Friday, 26 June 2009

Springfield: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845)

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).

At Springfield church we have a nave and chancel only, of nearly equal width, though the broken angles at the north side of the former evince that an aisle originally extended the length of this portion of the edifice; its fragments deserve attention, as being composed of pebbles and fractured pieces of brick, which much resemble Roman manufacture. The tower is square, built of the same materials as the body of the church, and probably at the same period, though the upper part being finished with red brick, points to a subsequent repair, which an inscription just beneath the battlements, on the south side, records in the following words:
Prayse God for al the good Benefectors,
Ano 1586.

The chancel contains some very elegant windows of king Edward the First’s period, finished with interior columns and water-labels; the latter terminated with those spirited busts so usual at that time, and which the sculpture of several succeeding ages vainly imitated.

A large square-headed window of Henry the Eighth’s style of architecture, inserted into the south wall of the chancel, contains three shields of armorial bearings.


1. To the memory of Thomas Brograve Esqre, who departed this life the 10th of December, 1810, aged 83 years, universally beloved and respected. His remains are interred in a vault underneath the family pew in this church. Thomas Brograve purchased Springfield Place in 1781; was the second son of Thomas Brograve, Esqre, of the county of Norfolk, and Juliana his wife, eldest daughter of John Berney, Esqr, late of Westwood and Worstead in the same county. In the vault are also interred the remains of Mrs. Ann Brograve, sister of the above, who departed this life the 5th of June, 1820, aged 83, justly esteemed and regretted by all who knew her.

2. Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Strutt, widow of Mr. Thomas Stunt, who was a freeholder of this parish. Four of their infant children having been buried in this churchyard, she was by her own particular desire interred in the same ground. Two sons survived her; the eldest of whom, John, was buried by his own desire with his daughter and two sons in the ground of the Broadway Chapel, Westminster. He left a widow, who, wishing to fulfil the intention of him whom she survived, and as a memorial of her own long cherished affection and respect, caused this monument to be erected.

3. Sacred to the memory of Charles Gretton, Esqr., late Major of the West Essex Militia, and one of his Majesty’s Deputy Lieutenants for this County; second son of the late Rev Charles Gretton, Rector of this parish, who died on the 13th of May, 1826, in the 71st year of his age, much regretted. And also, Mary, his wife, who died on the 2nd of March, 1820, in the 85th year of her age.

4. In a vault beneath this place repose the remains of Anne, wife of the Revd Phillips Gretton, D.D., ob. July 20th, 1733, aet. 47. Also, the Revd. Phillips Gretton, Rector of this parish, obt. Feb. 16th, 1744, aet. 67. Likewise, Thomas, son of Charles Gretton, citizen of London, obt. October 18th, 1744, aet. 53. The Revd. Henry Gretton, A.B., Rector of this parish, caused this monument to be erected, A.D.. 1786. (The entrance into the vault is under the vestry window.)

5. In the vault in the vestry are deposited the remains of the Revd. Henry Gretton, BA., 28 years Rector of this parish, and formerly of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, whose humanity and urbanity of manners will be long remembered, died 20th Decr. A.D. 1811, aged 60 years. He gave the Altar piece.

6. Sacred to the memory of Juliana Gretton, the only and beloved child of Philip and Susanna Gretton, who died of consumption at Colchester, on the 4th of August, 1833, in the 19th year of her age; in whom were united beauty, accomplishments, talents, and a most amiable disposition. So devoted was her filial affection, that even in the awful hour of dissolution she endeavoured to restrain the expression of her own sufferings, to mitigate the grief of afflicted parents, whose sole consolation now rests on the Christian’s hope of being permitted to join their beloved child in those mansions of peace where the voice of sorrow and of anguish shall be heard no more.

7. Near this place is interred Mr. Philip Gretton, youngest son of the late Dr. Gretton, obt. May 20th, 1749, aet. 22. Also, Elizabeth, wife of the Revd. Charles Gretton, obt. April 10th A.D. 1776, aet. 52. Likewise, the Rev Charles Gretton, A.M., Rector of Bosvils Portion, and Wretcham Bohunt, in this county, obt. September 29th, A.D. 1783, aet. 67.

The following benefactions to this parish are recorded on the front of the gallery:-

1. The poor of this parish are entitled to a rent-charge of £6 13s. 4d. per annum, payable out of certain lands called Great Perry Field, Little Perry Field, and Mill Field, situated in the parish. This rent charge was settled by Robert Peasely of this parish, yeoman, pursuant to a decree of the Court of Chancery, dated 23rd of January, 1586, upon the Mildmay family and other trustees of the poor, to be expended for their benefit under direction of the minister, churchwardens, and overseers for the time being.

2. The poor of this parish are also entitled (under direction of the ministers, churchwardens, and overseers, for the time being) to four tenements situate on the south-west side of the Green, occupied by indigent persons belonging to the parish ; and also to a tenement situate on west side of the road leading from the Green to Little Waltham, and occasionally used for the residence of persons afflicted with contagious disorders.

3. The parishioners are entitled to a rent-charge of £2 per annum, payable by the proprietor of Springfield Place for the time being, out of a piece of land lying contiguous to the end of the churchyard, which formerly belonged to the parish, but now forms part of the courtyard in front of Springfield Place.

4. The parishioners are entitled to certain lands, containing twelve acres and nineteen poles, situate in the parish, and known by the names of Holme Field, Alms Field, Church Field, Wood Field, and Little Lay Oaks; the rents arising therefrom, as well as the last-mentioned rent charge of £2 per annum, are to be applied in repairing and beautifying the parish church, under direction of the churchwardens for the time being; and the surplus, if any, to be applied to the assistance and support of the poor of the parish.
These lands are conveyed to certain trustees, who meet in November every year to audit the accounts.

It is but justice to the churchwardens to say, that the power and ability vested in them by the above donation, have been exercised in a praiseworthy manner; an that Springfield Church is not only kept in the neatest and most reputable condition, but exhibits fewer barbarisms than most sacred edifices subjected to constant repairs. The font, which lies hidden by rubbish in the tower, is of an earlier date than the church itself, and probably appertained to a former edifice, of which the north aisle may have formed a portion: it is probably as early as Henry the First’s reign.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Ingrave: Remembering Charles Potiphar

Charles Potipher (or Potiphar), an Ingrave labourer, died today (21st June) in 1909. He is remembered specifically for being the first person from whom Ralph Vaughan Williams collected – i.e. noted down – his first of a collection of folk songs.

Potiphar was born in South Weald, married in Ingatestone and later moved to Ingrave. He was a local man. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Ingrave churchyard.

The visit by Ralph Vaughan Williams to a humble labourer’s cottage on 4th December 1903 ignited the composer’s passion for folk song. He came on a 10-day cycling tour of Ingrave, Willingale, Little Burstead, East Horndon and Billericay the following year to collect further examples – over 100 from Essex - and visited many places in southern England and East Anglia in order to “give them back to the world”.

