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).
Willinghale Spain and Willinghale Dou, two parishes so called from their ancient possessors, are united in a more than ordinary degree by the circumstance of their two churches standing in one cemetery. The cause of this singularity, it seems, at the present day, impossible to explain. The distinctive names, however, of these villages, as may readily be supposed, are derived from their ancient owners, one of whom appears to have been of French, and the other of Spanish origin. The largest of these parishes is named from the family of D’Eau, now corrupted into Dou and Doe.
In the reign of Henry the Second, William de Ou held four knights’ fees, and Hugh de Ou one, under Geoffry de Mandeville, Earl of Essex. This parish contains about fourteen hundred acres.
Willinghale Spain is so called from the family of De Hispaniâ, which seems to have been seated in Essex from the time of the Norman Conquest till the reign of Edward the Second. Their principal residence was at Spain’s Hall in the parish of Finchingfield, near Braintree, which lordship was held by Hervey de Hispaniâ, under Alan the Fierce, in the eleventh century.
Willinghale Spain contains only nine hundred acres, and is rated to the land tax at £547. We will now examine, separately, the two churches of these villages. That of
Is the smallest of the two, and stands at the south-east corner of the cemetery. It is dedicated to Saint Andrew and All Saints. This is by far the most ancient structure; exhibiting small round-headed loopholes, as well as lancet windows and Norman doorways; the latter being profusely ornamented with iron work, spreading in various devices over the entire doors, though the stonework is entirely devoid of decoration. A finely proportioned pointed arch divides the nave from the chancel; neither of which possesses aisles or chapels, while a small turret of wood, at the western end, supplies the place of a bell-tower. William de Hispaniâ gave this church to the Priory of Blackmore, for the health of the souls of his father and mother, and of himself and his wife. Monkish rapacity accordingly endowed a vicarage, dividing the profits of the living between the convent and the vicar, who was thenceforth nominated by the Bishop of London, and presented by the prior. At length, the vicar’s income, which was only five marks a year, being found too small for his subsistence, he petitioned Bishop Braybroke that the ordination of the vicar age might be annulled, and the whole profits go to the maintenance of a rector, reserving to the convent a pension of forty shillings a year, to pray for the souls of William de Hispaniâ and his relations; all which was ratified under the bishop’s seal, on the 13th of January, in the year 1398. At the dissolution of monasteries, the right of presentation to this rectory came to the Crown, but the nomination has ever continued with the Bishop of London.
The monuments in this church are few and inconsiderable, yielding in this respect much to the sister church of Dou. That which claims our first notice derives its consideration from the singularity of its design, rather than from its size or the costliness of its material. It somewhat resembles a book, fastened by one side against the south wall of the chancel, being about a foot in length, and eight or ten inches in width. On the outside of the cover, which is of wood, and moves on metal hinges, is an escocheon of Beulie’s arms and quarterings.
And on the inside of this cover is a second shield, charged with the same bearings. impaling the following coat:
The interior of this whimsical contrivance contains a sheet of parchment, fixed to the other cover, on which are emblazoned several shields Beaulie’s arms, single, and adapted in point of shape to the sex of the deceased: they are represented as affixed to the pillars of a Grecian arch, in the centre of which are written the following conceited verses, while a brief memorial of the birth and death of each person is subjoined to each escocheon:-
The time of the lives and deaths of the children of EDWARD BEAULY, Doctor in Divinity, and LINE his wife.
Line, the eldest, born and baptized at Writtle the 6th of February, 1613, and lieth buried in the chancell there. She was buried the xi of February, 1633.
Jane, the next, borne the 17 of May, 1615; buried the 13 of Julye, 1638.
Thomas, second sonne, borne on the second of March, 1623; buried the 22 day of May, 1626.
Thomas, third sonne, born on the 13 of March, 1628; buried the 25 of May, 165:;
Francis, seaventh daughter, borne on the xi of May, 1626 ; buried the 28 of September, 1630.
