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Church of St Nicholas, Castle Hedingham

Description: Church of St Nicholas

Grade: I
Date Listed: 21 June 1962
English Heritage Building ID: 114530

OS Grid Reference: TL7846935604
OS Grid Coordinates: 578469, 235604
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9902, 0.5978

Location: Church Lane, Castle Hedingham, Essex CO9 3DA

Locality: Castle Hedingham
Local Authority: Braintree District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CO9 3DA

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Listing Text

8/13 Church of St Nicholas
21 6 62


Parish Church. Circa 1180 Chancel, Nave, North and South aisles (with C14 eastern bays)
and Clerestory. C15 north vestry. C16 red brick tower. C16 red brick porch with
diapering. C19 organ chamber and restorations. Mainly of flint rubbles with stone
dressings. mainly red tiled roofs with some lead. Chancel with clasping buttresses
to eastern corners, scratch sundial to south. TWO Pilasters to east wall and one to
south wall. C19 corbels to north and south walls. In line windows of one light with
two centre moulded heads and labels, jambs with attached shafts with moulded bases and
foliated capitals, four to south, 3 to east and 3 to west walls with moulded string
course under. Those to the east wall with abaci moulding continued as a string course.
Above these eastern windows is a large C12 wheel windown of eight shafts with moulded
bases and foliate capitals. String course below this window. Southwestern door
blocked internally but with original C12 door of 3 boards with fine ironwork. C12 doorway
with semi-circular arch of two richly carved orders with foliate and zig-zag ornament,
lable with billet ornament. Jambs with two keeled and attached shafts, moulded bases,
foliate capitals. Masons mark stone to north east wall. Chancel interior. the in-line
windows with moulded arches and labels. The window splay shafts with moulded bases,
foliated capitals and moulded abaci. Between the windows are recesses with keeled shafts
with moulded bases and capitals. Moulded string course below cills. The chancel roof is
of seven cants with moulded wall plates. Chancel door to vestry C15 of studded battens
with strap hinges. C15 vestry doorway with moulded jambs and two centred arch in square
head, moulded label over. C12 rectangular niche in north wall with rebated jambs and
head. Piscina and sedilia with much C19/20 restoration. Stepped bases with four in-line
semi-circular arched heads with ornate zig-zag decoration each supported by two shafts
with moulded bases and foliated capitals. Circa 1539 black marble altar tomb with
polished top slab, to John DeVere Fifteenth Earl of Oxford and his Wife Elizabeth
(Trussell). Two panels in high relief, one of two kneeling figures of a man in fluted
plate armour and a woman with pedimental head-dress and heraldic mantle. The other with
coat of arms supported by heraldic beasts with hel and crest over. Mouldings and borders
to each panel. Side slabs panelled with kneeling figures of four daughters and names,
the four sons, against wall are not visible. Misericords, moulded and carved with many
motifs, believed to be one of only two sets in Essex. The two centred Chancel Arch was
possibly widened and rebuilt C14 with original and new material. Of two richly moulded
orders with zig-zag ornament and matching label. Responds of three attached shafts,
moulded bases with spur ornament, waterleaf and stiff leaf foliate capitals. Chancel
Screen C14/C15 of 6 bays the two centre bays forming a doorway with trefoiled sub-cusped
head, crocketed with finials and tracery over. Similar side bays with closed lower
panels with foliate bosses and spandrels, cinquefoil heads, moulded and buttressed posts
and moulded cornice with carved bosses. To north east of the Chancel, the C15 Vestry
with lean-yo roof and north east buttress. East wall with a two light cinquefoil window
under a square head and label (now blocked) lancet window to north wall and C19/C20
doorways to north and west walls. The C19 gabled organ chamber, with two light window
to apex and four small lancets in a stone and flint panel below eaves level with string
course and corbels adjoins this Vestry. The Norman Nave, north and south aisles with
C15/C16 red brick crenellations with moulded string courses and crow stepped parapet
verges. the clerestorey with red brick sunken panels with alternating boar and mullet
motifs of the De Vere family, between six two light segmental headed windows with flat
labels over to north and south walls. South Aisle with two C14 three light windows
with tracery under square heads. C12 south doorway with jambs and semi-circular arch of
three moulded orders. Jambs with attached shafts with moulded bases and spur ornament.
Water and stiff leaf foliage to capitals, moulded abaci. C12 door with counter rebated
plank edges and find original ironwork. C16 west window of two square headed lights with
chamfered label. North aisle, north wall with two three light windows under square heads
with lables. C12 north doorway with moulded semi-circular arch, jambs with keeled shafts
with moulded bases and abaci and foliate capitals. The C12 door has fine original
ironwork. Traces of a former porch can be seen in the wall around the doorway. C19/C20
west wall window of two lights under a square head with lable, above which is a small
blocked lancet. Internally the nave has aisles of 6 bays with semi-circular arches of
two moulded orders, with labels to south side. Piers are alternately circular and
octagonal with square moulded abaci, foliate capitals and moulded bases. The two
eastern bays are exceptions, being C14. The northern with moulded segmental pointed
arch springing from a head corbel on the east wall, whilst the southern arch of three
chamfered orders springs from a moulded corbel. The C14 upper doorway to former rood
loft has a moulded two centred arch and chamfered jambs and is above the first pier of the
north arcade. The clerestorey has C12 internal splays and semi-circular arches which
were cut back C16 when the brick windows were inserted. C14 niche in norht wall with
moulded jambs and trefoil head. C12 or earlier stoup bowl with reversed animal head
and foliate carving, set into wall recess east of the south door. C17 panelling
to south east corner of south aisle above which is a small carved stone figure with
raised arms and circular head possibly C12 or earlier. The Nave roof is ascribed to
Thomas Loveday. Died 1535. Of double hammer beams with moulded purlins and upper hammer
beams, crenellated and carved cornice and lower hammer beams. Carved pendants to
collar beams. Traceried spandrels to curved braces. Buttresses with crocketed
pinnacles and foliate pendants to side posts. Above the wall plates each bay has
carved angels with outspread wings, holding shields. the Mullet and Boar emblems of
the De Vere family are also carved in this panelling. West Tower C16. Red brick
probably restored circa 1616. A stone over the west window is inscribed "Robert
Archer the Master Builder of this stepell 1616". Of three stages, crenellated with
four pinnacles and stepped buttresses. South east stair turret. C18 cupola surmounted
by a weathervane. West window of transomed lights under a square head above which the
moulded label is enriched with heraldic emblems of the De Vere family. The stained
glass windows depict 10 saints. North and south second stage loop lights. All walls
of bell chamber with 3 four-centred lights under square heads. Small lights to stair
turret. Interior of West Tower. Stair turret doorway has double chamfered jambs and
moulded four centred arch. C17 door with strap hinges. Two centred tower arch of
three chamfered orders. Chamfered responds with moulded bases and foliate capitals
to attached shafts, part of these shafts possibly C12 re-set. The C16 diapered red
brick South porch is crenellated and buttressed. There are two stone panels above and
a niche below the moulded string course. The moulded archway is four centred with
moulded responds. In the south east external wall is a plain rectangular stoup. The
East and West windows are of two lights under square heads, the inner cills continue
through and form seats. The three Norman doors and doorways, the double hammer beam
roof and misericords together with the Norman sturcture and later brick tower make this
church one of the most outstanding in Essex. RCHM 1.

Listing NGR: TL7846935604

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.