Saturday, 28 December 2013

ESAH160: Archaeological Notes: Transactions n.s. Volume 10 ...

ESAH160: Archaeological Notes: Transactions n.s. Volume 10 ...: Archaeological Notes, published in the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society in 1907, include the following - Scott, of Wolst...

Friday, 27 December 2013

ESAH160: Quarterly Meeting and Excursion, Saturday 6th Octo...

ESAH160: Quarterly Meeting and Excursion, Saturday 6th Octo...: An extract from the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, published in 1907: report of a visit to Doddinghurst, Stondon Massey...

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Friday, 6 December 2013

ESAH160: Biggest Storm Surge Since 1953

ESAH160: Biggest Storm Surge Since 1953: A low pressure system, high tides and onshore winds is the combination of weather events which cause coastal flooding.  This happened last...

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

ESAH160: ESAH Storeroom Clearance

ESAH160: ESAH Storeroom Clearance: Many new books which will be of interest to Essex people are now on offer by the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.  The organis...

High Country History Group: High Country History Group Book Sale: Thursday 28 ...

High Country History Group: High Country History Group Book Sale: Thursday 28 ...: The High Country History Group will be holding a book sale at its Christmas meeting on Thursday 28 November. (Meeting at 8pm, Toot Hill ...

Monday, 11 November 2013

Sunday, 10 November 2013

ESAH160: Remembrance Sunday

ESAH160: Remembrance Sunday: War Memorial outside St Andrew's Church, North Weald Andrew Smith, blogger for the Essex Society for Archaeology and History writ...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

Mountnessing: V2 Rocket

Received via Blogger enquiry: 10 October 2013

I lived in Mountnessing from 1939 until I married in 1962. I was sitting cleaning the mud off my shoes very close to where the V2 rocket came down, as were several children.  It was nice to read your account which brought back many memories.Brenda

Littlejohns. nee Dawson

Replied: 11 October 2013

Thank you for your e mail.  As a child in the 1970s I remember going to Lodge Wood and being shown a crater caused by one of those unmanned weapons of war.



Friday, 25 October 2013

Inscription on Chelmsford Cathedral

Received: 13 October 2013

Hello Andrew.  I am trying to get the correct wording for an inscription found on the exterior of the Nave of St. Mary the Virgin’s cathedral in Chelmsford.  Can you help?  Thank you.

Al DeFilippo

Replied: 13 October 2013

Hello Al

When you mean the exterior of the nave (which is the main body inside in the church flanked by aisles) are you referring to the outside of the C15 building?  Also, what do you think the wording might be?

I have a very old book on St Mary’s Church Chelmsford as it was before 1914 so might, at a long shot, be able to help.

But I need a bit more to go on please.



Received: 13 October 2013

Thank you Andrew.  At British History Online they list it partially as the following:

Cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin (Plate p. 42) stands in the town. The walls are of flint-rubble intermixed with some blocks of freestone; the dressings are partly of limestone and partly of Reigate stone; the roofs are leaded. The old details are all of the 15th or early 16th century. The S. and W. arches of the North Chapel and the W. arch of the S. chapel are of c. 1400–1410, indicating that at that period the plan included at least a Chancel, North Chapel, North Aisle, and South Aisle. Probably c. 1430 the South Chapel was added or re-built. The South Porch was added in the second half of the century, and c. 1489 the N. and S. arcades were re-built and a clearstorey added to the nave. The exterior of the nave is said to have borne the following inscription: "Pray for the good estate of all the townsheps of Chelmysford that hath . . . good willers and procorers of helpers to this werke and . . . them that first began and longest shall continowe . . . in the yere of our Lorde I thousand IIII hundreth [LXXXV]IIII." 

Al DeFilippo

Replied: 20 October 2013

Dear Al

Thinking about your query a little more I remembered that the Nave collapsed in 1800 and was rebuilt.  So the inscription would no longer exist.  I happened to be at Chelmsford Cathedral last evening (at a concert of The Sixteen directed by Harry Christophers) and looked up as I queued before the doors opened.  No inscription now exists it seems.  The Historic Monuments List – which you refer to – mentions the nave collapse later in the paragraph.

I attach an engraving of the damage caused at the time.



Friday, 18 October 2013

Friday, 11 October 2013

Ingatestone: Foreman Family

Received: 27 August 2013

Just spent a lovely half hour reading about Ingatestone and Shenfield on your website.

