Saturday, 1 August 2009


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

Cuckoo to Reopen

The Cuckoo, Radley Green, is to reopen at the end of August as a new gastro pub. The local newspaper (Brentwood Gazette) carried job advertisements in July for prospective staff. Blackmore Area Local History reported that the former Greene King (ex Ridleys) pub closed at the beginning of January for what was thought to be the final time. It seems that the cuckoo has become the phoenix!

New Essex Lines

It is 120 years since the opening of the railway line from Shenfield to Southend Victoria and Southminster. To mark 20 years since the centenary celebrations on 28th August I am publishing the photographs I took then. Blackmore Area Local History will then be devoting a month to our railway heritage past and present.

Revd. Alfred Suckling

The series of transcripts from Alfred Suckling’s Memorials (1845) ends this month. The book covers the whole of Essex so I have not included those villages outside the Blackmore Area Local History region, namely: Hatfield Peverel, Bradfield, Danbury, Dedham, Langham, Great Horkesley, Little Horkesley, Wrabness, Dovercourt, Wix, Lawford, Colchester, Stanway, Inworth, Little Braxted, Great Braxted, Messing and Layer Marney. The clergyman’s research during the mid nineteenth century, before the arrival of the railway, was a considerable labour of love. Suckling writes at Layer Marney: “As the writer had already walked nearly twenty miles that day, and seven more lay between him and Colchester, the ultimate and most important object of the tour, the shades of an October evening warned him that any attempt to draw these effigies with accuracy and care would be fruitless; with regret, therefore he left these monuments of ancient sculpture unsketched. Lest, however, he be charged with apathy on this score, let the reader understand, that having breakfasted at six that morning, he had subsequently already visited the churches of Great and Little Braxted, Inworth and Messing, had made sketches of those portions to be found in this volume, with the brasses, arms, and inscriptions connected with them; had also drawn a view of Layer Marney Tower, the exterior of the church, and the arms and font, and copied all the monuments, without any assistance”.

Entries on this blog with reference to John Weale can be found under He was Suckling’s publisher.

Lord Petre of Ingatestone Hall

‘SEO Elite Reviews’ has produced a summary of the Petre family of Ingatestone Hall (see photograph) from ancient times to date. For information follow this link:

Stondon Massey: AA Battery

A sequence of correspondence has appeared in relation to gun First and Second World war gun emplacements at Stondon Massey. To follow the story, go to

Around British Churches

‘David J’ has an interesting blog entitled ‘Around British Churches’. Recently he has featured the Parish Church of St Martin in Chipping Ongar. For more go to: For others in Essex, which currently include Greensted and Waltham Abbey, go to:

Brazier family

A local surname to this area is Brazier. I remember a George Brazier living in Norton Road, Ingatestone until about 1980. Anyway, for links and a thread to the genealogy go to:

Tributes to Henry Allingham and Harry Patch

Not a local celebrity but national heroes – as were all the others who served in the First World War. Henry Allingham, the world’s oldest man, died on 18th July 2009 aged 113. And ‘You tube’ connections: and

Harry Patch “quietly slipped away” at a nursing home in Wells, aged 111, on 25th July 2009. He and others came to present the last of a generation who, thankfully, were encouraged in their later years to share their war experiences. His biography, ‘The Last Fighting Tommy’ (Bloomsbury, 2008) is a lasting oral testimony. Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, calls for a national memorial service to remember the generation of people who fought in the First World War. The Queen said, "We will never forget the bravery and enormous sacrifice of his generation, which will continue to serve as an example to us all." An obituary given by the BBC can be seen by following these links: ,, and

By way of tribute, I repeat the book review published on this blog last year as part of the Great War commemoration.

There is nothing singularly remarkable about Harry Patch’s service in the Great War. At 18 he was called up (conscription was compulsory) to serve ‘King and Country’ and spent time on the Western Front in Passchendaele before being wounded in September 1917 and sent home to recuperate. The story of this Somerset man is replicated across millions of his generation. But the fact that at the age of 108, as one of the oldest surviving veterans of the First World War, he decided to write an autobiography telling of his experience is remarkable. Only in recent years, since the age of 100, has Harry decided to tell his story. Like almost all who served the vivid remembrance of the battles is something which was not talked about. Harry Patch was born in 1898. In his training for military service, this plumber by trade, learned to use a Lewis Gun and be a second team member of six. He describes the closeness of this small group, the sharing of the cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cake sent from home, the mutual support in times of trouble, and the sadness afterwards learning that three of his mates were blown up by a shell which injured Harry in the stomach with a two inch piece of shrapnel which was removed without anaesthetic because there was none available. Life in the trenches is talked about and the fear that the men had of not surviving perhaps the next day. He mentions going ‘over the top’, those wounded and those shell shocked by the experience.

“We will remember them”.


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

1 comment: said...

I have been tracing my family tree and a distant relative has tonight suggested that we may have associations with a Radley farm in the area.Radley Green clearly suggests some link with our family.Have you any information about why Radley Green was so named and if there is any advice you can give regading further research. We may well be requesting a special rate at The Cuckoo should we need to visit!