Beauchamp Roding: Church

Pages 200-202

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 4, Ongar Hundred. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1956.

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The advowson of Beauchamp Roding descended with the manor of that name until late in the 16th century. (fn. 1) Mary, widow of Sir John Gate, presented in 1570, presumably by virtue of her life tenure of the manor (see above). Before this, in 1560, the advowson (presumably in reversion only) had been granted by the Crown to John Harrington and George Burden, and in the same year Harrington and Burden had conveyed it to Sir Richard Weston, who had recently acquired the lordship of the manor (also presumably in reversion after Mary Gate's death). (fn. 2) John Hoskyn, who presented pro hac vice in 1578, probably had the advowson from Sir Richard or his son Sir Jerome Weston. (fn. 3) The Westons retained the advowson until 1613, when the younger Sir Richard sold it to Sir Gamaliel Capel of Rookwood, Abbess Roding (q.v.). (fn. 4) In 1624 Sir Gamaliel Capel the son sold it to John Mead and his son William. (fn. 5) William Mead sold it in 1639 to John Siday. (fn. 6) This was presumably the John Siday who became rector in 1642. (fn. 7) After his death the advowson passed to his son, also named John, who became the next rector (1689). (fn. 8) The younger John (d. 1704) devised the advowson to his son John Siday (III). (fn. 9) Mary Siday, widow, presented in 1704, 1710, and 1720. (fn. 10) The rector whom she presented in 1720 was another John Siday, probably John Siday (III). In 1739 John and Mary Siday conveyed the advowson to Thomas Bramston, who was acting for Sir John Comyns, of Writtle, Chief Baron of the Exchequer. (fn. 11) At the same time Comyns bought Gubbiss Farm in this parish. According to statements made after his death he intended that the advowson and the farm should be used 'as an honorary trust for the benefit of poor clergymen and small livings in Essex'. (fn. 12) There was, however, no such provision in his will (dated Nov. 1740). He died soon after and the advowson passed to his wife Ann, who presented in 1752. (fn. 13) She was succeeded as patron by John Comyns, nephew of Sir John. In 1768 John Richard, son of John Comyns, conveyed the advowson and other property in trust to William Birch in order to provide an annuity for John Comyns's widow Mary. (fn. 14) In 1770 John Richard Comyns sold the advowson to the Revd. Richard Birch of Roxwell and John Birch of Boswell Court, London. (fn. 15)

In March 1771 the above Richard and John Birch sold the next presentation to Nicholas Toke of Linton (Kent), and in May of the same year Toke conveyed this in trust for his nephew the Revd. Nicholas Layton of Nottingham. If Layton should be alive at the next presentation he was to have the rectory or was to nominate a rector. If not, the presentation was to revert to Toke. (fn. 16) In 1776 Layton in fact became rector. (fn. 17) He seems to have been non-resident. In 1795 Richard Birch sold the advowson to Samuel R. Gaussens, who presented in the same year. (fn. 18) J. L. Barrett, D.D., who was rector in 1829, was also patron. (fn. 19) For the remainder of the 19th century the advowson was apparently acquired by or for the benefit of each successive rector. (fn. 20) J. Howard, who had been curate from 1882 to 1887, became rector in the latter year and held the benefice until 1927. It was then united with that of Abbess Roding (q.v.), the advowson of the united benefice being vested in the Bishop of Chelmsford and the Revd. Capel-Cure. (fn. 21) For purposes of internal organization, however, Abbess and Beauchamp Roding remain separate parishes.

