33. GREAT BROMLEY. (E.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)xxviii. N.E. (b)xxviii. S.E.)
Great Bromley is a parish 5½ m. E.N.E. of
Colchester. The church is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. George (Plates,
pp. 112, 113) stands near the middle of the parish.
The walls are of mixed rubble and some
brick, with dressings of limestone; the roofs are
covered with tiles and lead. The Chancel, Nave
and South Aisle were built early in the 14th century.
The North Aisle and the N. arcade were built
about the middle of the 15th century, and the
S. aisle was largely rebuilt; the South Chapel
was added about the same time. About 1500 the
clearstorey of the nave was built and the West
Tower and South Porch were added. The church
was generally restored in the 19th century, the
chancel-arch being rebuilt.
The church is of considerable architectural
interest, the late 15th-century hammer-beam
roof of the nave being particularly rich.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (24½ ft.
by 18¼ ft.) has an E. window, modern except for
the 15th-century shafted splays. In the N. wall
are two modern windows. In the S. wall is a mid
15th-century archway, two-centred and of two
hollow chamfered orders, the outer continuous
and the inner resting on attached shafts with
moulded capitals and bases, all partly restored.
The chancel-arch is modern.
The South Chapel (22 ft. by 14½ ft.) has a
moulded plinth with trefoiled headed panels of
flint-inlay. The E. window is modern. In the
S. wall is a 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head with moulded jambs and label;
further W. is a 15th-century doorway with moulded
jambs, three-centred arch and label.
The Nave (41¼ ft. by 22 ft.) has a 15th-century
N. arcade of three bays, with two-centred arches of
two chamfered orders; the columns are octagonal
with moulded capitals and bases; the responds
have attached half columns; the thickening of
the wall behind the W. respond may indicate
a portion of the earlier nave; E. of the E.
respond is a round-headed recess, probably a
former squint. The S. arcade is of early 14th-century date and of three bays, with two-centred
arches of two chamfered orders; the octagonal
columns have moulded and carved capitals with
restored bases; the E. respond has an attached
shaft but the W. respond is plain; the capitals
of the E. respond and of the first column are carved
with oak foliage; the capital (Plate, p. 213) of the
second column is carved with grotesque beasts,
including one swallowing a man, another with a
woman's head preyed upon by reptiles and an
angel supporting a woman. The clearstorey (Plate,
p. 143) has walls faced with knapped flints in traceried panels of freestone, and an embattled
parapet of similar character ornamented with
shields bearing the cross of St. George. On each
side are seven late 15th-century windows each of
two trefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in
four-centred heads with moulded jambs and labels.
The North Aisle (11½ ft. wide) has a late 15th-century E. window of three cinquefoiled and
transomed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded lable and headstops. In the N. wall are two windows similar
to that in the E. wall but much restored; further
W. is the late 15th-century N. doorway with
moulded jambs and two-centred head and label,
with head-stops; the moulding and label are
carved with flowers. In the W. wall is a window
similar to that in the E. wall.
The South Aisle (average 12¼ ft. wide) has at
the E. end of the N. wall the blocked lower doorway
of the rood-loft staircase. In the S. wall is a window
similar to the S. window of the S. chapel and
partly restored; further W. is the S. doorway
of c. 1400, with moulded jambs, two-centred
arch and label all carved with running foliage;
above the doorway are the reset spandrels of a
late 15th or early 16th-century doorway carved
with figures of Adam and Eve; in the middle of
the head is a defaced moulded corbel. In the W.
wall is a window of c. 1500 of three cinquefoiled
ogee lights with vertical tracery in a segmental-pointed head with moulded jambs and label.
Great Bromley, the Parish Church of St George.
The West Tower (14½ ft. by 12½ ft.) is of late
15th-century date and of three stages with a
moulded plinth enriched with quatrefoiled panels
and a crow-stepped parapet with pinnacles at the
angles; the buttresses are square on plan at the
base developing above into octagonal turrets and
triple buttresses; on the S.W. buttress is a shield
of St. George. The tower-arch is two-centred
and of three hollow-chamfered orders, the two
outer continuous and the inner resting on attached
shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W.
window is modern except for the moulded jambs,
two-centred head and label with head-stops;
the W. doorway (Plate, p. 132) has moulded jambs
and two-centred arch enriched with square flowers
and set in a square head with a moulded label
and stops carved with an angel with a shield and a
griffon holding a scroll; the spandrels have foliage
and quatrefoiled circles, one enclosing the letters
I H C. The second stage has in the E. wall a blocked
doorway to the roof. The N., S. and W. walls
have each a window of one trefoiled light in a
square head with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a transomed window of
three cinquefoiled lights in a four-centred head
with a moulded label.
