Thursday, 1 January 2009


Welcome to this month’s round-up of local history and heritage in and around Blackmore, Essex.

A Happy and Prosperous (?) New Year to all our Readers.

One of the earth shattering events of recent weeks was the announcement that High Street chain Woolworths had gone into administration and was closing all its shops early in January 2009. A High Street icon for nearly 100 years is disappearing. In towns we have seen a frenzy of buying all that it had at huge discounts, even to the extent that all shop fittings were being sold off. The UK economic downturn has been the most sudden in our living memories and pessimism is all around that things will get worse before they get better. These economic cycles have happened before and we are reminded in the Bible that often after seven years plenty there comes seven years famine. The problem is that as a nation we have kidded ourselves that things would have become endlessly better and everyone significantly richer through increasing the value of intangible things. The collapse of High Street businesses and that nostalgic last ‘pick and mix’ in Woolies is a potent sign of the times.

I am not an economist at all but those who follow, study or even learn from history will know that events are constantly changing and our reaction at the time affects the future.

Two years ago I began researching what life would have been like as an agricultural labourer in Essex during Victorian times. The booklet entitled ‘Life as an Essex Agricultural Labourer’ with particular emphasis on Blackmore and the surrounding area is launched today. An assumption which I initially made was that life changed very little during that period. This was challenging when I discovered that hoards of people left the land during the agricultural depression of the late nineteenth century to find work in London. The economic downturn of 1879 was perhaps greater than the one of 2008. Our forefathers adapted and survived and no doubt we all will too.

Nostalgia or a business

BT has carried out a survey of payphone usage in Stondon Massey and found that its red telephone box in Stondon Massey receives little use. It proposes the removal of the facility and has approached Stondon Massey Parish Council to ‘adopt the kiosk’. Consultation on this matter is under way ending on 25th February 2009, says Brentwood Borough Council.

Blackmore – Village Study

Intended as a resource for school pupils, the following sequence includes a number of views of Blackmore today. Follow this link: Blackmore Essex Village Study

Blackmore – Answers

Follow this link for historical, geographical and topographical information on Blackmore, Hook End and Wyatts Green:

Blackmore – The Barge photographed

A lovely photograph of the village pond and ‘Barge Cottage, Blackmore’ can be found by following this link:

Stondon Massey – find a grave

Visiting the churchyard is a good place to find a grave. But seriously, this site is a record of interments, in this case at St Peter and St Paul Church, Stondon Massey. Follow the link: The site also mentions and has a biography of the famous local Elizabethan composer, William Byrd. See the following:

Writtle – graveyard photographed

Follow link:

High Ongar – Church photographed

St Mary’s Church High Ongar gets photographic attention by Harlowirish on Flicker.

Unlocking Essex

Unlocking Essex is a record of listed buildings and sites of historic interest. It is a very interesting website. For a sample page showing Blackmore follow this link:

Norton Mandeville – Victoria County History

Follow link to page:

Epping Forest Museum launch new website

“EPPING FOREST: A new local history website for primary schools has been launched by Epping Forest District Museum”. A quick surf reveals an impressive site covering many parishes in the Epping Forest District Council area, the nearest being High Ongar, immediately to the west of Blackmore. It has links away from the site to the Victoria County History volume written about the Ongar Hundred. Log on to


Links list

The following links are recommended, although I cannot be responsible for their content.

Blackmore Area Local History
More information can be found on the sister site. (I am responsible for the content of this site!).

Blackmore Village website.
Very popular community website contains local and family history information.
Now with over 10000 hits

Priory Church of St Laurence
Link to Parish Church (Church of England) website - Home page
History page
Friends of St Laurence, Blackmore
The web-page of the support group

Other sites
History House (includes a link to this blog), written by Keldon.

Photos, maps and memories from the Francis Frith collection


Bessie Blount

Villages nearby covered by BALH
Buckhurst Hill

Epping Forest District

Mill Green Windmill,_Fryerning


Ingatestone & Fryerning

Index of village history

Stondon Massey


History News Across Essex
This blog will try to cover everything about the heritage of the Blackmore Area. For coverage across the whole of Essex, the following link is recommended.

Historical Societies and Groups in Essex
Blackmore does not have a local history group but, to use a cliché, others are available.

Brentwood & District Historical Society

The Essex Congress lists a number of historical, heritage and civic groups and societies on its website. Follow the link.
Local History and Archaeological Societies in Essex
Essex Congress – home page

Essex Society for Archaeology and History - home page

The Foxearth and District Local History Society. A village in the north of Essex with an incredible website.
It includes a listing of “museums, stately homes and various other places to visit in East Anglia that would be of interest to anyone interested in History or Archaeology”.
Also ‘Links’ to other websites

Local History Workshop

Places to Visit

Copped Hall, Epping

Epping Forest District Museum, Waltham Abbey

Ingatestone Hall

North Weald Airfield Museum

Churches in Essex

This website, with many photos, is a real labour of love by its author, John Whitworth.
For the Blackmore page, follow this link. “Carlsberg don't make timber church towers ...but if they did ... they'd be the best timber church towers in the world!”

Lost Churches in Essex
Andrew Barham’s book includes nearby Berners Roding.

Brentwood Cathedral
This is featured on a blog profiling architects Quinlan and Francis Terry

Essex Record Office

The starting point for on-line research. Find out what amazing documents are available at Chelmsford.

Victoria County History
Ongar Hundred
Victoria County History Volume IV. Ongar Hundred, published in 1956. Reproduced on British History Online
In case you are wondering, the history of Chelmsford Hundred has not been published by VCH yet. It is an ongoing project. Work is concentrating at present on the seaside towns in the Tendring area.

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