Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

Braintree (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 85537 22244


TL 8422-8522 COGGESHALL ABBEY LANE (north side)

9/11 Coggeshall Abbey 2.5.53 (residence)


House. Early to mid C16, altered in C16 and early C17, incorporating part of the C12 infirmary of Coggeshall Abbey (Cistercian). Partly timber framed and plastered, partly of red brick (probably re-used) in English bond; the C12 remnant of moulded brick and stone; roofed with handmade red plain tiles. 3-bay storeyed 'hall' facing W, with cross-entry in right bay, and late C16 2-storey porch in line with it; large late C16 stack to rear of left and middle bays, formerly serving also a rear left wing which has been demolished. Late C16 4-bay crosswing to right, extending to rear and angled outwards to incorporate the C12 remnant in its left wall, with 2 late C16 stacks in the same wall. Early C17 stair-tower in rear angle, and early C17 small wing to rear of it. Early Cl7 garderobe between stair-tower and stack of main range. 2 storeys. The main range has late C16 brick walls on the ground floor only, with one transomed 5-light window with hollow-chamfered brick mullions and surround recessed within hollow-chamfered jambs and straight head, mutilated plain label and all original iron diamond saddle bars; rectangular leading with some C18 handmade glass; on the first floor one reconstructed window of C18 type with one wrought iron casement. The front gable end of the crosswing is all of brick, with on the ground floor one early C19 tripartite sash of 8-16-8 lights, and on the first floor a window similar to that in the main range, but in a reduced original aperture with hollow-chamfered jambs and plain label; the plain oak bargeboards are original or early. A short single-storey link to the monastic corridor (item 9/12, q.v.) is of C18 red brick in Flemish bond, with one C20 sash. The porch has similar outer and inner doorways with ovolo-moulded jambs and Tudor heads recessed in moulded surrounds; above the outer doorway is a moulded plaster band, a decayed stone shield formerly reported to bear the inscription B (for Richard and Anne Benyan) (P. Morant, The History and R A 1581 Antiquities of the County of Essex, 1768, II, 163, and RCHM) which appears to be cut into an earlier brick entablature, and is timber-framed above this level, with a projecting gable on 2 plain brackets; in the left side is a brick 2-light window with detail similar to that in the main range. The main range and porch have continuous moulded plinths and roll-mouldings above. In the left return of the main range is a C20 French window in an original aperture with hollow- moulded straight head. The rear stack has a crenellated roll-moulding, and one round and 3 octagonal shafts with moulded bases and renewed heads. The left gable of the timber framed stair-tower has on the ground floor one original 2-light window with mullion and surrounds of ovolo section with hollow-moulded glazing fillets, saddle bars missing, and a similar 4-light window with 2 of 4 original iron diamond saddle bars and an C18 wrought iron casement with twisted stay bar; on the intermediate or landing stage a similar 2-light window, saddle bars missing; and on the first floor a similar 4-light window with one C18 wrought iron casement; one light is blocked, and retains the oak diamond saddle bar with traces of original orange paint, the other lights have C18 horizontal saddle bars, rectangular leading and some handmade glass. The rear elevation of the stair-tower has at the intermediate level an original 2-light window retaining both diamond saddle bars. The left elevation of the wing to rear of it has on the ground floor a similar 4-light window with inserted round iron saddle bars, one C18 wrought iron casement, the other lights covered by wooden slats, and on the first floor an C18 3-light window with one wrought iron casement. The front stack in the left side of the crosswing has one round and one octagonal shaft with moulded bases and renewed heads; and the rear stack in the same wall has 3 octagonal shafts with similar bases and heads, and a crenellated roll-moulding similar to that of the main range. The rear elevation of the crosswing, abutting on the mill leat, has on the ground floor an original oriel of 5 transomed lights with unrefined ovolo mouldings, a rare survival meriting special care, and 2 C18 wrought iron casements; to each side of it is a blocked original flank window with similar detail; all saddle bars missing. On the first floor there is evidence of a former similar oriel, and 2 similar blocked flank windows. The right elevation of the crosswing has on the ground floor 2 tripartite sashes of 4-12-4 lights, one sash of 12 lights and one of 8 lights, all early C19; and on the first floor one original 3-light window with unrefined ovolo-moulded mullions and surround, one light of a similar partly blocked window, and 3 windows incorporating 3 C18 wrought iron casements. The main range has moulded transverse and axial beams, moulded joists, and original planks parallel with the joists; a line of peg-holes in the beam between the right and middle bays indicates the position of a former screen recorded by the RCHM in 1922. The wide wood-burning hearth on the ground floor has a depressed brick arch and a deep recess in each splay. The first-floor hearth has plastered moulded jambs and 4-centred arch, recessed in a moulded surround, with rear splays, and an