22. ELSENHAM. (B.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. xxiii. N.W.)
Elsenham is an agricultural parish about 4½
m. N.E. of Bishop's Stortford. The village
near the church is mostly in Henham parish;
Tye Green is the only hamlet. The Church is the
(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin,
near Elsenham Hall. The walls are of flint
rubble, heavily covered with plaster and cement;
the tower is of mixed flint and brick with some
large stone blocks, and is also covered with plaster;
the S. porch is of flint rubble with lacing-courses
and dressings of brick; some tiles, probably
Roman, appear in the tower and the S. porch. The
roofs are covered with tiles and slate. The
Chancel and Nave are of early 12th-century date.
The West Tower was built early in the 15th century,
and the South Porch, added c. 1500. In the 19th
century a small North Porch, now used as a vestry,
Among the fittings a 12th-century coffin-lid
is specially noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (23 ft.
by 20 ft.) has a mid 15th-century E. window of three
wide cinquefoiled lights, with tracery in a four-centred head which has a moulded external label.
In the middle of the N. wall is a small 12th-century
window with a semi-circular head and rear arch;
the external reveals are slightly chamfered; at
the W. end of the wall is a small rough doorway
fitted with a modern frame and opening into the
rood-loft staircase, which is in the thickness of the
N. abutment of the chancel-arch. In the S. wall are
two windows; the eastern is of the 15th century and
of one cinquefoiled light with a moulded external
reveal; the western window is also of the 15th
century, and is set low in the wall; it is of two
cinquefoiled lights in a square head with a moulded
external reveal and label, and a segmental-pointed
rear arch; the lower part of the window is blocked
by stones labs: between the two windows is a small
15th century doorway, externally modern. The
semi-circular chancel-arch is of the 12th century and
of one square order, with axe-work on the W. face
and on two voussoirs of the E. face; the square
responds have angles worked with zigzag ornament; the imposts are chamfered, and below them
are traces of mortise holes; in the soffit of the arch
there are eleven other mortise holes, probably all
connected with the former rood-loft; the N.
respond is pierced by a small rough squint with a
The Nave (48½ ft. by 22½ ft.) has three windows
in the N. wall; the easternmost is of three uncusped
lights under a square head; the details are all of
brick covered with plaster; the other two windows
are of the 12th century, and similar to that in the
N. wall of the chancel; between them is the N.
doorway, of uncertain date and much defaced
with paint and plaster. In the S. wall are three
windows; the easternmost is of the 15th century
and of two cinquefoiled lights with re used tracery,
externally it is almost entirely modern; the second
is a 12th-century window similar to those in the
N. wall, but now blocked, and the third is a late
15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights
with tracery in a two-centred head; W. of the
windows is the 12th-century S. doorway (see
Plate p. 83) with a semi-circular head, which is
roll-moulded and axe-worked, the tympanum is of
several stones, all being axe-worked; the jambs
have twisted shafts with crude voluted capitals
and bases with spur ornament; the internal lintel
is formed by a coffin-lid (see Fittings).
Elsenham, Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin
The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of three stages
with an embattled parapet and a S.E. stair-turret;
all the detail is of early 15th-century date, but has
been much restored. The two-centred tower-arch
is of two orders, the outer moulded and continuous;
the inner order is chamfered and rests on semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The W. window is of three cinquefoiled lights with
tracery in a two-centred head; the W. doorway
has moulded jambs and two-centred head. In
the second stage the S. and W. walls have each a
single-light window with a two-centred head. The
bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two
trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred
head; the reveals are moulded.
The South Porch (11 ft. by 9½ ft.) has a plain
outer archway of brick of c. 1500. The side walls
have each a window of two pointed lights in a
square-headed external reveal, all of brick. Over
the S. doorway (see Plate, p. 83) are traces of the
gabled roof of a former porch of slight projection.
The 15th-century Roof of the nave is high-pitched and of five bays; the trusses have cambered
tie-beams and octagonal king-posts with moulded
capitals and bases; the collar-beams have four-way
struts; in the soffit of the E. tie-beam is a mortise
hole, possibly for the former rood. The S. porch
has a high-pitched roof of c. 1500, with moulded
and embattled wall-plates, two cambered tie-beams
with octagonal king-posts, and an external bargeboard, carved and cusped.
