Friday, 31 December 2010

Blackmore: Crickett Family

15 November 2010

Hello Andrew,

I’ve had an email today from a descendant of the Crickitt family of Blackmore hoping for information about Charles Alexander Crickitt of Smyths Hall who was head of the first bank in Chelmsford. She is particularly hoping to find a portrait. We only have information about the bank. Have you come across the family in your research? She has already tried the Essex Record Office.

Kind Regards

Dot Bedenham

15 November 2010

Hello Dot,

Yes I have come across the Crickitt family during the course of my research. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the individual, but your correspondent may be interested in the following information.

The population of Blackmore grew during the latter half of the eighteenth century. In 1766, Blackmore was “a small village con[sis]ts about 50 families”, having “about 80 houses” in 1790 and “about 100 families – about 500 souls” by 1810, with “three families of note, Mr Crickett, Mr Waller of Fingrith & Mr Fearths of Jericho House” [source: Guildhall Manuscripts ms9558. Diocesan Book 1766 – 1811]. The 1811 census records a population of 620.

The minutes record the proposal to create a side chapel in place of the Mausoleum. This entailed the removal and burial of three coffins in the churchyard, - The last of which, according to the Vicar, Revd. W L Petrie (1898) was placed there in 1868 - belonging to the Crickitt family, and the rebuilding of part of the north wall of the aisle.

For “posterity”, the minutes of ‘The Vicar, Churchwarden and Synodsmen of S Lawrence Blackmore Meeting (1893 to 1965)’ record:

Monday Novr 26 1900

The following are the inscriptions of the Coffins of the members of the Crickitt family

Sarah Alexander Crickitt
Died 28th August 1819
Aged 49 Years

Charles Alexander Crickitt Esq
Died 16th Jan 1803
Aged 65 years
Late Member for Ipswich

Mrs Sarah Crickitt
Died 29 July 1828
Aged 84 years

Harriett Alexander Crickitt
Died Nov 15 1868
Aged 78 Years

Copy of a letter received from Mr Crickitt respecting the Vault in the Church

Lansdown Road
15 July 1900

Dear Sir
I quite agree with you that it would be much better that the coffins of my relatives should be placed below the floor of the Church instead of above it for sanitary reasons not regarded in past days …

Rob E Crickitt

According to genealogical notes (dated 1908) [ERO T/G 82/1], the Crickitt family “were bankers at Ipswich, Colchester, Chelmsford and Maldon. They started the Old Bank, Ipswich in 1798. They represented Ipswich in Parliament for 50 years. They owned several manors, among them Smyth Hall Blackmore, pulled down by Miss H Crickitt, it was an old Elizabethan Hall”.

Inside the Priory Church of St Laurence Blackmore there are memorials bearing the following inscriptions:

On the wall in the Vestry there are two memorials:

To the memory of
Charles Alexander Crickitt
of Smyths Hall Esquire
many years one of the
Representatives of Parliament
of the Borough of Ipswich
who died the 16th Jany 1803
aged 65 years
also to the memory of
Sarah the widow of
Charles Alexander Crickitt Esq
who departed this life
the 29 day of July 1828
aged 84 years

In memory of
Harriet Alexander Crickitt
the last surviving child
of the late
Charles Alexander Crickitt Esq M.P.
formerly of
Smyths Hall in this parish
she died
the 16th of November 1868
Aged 79.

The Crickitt family vault occupied the corner of the church which became a Lady Chapel and later, in 1988, the Vestry.

The Crickett family held the advowson of the church from 1775 to 1887.



Friday, 24 December 2010

Margaretting: Christmas Eve at the 'Red Lion'

One theme keeps recurring: “Ah, but we had more fun in the old days” and it is a theme whose truth is very difficult to assess from reminiscence. Did the people get more enjoyment from the amusements they created for themselves, or is the fun transfigured by the warm glow of the past. There is no doubt in the mind of Mrs. Poole of “The Red Lion,” Margaretting, Essex, when she says:

Of course, things are not what they used to be. Specially Christmas, these days. We used to be able to supply everybody with anything they wanted, in the way of a bit of Christmas cheer. But not now, I’m afraid. They all used to come in, happy and excited, on Christmas Eve, all laden up with parcels and baskets full of good things. You could feel the excitement in the very atmosphere, and see it on their faces as plain as a pikestaff. And half of ‘em would forget their stuff before the evening was over, and on Christmas morning the bar would be littered with chickens and ducks and turkeys and goodness knows what else. And then they’d have to call back to collect their Christmas dinners. Mind you, I always did think it was a dodge, so they could get a quick one in early. Oh, but it was lovely in those days. I hope it won’t be too long before they come back. Roast pork, sides of beef, turkeys, chicken, sausages - real sausages, I mean - and all the rest of it. Pigs’ trotters, now. You never see ‘em about at all now. Anybody’d think pigs don’t have legs nowadays, you never see them in the shops.

Extract from ‘Country Magazine. Book of the B.B.C. Programme’ compiled and edited by Francis Dillon. (Odhams Press, London, c1950).

Friday, 17 December 2010

Blackmore: Disney family

The Disney memorial inside St Edmund & St Mary Church, Ingatestone.
In the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore, on the north wall is a memorial to Edgar Disney (1810 – 1881). It reads:

to the memory of
Edgar Disney
of The Hyde
Ingatestone Essex
and of
Jericho Blackmore Esquire
Born 22nd December 1810
Died 8th December 1881
He that believeth in the Son hath
everlasting life, he that believeth
not the Son shall not see life
St John chap iii, ver. xxxvi

Below is a brass plaque:

This tablet
is erected by the Rev W Callendar Vicar of Black
more in grateful recognition of
the kindly munificence of Edgar Disney Esq of the Hyde Ingate
stone to whose generosity (independently of various donations from Parishioners
and others) the successful restoration of the Church of
St Lawrence is mainly due 1878

In Blackmore’s church records we find that the churchyard was enlarged in 1885, through a gift of land by “Edgar John Disney of Jericho House … Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Battalion Essex Regiment” [Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. DSA 1/15/3 f395]. E J Disney was also churchwarden in 1885.

I suspect that the father lived at the family home - The Hyde, Ingatestone - and the son at Jericho, and it was he who caused the memorial to be erected. We know that at the time The Hyde was full of antiquities assembled on grand tours mainly by a Thomas Brand Hollis, a single man who died in 1804 and left his entire estate to his friend the Rev. Dr. John Disney, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquities and a Doctor of Divinity. His son, Edgar’s father, also a John, continued to collect works in Italy and catalogued the entire collection in 1846. Most of the sculptures were given to the fledgling Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge in 1850, presumably to make house room, and to this day the core of the museum’s collection is referred to as the ‘Disney marbles’. After Edgar’s death in 1881 the remainder of the collection was sold at auction by Christies.

Readers may be interested to know that there is an identical memorial at Ingatestone (see photograph). Recorders of the Brentwood & District Decorative and Fine Arts Society (NADFAS) have just finished a five year project researching the entire fixtures and fittings of St Edmund and St Mary Church. In an item in ‘The Journal’ (September 2010) specific mention is made of the Edgar Disney memorial which “displays the heraldic ‘quarterings’ of 23 different families”. Two guided tours of the church were given recently by Graham Brereton, the leader of the recording group.

There is another, but different, memorial to the Disney family at Fryerning Church. The family are buried in a large vault to the north side of St Mary’s Church.

The Disney family originated from the village of Norton Disney in Lincolnshire. Walt, the cartoonist, must be a distant relation but to suggest direct linage is, to be frank, a Mickey Mouse story.

Thomas Brand Hollis and the Disneys of Ingatestone, written by Graham Brereton.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Blackmore: the place-name Swallows Cross

9 October 2010

Marjorie wrote:

I am trying to find information about how SWALLOWS CROSS got its name for my father.

