10. BIRCHANGER. (B.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. xxii. S.E.)
Birchanger is a small parish and village, which
adjoins the parish of Bishop's Stortford on the E.
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin
stands in the middle of the village. The walls are
of flint rubble with dressings of limestone and
clunch; the roofs are tiled. The evidence of the
development of the church has been much obscured
by modern restoration and rebuilding. The Nave
is probably of c. 1125, and the Chancel was rebuilt
apparently c. 1225. In the 18th century the
round tower was destroyed. In the 19th century
the present North Aisle, with a Vestry at the E. end,
and a Porch at the W. end, was added, and the
whole church was much restored.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22 feet
by 18½ feet) has a modern E. window. In the N.
wall is a small lancet window of c. 1225, externally
rebated and much restored; further W. is a modern
arch opening into the N. aisle. In the S. wall are
three lancet windows similar to that in the N.
wall and much restored; the middle window
is said to have been moved from the N. wall when
the aisle was added. There is no chancel-arch, but
the extent of the chancel is marked internally by
a set-back in the side-walls.
The Nave (39½ ft. by 17 ft.) has a modern N.
arcade of two bays, and further W. is a modern
doorway with a two-centred rear arch of the 13th
century. In the S. wall are two windows; the
eastern is a modern copy of the western window,
which is of late 15th-century date and of three
cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head.
Between the windows is the 12th-century S. doorway, now blocked; the semi-circular tympanum
is apparently still in situ, but the rear arch has been
raised, to adapt the recess for a staircase to the
modern gallery; externally the doorway is covered
with plaster; at the E. end of the wall is a large
recess with a two-centred head, and in the recess
is apparently part of the W. splay of a blocked
window. In the W. wall is a doorway of c. 1125
with jambs and semi-circular arch of one plain
square order; the imposts are chamfered and
diapered, and the tympanum is ornamented with
diapering and with incised lines, representing
voussoirs. Over the W. gable is a modern bellcot.
Fittings—Font: octagonal, plain moulded bowl,
stem ornamented with cusped panels, late 15th-century. Piscinæ: In chancel—with moulded
two-centred head, 15th-century. Plate: includes
cup of 1567. Seating: In nave—at W. end,
seven benches, late 15th-century, much restored.
Condition—Good, much restored.
(2). Birchanger Place, house and barn, about
150 yards E. of the church. The House is of three
storeys, originally timber-framed, but now built
almost entirely of brick; the roofs are covered
with tiles. It forms an irregular range, facing
approximately N.E.; the kitchen at the N.W.
end of the house contains traces of early or mid
17th-century work, but the rest of the house was
rebuilt and the third storey added in the 18th
century. At the N.W. end a chimney-stack with
diagonal pilasters is said to bear the date 1655,
but the figures are now concealed by the roof.
Inside the building, the kitchen has heavy joists in
the ceiling; a diagonal beam indicates that the
upper storey formerly projected on the S.W. and
N.W. sides; the fireplace, now partly blocked,
has a heavy moulded lintel of c. 1600. The
Barn, E. of the house, is timber-framed and covered
with plaster and weather-boarding; the roof is
tiled. It was built probably not later than the 16th
century, and is of three bays with aisles.
Condition—Of house, good, rebuilt; of barn,
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th-century, and of two
storeys; the walls are of plastered timber-framing,
and the roofs are tiled or thatched. Several of
the buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide
fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
(3). Birchanger Hall, about 100 yards S. of
the church, is of rectangular plan, and apparently
had a central corridor, with the entrance at one
end and rooms on each side. The roof is hipped,
and the windows have plain mullions and iron
(4). Cottage, now three tenements, about 400
yards S.E. of the church. The original central
chimney-stack has diagonal pilasters.
(5). Cottage, now two tenements, about 550
yards S.E. of the church, was built probably
c. 1600, with lean-to offices of one storey at the
back; the N.W. end of the building is possibly
an addition. The upper storey projects at the
E. end of the front.
(6). Duck End Farm, house, about 1,100 yards
S.E. of the church, was built apparently in the
16th century, on a rectangular plan. On the
W. front the upper storey formerly projected, but
has been under-built with brick; an attic floor was
inserted, probably in the 18th century. Inside the
building, the first floor is carried on heavy chamfered beams, and in the attic some of the original
cambered tie-beams of the roof are visible.