Fittings—Bells: four; 1st by William Culverden,
16th-century; 2nd by John Dier, 1600; 3rd by
John Grene, 1572. Brasses and Indents. Brasses:
In chancel—on N. respond of chancel-arch, (1) of
Anne, (Tuer) wife of Thomas Field, 1615, rectangular plate with kneeling figure and shield of arms;
on S. respond, (2) of Alice, wife of Doctor Tuer,
vicar of the parish, 1619, kneeling figure with
shield of arms. Indents: In chancel—on N. wall,
(1) of kneeling figures of man in armour, and his wife,
rectangular plate, two shields and two scrolls all
in a sunk panel with an ogee head, and a band of
cresting above it, early 16th-century; in nave—
(2) of figure, groups of sons and daughters, inscription plate, four shields and thirteen scrolls, late 15th
or early 16th-century. Coffin-lid: In nave—
used as internal lintel of S. doorway, ornamented
with axe-work and a small cross, 12th-century.
Door: In nave—in S. doorway, panelled, with
boss for ring, key scutcheon and wooden stocklock, late 15th-century. In stair-turret of tower—
two, with strap-hinges, probably 15th-century.
Glass: In chancel—in S.E. window, small roundel
with leopard's face in black, 15th-century. Niche:
S. porch—over archway, outside, with chamfered
jambs and four-centred head, c. 1500. Piscina: In
chancel—double, with moulded two-centred arches
having dog-tooth ornament, shafts with foliated
capitals and moulded bases, dog-tooth ornament
on jambs, two drains, c. 1225, possibly repaired in
15th century. Plate: includes cup of 1562,
cover-paten of 1595, standing paten of c. 1700, and
alms-dish without marks. Pulpit: octagonal,
stem of oak, with three carved consoles, c. 1625,
rest modern. Stoup: In porch—in N.E. corner,
remains, of brick, c. 1500. Miscellanea: In
chancel—in N. wall, niche with rounded chamfered
head and chamfered jambs, date and purpose
uncertain. In tower—scratched on jambs of
lower doorway of stair-turret, inscriptions, 15th-century and later date.
(2). Homestead Moat at Tye Green, fragment,
(3). Place Farm or Elsenham Place, house, barn
and dove-cot, 600 yards N. of the church. The
House is of two storeys; the walls are timberframed and plastered, and the roofs are tiled.
The plan is H-shaped, the E. wing was built in
the 16th century, and the rest of the house in the
17th century. Some of the internal walls show the
original close-set vertical timber-framing, and the
17th-century part of the house has some contemporary oak panelling and stop-chamfered
The Barn and Dove-cot, at the back of the house,
are probably of the 17th century; the barn
has timber-framed walls covered with weather-boarding; the dove-cot is square, timber-framed
The following buildings are almost all of the 17th
century, and of two storeys, timber-framed and
covered with plaster; the roofs are tiled or
thatched. Almost all the buildings have original
chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and chamfered
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
(4). Wells' Charity, an almshouse consisting of
three tenements ½ m. W.N.W. of the church,
was founded about 1656. On the W. front the
upper storey projects at the N. end, and there is a
steep-pitched dormer with an original casement
Fullers End, W. side
(5). Cottage, now two tenements, about 750
yards S.W. of the church, is of one storey with
attics, and was built probably late in the 16th
century. In front, the close-set timber-framing
is partly exposed and a panelled door of oak is
(6). House, now two tenements, N. of (5), is
probably of late 16th-century date. In front, at
each end, is a hipped gable; the northern gable
projects. Some original casement windows remain.
Tye Green, W. side
(7). Cottage, about 1 m. S.S.E. of the church.
Some old casement windows remain; the original
central chimney-stack is cross-shaped on plan.
(8). House, 130 yards N.E. of (7), is of two
storeys with attics, and is built of brick. The S.E.
front has a gable at each end. At the back there
are also two gables, and the original chimney-stack
has four octagonal grouped shafts.
(9). Barn, formerly a cottage, N. of (8), is of
late 16th-century date. On the S.E. front, the
upper storey projects; no windows or chimneys
(10). Cottage, 320 yards N.E. of (8) is of early
16th-century date. On the S. front at each end is
a projecting gable.
(11). Cottage, 100 yards S. of (10), has some
original casement windows.
(12). Cottage, 150 yards S.W. of (11). At the
back is an addition, making the plan L-shaped.
There are some original casement windows.
(13). Cottage, 50 yards S.W. of (12).
(14). Newhouse Farm, about 1 m. S.S.E. of
the church. A modern house has been added at
the S.E. end of the 17th-century building. The
massive original chimney-stack has four octagonal
(15). Loppingdale Farm, house, ¾ m. S.E. of the
church. On the S. front at the E., end is a gable
faced with modern brick. At the E. end of the
building is a projecting chimney-stack with an
(16). Barn at Cox's Farm, 300 yards W.N.W. of
(15). The timber-framed walls have brick filling,
and are partly weather-boarded. The plan is
L-shaped. The roof is original, of the king-post
type with curved braces.
(17). Cottage, now three tenements, ½ m. S.E.
of the church.