Information I've found so far, indicates that the area might have once belonged to a FRANCES and ANN SWALLOW (their names are mentioned in archives dated 1657 and 1768 and possibly named after them and may also have been part of THOBY PRIORY ESTATE.

I have enjoyed reading your pages very much...thank you

6 November 2010

Whilst waiting for some documents to arrive from the store at the Essex Record Office I took a look at P H Reaney’s ‘The Place Names of Essex’ (Cambridge, 1935).

The entry reads:

Swallows Cross, Blackmore

“Swallows Cross is Swallow Cross c.1702 Bramston”.

“Bramston (penes Essex Archaeological Society, Colchester)”.


Friday, 3 December 2010

Highwood: Ernest Stock

7 November 2010

Is it possible to check the register for the burial of Ernest Stock for 8th Dec. 1911 age 9. He was killed in an accident outside Highwood School on Dec 4th and the whole school stood in the playground on the 8th and sang a hymn as the cortege passed by. Despite searching all likely burial places we have had no success.

David Taylor. (Highwood History writer for the Parish Magazine and Writtle Archives)

8 November 2010


I have checked the Blackmore Burial Register for surname and entry. Ernest Stock is not recorded.

Best wishes in your search.


8 November 2010

Thank you for your prompt help Andrew. I will persevere.


9 November 2010


Such an event could have been reported in the Essex Chronicle - microfilm copies of which are available to view in Chelmsford Library. There may be an account of he child's death, funeral and, perhaps, inquest.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Stondon Massey: William Byrd Festival mentioned in Classic fm magazine

The new look Classic fm magazine is running a series on the Great Composers. The latest edition (January 2011) was issued today (2 December) and features, coincidentally, William Byrd in a six-page article about his life and music.

About two months' ago I was approached to provide some photographs of the church, which I duly did, and mentioned that the 'William Byrd Festival' is being held at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey, Essex, on the 7th and 8th May 2011 (since extended to the following weekend).

The article mentions the Festival, includes one of the photographs and invites people to 'visit the memorial tablet' inside the church. The church itself is usually locked so if you wish to make a special visit, to avoid disappointment, please book first.

It's great that the Editor has kindly included the event in the internationally circulated magazine which has many thousands of readers, and for the county of Essex to be mentioned.

The magazine is the Christmas edition and has two cover mounted free CDs of seasonal music, one featuring Harry Christophers directing The Sixteen - more Byrd connoisseurs.

For more information on the church visit (covering the parishes of Blackmore and Stondon) and for the latest on Stondon's 'William Byrd Festival' go to

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


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

Disney Family of Blackmore and Ingatestone

The bicentenary of the birth of Edgar Disney is remembered on the blog this month. Edgar lived at Jericho Priory, but his father John lived at The Hyde in Ingatestone. He gave a large number of sculptures to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, which I visited recently to see what is still known as the ‘Disney marbles’. The gallery (Room 21), containing items from Roman and Greek times, has recently been refurbished with the story retold. The museum entry is free – though a suggested donation of at least £3 is welcome – and is an interesting way to spend a dull winter day. Another highlight of our afternoon visit – we must go back – was the slipware pottery made in the Harlow area of Essex, presumably around Potter Street.

Blackmore Area Local History

Today marks the third anniversary of this online project, which has grown significantly over the past year thanks to continued research as well as correspondence from its readers. There are now 109 pages on the main website, double that of last year, and over 500 entries on this blog.

Plans for the website for the next year include:
- posting all the correspondence and photographs I have received from former pupils who were at The Gatehouse School and The Hyde during the 1940s and 1950s (the same property as the Disney family a century earlier).
- creating a series of pages called ‘Blackmore. The Library Collection’ which will feature photographs I received from a collector who had a display in the former Blackmore local library back in the 1980s. This is outstanding from the last twelve months
- commemorating those recorded on the Doddinghurst and Stondon Massey War memorials with new pages

The blog will continue to focus on local history news and feedback from readers. I am not planning new online projects for publication next year – although I wrote this twelve months ago and immediately became involved with others on the Blackmore War Memorial project.

‘Offline’ I am researching the life of Rev Edward Henry Lisle Reeve, Rector of Stondon Massey (Essex) from 1893 to 1935. Reeve died unmarried but his half-brother had descendants with a surname Hawkins. Is there anyone out there related to this interesting Anglican clergyman and gentleman? The only way to find out is to post an entry on the blog! There is also May’s William Byrd Festival which I am promoting.

The purpose of ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ is to share knowledge of local heritage. Thanks for visiting the sites. Enjoy, and keep posting comments!

Ongar War Memorial Hospital demolished

Work has now gone ahead to demolish the old Ongar War Memorial Hospital which closed in 2009.

Chelmsford: St John’s Hospital closes

St John’s Hospital, in Chelmsford - where countless local babies were born – closed its doors for the last time on 19 November. For more read:

Willingale Churches

Willingale is, of course, unique to Essex in that two churches share the same churchyard. A new item has appeared on the internet thanks to a churchaholic. Read Stepney Robarts blog entry:

The busy blogger has also been to:
High Laver:
High Ongar:

If you are interested in Arthur Mee, of ‘King’s England’ fame, there is an interesting biography.

It’s fair to sum up that the writer does not like Victorian churches or Victorian restorations at all. I enjoyed surfing this site.

Stanford Rivers Parish Register

Kathryn Lake commemorates ‘Church Record Sunday’ (I never knew it existed) with an item about parish registers and about Stanford Rivers specifically. Read on

William Byrd Festival

The ‘William Byrd Festival’ will be held at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey, on 7, 8, 14 & 15 May 2011. For the latest information visit

A Folk Song A Day

Don’t forget the marvellous site


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

Friday, 26 November 2010

Roxwell: The place-name Radley Green

14 October 2010

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 regarding further research. We may well be requesting a special rate at The Cuckoo should we need to visit!

6 November 2010

Whilst waiting for some documents to arrive from the store at the Essex Record Office I took a look at P H Reaney’s ‘The Place Names of Essex’ (Cambridge, 1935).

The entry reads:

Radley Green, Roxwell.

“Radley Green is Redwellmore 1246 Takeley. Radwell(e) 1274 RH (p) 1297. For, (-grene, ende) 1316 Takeley Radley Green 1768 M. This looks like ‘the red spring or stream’ (v. wielle) but there is nothing red, as we understand it, about the site”.

M is Morant, Hist of Essex 2 vols 1768.
RH is Rotuli Hundredorum 2 vols 1812-18.

I could add that Blackmore’s water supply was once said to “come off of iron” so perhaps we are talking about a rust colour?

My visit to The Cuckoo is overdue!!


Friday, 19 November 2010

Blackmore: Who Built the War Memorial?

16 November 2010

Hi. My daughter needs to find out for her homework who originally built the Blackmore war memorial. I hope you can help ...
Many thanks

16 November 2010

Hello Donna

Blackmore’s War Memorial was built in 1920 by public subscription and on dedication, on 7 November that year, passed to the Parish Council for custody. It was rededicated on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November, 2010 following a clean and re-engraving of the names. For more information on those inscribed go to and follow the link ‘Great War’.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Blackmore: Remembrance Sunday and Rededication of War Memorial

A Service was held at the War Memorial today to remember those who had given their lives in the First World War and all subsequent conflicts. It also marked the day of the rededication of the War Memorial and the time-honoured observance of "two minutes' silence". The Service was conducted by Revd. Toni Smith, Vicar of Blackmore.

The following are extracts from the Order of Service:
"There have been many people and organisations involved in the refurbishment of this memorial stone, and our thanks go to them all.
"We, the people of Blackmore and surrounding communities, now have a true war memorial as we re-dedicate it this day.
"Long may it help preserve the memory of those valient soldiers, who selflessly gave their lives for our freedom. Let it be a reminder to us and future generations that our way of life and independence was brought about through their sacrifice.
"We are here today to remember, we are here today to pray for, and to commit ourselves to the cause of peace and justice throughout the world. Lord in Your Mercy ...
"Hear our prayer".