Jane, the ninth child, mar. to Edward Beaulie, and Line, his wife, was borne the 21 of Aprill, 1631 ; buried the 24 of June, 1632.
Here lieth the body of John Markham, late of Pater Noster Row, London, Esqre, who departed this life the 4th day of October, 1757, aged 73 years.
Also the body of Elizabeth, his wife, who departed this life 5th day of April, 1761, aged 62 years.
Here lies the body of Penelope, daughter of Anthony Nicholas, Minister of this place, wife of George Fulford, of London, Linen draper, who died the 13th of 9-ber, in the year of our Salvation 1667, and in the 22 of her age. Shee left issue one son, named George, 6 months old.
Here Iyeth Joseph Kello, being xiii years of age, departed this life the last day of September, 1614. He was sun to Mr. Bartholemew Kello, Minister of Christ’s Evangle, and Parson of Willingale Spain.
Here lieth lssac Kello, being ix years of age, departed this life 13th of July, 1614. He was son of Mr. Bartholemew Kello, Minister of Christ’s Evangell.
This church being dedicated to All Saints, the parish is sometimes, though not very frequently, called Willinghale All Saints.
This church, like that of Spain, comprises simply a nave and chancel without aisles. It is however a larger structure, and has a lofty square tower standing at the western end. A beautifully proportioned pointed arch divides the body of the church from the chancel, which possess no other architectural feature worthy of observation, if we except the windows of the latter; these have very acutely pointed tracery inserted beneath a square-headed water-label: the effect, however, is very pleasing. This church is also a rectory, dedicated to Saint Christopher.
The hands of sacrilege have destroyed many ancient sepulchral brasses in this church; and of the three which are spared, not one remains uninjured. Beginning in chronological order, we must first notice the effigy of a warrior, lying on the floor of the nave; he is standing in the usual devotional attitude, clothed in armour, his head bare, and his feet resting on a dog. Besides a few minor injuries, the black- letter inscription originally attached has been forcibly removed, but the armorial ensigns, which still remain on a shield near the head of the figure, shew that the person here interred was a member of the ancient family of Torrell, of Torrell’s Hall, in this parish. From the bulls, the cognizance of this far descended line, Mr. Morant infers that they assumed their surname from the Latin Taurus, thus deriving the cause from the effect. In the report of landowners contained in Domesday, the name of Torold is of frequent occurrence; and amidst the rude delineations in that invaluable relic of antiquity, the Bayeaux Tapestry, a figure is portrayed, over whose head is written, “Hic est Turold.” Now, it is a fact no longer controverted, that armorial bearings date their origin from a period considerably lower than the Norman Conquest, and at this very time we find the Terrolds in possession of that surname. The costume of the effigy in question points decidedly to about the year 1400, when we may assume this gentleman was interred.
Within the altar-rails lies a second mutilated effigy belonging to this family. It represents a female in the rich dress of the age in which she flourished, and who, it seems, was a daughter of Humphrey Torrell, Esq., and widow of John Sackville, of Buckhurst, in the county of Sussex, Esq. The arms, placed on the same stone, are those of Sackville impaling Torrell.
