26. GESTINGTHORPE. (E.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xi. N.E., (b)xii. N.W., (c)xi. S.E.,
Gestingthorpe is a parish and village about
5 m. N. of Halstead. The Church and five 15th-century houses are the principal monuments.
b (1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin
stands on the N. side of the village. The walls
are of flint rubble with dressings of limestone and
clunch, some of the tiles in the walls are probably
Roman; the W. tower and S. porch are of red
brick; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead.
The Chancel was built probably early in the 13th
century, and the Nave may be of the same date,
but the earliest detail is of c. 1330. The North
Vestry and the South Aisle were added c. 1330.
Early in the 15th century the S. aisle was practically
rebuilt. The clearstorey of the nave and the
South Porch were built c. 1500; the West Tower
was added c. 1530. The church was restored late
in the 19th century, when the chancel-arch and
the wall on each side of it were rebuilt, a rood-loft
staircase in the S.E. angle of the nave being
destroyed; the S. arcade of the nave was reconstructed and the South Organ-chamber added
at the same time.
The W. tower and the roof of the nave are
interesting examples of early 16th-century work.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (32½ ft.
by 19½ ft.) has an E. window of c. 1320, and of
five trefoiled lights with net tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the mullions
have been restored. In the N. wall are three
windows; the easternmost is a 13th-century lancet,
now blocked; the second window is of c. 1340
and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery
under a two-centred head, which has a moulded
label; the westernmost window has a 15th-century
moulded E. jamb and splay; the rest of the window
has been partly blocked and altered, and has a
wooden frame with a segmental head, dated
1678. Between the eastern windows is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch,
probably of the 14th century; between the western
windows is a doorway of the same date and similar
detail, but possibly not in situ. In the S. wall
are two windows similar to the second window
in the N. wall; the eastern is now blocked, and
the western has been entirely restored externally;
further W. is a modern archway. The chancel-arch is modern except for a few voussoirs which
are probably of late 14th or early 15th-century
The North Vestry is probably partly of the 14th
century, but the N. end is probably modern,
and there are no ancient details.
The South Organ-chamber is modern, but, re-set
in the E. wall is an early 14th-century window,
slightly restored and of two cinquefoiled lights
with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the
label is moulded; the window was formerly in
the S. wall of the chancel.
The Nave (42½ ft. by 24 ft.) has, in the N. wall,
three windows in the lower range; the easternmost is modern, the second window is of the 15th
century, and of three cinquefoiled lights with
tracery in a four-centred head; the label has been
cut away, but the carved head-stops remain; the
westernmost window is of c. 1330, and of two ogee
lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the
moulded external label has grotesque stops. The S.
arcade is of early 14th-century date, reconstructed
in the 19th century; it is of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the
columns and responds are modern. The clear-storey has, in the N. wall, near the W. end, a window
of two four-centred lights in a square head, and
probably of the 16th century; a similar window is
said to have been removed from near the E. end
of the wall. In the S. wall are three modern
windows which are said to have replaced windows
similar to that in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (about 9 ft. wide) has a 16th
or 17th-century embattled parapet of red brick
with crocketed brick pinnacles. In the E. wall
is a modern arch. In the S. wall are two windows
probably of early 15th-century date and partly
restored; they are each of three cinquefoiled ogee
lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head;
all the parts, including the label, are moulded;
further W. is the 15th-century S. doorway with
jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded
orders, with a moulded label.
The West Tower (15½ ft. by 14 ft.) is entirely of
early 16th-century date, and of red brick with
diapering of blue brick (see Plate p. 99); it is of
four stages with a S.E. staircase-turret and a crow-stepped embattled parapet resting on a corbel-table
of trefoiled arches. The two-centred tower-arch is
of four orders, the two outer square and continuous,
and the two inner orders chamfered and resting
on a semi-octagonal attached shaft. The W. doorway has jambs and four-centred arch of four
chamfered orders with a moulded label; the W.
window is of three four-centred lights with modern
mullions and tracery under a four-centred head;
the label is moulded. The third stage has, in the N.
and in the S. wall, a loop with a segmental-pointed
head. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a
window of three lights with modern mullions and
tracery under a four-centred head with a moulded
The South Porch is of early 16th-century date.
The outer entrance has a two-centred arch. The
E. and W. walls have each a window of one light,
that on the E. having a four-centred and that
on the W. a segmental-pointed head.
