Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Fryerning: Diamond Jubilee

A photograph of St Mary's Church, Fryerning 
taken at about 9.00am on Tuesday 5 June 2012 - while it was still sunny!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Blackmore: Diamond Jubilee Flypast

A matter of minutes ago over Blackmore. 

I asked someone to confirm what the 'planes were. 

"That is an easy one, it is the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on their way to the jubilee fly past. 

"The aircraft are (from top left to bottom right) a spitfire, a spitfire, a hurricane, a Lancaster  and another 2 spitfires.  The Lancaster is obviously the larger one. You can tell the spitfires from the hurricane as the former have elliptical wings whereas the latter are longer and thinner with squarer ends." 

Friday, 1 June 2012


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

Diamond Jubilee

“The County of Essex” celebrated “the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” with a Choral Evensong at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday 27 May.  The Bishop of Chelmsford in his address referred to the Queen’s life of devotion and of her service to our nation.  2012 is a defining year in our history – Diamond Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympic Games in London and Essex.  It’s a time to celebrate and give thanks.

Golden Jubilee

Was it over that Golden Jubilee weekend ten years’ ago that Concorde flew low over The Green at Blackmore on its way to Buckingham Palace?  2002 – seems very recent.

Silver Jubilee

I am old enough to remember Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee 35 years ago.  Monday 6 June 1977 was a drizzly day in Ingatestone.  There was a great family picnic at Seymour Field and the distribution of Silver Jubilee Crowns (coins) to all children.  The following day there was an interdenominational service, but our family stayed at home to watch the national Thanksgiving Service on television.

Hylands Park

Hylands Park, Chelmsford, is really worth a visit over this summer – synonymous with the V Festivals of course.  The house began restoration 25 years ago in 1987.

One hundred years ago, on 26 June 1912, the park made national news when there was a society wedding at Widford Church.  The bridegroom was Mr Claude Grahame-White, an early aviator.  His bride was Miss Dorothy Taylor from New York.  It was a lavish affair with a fete held in the grounds of the house, with the groom giving demonstration flights in his aeroplane.  These were the early days of aviation, with ‘planes looking no more than motorised prams with wings.  Many of his friends flew in for the event.  (For more read Stephen Foreman’s book, ‘Hylands’.)

Epping and Ongar Railway

A steam-powered locomotive returned for the first time in 45 years (1957) to the stretch of railway line previously occupied by London Transport.  The ‘Epping and Ongar Railway’, a preservation line, had a grand opening last weekend (24 – 27 May 2012) creating much media interest.  (See report and follow link to Railway’s website

Ongar United Reformed Church

Founded 350 years ago as an Independent Chapel when Church of England clergy became obliged to use the new 1662 Book of Common Prayer of be deprived of their living (i.e. sacked).  The church building is Victorian.

Ingatestone United Reformed Church

The church celebrates its bi-centenary of foundation with a special service at the end of June and two history days over the weekend of 14 and 15 July.  Congregationalists have met in Ingatestone before 1812 but it was the building of the first chapel on the present site which is the focus of thanks and celebration.

The Diamond Queen

Andrew Marr’s book ‘The Diamond Queen’ (Macmillan, 2011), a more detailed account than the recent television series, is subtitled ‘Elizabeth II and her people’.  It charts the history of the monarchy from George V to the present, and includes, inevitably, a parallel political history of the nation; Churchill, an Essex MP being the Queen’s first of twelve Prime Ministers.  During the First World War the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha family restyled themselves as the Windsors, a rather English, if invented, name.  The book refers to: “The Bishop of Chelmsford [Rt Rev John Edwin Watts-Ditchfield], an influential figure, had told [Lord] Stamfordham [the King’s private secretary] that ‘the stability of the throne would be strengthened if the Prince of Wales married an English lady … she must be intelligent and above all full of sympathy’.”  The constant evolving of monarchy is a thread which Andrew Marr follows, drawing comparison with the Duke of York’s marriage to Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and Prince William to Catherine Middleton.

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