31. GREAT EASTON. (C.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xiv. S.E. (b)xv. S.W. (c)xxiii. N.E.
Great Easton is a parish and small village about
2½ m. N.N.W. of Great Dunmow. The most
important monuments are the mount and bailey
castle (2), and the 15th-century house (8).
c (1). Parish Church of St. John, formerly of
St. Giles, stands at the E. end of the village. The
walls are of flint and pebble rubble with some
Roman tiles; the dressings are of limestone and
clunch; the roofs are tiled.
The Nave was built probably early in the 12th
century, and the great thickness of the E. half of
the side-walls suggests the former existence of a
central tower, but there is no trace of the E.
and W. arches. The present Chancel was built in
the 13th century. The Bell-turret was erected
c. 1800, and a brick wall built across the nave near
the W. end to support it. The church was restored,
and the chancel-arch and the South Porch were
rebuilt in the 19th century.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (34 ft.
by 22 ft.) has a modern E. window. The N. and
S. walls have each two 13th-century lancet windows
partly restored. The chancel-arch is modern.
The Nave (55½ ft. by 22½ ft. at the E. end and
25½ ft. at the W. end) has, cut in the E. half of the
N. wall, two roughly pointed and plastered recesses; in the eastern recess is a late 16th-century
window of two four-centred lights under a square
head with sunk spandrels; the four-centred rear
arch has a sunk tympanum. In the W. half of the
N. wall is a modern window and further W. is
the 13th-century N. doorway, now blocked; it
has double-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch,
with a moulded label and chamfered imposts;
the chamfers have moulded stops above and below
the imposts. In the S. wall are three windows;
in the thick E. half of the wall is a 14th-century
window of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil
in a two-centred head; the rear arch is hollow-chamfered. The second window is in the W. half
of the wall and is probably of the 16th-century; it
is of two four-centred lights under a four-centred
head; the third window is modern; further W.,
only visible externally, is a blocked window of
early 12th-century date with rubble jambs. Below
the third window is the early 12th-century S.
doorway of two orders; the outer order of the
jambs has detached shafts with plain bases and
crude scalloped capitals; the inner order has
edge-rolls, sunk at the top to form capitals; the
semi-circular arch is moulded and springs from
moulded imposts. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights with
tracery under a segmental-pointed head; the
moulded label has a broken head-corbel at the
apex and head-stops of cement; the internal and
external reveals are moulded; the W. doorway is
modern. The space W. of the modern wall across
the nave now forms a vestibule, store room and
staircase leading to the ringing-chamber. In the
ceiling of the ringing-chamber, over the vestibule,
is a moulded beam, and the modern bell-turret
incorporates some woodwork probably of the 17th
Great Easton, Parish Church of St. John
The South Porch is modern and is now used
as a vestry. The S. gable has 15th-century
barge-boards, originally traceried, but now much
weathered. The roof has a 15th-century cambered
and moulded tie-beam with moulded braces, all
Fittings—Bells: five, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd by
William Hall, 1665; 4th by Henry Jordan of
London, 15th-century, inscribed "Nomen Magdalene Campana Geret Melodie"; 5th (cracked), by
John Danyell, 15th-century, inscribed "In Multis
Annis Resonet Campana Johannis" with the Royal
arms. Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In chancel
—(1) to Thomas Cecil, rector of the parish, 1627,
inscription only. In nave—re-fixed on wood
platform (2) to John Mead, of Duton Hill, 1614,
inscription only. Indents: In nave—on Purbeck
marble slab, (1) of small inscription plate; on
same slab, (2) of brass (2). Monument and Floorslabs. Monument: In nave—on N. wall, to Ann
Meade, 1758, Rebecca her sister, 1763, John Meade,
1689, and Sarah his wife, 1722. Floor-slabs: In
chancel—(1) to Jane (Scott) wife of—Levitte,
1641; (2) to George Scott, 1647, partly covered;
(3) to Joseph Plume, rector of the parish, 1686,
with shield of arms, (4) to Johanna, wife of George
Scott, 1646; (5) to Dr. Thomas Leader, 1678. In
nave—(6) to Jane, wife of John Meade, 1626, and
John their eldest son, 1666; (7) to John Meade,
1710, with shield of arms. Piscina: In chancel—
with pointed head and round drain, 13th-century.
Plate: includes cup and small stand-paten both
of 1634; stand-paten of 1686; large stand-salver
of 1686, and flagon of 1712. Miscellanea: Set in
S. wall of chancel—square stone with incised
c (2). Mount and Bailey Castle, in the grounds
of Easton Hall. The well defined, flat-topped
mount is 130 ft. in diameter at the base, 43 ft. in
diameter at the summit, and is 21 ft. high. The
dry ditch surrounding it is 45 ft. wide and 5 ft.
deep. The S. arm of the ditch of the bailey
remains with a short return towards the N.; it is
about 34 ft. wide, and 5 ft. deep at the most complete section. A pond S.E. of the mount indicates
the E. limit of the bailey. At the S.E. angle of
the bailey is a small rectangular homestead moat
of later construction than the bailey.
Condition—Of mount, fairly good, counterscarp
of ditch denuded by cultivation; of bailey,
a (3). Homestead Moat, at Moathouse Farm,
1½ m. N. of the church.
c (4). Easton Hall, barn and outbuildings, 60
yards S.E. of the church. The House is of two
storeys, with attics and cellar. The walls are
timber-framed and plastered, with some modern
brickwork; the roofs are tiled. The plan is
T-shaped, with the cross-wing at the S. end The
W. arm of the cross-wing formed part of a 15th-century building, originally open to the roof;
late in the 16th century it was divided into two
storeys, and extended further W., and the rest of
the house was added. The Elevations have no old
features, except a late 16th-century dormer window
on the N. side of the 15th-century wing. The late
16th-century central chimney-stack of the main
block has grouped shafts, set diagonally on a
rectangular base with a moulded capping.
Interior—On both floors many of the rooms and
the cellar have stop-chamfered ceiling-beams of
late 16th or early 17th-century date. At the E.
end of the 15th-century wing is an original doorway
of oak, with a four-centred head. The original
roof of this wing is of two equal bays; the middle
king-post truss has curved braces to the tie-beam
and a central purlin; the tie-beam and king-post
have been partly cut away for the 16th-century
alterations; at each end the central purlin and a
king-post with curved struts remain.
The Barn, E. of the house, is timber-framed,
partly weather-boarded and partly plastered;
the roof is tiled. The building is of late 16th or
early 17th-century date, and of six bays. A range
of timber-framed Outbuildings, N. of the house, is
probably of early 17th-century date, and is of two
storeys. The ground floor has chamfered ceilingbeams.
c (5). Cottage and moat, 400 yards E. of the
church. The Cottage is of two storeys, timberframed and plastered; the roof is tiled. It probably formed part of a building extending further
towards the S., and is of the 17th century. The
central chimney-stack is original at the base. Inside the building one room has an open timber ceiling.
The Moat is complete.
d (6). Little Rakefairs, house and moat, 1¼ m.
E.N.E. of the church. The House is of two
storeys, timber-framed, partly weather-boarded
and partly plastered; the roof is tiled. It was
built, probably early in the 17th century, and has
low modern additions at both ends. The central
chimney-stack is original. Inside the building, the
ground floor has chamfered ceiling-beams and wallposts. In the middle room is a wide open fireplace
with corner seats.
The Moat is imperfect on the W. side.
Condition—Of house, good.
c (7). Bridgefoot Farm, house, 550 yards W.S.W.
of the church. It is of two storeys, timberframed and covered with plaster; the roofs are
tiled. It was built in the 16th century on an
L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards
the W. and S. The main block was lengthened
towards the E. in the 18th century, and has modern
additions on the S. At the W. end of the W. wing
the upper storey projects. The central chimney-stack of the same wing is of early 17th-century
date, and has four diagonal shafts on a rectangular
base, and at the E. end of the wing is an original
chimney-stack with diagonal pilasters and a square
base with a moulded capping. Inside the building,
some of the rooms have exposed ceiling-beams,
and the kitchen has also exposed joists and a wide
open fireplace. At the top of the back staircase
is an early 17th-century panelled door. The roof
of the S. wing has braced purlins.
c (8). House, now two tenements, 130 yards
E.N.E. of (7), is of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early
in the 15th century on an H-shaped plan facing
N.; the Hall formed the middle block with the
Buttery wing on the W. and the Solar wing on the
E. The W. wing has a modern extension at the
The building is interesting as a complete
mediæval house, and retains the original traceried
barge-boards and other details.
Elevations—On the N. front the wings have
each a gable with original foiled and traceried
barge-boards, all somewhat weathered; the verge-mouldings are embattled. Both wings of the
upper storey originally projected, but that of the
W. wing has been under-built in modern brick.
The other elevations have no old features.
