Friday, 8 May 2009

Fryerning: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845)

The following is taken from Revd. Alfred Suckling’s book, ‘Memorials of the antiquities and architecture, family history and heraldry of the County of Essex’ (John Weale, London, 1845).

Fryerning, or the Fryars’ Pastures, obtained that appellation from having been appropriated, at a very early period, to the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. It is a pleasant village in the hundred of Chelmsford, but the greater part of its population is crowded into a long and ill-built street on the London road, and which is generally known to travellers under the name of Ingatestone, although the latter place claims scarcely one third of the dwelling-houses.

The church stands nearly a mile to the northward of this street on a rising ground, which commands an extensive and delightful view in all directions, and is closely planted with firs and venerable yew trees, whose dark foliage casts a sombre shade around the churchyard, highly in unison with the sacred character of the place.

The church, which comprises merely a nave and chancel, without aisles, is an edifice of considerable antiquity, and was probably founded soon after the Norman Conquest; a few of its original windows are remaining with round arches, and placed very high up in the wall, but they are much wider than any I have met with of that period. About the time of Edward the First, considerable alterations were made in this structure, when several windows of more ample dimensions were inserted in the walls; but it was in the reign of Henry the Seventh when Fryerning church received its last and most important restoration, the whole tower, with its cushion-like pinnacles and machicolated battlements – a strangely inappropriate ornament for a sacred structure - was then raised; the chancel was rebuilt, and the very expansive arch between that portion of the building and the nave, was probably executed; these alterations have given a new air to the interior, and the older features of its architecture are most likely to be overlooked by the greater part of those who compose its congregation. Besides these peculiarities in this church, we must not suffer to pass unnoticed the curious staircase leading from the interior to the rood loft, and the ancient square font, the carving on the eastern side of which represents a kind of foliage; on the other sides, which vary, are cut stars, crescents and knots.


On a loose brass, lying in the vestry, is the effigy of a female; but as the inscription and arms are no longer attached, the name of the person intended to have been perpetuated is consigned to oblivion but the most remarkable circumstance connected with this memorial is, that on turning the figure, we perceive that it has been cut out of a larger and more ancient effigy - a cheap, but very exceptionable method of placing a monument to the memory of a departed relative. The female figure, as appears from the costume, belongs to the time of Elizabeth, but the destroyed effigy was of a much more early date, and was a larger and more elegant monument, as is evident from the remains of gilding with which is seems to have been originally covered.
Here lieth the body of’ Mrs. Margaret, the wife of Henry Oates, who departed this life July 21, 1763, aged 35 years.

Against the north wall of the chancel is a large shield containing Disney and his quarterings, impaling Fitche. Members of this family are interred in a vault in the churchyard.

A board against the organ gallery, which was erected in 1736, at the expense of Charles Hornby, Esq., presents us with the following list of benefactions:

“The Reverend Robert D’Oyley, M.A. rector of this parish, bequeathed by will, A.D. 1733, thirty shillings per year, to be expended in the purchase of bread, to be distributed to the poor of this parish at Christmas and Easter for ever.

“Mr. William Bright bequeathed by will, A.D. 1777, one hundred pounds, to be invested in the 3 per cent. Consols, and the interest thereof to be expended in the purchase of bread, to be distributed to the poor of this parish at Christmas and Easter for ever, payable at the Corporation House, £4 10s., Number 2, Bloomsbury Place, London, due at Christmas. The Reverend Mr. D’Oyley’s at the same place.

“Mrs. Rosamond Bonham, of this parish, bequeathed by will, A.D. 1803, one hundred pounds stock in the Three per Cent. Reduced; the interest (£3) thereof to be expended in the purchase of bread, to be distributed to the poor of this parish annually.

“Mr. Robert Sorrell bequeathed by will, A.D. 1825, one hundred pounds stock, in the Three per Cent. and Half Reduced, the interest thereof to be expended in the purchase of bread, to be distributed to the poor of this parish at Christmas and Easter, £3 10s.”

It appears that the organ was erected in 1824, by voluntary contributions, it. R. Michell, D.D., being at that time rector. Too much commendation cannot be passed upon the Rev. George Price, the present incumbent, the churchwardens, and all concerned in the management of this church, for the very neat and reputable manner in which it is kept.

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