Last night ‘Potiphar’s Apprentices’, a trio of local folk musicians (John and Sue Cubbin and Adrian May) brought back to Ingrave Church Hall the story and songs collected from Charles Potipher and others. Sue Cubbin, who used to work at the Essex Record Office, mounted an exhibition in Chelmsford dedicated to Vaughan Williams’ visits to Essex (2003) and wrote the book of the exhibition entitled ‘A Precious Legacy’ (2006). The audience in the Church Hall heard a number of songs including:
- ‘Poacher’s Song’
- ‘I’m A Stranger’, collected from Mrs Humphries whose father and grand-father lived in Blackmore
- ‘Bold Turpin’, an 18th century ballad commemorating the deeds of the Essex highwayman, Dick Turpin
- ‘Lay Still My Fond Shepherd’, which otherwise is known as ‘Lark In The Morning’
- ‘In Jessie’s City’, the sad ballad of a maid who became pregnant by a postman boy – the tune of which later was used as the setting of the hymn ‘It is a thing most wonderful’ (Herongate) when Vaughan Williams edited the English Hymnal (1906)
- ‘The Sheffield Apprentice’, used again in the English Hymnal for the setting of the tune of ‘There’s a friend for little children’ (Ingrave)
- ‘Bushes and Briars’, the first song collected from Vaughan Williams at Potiphar’s home.

For more information on ‘Potiphar’s Apprentices’ Visit:


The English Hymnal (1906)
Cubbins, Sue. That Precious Legacy. Ralph Vaughan Williams and Essex Folksong (Essex Record Office, 2006)

Other sources

Previous essay written for Blackmore Area Local History (2.8.08):

Friday, 19 June 2009

Mountnessing: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845)

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).

Mountnessing acquired its name from the Norman family of Mounteney, who obtained possession of this lordship in the time of King Stephen, and retained it till the reign of Henry the Eighth. It is now held by Lord Petre.

The church was early appropriated to the priory of Thoby, a religious establishment in this village, which enjoyed the patronage till its suppression, when the great tithes were conveyed into lay hands, and are the property of the family of Petre. It is a very small though a regular edifice, and may be referred to the age of Edward the First: its chancel is a barbarous modern erection of red brick, but its nave, lofty and of good proportions, is divided from its aisles by cylindrical columns supporting pointed arches. It is much to be regretted, however, that one arcade of this portion of the edifice has been cut off from the western end to form a tower, which, inclosing a framework of timber, bears aloft an ugly spire of shingles. The most remarkable features in this church are the capitals on the pillars which divide the nave from the north aisle. One in particular deserves notice, not only on account of the spirited execution of the foliage, but for the very singular device of a human face carved in deep relief, having the mouth fettered by an iron bridle. Whether this conceit originated in any local occurrence, or whether it alludes to the words of the Psalmist, (Ps. xxxix.,) “I will keep my mouth as it were with a bridle, while the ungodly is in my sight,” the fancy of the reader must determine; probably the latter.

The columns on the south side are finished with plain moulded capitals. Immediately fronting the south door, which is now the usual entrance, stands a low and a plain octangular font, against which reclines a singular curiosity, namely, a fossil rib-bone of enormous proportions, measuring four feet and three quarters of an inch in a straight line from tip to tip. Village credulity ascribes this to some giant, a former habitant of Mountnessing, though the anatomist, with more discrimination, would refer it to the elephant, or perhaps the stupendous mammoth. It has occupied its present situation for a long series of years, though but little value seems attached to this relic of an antediluvian world.

The north aisle appears to have been the family vault of the late possessors of Thoby Priory, and against its walls are the following memorials on marble slabs:-

1. In the vault beneath are deposited the remains of Mary, relict of Henry Blencowe, Esqr., and sole heiress of Alexander Prescott, Esq of Thoby Priory, who died October the 20th, 1770, aged 54. Also, the remains of Mary, only daughter of the above Henry and Mary Blencowe, who died March the 14th, 1822, aged 72.

2. Near this place lieth the body of Henry Blencowe, Esqr., Councellor at Law. He was descended from Sir Henry Blencowe, of Blencowe, in the county of Cumberland, Knt., and married Mary, the only surviving daughter and heiress of Alexander Prescott, of Thoby Priory, Esq., bv whom he left two children, viz., Henry and Mary. His afflicted widdow, in memory of his many excellent virtues as a husband, and a parent, and a friend, caus’d this monument to be erected. He died the 29 of April, 1765, in the 54th year of his age.

3. Near this place are deposited the remains of John Prescott, of Thoby, Esqr., who departed this life 19th of May, 1750, aged 39 years.

Faith, Hope, and Charity, his constant friends,
Did all his actions guide to noble ends;
These virtues he from heaven drew down here,
And they well pleased at length have rais’d him there
Moriendo vivo!

4. Near this place are deposited the remains of Henrv Prescott Blencowe, Esqr., late of Thoby Priory in this parish, who died the 9th day of February, 1787, in the 35th year of his age, leaving hiss widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Blencowe, and four children, viz., Henry Prescott, Elizabeth, John Prescott, and Margarett.

On a floor-stone in the chancel is also an inscription to a member of the Prescott family.

5. Alexander Prescott, Esqr., eldest son and heir of Alexander Prescott, of Thoby, Esqre., died the 18th of October, 1731, aged 22. He was of Emanuel College, Cambridge, and of the Temple, student; a person of an accomplished and sweet temper, and whose virtues and innocent life is an example to posterity.

On a monument consigned to neglect, and thrown into a corner of’ the belfry, is this inscription:-

6. Reader, this table represents ye pious state
Of one whose soul to heaven was truly consecrate.
Who from the turmoiles of this world confined
By a distemper too severely kind;
Just to all men, to God devout,
Patient beyond or wrongs or gout:
After a life in contemplation pass’d
Was brought to that celestiall blisse at last,
Which he by faith so firmly did possesse before,
Vision alone could make him to enjoy it more.
The disconsolate widdow of Edmond Pert, Gent., has erected this monument, sacred to the her deceased husband, buried near this place.

7. 17 Decembris, 1583.
Layde heere aloone all dedde in tooeme John Peers of Arnollde Hall,
Awaiteth the daye of dooeme till Christe hym up shall call,
Whose tyme nowe paste on earth well spente hath gotten him good name
His honest lyfh and govermente deserved well the same
God grawnte that his good dealyne may to us example be
Of Mowntneysinge that rightelie saye an honest man was he.

The above in old English characters, is on a plain floor-stone in the chancel.

Against the south wall of the aisle is the following:-

8. Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Sarah Bowskill, wife of the Revd W. W. Bowskill, vicar of this parish, who died May 7th, 1810, aged 64. Also, of William Westfield Bowskil, son of the above died April 27th, 1808, aged 28; and also of Miss Mary Whitewood, only laughter of Captain Saml Whitewood, and Sarah his wife, (late Mrs. Bowskil,) who died December 28th, 1828, aged 52.

The following are benefactions to this parish:-

“1. Endimion Canning, Esqr., late of’ this parish, by will, May 24, 1681, bequeathed to the churchwardens and overseers and principal inhabitants of this parish and his successors, in trust, a field for the use of the poor of this parish forever, by the name of Ryer’s Field, now let for £23 per annum, Sept. 4, 1807.

2. A donation of Mrs. Amy English, the only daughter and heiress of Richard Bayley, Esqre., deceased, bearing date the 5th day of October, 1787, in pursuance of his charitable intentions of the said Richard Bayley, expressed and declared in his lifetime to the said Amy English, his daughter, upon trust, of a farm and lands in Mountnessing, called Pinchions, containing 13 ac.: 0 : 39; and a messuage and lands also in Mountnessing, parcel of a farm called Sawbriglets and Shimmius, containing 4 ac. : 2 : 17, at the yearly rent of £30, to apply the yearly rents and profits thereof for the teaching and instructing as many poor children belonging to or residing said parish of Mountnessing, in reading and in the principles of the Christian religion, and such of them as should be girls in sewing and knitting; and for providing such children with other necessaries.”


Founded in the reign of King Stephen, and so called from the name of its first Prior, Tobias or Toby, owes its origin to the piety or perhaps to the superstitious terrors of the family of De Capra; Michael de Capra, Roesia his wife, and William, their son, uniting their joint influence and wealth to further its establishment. The precise era of this event is not satisfactorily ascertained, though there is evidence to prove that it must have taken place between the years 1141 and 1151. Being dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Saint Leonard, it was filled with monks of the Order of Saint Augustine. Though considerable portions of this monastery are incorporated into the present residence, still called Thoby Priory, and though some fragments of the conventual church yet remain, no vestige of the original structure, as finished by De Capra, can at the present era be detected. And when we consider how greatly the first foundation of this building preceded the introduction of the more elegant architecture of a subsequent period, no surprise can exist on this score. The passion for re-edifying all churches in the new style, which prevailed so undisguisedly in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, could scarcely be excluded the walls of Thoby; accordingly, we find the circular shaft and pointed arch of our first Edward’s reign, prevailing in the remains of the conventual church; the arch being marked by a deep indenture, received at its union with that of the next by a projecting escocheon. The entire plan of this monastery is very easily traced, as the area appears to have been undisturbed since the first destruction took place, at the dissolution of religious houses. On the south side of the square stood the church, comprising a nave with a south aisle at least, and probably a north aisle also on the opposite wing, and a chancel of lofty proportions without those additions. Of this structure the only portion standing is represented in the annexed sketch, which shows the south window of chancel, and the first arch and its columns of the southern arcade of the nave. North of this structure was the cloister, and on the west were the prior’s lodge, and monks’ refectory - of which latter apartment the greater part remains - still a lofty and noble room, though much disfigured by the introduction of sash windows a modern ceiling of plaster, through which the principals of the ancient roof are seen, as if endeavouring to peep from out their unworthy concealment. Careful digging about the church and cloisters would, without doubt, amply repay the trouble and expense attending it, by the discovery of many specimens of ancient curiosity and art; and indeed chance has already developed several fragments of high antiquary and interest. Among these may be reckoned the lower portion of a Knight Templar, found beneath the garden mould which now covers the south aisle of the coventual church, and preserved with laudable care by Mr. Grant, the present occupier of Thoby. This relic was much fractured by the spades of the workmen who dug it from its place of concealment, and it is irremediably injured. I entertain but little doubt that the upper part of this figure might be recovered by further search. It would be idle to urge any thing beyond conjecture as to the personage intended to be commemorated by this expensive tomb.

The family of Mounteney, we know, possessed the manor of this village during crusading times, and that of De Capra or Capel were patrons of Thoby. To a knight of one or other of these houses, and most probably of the latter, it was in all likelihood consecrated. There is nothing remarkable in any portion of this fragment. The style of the armour, the recumbent lion, and the folds of the drapery exhibit the patterns usually seen on similar monuments; but the material employed is somewhat singular, being a composition of plaster moulded on an iron frame.

At the north-west angle of the cloisters have likewise recently been disinterred six coffins lying in line, and close by each other, of very unusual construction. A drawing of one, which is still kept above ground for its curiosity, is here given, and will materially assist the description. A portion of an oak tree, it would appear, was first sawn off from the bole, of the requisite length, when a coffin of this description was wanted; a slab was then separated lengthwise of about the thickness of one third of the diameter of the tree, which served afterwards as a lid; the thicker portion was then scooped out in the form usually seen in sarcophagi, and then charred; when, the corpse being placed within, the severed plank or lid was reunited and fastened to the coffin by four pegs of wood, the holes for which may be observed at the corners. So little finish was bestowed on these receptacles of mortality that the bark may in places be still discerned; and however rude they may appear, we must yet regard them as constructed for persons of some degree of consequence, as the bodies of those of inferior condition were committed to the earth in a simple covering of waxed cloth, a practice which continued to be observed as late as the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Two coffins only, out of the six discovered, were disturbed; these, on being opened, contained perfect skeletons of females, which were reinterred within the area of the burial ground. So sound was the timber, notwithstanding the length of time it had remained beneath the soil, that Mr. Grant has had several boxes and ornaments formed out of one of them, which admit of an exceedingly high degree of polish, and retain the distinctive marks of the grain.

A few very small knives with bone or ivory handles, and some coins of a late era, may likewise be mentioned as having also been discovered within the precincts of Thoby Priory; nor should I omit noticing some specimens of ornamental floor tiles which were found in the chancel: they are baked with earth of two colours, of which the ground was a dull red, and the figures a light brown. Those in Mr. Grant’s possession bear the forms of rabbits, stags, and other animals and I feel convinced, so little has curiosity been gratified here, that the principal antiquarian treasures of this “fallen pile” remain to be developed at a future day.

The seal of this abbey is attached to a deed dated the 11th of Edward II., now in the Augmentation Office, and the legend may be read thus: SIGILLVM : SANCTI : LEONARDI : DE : TOBI.

As Thoby was valued at only £75 6s. 10½d. per annum, it became one of those establishments “devoured (as Fuller quaintly observes) without producing a sacrilegious surfeit” by Cardinal Wolsey, to whose use it was surrendered in 1525. That ecclesiastic’s disgrace, however, brought it, with the rest of his prodigious wealth, into his master’s hands, who, on the general dissolution of religious houses, which soon after followed, granted it in 1530 to Sir Richard Page, Knt., and the reversion in 1539 to William Berners, Esq., and Dorothy his wife. It has lately been possessed by the family of Prescott, and passed, a few years since, by a female heir in marriage to that of Blencowe, who are its present possessors.

