Monday, 31 December 2012

High Country History Group: Journal No 46

Bringing the record of the High Country History Group's Journals up to date, the latest (December 2012) issue contains the following:
The Book of Common Prayer
Annales of England - John Stow
Essay Written by a 10 Year Old Evacuee
From the Papers - the 1940s
Letters to the Overseers of the Poor, Theydon Mount
Sale Notice - Greensted
Curacy at Stanford Rivers
Clothing Club Stanford Rivers
Stanford Rivers Vestry
Caedmon in St Margaret's
Ongar Union - Theydon Mount parish

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Smyth Hall

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Smyth Hall: Replied 10 April 2010 (to earlier correspondence, published on this blog on 7 January 2010) Hello Scott We exchanged numerous E mails earl...

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Thomas Smyth (died 1592)

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Thomas Smyth (died 1592): In the south east corner of the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore, is the tomb of Thomas Smyth and his wife, Margaret (later Powle). I...

Blackmore Area Local History: Book Review: Stephen Powle

Blackmore Area Local History: Book Review: Stephen Powle: By the author’s own admission, Sir Stephen Powle (pronounced ‘Pole’) is “almost unknown today”. Virginia F. Stern though draws from numerous...

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Smyth Family, Lords of the Manor

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Smyth Family, Lords of the Manor: Received 15 May 2009 Hello- I recently came upon you as a contact for the Priory at Blackmore. I am a descendent of Sir Thomas Smyth (Smit...

Friday, 28 December 2012

Blackmore: Smyth Family - more American Connections

Drawing of tomb commemorating Margaret Smyth.
Thomas Smyth, first husband, buried 1592.

Received 26 December 2012

Smythe family history at the Church of St. Laurence, Blakemore Co., Essex


I am writing to try and find out some information about my ancestors from Essex. A historical book I am reading titled, "Smith of Scotland Neck, Planters of the Roanoke" (the state of Virginia in the U.S.) recalls the history of the Smith (Smythe) family, to whom I related. The information goes all the way back to the 1500's with the family of Thomas Smythe of Rivenhall in Essex. It goes on to mention John Smith and another Thomas Smythe (of Smythe's Hall in Blakemore), and his wife, Margaret, who were entombed in alabaster in the Church of St. Laurence in Blakemore County, Essex.

Later descendants of these Smythe's were granted land in Virginia, where eventually their name was changed to Smith and this is from where my great-grandmother's lineage comes.

I have no idea if perhaps you know of this church or the effigies, if yours is the church, or if I'm not on the right path at all! But, I am hoping you have some information or can point me in the right direction in learning more of my family's history in England. Perhaps one day some of us here can take a trip and see the land and sights of Essex!

Thank you so much, and I wish you a blessed Christmas season!

Megan Clark
North Carolina, USA

Replied 27 December 2012

Dear Megan

Thank you for your e mail.  Blackmore Area Local History contains a large amount of correspondence on the Smyth family and their links with the United States.  See . In addition there are a number of pages on the main website: which are best viewed by following the links from the blog.  I will post this entry in due course in order to add to the story.

With best wishes

Andrew Smith (no relation)

Thursday, 27 December 2012

High Country History Group: Journal No 45

The September 2012 edition of the quarterly Journal includes:
Willingale Walk
The Draper's Corner Oak
The Shipwreck of Greensted's Stained Glass
William Pittam
The Revd. Sir John Ayloffe Bt., Rector of Stanford Rivers
The Jubilee at Stanford Rivers
The Overseers' Book of Stapleford Tawney
Cricket at Stapleford Tawney
Death of Sir William Bowyer Smijth, Bart
Some C16th Stanford Rivers Wills
Kelly's Directory of Essex 1933 - Theydon Mount

Monday, 24 December 2012

Willingale: Bells Ring Out This Christmas

“We are all ringing the church bells at Willingale for the first time this Christmas since World War II as we have just finished the restitution”, Chris Evans announced on the BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show last Friday (21 December 7.29am).  This was a text message to the show by the dedicated group of local people at Willingale who had, during 2011/12, constructed a new mezzanine ringing floor, new bell frame, and increased the number of bells from four to six.  A new bell was cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry in 2011, the other five – four from Willingale and a fifth from Prittlewell – were retuned.  The Dedication Service was on 27 May and the first showing of a video showing the work involved in construction, casting the bell, making bell-wheels and lifting all in position, was first shown at the end of October.  If there are any doubts that Britain does not make anything any more, watch this video.  ‘Willingale Bells: Made In Britain’.

The short film above was made on Sunday 23 December 2012, as bells rang out ahead of a Nine Lessons and Carols Service.  To hear the bells rung for the last time prior to the work go to

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Friday, 21 December 2012

ESAH160: News from Essex Record Office: Parish Registers On...

ESAH160: News from Essex Record Office: Parish Registers On...: The Essex Record Office blog has announced the completion of the availability for subscription of Parish Registers online – held at Essex ...

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

ESAH160: Essex Society for Archaeology and History - 160th ...

ESAH160: Essex Society for Archaeology and History - 160th ...: The Essex Archaeological Society (since 1985 called the Essex Society for Archaeology and History), was formed in Colchester on 14 Decem...

Blackmore Area Local History: Ingatestone: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845)

Blackmore Area Local History: Ingatestone: Revd. A. Suckling. Memorials (1845): The following is taken from Revd. Alfred Suckling’s book, ‘Memorials of the antiquities and architecture, family history and heraldry of the...

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Crickitt and Disney family link

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Crickitt and Disney family link: Received 22 August 2012 Hello I left a comment re Crickitt family just now on you blog? I hope it was yours anyway. When I ch...

