Sunday, 26 February 2012

Ongar: An extract from the Commonplace Book of Edward Reeve c1860

The Lord’s Prayer alone is an evidence of the truth of Christianity, so admirably is that prayer accommodated to all our wants.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Ingatestone: Hasler Family

Received 5 February 2012

Dear Sir,

I am researching the Hasler family.  Thomas Hasler was born in Ingatestone somewhere between 1826 and 1833 according to the 1871 census. However, I can’t find any more information about the family in Ingatestone.  I don’t know if you can help me.

Thank you

Gillian Dunnet

Replied 6 February 2012

Hello Gillian

Two things come to mind.  Firstly, the 1881 census is free on Ancestry, so a good anchor point to establish Hasler households.  Secondly, check for the existence of a baptism of Thomas Hasler in the Ingatestone Parish Registers held at Essex Record Office – I don’t think the recent registers are available on the Essex Ancestors website yet. 


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Ongar: An extract from the Commonplace Book of Edward Reeve c1860


Memory would indeed be a sorrow of unmitigated pain, if it only reflected on the dark shades, and not the sunny spots of life.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Roxwell: Youngs Newl'd

Received 2 February 2012

Hello Andrew,

I stumbled onto your Blackmore blog when I started searching for anything I could find about Roxwell in the 1400's & 1500's. I was wondering if maybe you could help me out a little. See, I live on the other side of the pond in New York and I'm very interested in my genealogy.

So far, I've been able to trace my surname lineage back to a Thomas Young who was born in Youngs Newl'd, Roxwell, Essex, in 1532. I think his father's name is Thomas Yonge, but I'm not quite sure. So I'm quite interested in the place & period, even if I can't trace the Young name further back.

I can find Roxwell on maps from the 1500's at ...but I can't find this Youngs Newl'd spot. Makes me wonder what it means, and I can't even remember now where I found that bit of information originally.

Also, do you know if there's any place online with documents or information about land ownership or church records of births and baptisms for Roxwell? I'm afraid I'd have to actually travel to Roxwell and attempt to track down actual paper documents. That wouldn't be so bad, but I probably wouldn't have the money for that trip until years from now.

I can actually trace his wife's lineage back into the 1400's. Her maiden name was Catherine Wiseman, and she was born in 1536 in Great Canfield, Dunmow. Since her father was named Sir John Wiseman, I'm assuming they were somewhat well off. That leads me to assume he wouldn't let his daughter marry nobody's, which leads me to assume my Young tree had some land ownership in Essex.

I've been stuck on this for about 2 years. Anything you might know, or anything you could point me to, would be helpful. I don't expect you to go track down any paper documents for me.

By the way, I love your blog. History has always fascinated me.


Replied 3 February 2012

Thanks for your e mail.  You have chosen a good website to search for the location: ‘The Essex Place-Names Project, supported by the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.  I wonder if you have considered the location to be Newland Hall, Boyton Cross, Roxwell?  The earliest year for any church registration records is 1538.  Roxwell records begin in 1559.  For more information, go to the ‘Essex Ancestors’ website, run by the Essex Record Office. 

Wiseman is a name which crops up time and again in Essex.  Clearly your Sir John was a man of some importance.



Received 3 February 2012

Oh thank you! I hadn't consider that "Newl'd" might be short for Newland. I Googled for anything about it, and came across an online copy of an old book of the history of Essex

I've got some reading to do. You're awesome!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ongar: An extract from the Commonplace Book of Edward Reeve c1860

Half of the mischief that occurs in families is occasioned by the undue interference of strangers by the idle habit prevailing in the world of commenting on the business of others, of which we know nothing, and of which did we know anything, delicacy should interdict the discussion.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Ingatestone: Canon Hudson

‘Edward Freeman Hudson. 1906-1989’ is the simple title of a limited-edition book written by the late Kenneth Langford in 1995.  I discovered a copy of it while browsing in a secondhand bookshop in Colchester recently.  Canon Hudson, as he was known by all parishioners, was the Rector of Ingatestone and Curate of Buttsbury from 1952 (sixty years ago) to 1988.  His epitaph in St Mary’s Church, Buttsbury, describes him accurately as “A loving Priest and true friend to all”.  I remember him well, as would all who lived in Ingatestone during those years.  The book is an interesting and insightful read.

Canon Hudson loved Ingatestone and its people.  He was involved in many aspects of village life: taking assemblies at least three days a week at the (CofE aided) Junior School; as Chairman of Governors of all three schools; a regular visitor to Brownies and other local organisations; taking a full and active role as parish priest and taking an interest in wider diocese activity.  He was a highly educated man who enjoyed reading, and drew on his extensive knowledge to illustrate his sermons.  The parish magazine, ‘The Tower’, had a significant contribution by him, giving news of local events and personal reflections.  I remember someone calling it the “I magazine”, but given a chance to read it today the monthly editions would say much about a mid-twentieth century village.  It demonstrates a priest in touch with his parishioners, and must have provided Mr Langford with plenty of source material to create the biography.  Canon Hudson’s ministry was at a time of an enormous growth in the local population as Ingatestone developed into a small dormitory town.  Ingatestone was one of the first villages on the ‘great Essex road’ to be bypassed.  Until then the Rectory overlooked open fields. 

But he was very much of his time.  He did not like calling people by their Christian names – and it is unimaginable that he would have been called Canon Edward.  He regarded himself as an ‘English Catholic’, having a closer working relationship with the Catholic Church than “dissenters” – with whom he had “many friends and no enemies”.   He was against the ordination of women priests, writing that he hoped that the motion would be “crushingly rejected”.  Mr Langford wonders what he would have made of the decision to accept women priests, just four years after his death.  The only woman who attended his committal service was his widow.  Without doubt he was a highly respected community leader and, says the author, easily capable of becoming a Bishop.  Despite offers he would not leave Ingatestone.

It seems also he had a part in saving St Mary’s Church, Buttsbury, from demolition in the 1950s.  The old village had ceased to be a civil parish in the 1930s, being amalgamated into Stock and Billericay, and the old church in the country had been war-damaged requiring extensive repairs.  He wrote in ‘The Tower’, “people come to Buttsbury for peace and rest, and find it. … The present popularity of Buttsbury with its stark unadorned beauty and penetrating peace is not surprising”. 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ongar: An extract from the Commonplace Book of Edward Reeve c1860

Longfellow beautifully says that “Sunday is the golden clasp, that binds together the volume of the week”.

Friday, 3 February 2012

A Day Out In ... Colchester

A series of Colchester postcards: to inspire a visit to the historic town in Essex.

St Botolphs Priory

Albert Cottage, Mountnessing, Brentwood, Essex.
Aug 19 07

Thanks very much for the letter received by this evening’s post.  I shall write tomorrow if I do not get time this evening so you may expect a letter Wednesday morning.
Love & c

Colchester Abbey Gateway

Mountnessing, Essex.
Aug 21 07

Will you thank Susy very much for postcard received this morning from Swansea. I am very sorry that the Bangor Ladies’ Choir did not win and am sure that their performance was nothing to be ashamed of.
Before the Dissolution of the Monastries, Colchester Abbey was one of the most important in the Kingdom with a mitred abbot at its head who sat in the House of Lords the same as the Bishops.  Don’t you think that the gateway of the Abbey is grand.  My last card showed the ruins of S. Botolphs Priory which was a distinct foundation from the abbey over a mile away.
Love best wishes. W

Colchester R Colne

Mountnessing, Essex
Aug 22 07

The collapse of the Promenade at the rear of the Eisteddfed Pavilion was a nasty accident.
I am glad to see from this morning’s paper that none from Bangor or any that I know were hurt. Was Susy anywhere near at the time?  I was rather apprehensive when I saw stop-press notice of the accident in yesterday evening’s paper.
Love & cc

Colchester Lexden Church

Mountnessing, Brentwood, Essex
Aug 23 07

Letter received by this evening’s post.
House is full of children & an uproarious children’s party is in progress.
Humour – good.
Will send a letter tomorrow morning.
Weather is cloudy.
Love & best wishes. W.

Colchester, Stockwell Street

Mountnessing, Brentwood
Aug 26 07

Many thanks for N.W. Chronicle which I received by his morning’s post. I was pleased to see that North Wales was well represented in the literary successes at the National Eisteddfod and among them I noticed the name of the Bishop’s Chaplain (Rev W Williams).  No one would think from a casual acquaintance that he had so  much in him.
Would you like a day in London in a few days before coming here?  I believe I can arrange it if you like.  Let me know as early as you can so that I can make arrangements.  Love & C. W.

Colchester, North Hill

Albert Cottage, Mountnessing, Brentwood
Aug 27 07

This view shows the road leading down to the R Colne & the railway Stn. You will be able to realise from it that the hill on which Colchester is built is very steep, hence its strength as a military centre from former times. The church, to whose tower the Clock is attached, is S. Peter’s Church, which is the reputed oldest church in the town.  In the time of the Roman occupation Colchester was one their most important cities, more important in some respects than London. The city was the see of the ancient British Church & its bishop attended the Council of Arles (AD 395 I believe).
Received letter this evening.  Am disappointed.  Shall write to-night or tomorrow morning.
Love & c. W

Colchester, High Street & Town Hall

Aug 29th 1907

The weather has been splendid since Monday and the sun has been hot. I think it is showing what it can do so as to be sure of giving you fine weather when you come.  I hope that will be very soon now.  I expect it is hot in the workroom today if you are having similar weather to what we are.
I was wondering this morning if you were up betimes & attended the Prayer time before going to work.  If you had done so I hope you won’t feel too good for the rest of the day. I wonder if Mr Griffiths is the better for the situation. I shall expect to hear when I see you that never before were the sermons so good & consequently that the hearers were never in a more Christian mood.
That is the measure of a good sermon, isn’t it?
Love & best wishes.  W.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


An interesting month on TV and radio:
'Great Expectations' filmed on Essex marshes
'Any Questions' on Radio 4 from the Ingatestone Anglo European School
'Songs of Praise' broadcast from Colchester
'Great British Railway Journeys: Series 3', Programmes 3 and 4: Michael Portillo visited Essex beginning at Layer Marney Tower, Maldon; Chelmsford - with a visit to Marriages flour mill; Blake Hall Station - on the former Central Line between Ongar and Epping; Little Tawney Hall - to discuss migration of farmers at the end of the nineteenth century; Southend Pier.
and a programme on Dr David Livingstone, without mention of Ongar where he trained to be a missionary, but of his exploration through Africa.