After the last post, played by members of the Fullwell Brass Band; two minutes silence; and, The Reveille, representatives from within the local community and other members of the public came forward to lay wreaths and offer other symbols of remembrance and hope. "We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender!" was sung to the tune Finlandia. There followed closing prayers and the blessing.

A Prayer of Dedication

"On this Remembrance Sunday we come, O Lord, in gratitude for all who endured pain that we might know joy, for all who suffered imprisonment that we might know freedon. Turn our deep feeling now into determination, and our determination into deed, that as men and women died for peace, we may live for peace for the sake of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen".

Monday, 8 November 2010

Blackmore: Battle of The Somme

Written by Bruno Giordan.

On 1st July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to make some progress. However, the German army resisted tenaciously, and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. Three months later, at the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The original objective had been to take the village on the first day. Not the first, but perhaps one of the clearest examples of "lions led by donkeys".

William Edward Rudling was baptised on 27th April 1879 at St Michael’s Church, Thorpe-le-Soken, son of William Rudling, painter, and Sarah. The 1901 census lists him as grocer’s assistant living in Church Street with John Martin and family, over the shop that is now Longbeam Cottage. He enlisted as private in the Suffolk Regiment 2nd Battalion, and died on 16th August 1916, aged 38. There is no record that he married.

Herbert Game was the son of Charles Game and Martha, born, like his parents, in Cockfield, Suffolk. In 1911 the family had been living in Blackmore for around eight years. Charles’ job was labourer, and Herbert’s is shown as “Cow Boy”. He volunteered as private in the East Surrey Regiment 9th Battalion, and first saw service in France in August 1915. He was killed in action on the same day as William Rudling, 16th August 1916, aged 25.

Ernest Martin was born in Blackmore in 1880, the son of Charles Martin of Great Baddow, the proprietor of steam thrashing machines, and his wife Emma. In 1901 they lived on the Green, near the pond. He enlisted as private in the Essex Regiment 11th Battalion, and was wounded in June 1915. He returned to duty, but died on 27th September 1916, age 36. He has no known grave.

Arthur John Nash was baptised 6th August 1882 at High Ongar. He was the son of John Henry and Eliza Nash. The father’s occupation is blank, which suggests his death, and this is confirmed by the marriage in 1884 of Eliza to William Chumbley of Blackmore. Arthur enlisted as Private in the Essex Regiment 2nd Battalion, and was killed in action, a little after the capture of Thiepval, on 23rd October 1916, age 34.

All are commemorated on the Theipval memorial.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Blackmore: War Memorial Recarved

Blackmore’s ninety year old War Memorial has recently been cleaned and re-engraved with the names of those who enlisted for King and Country during the First World War. In total there are 102 names recorded: 21 who died, plus a further 81 who served. The work was commissioned by the Parish Council, who is custodian of this edifice.

The War Memorial, which stands on The Green, was dedicated on 7th November 1920, four days before the second Anniversary of the Armistice when people would have gathered and paused for two minutes to remember. The Essex County Chronicle reported: “The unveiling of the war memorial took place on Sunday afternoon, a very large number of people being present. The ceremony began with the singing of “O God Our Help In Ages Past” followed by the lesson read by the Vicar (the Revd. W L Petrie) and prayers by Pastor Francis. At the request of Mr Edmund Marriage, Lieut. Col. Gibbons D.S.O. then unveiled the memorial congratulating Blackmore for having sent 103 men out of a population of 600. He mentioned that one in every five had paid the supreme sacrifice – Mr J H Hull then asked Mr E Marriage as Chairman of the Parish Council, to accept custody of the memorial. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the front face, and on the other faces the names of the men from the village who served are inscribed” [Essex County Chronicle. 12th November 1920].

The work was undertaken because the names carved had weathered over time and become difficult to read. The Parish Council did not however have a workable transcription so a small group of local historians got together and worked on a project to investigate the lives of those commemorated, and to decipher the faded letters ‘C’ and ‘G’ in particular. Was the person remembered Charles or George?

The war casualties turned out to be relatively easy to identify, because many of the names are also included on a window in the village church. Also, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a lot of information on casualties, published on a website. As we looked at a number of sources we discovered the names of other men, not listed, who were said to be associated with Blackmore but died during the Great War, as it was known then. The Military Genealogy website gave a number of names of individuals who were either born in Blackmore, Essex or were resident in Blackmore, not to mention Blackmoor and other misspellings of the parish name. After discounting Blackmore End, which is near Wethersfield in Essex, we had compiled a list of 45 men, not 21, who had fallen. The task was to verify whether these had a Blackmore connection. With the survivors listed, this was to be a family history research project on an epic scale with a list approaching 125 names.

We decided early in the project to advise the Parish Council that the War Memorial should be faithfully re-carved and that names should not be added: we would not tinker with history.

Researching the survivors presented a more difficult problem, but we still found a surprising number of useful sources of information. The 1911 census told us who was living in the village just before the outbreak of war. In 1918, for the first time all men could vote, so that told us who was living in the village at the end of the war. Then there are records of the medals that were awarded to all in the Army at the end of the conflict, which confirm which regiment people fought in.

The early release of the 1911 census proved a godsend to our work. Personal possession of Blackmore’s 1910 Electoral Register proved useful too as did the 1918 roll available online. Many absent voters listed revealed the identity of some of the survivors, and sadly positive identification of one of the victims, Albert Edward Barker, as landlord of The Bull public house who had been killed a year earlier. We made several visits to the excellent Essex Record Office, making lists of Blackmore male baptisms and marriages, looking at the Sunday School Admissions Register, and numerous other documents including the Ongar and District War Memorial Hospital Roll of Honour, which we realised was the frequent source of errors in names of the fallen. The Vicar and churchwardens generously allowed us to make a transcript of the Burial Register dating after 1893, kept in the church safe and not housed in any archive anywhere. We ‘enlisted’ the help of the Essex branch of the Western Front Association and made regular contact with the curator at the recently reopened Essex Regiment Museum in Chelmsford. Above all we used the existing ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ website and partner blog to update the world on progress and encourage descendents to contact us – which they did in large numbers offering all kinds of useful information, and photographs of the people. We were able to share our work and help others fill in their family stories, which is always a pleasure to do. At the time of writing we have positively identified all but one name: S Ball.

War Memorials were, of course, erected because loved ones were either lost or buried in some foreign field. Very often the names inscribed are those who lived in the parish at the time. It came as no surprise to us to find names of those not remembered who were born in Blackmore but had moved away or were resident for only a short time in the village. These epitaphs are by no means then a definitive list of those who died in the Great War since there are errors of omission as well as commission. We find, for example, four names of the twenty-one commemorated also listed on the Doddinghurst War Memorial tablet inside All Saints’ Church.

The result of our work is now published online ( ) with work well in progress to reproduce a copy as a book running to around 150 pages for future reference by the Parish Council and researchers visiting the Essex Record Office. These will form a permanent record and the meagre contribution of our generation to their remembrance.

“We will remember them”.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Blackmore: The Old Manor House

18 October 2010

Dear Andrew,

Hello. I am currently researching my house (The Old Manor House, Church Street) and was wondering if you could help me or point me in the right direction. I am researching it for a university history assignment. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


19 October 2010

Hello Sarah

Thank you for your E mail. The Essex Record Office has a leaflet about researching house history so they would be the first port of call. Their archivists are extremely useful in giving advice.

Being a property of some note it might be mentioned in the various census returns from 1841 to 1911. The ERO has free access to Ancestry.

It might be a listed building, so check online.

Finally James Bettley in his 2007 update of 'The Buildings of England: Essex' describes the Old Manor house in Church Street as "early C19 gault brick three-bay to front at right angles to the street, the end wall brick with pedimented gable".

Happy researching. Do let me know please how you get on.