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Disney family

Blackmore Area Local History: 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 ...

Friday, 14 December 2012

High Country History Group: Journal No 44

The High Country History Group Journal No 44 was issued in June 2012.  Contents include:
Hazards of Seventeenth Century Travel
Ongar: A Reverie
Sequestration of Stanford Rivers from Dr Meredith
Involuntary Suicide of a Donkey at Manningtree
Parish Registers of Stapleford Tawney
Welcome Home!
Lt Malcolm Sworder
Alleged Hoarding at Hill Hill
The Baptism of Monkey Joe (about 1860)
Newspaper Archive is Top Resource & a Gift for All Historians
Life in the Loft
The Political Conversion of John Maryon
Stanford Rivers Incorporated Workhouse, and the New Poor Laws

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Blackmore Area Local History: Zeppelins Over Essex (1)

Blackmore Area Local History: Zeppelins Over Essex (1): Much is written elsewhere on the Internet about the Zeppelin raids during the First World War. As mentioned in ‘Bombs Over Blackmore’ (22.8...

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Bombs Over Blackmore

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Bombs Over Blackmore: Memorials are a common feature in church stained glass windows. At the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore, many of the windows date fr...

Friday, 7 December 2012

ESAH160: ESAH Forum: 'Tallis, Byrd & The Tudors' on TV agai...

ESAH160: ESAH Forum: 'Tallis, Byrd & The Tudors' on TV agai...: 'Tallis, Byrd and The Tudors' in the BBC TV series 'Sacred Music' is a programme I would never tire of seeing.  It is on BBC FOUR at 7.3...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Blackmore Area Local History: Vaughan Williams and Essex

Blackmore Area Local History: Vaughan Williams and Essex: Fifty years ago, on 26th August 1958, the famous British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams died. Whilst he never lived in Essex we can claim t...

Blackmore Area Local History: Area: The Essex Storm of 1897 (2)

Blackmore Area Local History: Area: The Essex Storm of 1897 (2): Recently the High Country History Group heard about two catastrophic weather events of the late nineteenth century. In a double-bill of spea...

Blackmore Area Local History: Area: The Essex Storm of 1897

Blackmore Area Local History: Area: The Essex Storm of 1897: The following is an extract from the book ‘Black Thursday: The Essex Storm of 1897’, available from the church bookstall or Megarrys Antique...

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Mothers' Union

Blackmore Area Local History: Blackmore: Mothers' Union: The closing of the local branch of the Mothers’ Union at the end of 2006 marked the end of an era of meetings which took place, perhaps cont...

ESAH160: Ancient Wills No 2 (John Smyth, Blackmore): Transa...

ESAH160: Ancient Wills No 2 (John Smyth, Blackmore): Transa...: Thomas Smyth (d. 1592) A plan of the tomb which is situated in the south east corner of the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore ...

Saturday, 1 December 2012

BLACKMORE HISTORY NEWS - November / December 2012

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

Blackmore Area Local History – 5 years’ old

On 1 December 2007 the first post was entered on .  The blog was supplemented by in 2008.  Since then this blog has brought you the latest history news as well as new insights into family and social history, thanks to the readers who have contributed.  But it’s thanks to Google that this has become possible.  Blogging is a simple and straightforward way of connecting non-technically minded people to the worldwide web.  Blogs too have come a long way over the last five years. 

I would encourage everyone who is interested in history to get blogging as well as researching, because amazing things happen.  Without a web presence it would not have been possible to pay tribute in such a tangible way to those men who died in the First World War.  For example, it was good to link with a family in Texas who are related to Frederick Garnham.  The increased recognition of William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey would not have been possible and the William Byrd Festival would not have happened.  The Maryon collection of photographs and a family remembrance of the night a Zeppelin came down on land at Snails Hall Farm, Billericay, would not have been published.  The connections with the Disney and Crickett familes would not have been made.  Contact from descendants of Rev E H L Reeve, of whom I wrote a biography, would not have happened.

Over the next month I will be looking back and repeating some of the more important posts of the last five years, either from this site or other blogs on my blog roll.

I'm inspired by Sir Tim Berners-Lee who gave the internet to us all.  What a fitting tribute to him at the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games!  "This is for everyone".

ESAH160 launched

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has launched an interim blog under my editorship. contains information relating to this countywide historical group and items of heritage interest relating to the historic county of Essex.  Some posts of relevance to the local area will be referenced on this site.

Blackmore History News

This will be the last post in this form.  In order to be more responsive, news items will be posted as soon as convenient rather than saved up and published en masse.

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

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

ESAH160: Stondon Massey Church: Transactions n.s. Volume 10...

ESAH160: Stondon Massey Church: Transactions n.s. Volume 10...: Pages from 'Transactions'.  Stondon Massey Church by Revd. E H L Reeve, published by the Essex Archaeological Society in 1907. If you hav...

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

High Country History Group: Journal No 43

Journal No 43 is the High Country History Group was issued in March 2012.
Contents include:
Painting stolen from Greensted Church
Church Dedications
New Newspaper Archive
A Victorian Antiquarian's Scrapbook (Addendum)
Another New Online Resource - Essex Ancestors
Epping Highway Trust
The Smith Family of Suttons Manor, Stapleford Tawney
Gaspard Le Marchant Tupper
Bert Burton
Ongar Union (Advertisement)
Severe Storm, Ongar
The Death of Issac Taylor
Epping and Ongar Railway
After Dinner Anecdotes (Errata)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

ESAH160: Transactions n.s. Volume 10 Part 2: Greenstead and...

ESAH160: Transactions n.s. Volume 10 Part 2: Greenstead and...: St Edmund's Day is commemorated on 20 November.  The saint is synonymous with the town in Suffolk - Bury St Edmunds - in the Diocese of St ...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

ESAH160: ESAH Sunday Series: Stondon Stories

ESAH160: ESAH Sunday Series: Stondon Stories: Revd. Edward Henry Lisle Reeve, Rector of Stondon Massey 1893-1935 (previously Curate at St Botolphs, Colchester, 1885-1893) Author o...

ESAH160: ESAH Online Bookshop

ESAH160: ESAH Online Bookshop: The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has a number of surplus books for sale, which are not required for accession to the Socie...

ESAH160: The 'Essex Society for Archaeology & History'

ESAH160: The 'Essex Society for Archaeology & History': The Essex Society for Archaeology and History is the county's major society for those interested in any aspect of the past.  To be a mem...

ESAH160: Welcome to ESAH160

ESAH160: Welcome to ESAH160: The 'Essex Society for Archaeology and History', one of the County’s oldest societies, turns 160 this year.  Founded in 1852 in Colchest...

Friday, 16 November 2012

Blackmore: Mr Chapman the blacksmith

Received 2 November 2012

My GG Grandfather was Stephen Chapman who owned and ran the village blacksmiths for 50 years in Blackmore until his death in 1911 (and possibly his son William continued afterwards). One of his many children, daughter Caroline is my Great Grandmother.

Are you aware of any photographs of either Stephen, family members or of the blacksmiths? I would be happy to purchase any publication containing this or other information about the blacksmiths.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Matthew Ralph

Replied 3 November 2012

Hello Matthew

Thank you for your e mail.  I am not aware of any photographs - but you never know there may be one out there somewhere. I'll post the entry on the blog.



Friday, 9 November 2012

Ongar: Ongar and District Roll of Honour

The new Ongar War Memorial Medical Centre was sufficiently complete on 10 May 2012 to hold a dedication ceremony to a new roll of the fallen of the Ongar and District.  Included on the plaque are those from Blackmore.  Derek Berwin, the principal researcher, acknowledges on the commemorative DVD that: “The roll is based on first born in, then if not born in then resided in, it is in no way meant to imply that Church and War Memorials should be altered or names that have been read out at Remembrance time should be changed.” 

The DVD shows (at 38 minutes 20 seconds) the memorial containing the Blackmore names: E J Alexander, A E Barker, W Brazier, W Crane, A G Ellis, W W Fixter, H Game, H C Game, A Godding, J Gosling, S E Knight, E C Martin, E A Maynard, B Millbank, I A Miller / Millar, A J Nash, W Ovel, G W Pigott, H Riglin, W E Rudling, H W Scudder, C Speller, D Sutton, E Sutton, J Thomas, W H Wash, A J Wheal, H J White, W Willsher.

Having done a large amount of research back in 2010 to confirm the names of those on the Parish War Memorial, I recognise the difficulty in compiling a definitive list.  Where are people from?  (We only need to consider that Olympic gold medal winner Laura Trott, tweeted that her gold post box should not be in Harlow.  More than one box was painted as a consequence.)  Historians and others will disagree, with evidence and counter-evidence put forward.  Whatever the merits or otherwise of this updated work, the memorial inside the Medical Centre will remind us not to forget the events which shaped our country’s destiny forever.  

Friday, 2 November 2012

Margaretting: "Margaretting Hall"

Received 3 September 2012

Dear Mr Byrd,
Please can you help?  The current owners of Margaretting Hall and myself (great x3 grand daughter of John Tabrum) are searching for an illustration of the previous Hall. Have you any suggestions of where to look, there is nothing at the Essex Record Office.
with best wishes
Liz Morris

Replied 1 October 2012

Hello Liz

If Margaretting Hall was the former Vicarage, then 'Suckling's Memorials and Antiquities of Essex' has a drawing -  see .  If not then I will post an entry on the blog and see if others can help.



Friday, 26 October 2012

BLACKMORE HISTORY NEWS: September / October 2012

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

Essex Society for Archaeology and History

One of the County’s oldest societies turns 160 this year.  Founded in 1852 in Colchester the Essex Archaeological Society, as it was originally known continues to this day arranging excursions / visits for its members and producing annually its Transactions, titled ‘Essex Archaeology and History’.  In April 2012 the 1st volume of the Fourth Series was published (cover illustrated).  Articles of very local interest include ‘Roman Billericay: excavations by the Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society, 1970-1977’ (by M Medlycot et al) and ‘Revd. John Howard Marsden: rector of Great Oakley and first Disney professor of archaeology at Cambridge University’ (by Michael Leach) – the Disney referred to here was John Disney of The Hyde, Ingatestone, during the mid-nineteenth century.  To buy a copy of the 384 page publication, go to .

For information about the Society itself and membership – we are always looking for new members – go to the website:

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has a number of surplus books for sale, which are not required for accession to the Society’s Library hosted at Essex University or are duplicates of items already held.  As a member I am hosting on this sister website a book sale on

Why am I a member?  As an amateur enthusiast it is good to meet like-minded people who are professional or keen historians, archaeologists, researchers etc.  I have found membership very interesting indeed.  The Society’s objectives are:
-          To promote and encourage the study of the archaeology and history of the historic county of Essex.
-          In furtherance of the above, to publish the results of such studies in its journal and to disseminate information on matters relating to archaeology and history in Essex through appropriate media.
-          To organise conferences, lectures and visits for the benefit of members of the Society and interested members of the public; to educate the wider community in the archaeological heritage of Essex; to co-operate with other bodies on matters of common interest and concern
-          To provide library facilities for Society members and approved members of the public.

