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: