16. CHIGNALL. (E.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xliii. N.W. (b)xliii. S.W. (c)xliii. S.E.)
Chignall is a parish, 3 m. N.W. of Chelmsford,
formed by the union of Chignall St. James and
Chignall Smealey in 1888. The two churches are
b(1). Parish Church of St. James stands in
the S.W. angle of the parish. The walls are of
flint-rubble with some admixture of freestone and
fragments of Roman brick; the dressings are of
limestone and brick; the roofs are tiled. The
Chancel and Nave are of uncertain date, the
earliest detail being of late 13th- or early 14th-century date. The E. and S. walls of the chancel
were probably re-built early in the 16th century,
and the rood stair-turret was added at the same
period. The church was restored in the 19th
century; the North Porch is modern and the
South Porch and bell-cote have apparently been
The Church of St. James, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (19½ ft.
by 14½ ft.) has an E. window of two cinque-foiled
lights with tracery in a four-centred head with a
moulded label; it is probably of the 15th century,
perhaps re-set in the 16th century. In the N. wall
is a late 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled
lights under a four-centred head with a moulded
label. In the S. wall is an early 16th-century
window of brick and of two lights with four-centred
heads and spandrel under a four-centred arch.
There is no chancel arch and the junction between
the S. wall and the nave is almost a straight joint.
The Nave (34½ ft. by 16 ft.) has in the N. wall a
window uniform with that in the S. wall of the
chancel; further E. is the rood stair-turret, now
altered to form an approach to the pulpit; the
lower doorway has an early 16th-century moulded
oak frame and four-centred arch in a square head
with spandrels carved with a cockle-shell and a
fisherman's creel, for St. James; the upper doorway
is modern; the late 13th or early 14th-century N.
doorway, W. of the window, is partly restored
and has jambs and two-centred arch of two
chamfered orders. In the S. wall is a window
uniform with that in the N. wall; further W. is the
S. doorway, probably of the 14th century and
with stop-chamfered jambs and two-centred arch.
In the W. wall is a modern window.
The Roof of the chancel is probably of the 15th
century with chamfered plates, trussed rafters
and a tie-beam at the W. end, grooved on the
soffit for boarding. The late 15th-century roof
of the nave has carved and moulded plates and
trussed rafters; near the middle is a truss with
curved and moulded braces to the collar; the
spandrels are carved with foliage and a pierced
molet, seven pointed star, Stafford Knot and
Bourchier Knot; near the W. end is a tie-beam
with mouldings and cresting on the E. face; it
supported a former bell-turret and W. of it the
wall-plates are modern.
Fittings—Door: In S. doorway—modern, but
with two strap hinges, 16th-century. Glass: Till
recently in E. window—panel of Dutch glass,
17th-century, and a roundel with I H S and motto,
16th-century. Piscina: In chancel—with
moulded jambs and segmental-pointed head, late
13th or early 14th-century re-set, no drain. Plate:
includes cup of 1667.
a(2). Parish Church of St. Nicolas stands in
the village of Chignall Smealey. The walls are
entirely of red brick; the roofs are tiled. The
church, including the Chancel, North Vestry,
Nave and West Tower, was built early in the
16th century. In the 19th century the North
Aisle was added and the church restored; the
South Porch and an annexe N. of the Vestry are
The church is interesting as a complete brick
building. Among the fittings the communion
cup of 1597 and the brick font and niches are
The Church of St. Nicholas, Plan
Architectural Description—All the details are of
red brick and of early 16th-century date, unless
otherwise described. The whole building has a
double chamfered plinth.
The Chancel (17 ft. by 14¼ ft.) has an E. window
of three lights, two with pointed and one with a
four-centred head, all under a four-centred head
with a moulded label and partly restored in stone.
In the N. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs
and four-centred head. In the S. wall are two
windows, the eastern is of one light with a four-centred head and is now blocked; the western
window is of two lights with a four-centred head,
restored with old bricks, with the mullion carried
up to the apex probably in the 18th century;
between the windows is a doorway with chamfered
jambs and four-centred head. There is no chancel-arch.
The North Vestry has in the E. wall a window,
partly restored and of two lights with four-centred
heads in a four-centred main head with a moulded
label. In the W. wall is a narrow opening with a
The Nave (23¼ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has a modern
N. arcade of two bays. In the S. wall is a window
of two four-centred lights in a four-centred head
with a moulded label; further W. is the S. doorway
with double chamfered jambs and a four-centred
arch with sunk spandrels each with a blank shield,
and over all a square moulded label.
The North Aisle is modern but incorporates in
the N. wall a window uniform with that in the
nave; further W. is the N. doorway with
chamfered jambs and a four-centred head. In the
W. wall is a window uniform with that in the
N. wall and partly restored.
The West Tower (9 ft. square) is of three stages
with angle buttresses above which are small anglepilasters which support square pinnacles with
moulded caps and bases; the high embattled
parapet has moulded copings and string-course;
the walls have diapering in dark brick. The two-centred tower-arch is of three chamfered orders;
the responds have attached semi-octagonal shafts
with moulded capitals and bases. The W. window
is uniform with that in the nave. The second
stage has in the W. wall a single-light window
with a four-centred head and spandrels. The
bell-chamber has in each wall a window uniform
with that in the nave, but with the mullion and inner
order of the jambs and head restored.