Blackmore Village Website

Blackmore Village Website (BVW) has had a major revamp and re-launch under a new author – under a new domain name.  The site ( ) went live on 28 August.  At the core is a copy of the old website but with a blog attached and a promise of Facebook and twitter links.  Of interest to local historians is the ‘History page’ ( ) which make reference to the sister website to this blog, Blackmore Area Local History ( ), referring to it as “an absolute must”.

Deal Tree Medical Centre

The former Doddinghurst Surgery closed its doors on 17 August, moving across the road that weekend to newly built premises at Deal Tree Corner on the Blackmore Road by Hook End.  The building lies just within Doddinghurst parish adjacent to the boundaries of Blackmore and Stondon Massey.

‘Demolished’ Victorian Letter Box

When I passed Ship Road in West Hanningfield on 1 September 2012 I noticed a pile of bricks surrounded by red and white tape.  Clearly some mishap had happened with the Victorian Letter Box.

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

Monday, 22 October 2012

Chelmsford: Annals of England

Annales of England – John Stow

The following are extracts from a book published in 1605, the year of John Stow’s death.  The book is introduced as “A BRIEFE DESCRIPTION OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES AND CORNWALL”, set out in chronological order and running to 1437 pages, abruptly ending in July 1605.

Page 1169
John Paine executed at Chelmeford
John Paine priest, being indicted of high treason for words by him spoken to one Eliot, was attained and condemned at Chelmesford on the last of March, and was there executed on the second day of Aprill.”

Transcribed with acknowledgement to the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Blackmore: (More on the) Crickett family

Received 23 August 2012

Dear Andrew,

I read your blogspot with interest. I'm researching Crickitt family history. My great, great grandmother was Clara Mello Crickitt (1833-1866) who married Francis Goode Miller (1833-1869). I've traced the Crickitts back to circa 1704, and would be pleased to receive any further information.

Crickitt is variously spelled as 'Crickett', 'Crickete' and 'Kreket'. They were of Walloon descent, but I haven't yet made the Walloon connection, which may have been Sandwich, Kent or Colchester, Essex.

Charles Crickitt (circa b.1704) married Susannah Spriggs (b.1704) on 29th July 1729 (her parents were John & Dorcas) at St.Mary's Alverstoke, Hampshire.

Their two sons were: John Crickitt (my ancestor) b.1730, bapt. Holy Trinity, Gosport; married Sarah Lloyd 23rd Feb 1757 at St.Gregory by St. Paul (City of London). He was Marshall of the High Court of the Admiralty. Died 30th Aug1811 at Edmonton.

Charles Alexander Crickitt, b.1736, d.1803. M.P. for Ipswich.

Please post this information if it is of interest.

Yours sincerely
Pam Wheeler

Replied 1 October 2012

Many thanks for your e mail, and apologies for not responding sooner.

For more on the Crickett family follow this link:

Monday, 15 October 2012

Ingatestone: Annals of England

Annales of England – John Stow

The following are extracts from a book published in 1605, the year of John Stow’s death.  The book is introduced as “A BRIEFE DESCRIPTION OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES AND CORNWALL”, set out in chronological order and running to 1437 pages, abruptly ending in July 1605.

Page 1135
Sir William Peter deceased.
The thirteenth of January deceased William Peter knight, who for his judgement and pregnant wit, had bene Secretary and of privy counsell to foure kings and queenes of this realme, and seven times lord ambassador abroad in foraine lands: he augmented Exeter colledge in Oxford with lands to the paine of an hundred pound by yeare: and also builded ten almes houses in the parish of Ingerstone for twenty poore people, ten within the house, and ten without the house, having every one two pence the day, a winter gowne, and two loade of wood, and among them feeding for six kine winter and sommer, and a chaplaine to say them service daily.”

Page 1166
Mice devour the grasse at Danesey.
About Hallowtide last past, in the marshes of the Danesey Hundred in a place called Southminster in the countie of Essex, a strange thing hapned: there sodainlie appeared an infinite multitude of mice, which overwhelmed the whole earth in the said marshes, did sheare and gnaw the grasse by the rootes, spoyling and tainting the same with their verimous teeth, in such sort, that the cattell which grazed thereon were smitten with a murerine, and died thereof, which vermine by policie of man could not be destroyed, till, at the last it came to passe that there flocked together all about the same marshes, such a number of owles as all the shire was not able to yield: whereby the marsh-holders were shortly delivered from the veration of the said mice.” 

Transcribed with acknowledgement to the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Blackmore: Crickitt and Disney family link

Received 22 August 2012


I left a comment re Crickitt family just now on you blog? I hope it was yours anyway.

When I checked my family tree I saw that one of Charles Crickitt's daughters from whom I am descended, Susanna Alexander, married William Lamont in 1802 Blackmore church. . They had several children one of whom, Matilda Georgiana married an Irish Kilkenney Fusilier Captain O'Fflahertie at the British embassy in Paris and they had a daughter Flora Giorgiana who married a Lambert Brouckner Disney b 1838 who gives his birthplace as The Hyde, Essex and father Edgar.

I have banns and wedding cert I could send but not on this iPad - if you are interested let me know and I will send, I think they moved to America.

I hope you will get back to me!
Anne Walker (Mousehold)

Replied 22 August 2012

Dear Anne
Thank you for your blog entry regarding the Crickitt family and your e > mail which links the Crickitt's with the Disney family.  Edgar Disney (1810-1881) has a memorial in Blackmore Church and was also a benefactor to  the church's restoration in 1877. The Disney's tomb is in the adjacent  parish of Fryerning.

I would be interested to see a copy of the banns and wedding certificate. It all adds to the story of the village.