Interior—On the ground floor the original doorway opening to the Screens has an ogee lintel of
oak, visible inside. The passage representing the
Screens has, in the E. wall, two original doorways,
now blocked; in the W. wall is a 17th-century
doorway. The middle room has a 17th-century
chamfered ceiling-beam; in the passage S. of it is
a curved brace, and at the W. end of the passage
is an original doorway with a three-centred arched
lintel. The Solar wing has on the ground floor a
heavy chamfered ceiling-beam, and a staircase of
solid oak balks, probably original. The roof is of
two bays and has an original king-post truss with
four-way struts; the tie-beam has curved braces.
In the Buttery wing the ground floor has an
original open timber ceiling, and in the E. wall are
traces of vertical wavy ornament.
The following buildings, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century, and of two storeys,
timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled
or thatched. Many of the buildings have original
chimney stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
The Main Street, N. side
c (9). House, 220 yards W. of the church, was
built originally on an L-shaped plan, with the wings
extending towards the W. and S., now much
c (10). The Swan Inn, 70 yards E. of (9), has traces
of 15th-century work in the roof, and was built
possibly at that date. It was altered in the 17th
century, and has modern additions at the back.
Inside the building, on the ground floor, is an oak
doorway with a segmental head, possibly of 15th
or early 16th-century date. On the first floor, at
the W. end of the house, a cambered and stop-chamfered tie-beam, and a central purlin with
mortices of former braces are exposed, while at the
E. end the thin braces which probably helped to
support a central purlin are still visible. The roof
of the middle part of the house is of late 17th-century date.
c (11). Cottage, now two tenements, 70 yards N.W.
of the church, with a low modern addition at the
back. The front is partly weather-boarded and
has original oak-mullioned windows each of four
c (12). Cottage, now two tenements, 100 yards W.
of the church, was built in the 15th century, but
much altered probably late in the 17th century.
On the S. front the upper storey originally projected,
but has been under-built, although the original wall
of the ground floor was retained when the new wall
was built. Inside the building, the roof has an
original king-post truss, but the struts and one
curved brace of the tie-beam are missing.
c (13). Andrew's Farm, house, nearly 1 m. E. of
the church. The N. end of the house is probably of
late 15th or early 16th-century date; in the 17th
century it was extended towards the S. and a wing
added on the E. In the S. wall of the E. wing is
a 17th-century window of four lights with moulded
oak mullions and an ornamental casement-fastener.
Inside the building, on the first floor, is a heavy
chamfered tie-beam on shaped wall-posts, with
the mortices of former curved braces.
c (14). Cottage, now two tenements, 50 yards
S.W. of (13).
c (15). Cottage, now two tenements, 200 yards
E. of (6), with modern additions at both ends.
d (16). Cottage, nearly 2 m. N.E. of the church.
d (17). The Hyde Farm, house, 140 yards E. of
(16), much altered. At the W. end of the S. front
the gabled upper storey projects.
d (18). Cottage, 40 yards S. of (17). The plan is
L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the N.
b (19). Hide End Farm, house, 2 m. N.E. of the
c (20). Cottage, on the W. side of the Thaxted
road, about 1½ m. N.N.E. of the church.
c (21). Greenarbour Farm, house, 1 m. N.N.E.
of the church. It was probably originally of
L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards
the N.E. and N.W.; a modern addition makes
the plan of half-H-shape. Inside the building, on
the ground floor, is a little early 17th-century
panelling, and at the back is an oak doorway with
a roughly four-centred head.
c (22). Blamster Hall, 1 m. N.N.E. of the church;
has been much altered; very little of the original
Duton Hill, N. side
c (23). Warrens Farm, house, nearly 1 m. N.
of the church. It was built probably late in
the 16th century; it was altered and a staircase-wing added early in the 17th century.
The staircase is noteworthy.
The large central chimney-stack is original and
has four octagonal shafts with moulded bases on a
rectangular base. Inside the building are two
original fireplaces, now blocked; they are of stone,
with stop-chamfered jambs and four-centred heads;
one of the heads is shaped and carved. On the
ground floor are three cupboard-doors of panelled
oak, and a modern bay window is lined with 17th-century panelling; a wall-post in the S. room is
said to bear the date 1632, but the date is now
hidden. On the first floor is a panelled oak door
with cock's-head hinges. The early 17th-century
well-staircase has pilaster balusters of the Ionic
order, with raking mouldings, newels with tall
moulded vases, and moulded hand-rails.
c (24). Cottage, three tenements, 150 yards W.
c (25). Cottage, now three tenements, 70 yards
S.E. of (24). The original central chimney-stack
has four attached shafts, set diagonally.