From an examination of the subjoined documents, it will appear that the Priory Thoby held, in addition to the advowson and great tithes of the entire parish of Mountnessing, about four hundred and ninety-seven acres of land, and rather more than thirty-seven acres of copyhold held of the manor of Thoby, and as it seems under arbitrary fines.

It is perhaps impossible to ascertain, at the precise moment, the value of the tithes and copyholds; but as the whole property was only fixed at £75 6s. 10½d. per annum, we may, I think, infer that the land was let or valued at not more than two shillings per acre, taking wood-land, meadow and arable, all round, which would have produced about £50 per annum of rent. The copyholds and the great tithes of the entire parish must surely have amounted to the remaining £25 6s. 10½d. – a very striking but correct proof of the difference in the value of landed property between he early parts of the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries. This difference will appear yet more surprising when I observe, that the lands of Thoby, like those of all monastic houses, were the richest in the neighbourhood; and that the monks were the best farmers of their day, I have demonstrated in a preceding volume.

The full text appears on the main website:

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Farewell Essex FM

This is the final week or so of local radio station ‘Essex FM’. It is pretty sad when local identity is erased and passes into history. The broadcaster which began life as Southend based ‘Essex Radio’ on 12 September 1981 is being renamed ‘Heart’ – and badged as a new radio station - from 22 June becoming absorbed into a quasi national network. Other internet sites are not slow to be critical that Essex FM’s parent company is re-branding a product which is successful and has a high audience share. I have to say that I rarely hear Essex FM these days but when Essex Radio was first launched in 1981 I was much younger – weren’t we all! - and an avid listener.

Essex Radio was the first commercial radio station in the county, and part of the Independent Local Radio network. The BBC did not make an appearance until 5 November 1986 when BBC Essex was launched. Often BBC local radio stations were, and are still, called ‘Radio Norfolk’ etc but with its competitor being called Essex Radio it was stuck.

I digress. In its early years Essex Radio broadcast a range of music programmes including folk (Dennis Rookard, Sunday afternoons), and jazz (with Eddie Blackwell, station controller). Jeff Bonser and (Revd.) Peter Elvy presented the Sunday morning religious programme. There was ‘Saturday Night At Home’ with John and Penny Ledigo, and Alan Bell presented the Top 30 singles in Essex on Sunday afternoons, then, of course, played on 45rpm. The No. 30 record on the first Sunday – 13 September 1981 - was by Portmouth Sinfonia called ‘Classical Muddley’, send up of the massively successful ‘Hooked On Classics’ by the ‘Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’. This Orchestra (the RPO) was also commissioned to provide the jingles for this station. One was: “Just received an invitation, RSVP. A sentimental journey to Essex with me, I’m inclined to have a mind of taking a trip to Essex, Why don’t you take a train or plane and hurry on down … It’s somewhere special that we’ve found, Stay around”. Essex County Cricket Club won the Sunday League in 1981 and during the inaugural Top 30 Roger Buxton provided updates from the County Ground in Chelmsford. This was truly local radio for the first time. The dial had been turned from London’s Capital Radio.

The county woke up to Jon Scragg on weekday mornings and drove home to Terry Davis’ Drivetime programme. Timbo (Tim Lloyd) was an extremely popular and slightly zany late-night presenter of the Chris Evans genre. Terry Davis won an on-air local radio song contest with ‘The Number One Song’, can you believe it! It was the closedown song which ran “1431 on my radio … “, one of the medium wave transmitters the station broadcast on before it split frequencies a few years later to become ‘Breeze’. Essex Radio initially broadcast for 18 hours a day – much more than BBC national radio –from 6am to midnight, before extending to 20 hours then broadcasting around the clock.

In 1982 the station produced a serious documentary entitled “60 Years of Radio” in which Steve Wood (head of news) narrated the story of the development of radio from Marconi and 2MT (two emma tock) Writtle to the then present day. It included extracts from numerous sound archives and was sold on cassette tape to Essex Radio devotees. I still have the tape somewhere.

The compact disc did not make its appearance until 1983, and I remember believing at that time that it would not catch on. I relented and bought my first CD player in 1986.

Reverting to the RPO, at Christmas 1981 Essex Radio released ‘Christmas Carousel’, a medley of Christmas carols sung by the Chelmsford Cathedral Choir. I bought that single. On the B side there was the station theme ‘Listen To Essex’.

This was a commercial radio station backed by Keddies in Southend and TOTS nightclub. Downturn Records, that had a shop in Brentwood, advertised in Essex Radio’s early days, but the memorable ads were ‘H W Stone’ using the March from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, “Da da da da da HW Stone. The Essex people” and a specialist garment outlet using the wartime song ‘Bless ‘Em All’ with words changed to “Fit them all. Fit them all. Fit the long and the short and the tall. Field Brothers of Westcliff is certain it’s true, With so many sizes is sure to fit you”.

I think that there was a genuine enthusiasm that exuded from all the presenters. It seemed a friendly station appealing to all ages. I remember, for instance, asking for a request to be played on Lindsay King’s Sunday Requests programme (she succeeded John Wellington) on 16 October 1983 in connection with the Boys’ Brigade centenary celebrations. Many people I met that day, both young and old, had heard the request. My brother and I even had the Essex Radio T-shirt. I saw Keith Rogers with a small crowd of people at an Outside Broadcast in Chapel High, Brentwood one lunchtime and spoke to him afterwards. In summer 1985 Keith Rogers hosted the Top 100, a countdown of the hundred most popular records of a past year in a programme lasting six hours.

Later, in search probably of a niche market, Essex Radio adopted the ‘Greatest Memories. Latest Hits’ tag after doing an April Fools Day spoof in which the presenters went on strike. Gordon Kay, of Allo Allo fame, was one of the guests who took to the turntables.

I was surprised how much stuff I remember but, like the pirate stations of a previous generation, Essex Radio was ‘my’ local radio station. Its original strap-line was “Essex Radio. Somewhere Special”. So although I don’t really listen to Essex FM, I’m sad to learn of its demise.

After writing this I discovered this fantastic link:

Friday, 12 June 2009

Boreham: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845)

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). The full text is included, including Latin. Don’t ask for a translation please!!

The church at Boreham is a large edifice of various styles and different and though it happily does not greatly abound in the nondescript imitations of modern days, may be said to embrace specimens of almost every variety from that which used by our Norman ancestors to the debased architecture fashionable in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

The original structure comprised simply a nave and chancel, extending the entire length of the present building, having a low square tower standing over the centre: this tower has been since raised a story, and finished with battlements; an operation which the great solidity of its walls rendered perfectly feasible. The next addition to this pile was the south aisle or chapel, attached to the nave during the reign of Henry the Third, if I am not mistaken as to the shape and proportions of windows. Next was added the north aisle, a building of spacious dimensions, with large and expansive windows, in the style of Edward the Fourth’s era. This is supposed to have been the work of a private family, and is still distinguished by their name, being called the Tendring Aisle; it is thought to contain the remains of many of their race. The final addition is that which is called the Sussex Chancel, built of red brick, on the south side of the eastern end, and erected by Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, as a mausoleum for himself, his father, grandfather, and his heirs. His intentions were strictly executed, and the bodies of these accomplished noblemen lie interred within its walls. No part, however, of the edifice equals in architectural grace and proportion the original chancel, which, I regret to say, has, within these few years, been excluded from general view by a wall built across the western arch of tower, thereby confining the congregation to the western portion of the church, consigning the elegant chancel to unmerited neglect, and to the reception of rubbish.

