Monday, 28 June 2010

A Folk Song A Day

This might seem off the beaten track for local history but I want to give a plug for a newly released website ( in which BBC Folk Singer of the Year 2010 Jon Boden is releasing an unaccompanied folk song on a daily basis, beginning on Midsummers Day, 24 June (i.e. last Thursday). I will let the website sing for itself if you follow the link. Inevitably some of the 365 songs will be relevant to this area of Essex as a result of the work Ralph Vaughan Williams did in the first decade of the twentieth century visiting homes, workhouses and public houses to note songs for posterity.

The greatest exponents of these songs locally must be Potiphars Apprentices ( who hold concerts telling of the lives, times and music associated with one Britain's greatest classical music composers. Their recent concert at Ingatestone Hall for Friends of Historic Essex (the support group of the Essex Record Office) was very popular and well received.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Blackmore: Jasper Family

The Blackmore War Memorial has an entry for a survivor of the First World War. But what was his name?

Alfred Leslie Jasper, of Wenlocks, was fairly easily found in the records but C.V or G.V. Jasper proved more difficult until the 1911 census was consulted. Here we learn that Alfred Leslie and Charles Victor were brothers.

1911 Langenhoe
Alfred Jasper. Head. Married. [Age] 48. Farmer. [Born] Cornwall St Neots
Florence Helena Jasper. Wife. Married 19 years. [Age] 40. [Born] Cornwall St Neots
Charles Victor Jasper. Son. Single. [Age] 17. Farmer's Son Works On Farm. [Born] Essex Arkesden
Florence Harriet Jasper. Daughter. Single. [Age] 16. School. [Born] Essex Arkesden
Alfred Leslie Jasper. Son. [Age] 14. School. [Born] Essex Arkesden
Irene Grace Jasper. Daughter. [Age] 10. School. [Born] Essex Gt Waltham
Ellen Florence Taylor. Servant. Single [Age] 17. Servant Domestic. [Born] Essex Layer Breton
Emily Taylor. Servant. Single. [Age] 20. Servant Domestic. [Born] Essex Layer Breton

The Parish Register records the baptism of Irene Grace, daughter of Alfred and Florence Helena Jasper on 1st March 1923. The family lived at ‘Wenlocks, Blackmore’. Alfred’s profession given was ‘Farmer’. [ERO D/P 266/1/11].

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Blackmore: Hasler Family

Identifying letters ‘C’ and ‘G’ on the faded War Memorial was notoriously difficult. Were we looking for a C Hasler or a G Hasler who served in the Essex Regiment?

The 1911 Census record for Blackmore, Wyatts Green, Doddinghurst, Brentwood” records:
Iedward W. Hasler. Head. Married 15 years. [Age] 38. Horseman On Farm. [Born] Essex High Roding
Ellen Hasler. Wife. Married. [Age] 40. [Born] Herts Gt Hadham
George E. Hasler. Son. Single. [Age] 15. Cow Man. [Born] Essex Gt Dunmow
John E Hasler. Son. [Age] 9. School. [Born] Essex Doddinghurst
Frederick W Hasler. Son. [Age] 7. School. [Born] Essex Doddinghurst
Eleanor M Hasler. Daughter. [Age] 5. School. [Born] Essex Doddinghurst
Albert H Hasler. Son. [Age] 2. Home. [Born] Essex Doddinghurst

In addition, Ian Hook of the Essex Regiment Museum suggested: “Hasler may be 33789 Pte GE Hasler of Kelvedon Hatch a Prisoner of War taken while with the 9th Battalion Essex Regiment and similarly invalided from the Army.”

These pieces of evidence, plus a rubbing of the Memorial convinced us that George was our man.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Ingatestone: Finch Family

2 May 2010

Can you help us trace our family ancestors from Ingatestone and Writtle.

John Finch born Ingatestone / Margaretting about 1811, a farmer, married Charlotte (Coleman, Mills or Adams?) in about 1836.
Charlotte was from Writtle.

Their children were Charlotte born 1837 Emily born 1838 Sarah Anne born 1839/40. Possibly a William and a Frederick were also born.
Kindest regards
Trevor Kirby

3 May 2010

I do not have any records of this family but will post your entry on the blog.



Friday, 11 June 2010

Blackmore: Pratt Family (2)

In previous correspondence ( the suggestion that C Pratt carved on the War memorial is Arthur Cecil Pratt was discussed. There is no conclusive evidence for this, and one lead followed through was contact with the RAF Museum. Bruno Giordan wrote, “If he died in England, there are two candidates:
Deaths Dec 1918 Pratt Arthur C 33 Romford 4a 1052
Deaths Mar 1922 Pratt Arthur C 32 Medway 2a 1173
Only the first has the correct age, so we can only assume that the news had not reached the committee by 1919, when the carving was commissioned.