Monday, 1 November 2010


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

Blackmore War Memorial

Blackmore War Memorial has been cleaned and re-carved, with minor errors amended last week. The Rededication will be on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November, starting at 10.50am, to include the time-honoured ‘two minutes’ silence’ at the eleventh hour.

William Byrd Festival

The ‘William Byrd Festival’ will be held at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey, in May 2011. For the latest information visit

On the same theme, Cardinall’s Musick under the direction of Andrew Carwood has won the Gramophone Record of the Year and Best Early Music recoding for their 13th CD in the series, of Byrd’s complete works in Latin:

Also, the ‘Classic fm Magazine’ will be featuring William Byrd in their January 2011 edition.

In Court

History House includes a page on court appearances for Stondon Massey. Follow this link:

A Folk Song A Day

Don’t forget the marvellous site


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

Friday, 29 October 2010

Blackmore: Remembering ... George William White

28 September 2010

Hello. I am one great grand-daughter of George William White who later in his life lived in Blackmore, living far from Essex in NW Wales but I have our own family information and plenty of easily recognisable census info together with birth, marriage and death certificates of GWW and the White family before and after him. I am only just into the WWI stuff so although there are some differences in the printouts I have from one source, I cannot yet sensibly comment but your family information about GWW is partly wrong.

He married Lucy Tull on 21st July 1888 in Islington (in fact, two younger brothers married two older sisters in 1888, the other pairing being Benjamin White with Louisa Tull later in 1888)....i.e. not Lucy Louisa Peacock in 1892!!

That mistake may well have led you up the garden path to not getting the correct Census information in 1901 and in 1911: please see below.

1901 Census:
George W. White, Lucy White, Benjamin WM (my grandfather), Louisa M, and Lucy MM White were in Enfield at 40 Palace Gardens. GWW had been in the RMLI in some of the 1890s down near Plymouth but by 1901 was back to being a clerk again.

1911 Census: George William White, Lucy White, Louisa Mansfield, Lucy Margaret Mansfield White were at West Bank, Blackmore, Ingatestone, Essex. Lucy White's age is out by 10 years, even though GWW wrote that himself! She was 8 or so years older than George. My grandfather Benjamin W. Mansfield White was elsewhere by 1911, not with his birth family.

Also, the 1891 Census: I have found Lucy with baby Benjamin staying with Benjamin and Louisa (ex Tull) White in Islington at 25 Ferntown / Ferntower Road but have yet to identify the whereabouts of George William White (a very common name unfortunately) in 1891.

I am in the middle of looking up more about GWW in WW1. He was awarded three medals and the transcribed information which came with that said he had died in action in camp at the Battle of Imbros. Maybe the transcriber of that was wrong?

Hello. I have now looked at the website you quoted for the casualties of the Louvain and I see that GWW PLY/5884 was indeed on passage when he was killed along with the rest on board, torpedoed by a submarine....not on land in action in camp as stated on another website (a transcriber who perhaps made some deductions of his own to add to the other correct information he gave.....maybe the rest of GWW's RMLI battalion, i.e. most of them, were on land at Imbros.

Cheers. Freda

29 September 2010

Dear Freda

Many thanks. I will correct the information on the page as soon as I able. (Since amended on ).

You may be interested to know that the re-engraved War Memorial will be rededicated on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November (10.50am).


30 September 2010

Hello Andrew. Thank you for your email. Glad the information about GWW will soon all be correct on the site! I have passed on your email to one cousin who lives in Shenfield as she may be interested in the rededication of the re-engraved War memorial in Blackmore on 14th November. I shall no doubt be along with her myself sometime to have a look at it.

Cheers. Freda

Friday, 22 October 2010

Blackmore: War Memorial Project (14)

Blackmore's War Memorial will be rededicated on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November, following its cleaning and re-engraving by the Parish Council. The service starts on The Green at 10.50am.

Meanwhile the Blackmore War Memorial Research Project Group is finalising publication on this site (and ) and creating a permanent record in book form for local archives.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Ingatestone: Beard family at The Viper

21 August 2010

Dear Andrew

Saw here that three generations of the Beard family ran the Viper in Ingatestone:

Do you know much about them? Doing a bit of family history: (

Jon Beard

22 August 2010

Dear Jon

The Viper is one of the best pubs around here: it that has always had a reputation for good beer and homely cooked honest food. It’s everything you would expect a traditional public house to be. The Beards would not sell a pint which looked remotely cloudy. The final Beard landlord was Roger. Before him, his father Fred was the licensee. I don’t know anything of the family. One suggestion to you is that you pay a visit to the pub and get talking to the locals. A fine excuse for some research!


19 September 2010


I visited the pub yesterday. Whilst serving my pint, the Bar Manager told me that the Beard family was at the Viper from 1938 to “to about six or seven years ago” (c2004). There is an interesting link, showing a picture of the first generation (of three) of Beard landlord and landladies:


Friday, 8 October 2010

Ingatestone: Photographs from 1985

One Sunday in October 1985 I photographed some of the buildings mainly in Ingatestone High Street. What strikes me, 25 years later, is the absence of traffic. Sundays have changed dramatically over the last generation with opening of shops etc. I have published the whole set of pictures on the partner site:

Friday, 1 October 2010


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

Heart of Blackmore

The summer months has certainly seen a drop in visitors to the village because The Bull, the ancient public house in Church Street, has been closed. Local people have wondered about its fate. When pubs close there is always the concern that it will be forever. The good news is that the place has been sold from the pub chain, is now a Free House, and is undergoing refurbishment with a view of opening again as a pub restaurant before Christmas. For more see the press release:

Refurbishment and renewal is also happening elsewhere in the village. The French Golf Holiday Shop / Office has closed and has been converted to ‘Blackmore Tea Rooms’. Occupying an ancient property – formerly Dadds Village Stores – on Horsefayre Green next to the Leather Bottle pub, this has just opened to the public. (The photograph was taken in 1974).

Next, in the spring our hairdresser moved out of the small shop adjacent to the Nisa store – now a Coop – on the corner of Fingrith Hall Road and The Green. But now that site has been refurbished with ‘Ovel’s Hair Design’ now open (tel 01277 822117). The Ovel family, as mentioned elsewhere ( ), have been in this village for a number of generations.

Finally, in the same week, a new bus service began operating: No 339 is an hourly service Monday to Friday between Blackmore and Warley via Ongar, Brentwood High Street and Railway Station.

It’s all happening in the heart of Blackmore! A warm welcome awaits you all!


Hardly a week goes by without someone contacting me with a comment or to contribute something to this ongoing on-line project. I had the pleasure of corresponding with two members of the Norris family (originally of High Ongar) who share a common ancestor and putting them in touch with one another. (See ).

War Memorial Rededication

The newly cleaned and re-carved War Memorial at Blackmore will be rededicated on Remembrance Sunday, 14 November. The service will commence at 10.50am.

William Byrd Festival

The ‘William Byrd Festival’ will be held at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey, in May 2011. For the latest information visit

Aerial Photographs

A new project has just been announced by English Heritage to place online historic aerial photographs of Britain. For more go to:

A Folk Song A Day

Don’t forget the marvellous site


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

Friday, 24 September 2010

Ingatestone: Disney family

6 September 2010

Chris Harvey is writing a history of Ingatestone United Reformed Church.

Hi Andrew,

I attach a photo I took last Saturday of the memorial to Edgar Disney in the Anglican Church at Ingatestone. I'm told there is an identical one at Blackmore. Are you able to confirm this please? Edgar Disney made available the land on which Ingatestone manse and hall were built - in fact I think the Disneys held a fair amount of real estate in Fryerning and Ingatestone – it’s a pity Hyde Hall was destroyed by fire in the 1960s.