Though the tower shows unequivocal marks of Norman erection, it cannot be referred to a more remote period than the reign of King John, as neither of the arches beneath its walls are circular; one being highly pointed, and the other brought to an obtuse angle, varying little from a semicircle; yet a small door, giving access to an interior turret staircase, is finished in the circular style, with square capitals projecting slightly from the walls, but unfurnished with columns. In short, the architect, like many in that period, seemed divided in his opinion, whether to adopt a fashion, which was then just forcing its merits into notice, or to adhere to the older and better understood principles. The west end of the nave is entirely occupied with an ample window, throwing a flood of light upon the interior: it is filled with mullions and perpendicular tracery of rather heavy proportions, and is more remarkable, in my opinion, for its magnitude than for the beauty of its component parts. An elegant octagonal font, having arches and pediments of Edward the First’s time, stands at the west end of the south aisle.

The pointed arches of the nave being devoid of mouldings, have much the appearance of modern imitations.

This preferment is a vicarage, and the present incumbent is the Rev. William Carpenter Ray. The bishop of the diocese is the impropriator. The registers commence in the year 1559, and are written by the vicar for many following years, in a very beautiful hand, and with a most methodical arrangement. Amongst other entries in the year 1593 is a very extraordinary one, which proves that Boreham has had its share in the disgraceful persecutions so frequently exercised against aged and helpless females for the imaginary crime of witchcraft. It is as follows:

“Anno Domini, 1593, July 29th
“H Mother Haven suffered at Barham for witchcraft the sam day.

At the head of every entry is a capital letter, the initial of the ceremony performed, as C. for christened; B. for buried; M. for married. It is probable, therefore, that H signified that this victim of persecution was hanged.

In that part of the church which I have before described as the Sussex Chancel, stands an altar tomb of various coloured marbles, and of large dimensions. On its slab lie extended the full length figures of three knights in martial costume, finished with that minute attention to detail so remarkably conspicuous in the sculpture of our ancient sepulchral effigies. The various ornaments of helmets and recumbent animals which are placed at the feet and the heads of the figures, as well as the figures themselves, are much mutilated by the falling in of the roof, which occurred a few years since, and as the material employed by the sculptor is of a very soft nature, scarcely harder than chalk, the injury sustained was consequently the more serious. The effigies are intended to represent Robert Radcliffe, who died in 1542; Henry Radcliffe, his son, who died in 1556; and Thomas Radcliffe, the grandson of the first-mentioned earl, by whose directions the monument was erected, and the bodies of his predecessors removed from the place of their first sepulture, in the church of Saint Laurence Pountney in London, to this vault at Boreham, where they have ever since reposed. The inscriptions on the sides of the tomb are so long and explanatory as to supersede the necessity of giving farther biographical notices respecting these accomplished noblemen, the latter of whom was the virtuous and stern opponent of Elizabeth’s profligate favourite, Leicester.

1. Beati mortui, qui in Domino moriuntur - requiescunt a laboribus suis, et opera eorum sequuntur eos -
Robertus Radclif, Miles, Comes Sussexiae, Vicecomes Fitzwalter - Baro do Egremond et de Burnel, Eques auratus praenobilis ordinis Garterij, magnus Camerarius Angliae et Camerarius Hospitii magni Henrici Regis Octavi, ac eidem e consiliis privitis - Praeliis in Galliâ commissis, aliquoties inter primos ductores honoratus. - In aliis belli pacisque consultationibus, non inter postremos habitus - AEquitatis, justitiae, constantiae, magnum aetate suâ columen. - Obiit 27 die Novemb. anno Domini 1542, aetatis suae … Sepultusque primo Londini, inde corpus huc translatum ultima voluntate Thomas Comitis Sussexiae, nepotis sui:-

Conjuges habituit }
Elizab. sororem Hen. Ducis Buckinghamii.
Marg, solorem Comitis Darbei.
Mariam, sororem Js Arundel, Equ.

Elizabethae filii }
Georgius, patre vivente mortuus
Henricus, prox. Comes Sussexiae.
Humfreius, Miles.

Margaretae filiae }
Anna, nupta Domino Wharton.
Margareta, nupta Domino Montacute.

Mariae filius Johannes Radclil, Miles.

2. Post mortem erit judicium, ac nomina justorum manifestabuntur, et improborum opera patebunt.

Henricus Radclif, Comes Sussexiae, Vicecomes Fitzwalter, Baro do Egremond et de Burnel, Eques Anratus praenobilis Ordinis Garterij Capitalis Justitiarius, et Justitiarius itinerans omnium Forestarum, Parcorum, Chacearum, et Warrenarum regiae Majestatis citra Trentam, Locum tenens Norfolciae et Suffolciae, et Capitaneus generalis Exercitus Reginae Mariae, quo ipsam e tumultu regni auspicandi vindicavit - Praeliis in Galliâ confectis, ac aliis Legationibus ibidem habitis, cum nobilium Principibus aliquoties honoratus. - In aliis belli pacisque negotiationibus inter primarios habitus - Magnum constantiae, religionis, fideique testimonium, praecipue sub morton exhibuit.

Obiit 5 die Februarij, anno Domini 1556, aetatis suae … Sepultusque primo Londini inde corpus huc translatum ultima voluntate Thomae Comitis Sussexiae, filii sui.

Conjuges habuit }
Elisab. filiam Tho. Ducis Norfolciae.
Annam, filiam Phil. Caltrop, Equestris.

3. Pretiosa in conspecta Domini mors justorum. Thomas Radclif, Miles, Comes Sussexiae, Vicecomes Fitzwalter, Baro de Egremond et de Bumel, Eques Auratus praenobilis Ordinis Garterii, capitalis Justitiarius omnium Forestarum, Parcorum, Chacearum, Warenarum regiae Majestatis citra Trentam, Capitaneus generosorum Peucionariorum et generosorum arma – Camerarius Hospitiii Reginae Elisabethae, et e Consiliis privatis - Duas amplissimas legationes Reginae Mariae ad Imperatorem Carolum Quintum, et Regem Hispaniae, tertiamque serenissimae Reginae Elisabethae ad Imperatorem Maximilianum obivit - Prorex Hiberniae, ipsam per annos novem subjugatis rebellibus pacavit, Scotiamque ipsis faventem, multis Castellis captis dirutisque, iterum vastavit - Magno Henrico Regi Octavo, heroicae et ipsius Progeniei propagandae semper fidelissimus – Invictus animo; semper Belloque fortis et felix: Pace Consiliarius prudentissimus - Linguarum varietate facundus, vitae inculpatae, etc. Obiit 9 die Junii, Anno Domini 1583, aetatis 57.

