Sunday, 1 November 2009


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

November: a time to remember

There is no special anniversary of the First World War this year other than the fact the ninety years ago the first Armistice commemoration was hurriedly decreed. Since then people have paused for two minutes to remember those who gave their lives. Just before the anniversary day I will be making my first ever visit to the battlefields and cemeteries around Ypres. It will be a quick tour lasting one day. It will be a journey in more ways than one. Locally we remember as one of the fallen Private William White who was killed just days before hostilities ceased (on 5th November 1918). I found his grave at Downham Church this summer. It is this month’s photograph.

1911 Census

Family historians received a fantastic New Year present in January this year with the launch of the 1911 census. This has opened new doors into the lives of our ancestors.

‘Find My Past’ (, the commercial family history website which has the rights to the 1911 census has launched the archive on their main site creating a complete and unique sequence of census data from 1841 to 1911. With the England and Wales census completely transcribed (Scotland will follow later) this had to be the next step in their marketing strategy. Subscribers to the 1911 census website ( were given opportunity to sign up at a special introductory rate.

“1911 is the most recent available England and Wales census - it holds the key to your nineteenth and twentieth-century ancestors. The 1911 census contains information you simply can’t find elsewhere and without it your family history is incomplete.

“For the first time you’ll see scans of the actual forms filled in by your ancestors which can reveal the quirks of your ancestors’ handwriting, as well as any mistakes or extra comments they made, in crisp high-quality colour.

“The 1911 census holds more information on your ancestors than any census before it. You can discover:
· how long a couple had been married
· how many children were born to that marriage (and how many of them had died)
· details of nationality
· more detailed occupational information”

Findmypast made the 1911 census RG14 household forms available at the earliest opportunity and will be adding the accompanying enumerators’ summary book (RG78) images.

Essex Record Office Closure

The Essex Record Office will close for stocktaking from Monday 9th to Saturday 21st November 2009.

The 261 Bus Route

Blackmore’s hourly bus service to Brentwood (except Sundays) via Doddinghurst is featured in three ‘You Tube’ videos.
Part 1 shows the journey from the ‘Bus Terminus’ to Doddinghurst:
Part 2 takes us through the countryside from Doddinghurst to the Brentwood Centre at Bishops Hall:
Finally Part 3 completes the journey to Brentwood High Street:
It gives readers a good idea about the area in which we live. Enjoy the trip!

Stately Homes of Essex

The following link gives details of opening times etc of three stately homes: Hylands House, Audley End and Ingatestone Hall. Go to:

Chigwell Link

Other than its link with Samuel Harsnett and Charles Dickens, who loved the place, (see the following I have to confess that I do not know much about the village of Chigwell on the edge of the London Boroughs but still close to Blackmore. But the latest news is that Blackmore’s new Vicar (and Stondon Massey’s new Rector) has just been appointed to take on the role from February 2010. She is Revd. Toni Smith, currently priest at St Winifred’s Church, Grange Hill, Chigwell. My visit to Dicken’s Maypole pub (The King’s Head) is long overdue!


The Bell public house, an ancient coaching inn in Ingatestone High Street has just had a change of ownership. ‘Shepherd Neame’, the Kent brewers, is the new name on the pub sign. Another opportunity for investigation!

RAF Chipping Ongar

During the Second World War there was an operational American Air Base at Willingale by the name of ‘RAF Chipping Ongar’. Older residents in the area remember when the Americans (387th Bomb Group) came over, spent money in the pubs, handed out goodies and wooed the girls. They carried out a dangerous job, and some did not make it. “We will remember them” is the caption at the bottom of a set of photographs – by Richard Flagg - showing the surviving buildings on the base and of St Andrew’s Church, Willingale Spain: the group’s church for the short time they were over here.


Newly posted onto Flicker by ‘sink plunger’ is a photograph of a Class 90 electric engine taken at Shenfield station. It is one of the more modern rolling stock – taken May 2009 - which was not featured in our railway series recently. See:


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

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