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Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, Bradwell

Description: Parish Church of the Holy Trinity

Grade: I
Date Listed: 21 December 1967
English Heritage Building ID: 116339

OS Grid Reference: TL8177922156
OS Grid Coordinates: 581779, 222156
Latitude/Longitude: 51.8684, 0.6389

Location: Church Road, Bradwell, Essex CM7 8EP

Locality: Bradwell
Local Authority: Braintree District Council
County: Essex
Country: England
Postcode: CM7 8EP

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Listing Text

TL 82 SW
(north side)
2/9 Parish Church of the
21.12.67 Holy Trinity

- 1

Parish church. Early C12, altered in C14 and C15. Flint and pebble rubble
containing blocks of indurated conglomerate and some Roman tile; original
dressings of 'Coggeshall' brick, later dressings of limestone and clunch; porch
timber framed and partly weatherboarded; roofs of handmade red plain tiles;
belfry and spire timber framed and weatherboarded. The Chancel and Nave form a
single cell, early C12, raised by approx. 0.5 metre in the C14 or earlier; S
porch early C14; no other extensions or substantial alterations, other than to
the windows. All the quoins are original, of 'Coggeshall' brick, with approx.
0.5 metre of Roman tiles above, where the roof has been raised. Diagonal short
buttress at SE corner, C18/19. Both gables have been raised with rubble of a
different quality from the original. The E end has a concrete stitch near the
apex. Originally the E end had a line of 3 large windows, and 2 small windows
above them. Of the lower 3, only the most southerly is now visible, with
hollow-chamfered quoins of 'Coggeshall' brick, blocked; the most northerly
occurs only as an area of disturbed rubble. The upper 2 are almost complete
externally, with chamfered jambs and semi-circular arches; both are blocked
externally, but internally the splays and rear-arch of the more southerly are
complete and visible. Inserted centrally is a mid-C15 window of 3 cinquefoiled
lights with vertical tracery in a 2-centred head, its lower part blocked by a
C17 monument. In the N wall of the'chancel are 3 windows; the eastern is
mid-C14, of 2 trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a segmental-pointed head,
the jambs and tracery richly moulded internally; the western window is mid-C15,
of 2 cinquefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a 2-centred head with a
moulded label and headstops; both sills have been raised, blocked with brick
below; between them is a blocked original window with chamfered jambs and
semi-circular arch of brick. In the S wall of the Chancel are 2 windows, both
mid-C14, of 2 cinquefoiled ogee lights with tracery in distorted 4-centred heads
with moulded labels and chamfered rear-arches; the western window has carved
flowers in 2 cusps of the tracery; both sills have been raised externally,
blocked with brick below; the western window has a low internal sill, approx.
one metre above floor level. Between the windows is a C14 doorway with
double-chamfered jambs, 2-centred arch and chamfered rear-arch; above it an area
of disturbed rubble indicates the position of a former original window. The C14
roof of the Chancel has plain-chamfered wallplates and 14 7-canted couples, the
soulaces and ashlar-pieces chase-tenoned, with minor restoration; the rafters
have splayed to a lower pitch than those of the nave, so that externally the
roofs are now distinct, although originally they were of the same build. In the
N wall of the Nave are 2 windows; the eastern is mid-C14, of 2 cinquefoiled ogee
lights with tracery in a segmental head, the jambs and tracery richly moulded
internally; the sill is partly lowered to form a seat; the western window is
original, with chamfered jambs and round arch of brick, and asymmetrical splays.
Between the windows is an original doorway, with jambs and semi-circular arch of
rounded bricks, blocked with brick to form a C19 window with bottom-hinged
shutter; in the E jamb is an original timber baulk with internally an auger hole
for a latch; the internal jambs and rear-arch are of similar plain bricks. In
the S wall of the Nave are 2 windows similar to those in the N wall, except that
the sill of the eastern is lowered to form a full-width seat. Immediately W of
this window is a single brick jamb of an original window. Between the windows
is the original S doorway, similar to the N doorway but not blocked; in the
eastern jamb is an original timber baulk with an original latch attached
internally. Above the doorway, protected by the porch, is an area of weathered
original plaster, terminating at an incised line following the curvature of the
brick arch. The door is original, comprising 5 wedge-shaped planks rebated
together, on a rear portcullis frame halved and nailed at the intersections and
T-joints; 2 strap-hinges, shouldered at the W ends and scribed into the boards,
with incised herringbone designs. Round scutcheon plate with quatrefoil
piercings and later drop-handle, and a later stock-lock. In the W wall is a
mid-Cl5 window of 2 cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a 2-centred head, with
moulded label and hollow-chamfered rear-arch; above it is an original window
with chamfered jambs and round arch, blocked. Above it is a stitch of tiles,
and another of concrete at the base of the spire. All the late medieval windows
of the Chancel and Nave have old wrought iron grills, some inside, some outside
the glass. A rare or possibly unique feature of the walls is that 27 short
lengths of oak are incorporated in the original fabric, bridging over putlog
holes, later blocked. These are arranged in lines parallel with the ground,
which falls 0.5 metre from W to E, and in roughly vertical groups of 3
originally; only one group is complete, but patches of mortar or disturbed
rubble indicate the former positions of others. The wooden strips vary in
length from 0.14 to 0.63 metre, and in thickness from 28 mm downwards. Many of
them taper, and end with a sharp chisel-edge; elsewhere the impression of this
edge is preserved in the mortar. They are broken pieces of earlier artefacts,
of unknown type. The roof of the Nave is C14, originally of 19 scissor-braced
couples like those of the Chancel. A C15 crownpost structure has been inserted,
with moulded wallplates, one moulded tiebeam and one plain, both with octagonal
crownposts with respectively 4-way and 3-way hollow-chamfered rising braces, at
the W end a crown stud with one hollow-chamfered brace, and a hollow-chamfered
collar-purlin. This structure has supported the Nave roof against the strains
which have distorted the roof of the Chancel. At the W end 4 collars and their
soulaces have been removed for the intrusion of a bell-turret and spire, of
complex development. The earliest part is C12 or C13, originally set at a lower
level; the stubs of a former tiebeam project from the N and S walls immediately
above the most westerly Norman windows, each with an incomplete mortice,
representing the original support. It is now supported at a higher level by 2
posts E of these windows; the posts have been extended with butt-joints near the
tops, and the arched braces from them have been raised, leaving empty mortices.
The original form of the bell-turret is illustrated in C.A. Hewett, Church
Carpentry, a Study based on Essex exam les,1982, 63. It has been altered at
various dates, and now forms the base if an octagonal spire with central mast
chamfered with step stops, probably early C16; it was shingled when described by
the royal Commission, but is now weatherboarded overall. The early C14 S porch
has been altered in the late Clb, and sparingly restored in the C19. It
comprises one bay, with a 7-light window in each side wall. The window sills
are original (though covered by C19 boarding); they and the chamfered studs
below are grooved for original infill of boards, now missing and replaced by
external weatherboarding. The original ogee tracery is complete, trefoiled on
the E side and quatrefoiled on the W, but the mullions have been replaced by
turned balusters, late C16 on the E side, C19 (except for one half-baluster) on
the W side. The wallplates are richly moulded. The 2 S posts and arched braces
have been renewed in the C19, but the cranked tiebeam and cusped bargeboards are
original; the N tiebeam has solid knees. The roof is original, comprising 6
scissor-braced couples, chase-tenoned without collars (C.A. Hewett, Church
Carpentry, a Study based on Essex exatlples,1982, 47). Fittings. The piscina in
the Chancel is C15, with chamfered jambs carved with flowers, a cinquefoiled
arch in a square head with foliated spandrels and moulded label having the base
of a central pinnacle, a projecting moulded basin supported on a defaced head,
and a quatrefoil drain with defaced central ornament. The C15 timber screen
forming the only division between Chancel and Nave is in 4 bays with moulded
posts, rail and head, with mortices for a jettied loft to the W, removed. The
post between the N bay and doorway has a mortice for a former parclose. The N
bay has the traceried heads of 7 lights, the mullions removed; the second bay
forming the present central doorway has part of a former traceried head; the
third bay has traceried heads of 5 former lights; the S bay is open, as the
doorway to a former pulpit. The lower panels are plain, with inscribed Roman
numerals, except 2 with traceried heads in the third bay. Above the beam is
chamfered studding with original board infill, forming the E side of the former
loft, with 2 rough trefoil piercings, the E face painted with diapered ornament,
pink on green. The font has a C12 limestone bowl, originally square with a fine
chevron design round the rim, cut to an octagon in the early C16; the early C16
stem is of brick, octagonal with moulded base and top, with a sunk quatrefoil in
each face. The oak cover is C17, pyramidal with panelled sides, ball finial and
iron ring, hung from a C17 pulley on the tiebeam of the bell-turret. In the
Chancel are floor-slabs (1) lower part of priest, incised figure in mass
vestments with marginal inscription in Lombardic capitals with date 1349, black
marble, (2) to Edward Beaucock, M.D., 1665, with shield of arms, black marble,
(3) defaced and partly covered, C17. In the Chancel are indents (1) of figures
and canopy, 2 shields, group of figures, and inscription-plate, partly concealed
below base of altar, (2) of inscription-plate. On the E wall of the Chancel,
partly blocking the E window, is a monument (1) of Anthony Maxey (1592) and
Dorothy (Basset) (1602), his wife, marble and alabaster, erected by their son,
Sir Henry Maxey, with 2 round-headed recesses flanked and divided by Corinthian
columns, and containing kneeling figures of 2 men in plate armour and wives at
prayer-desks, with gadrooning below, entablature with foliate cresting and
quartered shield of Maxey, with four smaller shields below. Also on the E wall
are monuments (2) of Martin Carter, 1754, and Anne (Feake) his second wife,
1756, erected by his brother Milbourn Carter, 1766, grey and white marble with
scrolled open and broken pediment with shield of arms, (3) of Milbourn Carter,
1773, of similar design, the shield of arms not in place but present nearby, and
(4) of Michael Nolan, 1827, white marble sarcophagus, draped urn and arms on
black marble. On the N wall of the Chancel is a monument of Sir William Maxey,
1645, Helena (Grevill), his wife, 1653, and Grevill, 1648, and William, 1659,
their sons, black and white marble with scrolled broken pediment and achievement
of arms, above it a funeral helm and crest, partly of the late C16. On the S
wall of the Chancel is a monument to the Reverend Peter Milbourn Carter, 1813,
white marble tablet with shield of arms, scrolled quadrants and guttae on black
marble. In the NE window of the Chancel are fragments of glass in the tracery,
with dog in roundel, C14; in the NW window, fragments of figures and tabernacle
work, C15; in the SW window, part of an angel holding a shield and fragments of
tabernacle work, C15. In the NE window of the Nave are fragments of C14 glass,
grisaille and foliage, mostly in situ, and in the SE window, white trefoils on
black roundels surrounded by blue foliage and gold borders, mostly in situ, C14.
On the E wall of the Chancel are paintings, remains of the figure of an angel
with lozengy background, with foliated lower border N of the E window, and S of
it part of an arcade with foliate cresting; and on the splays and rear-arch of
the blocked Norman window, ashlar-work and part of a capital. On the E splay of
the NE window is a Trinity, the Dove obliterated; on the W splay, a full-length
Resurrection figure of Christ, with cross-staff; and on the soffit of the
rear-arch, a Majesty in a vesica, flanked by angels, one holding a cross and
crown of thorns, all C14. In the Nave there are paintings - on the soffit of
the rear-arch of the NE window, central circular panel with bird and scrolled
foliage border and indistinct continuation on the W splay; on the N wall, W of
the doorway, a small head, probably of the Infant Christ, part of a large figure
subject; on the E splay of the SE window, the Incredulity of St. Thomas; on the
W splay, figure, probably of St. James the Great, with book, staff and scrip; on
the soffit of the rear-arch, central circular panel with Agnus Dei and flowing
foliage each side, all c.1320. At the W end of the Nave are 238 medieval tiles,
some plain, some with slip patterns glazed; others are set in the sill of the SW
window of the Chancel; and others are loose in a chest. On the W wall of the
nave is a Royal Arms of Charles II, painted and later re-painted. On the N wall
of the Nave is a funeral helm with crest (dog's head razed), C17, on a plain
wrought iron bracket. There are 2 bells by Miles Graye, 1609 and 1621.
'The church is of the utmost importance since it is the only substantial
example of Norman brick-building in England' (Warwick Rodwell, Historic Churches
- a Wasting Asset, CBA Research Report 19, 1977, 68 and 98; P.J.Drury, The
production of Brick and Tile in Medieval England, Medieval Industry, CBA
Research Report 40, editor D.W. Crossley, 126-7). RCHM1.

Listing NGR: TL8177922156

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.