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List Entry Summary

This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.


List entry Number: 1197161



The building may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Brentwood

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Blackmore, Hook End and Wyatts Green

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: I

Date first listed: 20-Feb-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Dec-1994

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: LBS

UID: 373310

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Building

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.



TL6001 CHURCH STREET 723-1/15/11 Church of St Laurence 20/02/67 (Formerly Listed as: BRENTWOOD CHURCH STREET, Blackmore Church of St Lawrence)


Parish church. Mid-C12, altered and extended in C14, truncated and altered in C16, restored by Frederick Chancellor from 1895. Flint rubble with dressings of clunch and red brick, the latter partly plastered, roofed with machine-made red clay tiles; belfry timber-framed, partly weatherboarded, spire shingled. Founded as an Augustinian Priory in mid-C12, dissolved 1527. The existing building represents the structural nave and aisles of a larger building which formerly extended further E, and formed the parish nave and chancel, of which 2 incomplete windows remain at the E end. The N arcade, except the W bay, was rebuilt in the early C16; the C12 W bay survives. W belfry and spire C14. Early in the C16 arches to N and S of the parish altar were inserted, for 2 storeys in the aisles, with large plain openings towards the nave. E end demolished and blocked. N porch C19, incorporating fragments of the original. N arcade rebuilt with the same stones 1895-1907; E end of N aisle also rebuilt. NAVE: the nave of the priory church forms the parish nave and chancel. The E wall is C19, incorporating numerous worked stones; internally the wall is splayed back to reveal part of the mid-C14 octagonal responds of a former transverse arch; they have moulded capitals and are tapered back to a point about 2m above the floor. In the N wall are 6 arches: the easternmost is early C16, of plastered brick, 4-centred and of 3 chamfered orders with semi-octagonal responds of which the eastern has a moulded stone capital and base; the western respond is repaired with cement, and the base is cut away. The arch is kept low to allow an upper floor in the E bay of the N aisle, since removed. The second, third, fourth and fifth arches are C14, rebuilt; the moulded 2-centred arches have moulded labels with shield-stops, some C19, and spring from columns each with 4 attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns. The sixth arch is mid-C12, semicircular and of one square order; the square pier has at each corner an attached shaft with 3 waterleaf capitals, and a scalloped capital to the NW, and moulded imposts; the respond of the fifth arch is built against this pier; the W respond is similar to half a square pier. Above the E arch of the arcade is a plain window opening with shallow segmental head, now blocked on the S, which formerly opened from an upper floor in the N aisle. E of the head of the arch, partly cut away by the E wall, is a blocked C12 window with roll-moulded jambs and semicircular arch. Above the fifth pier and centrally over the C12 pier is a C12 clerestorey window of one rebated round light, now opening into the N aisle but with the weathering of the original aisle roof below it. SOUTH ARCADE: is of 6 bays; the easternmost arch is uniform with that opposite, but the capitals of the responds are cement-rendered. Above and to the east of the arch is part of a blocked window similar to that opposite, but with a short length of roll-moulded string course to W of it; centrally over the arch is a plain opening, wider than that opposite, with a square head, and a timber from on the S side, indicating the former existence of an upper floor in the E bay of the S aisle. The second, third, fourth and fifth bays of the arcade have 2-centred arches of 3 chamfered orders, and brick octagonal piers and semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals, early C16. The second column has a round stone base, reused; the fourth column and W respond have moulded stone bases. Painted in red on the E side of the fourth arch is a consecration cross with the letter M below it. The sixth bay is C12 and uniform with that opposite, except that all the attached shafts have scalloped capitals, and the impost mouldings are repaired with cement. Above the fifth pier is a window uniform with that opposite, with a similar weathering below. WEST WALL: is entirely C12, and was external before the timber belfry was erected against it; the W doorway is of 3 plain orders with a semicircular head and chamfered label; the jambs formerly each had 2 free shafts and one worked on the inner order; only the scalloped capitals remain, with grooved and chamfered abaci; the jambs are repaired with brick. Above the doorway are 2 hollow-chamfered and round-headed windows, and higher up a circular window, C19 internally. S of the doorway the rubble has been cut back for a first-floor fireplace and flue, which must pre-date the belfry as it is obstructed by one of the main posts. The roof is C19, retaining some late C14 carved bosses of faces, foliage and shields. NORTH AISLE: has in the E wall the southern part of an arch, probably C13, dying into the C19 buttress; the remainder of the arch has been destroyed, and the filling is C19. The N wall is C19 E of the porch and C14 to W of it; in it are 5 windows; the easternmost is a single early C16 light with a 4-centred head, restored externally; the second window is C19; the third window is C19 except for the head and tracery of the western light and the internal head of both lights, which are C14, re-set; the fourth is similar to the third, and is C14, re-set with some C19 stonework; the fifth window is similar but with a restored moulded label. Between the fourth and fifth windows is the mid-C14 N doorway with 2-centred arch, moulded label with C19 headstops, and restored moulded jambs. E of the porch and projecting on C19 buttresses are two C17 gabled dormers, each of 3 lights with an oval light above, with moulded mullions, jambs and heads, and diamond leaded glazing; the E dormer is restored, the W has only minor repairs; both have C17 bargeboards. SOUTH AISLE: has in the E wall a blocked C13 2-centred archway with a moulded label on the W side; the S wall is splayed back to allow for the width