(O.S. 6 in. (a)ix. S.W. (b)ix. S.E.)
a(1.) The Parish Church (dedication unknown) stands on high ground about 1/8 mile
S.W. of the village, a little below the crest of
the hill. It is of cruciform plan, built of
flint rubble with clunch and Barnack-stone
dressings, and is roofed with lead. The
earliest parts are the central tower and
about two-thirds of the nave, which belonged
to a church of late 12th-century date. The
present Chancel and the North and South
Transepts were built outside the original
chancel and transepts late in the 13th and
early in the 14th century, when a North Vestry
was also built, which has since been destroyed.
A little later the Nave was increased to its
present length, and the arcades and aisles were
added. In the 15th century the aisle walls were
heightened, new windows inserted, and the top
stage of the tower was added. At the end of the
15th century, the South Porch was built. The
church, except the N. aisle, was completely
re-roofed and generally repaired in the 19th
century, but without structural alteration.
Anstey Parish Church.
The 14th-century design and detail of this
church are exceptionally interesting. The
carved stalls, of early 14th-century date, are
unusually early examples of woodwork.
Architectural Description—In the Chancel
(37 ft. by 18 ft.) a modern E. window, of 15th-century style, replaces the original window, of
which only the shafted internal jambs remain.
On the N. and S. are six original traceried
windows of two lights; the three on the N. have
high external sills to clear the roof of the
destroyed vestry; the sill of the S.W. window is
carried down low. The windows are linked together by a moulded string-course and have
shafted jambs and moulded labels. On the N.
is a splayed doorway to the vestry, and on the S.
an external doorway, both original. At the S.W.
and N.W. are squints from the transepts. The
Central Tower (13 ft. square) is of three stages,
with embattled parapet and small slated
needle-spire. It is carried on four semi-circular
arches; those on the N. and S. are plain, those
on the E. and W. have a heavy ringed roll
moulding and shafted jambs with simple capitals.
In the second stage are small pointed doorways
on the N. and S., originally opening into rooms
over the N. and S. transepts; the 15th-century
windows of the bell-chamber are of two lights
with tracery. Over the arch to the E. are traces
of the high-pitched 12th-century roof, and
signs of the high-pitched 14th-century roof
are visible externally on all four sides of
the tower. The North Transept (19½ ft. by
18 ft.) has a late 15th-century window on
the N., over the remains of an original doorway. On the W. is an original window of three
lights, partly blocked, with the rear arch
altered, and a 15th-century moulded arch opening into the aisle. The South Transept (19½ ft.
by 18 ft.) has restored triple lancet windows on
the E. and S., a modern double lancet over that
on the S., and a single original pointed light on
the W. There is a 15th-century arch to the aisle,
and on the S.W. is a circular turret lighted by
a cross loop, with stairs to a room once over the
transept; its floor level, like that of a similar
room once over the N. transept, is clearly
marked. The Nave (46½ ft. by 13 ft.) is of four
bays, with moulded drop arches on columns
of four clustered shafts having plainly moulded
capitals and bases. There are three quatrefoil openings in the clearstorey on each side,
of the same date as the arcades. The
W. window is of the 14th century, but has 15th-century tracery; the W. doorway, a rather wide
opening, is also original, with moulded jambs
and head. The North Aisle (9 ft. wide) has two
15th-century windows of two lights on the N.,
and one on the W.; the original 14th-century N.
doorway is now blocked. The South Aisle
(10 ft. wide) has the same arrangement of
windows, but the S. doorway is of late 15th-century date. The South Porch has E. and W.
windows of two lights, and walls ornamented
with cusped panelling inside; the parapet is
embattled, and the four-centred entrance arch
is moulded and shafted. The Roof of the N.
aisle is of the 15th century, with moulded
principals, etc., and the ceiling of the ground
stage of the tower is also of the 15th century,
with moulded beams and wall-plates.