Monday, 8 October 2012

Chelmsford: Annals of England

Annales of England – John Stow

The following are extracts from a book published in 1605, the year of John Stow’s death.  The book is introduced as “A BRIEFE DESCRIPTION OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES AND CORNWALL”, set out in chronological order and running to 1437 pages, abruptly ending in July 1605.

Page 1115
Tempest at Chelmsford
The 16 of July, about nine of the clocke at night began a tempest of lightning and thunder, with showers of haile, which continued till three of the clock the next morning so terrible that at Chelmsford in Essex 500 acres of corne were destroyed, the glass windows on the east side of the tower, and the west & south sides of the church were beaten downe, with also the tiles of their houses, beside diverse barnes, chimneies, and the battlements of the church which were overthrown.  The like harme was done in many other places, as at Leedes, Cranelnooke, Dover & c.”

Transcribed with acknowledgement to the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Blackmore: Wayside Tea Rooms (4)

Received 15 July 2012

Hi Andrew,
My name was Valerie Brown and I was being fostered by a Pat O'Farrell when we lived in Blackmore. She had me from my birth until she died when I was 17 so she was my 'mum'. I do not remember any names of neighbours though I did have neighbours children who I played with. A 'cousin' worked on the telephone switchboard which I think was located at the village post office and I was mesmerised by it all when I went to watch her at work. We come back often just for the nostalgia, and we were back last year.

We intend making another visit to Blackmore and I would love it if I could go to see the memorial plaque in the field where the American bomber came down. Please can you tell me where that might be, a grid ref would be wonderful.

I look forward to your reply, I hope my information has helped a bit.

Regards Val

Replied 16 July 2012
Dear Val

Brentwood Road, showing old cottages, and Wayside Tea Room (left)
Please find enclosed another postcard.  This one looks up the road towards the School (not in view).  If your bedroom window was the four-light one above the door then you would have had an uninterrupted view of the school.

The American bomber came down in the field opposite Fingrith Hall Cottages near to OS ref 604033. There is no memorial plaque in the field.


Received 17 July 2012

Hi Andrew,
I still feel in my heart, that I always stood and looked into the playground from a landing where the dormer window is, and not the one you have suggested, and I still got a good view of children in playground. I don’t want to get swayed from my gut feeling just to make things 'fit'. Maybe the man from NZ (whose grandparents lived in the tearooms) may remember the layout of the building. It’s certainly stirred my curiosity to see if my memory is right. I can recognise the front door which we always used, and I can see the small garden to the west of the house where I played, it’s all very familiar.

I had already guessed at the crash location and was almost spot on!

Do you know if there are school records anywhere?

Another vague memory is of a big black heater in the classroom! 

So Andrew, have I helped you prove once and for all, the true location of the wayside tearooms? I shall be chuffed to bits if I have.


Replied 18 July 2012
Hello Val

If you had looked to the left out of the dormer window you would have certainly seen the School.  The playground may have been where the former Library annexe was built in the 1960s.  Hypothesis.

I would be interested to know more of your memories of Blackmore.


Received 18 July 2012

Hi Andrew,

Yes, definitely the dormer window, I only had to look very slightly to the left to see the playground, there is absolutely no doubt about that, its imprinted in indelible ink on my memory!. Your suggestion that the playground may have been bigger makes so much sense because it could be that the tearooms were just a few feet further to the west as well. (I wasn’t aware the library was a later building and not in my time there, I hadn’t given its presence any thought at all, but as I said in an earlier email, I don’t remember seeing any buildings opposite just an empty space and then cottages slightly to right). Your hypothesis that the playground was once a lot bigger is very real to me, it 'fits' better. To put it another way - if, on my landing, I'm standing due north, then the playground was SSE and the cottages opposite were WSW and no other buildings in between. Oh dear this has got a bit technical!!

This has given me such excitement to finally see those photos. I have been through the 1911 census for Blackmore but can’t find the tearooms on it.  I did find 10 Blackmore Road but haven’t got a clue where that was in relation to the tearooms. The family name Wray rang a bell but really can’t be sure about that.

I have tried to locate the 'Ruth' who contacted you in 2008, and who remembers the tearooms as her mother was born in the village.

My husband and I wandered round the village last year and I was so pleased to see the school still there. As always I stood on the site where I used to live, thinking back to my time there. All I would like to do now is to find someone who might have been inside the tearooms and may remember the inside layout. Maybe someone occupied them when we left in 1946. I will try to think of memories but I left and moved to Ongar when I was 6.

Many thanks for your real interest in my humble beginnings. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Blackmore: Wayside Tea Rooms (3)

Received 14 July 2012
Hi Andrew,

Thank you for all the information on Blackmore, very interesting!! 

You have now opened real confusion within me, I will explain.  From baby days until I was about 6 (1942-1947) I lived in a white painted dwelling which was of the same wooden design structure as the Wayside tea rooms in your photo, and it was definitely opposite the school. The room used as the 'tearoom' was derelict and I had a swing slung from the ceiling in there, I remember birds would often fly into that room which was situated on the eastern aspect of the building. I can remember that the walls in the living room were painted with blue distemper and sponge dabbed with pink, whether we did that or it was already there I have no idea. I think the door we used as a front door was straight out onto the road, simply because I cannot remember any other door. What I also remember very vividly, was that I could stand on a landing, and from a window I could see the children in the playground. In your photo there are trees opposite 'Wayside' hence my confusion. Could 'Wayside' have stood near the corner of the road so that the southern aspect faced the school and the eastern aspect faced trees? If only I had a photo!!  We had neighbours to the west of us (same side of road) but none to the right, and a row of cottages to the south-west on the opposite side of the road. I can remember the layout quite well. If I was clever enough I could draw a plan as I remember it, to make it more clear to you, and I may try after I have sent this off.

