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Coggeshall Abbey (Residence)

A Grade I Listed Building in Coggeshall, Essex

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Latitude: 51.8679 / 51°52'4"N

Longitude: 0.6935 / 0°41'36"E

OS Eastings: 585537

OS Northings: 222244

OS Grid: TL855222

Mapcode National: GBR QKF.VHX

Mapcode Global: VHJJL.Y9ZX

Plus Code: 9F32VM9V+59

Entry Name: Coggeshall Abbey (Residence)

Listing Date: 2 May 1953

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1307099

English Heritage Legacy ID: 116042

Location: Coggeshall, Braintree, Essex, CO6

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Coggeshall

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Coggeshall with Markshall

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

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Listing Text

(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
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)

Listing NGR: TL8553722244

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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