Saturday, 1 March 2008


Following the success of ‘Through Changing Scenes’ at Blackmore, it’s Stondon Massey’s turn on Saturday 19th April, starting at 7.30pm. St Peter and St Paul Church (see photograph) will echo again to the words of their previous Rector and historian, Reverend Edward Henry Lisle Reeve, and will feature music by local Elizabethan composer, William Byrd. ‘Through Changing Scenes’ is a history of the church and village in words and music’. The music is provided by Tuneful Accord directed by Christine Gwynn, and the script, researched and written by me, told by members of the congregation. Profits will go to church funds.

Linked with ‘Through Changing Scenes’, two small books will be available telling the history of Stondon Massey. There will also be the opportunity to buy “Revd. E.H.L. Reeve. Chronicler Of The Great War” and “William Byrd: Some Notes”. All books are £1.50 each, more if posted.

Stondon Massey Church will also be featured on television. On 4 April, programme three in the series ‘Sacred Music’ will feature the life and work of William Byrd. Some of the programme was “filmed on location”. The series will be broadcast on BBC FOUR.

Will this mean a surge in visitor numbers this summer to our local parishes?

Over the next month, this ‘blog’ will feature aspects of Stondon’s history: not only some notes on composer William Byrd but also other local worthies.

Returning to the subject of books, I have written a number on aspects of Blackmore’s local history. A list is now included.

Here in this corner of Essex consultation around a Planning Appeal for the old school continues but in the meantime with Brentwood Borough Council approving a separate plan to extend the old building to permit conversion to a four-bedroom house. Letters associated with the Planning Appeal close on 7 March. My personal views are given on this blog.

As a parish, Blackmore covers about 2500 acres. In terms of housing, it may be divided into three sections: the old village, Hook End (or anciently Hooks End) and, Wyatts Green. The latter areas were scattered farms until the 1960s when estates were created. First Avenue, Hook End, were former ‘plot land’ dwellings, sold in the 1930s. In the old village (central Blackmore, actually towards the north of the parish) The Green and its surroundings lie within a Conservation Area. Essex County Council has recently undertaken an appraisal (the consultation period closed on 1 February) and this is of both historic and civic interest. This month I include a link to this and other Conservation Area appraisals.

Listed buildings are of importance to our history. Local Councils publish a ‘Buildings at Risk’ register. This includes Coachmans Cottage (Grade II listed) in Church Street but, a gold star is now required to its owner in that over the recent weeks it has been repaired. A link to Brentwood Borough Council’s register is now on this ‘blog’.

The landscape too is important to our heritage. This is illustrated in the nearby town of Chipping Ongar which has recently published its ‘Ongar Tree Strategy’. I include a short review.

I wrote last month that in terms of coverage Blackmore Area Local History will include the area roughly Epping to the west, Chelmsford to the north, Billericay to the east, and Brentwood to the south. I came across a map from 1848 which, being way out of copyright, I have included at the foot of the page. It gives a sense of relative location for those who are unfamiliar with this part of the county.

Coming soon to this blog
- Jericho Priory
- Early twentieth century postcards of Brentwood, Warley Barracks, Shenfield etc

Coming soon to Blackmore Village Website
- an index of Blackmore ancestors
- a transcript of the 1910 Electoral Register.
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