I was not quite 3 and a half when I heard that awful aeroplane crash, still shudder at the memory! Is it possible for you give me a grid reference of the exact spot where it came down please?  I feel it was just to the north of us.

I really appreciate your response to my initial enquiry.  It’s a mystery that has bugged me for many years.  I just wish that there were old archives on the school. So now the real mystery, were the tearooms opposite the school or was I living in an ordinary house and not the tearooms???

We also had evacuees with the names Ivy and Maisy.

Again, many thanks.
Val Stevens

Replied 15 July 2012
Hello Val

This is very interesting and something which I think can be answered, if I collect together what is known about the immediate vicinity. 

A couple of questions: what was your surname at the time; and, do you remember of names of your neighbours (eg Blackwells)?


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Blackmore: Wayside Tea Rooms (2)

A Mystery Solved: the location of Wayside Tea Rooms -
from a postcard c1920

Local History
Wayside Tea Rooms - A Mystery Solved

Last December (2004), The Herald included a letter from Malcolm Baird, from New Zealand, and an appeal for more information about the Wayside Tea Rooms, once situated in Brentwood Road (now Blackmore Road).

Malcolm wrote, “Carolyn and I visited Blackmore Church on the occasion of the Flower Festival. We mentioned then that my grandparents in my childhood days had Tearooms in Blackmore. It is our pleasure to enclose them and ask that if you can possibly find any further details regarding the Tearooms and / or my grandparents’ time in Blackmore, this would be greatly appreciated.

“Mary Coller’s book, ‘Blackmore, My 1920s Wonderland’ makes no mention of the Tearooms although they certainly operated at that time. The facts that I know are these.

“My grandparents were James and Minnie Baird. James had been a Marine Engineer and was retired by the War Department in 1934. He was then residing in ‘Wayside Tearooms, Brentwood Road, Blackmore’ and left there in about 1940. The Tearooms were a popular stopping place for cycling clubs as shown in the photos [see part 1]. These were presumably taken about 1937/38. I am the youngest child shown standing next to my Grandfather, with my two brothers and visiting cyclists. I gauge the date by my apparent age. I was born in 1934 and at that time would have lived in London. Presumably the Tearooms were not far down Brentwood Road because I can remember walking to the Church, the village pump and village green.

”Our visit was certainly a wonderful trip down ‘Memory Lane’ for me. It was amazing how close to accurate such childhood memories could be after nearly 70 years. The Village is still so much how I pictured it all this time. Carolyn can now appreciate why I have such fond memories of my visits to grandparents.”

As is often the case, conflicting information about the location of the Wayside Tea Room was received. One person thought that it was at Walnut Cottage, others elsewhere in the road.

I had established that, according to Kelly’s Directory, in 1937 Minnie Baird was its owner. It was quite by chance, on a visit to Matching Flower Festival, that I found the Wayside Tea Rooms on copies of old postcards for sale as Greeting Cards.

The premises were opposite 3 & 4 Blackmore Road. A mystery solved.

Andrew Smith

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Blackmore: Wayside Tea Rooms (1)

Wayside Tea Room

Received  7 July 2012

Hi there, I was living in Blackmore during the 2nd world war, in the Wayside tearooms (which were opposite the school). I can remember a plane crashing nearby and wondered if anyone could tell me more about this happening?  I was a toddler at the time, but the memory is so vivid that even now I hate to hear planes at night!  Also does anyone have a photo or a memory of the Wayside Tea rooms, I would be very interested to hear. Thank you.

Replied  14 July 2012
Hello Val

Thank you for writing to me about the American bomber crash at Blackmore, which happened on 24 September 1944. Some correspondence on this is on the blog (follow link to ) but I would be very interested to hear of your memories of this event as well as any other stories relating to the Americans who came over to Essex during the Second World War. I was told that many of them used to come into the (old) Leather Bottle pub, reputedly putting their money on the bar and buying drinks for everyone. Of course the missions they flew were very dangerous and some did not make it back to the base at Willingale.

Regarding the Wayside Tea Rooms, back in 2004 I had the privilege of talking to Malcolm Baird who had come to visit from New Zealand.  He sent over some photographs but I had difficulty locating the site of the premises until, by chance, I came across an old postcard which located the building opposite numbers 3 & 4 Blackmore Road (then Brentwood Road).  I attach the photographs and an item I wrote for the Parish Council's magazine 'The Herald' (see part 2).

I will publish this information on the blog very soon, but if you have memories of Blackmore during the Second World War I would be interested to receive them. You might be interested in viewing which includes some notes of two brothers Johnson who were evacuated to Blackmore to the Jopson family during the early part of the Second World War.

With kind regards


Wayside Tea Room, Blackmore, when the Bairds lived ran the business.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Blackmore: Annals of England

Annales of England – John Stow

The following are extracts from a book published in 1605, the year of John Stow’s death.  The book is introduced as “A BRIEFE DESCRIPTION OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES AND CORNWALL”, set out in chronological order and running to 1437 pages, abruptly ending in July 1605.

Page 966
Henry, Duke of Richmond
The 22 of July, Henry Duke of Richmond and Somerset, earle of Nottingham, a bastard son of K. Henry, borne at Blakamore in Essex, of the lady Tailboise, that time called Elizabeth Blunt, died at St James, and was buried at Thetford in Norfolke.”

Page 1112
Tempest at London.
The 8 of July, in the morning, hapned a great tempest of lightning & thunder, wherethrough a woman and three kine were slaine in the Covent garden neere to Charing crosse.  At the same time in Essex a man was torne to peeces as he was carrying hay, his barne being borne downe, and his hay brent: both stones and trees were rent in many places.”

