Thursday, 5 March 2009

Willingale: Durrant's Handbook For Essex (1887)

The following is taken from ‘Durrant’s Handbook For Essex’ (Durrant & Co., Chelmsford, 1887).

The two twin parishes known as “the Willingales” derive their distinctive names from their owners soon after the Conquest, William d’Ou and Hervey de Spain respectively. Their churches stand in the same churchyard, not 50 yards from one another – a thing unparalleled in Essex, but not unknown in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The tale is told of their having been founded by two sisters out of rivalry can hardly be true, as they are of widely different ages.

Will’ingale Doe. A. 1739; p. 423; Rectory, value (with Shellow Bowells) £450; 5m. N.E. from Ongar.

Willingale Doe Church (St. Christopher), probably built about the 14th cent., is the largest and finest of the two. It consists of nave, with N. aisle added in 1853, chancel, and embattled square tower, rebuilt in 1853 in the Perp. style and containing 4 bells, dated respectively 1610-32-34 and 1797. The chancel arch is a well-proportioned pointed one. Near it is a small and very curious square piscine. The S. windows of the nave are square-headed Perp. ones. There are brasses to one of the Torrells (inscription lost) in armour (about 1400), Ann Sackfild, nee Torrell (1582), in rich costume, and Dorothie Brewster, nee Jocelyne (1613), with very quaint inscription. On the S. side of the chancel is a huge monument of white marble to Sir Robert Wiseman, Esq. (1641), of Torrell’s Hall. The full-sized recumbent effigy of the knight is in armour. There is a long and absurdly fulsome Latin inscription. On the tomb is still an ancient helmet, with the knight’s crest surmounting it. The Register dates from 1570. Torrell’s Hall, 1m. N., now a farmhouse, with fine avenue of elms, was a residence of some importance, formerly occupied by the Torrell or Tyrell, Wiseman, and other families.

Will’ingale Spain. A. 1200; P. 207; Rectory, value £360; 5m. N.E. from Ongar.

The Church (St Andrew and All Saints) is a small Norman or E. Eng. structure, consisting simply of nave and chancel, with a small spire and 2 bells, one of which has a 15th cent. inscription. The corners are almost entirely built of Roman tile, as also are the sides and arch of the perfectly plain round-headed Norman N. door. The door itself has much ancient ornamental iron-work. The S. door and the W. window are also round-headed. On the N. side of the nave are two tiny narrow splayed windows, of Norman or E. Eng. work, one pointed, the other, round-headed. On the S. side is an elegant lancet window, 6ft. high by 11 inches wide, also an inserted window in the Decor. style. The chancel has 5 windows; the E. one is new, and in Perp. style; the others, 2 on each side, are all similar, being low-arched Perp. ones of the time of Henry VI. The font is octagonal. There are no brasses and few inscriptions. The Register dates from 1576. Spains Hall, ½m. S., is an ancient manor-house.

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