19. CHIPPING ONGAR. (D.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. li. S.W.)
Chipping Ongar is a small town and parish
6½ m. N.N.W. of Brentwood. The Church and
the Castle are the principal monuments.
(1). Roman foundations are vaguely recorded
to have been found in the parish, "particularly
in the church and churchyard"; and Roman
burials found in or adjoining this parish in 1767
(Muilman Hist. (1770), III., 316–7; Gough (1789),
II., 51; Wright, Essex (1836), II., 330), also indicate a house or settlement in the proximity
(see Sectional Preface p. xxix).
(2). Parish Church of St. Martin stands
in the town, E. of the main street. The walls
are of coursed flint-rubble with the quoins and
jambs of the N. doorway of bricks, possibly
Roman, and some courses of tiles in the walls;
the dressings are of limestone; the roofs are tiled,
and the bell-turret is weather-boarded and surmounted by a shingled spire. The Chancel and
Nave were built at the end of the 11th century.
About the middle of the 14th century the chancel
arch was re-built, and at some uncertain period
the E. and W. gables of the church were lowered.
The church was restored in 1884, when the South
Aisle was added, and the North Vestry and
West Porch are also modern.
The church is an unusually complete example
of early date; the chancel roof is interesting
and the remains of an ankar-hold discovered
during the 19th century are noteworthy.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (30 ft.
by 19 ft.), has in the E. wall a window entirely
modern except the splays of c. 1300, which have a
moulded two-centred rear-arch and attached
shafts with moulded capitals and bases; flanking
this window externally are traces of four single-light windows, showing that the present E. window
replaces an original arrangement of six windows
in two tiers under a higher gable. In the N. wall
are two windows; the eastern is an original
round-headed light, the western is of three early
16th-century lights of brick with four-centred
heads and set in an internal recess carried down
to the floor; between the windows, externally, is
a much restored round-headed recess pierced by a
small pointed opening or hatch with external
hinges and bolt-socket, perhaps connected with a
former ankar-hold; during the restoration of 1884
a hole, possibly for the purlin of the former roof,
was discovered. W. of the western window is a
modern doorway to the Vestry. In the S. wall
are two windows; the eastern is uniform with the
eastern window of the N. wall, the western is of
the 13th century and of three grouped and graduated lancet lights under a chamfered segmental-pointed rear-arch; further W. and visible
externally, is an original doorway, now blocked, of
one plain order with a round arch and moulded
imposts apparently cut back on the face; above
the arch is a rough relieving-arch of tiles; a gap
in the blocking shows the semi-circular rear-arch.
The 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and
of two chamfered orders; the chamfered responds
have large attached semi-octagonal shafts with
moulded capitals and bases.
The Nave (59 ft. by 22½ ft.), has in the N. wall
(Plate, p. 52) four windows; the easternmost,
second and westernmost are all modern; the third
is an original round-headed light and has above it a
rough relieving-arch of tiles, immediately E. of
the second window are traces of a similar original
window, and W. of the westernmost window is a
third original window, now blocked; between the
third and fourth windows is the original N. doorway,
now blocked, with external jambs and fragmentary
relieving-arch of tiles; the semi-circular rear-arch remains but the main arch has been removed.
In the W. wall the W. window and doorway are
modern, but above the window is a second window
of one original round-headed light, restored
externally but with original tile rear-arch and
splays; flanking this window internally are
remains of two other original windows which were
partly cut away when the gable was lowered.
The Roof of the chancel is Jacobean except the
moulded wall-plates, which are probably of the
15th century; it has three trusses, with curved
principals and sub-principals meeting at a central
post with stop-chamfered angles; the two easternmost posts have each a pierced pendant. The
roof of the nave is probably of the 14th century
and is of four bays with king-post trusses; the
curved and hollow-chamfered braces spring from
carved stone corbels, mostly 14th-century heads
except one with early Norman volufes; against
the E. wall the tie-beam is cut away and the ends
are carved on the face with heads of a woman
and a crowned man; on each side of the roof are
two 18th-century dormers.
The Bell-turret at the W. end is of the 15th
century and is supported by a massive framing
with two uprights, curved principals and chamfered
wall-plates against the W. wall, and with two curved
struts forming a two-centred arch against the S.
wall; the E. pair of main supports have been cut
short at the level of a modern gallery.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st by Anthony Bartlet,
1672. Indent: In floor of nave, of civilian and
wife, inscription and four shields, c. 1500. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In chancel
on S. wall—to Nicolas Alexander, 1714, marble
tablet supported by two cherubs' heads and surmounted by achievement of arms. Floor-slabs:
In chancel—(1) to Robert Hill, 1648, and Anne
(King), his 2nd wife, 1668, and Anne Greatherd,
his daughter, 1683; (2) to Jane, wife of Tobias
Pallavicine and daughter of Oliver Cromwell
(i.e., Sir Oliver Cromwell), with achievement of
arms, 1637; (3) to Horatio Pallavicine, with
achievement of arms, 1648. In nave—(4) to
John King, 1657, and Elizabeth, his wife, 1661,
and Joseph King, his son, 1679. Piscina: In
chancel—with two-centred head, chamfered jambs
and fluted basin, probably late 13th-century.
Plate: includes a large paten of 1697. Pulpit:
of oak, hexagonal, with moulded top and two
panels carved with jewel ornament and arabesques,
late 16th-century. Stoup: In nave—E. of N.
doorway, with round head and chamfered jambs,
uncertain date. Weather-vane: of wrought iron,
with pennon, late 17th or early 18th-century.
(3). Ongar Castle (mount and bailey) (Plan
p. 54). on the E. side of the main street, stands at
the S. end of a spur between the Cripsey Brook
and the River Roding.
The work is especially interesting as a good
example of a mount and bailey and town-enclosure,
The Castle is said to have been built by Richard
de Lucy in the 12th century, but the Keep was
pulled down in the 16th century and replaced by a
brick building, which was demolished in the 18th-century.
The plan consists of a flat-topped mount with
encircling moat, an inner bailey, a weaker enclosure
to the N. and E., and the town-enclosure to the W.
The Mount, 50 ft. high, is now occupied by
fragments of flint-rubble and brick, and is approximately 230 ft. in diameter at the base, and 70 ft.
at the summit. It is surrounded by a wide and
symmetrical moat, 50 ft. wide across the water.
There is no trace of a bridge or causeway across
The bean-shaped inner bailey is defended by a
strong inner rampart and moat, and covers about
2 acres. The moat communicates with that of the
mount at both ends, and is about 80 ft. wide from
crest to crest and 26 ft. deep from the top of the
rampart. The entrance from the town-enclosure
was in the centre of the west side through a gap
in the rampart, on each side of which is a fragment of flint-rubble containing Roman bricks.
The masonry does not appear to have extended
along the rampart, which was probably surmounted by a wooden palisade.
The outer enclosure on the N. and E. was less
strongly defended and is indicated by two ponds
and a ditch of slight profile.
The defences of the town enclosure are well
preserved on the N.E., and consist of a rampart
and outer ditch branching off from the N. end
of the inner bailey. The ditch, now nearly dry,
is 55 ft. wide and 17 ft. below the crest of the
rampart. The profile diminishes westward, and
the rampart disappears before reaching the road,
beyond which a slight scarp appears to mark
its course as far as the Cripsey Brook. The S.
arm of the enclosure probably followed the line
of the curved road S. of the church, and carried
on to the brook, towards which the ground drops
sharply, and the defences on this side, if any, would
be slight. The entrances were probably at the
points where the main road passes through the
Condition—Mount and inner bailey, good. Of
outer enclosure and "burgus," poor.
The following monuments, 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 exposed ceiling-beams, wide fireplaces and
original chimney-stacks, and most of them have
been much altered both inside and outside.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
(4). White House, 100 yards N.E. of the church.
The original plan is obscured by 18th-century
and modern alterations. Inside the building on
the first floor is some panelling of early 18th-century date.
(5). Kings Head Hotel, 130 yards W.N.W. of
the church, is of two storeys with attics and
basement. The walls are of brick. It was built
c. 1697 on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W., but has been largely
altered and has modern additions at the back.
On the E. front is a plain brick string-course,
which is mitred up over a central carriageway
opening into the stable yard; the cornice is
moulded and has square modillions; on the first
floor level is a square panel bearing the initials
and date R S 1697. Inside the building, part of
the staircase is original and has plain square
newels, shaped flat balusters, and close string;
at the foot of the staircase is part of an original
panelled dado. In the upper floors are two
original bolection-moulded fireplaces, and over
some of the doorways are faded paintings of a
crown, cross-keys, and a man in a dark peruke,
possibly William III.; in the ground floor is a
painted unicorn, probably part of the Royal
(6). House, now shops, and Outhouse, S. of
(5). The House is of two storeys with basement
and attics. It has been much altered. On the
E. front the upper storey projects.
The Outhouse, W. of the house, is of two storeys.
Over the doorway are incised the initials and date
(7). House, now shops, S. of (6), has been much
altered. On the E. front are two gables. Inside
the building, the staircase retains some original
(8). House, now shop, S. of (7), was built late
in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
(9). House, now shop, 30 yards S.E. of (8) on
the E. side of the street, is of two storeys, basement and attics. It was built probably 1642
on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the S. and E.; it has been much altered
and has modern additions at the back. The
upper storey of the main block projects on the
N. and W. elevations, except where altered for a
modern shop-front; under the moulded bressumer
are voluted brackets. On the W. front is the
original doorway, much altered, with moulded
frame, fleur-de-lis stops, and the initial and date
W. 1642 carved on the lintel; on the N. half of
this front is a coved cornice. On the N. elevation
is an original window of three lights with moulded
frame and mullions. The original chimney-stack
has two octagonal shafts. Inside the building,
the staircases retain some square newels, moulded
balusters and handrails of the 17th century, and
in an attic is an original fireplace with a three-centred chamfered arch.
(10). House, now shops (Plate p. 129), 30 yards
S. of (8), has 18th-century and modern additions
at the back, and has been much altered. On both
the E. and W. elevations are three gables. The
original central chimney-stack has eight octagonal
shafts. Inside the building, the staircase retains
original turned balusters; on the staircase is an
original cupboard with a panelled door, and there
is a similar door on the first floor. One room on
the first floor has a wooden cornice of late 17th-century date.
(11). House, now shops, 100 yards S.S.W. of
(10), was built probably in the 16th century; at
the back is a modern addition. The back elevation has three gables. The original central
chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.
(12). House, now shops, S. of (11), was built
probably c. 1600, on a half-H-shaped plan with
wings extending towards the W. On the E. front
of the N. wing the upper storey formerly projected.
(13). Rectory, 400 yards N. of the church, was
re-built early in the 18th century, except the N.
wing, which contains some original panelling.