33. GREAT LEIGHS. (F.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxxiv. N.W. (b)xxxiv. S.W. (c)xliv.
Great Leighs is a parish 6 m. N.N.E. of Chelmsford. The Church is the principal monument.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin
stands in the middle of the parish. The walls are
of flint-rubble with some conglomerate in the
chancel and some bricks, probably Roman, in the
buttresses; the dressings are of clunch and
limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Nave and West
Tower were built late in the 12th century. The
Chancel was re-built c. 1330. The church was
restored during the 19th century, and the North
Vestry, South Porch and the spire are modern.
The 12th-century round tower is interesting,
and amongst the fittings the early 14th-century
monument, sedilia and piscina are noteworthy.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35 ft.
by 19½ ft.), is entirely of c. 1330, and has a moulded
internal string-course much restored at the level of
the window sills. The partly restored E. window
(Plate p. xxx) is of four trefoiled ogee lights with
net tracery in a two-centred head; the external
jambs, head and label and the rear-arch are moulded.
In the N. wall are two windows, partly restored,
of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in
a two-centred head; the detail is similar to
that of the E. window. In the S. wall are three
windows similar to those in the N. wall, and much
restored; between the two western windows is a
much restored doorway with moulded jambs,
two-centred arch and label; further W. is a 'low-side' window, now blocked, with moulded jambs
and two-centred head. There is no structural
The Nave (47 ft. by 24¾ ft.), has in the N. wall
three windows; the easternmost is of the 15th
century and of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical
tracery in a square head; the moulded label has
carved head-stops and a lion's head mask at the
E. angle; the two western windows are both of
the 12th century and of a single light, with chamfered jambs and semi-circular head; between
them is the 15th-century N. doorway with moulded
jambs, four-centred arch and label with carved
head-stops much defaced. In the S. wall are three
windows; the easternmost is similar to the
easternmost in the N. wall, but has no carved
stops to the label; the second window is a single
12th-century light similar to those in the N. wall;
the westernmost window is of early 14th-century
date and of two trefoiled lights under a two-centred
head with a moulded label and one carved head-stop; between the two western windows is the
14th-century S. doorway set within the 12th-century opening; it has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and segmental rear-arch; above the
arch externally is the outer order of the late
12th-century arch with cheveron ornament and a
chamfered label, enriched with conventional foliage
in low relief.
The West Tower (17 ft. in diameter) is of late
12th-century date and circular on plan; it is of
three stages, undivided externally, and has five
pilaster buttresses stopping at the floor level of
the second stage; the westernmost buttress rests
on the label of the W. doorway. The lower part
of the E. wall has been re-built, and in it is a modern
doorway to the nave; on either side are straight
joints, and on the N. side is the springing of a
segmental arch, probably all part of the former
tower-arch. The 12th-century W. doorway has
plain jambs and a semi-circular arch of two
moulded orders with moulded imposts; the outer
order of the arch has cheveron ornament and a
chamfered label. The second stage has two
ranges of 13th-century loops, three in each range,
and set above one another towards the N., S.
The Roof of the modern S. porch has some old
timbers, possibly of the 15th century.
Fittings—Bells: five; all by Miles Graye, 1634.
In ground stage of tower—head-stock of bell,
17th-century. Brass and Indent. Brass: In
chancel—(1) of Ralph Strelley, 1414, rector of the
parish, half figure in mass vestments, and inscription plate, head of effigy lost and replaced by
(2) head of priest, c. 1370; see indent. Indent:
In chancel—on N. side, of figure of priest and
inscription plates and scroll, 14th-century. Chest:
In second stage of tower—iron-bound with
segmental lid, possibly 16th-century. Doors: In
chancel—in S. doorway, with horizontal battens
and strap-hinges, 16th-century. In tower—in E.
doorway, with three moulded panels, late 17th-century. Font: Octagonal, each face of bowl
with quatre-foiled panels, six filled with conventional foilage, and two with shields—(a) a bend
sinister engrailed with defaced charges thereon; (b)
a saltire; panelled stem, 15th-century, base cut
away and rough panels cut in sides. Glass: In
chancel—in heads of windows in N. wall, foliage,
borders and grisaille, 14th-century, in situ. In
vestry—panel made up of fragments, late 14th and
early 15th-century. In nave—in easternmost
window in N. wall, borders and grisaille in heads
of lights and in-tracery, 15th-century, in situ.
Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monument: In
chancel—in N. wall, canopied tomb-recess (Plate p.
103), with septfoiled and sub-cusped arch with
foliated spandrels and springing from clustered
responds with moulded capitals and bases, above
arch a moulded and crocketed gable with a carved
finial and a tympanum richly carved with vine
foliage, at sides, pinnacled, crocketed and gabled
buttresses, attached to wall, early 14th-century.
Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Thomas Gynes, 1652,
and his wife, 1704, etc.; (2) to John Keble, 1699,
sergeant-at-law, with achievement of arms. Niche:
In E. gable of chancel—outside, with trefoiled
head, 14th-century, entirely restored. Piscina:
In chancel—in range with sedilia with cinque-foiled
ogee head, side shafts with moulded bases and
foliated capitals, richly crocketed gable with carved
finial and trefoiled spandrel, at sides gabled and
crocketed buttresses with rich pinnacles, c. 1330,
partly restored, sill modern. Plate: Includes
a cup and cover-paten of 1560. Seating: In
nave—eight seats or pews with moulded back
rail and traceried and buttressed bench-ends,
two pews with panelled and traceried backs,
late 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel—in range
with piscina, three, each with arches, gables
and buttresses uniform with those of the piscina,
c. 1330, much restored. Stoup: In S. porch—E.
of S. doorway, remains of recess, much defaced,
date uncertain. Tiles: Near font, two, partly
Great Leighs Parish Church, Detail of Sedilia and Piscina
b(2). Gubbions Hall, house, barn and moat,
about 1¼ m. N. of the church. The House is of
two storeys with attics; the walls are timber-framed and plastered, and the roofs are tiled.
It was built in the 17th century and has later
additions at the W. end.
The Barn, N. of the house, is probably of c. 1500
and of three bays but has been lengthened at each
end. The original part of the roof is of the king-post type.
The Moat surrounds the house and there is
a second small oval moat to the W.
Condition—Of house, good.
b(3). Lyons Hall, 100 yards W. of the church,
is of two storeys; the walls are mainly of modern
brick but with some plastered timber-framing;
the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 15th
century with a central Hall and cross-wings at
the N.W. and S.E. ends; the S.E. wing was
re-built and a floor inserted in the Hall probably
early in the 17th century. There are large modern
additions on the N.E. side. At the N.W. end is a
17th-century chimney-stack with three conjoined
shafts set diagonally. Inside the building there
are some exposed ceiling-beams and the roof of
the N.W. wing has an original king-post truss
with curved braces.
Condition—Good, much altered.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of the 17th century and of two
storeys, timber-framed and plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some
of the buildings have original chimney-stacks,
wide fireplaces and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
c(4). Whitehouse Farm, house and outbuildings,
2/3 m. S. of the church. The House formed one wing
of a late 15th or early 16th-century building.
At the N.W. end is a late 17th-century window
of three lights with moulded mullions. Inside
the building the ground floor has original moulded
ceiling-beams and plates.
The Outbuilding stands S. of the house; the
upper storey projects at the S. end. The two
Barns are of six and four bays respectively.
c(5). Lawns Farm, house, barn, and moat, about
1 m. S. of the church. The House is of L-shaped
plan with the wings extending towards the S.
and E. The S. wing was built early in the 16th
century and in the 17th century the E. wing was
added. The upper storey projects on the E. side
of the S. wing on curved brackets. The central
chimney-stack of the E. wing has attached diagonal
pilasters. Inside the building are two original
doors of moulded and feathered battens.