7 September 2010

Dear Chris

Thank you for your e mail. I was very interested to see the photograph of the Edgar Disney tablet from Ingatestone Church and can confirm that there is an identical one on the north wall of the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore. Edgar Disney (1810 – 1881) was associated with Jericho Priory next to the church. I attach a document which has been transcribed onto my history website. (Go to It includes the Blackmore version of the tablet.

In ‘The Journal’, September 2010, which is delivered to all in the CM4 postal district, there is an item on a ‘Presentation to St Edmund and St Mary’s Church of NADFAS Church Record’ which is the culmination of five years’ work by Church Recorders of the Brentwood & District Decorative and Fine Arts Society to record the entire fixtures and fittings of the church interior. The item specially mentions the memorial to Edgar Disney which “displays the heraldic ‘quarterings’ of 23 different families”. Two guided tours of the church are planned, to be led by Graham Brereton, the leader of the recording group. The first is on Thursday 30 September about ‘The Petre Family and Ingatestone Church’ and the second on Thursday 28 October entitled ‘What you may not know about Ingatestone Church’. Both meetings start at 8.00pm.

There is another, but different, memorial to the Disney family at Fryerning Church. The family are buried in a large vault to the north side of St Mary’s Church.

The Disney Family had a connection with The Hyde in Ingatestone. I believe Edgar’s father inherited and added to a large number of ancient artefacts which now form a collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. I must investigate this further.

A few years ago someone suggested that the family were associated with the famous cartoonist, Walt. I enquired via the internet with a family descendant who told me, in so many words, that this was a Mickey Mouse story.

Best wishes.


9 September 2010

Hello Andrew.

The memorial to Edgar Disney at Blackmore appears identical.

Re. the Brentwood & District FAS history. When I was at Ingatestone on Saturday, the church was open to the public. The man on welcoming duty showed me the NADFAS record, though it was not on open show. It is an excellent record with photographs of everything of interest and background information about the various artefacts, memorials etc. It has been produced to a very high professional standard and is in the form of typed A4 sheets (many photos of high quality) inserted into plastic pockets (for protection I assume) and filed in a large A4 hard backed binder. The folder is full and I guess it must comprise 100+ pages.

I am aware of the tours by Graham Brereton. He has also written a short article (available at the church) providing information about Thomas Hollis and the Disneys.

Walt Disney came from a separate branch of the family.



Friday, 17 September 2010

Blackmore: Industrial Heritage

7 September 2010


Can you help I see on your site an aerial photo of Blackmore in the late 1950s.

Where was this copied from please?

I was a child there in that time and seek information regarding the concrete works that was situated behind Fingrith Hall Lane.

Thank you for any assistance.

David A Laughton

8 September 2010

Hello David

You can just make out the site of the concrete works on the aerial photograph of Blackmore ( ). (The photograph was found among church records as a calendar.) The site is now covered by Orchard Piece, a small housing estate which also took up the orchard to the rear of Poplars (aka Laurences), a house which stands on The Green. Orchard Piece was built about 1968. A resident once told me where the entrance to the site was off of Fingrith Hall Road, in filled by a house when Orchard Piece was completed.

I will post your enquiry on the blog to see whether anyone has any further information.


Friday, 10 September 2010

Blackmore: Bell Tower at Priory Church of St Laurence

Despite the best efforts of woodpeckers to vandalise our local landmark, Blackmore Church’s bell tower (photo taken in 1951) has stood since the year 1400. It is an impressive structure, both outside and in, with visitors gasping in amazement at the ingenuity, skill and effort of our ancestors. A few years ago I was involved in project which achieved an accurate construction date and, in the process, reinterpreted the history of our Priory Church building. The man who carried out the work was Dr Martin Bridge of Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory. He made a return visit to Blackmore on ‘Teas In The Tower’ day in June with friends from English Heritage and from overseas and, although I could not be there in person, wrote to me to say how welcome their group had received. Having renewed our contact I asked him to give a talk on his specialist and professional subject of tree ring dating, as it is commonly known.

He will be giving the talk to the ‘High Country History Group’, which meets at Toot Hill Village Hall at 8.00pm on Thursday 21 October. Entrance for non members is £2.

Thursday, 21 October 2010
“Dating old timbers: how to date buildings like Greensted Church”
Dr Martin Bridge

The talk will cover the background to how tree ring dating (dendrochronology) works and illustrate its strengths and weaknesses. A number of local examples will be discussed – including Blackmore - where dendrochronology has shown its ability quietly to revolutionise the world of dating medieval buildings and artefacts. There will be some discussion of likely future developments.

Other meetings of the High Country History Group can be found on

Monday, 6 September 2010

Mountnessing: A Bicycle Ride to Maldon

A postcard written and postmarked Maldon one hundred years ago today.

Maldon. Tues Sept 6 10
A & J C. here this afternoon after discover with two punctures on the way. This is an old rambling town 18 miles from home. Where this little view is on the card I don't exactly know but it can not be far away. 5.40 part finished tea. Shall we be home by dark?

Friday, 3 September 2010

Blackmore: Twites / Williams family

30 July 2010

Hi - I was in Blackmore recently, but I had not been there since 1947. My maternal great grandfather was Thomas Williams who lived at Twites. (I think he died in 1910.) When I went there, living in the house was his son Robert (Bob) and his two spinster sisters Eva and Minnie. They took into care their other sister's (Ella) son, and brought him up as their own child. This boy was called Charles (Charlie) Whittaker. He later married May (I don't know her family name) She is buried in Stondon Massey. I don't know what happened to the others in the family, except that Charlie and May had several children.

In 1947, Twites was a smallholding, and was without mains water, electricity or gas. The outside lavatory was in a shed in an enclosure reached by negotiation with their nanny goat. (sole supplier of milk). They had a horse and cart at one stage. There were lots of fruit trees, and water was taken from a well and decanted into a small tank on wheels. The only heating as far as I can remember was from a wood fired range in the kitchen.

Bob used to go out with his shotgun to catch rabbits. Eva and Minnie resembled old witches to me. They all lived in poverty. They lost the deeds to the estate which I understand was owned by Thomas Williams. Thomas is said to have built the house. I think he was a spec. builder.

His father was William Williams who was also a builder in Victorian times. His office was in Hammersmith Grove. He was very rich.

Thomas Williams did not do much work, but went up to London every three months to collect his money. He would buy presents for the family and get busy with the drink on the way home. He would take the train from London to Ongar and then a horse carriage from the railway station to Blackmore.

Thomas Williams inherited a lot of money from his father William, and when Thomas died in 1910, 35 claimants to his will came out of the woodwork - both legitimate and illegitimate relatives.

The case started in 1910 was finalized in 1945 and paid up in 1948. An open and shut case that makes Jarndyce v Jarndyce look silly. [ ]

Let me know what happened to Twites please (and their acreage) if you can.

I look forward to hearing from you.

John Schofield.

31 July 2010

Hello John

Thanks for your E mail.

Twites Farm is marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map, though it is no longer used for agricultural purposes. I do not have a note of the original acreage of the farm but noticed, searching the Internet, that the Essex Record Office holds a ‘Deed of messuage called Twyteys or Twitches Blackmore [Abstract of title from 1783] dated 1842 [ERO D/DTy/T6 ] ( ). This may help you.

The 1910 Electoral Roll has a Thomas Williams as a voter, living at Twites (

The 1918 Electoral Register [ERO C/E 2/1/1.] ( shows that Thomas Williams and his wife Sarah were eligible to vote in Parliamentary and local government elections (Division 1) and Thomas and Henry Arthur Williams were Parliamentary electors only (Division 2). Quite why the distinction I don not know.

The 1929 Electoral Register [ERO C/E 2/1/12] ( shows the following as eligible voters living at Twites: Thomas Williams, Thomas Robert Williams, Henry Arthur Williams, Mary Louise Williams, Eva Williams and Thomas Charles Whittaker.

In her book ‘Blackmore My 1920s Wonderland’, Mary Coller refers to a Mr and Mrs (known as ‘witch’) Williams who had a “foster son”, Charles Whittaker.

