27. GOSFIELD. (E.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xvi. N.E., (b)xvi. N.W., (c)xvi. S.E.)
Gosfield is a parish and small village about 4½ m.
N.N.E. of Braintree. The principal monuments
are the Church, Gosfield Hall, and the old houses
in the village.
c (1). Parish Church of St. Katherine stands
in Gosfield Park near the N.E. corner of the lake.
The walls are of flint and pebble rubble, except
those of the N. chapel and the S. wall of the chancel,
which are probably of brick; the dressings are of
clunch and brick; the roofs are covered with tiles.
The Chancel and Nave were built c. 1435 with a
timber bell-cot at the W. end of the nave. The
bell-cot was removed and the West Tower added
c. 1500; the North Chapel was added, and the
chancel widened on the S. side, c. 1560. The N.
chapel was extended about two feet towards the
W., and the westernmost bay converted into a
private pew, c. 1733. The church was restored in
the 19th century; the North Vestry and South
Porch are modern.
The 15th-century brass of Thomas Rolf, and the
15th and 16th-century altar tombs are noteworthy.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (32½ ft.
by 20½ ft.) has two diagonal buttresses at the S.E.
angle, one at the former angle of the 15th-century
building, and one at the angle of the 16th-century
extension. The 15th-century E. window is of four
cinquefoiled lights with an embattled transom and
vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the jambs
and head are moulded on both sides, and the
mullions have been scraped. In the N. wall is a
mid 16th-century arcade of two bays and of
plastered brick; the arches are four-centred, and
the splayed responds and pier have moulded
capitals and plain bases; in the splays of the pier
are sunk panels. The S. wall has a moulded brick
plinth and a corbel-table covered with cement; the
two windows are each of mid 16th-century date, of
brick, and with four four-centred and transomed
lights under a square head; the external jambs,
heads and labels are moulded; between the
windows is a modern doorway. The 15th-century
chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded
orders; on the W. side is a moulded label which
has stops carved with angels holding shields—
(a) a raven, for Rolf; (b) a cheveron with three
scallops thereon, for Hawkwood; the responds have
The North Chapel (32½ ft. by 10 ft.) is of three
bays; the westernmost bay overlaps the nave and
is separated from the others by an 18th-century
wall. The 16th-century walls each have a plinth
and corbel-table similar to those of the S. wall of
the chancel. In the E. wall is a 16th-century
window, of brick, with four three-centred and
transomed lights under a square head; the jambs
and head are moulded and plastered. In the N.
wall are three windows similar to that in the E.
wall; the westernmost window is now blocked.
E. of the second window is a 16th-century doorway
of brick, with a moulded four-centred arch in a
square head which has a moulded label. The W.
wall is of the 18th-century; the 16th-century N.W.
buttress of the former wall still remains about two
feet E. of the present N.W. angle.
The Nave (43 ft. by 25 ft.) has, at the E. end of
the N. wall, a four-centred arch of brick, and of
three chamfered orders; it formerly opened into
the N. chapel, but has been partly filled in, and has
an 18th-century arch under it. Further W. are
two 15th-century windows, each of two cinquefoiled
lights with tracery under a two-centred head; the
jambs and head are moulded on both sides; the
E. light of the eastern window has been blocked
by the W. wall of the N. chapel. Between the
windows is the 15th-century N. doorway which has
moulded and shafted jambs; the shafts have
moulded and embattled capitals; the two-centred
arch is also moulded. In the S. wall are three
windows of the same date and detail as those in the
N. wall; between the two western windows is the
15th-century S. doorway, uniform with the N.
doorway, but with a modern label.
The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of two stages,
with a square S.E. stair-turret; the moulded
plinth has chequer-work of brick and stone; the
embattled parapet is probably of brick, but is
covered with cement. The early 16th-century
tower-arch is two-centred and of three chamfered
orders; the two outer orders are continuous, and
the inner order springs from semi-circular attached
shafts with moulded bases and embattled capitals.
In the S. wall, opening into the stair-turret, is a
doorway with a four-centred arch in a square head.