The Roof of the nave is of c. 1500 (see Plate p. 100),
and has seven elaborate double hammer-beam
trusses; the timbers are all moulded, the spandrels
have traceried filling and the lower hammer-beams
and wall-plates are carved with twisted foliage;
the side-posts are buttressed and finished with
carved pendants; the hammer-beams and collar
have curved braces; those below the collar form a
four-centred arch with a carved pendant at the
apex; the N. wall-plate is inscribed 'Petir Barnard
Marget hys wyf.,' and the S. wall-plate—'Thomas
Loveda and Alys hys wyf.' The lean-to roof of the
S. aisle is of c. 1500, much restored, and of three
double bays; the timbers are all moulded, and the
principals have curved braces with carved spandrels, one has a shield charged with three cheverons.
The roof of the S. porch is probably of early 16th-century date, and has two king-post trusses with
moulded and embattled wall-plates.
Fittings—Bells: six; 1st by Miles Graye, 1659;
2nd, 3rd and 4th by Miles Graye, 1658. Brasses
and Indents. Indents: In tower—(1) of figures of
man and wife with inscription-plate and 19 scrolls,
15th-century; (2) of figures of man and wife with
inscription-plate, probably early 16th-century.
Chests: In vestry—dug-out, with two compartments, each with an iron-bound lid and four locks.
In upper stage of tower—dug-out, with five iron
straps and locks, date uncertain. Doors: In S.
doorway—of moulded battens, early 16th-century.
In tower—in doorway of turret staircase, with
hollow-chamfered fillets planted on, and straphinges, 16th-century; in W. doorway with square
framing and strap-hinges, 16th-century. Font: (see
Plate p. xxix.) octagonal bowl, three sides carved
with the symbols of three evangelists, one blank,
the rest cusped, and enclosing roses or blank
shields; traceried stem with moulded and carved
base, 15th-century. Glass: In nave—in the lower
western window in N. wall, in tracery, quatrefoil, in
one light, small figures of the Virgin and Child, partly
old, and set in diapered green glass within a yellow
patterned border, probably late 15th-century.
At the Rectory—several fragments, 14th and 15th-century, found in blocked window in chancel.
Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monument: In
chancel—on N. wall, of John Sparrow, 1626,
alabaster tablet with kneeling figure in armour,
set in a round-headed niche, achievement of arms
above pediment. Floor-slab: In tower—to John
Elliston, 1691, and Mary his wife. Paintings:
In nave—on W. wall, on canvas, of Moses and
Aaron, late 17th or early 18th-century. Piscinæ:
In chancel—with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled head, trefoil drain, early 14th-century, sill
broken. In S. aisle—with moulded jambs and
cinquefoiled head, sexfoil drain, probably early
15th-century, sill broken. Recess: In S. porch—
in S.E. angle, with square head and oak lintel,
date and purpose uncertain. Screen: Under
chancel arch—incorporated in modern screen,
two bays, with trefoiled, sub-cusped and traceried
heads; the heads with carved crockets and finials;
carved rail and close lower panels; in each bay
two panels each with traceried head and band of
quatrefoils at base; panels formerly painted, and
said to have had figures of St. Peter Martyr and
St. Giles, 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—
of three bays with moulded jambs and two-centred
heads, probably c. 1340, easternmost head and all
labels modern. Stoup: In S. porch—in E. wall,
semi-circular recess, probably part of stoup, early
16th-century. Miscellanea: In churchyard—N. of
chancel, various architectural fragments, including
bases, jamb-stone, fragment of coffin lid, etc. In
chancel—fragments of five coffin-lids, 13th-century.
In vestry—three slip tiles.
d (2). Homestead Moat, S. of Park Farm, 2½ m.
S.S.E. of the church.
d (3). Moat Farm, house, pigeon-house, and
moat, nearly 1¼ m. S. of the church. The
House is of two storeys; the walls are timberframed and plastered, and the roofs are tiled. It
was built in the 15th century on a half-H-shaped
plan with the wings extending towards the S.
There is a 16th or 17th-century addition at the back
of the W. wing, and modern additions on the W.
side of the same wing, and at the back of the E.
The 15th-century doorway with shafted jambs.
is of interest.
Interior—On the ground floor in the original N.
wall of the W. wing is the four-centred head
of an original external doorway, now blocked;
in the E. wall of the E. wing is the round head
of another original doorway, also blocked. Between
the W. wing and the former Hall in the central
block is an original doorway; it has a two-centred
head, moulded label, and shafted jambs with
moulded capitals and bell-bases much defaced.
There are two old doors of moulded oak battens.
In the roof of the main block is an original truss
with a central purlin and a square king-post with
The Pigeon-house, E. of the house, is of three
storeys, but was originally of two. The walls are
timber-framed and plastered, and the roof is tiled.
The structure is probably of the 17th century.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house and pigeon-house, good.
b (4). Over Hall, house and pigeon-house, 200
yards N.W. of the church. The House was entirely
re-faced with brick and partly rebuilt in the 18th
century, but the N. end possibly incorporates
remains of a building of early 17th-century date.