I could find no Burial Register entries for the Williams family at Blackmore.

Kind regards


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Area: "High Country History Group" Journal No 36

The Quarterly Journal of the High Country History Group has recently been issued to members. It contains a number of items about and beyond the local area including:

- An American Tragedy 1935. The story of two young women who took their lives by jumping from a ‘plane
- Essex Dialect and Accent. Part 1
- History Facts
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Jane Taylor, author of the nursery rhyme, and her family who lived at Ongar
- Whites Directory of Essex 1848 – Lambourne
- Fyffe Christie 1918 – 1979. A profile of the artist
- Church Chest at St Margaret’s Stanford Rivers
- Revd. Richard Cobden Earle, Rector of Stanford Rivers from 1934
- Cholera Outbreak at Thoydon

For membership and further information go to

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


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

William Byrd

Hyperion records have released the thirteenth and final disc in ‘The Byrd Edition’, which surveys the Elizabethan composers Latin texts. For a review go to

Family History

“Annie Hartgrove (my Gt Grandmother) was born in Stamford Rivers [Stanford Rivers] Essex in 1861.“ See this family plus a sequence on photographs on:


Two walks in the local area have been published by a tourist to these shores who is walking around the countryside surrounding London. Go to

New Photos

St Edmund and St Mary Church, Ingatestone, taken for the Geograph project:

A Folk Song A Day

Don’t forget the marvellous site


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

Friday, 27 August 2010

Blackmore: Woollard family (2)

29 July 2010


Would you have any information on the Woolard dating before 1622. I am looking for relatives of Captain William Woolard who settled in Virginia around that date (Wife : Anna Cooper, niece of Justinian Cooper). Many thanks in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Dortch

29 July 2010

Hello Mary. Sorry I cannot help but will post the entry on the blog. Someone may have the information – you never know!


Friday, 20 August 2010

Great Waltham: Ford End Church

St John The Evangelist Church, Ford End was built by Chancellor in 1871. In 1985 its polygonal apse was being demolished. Work was still in progress when I visited and photographed the building on 16 August that year.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Pleshey: Twenty Five Years Ago (3)

Like many other rural villages the village shop, 'Mount Stores and Post Office', is now no more. This was photogaphed in Pleshey on 16 August 1985.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Pleshey: Twenty Five Years Ago (2)

The White Horse (photographed on 16.8.1985), mentioned in Durrant's Handbook for Essex (1887) as an Inn, near the church is still open for business. Further down the hill is The Leather Bottle, once a Ridley's public house, also remains open.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Pleshey: Twenty Five Years Ago (1)

Twenty five years ago (on 16 August 1985) I made my first ever visit to Pleshey, but failed to see the motte and bailey and understand the fact that an outer bailey encicles the village. Holy Trinity Church at the end of the street was built in 1868 by Frederic Chancellor, the well known Chelmsford architect.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Stondon Massey: William Byrd Festival

Members of the congregation at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey, have announced plans to hold a 'William Byrd Festival' next May at the ancient church.

The ‘William Byrd Festival’ aims to:
- raise funds towards the upkeep of the ancient St Peter & St Paul Church, Stondon Massey (Essex), and its immediate surroundings
- raise the awareness and appreciation of William Byrd (c1539/40 – 1623), the Elizabethan composer, who died in 1623 having spent the previous 30 years as a resident of the village of Stondon Massey.

For more information visit the Festival blog,

Friday, 13 August 2010

Blackmore: Longbourne Family

17 July 2010


I am currently researching an ancestor of mine who lived in Blackmore named William Thomas Longbourne. He owned the Jericho Priory in Blackmore in the 1840s and 1850s. Similarly, his half-brother, Charles Ranken Vickerman, mother, Ann Freemantle Longbourne Vickerman, and other family are listed as living on Church Street in Blackmore in the 1851 census before moving to Mountnessing.

Do you have any information on the Longbourne/Vickerman families who lived in Blackmore? I am based in London and if you have an office or centre in Blackmore, I'd love to visit.

Thank you so much for your help,
Nick Perkins

18 July 2010

Hello Nick

Thanks for your enquiry. I should start by saying that ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ is not a business but a forum to record and exchange information on family, local and social history for this part of Essex. I do this as a keen amateur historian for pleasure.

For information about your family, a good starting would be the page on the main website devoted to Jericho Priory, which stands in Church Street by the Priory Church of St Laurence, in Blackmore ( ). Additionally the Names Index gives references to Longbourne and Vicerman ( ). You need to be aware that Jericho Priory, Jericho House and Blackmore House are all names for the same premises.

During the course of research into the Priory Church of St Laurence, I discovered your family held the advowson, the right to appoint the parish priest at Blackmore, from 1887 to 1899, succeeding the Crickitt (or Crickett) family. They made only one appointment, that of Revd. Walter Layton Petrie in 1888, who remained Vicar until 1922.

Reverend Thomas Raffles Hoskin succeeded Reverend William Callender on 25th May 1883. He was appointed by the Bishop of St Albans, “by reason lapse”. He died whilst Vicar and was succeeded by Walter Layton Petrie on 5th May 1888, “on the presentation of John Vickerman Longbourne of Peacocks in the Parish of Margaretting”. [Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies. DSA 1/14/1 f318]

On 2nd February 1899, “the advowson a perpetual right of patronage of and the presentation to the Church and Cure” was transferred from “Charles Rankin Vicerman Longbourne, of Number 7 Lincolns Inn Fields in the County of Middlesex, Solicitor, and his heirs and assigns … to be vested in the Bishop for the time being of the said Diocese of Saint Albans … the Right Reverend John Wogan. [This] will in our opinion tend to make better provision for the cure of Souls in the parish”. The document is in the Essex Record Office [ERO D/C/Pc96].

Best wishes


21 July 2010


Thanks so much for your help. Do you know of a local history or genealogy society in the Blackmore area? Thanks for all the work you have done on the website.


23 July 2010

Hello Nick

Blackmore does not have a local history, heritage of genealogy group. The nearest history societies are at Ingatestone, Brentwood, Ongar and the High Country, the latter of which I am a committee member. Stock’s history society gives more emphasis to family history. In the neighbouring parish of Willingale the village has just launched a ‘Willingale Community Archive Project’.

Thanks for your kind comments on the website. Hopefully this fills the gap.



Friday, 6 August 2010

Blackmore: Survivors of WW1 Not Recorded

The Blackmore War Memorial (Essex) lists 81 men who came through the First World War and returned home.

One of the tasks of the Blackmore War Memorial Research Project Group was to establish an accurate transcription of those recorded on the faded cross. A primary document used to establish the full names of those commemorated was the Electoral Register for 1918 which, by Act of Parliament, greatly extended the list of eligible voters, including women over 30 years old for the first time. The Register includes ‘absent voters’. These include Frederick John Belsham, who lived in the village; Frank Johnson Knight, who lived at Walnut Tree Cottages; and, Daniel Martin, who lived at Chapel House. These names are omitted from the War Memorial and it is surmised that these men did not want their names included. Poignantly we found Albert Edward Barker, The Bull, as an absent voter who had died a year earlier.

In addition to those recorded on the War Memorial there are a number of men entered in the Parish Registers whose profession was described as ‘Soldier’.

Arthur Burton and his wife, Rosetta, had four children baptised on 29th August 1915: Elsie Miriam, Winifred, Rosetta May and, Stanley Arthur Burton.

James Alexander Whittaker and his wife Mabel had their son, James Alexander baptised on 20th August 1916.

Albert William Cooper, of High Ongar, had his son Leonard Neville baptised on 21st January 1917.

Sidney William Wakeling, from Brentwood had his daughter, Emily Lillian baptised on 12th May 1918.

Harry Newson, from Radley Green, Highwood, had his daughter Winifred May, baptised on 4th May 1919.

Ernest Robert Wicks, of Swallows Cross, Blackmore, has his son Ernest Laurence baptised on 17th August 1919.

George Albert Sankey, of Blackmore, ‘Soldier’, married Annie Neville on Christmas Day 1917. Their son John Lancaster Sankey was baptised on 28th September 1921. George was still a Soldier by profession.

Albert Hardy, from Blackmore married on 14th August 1918.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Blackmore: WW1 Descendants

The Blackmore War Memorial Research Project Group investigated the names of those carved on the local War Memorial who are listed as having served and come through World War One. They had a number of descendants some of whom are recorded in the Baptism Register for Blackmore (Essex) [ERO D/P 266/1/11].

- Ronald Walter John, son of Samuel John and Ethel Florence Brazier on 23rd June 1921. Samuel’s profession given was ‘Royal Navy’.

- Reginald Brian Stokes, son of Alfred Stokes and Adelaide Hart on 31st March 1916. The family lived at ‘Nine Ashes, High Ongar’. Alfred’s profession given was ‘Insurance Agent’.

- Ivy Alma Florence, daughter of Alexander and Eliza McLaren on 29th September 1917. The family lived at High Ongar. Frank’s profession given was ‘Soldier’.

- Harold Arthur, son, and Phyliss Maud, daughter of George Cyril and Edith Newcombe on 11th November 1917. Harold’s profession given was ‘Soldier’.

- Eva Frances, daughter of Frank Charles and Emily Louisa Penson on 15th August 1915, and of Charles Frank, son on 9th September 1917. Frank’s profession in both cases was given as ‘Soldier’.

- Walter John, son of Ernest John and Florence Ann Wager on 22nd September 1919. Ernest’s profession given was ‘Soldier’.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Stondon Massey: Church Fund Raising Event


To help recover the costs of a new roof at St Peter and St. Paul church Ongar Road, Stondon Massey, the congregation are holding a table top sale, at the church, on Saturday afternoon 7th August from 2 – 4pm.

On sale will be books, bric-a-brac, jewellery, cakes and home produce and plants. There will also be face painting and glitter tattoos as well as refreshments including cream teas.

It will also provide an opportunity to view this beautiful Norman church where William Byrd, the famous Elizabethan composer, is buried. He died in 1623 and there is a memorial commemorating the tercentenary of his death inside the church. His music was featured recently in the BBC Sacred Music series.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


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

A Folk Song A Day

Jon Boden’s website is a musical journey into our past. Since Midsummer Day a new song has been posted every day. Highlights include:
A Blacksmith Courted Me -; Danny Deever - ; and, Tyne of Harrow - - all of which I have added a comment. For more about the project read the article which appeared in The Guardian:

Henry Moore

‘Harlow Family Group’ is a well-known sculpture in the New Town by Henry Moore. At the Gibberd Gallery in the Civic Centre (Harlow, Essex) an exhibition of the artist’s work has commenced and will continue until 30 October 2010. (Admission Free. Open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm, Saturday 9.00am to noon. Closed Sundays and Bank Holidays). Having recently visited the major exhibition at Tate Britain in London (which closes 8 August) and visited Moore’s home, grounds and studio at Perry Green in Hertfordshire, this local exhibition, entitled ‘Sheep’, is not to be missed.

Henry Moore is probably Britain’s greatest twentieth century sculptor. He is best known for his large scale human forms, sometimes with distorted torsos, wrong sized and shaped heads and limbs. His ability to form body shapes is said to be based on his memories of rubbing his infirm mother’s shoulders and back as a child. At the Tate Britain exhibition it was suggested that his work was dark and sensual but in my view it omitted the fact that he began studying sculpture at Leeds – he was the only student – following service in the First World War at Cambrai. The pitiful sight of dismembered bodies on the battlefield must have had a lasting influence on his work. If was after his London studio was bombed in The Blitz of the Second World War that he came to Hoglands, at Perry Green, where he remained until the close of his life. Anyway, I know little about modern art but find it interesting and, unlike a Constable masterpiece such as ‘The Haywain’, something which always engenders discussion among viewers.

Edward Henry Lisle Reeve

Readers of this site will know that I am very interested in the life and times of Revd. Reeve (photograph above) who was Rector of Stondon Massey from 1893 to 1935. I have decided to write a biography of this man but wonder whether any of his descendents survive – hence this appeal. He and his sisters died unmarried but we know of a Wheatley family who was related to him through the previous marriage of his mother.

Issac Taylor of Stanford Rivers

Pages from the ‘Dictionary of National Biography’ ( , and ) give a biography of Issac Taylor, an artist, author and inventor who was born in Lavenham, Suffolk in 1787 – remembered in the Lavenham Guildhall owned by the National Trust - and died at Stanford Rivers in 1865. “A portrait of Isaac Taylor of Stanford Rivers is the property of Henry Taylor of Tunbridge Wells, and a crayon portrait by his nephew, Josiah Gilbert, is in the National Portrait Gallery.”

Family History

Samuel Wilson, born 1801, Writtle:

New Photos

Fryerning Church font:
Mountnessing Windmill:


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

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Blackmore: Ovel Family

The War Memorial commemorates three survivors of the First World War with the surname Ovel.

Six generations of the Ovel family have lived in Blackmore. James, born 1827 married Rebecca Wheal of Blackmore, and raised a family, of whom the eldest son was also James, born 1851. With his wife Ruth (nee Pond) they had 12 children. Albert, Ernest and Herbert were brothers. The family lived at Hyde Farm in 1881, The Poplars just after the First World War and The Green (which could have been the same property) in 1933.

Albert was the great grandfather of Donna Ovel, representing the sixth generation who kindly lent the Research Group the family tree and enabled the identification of the names of these survivors. Albert was born in 1897, so was only 21 when the War ended. He married Ethel Mary Root in 1922 but lived at The Poplars, recorded on the Electoral Roll in 1920, with his brother Herbert and parents James and Ruth. Other sisters may have lived there too who did not qualify for a vote.

Ernest and Herbert were Donna’s great great uncles. Their medal cards identify these men with the inscription on the War Memorial.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Blackmore: Newson Family

21 June 2010

My name is Sue Whitbread and my mother, whose maiden name was Newson, was born in Blackmore.

I am now trying to find out about the family. Having found the Blackmore Area Local History web page I understand that you are tracing the village history and hence I would appreciate the opportunity of talking to/visiting you.

A little bit of background for you:

My grandfather was Harry Newson.

My grandmother was Lucy Sutton.

My father was Frederick Warder (who came from Ingatestone) and used do deliveries for both the butcher (Stiff’s) and baker (Warder’s of Ingatestone).

My mother is Irene and she had two sisters, Evelyn and Winifred.

The last address I have for my grandparents living in Blackmore was “The Woodbines”, Fingrith Hall Road. (My grandparents moved from Blackmore to Brightlingsea.)

My grandparents were greatly involved with St.Laurence church.

To the best of my knowledge, as well as being a residence, the Woodbines was also where a doctor held surgery.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Sue Whitbread.

22 June 2010

Hello Sue

Thank you for your e mail. Perhaps you could let me know if you have any specific questions and I will try to answer them. I am very happy to post this data on the blog.

I am particularly interested to hear that you are a Sutton descendant. Are you able to tell me a little more about your grandparents connection with the church? What era would that be? Would they be related in any way to Ted (Edward) and David Sutton, victims of the First World War?



30 June 2010


Thanks for your prompt reply.

I don’t think I have any direct connection with Ted or David Sutton but this side of the family is a bit hazy. All I know for sure was that Lucy Sutton was living in Blackmore with her grandparents, Thomas & Jane Sutton, when they completed the 1901 census. I’m not sure who her mother was. I thought Lucy’s mother was called Sarah but I can find no connection for Sarah to Thomas & Jane Sutton.

