Friday, 29 July 2011

Blackmore: Royal Wedding 1981

The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on 29 July 1981 is remembered as the greatest wedding of the twentieth century.  The marriage ended in divorce, unhelpful publicity, and separately the death of the Princess of Wales in a car crash in 1997 which shook the nation.  But in the happier times the wedding of 1981 stood out. The day was a public holiday, and Blackmore celebrated with a Children's Tea Party and Entertainment at 4.30pm on Horse Fair Green followed by Country Dancing with Dick Newton and his music at 7.30pm.  The day concluded with a Ceremonial procession with bonfire, community singing and fireworks.

The Blackmore Village Fayre was held in May where participants were encouraged to "wear your smocks or other forms of mediaeval costume and encourage others to do so".

A curious local tradition is wheat whopping, but one of only 30-odd years standing created for the Fayre. "The Wheat Whoppers of Blackmore will be sending Lady Diana a Garter to wear on her weddiing day".  

Monday, 25 July 2011

Area: "High Country History Group" Journal No. 39

The quarterly magazine of the 'High Country History Group' (March 2011) contains the following items:
- Reopening of Greenstead Church. 1849.
- A Fund Raising Opportunity. Greensted Parish Church 1013 - 1931
- Greensted Burials
- Gaynes Park
- A Victorian Antiquarian's Scrapbook
- Kelly's Directory of Essex 1933. Stanford Rivers
- Stanford Rivers Cottage Garden Society
- William Byrd Festival at Stondon Massey 7-15 May 2011 (see
- The Archidiaconal Records in 1911 (featured on this blog)
- Book Review. 'The Love of Brother' by Martin Cearns
- A Macabre Heritage in our Language

Friday, 22 July 2011

Area: "High Country History Group" Journal No. 38

The January 2011 edition of 'The Journal', the magazine of the High Country History Group, contains the following items:
- New Insights into Tree Ring Dating (featured on this blog)
- High Country Strays in the Stondon Massey Parish Register (featured on this blog)
- Not In Essex
- Help Wanted. Who was AW Gardner?
- The Workhouse. Notes from 1836
- Edward Smyth: The Boy on the Tomb. At Theydon Mount Church
- Some 17th Century House Improvements
- North Weald RAF Station "At Home"
- Witchcraft in Stanford Rivers
- John Barnard of Stanford Rivers
- Book Review. The Living Landscape: Animals in Parks and Gardens of Essex

Monday, 18 July 2011

Willingale: The Bells of St Christopher

The bells of St Christopher’s, Willingale (traditionally Willingale Doe) rang out for the last time on 25 June 2011 ahead of a project to restore the tower and augment the number of bells from four to six. 
The church was open for visitors to ascend the bell tower by ladders to see the bells in the frame which will become redundant.

The existing four bells date from 1610 to 1797.  According to ‘Church Bells of Essex’ by Revd. Cecil Deedes (1909), a classic book on the topic, the bells in Willingale Doe are dated and inscribed as follows:
1.        Thomas Mears of London Felict 1797  [29 in.]
2.       Joh. French Henrie Pavit: Churchwarden IC Made Me 1634  [30½ in.]
3.       Thomas Bartlett mead this bell 1631 [33½ in.]
4.       Wilhelmus Carter me Fecit 1610 [35½ in.]
Bell dated 1797 - taken in tower prior to its removal
The oldest bell, made at the Whitechapel Foundry, dates from 1610 and comes from the brief career of William Carter (1609 -1616).  This makes this example particularly rare, although locally there were two others in neighbouring the neighbouring churches of High Ongar (1610) and Stapleford Tawney (1611).
Thomas Bartlett’s (founder, 1616 – 1631) bell of 1631 is one of only 18 examples, making it also a rare bell.
John Clifton (founder 1632 -40) made the bell bearing the churchwarden’s name.

To make up a new peal of six the village has acquired a “2nd bell” from Prittlewell cast in the early twentieth century.

Bell from Prittlewell
The five bells (four from the tower plus the Prittlewell bell) left the village for Whitechapel Bell Foundry for retuning in early July.

Meanwhile a new bell will be cast at the Foundry to complete the ring of six.

A final bell from the bell tower was removed.  It is used for chiming only, and came from neighbouring Shellow Bowells, will be returned.