Fittings—Bells: six; 1st 1700, 4th 1616, 5th
1616, 6th probably 16th-century. Bracket for
image: in the S. transept, on N.E., small,
15th-century. Brass Indent: in the N. transept, large cross and marginal inscription,
probably early 15th-century. Chests: two; one
iron bound, once covered with skin, probably
mediæval; the other, plain, possibly 13th-century. Communion Table: in the N. transept,
early 17th-century. Font: square with rounded
corners, ornamented with curious figures of
two-tailed mermen or figures holding up cloths,
late 12th-century. Glass: in W. window of
aisle, fragments, white and gold, 15th-century.
Monuments: in S. transept on E. side, tomb,
with traceried canopy, much defaced, and an
effigy of a civilian in a long robe, early 14th-century: in N. aisle, to Ralph Jermin, 1646,
small, mural: in chancel floor, to Benedict
Beaucock, 1635. Niche: in N. wall of
chancel at E. end, outside; trefoiled, original.
Piscinae: in the chancel, large, with double
drain and stone shelf, 14th-century: in N.
transept, on S.E., small, 14th-century. Screen:
in N. transept, modern, incorporating remains
of 15th-century screen. Sedilia: in the
chancel, designed to range with piscina and
windows; first two seats formed by internal
sill of window carried low, with jamb
shafting, etc.; third seat formed by niche
in wall. Stalls: twelve, ends plain, except
one moulded and crocketted, early 14th-century; seven carved misericords of foliate
and grotesque design, at least three original,
and two of the 17th century; the stall fronts,
with rusticated arcade in low relief, 17th-century. Miscellanea: at the Rectory, a purple
velvet altar frontal, embroidered, with date
1637, and an early glass bottle, containing
traces of human blood (possibly a reliquary),
dug up near the chancel.
Lych-gate, in the churchyard, mediæval, of
timber, in three bays; one bay has been made
into a "lock-up," with red-brick walls.
Condition—Fairly good, but needs minor
repairs: has been little restored; no structural
weaknesses are visible.
a(2). Anstey Castle (see illustration), in the
grounds of Anstey Hall, N. of the Parish
Church, stands about 400 ft. above O.D., at the
end of a spur of land projecting to the S.W.
from the watershed of the rivers Stort and Quin.
This earthwork is a particularly fine example
of the mount and bailey type.
Detailed Description—The Keep mount,
which shows no trace of masonry, is a large flat-topped mount standing over 35 ft. above the
bottom of its ditch, and covering at its summit
nearly ¼ acre. It is surrounded by a wet ditch,
from which branches a slighter ditch, also wet,
embracing a large bailey on the N.E. The
Bailey covers about an acre, and is divided into
two enclosures by a scarp, the N.W. portion
being 3 ft. above the rest. There are traces of a
light bank round the N.W. end of the bailey,
and remains of a rampart on the counter-scarp of
the ditch to the N. On the S.E. face the
defences have been partly obliterated by the
present road and buildings. Other enclosures:
there are remains of a slight enclosure to the
N.W. of Keep mount. The Barbican mount
stands at the S.E. junction of the E. mount and
bailey. It is small, flat-topped and surrounded
by a ditch. Other mounts: there is trace of
another small mount close by, on the S.W. of
the Barbican mount. Entrances: the position
is not certain. There is an indication of a
hollow road to the S.W. of the church.
Dimensions—Greatest length through mount
and bailey, S.W. to N.E., 550 ft. Greatest
width (excluding slight outwork), N.W. to S.E.,
a(3). At Pain's End, ¼ mile N. of the church,
a wet ditch. Roughly parallel to the S. face,
at a distance of 60 ft., are traces of a dry ditch
not recorded on the O.S.
b(4). Half a mile E. of the church, encloses
a(5). N. of Biggin Bridge, encloses house
and garden of Biggin Farm.
b(6). Tumulus, moated, at Hales Farm.