Though the rectory of Beauchamp Roding was never appropriated, Aubrey de Vere, about 1100, gave twothirds of the tithes of his demesne lands in the parish to Colne priory. (fn. 22) It is likely that this grant also included a small portion of land in Beauchamp Roding, for in 1539, after the dissolution of the priory, the king granted 'the manor or lordship of Langbornes in Beauchamp Roding, belonging to the late priory of Colne' to the Duke of Suffolk. (fn. 23) In the same year Suffolk conveyed the property to John Wiseman and Agnes his wife. (fn. 24) Wiseman conveyed it in 1581 to Sir Jerome Weston. (fn. 25) It subsequently descended along with the manor of Beauchamp Roding. At the tithe commutation in 1843 T. W. Bramston, lord of the manor, owned twothirds of the tithes of some 500 acres of land, which was the greater part of his property in the parish. Most of the manor of Beauchamp Roding and more than half of Frayes were included in these 500 acres. John Walden owned two-thirds of the tithes of a 3-acre field called Longfield and the Trustees of the late Revd. Robert Gibson of Fyfield owned two-thirds of the tithes of a 5-acre field called English Bottom, which was part of Gubbiss Farm. It was then agreed that the tithes owned by Bramston and Walden should be merged in their freehold. A tithe-rent charge was, however, fixed on English Bottom, payable to Gibson. (fn. 26) In 1794 a map of the parish was drawn for Samuel Gaussens, who was described as the impropriator. (fn. 27) This probably meant that he was leasing the tithes belonging to the owner of Beauchamp Roding manor.

In about 1254 the rectory of Beauchamp Roding was valued at £5 and in 1291 and 1428 at £5 6s. 8d. (fn. 28) In 1535 it was valued at £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 29) The rector's tithe was commuted in 1843 for £284. (fn. 30) Sir Peter Siggiswyk, by his will proved in 1503, left his house at Beauchamp Roding to the church of Beauchamp Roding for 40 years for the keeping of his obit and the payment of 8d. a year to the rector. (fn. 31)

The glebe terriers of 1610 and 1619 state that there was a parsonage house and some 40 acres of glebe. (fn. 32) There were 41 acres of glebe in 1843. (fn. 33) In 1618 the parsonage was found to be out of repair. (fn. 34) Parts of the back wing of the present Old Rectory may date from a rebuilding soon after this report. The house is now T-shaped on plan. It is timber-framed and roughcast with a tiled roof. The long back wing appears to be of various dates but the interior was remodelled and the front wing added about 1800. The entrance front is Georgian in style. At the south end of the front a ground-floor room was added in the 19th century. This is now (1954) used for parish purposes. South of the house is a large rectangular fishpond. The house was occupied by the rectors of Beauchamp Roding until the union with Abbess Roding in 1927. It was then sold, and is now a private residence. (fn. 35)

The ancient parish church of ST. BOTOLPH stands on rising ground, the churchyard being completely surrounded by fields. The dedication suggests that there was a church at Beauchamp Roding before the Norman Conquest. The building consists of nave, chancel, west tower, and south porch. The walls are of flint rubble mixed with freestone. The nave is built on an 11th- or 12th-century plan but the present structure probably dates from the 14th century. In the 15th century the tower was added and the chancel rebuilt. The porch dates from 1870.

A piscina in the chancel may be of the 13th century, indicating that there once existed an earlier chancel of that date.

The nave has two windows on the south side and one on the north which are of the early 14th century. They have pointed heads with quatrefoils in the tracery and externally they have original label-moulds and head-stops. The north and south doorways, the former now blocked, are also of the 14th century.

The church was evidently enlarged and much altered in the 15th century. The chancel, which was probably rebuilt then, has two fine three-light windows with four-centred heads and vertical tracery. Farther west are two smaller windows of the same period and a south doorway, now restored, with a four-centred head. The east window, rebuilt in the 19th century, is in similar style, and a three-light 15th-century window has been inserted in the north wall of the nave. The chancel arch is grooved on the underside, probably to take the tympanum of a rood loft. On the south side of the nave there is a stone staircase which formerly led to the rood loft. This forms a projection externally and is covered with a pent roof. Both upper and lower doorways are in position and there is a moulded stone bracket near the former. A piscina in the nave is also probably of the 15th century. Both the nave and chancel have 15th-century roofs. The nave, which is of two bays, has moulded king-posts with two-way struts. The tie-beam in the chancel has curved and moulded braces resting on carved stone corbels. One of these is in the form of a grotesque head, the other of an angel bearing a shield. The 15th-century west tower is of three stages with a castellated parapet above. Over the west doorway is a three-light window with a fourcentred head. There are single-light windows to the second stage of the tower and larger windows with four-centred heads to the belfry. Some of the floor-tiles inside the communion rails are thought to be of medieval origin.