original oak overmantel with 4 fluted pilasters with egg- and-dart capitals, and arcaded panels with carved foliate spandrels. This floor has much oak panelling, some of which has been moved in the C20. The roof is original to the earlier structure and complete, with tall octagonal crownposts with step stops, and axial braces of 4-centred curvature. At the right end the collar-purlin has been extended later to bridge the valley between this roof and that of the crosswing. The crosswing is timber framed and plastered, except for the front gable end and the remnant of the C12 structure, with jowled posts, close studding, and arched braces trenched to the inside. The transverse beams are chamfered with lamb's tongue stops, except the beam near the front wall, which is unchamfered to the front; mostly the joists are plastered to the soffits, but where exposed they are plain and of horizontal section. The second ground-floor room from the front is wholly lined with oak panelling, mostly c.1600 but including on the left a small area of late C17 panelling which is ovolo-moulded and fielded. One transverse beam has mortices for a removed studded partition; and one original partition has a plain doorhead, the arched doorhead below it missing. On the first floor are 2 wide wood-burning hearths with chamfered jambs and 4-centred arches. Between the stacks is a C12 round column of moulded brick with a mutilated stone cushion capital, and the upper part of a C12 plain brick 2-centred arch. Incorporated in this wall, but less visible, are 4 bays of C12 brickwork from the monastic infirmary (J.S. Gardner, Coggeshall Abbey and its early brickwork, Journal of the British Archaeological Association, third series 18, 1955, 26 and plates 5 and 8). The roof is of crownpost construction and complete, with plain crownposts and arched axial braces. The stair-tower has a C20 stair in the same position as the original stair, indicated by the original windows on 2 sides of the intermediate landing. On the lower storey is an original door of 4 rebated wedge-shaped planks, with C20 planking on the rear. From the upper storey a doorway with moulded jambs and 4-centred head leads into the main range. A smaller plain doorway from it leads into the garderobe to the N, with a blocked small unglazed window; only the upper storey of the garderobe survives. Gardner has shown that a secular mansion within the Abbey was recorded in 1518 and 1528 'next the firmary of the monks', which he took to be the rear wing shown in a map of 1639 (Essex Record Office, D/DOp P.1), and he attributed the remainder to Richard Benyan, but this map does not show buildings accurately, and does not for instance record the C16 wing which extends right to the mill leat. It is possible that part of this mansion forms the timber-framed structure of the present main range; but if not, the main range was built immediately after the dissolution in 1538, at which time the property was held by Sir Thomas Seymour (Morant, op. cit.). At a later date in the C16 the lower storey was encased or replaced with brick, the porch and rear stack were added (and a rear left wing, since demolished), and the right crosswing was added. This phase can be closely dated to soon after 1567, the earliest recorded use of plain ovolo-moulded windows (A.W. Clapham, The Court House, or "old Town Hall" at Barking, Trans. Essex Archaeological Society, new series 12, 1913, 295-8); lamb's tongue stops are first recorded in 1564 (J. McCann, The Introduction of the Lamb's Tongue Stop, some new evidence, Historic Buildings in Essex 2, 1985, 2-5); such a date would be compatible with the true Tudor doorheads of the porch, and the crownpost roof. The Paycocke family held the lease in 1581, and Richard Benyan apparent inserted his own datestone, but cannot be responsible for much else; the crownpost roofs cannot be so late. At a later stage the stair-tower, garderobe and wing to rear were added; these are dated by the refined section of the window mouldings, of which an example dated 1623 exists at Cressing Temple (item 4/75, q.v.), but a date of construction after 1600 is possible. An C18 phase of alteration is apparent in the wrought iron casements and glazing, an early C19 phase in some windows and a semi- elliptical arch, and minor alterations have been effected since the building was recorded by the RCHM in 1922. It is not known when the rear left wing was demolished, but some charring of the adjacent structure is reported. This house is an outstanding example of domestic architecture of various periods, in addition to the monastic fragment incorporated in it. RCHM (Little Coggeshall) 1.

Listing NGR: TL8553722244


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

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Books and journals
Morant, P, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex, (1768), 163
'Journal of The British Archaeological Association' in Journal of The British Archaeological Association, , Vol. 18, (1955), 26
'Historic Buildings in Essex' in Historic Buildings in Essex, (1985)
Clapham, A W, 'Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society' in The Court House Or Old Town Hall At Barking, , Vol. 12, (1913), 295-8


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: 30 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/06110/30
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Frank Swift. Source Historic England Archive
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