Inside the building, on the ground floor, a fireplace
in the central chimney-stack has an overmantel not
in situ, of c. 1625, and of three bays divided by
fluted pilasters supporting an enriched entablature;
the central bay has a round-headed carved panel
and the side bays have rectangular panels with
frames of later date. A room at the N. end
of the house is lined with panelling, also of c. 1625.
The Pigeon-house is timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It is of mid 17th-century
date, but has modern rough-cast and imitation halftimbering. The roof is pyramidal and has four
little gables, one on each side, all with original
barge-boards carved with vine and other ornament;
in addition, on the E. side there is a gabled dormer
with similar barge-boards. On the W. side is an
original window with a moulded frame, and a
lintel carved with the initials I.A.E. probably for
I. and A. Elliston.
Condition—Of house and pigeon-house, good.
b (5). Nether Hall, ½ m. N.N.W. of the church.
The house is of two storeys; the walls are
timber-framed and plastered and the roofs are
tiled. It is of L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the S. and E. The E. wing
was built in the 15th century and then probably
formed part of a larger house; the S. wing is
modern, and there is a modern addition on the N.
side of the E. wing. The N. elevation has been
re-faced with modern brick.
Inside the building, on the ground floor in the
original block, are three 17th-century doors. In
the upper storey an original king-post roof-truss is
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some
of the buildings have wide fireplaces, original
chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
b (6). The Vicarage, 50 yards N.E. of the church,
is of two storeys with attics. It was built in the
17th century, but has been partly re-faced with
modern brick, and so much altered that the
original plan cannot be distinguished. On the
N. elevation are four gables.
b (7). Cottage, now two tenements, 40 yards
S.W. of the church, was built probably late in the
16th century. On the N. front are two gabled
dormer-windows, both original and of three lights
with moulded frame and mullions; the bargeboards and the cornice above the windows are
moulded and dentilled.
d (8). Barn, at Rectory Farm, about ¾ m. S. of
the church, has weather-boarded walls. It was
built in the 17th century, but has been much
repaired or perhaps rebuilt; it is of five bays with
an aisle on the N. side.
d(9). Crouch House, about 1 m. S.S.W. of the
church, was built in the 17th century, and is of
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the S.E. and S.W. The S.W. wing was added,
apparently in the 18th or 19th century; the
building has been partly re-faced with modern
brick. The original central chimney-stack has
attached polygonal shafts.
d (10). Old House, nearly 2 m. S.S.W. of the
church, is of two storeys with attics. It was
built probably in the second half of the 16th
century, but has a modern addition at the W. end.
At the E. end the upper storey projects and has
an original moulded bressumer.
d (11). Park's Farm, house, 2½ m. S.S.E. of the
church, was built in the 15th century on an Hshaped plan, with a central Hall open to the roof, and
cross-wings at the S.W. and N.E. ends. Late in the
16th century an upper floor and a chimney-stack
were inserted in the Hall and another chimney-stack was built against the S.W. or Solar wing.
On the N.W. elevation the upper storey of the two
wings originally projected, but was under-built in
the 18th century; in the upper storey of the central
block is an early 17th-century window of two lights.
On the S.W. elevation is a late 16th-century
chimney-stack with two octagonal shafts on a
Inside the building, in the S.W. wall of the N.E.
wing at the back of the former Screens, are two
original doorways with four-centred heads, one of
them is now blocked.
c (12). Parkgate Farm, house, about 1 m. S.W. of
the church, was built in the 15th century, with a
central Hall and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends.
In the 16th or early 17th century an upper floor
was inserted in the Hall, and a projecting, chimney-stack added on the N. side of the N. or Solar wing.
There are modern additions at the back. On the
W. front the upper storey of the S. wing projects
and is supported by curved brackets; the upper
storey of the N. wing originally projected, but has
been under-built. Inside the building, in the roof
of the original Hall, is a king-post truss, and all
the timbers are blackened with smoke. The roofs
of the wings have similar trusses.
c (13). Edye's Farm, house, about 7/8 m. S.W. of
the church, was built in the 15th century, with a
central Hall. In the 16th century an upper floor
was inserted in the Hall. Inside the building, on
the ground floor of the N.E. part of the house, is an
original doorway with a four-centred head. In the
upper storey, at the E. end, is a window, possibly
original, with diamond-shaped bars, now blocked.
In the upper storey of the former Hall is a complete
15th-century roof-truss, with a moulded tie-beam and curved braces forming a four-centred
arch, and supported by shaped and chamfered wallposts; the king-post has a four-way strut. Parts
of other original trusses remain.
a (14). Park Farm, house, 1¼ m. W.S.W. of the
church, was built in the 17th century and extended
at the N.E. end in the 18th century; it has modern
additions at the back. On the N.W. elevation is
an original window with a diamond-shaped bar,