Conjuges habuit }
Elisaba filiam Tho. Comitis Southampt.
Franciscam, filiam Gulielmi Sidnei, Equitis.

Unica filia ex priore uxore prima infantia mortua.
Haeredem reliquit fratrem Henricum, proximum Comitem Sussexiae.

Not the least singular part of the history of this monument is, that the particulars of its cost, and the name of its sculptor, are known and recorded; circumstances which have rarely been noticed, even in the cases of the most gorgeous and expensive. For this we are indebted to Mr. Walpole, who in his “Anecdotes of Painting,” Vol. 1st, p272, relates the following particulars:-

“The contract for the tomb of this great peer, Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, Lord Chamberlain to the Queen, and a signal antagonist of Leiccster, is still extant. He bequeathed £1500 to be expended on it; and his executors, Sir Christopher Wray, Lord Chief Justice of her Majesty’s Bench; Sir Gilbert Gerard, Master of the Rolls; Sir Thomas Mildmay and others, agreed with Richard Stevens for the making and setting it up in Boreham Church, where it still remains. The whole charge paid to Stevens for his part of the work was £292 12s. 8d.” … “Richard Stevens was a Dutchman, and no common artist. He was a statuary, and painter and medallist. The figures on Lord Sussex’s tomb were his work, and in a good style.”

Whatever were the merits of Stevens as a painter and a medallist, I have had no opportunity to judge, but I doubt if the execution of the figures in question will bear out the encomiums bestowed by Mr. Walpole on Stevens as a sculptor. Indeed, I live reasons to believe that Mr. W. never saw the tomb, as he describes it as having been placed in a village church in the county of Suffolk, and not in Essex, which is its true situation.

We may next notice a very ancient gravestone, now broken, and lying in the churchyard, though its original situation was within the walls of the church. By the inscription which was preserved by the care of the present vicar, it appears to have been placed over the body of Henry Le Merchant, a member of a family anciently seated at the adjoining village of Hatfield Peverell, which at that time possessed no church.

Henri Le Marchaunt cist ici,
Deu du s: salma ayt marci.
Qui pour Ie priera –
Graunt pardoun avera.

We will now close this account of Boreham Church by noticing the modern memorials.

1. On the floor of the nave lies a small brass effigy of a female and her family, with inscriptions recording the quality of the deceased, and the period of her departure. There is nothing remarkable either in the design or execution of this memorial, whose date is as low as 1573.

“Here lyeth the body of Alse Byng, the wyfe of Thomas Bynge of Canterbury in the county of Kent, and mother to Isaac Byng Cytezen and Stacioner of London, and late wyfe to James Canceller, some tyme one of ye gentlemen of the Queenes honourable chapple, wch Alse departed this worlde to the mcy of God, ye 16th of Apryll, 1573.”

At the feet of the children are these verses:-

We sixe hir chyldren derely bought, by fygure doe present
Our wofull harts for losse (of friende) of this our mother dere,
But nothing will yt sure prevente, although we do lament,
Yet nature doth procure the same, for this our mother here.
Which never thought these things to much wch on us she hath spent,
Then blame us not, great cause we have her death for to lament.

2. In memory of Jane the beloved wife of Tho. Wallace, Dr. in Physick, second daughter of the truly Rev. Job Marple, some time vicar of this church, who departed this life the 15th of February, 1735-6, aged 43.

3. Sacred to the memory of Dame Sarah, the wife of Sir John Tyrell, of Boreham House, in this parish, Baronet, and only child and heiress of William Tyssen, Esqre, of Cheshunt, Herts., obt, 19th of December, 1825, aetat 62.

4. Sacred to the memory of Charlotte, the beloved wife of Robert Clerke Haselfoot, Esqre, of this parish, who, after a very painful illness, died on the third of April, 1826

5. Elizabeth Harrington died Feb. 8, 1768, aet 27.

6. In the vault, north side of the chancel, are deposited the remains of Mrs. Mary Tyssen, widow of William Tyssen, Esqre, of Cheshunt, Herts. She died the 21st of March, 1805, aged 65 years. To perpetuate the memory of the best of mothers, this monument was erected by her only child, Sarah, the wife of John Tyrell, Esq of Boreham House.

7. Here lieth the body of the Revd. Thomas Butterfield, B.A., of Trin. Coil., Cambridge, and vicar of this parish sixteen years, who departed this life the 23rd of December, 1766, aged 53. Also the body of Mary his daughter, and wife of’ the Revd. Samuel Bennett, who died 23rd April, 1775, aged 27. Also, the body of Mary his wife, who died 3rd of August, 1780, aged 62.

8. To the memory of Charles Frederick, eldest son of the late Reverend Charles Frederick Bond, vicar of Margaretting, in this county. He died 2nd clay of October, 1829, in the 28th year of his age.

9. Sacred to the memory of the most beloved Ann Rishton Ray, the betrothed wife of John Rannie, Esqre, and eldest daughter of the Revd. William Carpenter Ray, vicar of this parish. Pious without ostentation, exemplary in all the relations of life, she lived endeared, respected, and most lamented: died on the 10th day of July, 1831, aged 33 years.

10. Near this place are deposited the remains of Anne Rishton Ray, wife of the Reverend William Carpenter Ray, vicar of this parish: she died the 31st day of January, 1811, aged 37 years.
Also, the remains of two of their children, Arabella Carpenter Ray, and Lucy Ramsden Ray, who died in their infancy.
Also the remains of their third daughter, Arabella Carpenter Ray, who died the 14th day of August, 1823, aged 14 years.

11. Sacred to the memory of William Hinde, whose remains are deposited near this place. He died the 21st of September, 1819, aged 35 years.

In the old chancel are some floor-stones to the memory of the Corselleis family.


If we are struck with surprise at the extent of this spacious mansion, our wonder will be excited when we learn that it formed a tenth part only of the original structure - a mere fragment of a more prodigious pile - which, like that at Audley End, in the same county, has been reduced at various periods, to suit the declining fortunes of its different owners. The entire house of New Hall consisted of two quadrangles, inclosing very extensive courts, and furnished with suitable offices. The manor, which is attached to this residence, was held at an early period by the Abbey of Waltham, and became subsequently the property of several branches of the royal family, and many noble possessors; but it is generally supposed that the date of the present edifice does not reach higher than the reign of Henry the Seventh, when Thomas Butler, of the Ormond Family, was presented by that monarch with the manor and estate of New Hall, and obtained a licence to embattle his residence with walls and towers. By his female heir it became the property of Sir Thomas Boleyn, father to Queen Anne Boleyn; and in 1517 we find it in the possession of Henry the Eighth, who, adding to the first erection, made it a royal residence, and celebrated the feast of Saint George within its noble halls with great magnificence in 1524. His eldest daughter Mary lived here several years; and by Queen Elizabeth it was bestowed on Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex, in reward for his gallant achievements. This nobleman erected the sumptuous altar tomb in the village church, (already noticed,) and dying in 1583, the estate and house of New Hall descended to his brothers, whose heirs, in 1620, sold it to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who was afterwards stabbed at Portsmouth, by Felton. This nobleman’s son being attainted by the Parliament for his loyalty to King Charles the First, this princely residence and park were purchased by Oliver Cromwell, the consideration money being five shillings, and the estimated value upwards of £13,000.

