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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

Maldon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 84008 07721



TL80NW ABBEY TURNING, Beeleigh 574-1/1/225 (East side (off)) 02/10/51 Beeleigh Abbey and attached wall (Formerly Listed as: Beeleigh Abbey)


Premonstratensian abbey, converted to house. Founded c1180 by Robert Mantell. C13-C16 with later alterations, areas of rebuilding and addition of c1912. MATERIALS: septaria, pudding-stone and rubble mix with areas of C16 red brick; ashlar and Purbeck marble dressings; timber-framed inserted partitions and C16 range with brick nogging; plain tiled roofs. PLAN: of the Abbey buildings, only the east range of the cloister and the stub of the south range survives. The east range is an L-plan block with the chapter house oriented east-west and the dorter running north-south, separated from the chapter house by a barrel-vaulted parlour or passage. Projecting to the south of the dorter are the remains of a range with a gable to the east which probably housed the passage to the reredorter, into which has been inserted a C17 staircase. Built into the angle between this range and the dorter is a 3-storey timber-framed range. Of the south range, or frater, only the site of the day stairs and slype survives, now used as the main entrance. EXTERIOR: 2-3 storeys throughout with a single-storey and attic addition of c1912 built into the south-east angle. Chapter House: Early C13, the upper floor, except on the south side, largely rebuilt. Four bays. Paired west entrances with hollow-chamfered pointed arches supported by a triple central shaft with waterholding bases and bell capitals; dogtooth jambs with nook-shafts; flanked by a pair of 2-light windows with quatrefoil plate tracery, central shaft with moulded capital and base. Eroded demi-angel corbel above. C19 square-headed window of 4 cinquefoil lights to 1st floor; timber casement to rendered gable. The north wall has a single lancet with cinquefoil head to the ground floor and three 2-light windows above, the outer two being reset medieval fabric. Wall shows scars interpreted as the springing of a former barrel-vaulted building adjoining to the north. East wall has eroded stone quoins, repaired in brick. Two square-headed windows of 2 cinquefoil lights to the ground floor of late C14, the northernmost restored; 2 similar C19 windows above. 4-light timber casement to gable south wall has restored late C14 two-light window to east and lancet to west; above are 2 lancets and a further 2-light window. Dorter range: 4 bays with parlour/passage to north. The west wall is concealed by the range added c1912, at which time the early C16 1st-floor windows corresponding with those on the east side were blocked. East wall has C20 window inserted into former blocked doorway of parlour/passage. To dorter undercroft three 3-light C15 Perpendicular windows with panel tracery, the northernmost renewed; a further blocked window to the south bay contains a C17 oak doorway. Off-set buttresses repaired in C16 brick. 1st floor has 5 early C16 brick square-headed mullioned windows, each of two arched lights. Reredorter passage range has a blocked Tudor-arched door with adjoining blocked lancet and a rectangular light. Further rectangular light to 1st floor and casement to rendered gable. Frater range: west wall has single light to ground floor, 1st floor rebuilt in brick with a C16 Tudor-arched doorway converted into a window. Twin diamond-set stacks. North wall has 2-light late C14 window to 1st floor. South wall has C13 pointed slype doorway now forming main entrance. Timber casement to east, and to 1st floor. Gabled dormer to attic. Timber-framed block: in the late C16 a 3-storey timber-framed wing was built onto the remains of the reredorter passage range, with a roof gabled to east and west. Originally jettied on two floors on the west side, the ground-floor front wall has since been brought forward. Close-studded wall with possibly original brick nogging displays evidence for former square projecting oriel windows, on brackets on 1st and 2nd floors. The 1st-floor jetty bressumer projects forward with crenellated decoration. The south flank has 2 full-height storey posts and exposed studwork in the front 2 bays. The centre bay reveals remnants of further square projecting windows on ground and 1st floors. INTERIORS: Chapter House divided down the centre by 3 octagonal Purbeck piers with bell capitals and moulded bases. Quadripartite vaults with finely-moulded ribs and large foliate bosses to alternate bays. Ribs spring from corbels on the outer walls, whose abaci run into a continuous string course. The damaged west door repeats the external detail. Inserted door to parlour/passage. Dorter range: C13 pointed door to parlour/passage. This apartment retains traces of a painted foliate scroll frieze to north and south walls and above the west door. The dorter undercroft is subdivided longitudinally by 3 Purbeck columns with bell capitals and moulded bases. Quadripartite vaults with chamfered ribs, springing from wall corbels with a variety of decorative treatments, including knotting, with spiral and foliate patterns. Traces of wall painting. Fireplace to west wall has double-chamfered segmental arch decorated with fleurons; carved encircled quatrefoils to the spandrels with shield, beast's head and mouchette motifs; above, a band of giant fleurons and demi-angels bearing musical instruments, all very worn; crenellated rail flanked by buttresses terminating in octagonal crenellated pinnacles; lined with medieval pamments. C17 and C18 cast iron firebacks. 2 doors in west wall: C13 pointed door to frater range with C17 door to north. Dorter to 1st floor now lined with bookshelves concealing west wall. Inserted stud partition to each end, that to the south supporting reused C15 screen with embattled rail. Wide-span roof of early-mid C16 date with 2 collars, the lower carrying crown posts with thin longitudinal braces. Curved ashlar pieces springing from inner wall plates forming, with similarly curved soulace pieces, the framing for a former plaster barrel ceiling. The remains of 5 crown posts can be seen, but the roof continues largely concealed to the south, where part of the barrel ceiling is still intact. Frater range: north wall has C13 slype doorway, now leading to kitchen. 1st-floor room entered by C16 timber Tudor-arched doorway with carved spandrels in square-headed surround, which was approached by a flight of external stairs prior to the c1912 addition. Roof of 7 cants with slightly curved ashlar and soulace pieces of C15 or earlier date. Timber-framed block: jowled posts and internal curved wall bracing with some reused timber. Roof of 3 bays, unrelated to bay divisions of frame, with A-frame trusses with high collars and substantial straight arch braces. A near central partition is partly of timber-framing and partly of brick and masonry with arched fireplace on 1st floor. All windows now have iron leaded-light casements, some with reused moulded timber mullions and some of C17 type with timber security bars. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached wall to south west: approx 2m high, red brick with blue diaper diamond pattern, in two lengths cranked in centre; chamfered plinth. HISTORY: the canons migrated c1180 to Beeleigh from Great Parndon, which is turn had been colonised from Newhouse, Lincs, the first house of the order in England. At the time of the Dissolution in 1536, when it was home to nine canons, it passed to John Gate of High Easter. He alienated it to William Marche of Calais in 1546, and it was in the possession of the Francke family by 1580. (RCHME: Essex: London: 1921-: 178-81; Victoria County History: Essex: 1907-: 172; Fowler R C: Beeleigh Abbey: 1924-; Morant P: History & Antiquities of the County Of Essex: 1793-: 336).

Listing NGR: TL8400807721


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

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Books and journals
An Inventory of Essex Central and South West, (1921), 178-81
Doubleday, AH, Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Essex, (1907), 172
Fowler, R C, Beeleigh Abbey, (1924)
Morant, P, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex, (1793), 336


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

End of official listing

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Date: 31 Jul 2003
Reference: IOE01/11019/09
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Brian Martin. Source Historic England Archive
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