My grandfather, Harry Newson, came from Radley Green and he married Lucy Sutton, from Blackmore, on 25th November 1914. The family were definitely living in Blackmore by 1930. I understand that Harry tended to the graveyard (digging graves. etc) rang the church bells and later became a Church Warden. I know that Lucy was authorised to sign marriage certificates as I know she signed the certificate at the wedding of Michael Ovel in 1950.

I am also trying to find out how the family managed the move from a cottage in Blacksmith Lane to the Woodbines in Fingrith Hall Road (a big step). I have heard that the Woodbines was requisitioned by the army during the Second World War and, when released from the army, went on the market for a low price. Have you any knowledge of the history of the Woodbines?

With regard your blog, if you could put my information on the pages it would be appreciated. Do you have enough to go on here or do you want me to find out more?

Regards Sue

17 July 2010

Dear Sue

Thanks for your E mail. Harry and Lucy Newson are mentioned in Mary Coller’s book, ‘Blackmore My 1920s Wonderland’ (page 22) as living at Woodbines, now a Grade II listed building. For more detail regarding this early 19th century brick building go to

You refer to their previous cottage being in Blacksmith Lane, now referred to as either The Alley or Blacksmiths Alley. I believe the local Parish Council is thinking about erecting a street nameplate but does not know its real name. Anything you have on this address would be useful.

I wonder if you have been able to consult sequences of Electoral Registers, held at the Essex Record Office [ERO] , to establish the year in which your relatives moved? A move to larger premises could have followed receipt of a legacy?

There are no Newson burials between 1893 and 1992 but several Sutton burials. I have a copy of the original register, the original of which is currently in the church safe and not in the county archives.

Turning to Lucy Sutton, I noted only male baptisms at Blackmore [ERO D/P 266/1/11] during the course of research into the men who served in the First World War, and likewise the Sunday School Admissions Register [ERO D/P 266/28]. However, I have one photocopied page from the Register and as luck would have it Lucy Sutton is recorded, as being baptised on 2nd July 1893. Her mother’s name should be recorded on the Baptism Register.

I have a link to the Sutton family:

A few years ago I undertook an investigation of the history of St Laurence Church. Looking at my notes I find that Mrs Newson was present at a Parochial Church Council meeting on 29th June 1939 which discussed, among other things, “the immediate necessity for darkening the church windows if Evening Service was to continue under war conditions” [ERO A10631 box 1]. No doubt there is much more material in this acquisition box bearing the names Mr & Mrs Newson.

The name Warder was well known in Ingatestone. Eric Warder was a long-term Parish Councillor, and Chairman of Ingatestone and Fryerning Parish Council I seem to recall. He was also a baker and had a shop (now an Italian restaurant) – where we used to buy Chelsea Buns or Bath Buns - and separate catering firm of renown, often getting jobs for family weddings. I remember one of them at the former Mountnessing W.I Hall in 1978. Oh how we remember the 1970s and the Prawn Cocktail!! Thanks for reminding me of those days.



Footnote: Harry Newson, from Radley Green, Highwood, had his daughter Winifred May, baptised on 4th May 1919 at Blackmore. His profession at the time was 'Soldier'.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Willingale: Community Archive Project

The village of Willingale has secured a Heritage Lottery Grant to investigate its history and create an archive. I attended the Launch Day’ of the ‘Willingale Community Archive Project’ last Sunday (18th July). On display at the Village Hall were numerous old photographs and postcards of the parishes of Willingale Doe and Willingale Spain, a copy of the Parish Register on microfiche and films depicting Willingale’s past. Many came to the event. The three-year project aims to collect and converse the memories of Willingale and provide the community with easy access to this wealth of information. The organisers tell me that as part of the HLF deal an Education Pack will be produced and a Project website will be created. This site will follow progress with interest.

For more on the ‘Willingale Community Archive Project’ go to and

Friday, 16 July 2010

Blackmore: Wilson Family

Another name listed on the War Memorial as one who served and survived the Great War:

Frederick Walter Wilson, bachelor, aged 20, ‘Soldier’, married Lily May Wardingham, a spinster, age 25, of St Augustine’s South Croydon, at St Laurence Church Blackmore on 15th March 1917. Her father, William, was a farmer. Frederick’s father, Walter Frederick Wilson describes his profession as ‘Master Baker’. [ERO D/P 266/1/6]

Friday, 9 July 2010

Blackmore: Sankey Family

Another name listed on the War Memorial as one who served and survived the Great War:

William Sankey was the brother in law of Ernest Maynard who died in the First World War. He married Gertrude Maynard at Blackmore in 1906. Their daughter, Violet May, was baptised privately at Blackmore on 13th May 1906 but died aged three weeks and was buried at Blackmore on 6th June. In the 1911 Census William Sankey, aged 28, is a ‘Groom Domestic’ living at Ivy Cottage, Stondon Massey. His place of birth is recorded as Bromley, Kent. His wife of four years, ‘Gerdlina’, age 26, was born at Blackmore. Ernest Maynard, the aforementioned, Gertrude’s brother was 21, a ‘gardener domestic’. By 1915 the family had moved to Blackmore. The baptism of George Jellico Sankey, records William Henry Sankey as a Chauffeur. His mother was Gertrude Frances Annie Sankey. The baptism took place at Blackmore on 1st August 1915. [Sources: ERO D/P 266/1/6, ERO D/P 266/1/11, Burial register in Church Safe].

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Stondon Massey: Church Roof Appeal

Rising prices mean that the small congregation at Stondon Massey church is faced with a £5,000 shortfall following completion of essential work to retile the nave roof.

Roofing Contractors have advised that the heating oil used to fire the new tiles and the price of the imported lead has been the main reason why costs have risen since the indicative estimate given last year. More work to the roof structure also proved necessary once the old tiles were stripped off.

The Norman Grade I listed church of St Peter and St Paul has stood on the “stone hill” on the outskirts of Stondon Massey village since about 1130. It has long been associated with the Elizabethan composer, William Byrd, an ardent Catholic who lived in Stondon Massey for the last thirty years of his life, dying on 4 July 1623. Although he probably never crossed the threshold to receive an Anglican communion, inevitably his body was laid to rest in the churchyard, as requested in his last Will and Testament. Byrd’s memorial, unveiled nearly 100 years ago, is on the nave wall. We have the Edwardian Rector of the village, Revd. Reeve, to thank for his bringing to local and national recognition this great composer, who is now remembered at the annual William Byrd Memorial Concert held at the church by the Stondon Singers (to be held 6 July 2010 at 8pm).

Re-roofing the nave will ensure that the small country church is watertight for generations to come. The present Rector, Revd. Toni Smith, is appealing for funds to bridge the gap.

It is our turn to remember and protect this legacy and honour those who have worshipped in this little church over many centuries, through both bad times as well as good.

£5,000 is urgently needed.

Do help if you are able, as have the many generations who have gone before us. Do come and see for yourself. The church is open for services and on the 2nd Sunday in the month until September from 2.30 to 4.30pm.

Donations would be welcomed. Please send cheques payable to St Peter & St Paul Church PCC to Blackmore Vicarage, Church Street, Blackmore, Ingatestone, Essex. CM4 0RN.

Thank You.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Blackmore: War Memorial Project (13)

In an earlier update ( ) I reported that we had six names of survivors carved on the War Memorial that we were having difficulty identifying. Many of them were as a result of doubts over the letters ‘C’ or ‘G’. The Group has whittled the list down to just one unidentified name: S Ball. Who is he? Can you help?

Pte C Hasler Essex turned out to be George Hasler (

Sec Lt G V Jasper M.G.C. turned out to be Charles Victor Jasper (

Pte C Wray. Labour C. turned out to be George Wray. (

Sgt./Mec. C. Pratt R.A.F. is believed to be Arthur Cecil Pratt. (

A/M L. Ingram R.N.E.S. was found on the 1922 Electoral Roll as living at Wyatts. His name is Leslie Ingram.