Monday, 14 February 2011

Faulkbourne, Essex

St Germanus is locked, which is understandable since it is fairly isolated, with no keyholder listed which is less so as it apparently has a good monument and brass.

Rather against my better judgement I loved the exterior - the Tudor porch and window lift it out of mundanity and its situation is exquisite, it also benefits from the view of its neighbour Faulkbourne Hall.

ST GERMANS. Nave, chancel, and belfry. Nave and chancel are Norman, as can be seen from N and S windows and also the group of W windows. The upper one of these is original, with the two circular openings to the l. and r. (cf. Copford). On the S side a good Norman doorway with one order of extremely odd columns, semi-polygonal, with capitals with roughly indicated crosses, and bases made of the same sort of capitals upside down. One early C19 brick porch and vestry. The belfry rests on two thin posts. - BENCHES, a few, c. 1500, in the chancel. - HELM, late C16 or early C17, in the chancel. - MONUMENTS. Josiah Bullock d. 1783. With Corinthian pilasters, an open segmental pediment, and cherub’s head at the foot. - Hannah Bullock d. 1759. By Peter Scheemakers. Excellent seated female figure in front of a black obelisk. - John Bullock d. 1809 and wife. In the Neo-Greek taste. Big standing female figure and portrait medallion. Unsigned.

St Germanus (1)

Tudor window

Faulkbourne Hall

FAULKBOURNE. A house which is the pride of all Essex is standing here in a park of 100 acres of pines, elms, and chestnuts, and a cedar 19 feet round. So perfect is the brickwork of the house, and so elaborate the battlements, that it is not easy to believe that men lived here before the Wars of the Roses, but the king’s grant for these very battlements still exists.

It was in the days of Agincourt that the timbered part of the house was built, and in the kitchen is the old six-panelled door and a serving door with its old hinge and iron knocker. Before Sir John Montgomery died in 1449 he rebuilt the front of the wing in brick, and his son Thomas is believed to have built the great tower. The corbel tables are the supreme beauty of it all, and there is an oriel window. The stair turret is remarkable, the steps and the newel being entirely of brick.

The small Norman church stands among the pines at a corner of the park; it is one of the few buildings dedicated to St Germain. The east wall of the chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century, portraits of men of the time being carved as headstops to the windows indoors and out. Inserted in a wall of the nave is a delightful brick window of the 16th century, and west of it is an original Norman doorway. The original priest’s doorway opens into a vestry. In the 15th century bell-turret are two bells 700 years old, and above it is a weathervane of 1701 and a lead finial rising above a shingled spire. The roof, the font, and the door with three strap-hinges are medieval, and there are Tudor linenfold panels. The pews are modern, a credit to the craftsmen who made them from oaks grown in the park.

Far older than the oldest tree is the figure of a knight who was laid to rest here in the 13th century. He wears a flat-topped helmet and a long coat, and has in his hand a kite·shaped shield; the knights looked much like that at Runnymede. It is not known whom this battered stone represents. The more gorgeous armour of the Elizabethans is on the brass of Henry Fortescue, a member of the bodyguard of his queen; his children are below him in three groups, and his wife Mary is on a separate brass. The engraved silver cup used here was her gift, and perhaps she set in the chancel the helmet hanging there; it is of the period. A curious possession of the church is a barrel organ of 1830.

Flickr set.

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