It does not, however, appear that the usurper resided much at New Hail, as he seems to have quitted it for his more favourite abode of Hampton Court.

Upon the restoration of Charles the Second, the celebrated General Monk obtained it, and lived here with much splendour for several years. His son’s widow remarrying, in 1691, to Ralph, Duke of Montague, New Hall was deserted and suffered to fall into great dilapidation, but was at last purchased by Benjamin Hoare, Esq., who, retaining the lordship, sold the house and park to John Olmius, Esq., afterwards Baron Waltham. By this nobleman it was reduced to its present dimensions. It is now, and has for several years past, been occupied as a nunnery by a community of females, who were driven by the French revolution and its disorderly occurrences from their retreat at Liege. The great hall, which is a truly magnificent apartment, being more than 90 feet in length, by 50 in breadth, and 40 in height, by these ladies been fitted up as a chapel for the celebration of their religious ceremonies. Part of Henry the Eighth’s additions to this pile are yet existing, as over a door, leading from the back of the hall, are his arms cut in stone, supported by a dragon and a greyhound, regally crowned; while a hawk and a lion bear a scroll with this legend, “Henricus Rex Octavus - Rex inclit. armis magnanimous - struxit hoc opus egregium.” Queen Elizabeth, too, seems to have exercised her taste in architecture on portions of this mansion, as over the entrance-door of the hall are to be seen her arms, and the following poetical inscription:-

En terra la piu savia regina
En cielo la piu lucente stella;
Virgine, magnanima, dotta, divina,
Leggiadra, honesta et bella.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Blackmore: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845)

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).

Morant, in his History of Essex, derives the name of this village from the dark coIour of its soil; but, as I cannot discover that it differs in this particular from the neighbouring parishes, I should rather seek for the origin of its name from the peculiarities of its situation. While the adjoining country is thickly covered with old woods, Blackmore exhibits a singularly contrasted nakedness, which forcibly induces my opinion that the Saxon words blaec mor, (the open or exposed common,) furnish the true derivation of this appellative.

The chief distinction, however, which the place obtained in more ancient times, rose from the foundation of a priory for canons of the order of Saint Augustine, which Tanner informs us took place in the reign of King John, though others refer this event to a period still anterior, and ascribe it to the munificence of Sir John de Sandfort [Sandford], who flourished in the time of Henry the Second. It appears to have been always a small establishment; for, having been returned in 1527, as of the value of £85 9s. 7d., it was granted to Cardinal Wolsey for the endowment of his colleges. Upon the Cardinal’s attainder, it came to the crown, and two years after was granted to the Abbey of Waltham Holy Cross, in exchange for the Manor of Stansted Abbots, and other estates. At the general dissolution it was regranted to John Smyth Esq., with whose descendants it continued till about the year 1714, when the buildings and the site of the priory were purchased by Sir Jacob Ackworth, who repaired the house, and made some additions: during these operations, the workmen dug up a small leaden coffin, about a yard in length, full of bones. Except the priory church, which is now parochial, not a fragment of the ancient monastic buildings remains, and the entire site is converted into gardens and pleasure grounds attached to the adjoining residence, called Jericho House. I believe the impropriation is now the property of the Crickett family, whose residence is at Smyth’s Hall, in this parish.

The Priory of Blackmore, as before stated, was founded in the reign of Henry the Second, or in that of King John, but in either case, by the family of Sandford. The original church was a low heavy building in the style of that age, of which structure a complete compartment, with the western wall and the principal entrance, still exists. Upon this portion has been engrafted the present edifice, a moderate sized building, but one of remarkable elegance, and just proportion, lofty, light, and imposing. The pillars on the north side are composed of clustered columns, without central bands, and with plain-moulded capitals, while those on the south side are octagonal; both, however, sustain pointed arches of similar span and elevation, and finished with like mouldings. It will he difficult to imagine why the western end of the old church was preserved at the period of this great alteration, unless we suppose that the monks entertained an intention of raising a tower of stone, for which the massive Norman walls and columns seemed to offer a most substantial substructure ; but funds probably failing the present inelegant spire of timber was afterwards erected. To develope more clearly the peculiar features of each portion of this edifice, the annexed drawing has been made, which shows the first column of the new work neatly inserted into the short and clumsy Norman pillar, with the singular pilaster intended to ornament each angle of the latter.

A peculiarity exists in this interior, which I have not hitherto observed in any of our English churches, though it is frequently to be met with in those of France. A partition wall runs at right angles to the length of the church, reaching from the columns to the walls of the aisles, and thus dividing the space contained between two pillars from the adjoining portion of the aisle, and forming a separate inclosure; these unquestionably served as private chapels. An arrangement somewhat similar to this may be seen in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.

As the nave and chancel are of equal height and width, and their corresponding aisles of low proportions, a roof of red tile covers all in one slope, and gives, externally, but little idea of the lofty character of the nave. The beams of the roof are coiled with boards of oak, and at the centre of each severy or division is a circular boss, on which is painted in colours, still retaining much of their brilliancy, a human portrait. Corresponding with these, but lower down, are several shields of armorial bearings, many of which are obliterated by damp or the accumulated dust of ages. The arms of England and France, quarterly, are repeated several times; but, besides these, I was able to distinguish the charges of three only, all on the north side. There is no appearance of windows in the south aisle. The cloister probably abutted against this wall, and precluded the admission of light. In the north aisle, a series of good sized windows in part remain, with flat labels and one shaft. The chancel window is small; it is divided into three parts by two mullions, and has its upper portion filled with perpendicular tracery.

A considerable part of the entire eastern end has been divided from the rest of the chancel, to form a burial place for the Cricketts, and various other disfigurements, the result of modern tastelessness, meet the eye in every direction; yet, not withstanding these defacements, the interior of this sacred edifice immediately produces in the mind a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction, arising, unquestionably, from the justness of its proportions, and the simplicity of its design.

The construction of the wooden belfry is very similar to that at Margaret[t]ing; which has been already described, and it is not unlikely that both are the work of same monastic architect, as the latter parish was a dependency of Blackmore: both reflect the greatest credit upon his geometrical skill. The number of these wooden belfries and spires, which are to be met with in this part of Essex particularly, recalls to our recollection the extensive forests which formerly abounded in this quarter of the county, and at once explains the cause of their frequent occurrence, and proves, by their soundness at the present day, the extraordinary durability of English oak. There are five bells in this tower.