Some early 17th-century carved oak panelling which was in the chancel before 1921 is now kept in a chest in the church. (fn. 36)

On both sides of the nave at the west end are curious oak benches in three stages, probably dating from the 18th century. Oak steps to the upper stages have ring handles and can be pulled out like drawers when required.

In 1870 the church was thoroughly restored and in the same year the south porch was rebuilt in memory of Ann Powell. (fn. 37) The exterior was restored in 1893 (fn. 38) and much of the stonework was covered with cement, some of which has since been removed.

In 1951 the tower and other parts of the church were restored after war damage at a cost of £1,300. (fn. 39)

Memorial stained glass was inserted in various windows in 1850, 1866, 1870, and 1872. There are four bells, said to be by Miles Graye, 1664. (fn. 40) In 1446-7 William Wiltshire, horner, left a chalice of the value of 30s. to the church. (fn. 41) At an Archdeacon's Visitation of about 1816 it was ordered that a pewter paten and flagon should be sold and a silver or plated paten provided. (fn. 42) The plate now consists of an undated silver cup, a silver paten of 1778, and a plated flagon given by the rector in 1835. (fn. 43) There is a tablet in the chancel to William Bond (1887) rector.


  • 1. J. L. Fisher, Colne Cartulary, 9; E.A.T. N.S. xviii, 19; Newcourt, Repert.ii, 502.
  • 2. E.R.O., D/DHf T16: Abstract of Title to advowson.
  • 3. Newcourt, Repert. ii, 503.
  • 4. E.R.O., D/DHf T16.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Newcourt, Repert. ii, 503. The presentation of 1642 was made by William Siday.
  • 8. E.R.O., D/DHf T16. The presentation of 1689 was made by William Purcas: Newcourt, Repert. ii, 503.
  • 9. E.R.O., D/DHf T16.
  • 10. Morant, Essex, i, 137.
  • 11. E.R.O., D/DHf T16.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Ibid.; Morant, Essex, i, 137.
  • 14. E.R.O., D/DHf T16.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Ibid.
  • 17. E.R.O., D/P 146/1/1, 146/8; D/AEM 2/3.
  • 18. CP25(2)/1311 Mich. 36 Geo. III; P.R.O., Inst. Bks. ser. C, vol. i, pt. i, p. 204v.
  • 19. Cler. Dir. 1829.
  • 20. Ibid. 1836; Clergy List, 1845 f.
  • 21. Clergy List, 1880 f.
  • 22. J. L. Fisher, Colne Cartulary, 5;E.R.O., D/DPr 150.
  • 23. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xiv, p. 258. This cannot have been the manor of Beauchamp Roding alias Longbarns (see above).
  • 24. Ibid. 262.
  • 25. CP40/1391.
  • 26. E.R.O., D/CT 294.
  • 27. Cat. of Maps in E.R.O., 26b.
  • 28. W. E. Lunt, Val. of Norwich, 337; Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 21b; Feud. Aids, ii, 205.
  • 29. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), i, 437.
  • 30. E.R.O., D/CT 294.
  • 31. E.A.T. n.s. xxi, 256.
  • 32. Newcourt, Repert. ii, 502. The glebe figures are not identical in the two terriers.
  • 33. E.R.O., D/CT 294.
  • 34. E.R. xv, 49.
  • 35. Inf. from the Revd. R. T. K. Griffin.
  • 36. Cf. Hist. Mon. Com. Essex, ii, 13.
  • 37. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1895); inscription in porch.
  • 38. Kelly's Dir. Essex (1895).
  • 39. Inf. from Rev. R. T. K. Griffin.
  • 40. Ch. Bells Essex, 373.
  • 41. E.A.T. n.s. xiv, 35.
  • 42. Ch. Plate Essex, 146.
  • 43. Ibid. The cup is probably c. 1718.