20. DANBURY. (D.b.)
(O.S. 6 in. liii. S.E.)
Danbury is a parish 5 m. E. of Chelmsford.
The church and the camp are the principal
(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist
(Plates, pp. xxxii, 24) stands on the S. side of the
village. The walls are of iron pudding-stone-rubble
except the tower which is of pebble-rubble; the
dressings are mostly of Reigate stone and the roofs
are tiled. The earliest part of the building appears
to be the North Aisle, the base of the N. wall of
which is of coursed rubble, possibly of 12th-century date. It is possible that this aisle was
the early nave. It was much altered in the latter
part of the 13th century when the Chancel was
built. The N. arcade is of about the same date.
The Nave and a S. aisle were built early in the
14th century and probably in the order named;
the West Tower was added about the middle of the
same century. The spire fell in 1402, destroying
some of the roofs; it was restored in the 15th
century and the North Vestry added about the
same time. The South Chapel was added in 1837,
the chancel-arch re-built in 1846, and the church
restored in 1866–7 when the South Aisle was
re-built, and the North Porch added.
Among the fittings the three oak effigies are
Architectural Description—The Chancel (32¼ ft.
by 20½ ft.) has an E. window, modern except for
the 15th-century splays and two-centred rear-arch.
In the N. wall is a 15th-century window partly
restored and of three cinque-foiled lights in a square
head with a moulded label; further E. is the early
15th-century doorway to the vestry, with moulded
jambs and two-centred head; E. of it is a small
15th-century piercing, set low in the wall and
trefoiled at the top and bottom with splays towards
the vestry. The S. arcade and chancel-arch are
The North Vestry (14 ft. by 9 ft.) has in the E.
wall a modern window. In the W. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head,
said to be modern but possibly of re-used material.
The South Chapel is modern but has a re-set
buttress at the S.E. angle and two 15th-century
windows re-set in the S. wall; the eastern is of two
cinque-foiled lights in a square head and modern
externally; the second is similar, but of three
lights with a moulded label and one old head-stop;
this window is much restored.
Danbury the Parish Church of St John the Baptist
The Nave (39½ ft. by 20¼ ft.) has late 13th
and early 14th-century N. and S. arcades of
three bays (Plate, p. 24), with two-centred
arches of two orders, both hollow-chamfered
on the N. and one chamfered and one hollow-chamfered on the S.; the columns are of quatre-foiled plan with moulded capitals and bases;
the base-moulds differ slightly on the two sides
and the bases of the N. arcade stand on square
plinths; the responds have attached half-columns;
the N. arcade is of rather earlier date than the S.
The North Aisle (16¾ ft. wide) has an E. window
all modern except the splays; S. of it is a 14th-century squint to the chancel, with a two-centred
head. In the N. wall are four late 13th-century
windows, all much restored internally and each of
two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; between the two western windows
is a doorway of the same date with moulded
two-centred arch and label; the jambs have each
an attached shaft with a moulded capital and base.
In the W. wall is a window all modern except the
late 13th-century splays, rear-arch and moulded
label with head-stops.
The West Tower (12½ ft. square) is of mid 14th-century date and of three stages with an embattled
parapet and a spire covered with shingles and lead.
The two-centred tower-arch is of one chamfered
order. The W. window, restored externally, is of
two trefoiled ogee lights and tracery in a two-centred head; the W. doorway (Plate, p. 84) has
moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label returned
as a string-course and with another string-course at
the level of the crown of the arch: between the
string-courses and flanking the doorway are two
niches each with moulded jambs, cinque-foiled
head and moulded label. The second stage has
in the E. and N. walls a single-light window, the
latter covered by the clock. In the S. wall is a
window of one cinque-foiled light with a square
moulded label. In the W. wall is a similar window
of one trefoiled light. The bell-chamber has in the
E. wall a defaced window with a square head. In
the N. wall is a 16th-century window, partly of
brick and of two round-headed lights with a square
defaced label. The S. wall has a similar window
but restored in the 18th century except the W. jamb.
In the W. wall is a plain single-light.
The Roof of the chancel is probably of the 15th-century and is of plain trussed-rafter type with
moulded plates. The Vestry has a pent-roof with
a moulded plate of the 15th century. The roof of
the nave appears to have been reconstructed but
incorporates old timbers. The roof of the N. aisle
has a high-pitched trussed-rafter roof; the eastern
part was subsequently wainscoted and has moulded
ribs finished with moulded bases, resting on oak
corbels carved with the heads of two kings and two
women of late 14th or early 15th-century date;
the moulded plates are of the same date partly
restored, but the rest of the roof is probably of
c. 1300. The 15th-century spire has a centre-post
resting on four curved braces and with massive
tie-beams at the base.
Fittings—Bells: five; 3rd and 5th by Miles
Graye and dated 1642 and 1622 respectively.
Brasses and Indent. Brasses: In N. aisle—
(1) to Edward Mildmay, 1635, inscription and
shield-of-arms; (2) to Humfrey Mildmay, 1613,
inscription and two shields-of-arms. Indents:
In N. aisle—of cross with foiled ends, inscription-plate and two shields, c. 1420. Chair: In chancel
—modern but incorporating rough carving of
St. Catherine, 16th or 17th-century. Chest: Small,
hide-bound, with cambered lid, 17th-century.
Funeral-helm: In N. aisle—on E. wall, combed
funeral-helm with vizor, carved lion crest, late 16th
or early 17th-century. Gallery: In tower—with
hollow-chamfered arches, 15th-century and turned
balusters, c. 1600. Monuments and Floor-slabs.
Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to John
Nicoll, 1690, plain white marble tablet with shield-of-arms. In N. aisle—in N. wall, (2) recess with
shafted jambs and moulded segmental-pointed arch
with a moulded label; under it oak effigy (Plate,
p. 29) in chain mail, surcoat to just below the knees,
crossed legs, feet on lion, hand drawing sword, late
13th-century; (3) adjoining (2) and with similar
recess, head-stop between the two, oak effigy
(Plate, p. 29) similar to last but sheathing sword
and feet on lion, dragon biting scabbard, late 13th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, (4) similar recess,
re-set in modern wall, oak effigy (Plate, p. 29)
similar to (2) and (3) but surcoat rather longer,
knee-cops, hands in attitude of prayer, mail coif,
feet on lion, c. 1300. In tower—(5) to George
Wither, D.D., 1605, alabaster tablet with strap-ornament and shield-of-arms. In churchyard—
S. side, (6) to John Lawrence and Alice his wife,
also their children, John, Alice and Elizabeth,
1705, head-stone. Floor-slabs: In S. chapel—
(1) to Thomas Langham, 1669, and Sarah Nicoll,
1683, with shield-of-arms; (2) to Robert Cory,
D.D., rector and prebendary of St. Paul's, 1704, with
shield-of-arms. In N. aisle—(3) to John Mildmay,
1673, with shield-of-arms; (4) to William Mildmay,
1682, with shield-of-arms. In S. aisle—(5) to
Samuel Cooper, 1677, with shield-of-arms. Niche:
In S. aisle—in E. wall, small, with lancet-head
and chamfered jambs, 13th-century. Painting:
In chancel—on S. wall, Jacobean strap-work in
red, early 17th-century. In N. aisle—on walls,
masoned lines and on E. wall, interlacing foliage
in brown, yellow and black, late 13th-century,
much restored. Piscinae: In chancel (Plate, p. xlv)
—with hollow-chamfered jambs and cinque-foiled
head with moulded label and mask-stops, round
drain partly restored, late 13th-century. In N.
aisle—in E. wall, square - headed recess, with
damaged round drain, date uncertain. In S. aisle—
re-set in S. wall, round drain, date uncertain.
Plate: includes paten of 1667 and brass alms-dish
of foreign workmanship with repoussé figures of
Adam and Eve, inscription "Humfri Tailler 1631"
and a meaningless succession of letters in two
bands. Seating: In nave—four benches (Plate,
p. 5) with moulded rails and three popey-heads,
remains of beasts on shoulders, 15th-century.
Scratching: On jamb on N. doorway—the name
Ysabel and a cross, mediaeval. Stoup: In N.
aisle—in N. wall, with re-set drain from a piscina
and segmental head, probably 15th-century.
Miscellanea: Incorporated in backs of benches
and cupboard in tower, traceried panels and desk
(2). Frettons, house (Plate, pp. 56–7), 100
yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the
walls are timber-framed and refaced with brick;
the roofs are tiled. It was built probably early in
the 16th century and consisted of a central hall
with E. and W. cross-wings. Later in the same
century a wing was added to the S.W. of the
building. A kitchen block was built parallel
to this addition at the S.E. corner of the
house late in the 17th century, and there are
small modern additions. The chimney-stack on
the S. side of the hall is original and has an embattled
offset and a single diagonal shaft. The S.W. wing
has two late 16th-century chimney-stacks with
grouped diagonal shafts. Inside the building the
Hall is lined with 17th-century panelling and has
an overmantel of two square carved panels divided
by a pair of tapering pilasters with a narrow
round-headed panel between them and supporting
a carved frieze. The lower part of the walls of
another room are lined with 16th-century panelling.
Condition—Good, much altered.
The following monuments, unless otherwise
described, are of late 16th-century date and of
two storeys, timber-framed and plastered or
weather-boarded; the roofs are tiled. Some of
the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and
Condition—Good or fairly good.
(3). Griffin Inn, 130 yards N. of the church,
has cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. It has
been considerably altered and has a modern addition
at the back. One chimney-stack has two diagonal
shafts. Inside the building are some fragments of
15th-century quatrefoil carving, said to have been
brought from the church.
(4). House, opposite (3), was built early in the
16th century with a cross-wing at the W. end.
The upper storey projects on the N. The main
doorway has a four-centred head with spandrels
carved with foliage.
(5). Elmgreen Farm, house, 500 yards N.W. of
the church, with modern additions on the S. It
has a gabled cross-wing at the N.W. end with a
projecting upper storey.
(6). Cottage, ¼ m. S. by W. of the church, is of
L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards
the S. and E. The S. end of the W. wing has a
projecting upper storey. In the W. wall is an
original doorway with moulded jambs, four-centred
head and sunk spandrels.
(7). House, now tenements, at Russell Green,
about 1 m. E. of the church, was built probably
early in the 17th century.
(8). Slough House (Plate, p. 32), at Slough
Bridge, 2 m. S.E. of the church, was built late in
the 15th or early in the 16th century and consists
of a central-hall block with gabled cross-wings at
the N. and S. ends. The central block and the N.
wing were largely re-built probably in the 17th
century. It has a modern addition at the
back. On the N. and S. sides of the original
building are large mid 16th-century brick
chimney-stacks each with two octagonal shafts.
Inside the building on the upper floor is a stone
fireplace with a four-centred head; the roof retains
a central purlin and a rough king-post with two-way
Part of the garden wall is built of blocks of
pudding-stone and ragstone, probably re-used
(9). Douglas House, about 400 yards E. of the
church, was built in the 15th century with a hall
and cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The hall
was subsequently divided into two storeys. Inside
the building the hall has an original roof truss with
curved braces and octagonal king-post with
moulded capital and base. At the W. end of the
hall is an original doorway with a two-centred
(10). Danbury Camp, is a roughly oval earthwork, situated on high ground at the W. end of a
promontory, between the Rivers Blackwater and
Crouch, and enclosing the church and churchyard.
Though much denuded, the entire outline of the
work can still be traced, but on the N. a slight dip,
towards the road, is all that remains. The defences
consisted, apparently, of a single rampart and
ditch, with a slight mound (shown on Morant's
18th-century plan as 'site of beacon') at the
N.W. corner. There are slight traces of transverse
banks inside the camp.