16th-century open fireplace with a late 18th-century carved mantelpiece. In the room occupying the E. end of the original hall is some early 17th-century panelling. The stair has an original central newel and in the roof at the top are some moulded oak balusters, square on plan. The roof over the W. wing is constructed of heavy timbers and in three bays, with curved braces under the collar-beams forming two-centred arches; there are curved wind-braces to the purlins.

The Outbuilding, S.W. of the house, is of brick and was built in the 17th century on a L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the N. and W. The N. wing is divided into seven bays by tie-beams and has in the N. end of the E. wall a blocked square-headed window of two lights with moulded head, jambs and mullion, to the S. of it is a similar window of four lights.

The Wall enclosing the garden on the E. side of the house is of 17th-century date and of brick. It has blocked circular look-outs on the N. and E. sides.

Condition—Of house, good.

(5). Cottage, range of tenements, opposite the W. end of the church, was built in the 17th century and is of one storey with attics, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The chimney-stack at the N. end is original and has stepped offsets and two diagonal shafts.