The Roof of the chancel has moulded plates,
trussed rafters and one tie-beam. The roof of
the nave is similar but has one pair of curved
Fittings—Bell: one, said to be uninscribed but
ancient. Communion Table: In vestry—with
turned legs, plain rails and shaped brackets, late
17th-century, top modern. Doors: In chancel—
in doorway to vestry, of plain battens with disc
scutcheon and drop handle; in doorway in S.
wall, with old battens repaired with new; in nave
—in S. doorway of feathered battens with two
strap-hinges and circular scutcheon with domical
centre, pierced ornament and drop handle, all early
16th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to
Joseph, son of Richard Luckin, 1685. In nave—
(2) to Frances, daughter of Thomas Clopton, 1675;
(3) to Richard Luckins, 1657. Font: of brick,
octagonal with chamfered under-edge and plinth,
early 16th-century. Glass: In nave—in S.
window, fragment of oak-leaf design, 14th-century.
In N. aisle—in E. window, ten quarries with
running foliage, 14th-century. Indent: In
nave—of man in short cloak, and inscription
plate, 15th-century. Niches: In chancel—two,
flanking E. window, with trefoiled segmental
heads, all of brick, early 16th-century. In nave—
in S. wall uniform with those in chancel. Piscinæ:
In chancel—with trefoiled segmental-pointed head,
early 16th-century, no drain. In nave—in S. wall,
uniform with that in chancel. Plate: includes a
secular cup of 1617 with baluster stem, chased
bowl and chased domical lid (Plate p. xxxix).
Pulpit: octagonal, each side with three panels,
top panel with fluted ornament, middle panel
bolection moulded, lower panel plain, cornice
with egg and dart ornament, probably early 17th-century. Screen: between chancel and nave, of
seven bays, central bay forming doorway with
four-centred head and spandrels carved with
foliage, a blank shield and a flower, side bays with
trefoiled and sub-cusped ogee heads and tracery,
cusp points with carved roses, close lower panels,
part with reeded muntins, moulded middle rail,
early 16th-century, cornice modern. Seating:
In nave—six benches with moulded rails and plain
bench-ends with moulded capping, early 16th-century.
b(3). At supposed site of St. Mary's Church,
2/3 m. N.N.W. of St. James's Church.
a(4). At Dyves Hall, 400 yards E. of Chignall
a(5). S.E. of Beremen's Farm and 400 yards
N.W. of Chignall Smealey Church.
b(6). Chignall Hall, house and moat, about
½ m. N.W. of St. James' Church. The House
is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered;
the roofs are tiled. It was built probably about
the middle of the 16th century on an H-shaped
plan, but the cross-wings have been re-built. The
upper storey projects on the E. front of the main
block. Inside the building is a wall-plate with
carved brackets and inscribed "The bulden
(=building) of Chikklnold foust (=? finished) in
the her of our Lord God 1552 John Masan"; a
wall-post opposite has the date 1686 and initials I. P.
The Moat lies to the N. of the house.
Condition—Of house, good, much altered.
c(7). Gray's Farm (Plate p. 110), house and
moat, 1,400 yards S.E. of Chignall Smealey Church.
The House is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It
was built probably in the 15th or early in the 16th
century, with a central Hall and cross-wings at
the E. and W. ends. Early in the 17th century the
Hall was raised and divided into two storeys and
various additions made at the back. On the S.
front the upper storey projects at the ends of the
cross wings, and on this side there are several 17th-century windows; two tablets in the gables are
inscribed W. L. 1743, probably the date of some
repairs. The central chimney-stack has three
grouped shafts. Inside the building are some
original windows with diamond-shaped mullions,
and in the main block is an original cambered
tie-beam. There is a little early 17th-century
panelling and some flat, shaped balusters, re-used.
The Moat is fragmentary.
Condition—Of house, fairly good.
c(8). Brickbarns Farm, house, now two tenements, about 1 m. E.S.E. of St. James' Church,
is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered;
the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th
century on an L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the W. and S. The original
central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.
a(9). Cottage, S.W. of Chignall Smealey Church,
is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are covered with slate. It
was built probably in the 15th or early in the 16th
century and has a cross-wing at the E. end. The
upper storey projects at the N. end of the cross-wing. Inside the building the cross-wing has
exposed ceiling-beams and a moulded bracket;
in the N. wall is an original window with diamond-shaped mullions, and now blocked.
a(10). House, now two tenements, 50 yards N.E.
of Chignall Smealey Church, is of two storeys,
partly timber-framed and partly of brick; the
roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in the
16th century and has an original chimney-stack
with four octagonal shafts and a modern brick front.
b(11). Entrenchment, S.W. of Chignall Hall.
On a small promontory in a bend of the River
Can is the S.W. angle of an entrenched site. The
work now consists, on the south, of a double bank
with a dry ditch between, and, on the west, of a
steep scarp with a wet ditch at the bottom. The
original entrance was probably on the W. side.