No other records of this old family exist within the walls of the church; but against the south side of the chancel is a huge and clumsy monument, representing, in stiff and execrable taste, the recumbent figure of a knight in armour, while two ladies, in very much smaller proportion, kneel in recesses on the upper part of this tomb. At the very top is placed an inscription to the memory of Richard Wisernan, Esq., and his wife, parents of the knight represented by the large figure beneath, who were buried in the church of St. Lawrence Pounteney, London. It is impossible to read what filial piety has there inscribed, without the assistance of a ladder, but a perusal of the inflated language on a lower slab of marble will be amply sufficient. Could we believe Sir Robert Wiseman to have been really possessed of all the virtues and accomplishments therein ascribed to him, we might unfeignedly blush for our own degeneracy. But here are the words themselves:-
Robertus Wisernan, de Torrells Hall in com. Essex, Eques Auratus, Richardi Wisernan, Armig. supra nominati primogenitus filius et haeres Vir generosissim, corporis et animi dotibus ornatus, pius, candidus, quadratus, litis expers, sibi et suis constans, philodelph., philomus., literar. et literat. patron. opt., vicinis amicabilis, sociabilis, hospitalis, egenis beneficus, omnibus aequus, summam existimationë et benevolentia ob facetu ingenium, foelice memoriarn suavern et innocuam conversationem consecut.; cum corporis castitatem quinque supra sexaginta annorum coelibatu comprobasset, et valetudine integerrimâ vixisset, animam sponso suo Jesu Christo pie et placide reddidit; atque hoc dormitorio cui ipse vivens se mortuum designavit in spe resurrectionis ad gloriam, obiit xi die Maij, Ano. Dni. 1641, aetatis sua lxv.
Hoc monumentum ipse per ult. suum testamentum dulcissimis parentib. et sibi fieri curavit cuius solus Executor Richardus Wiseman, Miles, ejus prox frater et Haeres, fidei et officii ergo religiosè persolvit.
Here lieth the body of that most excellent lady, Winifred Wiseman, wife to Richard Wiseman, of Torrells Hall, Esq and daughter to Sir John Barrington, of Hatefeld Broad Oak, in the county of Essex, and Barronett, &c.
A brass effigy on the chancel floor has attached to it an epitaph, which the inscription informs us, is placed to the memory of “Dorothy Brewster, wife to Thomas Brewster, Esqre, and daughter to Sir Thomas Jocelin, Knight, who deceased the seaven and twenty of June, and was buryed the one and twenty of July, 1613.”
The cause of this unusually long postponement of her funeral rites is not mentioned.
Here lieth the body of Sir John Salter, Knight, Alderman of Corn-Hill Ward, in the City of London. He was Sheriff in the year 1785, and he served the high office of Lord Mayor in the year 1740, and behaved in both stations with great dignity, strict honour, and unbiassed fidelity, He was a good magistrate; a tender husband; an indulgent father; and most sincere friend ; and in all conditions of life, appeared a just man, and a true Christian. He died 1st of June, 1744, in the 60th year of his age.
Salter bears, Gules, ten billets or, 4. 3. 2. 1., within a border engrailed azure, bezanty.
Mrs. Deborah Salter, wife of the late Mr. Thos Salter, linen draper, of Cornhill, London, and daughter of Robert Cole, Esqr., and Deborah his wife, and twins with her only brother, Robert Cole, Esqr, now of Warden’s Hall, in this parish.
Also, Mr. Robt. Salter, her eldest son, late linen-draper, of Cornhill, London, to whose memory this monument is erected, An. 1730.
Robert Cole, Esqre, and Ann his wife, who died 1733, and are buried in this chancel.
Here lies the body of Mrs. Anne Cole, late wife of Robert Cole, Esqr, of Warden’s Hail, who departed this life November 28th, 1732, aged 75 years.
Also, here lies the above Robert Cole, Esqre, who departed this life August 21st, 1733, aged 82.
The following arms will he found attached to their respective monuments in this church:-
1. COLE.- . . . . a bull passant . . . . impaling . . . . party per chevron . . . . 3 talbots’ heads eras
2. SALTER impales, or; a cross engrailed party per pale argent and azure.
3. WISEMAN. - Sab. a chev. int, three coronels of tilting spears arg. impales sable, a chev. inter three storks erect argent.
The coronels in the arms of Wiseman are a pun upon the name, signifying that a wise man always prefers blunt weapons to pointed spears.
SACKVILLE, impales Torrell . . . . a fess between three bulls’ heads couped …
The font, omitted to be noticed in its proper place, is an octagon, having its sides carved with the sculpture so common on this shaped ornament. The tower contains four bells.
The interiors of both these churches are kept in a very dirty and neglected state, reflecting much disgrace on all connected with them.