The Ongar Hundred is exceedingly pleasant, being finely undulated, and touching at several points upon the forest. Of the part towards Epping, it was written, a hundred years ago, “It may with propriety be called the garden of Essex, from the pleasing variety of the hills and vales, the fertility of the soil, the goodness of the roads, the neatness of the buildings, and the many additional ornaments it receives from the number of noblemen’s and gentlemen’s seats with which it abounds; insomuch that the traveller cannot pass without being struck by the peculiarity of its beauty, and the variety of noble and pleasing prospects, which in different parts present themselves in this view.
Greensted Hall, the seat of Captain Budworth – To the west of Chipping Ongar, reached by a walk of about a mile through pleasant meadows, and nestling among clumps of trees, as if it still stood in a forest land, is the curious little antique church of Greensted – St Edmund’s shrine. There is little doubt that this is the identical resting-place of the saint, as the register of the Abbey of St. Edmund says: “his body was likewise entertained at Aungre, where a wooden chapel erected to his memory remains to the present day.” Close by is the Hall, commanding prospects over a rich forestal district. The parish, belonged with Ongar, to Sir Richard Lucy; and subsequently the noble families of Stafford, Bourchier, and others. The manor, with the remainder of the parish and other property in the neighbourhood, was purchased in the reign of Charles II by Alexander Cleeve, of London, merchant. Subsequently these estates were subdivided between three of the grand-daughters, one of whom marrying the Rev. Richard Budworth during the last [eighteenth] century, carried a proportion of this parish to her husband; the manor and Hall, however, passing successively through the hands of the Rebotier, Redman, and Ord families. In 1837 the trustees of the estate of the Rev. Philip Budworth (son of the above Richard Budworth) re-purchased Greensted Hall with the manor, and with one or two small exceptions, the remainder of the parish. Greensted Hall is now  the seat of Captain Philip John Budworth, son of the last mentioned, who has lately restored the mansion – a large pile of buildings dating from the reign of Elizabeth, but, owing to successive repairs and alterations, possessing no architectural remains of that epoch. The entrance hall, however, is a noble and spacious one, and contains a fine Scarsellino, brought by Captain Budworth from the Sciana Gallery at Rome, as well as a collection of arms and armour, which was partly made by him in the East. From the Hall, eastwards, a fine avenue of elm s, of at least a mile in length, runs through the grounds and adjoining fields into the town of Ongar.
The charities for the poor are two rent-charges of 5s. out of the land at Stanford Rivers, left by Robert Petit; and 2s. out of Lee-fields, left by Richard Bourne, in 1660.
Filling the space between that parish [Navestock] and Greensted, a fertile and picturesque district, lies Stanford Rivers, with its straggling village. There was anciently an extensive park here; and Belhouse was long the seat of a branch of the Petre family. Sir C. C. Smith and Capel Cure, Esq. are the chief owners of this parish. The poor have 5s. a year, left by Thomas Petit; an annuity of £2, left by William Green in 1554, has been lost.