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).
At Springfield church we have a nave and chancel only, of nearly equal width, though the broken angles at the north side of the former evince that an aisle originally extended the length of this portion of the edifice; its fragments deserve attention, as being composed of pebbles and fractured pieces of brick, which much resemble Roman manufacture. The tower is square, built of the same materials as the body of the church, and probably at the same period, though the upper part being finished with red brick, points to a subsequent repair, which an inscription just beneath the battlements, on the south side, records in the following words:
Prayse God for al the good Benefectors,
The chancel contains some very elegant windows of king Edward the First’s period, finished with interior columns and water-labels; the latter terminated with those spirited busts so usual at that time, and which the sculpture of several succeeding ages vainly imitated.
A large square-headed window of Henry the Eighth’s style of architecture, inserted into the south wall of the chancel, contains three shields of armorial bearings.
1. To the memory of Thomas Brograve Esqre, who departed this life the 10th of December, 1810, aged 83 years, universally beloved and respected. His remains are interred in a vault underneath the family pew in this church. Thomas Brograve purchased Springfield Place in 1781; was the second son of Thomas Brograve, Esqre, of the county of Norfolk, and Juliana his wife, eldest daughter of John Berney, Esqr, late of Westwood and Worstead in the same county. In the vault are also interred the remains of Mrs. Ann Brograve, sister of the above, who departed this life the 5th of June, 1820, aged 83, justly esteemed and regretted by all who knew her.
2. Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Strutt, widow of Mr. Thomas Stunt, who was a freeholder of this parish. Four of their infant children having been buried in this churchyard, she was by her own particular desire interred in the same ground. Two sons survived her; the eldest of whom, John, was buried by his own desire with his daughter and two sons in the ground of the Broadway Chapel, Westminster. He left a widow, who, wishing to fulfil the intention of him whom she survived, and as a memorial of her own long cherished affection and respect, caused this monument to be erected.
3. Sacred to the memory of Charles Gretton, Esqr., late Major of the West Essex Militia, and one of his Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenants for this County; second son of the late Rev Charles Gretton, Rector of this parish, who died on the 13th of May, 1826, in the 71st year of his age, much regretted. And also, Mary, his wife, who died on the 2nd of March, 1820, in the 85th year of her age.
4. In a vault beneath this place repose the remains of Anne, wife of the Revd Phillips Gretton, D.D., ob. July 20th, 1733, aet. 47. Also, the Revd. Phillips Gretton, Rector of this parish, obt. Feb. 16th, 1744, aet. 67. Likewise, Thomas, son of Charles Gretton, citizen of London, obt. October 18th, 1744, aet. 53. The Revd. Henry Gretton, A.B., Rector of this parish, caused this monument to be erected, A.D.. 1786. (The entrance into the vault is under the vestry window.)
5. In the vault in the vestry are deposited the remains of the Revd. Henry Gretton, BA., 28 years Rector of this parish, and formerly of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, whose humanity and urbanity of manners will be long remembered, died 20th Decr. A.D. 1811, aged 60 years. He gave the Altar piece.
6. Sacred to the memory of Juliana Gretton, the only and beloved child of Philip and Susanna Gretton, who died of consumption at Colchester, on the 4th of August, 1833, in the 19th year of her age; in whom were united beauty, accomplishments, talents, and a most amiable disposition. So devoted was her filial affection, that even in the awful hour of dissolution she endeavoured to restrain the expression of her own sufferings, to mitigate the grief of afflicted parents, whose sole consolation now rests on the Christian’s hope of being permitted to join their beloved child in those mansions of peace where the voice of sorrow and of anguish shall be heard no more.
7. Near this place is interred Mr. Philip Gretton, youngest son of the late Dr. Gretton, obt. May 20th, 1749, aet. 22. Also, Elizabeth, wife of the Revd. Charles Gretton, obt. April 10th A.D. 1776, aet. 52. Likewise, the Rev Charles Gretton, A.M., Rector of Bosvils Portion, and Wretcham Bohunt, in this county, obt. September 29th, A.D. 1783, aet. 67.
The following benefactions to this parish are recorded on the front of the gallery:-
1. The poor of this parish are entitled to a rent-charge of £6 13s. 4d. per annum, payable out of certain lands called Great Perry Field, Little Perry Field, and Mill Field, situated in the parish. This rent charge was settled by Robert Peasely of this parish, yeoman, pursuant to a decree of the Court of Chancery, dated 23rd of January, 1586, upon the Mildmay family and other trustees of the poor, to be expended for their benefit under direction of the minister, churchwardens, and overseers for the time being.
2. The poor of this parish are also entitled (under direction of the ministers, churchwardens, and overseers, for the time being) to four tenements situate on the south-west side of the Green, occupied by indigent persons belonging to the parish ; and also to a tenement situate on west side of the road leading from the Green to Little Waltham, and occasionally used for the residence of persons afflicted with contagious disorders.
3. The parishioners are entitled to a rent-charge of £2 per annum, payable by the proprietor of Springfield Place for the time being, out of a piece of land lying contiguous to the end of the churchyard, which formerly belonged to the parish, but now forms part of the courtyard in front of Springfield Place.
4. The parishioners are entitled to certain lands, containing twelve acres and nineteen poles, situate in the parish, and known by the names of Holme Field, Alms Field, Church Field, Wood Field, and Little Lay Oaks; the rents arising therefrom, as well as the last-mentioned rent charge of £2 per annum, are to be applied in repairing and beautifying the parish church, under direction of the churchwardens for the time being; and the surplus, if any, to be applied to the assistance and support of the poor of the parish.
These lands are conveyed to certain trustees, who meet in November every year to audit the accounts.
It is but justice to the churchwardens to say, that the power and ability vested in them by the above donation, have been exercised in a praiseworthy manner; an that Springfield Church is not only kept in the neatest and most reputable condition, but exhibits fewer barbarisms than most sacred edifices subjected to constant repairs. The font, which lies hidden by rubbish in the tower, is of an earlier date than the church itself, and probably appertained to a former edifice, of which the north aisle may have formed a portion: it is probably as early as Henry the First’s reign.