19. DOVERCOURT. (G.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxi. S.W. (b)xxi. S.E.)
Dovercourt is a parish and town adjoining
Harwich on the S.W. The church is the principal
b(1). A tessellated pavement and a wall built
entirely of Roman bricks is recorded by Morant
on a small farm belonging to Dovercourt Vicarage,
apparently in Beacon Hill field near a 'tumulus'
on which stood a windmill about half a mile S. of
Harwich. He also mentions various earthworks,
which have now disappeared, and the "mutilated
parts of a considerable large stone pavement,"
running hence to Harwich. This was the high
road, and was called 'the Street,' and Roman
coins were found in it. His information points
to the site of a house, and possibly to traces of a
Roman road from Colchester to Harwich, and
across the harbour to the former fort at Walton.
(Morant, Hist. Essex, 1768, I, 499; hence
Gough's Camden, 1789, II, 60; Brayley and
Britton, Beauties of England, V, 330; S. Dale,
Antiquities of Harwich, 1732, p. 19.) (See also
Sectional Preface, p. xxvii.)
a(2). Parish Church of All Saints stands on
the W. side of the parish. The walls are of septariarubble with dressings of limestone; the roofs
are tiled. The Nave was built in the 12th century.
Early in the 14th century the Chancel was rebuilt
and a porch was probably added during the same
period. About 1400 the West Tower was added.
The chancel-arch was replaced in timber c. 1615.
The church has been restored in modern times,
the chancel partly rebuilt, the top stage of the
tower rebuilt, the North Vestry added and the
South Porch rebuilt.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35¾ ft.
by 23½ ft.) has a modern E. wall and window.
In the N. wall are three windows, the two eastern
of early 14th-century date but completely restored
externally; they are each of two pointed lights
in a two-centred head; the westernmost window
is a 'low-side' of a single lancet light of the same
period but modern externally. In the S. wall are
three windows similar to the corresponding windows
in the N. wall; between the two eastern windows
is a modern doorway. Between the chancel and
the nave is a moulded and richly carved beam
with acanthus and conventional foliage ornament
and consoles at each end; it rests on moulded
posts and has on the W. face three shields, two
with the date and initials 1615, G.W.; on the soffit
of the beam are the initials R.H.
The Nave (61½ ft. by 23½ ft.), has in the N. wall
two windows, both of early 14th-century date
and similar to the eastern windows in the chancel;
both are partly restored; between them is the
14th-century N. doorway with hollow-chamfered
jambs and two-centred head; further W. is a
12th-century window of one round-headed light,
now blocked; E. of the eastern window is the
15th-century rood-loft staircase; the lower doorway has restored jambs and rebated four-centred
head; the upper doorway incorporates the jambstones of a 12th-century opening. In the S. wall
are three windows, the easternmost is modern
except part of the jambs and rear-arch which
are of the 16th century; the middle window is
of c. 1340 and of two trefoiled ogee lights with
flowing tracery in a two-centred head; the
westernmost window is modern except for part
of the rear-arch; between the two western
windows is the mid 14th-century S. doorway with
moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label;
near the W. end of the wall is a blocked 12th-century window, similar to that in the N. wall.
The West Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three
stages of which the two lower are of the 15th
century and the top stage modern. The two-centred tower-arch is of three orders, the two
outer chamfered and moulded and continuous
and the inner hollow-chamfered and resting on
attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
There are indications of a former ringing-gallery
on the N. and S. walls. The W. window is of c. 1400,
partly restored, and of two cinquefoiled lights
with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded
label; the W. doorway is of the same date and
has double-chamfered jambs, two-centred arch
and label. The second stage has in the S. and
W. walls a blocked window of one trefoiled light.
The South Porch is modern except for the re-set
14th-century outer archway which has a moulded
two-centred arch; the responds have attached
shafts with re-cut capitals and defaced bases.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st by Robert Mot,
1572; 2nd by William Burford, late 14th-century
and inscribed "In Multis annis resonet campana
Johannis." Brass: In chancel—on N. wall, of
civilian in fur-trimmed gown and belt, inscribed
scroll, mid 15th-century. Coffin-lid: In nave—
with foliated cross in relief, 13th-century. Door:
In S. doorway—of four upright panels, with
moulded fillets, plain strap-hinges and stock lock,
17th-century. Font (Plate, p. xxxiv): octagonal
bowl with moulded edges and traceried panels
of various designs, square stem with attached shaft
at each angle, moulded base, mid 14th-century.
Panelling: In vestry—incorporated in modern
cupboard, three traceried heads, mid 15th-century.
Piscina: In nave—in S. wall, with chamfered
jambs and two-centred head, 14th-century. Poor-box (Plate, p. xxxii): iron-bound oak box with two
strap-hinges to lid, painted date on side 1589.
The following monuments are of the 17th
century and of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered or weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled.
All the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.
a(3). Cottage, about 700 yards E. of the church.
a(4). Manor House, 70 yards E. of (3), has a
modern addition on the N.
a(5). Dovercourt Hall, 600 yards S. of (4), is of
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the S. and E.
a(6). House, nearly 1 m. W.S.W. of the church,
has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal