The following is taken from ‘Durrant’s Handbook For Essex’ (Durrant & Co., Chelmsford, 1887).
Brentwood. A. 352; P. 4653; Vicarage, value £300; Station, 18¼ miles from London.
An important town on a considerable eminence in South Weald parish. It consists of 1 principal street on the main Colchester and London road, and several smaller ones. Brick making and brewing are carried on. The Town Hall in High St. was built in 1864. It contains a large hall, well adapted for concerts, lectures, &c., and smaller committee rooms. There is an excellent Grammar School, founded by Sir Anthony Browne in 1557. Various Dissenting places of worship exist. The White Hart Hotel is a fine building of the 16th cent., or even earlier. It was formerly an important coaching house, and its galleried Courtyard is one of the best remaining examples of its kind in England. On the S. side of the High St. are the remains of an ancient Chapel, formerly used as the parish church, and afterwards converted into a national school. It is now all demolished except the tower. Near it is a fine, modern Church (St. Thomas the Martyr), opened in 1883. The Registers date from 1695. Also near to hand, and not far from the top of the High St., stands an exceedingly ancient oak-tree, now almost gone into decay, and with its hollows bricked up. Under it, in March 1555, Wm. Hunter, a Protestant martyr, aged 19, was burned by order of Bishop Bonner. A monument, erected by public subscription in 1861, stands close by and commemorates the event. The High St. has some ancient and curious houses. The country surrounding the town is very pleasant. Brook Street Hill, 1 m. S., on the Romford Road, is loose and very dangerous for bicyclists. Inn: White Hart (C.T.C.).