The South Porch has a moulded plinth and
parapet and the whole of the wall-face of the S.
end is finished with knapped flints with elaborately
traceried panels of freestone; the buttresses
have on the outer face moulded panels with
crocketed heads and are finished with embattled
pinnacles set diagonally; a similar but square
pinnacle rises above the apex of the gable, the
outer archway is two-centred and of two moulded
orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting
on attached shafts with moulded capitals and
bases, the double label forms a square head, the
spandrels of which are carved with figures of
St. George and the dragon; below the stops are
carved figures standing on small attached shafts,
one of the figures is missing. Above the doorway
is a large niche with triple buttressed jambs
terminating in pinnacles and a rich canopy with
three-sided cinquefoiled head, crockets and cresting,
terminating in a crocketed and finialed spire.
The side walls have each a window of three
trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred
head with moulded jambs and label.
The Roof of the nave is of c. 1500 and of seven
bays; the trusses are of the double hammer-beam
type, with moulded main timbers and curved
braces beneath the collars and hammer-beams,
these last are foliated and either embattled or
crested; the spandrels of the braces have boldly
carved conventional foliage and the braces and
wall-posts terminate in crocketed and canopied
niches in which are defaced figures of saints; the
stone corbels below them have carved cresting and
alternate corbels are carved with half-angels; the
richly moulded and embattled wall-plates have a
deep band of traceried panelling enclosing shields,
three of which bear the cross of St. George, a lower
band of carving includes wings, crowns and flowers
the two E. bays of the roof are painted. The 15th-century roof of the N. aisle is of pent type and of
six bays with moulded main timbers. The roof
of the S. chapel and S. aisle is continuous and
incorporates some moulded 15th-century timbers.
Fittings— Brass and Indents. Brass: In S.
chapel—of [William Bischopton, 1432], figure of
priest in mass vestments with scroll and mutilated
inscription, cinquefoiled canopy with crocketed
gable and buttressed standards, pinnacles missing.
Indents: In S. chapel—(1) of man in armour and
wife, with inscription-plate and two shields, late
15th-century; (2) of man in armour, and wife,
inscription-plate, shield, and two groups of children,
15th-century; (3) of civilian and wife, three shields,
inscription-plate and one child, late 16th-century.
In nave—(4) defaced; (5) of inscription-plate;
(6) defaced; (7) of civilian, two wives, and inscription-plate, early 16th-century. In N. aisle—
(8) white marble slab, with indent of head and
hands of man, remains of figure in incised lines,
with pedestal, canopy and side shafts, all much
defaced. On same slab is another figure almost
hidden by pews, late 15th-century. Chest
(Plate, p. xxxii): In S. chapel—of hutch type, with
carved and arcaded front of three bays, early
17th-century. Communion Table: In S. chapel—
with turned legs, carved top rail and carved brackets,
c. 1650. Doors: In N. doorway—with moulded
vertical ribs, 16th or 17th-century. In S. doorway—
of two folds, each divided into three vertical panels
with trefoiled and sub-cusped heads and elaborate
tracery in three tiers above them, pierced scutcheonplate, late 15th-century, part of tracery lost. In
W. doorway (Plate, p. 132)—of two folds generally
similar to above, but with tracery of different
design, partly restored, same date. In doorway
to turret staircase, with moulded frame and vertical
rib planted on, 16th-century. Glass: In S. chapel
—in S. window, shield of arms—gules three
hammers or, handles argent, for Martel, wings
at sides, 15th-century, below it quatrefoils with
two roses, same date. Floor-slab: In the S.
chapel—to Elizabeth Giels, 1699 (?). Niches:
In S. chapel—in E. wall, two shallow recesses
without ornament, 16th-century. In N. aisle—
shallow recess with rough four-centred head,
15th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, round-headed recess, 15th-century. See also Architectural
Description, S. porch. Painting: In nave—traces
of red and black paint; on first pier in S. arcade,
lower part of figure in red lines, probably of 15th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—with chamfered
jambs and quatrefoiled drain, date uncertain, head
modern. In S. chapel—in S. wall, with trefoiled
head surmounted by crocketed and finialed gable,
quatrefoiled frieze and embattled cornice, side
buttresses with embattled capitals and finials,
octofoiled drain, 14th-century. In N. aisle—in
S. wall, with moulded jambs and cinquefoiled
head, plain drain, 15th-century. Seat: In chancel
—incorporating 15th-century carved fragments,
Sedilia: In chancel—two bays with cinquefoiled
head and moulded jambs, 15th-century, middle
shaft modern. Miscellanea: In chancel—in N.
wall, moulded cornice with carved flowers, possibly
head of blocked recess, 15th-century. In churchyard, S. side—worked stones from tower pinnacles
and parts of window jambs and mullions, 15th-century.
Condition—Generally good, nave roof recently
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.
a(2). Farm House, about ½ m. S.E. of the
church, is of L-shaped plan, with the wings
extending to the N. and W.; the N. wing was
extended late in the 17th century.
a(3). Hillyards, house, about 1 m. E.N.E. of the
b(4). House, three tenements, on N. side of
Hare Green, about 1 m. S.E. of the church, has
a cross-wing at the W. end.
b(5). Cottage, three tenements, about 230 yards
S.S.W. of (4).
b(6). Cottage, two tenements, at N. end of Balls
Green, 600 yards S.S.W. of (5).
b(7). Cottage, on W. side of the road, ¼ m. S.S.W.