8. BRADWELL-JUXTA-MARE. (G.a.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)lv. N.E. (b)lv. S.E. (c)lvi. N.W.)
Bradwell-juxta-Mare is a parish 10 m. E. of
Maldon. The remains of the Roman station of
Othona and the chapel of St. Peter-on-the-Wall
are the principal monuments.
c(1). Fort, probably Othona. The remains of
a Roman fort, largely destroyed by the sea, are
still partly visible 2 m. E.N.E. of the parish church.
The plan, as revealed by excavation in 1864, shows
the W. wall, 522 ft. long, and fragments of the
N. and S. walls, 290 ft. and 150 ft. long respectively.
The corners are rounded. At the N.W. corner
is a horse-shce bastion, 16 ft. in diameter, and
115 ft. further S. is a similar bastion; a third was
thought to have existed at the S.W. corner. The
wall seems to have been about 12 ft. thick, and a
fragment still existing on the S. side shows a
triple layer of bricks (measuring 10–10¾ in. long by
1–1¾ in. thick), four courses of septaria (measuring
4½–6 in. by 3–3½ in.), surmounted by a second
triple layer of bricks, with lavish use of mortar.
The fragment (Plate, p. 13) stands to a height of
4 ft., and the interior of the fort is now level with
the top of it. No gateways are known, but the
line of the road approaching the site from the W.
indicates the position of one approximately on the
site of St. Peter's Chapel. Traces of a ditch have
been observed on the W. and N. sides; on the S.
side the line is marked by a wide ditch and by
a pond at the S.W. corner. Traces of seaweed
5 ft. above the present high-water mark, apparently
on the S. side, suggested to the excavators a Roman
wharf, but without reason. Within the fort, the
only structure noted was a short fragment of "old
rubble-work" about 4 ft. high near the S. wall.
No structural remains or burials are known
outside the fort.
Roman Fort at Ithancester, Bradwell-Juxta-Mare
Many small objects were turned up during the
excavations and are preserved by Mr. Christopher
Parker at Faulkbourne Hall. Potsherds, coins
and other small objects can be picked up on
the surface. The coins date from Gallienus to
Arcadius but are commonest for the Constantinian
period. The pottery is mostly of the same date
though a little appears to be of the second century
as does also one brooch.
In character the fort resembles others of the
series defending the 'Saxon Shore.' On the
supposition that it was originally square, it would
have contained rather more than 6 acres and so
would have approximated in size, as in character,
to the fort at Burgh in Suffolk. If its identification
with the 'Othona' of the Notitia Dignitatum be
accepted, it was garrisoned by irregular troops
called Fortenses. (See Sectional Preface, p. xxxviii;
and Arch., XLI, 440; Arch. Journ., XXII, 64,
and XXIII, 60; C. R. Smith in Gent.'s Mag.,
1865, II, 403–8; Coll. Antiq., VII, 155–6; Laver,
Essex Arch. Soc., XI, 85; Raven, Ibid., VI, 291,
352. Further note by Chancellor in Arch. Journ.,
XXXIV, 212–3. C. R. Peers on the Chapel, Ibid.,
LVIII, 420, with plan.)
a(2). Parish Church of St. Thomas stands in
the village. The walls of the chancel are of flint
and septaria-rubble, those of the nave are of brick
and stone and the tower is of brick; the dressings
are of limestone; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel
was built probably early in the 14th century.
The Nave was re-built in 1706 and the West Tower
added. The church has been restored in modern
times, the N. Organ Chamber added and the chancel
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description— The Chancel (37½ ft.
by 19 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall
is a window all modern except the splays; further
W. is a modern archway. In the S. wall are two
windows uniform with that in the N. wall. The
early 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and
of two moulded orders; the responds have each
three attached shafts with moulded capitals.
The Nave (65¼ ft. by 25 ft.) is of c. 1706 except
the E. gable, which is partly of early 16th-century
brick with trefoiled corbelling; all the windows
and the doorway are modern.
The West Tower (10¼ft. square) is of red brick
and of three stages with an embattled parapet.
It is entirely of c. 1706. In the E. wall is a modern
doorway. The N. and S. walls have each a window
with a rounded head, wooden frame, mullion and
transom. In the S. wall is a doorway with a
segmental head. The W. doorway is modern.
The second stage has windows in the N. and S.
walls, and the bell-chamber a window in each
wall, all similar to those in the ground-stage.
Fittings—Brasses and Indents. Brasses: In
chancel—on N. wall, (1) of Margaret Wyott, 1526,
figure of woman in pedimental head-dress, etc.;
(2) shield-of-arms—three owls and a sinister quarter
impaling four bars on a bend three scallops, early
16th-century; (3) to John Debanke, rector, 1601,
inscription only; (4) to Thomas Debanck, 1606,
inscription only. Indents: In nave—(1) and (2)
of inscription-plates; (3) of two figures, two
groups of children, inscription-plate and shield;
(4) of figure, inscription-plate and shield. Chair:
In chancel—with turned legs and carved back,
early 18th-century. Font (Plate, pp.xlii-iii): octagonal bowl with moulded under-edge and four large
heads, one of a priest and one with a bandeau,
projecting from alternate faces and formerly with
a shaft beneath each, round stem, 14th-century.
Monuments: In chancel—in N. wall, (1) two stone
panels, from former monument, with cusped heads
and shields— (a) a cheveron engrailed between three
roundels each charged with a cross, a crescent for
difference, (b) a cheveron between three scallops, early
16th-century; on S. wall, (2) to John Sherman,
S.T.P. Rector of the parish, 1666, alabaster and
black marble tablet with side pilasters and shield-of-arms. Plate: includes cup of 1626, dated 1626,
and an early 18th-century pewter flagon and plate.
Scratching: On S. wall of nave—date 1707.
Miscellanea: Incorporated in walls of nave—
many worked stones and 14th-century head-stops.
Condition—Good, but tower overgrown with ivy.
c(3). Chapel of St. Peter-on-the-Wall
stands nearly 2 m. E.N.E. of the parish church.
The walls are almost entirely of re-used Roman
material including ashlar, septaria and brick;
the roof is tiled. The chapel is almost certainly
that built by Bishop Cedd in c. 654 at Ithancester.
It stands astride the former W. wall of the Roman
station and originally consisted of an apse, Nave
and W. porch and possibly 'porticus' on the N.
and S. A tower was subsequently added above the
porch. It was a chapel-of-ease to Bradwell in
the Middle Ages, but was eventually desecrated
and used as a barn; the apse and tower were
destroyed. It has recently been restored and is
now again used as a chapel (Plates, pp. 16,17).
The building is of extreme interest as one of the
earliest surviving churches in England.
Architectural Description— The Apse has been
destroyed to the foundations but the plan has been
recovered by excavation; it projected about 17 ft.
to the E. of the present E. wall and the side
walls rose to a height of 21 ft. The stump of the
N. wall retains the W. jamb of a former doorway.
The Nave (49½ ft. by 21½ ft.) has walls 2½ ft.
thick and rising to a height of 24 ft. under the
eaves. In the E. wall are the Roman brick springers
and responds of two arches about 2 ft. within the
side walls, the rest of the wall is comparatively
modern and built of re-used material. The arrangement indicated is that of the usual three arches
as at St. Pancras, Canterbury, Reculver, etc.,
but the existing remains of the curves of the two
side arches hardly allow of a central arch of the
same span. The N. and S. walls were apparently
divided into bays by tabled buttresses and there
were pairs of similar buttresses at the western
corners leaving the angles of the building free.
In the middle of the N. and S. walls is a large
modern section showing the position of the entrances
when the building was used as a barn. At the
E. end of the S. wall are remains of an original
doorway, perhaps opening into a 'porticus' and
further W. are the foundations of an added wall.
The four windows, two on each side, have original
jambs and splays and modern lintels replacing
original lintels; they have been much altered;
the N.W. window is blocked and partly destroyed
and all are set high in the wall. In the W. wall
is an original doorway with a modern lintel;
above it is an original window with a round head
of Roman brick and jambs partly of brick and
partly of stone. Flanking the doorway are traces
of the junction of the walls of the former porch.
Foundations of this porch have been discovered
and also those of an annexe on the S. side of the
Bradwell-Juxta-Mare, the Chapel of St Peter on the Wall
c(4). Rectory, S. of the church, is of two storeys,
timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled.
The N. wing is of early 16th-century date; it was
extended S. at some uncertain date and c. 1780
a large S. wing in the Adam style was built.
Inside the building one room of the old wing has
original moulded ceiling-beams and joists; the
room at the N. end of the same wing has an
c(5). Munkin's Farm, house, ¾ m. S.W. of (3),
is of two storeys, timber-framed and weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the
15th or 16th century with cross-wings at the
E. and W. ends. Inside the building are some
exposed ceiling-beams and one room is lined with
early 18th-century panelling.
b(6). Bradwell Hall, 1¼ m. S.W. of the
parish church, is of two storeys, timber-framed
and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built
early in the 17th century and has a cross-wing
at the E. end. The original central chimney-stack has the bases of four grouped diagonal shafts.
a(7). Cage and Whipping Posts, at S. E. corner
of churchyard. The cage is an 18th-century
structure of brick and built into it are the oak