of the archway. At the SE corner is a brick diagonal buttress inscribed with the date 1714 and 2 initials, of which the second letter is B. The S wall is mainly early C16 except at the E end, where it may be C13, with a C13 blocked 2-centred doorway from the former cloister; externally part of the 2-centred arch is visible, with a weathered capital for a round shaft, missing; internally the whole arch and the segmental pointed and shouldered rear-arch with moulded label; above it internally is set the carved figure of a beast with the head broken off. W of this arch is a blocked C16 brick window with chamfered 4-centred head and jambs, visible externally. Further W are three C19 windows; between the second and third is the C18 S doorway with a chamfered lintel, formerly a W doorway from the cloister. On this side are three C19 dormers. The upper part of the W end of the wall is timber-framed. In the W wall is an C18 window of 2 semicircular lights with a C20 frame. BELFRY: almost square in plan, of 3 diminishing stages, the lowest of exposed timber framing, the middle stage clad with vertical hardwood boards, the third clad with C20 horizontal weatherboarding; between the stages and above are pent-roofs; the lowest is tiled, with projecting eaves supported by wide solid brackets; the others are shingled; the top stage is finished by an octagonal spire. 4 massive posts are arranged in a square, with 2 high 2-centred arches across the axis, and an intermediate post and 2 lower 2-centred arches in each side. 3 of the posts are approximately 0.50m square at the base, with a chamfered order attached by slip tenons and aligning with similar orders on the transverse arches; in the NE post the chamfered order is cut in the solid, giving overall dimensions of 0.57 x 0.66m, an exceptional timber in any context. In the spandrels of the transverse arches are vertical struts, with curved altire braces above. To each side are curved shores up to 0.16m thick in 6 successive stages. In each side are 4 pairs of curved saltire braces, up to the first floor which is partly rebuilt. Outside the main posts are 14 wallposts, and heavy studs 0.28-0.38m apart with curved braces trenched to the outside. The N wall has an inserted door, the S wall has an unglazed window with restored diamond mullions and an original shutter rail, a rare feature. The S and W walls retain many panels of wattle and daub infill. All the sills are original, up to 0.48 x 0.42m, the plinths rebuilt. In the W wall is a window of 6 lights with a straight head; the head and outer jambs are chamfered with broach stops; the mullions and inner jambs are moulded in 2 hollow chamfers and are grooved for glass. Cinquefoiled wooden tracery, also grooved for glass, appears to have been inserted after the original construction, probably in the late C15; a mortice for a former mullion is visible above it. 2 arched braces have been removed from the E frame to clear the C12 windows, presumably in the C19 restoration. Above the first floor each side of the square frame has one intermediate post; the 8 panels so formed each have curved saltire braces; the floor above is original, of horizontal joists with a framed bell-trap. Above this each side of the tower has paired curved tension braces to the corner posts, with wattle fixings for former infill of wattle and daub. The bell-frame is a later addition, wholly composed of straight timbers, diagonally braced, tenoned and pegged, probably of C16 construction. The base of the octagonal spire has been restored, and the upper part rebuilt with some restored timbers. Canted posts are tenoned to tie-beams above the highest stage of the tower, with 2 stages of curved saltire bracing; at the head is a horizontal frame carrying the spiremast. HISTORICAL NOTE: in 1962 CA Hewett dated the belfry and spire to c1480, and this dating has been followed by Pevsner and Scarfe; however, this dating was greatly influenced by the W window tracery which was taken to be integral with the main structure. It now appears that an originally unglazed window was glazed in the C15, and that the cinquefoiled tracery was inserted at that time. The multiple curved bracing, the heavy sections of the braces and brackets (even those which do not carry much stress), and the form of the tying-joints, are all more typical of the early C14. On historical grounds too, it is unlikely that the Priory would have been able to undertake a major timber construction of this quality in a period of falling revenues and high wages, or at any time after the Black Death. The large number of timbers each having long sequences of growth-rings makes this structure highly suitable for dendrochronological analysis. FITTINGS AND MONUMENTS: the font, C14/15, has an octagonal bowl with a hollow chamfered lower edge, an octagonal stem, and an octagonal plinth with similar moulding. In the chancel is an indent of a foliated cross with stem resting on breast and an incomplete marginal inscription in Lombardic letters; and in the nave is an indent of a brass now stored in the vestry, of a secular male figure in fur-trimmed gown, inscription and lower half missing, early C15. In the chancel and nave are floor slabs to Stephen Smyth 1670; Henry Smyth 1671; Stephen Smyth 1672; Thomas Smyth 1684; Charles Smyth 1720; and Arthur Smyth, undated, all in black marble with achievements of arms, and to Simon Lynch, Rector of Runwell, 1660, with achievement of arms. In the N aisle is an altar-tomb in white marble to Charles Alexander, 1775, and floor-slabs to Thomas Alexander Smyth 1747; Mary Tendring 1732; Esther Acworth 1768 and Dorcas Spriggs 1752. In the S aisle is an altar-tomb (of Thomas Smyth 1594, and Margaret, his wife), the base of C19 brick and cement with enriched alabaster pilasters, gadrooned table and recumbent effigies of a man in armour, and a woman in ruff and close dress, all of alabaster repaired with plaster; and on the S wall a monument to Joanna Gibson 1746, in alabaster, with tented drapery, putti and scrolls incription partly indecipherable. There are 5 bells, the second by Miles Graye 1657, the third by Miles Graye 1648, and the fourth by Thomas Lester 1752. In the belfry is a large panel of painted pine with a moulded frame, recording benefactions to the poor up to 1728. (Archaeological Journal: Hewett CA: The Timber Belfries of Essex: 226-244).

Listing NGR: TL6030501611

Selected Sources

Books and journals
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, (1962), 226-244

National Grid Reference: TL 60305 01611


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