“I have submitted the question ‘Sgt./Mec. [Arthur] Cecil PRATT RAF appears on Blackmore war memorial as a survivor, but we think he may have died 1918 from wounds. Do you have any records on him?’. I will let you know if I receive a reply”.

The short response was ‘no’.

18 May 2010

Dear Mr. Giordan,

Thank you for your enquiry which was received on 16th April 2010. You wished to receive information relating to the First World War RAF service of Sgt Arthur Cecil Pratt. Sgt Pratt is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Roll of Honour (, nor does he appear in either series of First World War casualty cards or the First World War Medical Board cards held by the Museum. Although the casualty cards are not comprehensive, the collective evidence would seem to indicate that Sgt Pratt did indeed survive the war. One possible explanation may be that Sgt Pratt was discharged due to injuries or illness suffered whilst in RAF service and then subsequently died of the affliction as a civilian, although I must stress that this is pure speculation. Obtaining a copy of Sgt Pratt’s death certificate should at least give a definitive date of death and this should be obtainable through the General Register Office. Please also see the attached RAF Museum guide to the research of First World War flying services personnel for other avenues of investigation. I hope that I have been able to assist you with your research.

Yours sincerely,

Guy Revell
Assistant Curator
Department of Research & Information Services
Royal Air Force Museum London
T: 0208 358 4852

19 May 2010

Sadly I don’t think that this gets us any further forward in our quest to establish a firm Blackmore link.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Blackmore: War Memorial Project (12)

The process of entering details of those who fell in the Great War who lived or are associated with Blackmore. Is complete. For a list and links to pages go to

Meanwhile work appears to have lapsed temporarily on the War Memorial. As of this evening, the faces are blank and awaiting recarving.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Kelvedon Hatch: Remembering ... Bertie Cowling

Information supplied by the Blackmore War Memorial Research Project Group: Bruno Giordan, Diana Abel & Andrew Smith.

Bertie Cowling

War Memorial:
Kelvedon Hatch
and Ongar & District War Memorial Hospital Roll of Honour (Kelvedon) [ERO A10815]

Leicestershire Regiment
6th Battalion
Date of Death: 14/10/1916
Service No: 40017
Cemetery: Vermelles British Cemetery [10km NW Lens, Pas de Calais, France]
Memorial Reference: V.F.3
Bertie Cowling
Leicestershire Regiment
6th Battalion
Born: Navestock, Essex
Enlisted: Warley
Residence: Kelvedon Common, Essex [aka Hook End?]
Rank: Private
Number: 40017
Died Date: 14/10/1916
Killed in action
France & Flanders

Statutory register
The only Birth is Jun 1895 Cowling Bertie Gainsbro' 7a 741

On the 1901 census in Navestock.
Source Citation: Class: RG13; Piece: 1644; Folio: 86; Page: 8.
Princes Gate
John Cowling. Head Married 60 Farm Bailiff Kelvedon
Elizabeth Cowling Wife Married 55 Havering
Annie L Cowling Dau. 21 Navestock
Elacy ? Cowling Son 18 Gravel Labourer Navestock
Birtie Cowling Son 17 Gravel Labourer Navestock
[detail from ERO microfilm]

No trace of the name Cowling in Kellys 1912 and 1917 directory.

1918 electoral register has Elizabeth Cowling at 2 The Avenue, Kelvedon Hatch. Perhaps this was his widow.
[Source: Keldon, History House]

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Blackmore: Knight Family

A website has a comprehensive genealogy of the descendents of Thomas Knight of Blackmore (1775 – 1835). It is large site (part of and is the work of Rosalind Lloyd, created in 2002.
Specific to the Knights of Blackmore are the following pages:
Generation 1:
Generation 2:
Generation 3:
Generation 4:
Generation 5:
Generation 6:
Generation 7:

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Blackmore: Finding Ernest Knight

Finding the elusive Ernest Knight

A name not recorded on the War Memorial or the Church Window is an Ernest Knight. The database ‘Soldiers who Died in the Great War’ lists his name as having been born in Blackmore, enlisting at Epping, and being resident in Magdalen Laver. He served in the Essex Regiment, 6th Battalion and died in Palestine on 2nd January 1918.

Further details could not immediately be found on the ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’ website.

Our next lead was the Essex Regiment Museum database in Chelmsford where we were able to confirm details and add the fact that he was the son of Mr & Mrs D Knight of Keepers Lodge, Wintry Park, Epping. His full name was Ernest Samuel Knight. He died at the age of 21, thus giving him a birth year of 1896.

A search for an Ernest Knight born at this time did not reveal his name on the Statutory Register for the Ongar Registration District.

His name could not be found in the Baptism Register of St Laurence Church, Blackmore for 1896 and afterwards. We found that perhaps he had older siblings baptised: Joseph George on 2nd July 1893 and George, baptised on 23rd June 1895, to parents David and Emma Knight.

Remembering that names could be inverted we looked at the CWGC website again for an ‘S Knight’ and found his details under Samuel Ernest Knight. Who were we looking for? Was it someone by the name of Ernest or someone by the name of Samuel?

There was no Blackmore Parish Register entry for either an Ernest or Samuel Knight.

Progress was slow and seemed to be coming to a stalemate.

The 1901 census revealed two Knight families in Blackmore. These were:

1. Ingatestone Road, Blackmore
David Knight. Head. Married. [Age] 18. Milkman (to cattle) on farm. [Born] Blackmore
Emma Knight. Wife. Married. [Age] 19. [Born] Blackmore

2. Chelmsford Road
David Knight. Head. Married. [Age] 42. Horseman on Farm. [Born] Fryerning
Emma Knight. Wife. Married. [Age] 39. [Born] Chelmsford
William Knight. Son. [Age] 14. Grocers Errand Boy [Born] Blackmore
Agnes Knight. [Age] 11. [Born] Blackmore
George Knight. [Age] 6. [Born] Blackmore
Elizabeth Knight. [Age] 4. [Born] Blackmore

There were two households, each with David and Emma and adult occupants but no Ernest or Samuel.

More detective work was necessary. A search of the Internet revealed a site listing the descendents of Thomas Knight of Blackmore (1775 – 1835). It is large site (part of and is the work of Rosalind Lloyd, created in 2002. It stated that “A second Emma Rebecca Knight is buried in Magdalen Laver with her husband David, this is the couple who were living at Gander Hall Blackmore Road rather than the couple I have linked to this tree who were living in Chelmsford Road in Blackmore in 1901”. [ pafg03.htm]. Could this be the family we were looking for?

I contacted Rosalind Lloyd who admitted that “There are a lot of Knights who lived in the Blackmore area, so it's not surprising that you are finding the research confusing.”

Ancestry had the following information about this family on the 1901 census.
Gander Hall, Blackmore Road, Ingatestone
David Knight. Head. Married. [Age] 38 Agricultural Labourer. [Born] Highwood
Emma Knight. Wife. [Age] 37. [Born] Ingatestone
Alfred Knight. Son. [Age] 18. Worker. [Born] Roxwell
William Knight. Son. [Age] 16. Worker [Born] Roxwell
Arthur Knight. Son. [Age] 13. Worker. [Born] Highwood
George Knight. Son. [Age] 7. [Born] Fryerning
Ernest Knight. Son. [Age] 4. [Born] Fryerning
Ada Knight. Dau. [Age] 11. [Born] Fryerning
Dorothy Knight. Dau. [Age] 2. [Born] Fryerning

The 1911 census showed the family living at Cold Harbour, High Ongar. Ernest, and the other younger siblings were said to have been born in Blackmore, not Fryerning.

There were two further lines of enquiry. Firstly, to see whether the village of Magdalen Laver has a War Memorial and, if so, see whether an E or S Knight was commemorated. Secondly, we needed to establish whether the family lived outside Blackmore and was covered by a Blackmore postal address, as had been established with Frederick and Charles Root, living at “Horsfrith via Blackmore” or Fred Garnham, living at “Radley Green via Blackmore” on the electoral roll for 1914.

Having been to a ‘Through Changing Scenes’ history event at Magdalen Laver a few years ago and purchased a booklet on the villages history I read that thirteen names of those who fell in the First World War are recorded on the War Memorial outside the church.

I went to the quiet church in the fields at Magdalen Laver to see the War Memorial and have found on the list ‘E Knight’. The 1918 Electoral Roll for the Epping Division [ERO C/E 2/1/3, viewed online] has a David Knight and Emma Rebecca Knight living at Hall Lodge. The fact that the name of the mother was Emma Rebecca suggested fact that surely these must have been the same parents of a 4 year old Ernest living at Gander Hall, Blackmore Road in the 1901 census?

Gander Hall Cottage, (CM4 0SG) is in Chelmsford Road, Blackmore []. It is opposite Spriggs Lane [source: Google]. It looked as if Ernest Knight was born in Blackmore after all.

But there was a problem. The 1901 census referred to the Gander Hall as being in Blackmore Road, Ingatestone. A fellow researcher commented, “It's very unusual for the census return to be as much in error as to assign a property to the wrong parish.”

Perhaps there was a Gander Hall on the Blackmore Road nearer to Ingatestone near Fryerning Church? The only way to solve the mystery was to visit the Essex Record Office to look at the census piece and work out the route the enumerator took to call at Gander Hall.

On inspection of the census return for Ingatestone and Fryerning parish for 1901, Gander Hall is the first entry on one of three census returns for the parish of Ingatestone and Fryerning. There are two properties labelled ‘Gander Hall’ with the third in the sequence being ‘Howletts Hall’. This matches the sequence of properties in what we know as Chelmsford Road, Blackmore. An inspection of a six inch to one mile map dated 1923 shows that these properties were outside of the Blackmore parish boundary although the road in front of the properties was in Blackmore.

There was one matter to settle. Was Ernest Knight baptised at Fryerning Church?
The Baptism Register for Fryerning [ERO D/P 249/1/7] has the following entries for Ernest’s younger siblings: Dorothy Emma Knight, and Ethel Susan Knight, daughters of David and Emma Rebecca Knight were both baptised on 14th July 1901.

We have not found any record of Ernest Knight other than in the census returns but are convinced that although technically his place of birth was Fryerning, it would be incorrect to disregard the family as having no connection with Blackmore.

We will include Ernest Knight on our Roll of Honour.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


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

Listed Building to be bought for £1

Blackmore, Hook End and Wyatts Green Parish Council are about to purchase a listed building for just £1. The telephone box which stands outside the Post Office has been declared redundant by BT and will have its equipment removed. It is a traditional K6 variety designed about 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and has been accorded Grade II listed status, probably because of its location. Parish Councils across the land are being asked to “Adopt a Red Telephone Kiosk” rather than see them disappear from our streetscape. We reported on a similar situation at Stondon Massey in January 2009. The Council “agreed that the kiosk located in Blackmore Village would be purchased, at a nominal fee of £1 but the kiosk in Wyatts Green should be removed by BT.” A photograph of the telephone box to be preserved was published in ‘Blackmore Area Local History News’ in December 2009. Photographed this month is the ill-fated kiosk at Wyatts Green.

Listed Buildings

‘British Listed Buildings’ appears to be newly-published on the website. The pages are arranged parish by parish.
Ingatestone & Fryerning:
This includes Howletts Hall (Grade II listed) on the Chelmsford Road which is commonly regarded as being in Blackmore but, as I found when investigating an Ernest Knight of neighbouring Ganders Hall, is actually just over the parish boundary.
An overview of Essex parishes can be found by taking the following link:
This means links for ‘Blackmore Area Local History’ parishes are:
High Ongar:
Norton Mandeville: not listed
Shenfield: not listed
Stondon Massey:

Cooperative at Blackmore

Chelmsford Star Coop took over the Nisa store in the centre of Blackmore village on 20 April 2010.

Roman Discovery at Harlow

A Roman brick kiln has been discovered by workers building at new playground at Prentice Place, Potter Street, Harlow. The place name is a bit of a giveaway. For more information see:

War Memorial Research Project Group

The work of this Group to identify all the names carved on Blackmore’s War Memorial has been completed and online publication is now under way. If you have any information on those who died or survived from Blackmore and the surrounding area from the First World War we would be very pleased to hear from you.

Supporting ‘Help For Heroes’

Lyndon March, whose family originally hail from Ingatestone, and Connor Mayes (otherwise referred to as ‘The Dynamic Duo’) are a couple of teenagers who will be taking part in a 350 mile sponsored bicycle ride from London to Paris in support of ‘Help For Heroes’. You can follow and support their fund raising efforts on They tell me that for every £10 they raise Virgin Giving will be donating a further £2.95 towards their target of £3,000. I am delighted to lend my support to them and their cause. Come on lads!!!

Family Histories

New online:
Adams family, of Doddinghurst, Blackmore and Brentwood:
Memories of the Buttle family at Stondon Massey are shared on ‘Francis Frith’:


A countryside walk taking ramblers on a circular route via Norton Mandeville and Blackmore has been published online at

A new website for the churches of Greensted, Stanford Rivers, Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Mount has been published:

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