Monday, 17 October 2011

West Hanningfield, Essex

If I thought nearby Woodham Ferrers was a hotchpotch, SS Mary & Edward is a veritable smorgasbord of restoration  but I loved the porch and tower, particularly the tower which has a New England feel to it.

However my faith in humanity was restored by finding it open and welcoming. Whilst it's not overly exciting I did find some relations, in the shape of Clovilles and an Alington, here.

ST MARY AND ST EDWARD. The timber W tower is built on a Greek cross plan with the square upper part provided with an odd W oriel. Broach spire. On the ground floor to the S two Gothick windows. The construction inside is specially interesting, with arched braces in all four directions, buttressing struts in the arms of the cross, and on the upper floor of the centre arched braces diagonally across like ribs and meeting in a centre key-block with a grotesque face. The church itself has a Norman nave, as witnessed by the rear-arch of a N window, the remains of a C13 chancel (see the traces of E windows) a C14 S arcade and S aisle, a C15 timber porch, and an early C16 chancel. Most of the windows are probably of c. 1800: Gothick. The S arcade of five bays stands on octagonal piers and has double-chamfered arches. The chancel has two- and three-light N windows of brick, probably C17. - FONT. Perp, octagonal, small. - COMMUNION RAIL. Late C17 with alternatingly heavily twisted and turned balusters. - CHEST. Of the dug-out type, 8 ft long, heavily iron-bound. - PLATE. Cup of 1709; Paten on foot of 1709. - BRASS to Isabell Clouvill d. 1381, demi-figure. 

SS Mary & Edward (3)

Isabel Cloville 1361 (3)

Glasss (3)

WEST HANNINGFIELD. The long grass of the churchyard was aglow with primroses when we called to see the treasure of the village, the amazing dug-out chest which has been here 600 years. It is bound with iron and has two lids, both very hard to lift, and is over eight feet long. It would come here about the time the new font was set on the Norman base, the carvers giving it trellis work and roundels on the stem and ballflowers and quaint heads round the bowl. There is a charming portrait in brass of 1361, the oldest brass but one of a lady in all Essex. It shows the head and shoulders of Isabel Clouville in the delightful veiled headdress of her time. There is a shield of the family arms in 15th century glass and an altar tomb in which lie a 16th century John Clouville and his wife. In the window above the tomb are two little heads of women with a Tudor rose between them.

A very curious feature here is the 15th century wooden belfry at the end of the nave; it is planned like a cross, each arm two stages high, the centre rising a stage higher and crowned with a spire. The interior is a medley of old beams and, mounting a rough 16th century ladder, we find the curved braces meeting at a grotesque face. It is all a little like some goblin barn rather than a belfry.

(I very often wish I could have Mee's untrammelled access after reading his entries.)


No comments:

Post a Comment