The Barn N. of the house is of five bays.
The Moat is incomplete.
c(6). Alstead's Farm, house, 1½ m. S.S.W. of
the church, has a modern addition at the N. end.
c(7). Wakerings Farm, house, ¾ m. S.S.W. of
the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the S. and E. The western
half of the E. wing was built probably in the 15th
century and extended to the E. in the 16th
century. The S. wing is of 17th-century date and
has been refronted with modern brick. Inside
the building, in the E. wing, is the bressumer
supporting an upper storey which formerly projected; on the beam are the moulded heads of
two former windows. On the first floor are two
16th-century windows each of three lights with
moulded frames and mullions and diamond-shaped
intermediate mullions. The roof has an original
braced and cambered tie-beam.
b(8). Goodman's Farm, house, 800 yards W. of
the church, was built in the 15th century with a
central Hall and a Solar and Kitchen wings at the
E. and W. ends. The main block was heightened
in the 17th century and a staircase added at the
back. The upper storey projects at the N. end
of both cross-wings. The 17th-century chimney-stack at the E. end has two conjoined shafts,
set diagonally. Inside the building, the W. cross-wing has an original king-post truss, now incorporated in a partition. On the first floor there
are three original windows with diamond-shaped
mullions and now blocked.
b(9). Lowley's Farm, house, 700 yards W.N.W.
of (8), has modern additions at the back and an
original porch in front with a projecting upper
storey. The original chimney-stack has grouped
shafts set diagonally.
b(10). Post Office, shop and tenement, about
1 m. N.W. of the church, has an 18th-century
wing at the back.
b(11). Cottage, five tenements, opposite (10).
b(12). Watt's Charity, cottage 1½ m. N.N.W. of
the church. The original central chimney-stack is
cross-shaped on plan.
b(13). Cottage, 300 yards N.N.W. of (12), is
of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the E.
end. The W. wing is an addition to the main block.
b(14). Bream's Farm (Plate p. 110), house,
150 yards W. of (13), was built late in the 15th
century with a central Hall and cross-wing at the
E. and W. ends. In the 16th century the Hall
was divided into two storeys, and early in the
17th century an extension was built at the N. end
of the E. wing. The upper storey projects at the
S. end of both cross-wings. Inside the building
there are two original moulded ceiling-beams and
on the first floor are three original windows with
diamond-shaped mullions and now blocked. The
roof of the former Hall has an original cambered
tie-beam with curved braces forming a four-centred arch. The roof of the E. cross-wing has
also an original tie-beam with curved braces.
a(15). Mulsham Hall, house and barn, nearly
2 m. N. by W. of the church. The House is of
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the E. and S. There are modern additions on the
The Barn, E. of the house, is of six bays with two
a(16). North Whitehouse Farm, house, about
1¾ m. N.N.E. of the church, has an original central
chimney-stack with a moulded capping. Inside
the building is a window with diamond-shaped
mullions and now blocked.
b(17). Cottage, two tenements, 1¼ m. N. of the
b(18). Cottage, 60 yards S.W. of (17).
b(19). Cottage, 70 yards W. of (18).
b(20). Cottage, 1 m. N. of the church, has an
original chimney-stack with conjoined shafts set
b(21). Cottage, 200 yards W. of (20). Inside the
building is a re-used moulded beam of the 16th-century.
b(22). Cottage, two tenements, 300 yards S. of
b(23). Bishop's Hall, ¾ m. N. of the church, is
of T-shaped plan.
b(24). Cottage, 150 yards S. of (23), was built
probably early in the 18th century.
b(25). Cottage, ¼ m. S. by E. of (24), was built early
in the 16th century, apparently with a Hall and
Solar wing. The Hall was divided into two storeys
in the 17th century. Inside the building, the roof
has an original tie-beam and wind-braced purlins.
b(26). Cottage, 1,000 yards E.N.E. of the church.