In the meantime work to construct a new bell frame will proceed.  This will be placed lower in the tower to place less strain on the structure and create a better sound out of the louvre windows.  The Victorian bell frame (1853) will remain in situ unused.  Ringing will in future be performed from a new mezzanine floor placed in front of the west window and in full view of the congregation.   The project is supported by a National Lottery Grant and funds raised locally and is expected to be completed in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Deedes’ book is subtitled “Their founders, inscriptions, traditions and uses”.  In 1909 the following notes were made about these bells:

“Death Knell 24 hours after death; tolling for one hour.  On Sundays bells chimed followed by tolling for last five minutes.  Ringing at 5am on Christmas Day and midnight on New Year’s Eve.  Gleaning Bell at 8am until about ten years ago”.

For more information on the project go to

Friday, 15 July 2011

Blackmore: Copyhold Cottage

Received 26 May 2011
Hi. I live at Copyhold Cottages and was wondering if you knew anything of the history of the buildings. Were they always 2 cottages, are the current ones the originals?
I would be most happy if you could be of any help.
Many thanks
Replied 28 May 2011
Dear VJ
I know Copyhold Cottage and Copyhold Farm.
I believe that a visit to the Essex Record Office would be very profitable for you. There are many documents and maps relating to the farm.
From my immediate sources, though, I can say that the cottages did not exist in 1846. The Tithe Award (admirably studied in the Essex Place Names Project) reveals no occupier and no house on the very southern tip of a field called Long Croft, which was in the possession of Copyhold Farm, owned by Vicerman Longbourne, Esq. of Jericho Priory, and occupied by Edwin Broughton, presumably the farmer.
In 1910 Copyhold Cottage is mentioned on the Electoral Roll. A search through Electoral Rolls might be useful to see its first entry.
Census data may help but often the properties are not specifically named. The 1911 census will be helpful because the occupant’s returns are preserved.
I know that the Larke family lived in your property during the 1920s. There is reference to the Norfolk family in connection with a victim of the First World War and I have a cassette tape in which a Mr Hodge, the farmer during the inter-war years mentions Billy Larke as being one of his employees.
Hope this helps. As always I will post the entry onto the history website.
Received 28 May 2011
That’s fantastic! thank you very very much

Friday, 8 July 2011

Blackmore: Revd. Simon Lynch

Received 27 May 2011


I am Craig Lynch and I am conducting research that leads me to you and I hope you can assist with your data on Blackmore and Simon Lynch.

As I understand things, based upon limited available public records: The Rev. Simon Lynch (Linch) had a son named Ithiell Linch and he was known as Ithiell of North Weld Bassett Co. Essex. That this Ithiell Linch was born crica 1610, married a Blanch Hanbury circa 1632 and they were awarded a Land Patent in 1650. I further understand that this Ithiell Linch traveled to America circa 1650 and died in what was then called Warick, Va in 1684. That he owned 600-acres in pre-colonial America south of Jamestown.

What I am attempting to do, based upon existing records, is to determine who the children of Ithiell Linch - I am inclined to believe that one son was John Linch. If this is the case and factual - then I am a direct descendant of Rev. Simon Linch.

Data available in America reference this family in the 1600 is very limited, notably because St Ann Parish Church was destroyed in the 1680 with most of its records and records are rare because in the 1650's in America, most were just struggling to survive.

Available data tells me that Rev Simon Linch had 10 children, but only Ithiell Linch came to America. I think I am related to this Ithiell Linch.

Can you assist me? Do you have records that prove such or provide insight into the children of Rev Simon Linch?

I would be most indebted if you can assist me.

I am not writing a book, nor doing any of this for profit. I am just attempting to trace back my Family tree to its origins in England and all my years of research keep taking me back to Simon Linch but that link is based upon a researched assumption that Ithiell Linch had a son named John and that said John was the grandson of Rev Simon Linch.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Replied 28 May 2011

Dear Craig

Simon Lynch is a person who I have not studied but come across in my research of the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore. ‘Our’ Simon Lynch was buried at Blackmore aged 60 in 1660 so his birth year must have been 1599/1600. He had four surviving children: Elizabeth, Sarah, Simon, and Ithiel.

The dates you give are before this event but I think there is a strong connection. I believe the same family had clergy at North Weald, a village about six miles from Blackmore, but I have not kept a record. The Churchwardens Presentments for 1664, held at the Guildhall Library (ref: ms 9583/2 part 3) may give some clues. On my visit a few years ago I noted that the entry for North Weald runs to several pages.

I have summarised the family’s connection with Blackmore in my previous blog entry ( ) but might add another paragraph to the story:

“His son, Ithiel, was Rector of Runwell between 1669 to 1694, and in 1676 was also recorded as Rector of Downham.”

You might wish to consult the following books:

Newcourt, Ric. History of the Diocese of London – Volume II. (1710). This lists clergy in Essex and is indispensible for church history, and finding your Lynch clergymen.

‘The Ecclesiastical History of Essex Under The Long Parliament and Commonwealth’ written by Harold Smith (Benham and Co Ltd, 1934), from which much of my entry is drawn. Smith refers to our Simon Lynch as a “pluralist … Simon Lynch did not go to Blackmore till after he had lost Runwell” (p.120).There is mention too of “MS J Walker. C.I.27. A long account by Simon Lynch of his father, Simon Lynch of Runwell and Blackmore. See also Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy – GB Tatham (1911)” (p171).

‘The Annals of Evangelical Nonconformity in the County of Essex from the time of Wycliffe to the Restoration, and memorials of the Essex Ministers who were ejected or silenced n 1660 – 1662’, to give it its full title, written by T W Davids and published in 1863. From the book (from which I noted in 2003) I gleaned that it was Simon Lynch senior of North Weald, who was offered South Weald and declined three times. Married for 61 years to Elizabeth, he had 10 children, one of whom was Simon Lynch of Runwell (and Blackmore).

‘Walker Revised (Being a revision of John Walker – Sufferings of the Clergy during the Grand Rebellion 1642 – 1660)’ written by A G Matthews (Clarendon Press, 1948). I noted the life of our Simon Lynch, to which I can add that his cousin was Dr J Nicholson of Stapleford Tawney.

I trust that this information is of use, at least in guiding you towards further research. I will post this entry onto the site. Do let me know how this all goes.

Kind regards


Received 28 May 2011


Thank-you so much for the information. Good to know that Simon of Blackmore had kinfolks in North Weald. I will write back again in a few months and provide my final mapping of these people and the end-product of my research as well to you. I just need to pause at this point and enter all these Simon-Ithiell combinations in the computer and let the database sort them out according to timelines.

The name Simon (father) and son (Ithiell) are such uncommon names and then when they are combined together - I had thought finding the ancient records (ancient by American standards - smiles) would be relatively easy, notably since I was constantly looping back to the Essex area. Only to discover there are several Simon-Ithiell combinations and they are all associated with religion as a source of occupation and they all lived in and around Essex and they existed in the similiar timeframes (minus just a few years) and they all lived in and around each other of only a few kilometers/miles. And they all seem to have some relationship as well to the Lynches of Staples/Grove. At that point I started pulling my hair out, (smiles and laughs) maybe more for lack of patience, because after years of research (all sourced documents) this was the last link to make the English connection.

I can only laugh, at this stage - back to the needle in the haystack search and then again in the 1600's when records are limited. But the data you have provided is most helpful and I am indebted and will share my final research and results with you. Give me a few months ... I will read these books you have recommended.

I have discovered the multiple name father-son combinations of the same and I have also been able to determine that Ithiell (with two 'ls) is not the same Ithiel (with one l). But that they were related as Uncle and Nephew.

Your data and reference material will help. Thanks again for responding so quickly and with the Sourced Documents. I will read them.

I'm focusing right now on Ithiell Linch, who had brothers of Simon, Nathaniel, William, Theophilus, and sister Sara and their father was Simon. This Ithiell's father would have been the Rector of Weald, at least that is what I think today. I think too, here is a connection between Simon of Blackmore and Simon of Weld now I can eliminate the Simon of Blackmore and focus on the Simon of Weld. Then this Ithiell had a son named Simon as well. This Ithiell Linch married a Blanche Hanbury in 1632. And it appears they were awarded a Land Patent by the King in 1650 and traveled to America circa 1650. They also paid for the passage of 10-others to America and that was the reason for the Land Grant, as the King would give 50-acres per each paid passage for others. This Ithiell Linch then died in what used to be called Warwick, VA in 1684.

What is so funny is I have the complete genealogies of the 10-persons that Ithiell Linch paid passage to America, but I can't discover who Ithiell Linch was and from whom and he is the one that paid their passage. Too Funny. Have to love all this research!

I'm getting close - the process of elimination over the years has led me to this Clan of Linches and I just now need to conduct the process of elimination on all these what appear to be related in some form or fashion Simon-Ithiell combinations.

Again, I'll write back in a few months with the final product and will share the data. Thank-you for your help.

P.S. I love your WWW Site on Blackmore. Nicely done and great historical data about the same.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Craig Lynch

Friday, 1 July 2011


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

St Christopher’s Church, Willingale. The Bells

The bells of St Christopher’s, Willingale (traditionally Willingale Doe) - see photograph - rang out for the last time on 25 June 2011 ahead of a project to restore the tower and augment the number of bells from four to six. The existing four bells – which date from 1610 to 1797 – with a “2nd bell” cast in the early twentieth century from Prittlewell, left the village for Whitechapel Bell Foundry for retuning in early July. A fifth bell used for chiming only, which came from neighbouring Shellow Bowells, will be returned. A new bell will be cast to complete a ring of six. In the meantime work to construct a new bell frame will proceed. This will be placed lower in the tower to place less strain on the structure and create a better sound out of the louvre windows. The Victorian bell frame will remain in situ unused. Ringing will in future be performed from a new mezzanine floor placed in front of the west window and in full view of the congregation. The project is supported by a National Lottery Grant and funds raised locally and is expected to be completed in time for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. (More later this month)

St Andrew’s Church, Willingale

Villagers held an event at St Andrew’s Church, Willingale (traditionally Willingale Spain) on 11 June. The church is one of two in the same churchyard. Locals have started a Friends of St. Andrews Church group. A correspondent wrote, “The Churches Conservation Trust who owns one of the two churches we have in Willingale has just put a new roof on the chancel of St. Andrew's and we organised work parties to do a 'deep clean’. It took 14 of us the best part of 3 days!! It looks lovely now - and really cared for, so we decided it needed a Friends group to fund raise for CCT and one or two things to be done in the church”.

The ‘Tea and Tours event’ in St. Andrew's was a tremendous success. New displays for the church have been made and organisers busied themselves with preparing a tour script and baking the cakes!!!

Essex University Visit

The Annual General Meeting of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History was held on 18 June at Essex University. Members afterwards viewed the Albert Sloman Library which houses the large collection of books owned by the Society. Fascinating!


I enjoy looking around second-hand bookshops. One of my favourites is Castle Bookshop in Osborne Street, Colchester. On my most recent visit I picked up ‘Ingatestone and the Great Essex Road’ by E. E. Wilde (1913) at a very reasonable price.

King James Bible Celebrated

Churches across the county have been celebrating the 400tjh anniversary of publication of the Authorised Version of the Bible with marathon readings at Ingatestone and Brentwood, and a Flower Festival entitled ‘1611 and all that!” at Stapleford Tawney.

Garnham Descendants

Sharing local history and heritage is an objective of this site, so it was nice to meet a couple from the USA who had contacted blackmorehistory and were on holiday tracking down their family history through visits to local villages and the Essex Record Office’s extensive archives. They are descended from Frederick Garnham who was killed at the beginning of the First World War in the retreat from Mons. His story is told on .We spent a happy couple of hours comparing notes in Blackmore Tea Room.

Trooping of the Colour Flypast

The Battle of Britain Memorial flight and the Red Arrows came right over our house on their way to Buckingham Palace on 11 June.

Church Theft

Sadly there are those who thieve ancient items from churches, and disturb their structures. The internet is a great resource but is probably a showroom for these miscreants who steal things to order. I am always careful not to advertise some of the more moveable objects. A story I heard recently concerned a church in England – not in Essex – where in broad daylight workers turned up supposedly to repair the roof. They busied themselves for two days but it was only when a local historian wondered what was happening decided to contact the local minster to ask what work was being done that the truth was revealed. “Nothing”, the Reverend replied. The Police were called and turned up in the nick of time. The workers were almost ready to despatch their booty of lead.

Stondon Massey House

The long-time former Rectory at Stondon Massey, where the Reverends Reeve lived is up for sale. For more information on this Grade II listed property follow: . Offer price - £2,950,000:


Our weekly sequence of Edwardian postcards is now complete except for those for Ingatestone and Fryerning. These will be placed on a web page on the main site sometime in the near future. Watch out for further information.


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