The W. window is in two tiers; the 15th-century
upper part is probably the original W. window of the
nave, re-set, and is of three cinquefoiled lights with
tracery in a segmental-pointed head; the 16th-century lower part is of brick and of three plain
four-centred lights. In the upper storey of the
ground stage the N., S. and W. walls each have a
window of one trefoiled light. The bell-chamber
has, in each wall, a window of two cinquefoiled
lights under a segmental-pointed head with a
moulded label; the window in the E. wall has
now only a plain mullion.
The Roof of the two E. bays of the N. chapel is
of c. 1560, and is flat, with moulded main timbers
dividing it into square panels, the principal tiebeams have curved braces with carved spandrels.
The roof of the nave is of the 15th century and
of four bays with curved and hollow-chamfered
principals and moulded wall-plates; the westernmost bay is divided from the rest by a hollow-chamfered tie-beam with curved braces, and
wall-posts which rise from the floor and formerly
supported the bell-cot; the spandrels are filled with
Fittings—Bells: three; 2nd by Miles Graye,
1637; 3rd probably by Thomas Potter of Norwich,
15th-century, and inscribed 'Triplex Persona
Trinitas Nunc Gaudia Dona'; bell-frame, old.
Brasses and Indents. (See also Monuments.) In
nave—in Purbeck marble slab, (1) two shields,
(a) a crowned lion party fessewise, for Greene;
(b) the same, impaling a defaced coat; indents of
figure of civilian, scroll, two shields, marginal
inscription and roundels, late 15th-century. In
vestry—loose, (2) shield, a cheveron engrailed
between three leopards' heads a crescent with a
martlet thereon for difference, for Wilford, impaling
a fesse between three lions' heads razed with three
anchors on the fesse, for Fermour. Door: In S.
doorway—of two folds, each with three cinquefoil-headed panels and tracery planted on, 15th-century
partly restored. Glass: In nave—in tracery of
eastern window in N. wall, blue flames, fragments
of foliage, tabernacle work, etc. 14th and 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—under eastern bay of N.
arcade, (1) to [Sir John Wentworth, 1567] altar
tomb of Purbeck marble, with moulded base and
slab and fragments of brass marginal inscription;
N. and S. side each with four cinquefoiled panels
between smaller trefoiled panels; similar panels
at ends; on S. side three brass shields of arms of
Wentworth and alliances, one with mantled helm
and crest; slab with rivet holes for brasses, but
apparently planed down, tomb probably late 15th-century, re-used : against S. wall, (2) of Thomas
Rolf, 1440, altar tomb with slab of Purbeck marble,
and brass figure in robes of a Sergeant-at-Law,
Latin inscription; indents of scroll and shield; on
N. side of tomb, quatrefoiled circular panels
between narrow trefoiled panels, in four pieces,
apparently re-set; the quatrefoils charged with
shields of arms—(a) a raven, for Rolf.; (b) a lion;
(c) a cross between four scallops; at W. end similar
panels, shield in quatrefoil bearing a raven, for Rolf.
In N. chapel—(3) to [Sir Hugh Rich], 155, altar
tomb of Purbeck marble, with moulded and
panelled plinth and moulded slab with remains of
brass marginal inscription, and rivet holes of
former brasses; sides of tomb elaborately panelled
and traceried and with blank shields of arms;
tomb possibly of earlier date than inscription,
re-used. In churchyard—near S. porch, (4) to
Dorcas, wife of Solomon Philbrige, 1706, table
tomb. Floor-slabs : In nave—(1) to Elizabeth,
wife of ... . 1711, much defaced; (2) and (3) of
grey marble, inscriptions defaced, late 17th-century; forming threshold of S. doorway (4)
tapering slab of Purbeck marble, defaced.
Panelling: In chancel—on N. and S. sides, of
linen-fold pattern, frieze carved with foliage,
grotesque ornament and human heads, early 16th-century. Piscina: In nave—in S. wall, with
moulded jambs and four-centred head, ogee label
cut away, but two head-stops remaining, 15th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1604, elaborately
engraved, cover of same date with steeple top;
large cup of 1610, richly chased, cover with steeple
top apparently of 1613; stand paten of 1704,
richly engraved; large flagon of 1704, with
steeple top now broken off; all silver-gilt. Stalls:
In chancel—four bench-ends with foliated popeys,
two panelled fronts with four-centred heads and
moulded muntins, 16th-century, one bench-end
restored. Miscellanea: In N. chapel—on N.E.
buttress, large painted molet, possibly old.
b (2). Liston Hall Farm, house and moat,
nearly 1½ m. N.W. of the church. The House
is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built
probably early in the 17th century, and has 18th-century additions at the N. end and on the E.
side. On the W. front of the original block the
upper storey projects, and at the back is an original
chimney-stack. Inside the building some chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed.
The Moat is incomplete and now nearly dry.
Condition—Of house, good.
c (3). Gosfield Hall, ¼ m. N.W. of the
church, is of two storeys with cellars. The
walls are of brick with some stone dressings,
and the roofs are mostly tiled. The house was
built on a quadrangular plan about the middle of
the 16th century, with the Great Hall in the E.
wing and the entrance gateway in the middle of
the W. wing. Early in the 18th century the E.
wing was rebuilt and the N. and S. wings were
probably extended beyond the main E. front;
late in the 18th century the W. elevation of the
E. wing was re-faced and an additional storey
added to the middle block of the same wing;
about the same time the N. elevation was re-faced
and shortly afterwards the S. elevation was re-faced
or re-built. Probably early in the 19th century
two short flanking wings were added to the W. front.
The W. Front (see Plate, p. 104), is divided
into five bays by three gabled projections.
The middle projection contains the entrance
gateway of brick, with moulded jambs and a
four-centred arch, set in a square head with
a moulded label; the spandrels have ornamental cartouches of cut brick. Above the arch
is a bay window of two tiers, each of six four-centred lights, resting on corbelling of moulded
brick covered with plaster; the gable above
it is perhaps a later alteration, and has a plastered window of four lights; on the apex of the
gable is a square pinnacle set diagonally. The
middle bay is flanked by projecting chimney-stacks, each with a crow-stepped head and two
octagonal shafts with moulded bases and modern
caps; at the ground-level in each stack is a recessed
seat with a four-centred head, and in the return
wall of the northern stack is a small window commanding the entrance archway. The recessed
bays flanking the middle bay have each a small
central projection, with a window of six four-centred lights in two tiers; the main wall of both
bays has a brick corbel-table. The gabled outer
bays on each side have pinnacles and are pierced
by windows similar to those in the other bays;
the lower windows in the N. bay are set in a
slight projection with an embattled coping. Two
other chimney-stacks have modern shafts.
The E. Front (see Plate, p. 104), with its projecting wings, is of early 18th-century date, and has
an eaves-cornice of wood enriched with modillions,
a hipped roof and windows with flush frames
symmetrically arranged. In the roof are a series
of dormer windows finished with wooden pediments. The middle part of the front has an
additional storey built late in the 18th century.
The W. and N. Elevations of the courtyard are
finished with a brick corbel-table, and have windows
similar to those on the W. front. In the middle of
the W. elevation is an inner entrance archway
uniform with that on the W. front, and at each
end of the elevation is an original doorway of
several chamfered orders, with a four-centred arch
in a square head, which has a moulded label; the
doors are also original and have moulded battens
with strap-hinges. Above the entrance archway
is a gable with the stumps of original pinnacles; on
the roof behind it is an early 18th-century bellcupola. In the middle of the N. elevation is an
added storey of late 18th-century date.
The S. Elevation of the courtyard is similar to
the N. elevation, but has probably been rebuilt
from about eight feet above the ground.
Interior :—On the ground floor, the W. wing
forms a corridor, and immediately N. of the
entrance is an early 17th-century fireplace and
overmantel, re-set; the opening is flanked by
hunch-backed terminal figures, and has an arabesque frieze; the overmantel has four terminal
figures, and in the middle panel is an achievement
of arms within the Garter, and a re-painted shield,
vert a cross argent with five roundels gules therein,
for Grenville; the cornice is surmounted by vases.
A room at the N. end of the corridor has one
original moulded beam. The first floor of the W.
wing is occupied by the Long Gallery, which is
lined with original linen-fold panelling, and has a
17th-century iron fire-back, representing the return
of the spies from Canaan. In the S. wing the
Library has a late 17th-century fireplace of stone,
re-set, with Ionic columns and a carved frieze.
On the first floor, a small room is lined with
original panelling, re-set. In the E. wing, a small
room is lined with linen-fold panelling, probably
partly original and partly modern. On the first
floor another room has 16th or 17th-century
panelling. Other rooms in the E., S. and N. wings
have early 18th-century panelling.
c (4). The Vicarage, 130 yards N.E. of the
church, is of two storeys, partly of brick and partly
timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled.
It was built probably late in the 17th century,
and has modern additions on the S. side. The
two chimney-stacks at the ends are original.
Inside the building, two rooms have chamfered
ceiling-beams with moulded stops.
c (5). Highgates, house and outhouse, 250
yards E. of (4). The House is partly of two
storeys, and partly of two with attics; the walls
are timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are
tiled. It was built, probably early in the 16th
century, with a central Hall, a Buttery wing and a
Solar wing at the E. and W. ends respectively.
Shortly afterwards a wing was added on the N.W.
and a small projection on the S.W. There are 18th-century additions on the S. side and at the W. end.
At the W. end of the former Hall on both the N.
and S. sides there is a gabled bay window. The
upper storey of the Buttery wing projects on the
N. front, and the upper storey of the N.W. wing
projects on the E. side. Two chimney-stacks
are of old bricks. Inside the building, some rooms
have chamfered ceiling-beams. The roofs of the
former Hall and of the N.W. wing have king-posts
with two-way struts.
The Outhouse, S. of the house, is built partly of
Condition—Fairly good; of N.W. wing, poor.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. Many of the
buildings have original chimney-stacks, wide
fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
c (6). House and shop, 150 yards E.N.E. of (5),
was built early in the 16th century, with a central
Hall, Buttery and Solar wings. The central
chimney-stack has three octagonal shafts. Inside
the building the former Hall has a carved wall-post,
a moulded beam and a hollow-chamfered tie-beam
in the roof.
c (7). The King's Head Inn, 30 yards N.E. of
(6), has been partly re-faced with modern brick. It
was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th
century on a rectangular plan, but there are extensive modern additions on the E. and W. sides and
at the S. end. At the N. end of the E. front the
upper storey projects and is gabled; there is
also a gable in the middle of the original block at
the back. Inside the building, one room has
original moulded ceiling-beams; there is an
old window, now blocked, in the S. wall of the
original block, which shows the former extent
of the building.
Condition—N. end, dilapidated.
c (8). House and smithy, 30 yards N.N.W. of
(7), was built probably in the 15th century, but the
form of the house is the only evidence of date.
The Hall formed the main block, with projecting
wings on the N. and S. There are modern additions
on the W. side and at the N. end.
c (9). House, three tenements, on the E. side of
the Bocking Road, 200 yards S.S.E. of (8), was
built early in the 17th century, on an L-shaped
plan with the wings extending S. and W. There
are modern additions on the N. The S. wing is
gabled at the W. and E. ends, and the original
central chimney-stack has diagonal shafts and
c (10). Oxyard, house, 240 yards S.E. of (9), was
built, probably early in the 16th century, with a
central block and gabled wings. There is an 18th-century addition at the back. On the S. front the
upper storey projects under the western gable; the
original projecting chimney-stack is pierced at the
base by a window; the twisted shaft is a modern
copy of the old shaft. Inside the building, the
room on the ground floor of the main block has
original moulded ceiling-beams and joists. A
room in the E. wing has much late 16th-century
panelling, including two panels carved with
human heads. In the upper storey, some rooms
have moulded beams, and a rough king-post truss
c (11). Bridge House, four tenements, 240 yards
S. of (10), on the W. side of the road, is timberframed, partly plastered, and partly with brick
nogging. It was built late in the 16th century on
an L-shaped plan, with the wings extending
towards the S. and E. The original chimney-stack of the S. wing has two attached diagonal
shafts. The chimney-stack of the E. wing has
a corbelled projection on the E. side. Inside the
building, in the S. wing, is an original ledged
door of moulded battens. In the E. wing is an
original truss with shaped wall-posts, and chamfered braces to the tie-beam.
a (12). Hawkwood's Farm, about 1½ m. N.W.
of the church, was built in the 17th century, and
has modern additions at the back.