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: