20. EARLS COLNE. (B.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xvii. S.W. (b)xvii. S.E. (c)xxvi. N.W.
Earls Colne is a parish and village (Plate, p. 123)
4 m. N. of Great Coggeshall. The church, Priory
and Colneford House are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Andrew stands at
the E. end of the village. The walls are of flint-rubble, with limestone dressings; the roofs are
tiled. The history of the building is much obscured
by restoration, but the earliest detail is the S.
arcade of the Nave and a reset window in the
N. chapel which are of c. 1340; the Chancel and
South Aisle are probably also of this date. The
West Tower was added c. 1460, but it was restored
and partly rebuilt by John Earl of Oxford in 1534.
A South porch was added in the 15th century. In
the 19th century the church was restored, the South
Porch rebuilt and the North and South Chapels
and North Aisle added.
The W. tower is a handsome example of its
period. Among the fittings the pre-Reformation
paten is noteworthy.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (38¾ ft.
by 23 ft.) has no ancient features.
The North Chapel is modern but reset in the
N. wall is a window of c. 1340, partly restored
and of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a
The South Chapel is modern, but the W. arch
incorporates some 14th-century moulded voussoirs.
The Nave (50½ ft. by 22¾ ft.) has a modern N.
arcade of three bays. The 14th-century S. arcade
is of three bays with two-centred arches of two
moulded orders; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal W. respond have moulded capitals and
modern bases; the E. respond is modern, the E.
arch has been rebuilt and most of the other work
has been scraped.
The South Aisle (19½ ft. wide) has in the S. wall
two 14th-century windows almost entirely restored
and each of two cinquefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, with a moulded label;
further W. is the S. doorway, all modern except
the 14th-century moulded rear-arch and part of
the splays. In the W. wall is a modern window,
incorporating some old stones.
The West Tower (13 ft. by 14 ft.) is of three stages
(Plate, p. 221) with a crow-stepped and embattled
parapet enriched with panels of flint-inlay having
cinquefoiled or trefoiled heads; the larger panels
have each the Vere molet in the middle; in the
middle of the E. and W. sides is a carved achievement of arms, with supporters and the Garter, on
the E. side the shield bears Vere impaling Trussell
for John 15th Earl of Oxford and his wife, and
has below it the date 1534 and regnal year H.8. 25;
the shield on the W. side bears Vere quartering
Collroke, Clare, Sergeaux, Badlesmere, Samford,
and Fitz Hamon; the parapet of the stair-turret
also has flint-inlay and the Vere molets. The 15th-century tower-arch is moulded and two-centred
and springs from moulded and shafted responds
with moulded capitals to the shafts. The W.
window is of c. 1460 and of three cinquefoiled
lights with tracery in a four-centred head with a
moulded label and stops carved with busts of
women holding hearts; the W. doorway is modern,
but the 15th-century string-course on either side
of it has carved flowers and heads. The second
stage has in the E. and W. walls a single 15th-century light with a trefoiled head; a similar
window in the N. wall has been removed; in the
E. wall is also an early 16th-century doorway of
brick, with a four-centred head. The bell-chamber
has in the E., S. and W. walls a 15th-century
window of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery
in a square head. In the N. wall is a much restored
early 16th-century window of three cinquefoiled
lights in a square head.
The Roof of the nave is of early 16th-century
date and of five bays with moulded principals,
collars and purlins, and a carved boss on the
middle of each collar. The roof of the S. aisle is
similar in date and detail to that of the nave,
but is of six bays and has moulded wall-plates;
one of the bosses is carved with the Vere molet.
The 15th-century roof of the S. porch has
moulded and embattled wall-plates and tie-beam;
the other tie-beam is plain, but both support
Fittings—Chairs: In N. chapel—with carved
and inlaid back, turned legs and shaped arms,
inlaid front-rail, early 17th-century. In chancel—
two with richly carved backs and front rails,
turned legs and shaped arms, probably late 17th-century and foreign work. Monuments: In S.
chapel—(1) of Richard Harlakenden, 1602, and
Elizabeth (Hardres), Elizabeth (Blatchenden), Jane
(Josceline) and Anne (Dewhurst), his wives, small
painted wall-monument of alabaster with kneeling
figures of man and wives flanked by pilasters supporting an entablature, achievement and four
shields of arms, restored early in the 18th century;
(2) to Jane and Mabell Harlakenden, 1614, plain
rectangular tablet; (3) to Mehetabell, daughter of
Edward Eileston, 1657, oval tablet with white
marble frame; on S. wall—(4) to John Eldred,
1646, rectangular tablet with marble frame and
cornice and resting on two carved stone heads.
In churchyard—S. of church (5) to Francies
(Fletcher), wife of John Hutchinson, 1712, head
and foot-stones. Plate (Plate, p. xxxv): includes
early 16th-century paten with sexfoiled sinking
and incised figure of Christ in a circle in the middle,
cross formy in a circle on the rim; large late
16th-century cup with bands of incised ornament.
Table: In N. chapel—with turned legs and shaped
brackets to top rail, 17th-century. Weather-vane:
with copper corona and cock, late 17th or early
Condition—Good, much restored.
b(2). Earls Colne Priory, monuments, walls
and fragments at house, ¼ m. E. of the church.
The Priory was founded in the first year of the
12th century for Benedictine monks and as a cell
to Abingdon Abbey. The lines of some of the
original buildings are reported to have been
visible in the turf on the N. side of the present
house during the dry summer of 1921. The
existing house has no ancient features, but in
a covered passage at the back of the house are
preserved four altar-tombs, formerly in the priory
church—(1) probably of Robert de Vere, 5th Earl of
Oxford, 1296, altar-tomb (Plate, p. 86) of c. 1340,
with moulded and embattled slab of Purbeck
marble richly arcaded sides and end, side with
three main niches with cinquefoiled ogee and
crocketed heads and shafted jambs; three smaller
niches with trefoiled heads and crocketed gables;
between the niches are small buttresses with
pinnacles and in the spandrels above the larger
niches are blank shields suspended by their straps;
in the smaller niches are much mutilated figures;
the freestone effigy of c. 1296 is in mail with kneecops, a long surcoat and prick spurs; the head
rests on a cushion supported by angels, and the
feet on a boar; there are traces of colour and gesso
on the effigy and of colour on the tomb. Four
niches with figures from the destroyed sides of
this tomb are now built into the gate-piers of the
stable yard and three others are fixed in the wall
near tombs (3) and (4). (2) and (3) were formerly
one large tomb (Plates, pp. 86, 90) of alabaster and
probably of Richard de Vere, K.G., 11th Earl
of Oxford, 1417, and Alice (Sergeaux), his wife;
the two long sides form the fronts of the two
altar-tombs as at present arranged; at the head
of (2) is a square cusped panel probably part of
the monument of Robert, 9th Earl of Oxford
and Duke of Ireland, 1392. The long sides of the
two tombs have each five panels with angles
holding rectangular shields and divided by traceried
panels; the moulded cornice is embattled; the
shields bear (a) Vere, (b) Vere impaling Badlesmere,
(c) Vere, (d) Vere impaling Fitzwalter, (e) Vere.
On tomb (3) (a) Vere, (b) Vere impaling a saltire
between 12 cherries for Sergeaux, (c) Vere, (d)
Vere quartering checky for Coucy, (e) Vere. The
earlier panel at head of tomb (2) has a shield with
the arms of Bohun. At the foot of tomb (2) and
fixed into the wall elsewhere are four other fragments of the tomb of the 11th Earl with angels
bearing shields (a) Vere with scutcheon of pretence,
(b) defaced, (c) St. George and (d) France ancient
quartering England. The effigy of the woman
(Plate, p. 91) on tomb (2) has an elaborate
horned head-dress, collar, low-necked gown with
tight sleeves, loose cloak with cord fastenings,
head on cushions with two supporting angels
and at feet two small dogs. The man's effigy
(Plate, p. 91) is in plate-armour with a
wreathed bascinet inscribed across the front in
black letter "Ihs: nazarenus," plate gorget and
besagues, collar of S.S., breastplate with the arms
of Vere, skirt of taces with mail beneath, remains
of sword and dagger, garter on left leg, head on
helm with boar crest, feet on lion. (4) Probably
of Thomas de Vere, 8th Earl of Oxford, 1371,
alabaster altar-tomb (Plate, p. 87) with moulded
and embattled cornice, front with six niches
divided by shafts and having trefoiled ogee and
crocketed heads; each niche has two weepers,
all men in civilian dress; the corresponding work
of the other side of the tomb has been reset in
the wall at the back of the modern recess; it has
similar weepers including one bishop. The effigy
(Plate, p. 91) is in mixed mail and plate with
bascinet, camail, jupon with the arms of Vere and
with enriched edge, ornamental hip-belt, etc.
Across the head of the modern recesses of tombs
(3) and (4) is an early 16th-century carved oak
beam, removed from the old Priory House which
was pulled down in 1825, with running foliage,
the Vere molet, and six grotesque heads.
The boundary wall of the grounds on the S.E.
and S.W. sides is largely of late 16th-century date
and of red brick. It contains the initials R.H.,
W. and X.W. in black bricks. On the S.W. side
is a modern doorway with a door made up of 15th
and 16th and 17th-century panelling; above the
doorway is a reset 15th-century niche with a
cinquefoiled head and containing two figures.
The lower part of the wall contains some reused
worked stones. In the garden is a 15th-century
panelled stone stem of octagonal form and possibly
part of a font.
In the summer-house near the Priory pond
is the bressumer of a fireplace, carved with the
Vere molet and boar, with other beasts and
birds and with conventional leaf-ornament of the
Condition—Of monuments, good.
c(3). Lodge Farm, house and moat, nearly
1¾ m. S.W. of the church. The House, now two
tenements, is of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built
probably early in the 16th century and altered late
in the 17th century. Inside the building are
exposed ceiling-beams and joists and one wall-plate has the mortices for the diamond-shaped
mullions of a former window.
The Moat is incomplete.
Condition—Of house, good.
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. Several
of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
High Street, N. side:—
a(4). House, two tenements and shop, 120 yards
W.N.W. of the church, has a late 15th or early
16th-century outbuilding at the back, but the
building itself is of the 17th century. The outbuilding has an original king-post roof of three
a(5). House and shop, W. of (4), was built in
the 16th century and has a 17th-century addition
on the N. Inside the building are original moulded
ceiling-beams and a doorway with a four-centred
head. There is a little 17th-century panelling.
a(6). Castle Inn, W. of (5), is of half H-shaped
plan with the wings extending towards the N.
It has two original chimney-stacks, one of five
shafts set diagonally on a rectangular base and
one of three octagonal shafts. Inside the building
the middle room has an original moulded ceiling-beam resting at one end on a wall-post with the enriched
mouldings. The E. room has above the fireplace
a 17th-century painted panel with the verse "The
houer Runneth | and T(ime flieth) | As Flower
Fadeth | So Man Dieth | Sic transit Gloria |
Mundi"; on each side of it is an hour-glass,
cherub's head, flower and skull and beyond a pair
of crouching lions with swags above.
a(7). House, now club, shop and tenement, W. of
(6), has a cross-wing, with a projecting upper storey,
at the E. end.
a(8). Cottage, 150 yards W. of (7) and on the E.
side of Queen's Road.
Earls Colne, Plan Shewing Position of Monuments
a(9). House, now Bank, 80 yards W. of (8), was
built early in the 16th century and has a long wing
at the back; the front has been faced with modern
brick. Inside the building the W. room has
original moulded ceiling-beams and moulded joists;
the beams and plate are carved with running
foliage (Plate, p. xxxvii) and a shield with the
molet of the Veres. The back wing has an
original king-post roof.
a(10). House and shop, W. of (9), was built
probably early in the 16th century and has an
original king-post roof.
a(11). Lion Inn and house, 20 yards W. of (10).
The W. end of the house is of late 16th-century
date and has original moulded ceiling-beams. The
E. front has been rebuilt.
a(12). House, four tenements, 20 yards S.W. of
(11), was built probably in the 15th century, with
cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The W. gable
in front has plain old barge-boards with curved
a(13). House (Plate, p. 188), two tenements and
shop nearly opposite (4), was built c. 1500. The
upper storey projects in front and has a moulded
bressumer, carved with twisted leaf ornament
and, at intervals, with the molet of the Veres.
Inside the building are original moulded ceilingbeams and joists. The roof has original king-post
a(14). House, two tenements, 30 yards E. of (13),
has two projecting gables in front with carved
fascias, one with the date and initials 1674 E.P.
a(15). Cottage, two tenements, S. of (14).
a(16). Cottage (Plate, p. 177), 80 yards S.S.W.
of (12), has an original chimney-stack with four
b(17). Cottage, on N. side of road, 300 yards S.E.
of the church, was built early in the 18th century.
b(18). George Hotel, on S. side of road, 130 yards
N.E. of (17), was built probably in the 16th century
and has a cross-wing at the W. end.
b(19). House, E. of (18), has a cross-wing at the
b(20). Cottage, two tenements, 90 yards N.E. of
(19), has a cross-wing at the W. end.
b(21). Range of three tenements, N.E. of (20).
b(22). House, 45 yards N.E. of (21), was built
probably late in the 16th century, but has been
b(23). Colneford House, 240 yards N.E. of (22).
The S.E. wing is of late 16th-century date, but
the front is probably entirely of c. 1685. The
front has an upper storey richly ornamented between the windows with pargeting (Plate, p. 235);
the panels have elaborate designs of conventional
foliage and foliated borders; one panel has the
initials and date GTE 1685, probably for George
and Elizabeth Toller. Inside the building are
some fireplaces with moulded architraves of late
17th-century date and some bolection - moulded
panelling of the same period. The staircase of
dog-legged type has turned balusters and moulded
rails. The S.E. wing has original moulded ceilingbeams and joists.
b(24). Range of six cottages, 70 yards N.E. of
(23). The upper storey projects in three gabled
bays on the N.W. front.
b(25). Cottage (Plate, p. 189), on N.E. side of
the road, 700 yards E.S.E. of the church, has on
the W. side an original dormer window with a
moulded head to the window carved with the date
and initials 1640 E.S.
d(26). Mill's Farm, house, ¾ m. S.S.E. of (25).
d(27). Burnt House Farm, house, ½ m. S.S.E.
d(28). Becklandwood Farm, house, 1,200 yards
W. of (27).
c(29). Whitegate, house, about 1,000 yards S.W.
c(30). Cottage, on W. side of road, about ½ m. N.
c(31). Cottage, 100 yards N. of (30).
c(32). Range of three tenements, on N. side of
Curd's Road, 650 yards N. of (31).
c(33). Cottage, 180 yards N.W. of (32).
c(34). Cottage, 150 yards N.N.E. of (33).