Transcribed with acknowledgement to the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Blackmore: Blewgates


Blewgates 1901
“Blewgates Blackmore 1901.  Back row.  Francie, Bob, Effie, John Maryon, Jeanie, Joe, Chrisie, G/F Alexander, Olive Charlotte, G/M Alexander, John Maryon, Maggie Maryon, Kath.”
Grandfather Alexander ran a plantation in Brazil before coming to Bluegates.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Blackmore: Schoolchildren in 1895

Blackmore School, 1895

Blackmore School
“Blackmore School Group about 1895. Master Mr Hood.  Top row next to Master – Nellie and Francie Alexander.  Nellie died shortly after of diphtheria – Francie – born in Brazil as was Nellie and died in Toronto – 1960.  Second row up – fifth child from the left – A. Chrissie born 1891 and still living – 1972 in Toronto – sixth from the left – Uncle Joe 1889 – 1959 died Manchester.”

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Kelvedon Hatch: The story of Monkey Joe

The Baptism of Monkey Joe (about 1860)

Written by John Maryon, 1897-1975.

I had heard of him since I began to know myself because he was a step uncle to my father and born about 10 years before him (1860) at the ‘Wheatsheaf” Nine Ashes.  I got to know him by sight in Brentwood up to about 1928, when I belive he died – in Billericay infirmary, or paupers end up.  A diminutive figure with a large mottled nose, and a squeaky little voice speaking in broad Essex dialect.  Such a dialect as you seldom hear now, 1970, having been eradicated by 46 years or so of BBC broadcasts and later TV.  Mores the pity as it had considerable humour about it, but to be fully appreciated, spoken with a long drawl, unsuitable for what little expression one has time to explore himself now.  Time is money and everything is calculated in terms of time.

I suppose Joe had a formal Christian baptism and this could be ascertained by a perusal of the church registers of High Ongar for that period.  But legend says, he had another and more boisterous one at the “Wheatsheaf” Nine Ashes.  This was done I gin, I understand, and undoubtedly the High Priest would have been Bob Amos – 1828-1917.  A sporting farmer, living hard by at Lorkins Farm, on Christian name terms with Jim Mace, and not a bad artist with his fists himself.  Could play a fair tune on a piana, or a strapping chorus girl from London, could he inveigle her down to his farm.  An excellent shot with a 12 bore was he, and muzzle loader before it.  He could mix in any company – high or low – with a strong preference for the latter.

This baptism would in modern parlance – be right up his street.  With him would be Dick Oliver a younger protégé of Bobs in the fist game, Choikey Brazier, Hookey Winger, Rhubarb Chandler, and other worthies.  They all earned a tough ill paid living in agriculture, and the taking of the products thereof to the Metropolis.  Especially hay for the teeming horse population there.  Also among them, would be also certainly be Lardie Farmer, a very kind person, but also of necessity rough and tough, and of most uncertain temper.  Always came in for a certain amount of teasing from the poverty striken community, but the teaser would find himself with bodily injuries, if he took things too far. 

So little Joe was christened in gin, and with this inestimable start, proceeded to grow.  He grew up in a rural environment, his father and my great grandfather being a jack of all trades such as thatching, sheep shearing, horse clipping and haybinding.  He was also the licensee of small country beerhouses and was landlord of three of these oasis – “The White Horse” burned down finally, after degenerating into a private residence on Paslow Common, the Wheatsheaf, and finally the Shepherd inn on Kelvedon Common.  Little Joe was to grow to manhood in the last named pub and by his appearance and cunning left his nickname “Monkey” as part of the unofficial title there: premises acquired viz – The Drum and Monkey.

Joe’s father was a poacher and the receiver and disposer of poached game.  He always obeyed the eleventh commandment, by never being caught at his pastime.  Little Joe’s mother, being as broad as she was long, became the Drum, of the Drum and Monkey.  She died of cancer on these premises.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

John Maryon autobiography (5)

John Maryon as bus driver -
at Wilson's Corner, Brentwood

The Political Conversion of John Maryon – Part 5. Post War

By John Maryon, at the request of his sister.  [Copied with the permission of his son, Tim Maryon.]

So I returned from this to my home in Billericay, to find my father was out of his farm, it having been sold over his head, with vacant possession.  In fact he had notice to terminate his year lease soon after the farm had become a shambles from German aircraft and attendant crowds the year previously.  I was home in time for the farm sale and there I met pre-war acquaintances, men who, although fit and of military age, never felt the urge to defend King and Country, or if they did, they lay down until the urge went.  Some of them acknowledged me, but had little interest in my experiences.  They had come with eyes open wide for a bargain.  In fact, horror stories from the front were becoming boring.  The farm had been bought by a Billericay horse dealer, farmer and corn, hay and horse buyer for the government.  This latter was most lucrative of them all, for there was considerable scope for fiddling.  He interpreted his new overlordship harshly, and when my father asked for certain justifiable compensations, he was threatened with farm dilapidations.  My father, wherever he resided, always planted a few fruit trees, and grafted apples and roses, and he was seldom in a place long enough to get any fruit.  He had planted perhaps a dozen apple and pear trees when he first took the farm, which the new owner promised to pay for, if they were left.  He received nothing.

He went off to live in a house vacated – for the duration of the war – by my uncle, and I went back to the war, where I served until the eventual armistice. There is little doubt that my experiences at Ypres, together with the reduction of my father, or anything to come back to after the war had a deep effect on me, together with the callous attitude to the returning soldier, by both government and populace.  The difference is the promise of grand reward, if it went – two packets of cigarettes weekly which was quickly forgotten – in my case, and the mean interpretation by the medical authorities toward disabled soldiers.

I was demobilised in Jan 1919, with a bounty of 14 Pounds, and from this I had money deducted for the loss of army clothing.  The woollen socks we were issued with, shrunk through being on my feet immersed in water for days, and to get one pair off my feet, I had slit my socks down the front.  I paid!  I purchased a civilian outfit ready made, and of imperfect fit for 10 Pounds.  This left me very near bankruptcy.  In March, my father got a job with a man who was a wool broker, and farmed a small area of land as a hobby.  He bought this to avoid army service.  In spite of being described as a farmer, it cost him 100 Pounds in bribes to a Hornchurch builder, who was on the tribunal.  I learned afterwards that he cleared 20,000 Pounds on the London wool exchange during the war.  He would speak of farming with contempt, and spoke about making 1,000 Pounds at the stroke of a pen.  I was lousy for at least two years of my army service – on 1/- per day.  ‘Tis true we were fed and clothed – thank you for the food and clothing.  They also caught us on the rate of exchange – paying us in what were known as army francs, at the rate of five a week.  It would be interesting to know the cost of printing these.

Our woolbroker was a pig to work for, and I soon rejoined the army (but not in the infantry).  There were about 2 million ex-servicemen on the dole, and It was pointed out to those lucky enough to have a job – how lucky they were.  So I served in the Mechanical Transport R.A.M.C. for a couple of years, and came home again and worked for a heavy-haulage firm.  My instinct from early life was to eschew any form of trade unionism of the joining of sick clubs.  My father always said, “Be your own trade union”.  Well, I was sacked from this transport firm, mainly because the foreman disliked me because, having heard I was applying for work as a driver on the London buses, he said, “You can now have the time to seek a job at your leisure”.  I got the job, and after a month’s tuition and pass out by the London police, I became a busman.  The bus company informed all new recruits that, although a man could please himself, they preferred him to belong to the appropriate union.  My previous foreman and other factors prepared my mind to join my fellow workers to protect our interests in the union.  But I only became a card member at 9d per week.  I never attended any meetings until after the General Strike of 1926.  The strike generally, the unscrupulous propaganda against the strikers, of which I was one, the shameful settlement by phoney leaders, leaving the miners on their own, brought me to political consciousness.  Before this time I loathed all politics – but voted Conservative.  By 1928, I was a member of the Labour Party, and enthusiastic.  After the betrayal of this party by its leaders, at the great depression, I abandoned all support of any of the political parties and became a devotee for the abolition of the system, which has one small section owning the means of production and distribution, and the majority having only their brain-power to sell for a wage.  This set-up produces the terrible crisis and war, associated with the present economic situation, which is known as Capitalism.  Whenever I was on strike, I felt I was in combat with the men who profited by the war while we, the in general dispossessed, struggled, fought and suffered to protect the status quo, which persecuted and exploited us both in peace and war.  Millions of contemporary young Europeans took the same road for the communal ownership of the means of production and the ending of the wages system, the accumulation of great wealth in the hands of the minority – in fact capitalism – and it started with me in Flanders mud and will end in the crematorium.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

John Maryon autobiography (4)

The Political Conversion of John Maryon – Part 4.  On the Western Front

By John Maryon, at the request of his sister.  [Copied with the permission of his son, Tim Maryon.]

And the next week I went to France on my nineteenth birthday, hardly recovered from my crippling illness, to suffer the rigours of the cold winter of 1916-7, in and out of the trenches.  This we spent on the Somme battlefield, about 6 miles wide, which we traversed backward and forward to the advanced trench system.  The following year – June – we were rehearsing for the infamous 3rd Battle of Ypres, culminating in November in the capture of an area of mud and pounded rubble known afterwards as Paschendaele, from the name of the village on the Paschendaele ridge.  Of the two years I spent in Flanders, this battle in which I was in 3 infantry attacks, was my worst experience.  The area depended for its excellent fertility on careful drainage.  This had been completely smashed up by the intense bombardments for 3 weeks prior to the first attack, on July 31st 1917.  Three thousand, one hundred guns were used, firing 4.5 million shells, and the weather, which had been fine, broke into rain on the afternoon of our attack.  It continued, if not by day, then by night, until we left the front in October 1917, and with continued artillery pounding, the conditions became almost indescribable.  Come October, after a rest behind the lines, and some trench-holding stints, we were back for two more attacks on Oct 8th and 12th.  To reach the attacking point, timed for early morning, we had to move up, over a sea of shell-holes in pouring rain, on the night of the 8th, waiting wet-through on arrival till it was time to attack.  The attack was not quite so waterlogged as the rest.  There was a gain of about 800 yds of swamp at the end of the attack.  Relief came to us at night-time, but after 2 days’ rest, we moved up again on the night of the 11th to take the line forward between Poelcappele and Houthulst forest.  I remember seeing trees and earth going up the same day, from the bombardment of our artillery and heavy stuff being used.  Relief came at night, and when we reached the rest camp around 4am, and I had carried a trench mortar barrel from the front line for 3 miles, weighing 56lbs, my leave for England had come through.  I had been out in France just over 12 months.  (The best description of this battle that I know, though words can only dimly describe the reality, is as follows: “Paschendaele sums up the Great War in itself, because Paschendaele is courage and sacrifice beyond understanding.  Paschendaele is the ultimate in acceptance of discipline.  Paschendaele is mud, sleet, lice, mud, noise, jagged steel, horror piled on reeking horror, men and animals torn to pieces, mud seeded with brains and blood and heaving with putrefying fathers, sons and lovers.  Paschendaele is appalling muddle to terrify the soul.”  A German general described it as “Worse than Verdun, the greatest martyrdom of the Great War”.)