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Church of St Nicholas, Coggeshall Abbey, Coggeshall

Description: Church of St Nicholas, Coggeshall Abbey

Grade: I
Date Listed: 31 October 1966
English Heritage Building ID: 116041

OS Grid Reference: TL8536722279
OS Grid Coordinates: 585367, 222279
Latitude/Longitude: 51.8683, 0.6910

Locality: Coggeshall
Local Authority: Braintree District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CO6 1RD

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Listing Text

(north side)

9/10 Church of St.
31.10.66 Nicholas, Coggeshall


Gatehouse chapel of Coggeshall Abbey, now a church. Circa 1225, restored in
1863, and by Bodley and Garner in 1897, repaired in C20. Flint rubble
incorporating English brick and tiles, with dressings of contemporary English
brick, roofed with handmade red plain tiles. Rectangular plan, a single build,
without additions. In the E wall is a brick window of 3 chamfered lancet lights
enclosed in a hollow-chamfered 2-centred outer order, with roll-moulded splays
and 2-centred rear-arch. In the N wall are 4 chamfered brick lancet windows
with similar splays and rear-arches, all slightly restored. In the S wall are 4
similar windows, but the 2 eastern windows are reduced in depth for internal
features; the third window is wholly C19. W of it is a S doorway, 1863. The S
wall between the E jamb of the third window and the W jamb of the doorway has
been rebuilt in the C19. An engraving of 1818 shows the building in use as a
barn, with a wagon entrance and midstrey at this point (J. Greig, Excursions
through Essex). In the W wall is a window similar to that in the E wall,
rebuilt externally in the C20 but retaining the original splays and rear-arch;
much of the upper wall has been rebuilt. All the quoins have been repaired in
the C19 and C20, but substantial original fabric remains. An aumbry in the N
wall was wholly restored in the C19. At the E end of the S wall is an original
stone credence with C19 sill, an original double piscina of brick with hollow-
chamfered E jamb, mutilated, and in range with it, 3 sedilia with defaced
2-centred arches, hollow-chamfered W jamb, and C19 piers between the bays. Some
original plaster survives on the soffits and backs of the arches, with C13
painting (1) of red masonry lines on white in E bay, (2) part of red cruciform
nimbus in middle bay, (3) foliate pattern of brown on white on the soffits of
all the bays. 1.85 metres above the floor on all internal walls of the building
is a roll-moulded band of brick, rising with mitred corners over the credence,
piscina and sedilia, restored in C19, but originally coloured green and glazed.
Below the band the rubble is exposed, above it is plastered (the rubble was
stripped archaeologically in 1981; 2 recesses were found in the E wall, blocked
in the C19). At the threshold of the S door is a small area of mosaic paving,
comprising circular tiles inset at the junctions of large square tiles,
originally coloured and glazed but now bare. The roof is continuous, comprising
23 scissor-braced couples visible internally, and plain couples exposed in the
gables, but the 10 couples at the E end have been treated differently from the
remainder. The former are substantially original, with minor C19 repairs. The
scissor braces are connected to the rafters by secret notched lap joints;
collars are halved across the braces and rafters, and ashlar-pieces are tenoned
into the rafters (illustrated in C.A. Hewett, English Historic Carpentry, 1980,
90). 2 undated photographs framed in the church show the roof thatched, and
this end of it standing approximately 0.40 metre higher than the remainder at
the apex, with a small plastered gable. The S part of the roof has been
completely rebuilt in the C19 or C20, retaining some components of the original.
Shown with a tiled roof and without the midstrey in a aau of 1639 (Essex Record
office, D/DOp P.1). J.S. Gardner reported that the bricks are similar to those
of Coxyde Abbey, Belgium, 1214, but produced locally at Tilkey (Coggeshall Abbey
and its early brickwork, Journal of the British Archaeological Association
(third series) 18, 1955, 19-32 and Plates XI, XIII and XIV). 'This is
undoubtedly the finest piece of Early English brickwork in England, and ranks
with Bradwell-juxta-Coggeshall for importance' (Warwick Rodwell, Historic
Churches - a wasting asset, CBA Research Report 19, 1977, 103). RCHM (Little
Coggeshall) 1. A.M.

Listing NGR: TL8536722279

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.