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The Guildhall, Finchingfield

Description: The Guildhall

Grade: I
Date Listed: 21 December 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 115167

OS Grid Reference: TL6858032814
OS Grid Coordinates: 568580, 232814
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9682, 0.4526

Location: Church Hill, Finchingfield, Essex CM7 4NN

Locality: Finchingfield
Local Authority: Braintree District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CM7 4NN

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Listing Text

(south side)

7/24 The Guildhall
21 ,12.67 (Formerly listed as The
Guildhall and Nos.1,2,3,4
GV I The Almshouses)

Guildhall, now a parish room, library and 4 flats. Circa 1500, altered in C18.
Timber framed, plastered, roofed with handmade red clay tiles. 8 bays aligned
NE-SW, jettied on both long sides. The bays are of various lengths, the
shortest being at the SW end (originally forming a shop, now the stair to the
parish room) and the second from the NE end, probably originally the entrance/
stair bay.' The second bay from the SW end forms a covered footway to the
churchyard, with the library bay to the NE, and the parish room over the 2. The
remaining 5 bays are converted to 4 flats, with 2 C18/c19 axial stacks. 2
storeys. NW elevation (to Church Hill), 8-window range of C18 casements of 2 or
3 lights, all restored in various degrees. Brick base wall rebuilt. The jetty
has exposed beams (of which 2 are modern restorations) and joists with 4
original plain brackets. The left corner is cut back to reduce damage from
vehicles. The jetty of the right bay is underbuilt. Full set of original
sprockets. SE elevation (to churchyard), on the ground floor 6 similar windows,
and on the first floor 7 similar windows and 5 smaller reproductions. 5 plain
boarded doors, of which 2 stand forward with a lean-to roof (entrances to the
upper flats). The jetty of the left bay is underbuilt. Exposed beams and
joists (including some modern restorations) and 10 plain brackets, of which some
are reproductions. Some original sprockets. The footway through has original
arched braces on the Church Hill side, some modern reinforcement timbers, and on
the SW side an old (but not original) post with the head inscribed ET and 84 and
carved with scrolls. Both sides of the footway have weatherboarded dados, one
board being inscribed 1798. The SW end bay has a chamfered axial beam with
plain stops, and plain joists of horizontal section jointed to it with unrefined
soffit tenons, some wall framing indicating 2 former shop windows to the foot-
way, and on the first floor square mortices for (missing) moulded mullions and
grooves for sliding shutters, facing the churchyard. The library has heavy
studding with curved tension bracing trenched to the inside, indicating that
there were no original apertures to the footway, a similar beam and joists, and
a rebate for hinged shutters facing Church Hill. The parish room has jowled
posts, cambered tiebeams with short solid hanging knees, square crownposts
chamfered with plain stops, curved down braces, and thin axial braces. Original
roof apparently complete. Edge-halved and bridled scarfs in wallplates. Some
original rebated floorboards. The remaining 5 bays not examined internally, but
reported to be fully plastered. The Trinity Guild of Finchingfield is mentioned
in the Chantry Certificates of 1548 (P.R.O. E.301/19/13 and 20/19). All its
lands were granted by the Crown to William and John Myldemay, gentlemen, on 17
January 1549 (Calendar of Letters Patent, Edward VI, I, 295-6). In 1630 Robert
Kempe of Spains Hall gave to the poor of the parish 'a messuage at thee church
gate called Guildhall' (Report of Charity Commissioners, 546-7). The will of
Sir Robert Kempe, 1658, endowed it as a school and almshouses, 'the upper room
and a little chamber adjoining and one small room or shop under the small
chamber' to form the school and a lodging for the schoolmaster, the remainder to
form almshouses for 5 poor parishioners (Essex Record Office, D/DRS/Q1). This
implies that the 5 NE bays formed the 5 dwellings (but not one to each bay, as
the bay lengths differ greatly), and that the 3 SW bays formed the school and
Lodging for the schoolmaster. The present use and arrangement of the building
is little different, except that the 5 NE bays have been re-organised to form 4
flats, still occupied by aged parishioners. This building is of exceptional
importance, both by its key position at the churchyard entrance, and by the
historical continuity of use. RCHM 13.

Listing NGR: TL6857632817

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.