Not a single trace of monastic interment exists in the Priory Church: whether we are to ascribe this to any religious feeling, particularly directed against monkish relics, or to the possible circumstance of the cloisters or other parts of this priory having been selected as their burial place by the inmates of this house, must ever remain a matter of conjecture; but the discovery of a leaden coffin, while levelling the site of the old buildings, and which has been mentioned, certainly proves that the interment of persons of consideration did, occasionally, at least, take place out of the body of the church. There is one old floor-stone however, deserving notice, lying near the east end of the chancel, probably covering the remains of a benefactor the circumscription and elegant cross of brass are torn away.

The length of this marble slab is seven feet three inches, by three feet in width at the head. The following are the modern inscriptions:-

1. In memory of Mrs. Esther Acworth, daughter of Sir Jacob Acworth, Knt., who died the 8th day of September, 1768, aged 57 years.

2 To the memory of Charles Alexander Crickett, of Smyth’s Hall, Esquire, many years one of the representatives in Parliament of the Borough of Ipswich who died the 16th of January, 1800, aged 65 years.

Also, to the memory of Sarah, the widow of Charles Alexander Crickett, Esq., who departed this life the 29th day of July, 1828, aged 84.

The arms of Cricket are, Az. three pelicans argent.

3. Here Iyeth the body of Simon Lynch, Rector of Runwell, who for fearing God and the king, was sequestrated, prosecuted, and persecuted to the day of his death, by Gog and Magog, and left yssue Elizabeth, Sarah, Simon, and Ithiel, unto whom the Lord be merciful, who dyed ye 10th of June, 1660, aged 60 years.

This church is dedicated to Saint Laurence, and is a donative in the gift of the impropriator. The stipend is only £20 per annum.

Adjoining the north side of the churchyard, a respectable mansion, belonging to the family of Preston, occupies the site of an ancient house of pleasure, possessed by Henry the Eighth. It is still distinguished by its former name of Jericho, which the courtiers of that gallant monarch are said to have invented to disguise the object of their master’s visits, who, when his absence from court was observed, was said to be gone to Jericho. It is a very remarkable situation to have chosen for the purposes of debauchery, as it not only abuts upon the churchyard, but is actually within a stone’s cast of the residence of the monks. Here was born Henry’s natural son, Henry Fitz-Roy, by his mistress, the Lady Elizabeth Tailbois widow of Gilbert Lord Tailbois, and daughter of Sir John Blount - a female so eminent for her beauty and accomplishments, that this frailty hindered not her subsequent union with Edward Clinton, the first Earl of Lincoln of that family. Henry Fitz-Roy was created, at the early age of six years, Earl of Nottingham, and Duke of Richmond and Somerset, in June 1525 and likewise elected a Knight of the Garter. These dignities were conferred on the anniversary of his birthday, which was on the 18th of that month. Nor did his royal father’s affection stop here; for, on the 26th of the following July, he was constituted, with amusing absurdity, Admiral of England, Ireland, and Normandy. Two years after, he was made Warden of the East, West, and Middle Marches, towards Scotland; and, in the 22nd of Henry the Eighth, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland,

He is acknowledged to have been a youth of great promise, displaying much capacity in the acquirement of learning, and excelling in genius and refinement of manners. His education was finished at Paris, whence he returned in 1532, and married soon after, at a very tender age, to Mary, daughter of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, and sister to the accomplished Earl of Surrey. He was born at Jericho House on the 18th of June 1519, and died at Westminster, without issue, on the 24th of July, 1536, in the seventeenth year of his age, and to the sincere regret of his father.

He was buried at Thetford in Norfolk.

Monday, 1 June 2009


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

Churches Open To Visitors: Summer 2009

The Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore
(From 3 May to 4 October)
Sundays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays
2.30 – 4.30pm
Teas In The Tower on the 1st Sunday in the month

St Peter & St Paul, Stondon Massey
Sunday 10 May, Sunday 14 June, Sunday 12 July, Sunday 9 August, Sunday 13 September
2.30 – 4.30pm
Teas served

All Saints’, Doddinghurst
Sunday 21 June, Sunday 19 July, Sunday 16 August, Sunday 20 September.
2.30 – 4.30pm
Strawberry Cream Teas on 19 July

St Margaret’s, Stanford Rivers (see photograph)
Every Sunday until the end of September. Teas served.
2.30 – 4.30pm

War Memorial to be Restored

Blackmore Parish Council has announced that the War Memorial on The Green is to be renovated. The granite obelisk will be cleaned, re-engraved and names painted. Alongside it has been decided to erect a flagpole for use on special occasions.

Shingle Replacement on Blackmore’s Timber Bell Tower

Woodpeckers in Blackmore and the surrounding areas need spectacles to differentiate between trees and ancient buildings it seems. The perennial problem of their pecking habits means that after only seven years it is necessary to replace vandalized shingles on the famous bell tower of the Priory Church of St Laurence, in Church Street, Blackmore.

Unfortunately the work is not cheap because the work must be done by a specialist following all the health and safety regulations. Work is currently under way by Caters, who are using a steeplejack to do the spire works. This avoids the costly erection of scaffolding. In all 42 holes in the shingles need to be repaired, with four new shingles required for each hole in order to properly weather, plus twelve in the vertical boarding.

Bariff’s Farm Mystery

Heather Tomkins wrote to me recently: “Do any of your contributors have any knowledge of Bariff's farm, Mountnessing, where my Collyer ancestors farmed in the 1870/1880s? I would be very grateful for any information that is available.” Unfortunately I cannot find any record at all other than the entry in the 1881 census which gives a George Collyer as farmer of 40 acres. My father, who was born and bred in Mountnessing, has never heard of a Bariff’s Farm. Can anyone help?

Another Mountnessing Mystery

Also, older residents of Mountnessing sometimes refer to the place as ‘Tuddick’. I have never seen the name written down. Does anyone know of its origin?

A search on the internet found one item, courtesy of the local radio website, Phoenix FM: “My grandfather, who was born in 1902 … always referred to Mountnessing as Tuddick in fact he wouldn’t have it that the place had any other title. Now I presume that this was widely used name for the place in his younger days – he wouldn’t have made that up and used it all his life, would he? Anyway I have no idea why it was called that and neither did he. Anyone got any ideas?” Posted 12 January 2009.

Walking around Ingatestone

RobWhite1 has posted onto Flicker a series of photos taken in April 2009 entitled ‘Walking Around Ingatestone’. In the sequence are pictures of the gatehouse of Ingatestone Hall, Buttsbury Church by the River Wid and Ingatestone Church from the Fairfield Recreation Ground, plus those smelly oilseed rape flowers. Follow this link for more:


For an extensive list of links to other sites go to: