Friday, 18 January 2013

North Benfleet, Essex

All Saints looked more promising - farmyard position, duckpond and an old church - but sadly it has been abandoned and is in danger of collapse (part of the tower is fenced off) and is woefully neglected. It's not the worst I've seen but give it a few more years and it will be a shell; to me it's a shame the CCT hasn't taken control even though Pevsner is somewhat dismissive:

ALL SAINTS. Away from the village but close to the moated site of North Benfleet Hall which was recently pulled down. The church is small and of little interest outside, except for one early C16 brick window of two lights with panel tracery. The brick tower of 1903 does not betray the timber construction of the belfry inside, with braces between the posts from E to W as well as from N to S. Trellis-struts higher up. and this heavy timbering in its turn does not betray a window of c. 1200 hidden in the Norman W wall of the nave. - FONT. Of the C13 Purbeck type, square bowl, each side with six shallow blank pointed arches.- PLATE. Cup of 1506 with a band of ornament; Cover of 1564.

All Saints (2)

John Cole 1836 A soldier of Waterloo

NORTH BENFLEET. Here stands a farmhouse of ancient wonder and delight, one of its wings having survived, roof timbers and all, from the 15th century. The middle block and another wing were made new in the 16th century, and the entrance door has big strap-hinges and many an interesting detail of Stuart times. A great pond, all that is left of its moat, lies between it and a crowd of barns and haystacks. By them is the church, with a few of its original stones still seen, though in the west wall behind the massive timbering is a round-headed window of 1200, now blocked outside by a modern tower. The font is 13th century, the two bells are 15th, and the communion cup, with a band of engraved ornament, was first used in the spacious days of Queen Elizabeth. At the entrance to the 16th century porch is a tombstone with this curious inscription:

Sacred to the memory of John Cole, a soldier of Waterloo.
At the celebrated command, Up Guards and at ’em, he was wounded
by a musket ball but heroically persevered till the victory. He died
in this parish April 10, 1836, aged 51, bequeathing his medal to
the curate, whose last act was the erection of this tablet.

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