Stephen Foreman who was baptised at Shenfield and lived at Wood Barns, Ingatestone for many years, and died there in 1887 was the brother of my 3* great grandmother (who lived in Great Baddow). Stephen and his wife Eliza (Windley) were witnesses at my 3* great grandparents’ wedding. Great to put more than just the facts to the story. There appear to be many Foremans in the Essex and Suffolk area over the years, so plenty more searching to keep me busy.

Deirdre (Cardiff)

Replied: 27 August 2013

Thank you. I’ll add your comment to the blog.



Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Blackmore: The Bull Planning Applications - Results

Campaigners against the alteration of The Bull Public House in Church Street, Blackmore have lost their plea to Brentwood Borough Council.  The Planning Authority has permitted the demolition of various "out-buildings" including the cellar, rendering the Listed Building inoperable as a Public House in the future many claim.  It remains to be seen whether the pub will reopen after a closure since 2010.  Other establishments are available is the clear message. The Bull had been an inn for over 400 years.

However, the crazy plan to erect two dwellings and a car barn facing The Green, using a large proportion of the (beer) garden has been given the thumbs down.  The application has been refused and is a victory to protect the heritage of the village conservation area.  Blackmore residents will remain vigilant against further applications. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Book Review: Byrd, by Kerry McCarthy

Book Review: Byrd, by Kerry McCarthy (Oxford University Press, 2013)

An eagerly anticipated biography of Essex composer William Byrd (c.1540-1623) has just been published by Oxford University Press in their ‘The Master Musicians’ series – Byrd, by American musicologist Kerry McCarthy.   Naturally it brings together all the latest thinking on the composer’s enigmatic life as a Catholic living in Elizabethan England at a time of persecution. Recent discoveries of the composer include the books he owned – some being tirades against Papists – and his age: he was 58 or thereabouts in 1598, so did not die at the age of eighty as previously (i.e. before the 1990s) thought.

The book presents, for me, a fresh emphasis on Byrd’s religious beliefs suggesting a gradual sympathy and conversion to Catholicism.  He married a Catholic, and as an artist was appalled by the treatment of Jesuits such as Robert Campion so as to be moved to write a lament.  We read again of the protection he received from Queen Elizabeth I through her personal intervention into a case brought before Byrd of non-attendance at his parish church before his move to Stondon Massey, perhaps in January 1595.  But it was the Stondon Massey years, in semi-retirement from the Chapel Royal, where he advanced further his Catholic beliefs through the writing of Latin set text for the clandestine Catholic worship of his friends, for example the powerful Petre family of Ingatestone Hall.

As an amateur local historian I approach the life of Byrd through his life not works.  So whilst I would agree with John Milsom who in an appreciation writes that Byrd’s music is centre stage, I find Dr McCarthy’s approach to mixing historic detail seamlessly with musical theoretic description a distraction. My preference in presentation is John Harley’s earlier biography of 1997.

Christopher’s Howse’s review for The Telegraph, 20 September 2013, can be found here:

Andrew Smith

Friday, 27 September 2013

Billericay: Aftermath of the Zeppelin

Photograph not published before.
After the Zeppelin: Snails Hall Farm, Billericay
On 24 September 1916 a German Zeppelin brought down in flames landed in a field of Snails Hall Farm, South Green, Billericay.  John Maryon told how thousands visited the site (see elsewhere on this blog).  This photograph has recently come to light and was kindly shown to me by a family member and scanned for publication.   It shows where the Zeppelin landed, the charred field boundary and the barn, in the background, where the German crew - all dead - were placed.  John Maryon, tenant farmer, is photographed with his wife.  

Friday, 13 September 2013

Munt in Essex?

Received: 8 June 2013

I have been researching an ancestor John Archer showing on 1851 and 1881 census as being born abt 1814 in Stanford Rivers and 1861 and 1871 census as being born in Munt Essex.   I have been unable to find a village called Munt are you able to tell me if it is known by any other name.  On the Family Search site i did find a John Archer born in 1814 in Theydon Mount and was wondering if this is the same village.   If you know anything of a village called Munt I would appreciate your help.

Thanks Deanna Clay
Replied:  8 June 2013

Dear Deanna
There isn't a village called Munt in Essex.  Stanford Rivers and Theydon Mount are neighbouring parishes.  Mountnessing is a few miles away.

You might wish to investigate further clues by looking at the Essex Place Names Project which can be accessed via


Received:  9 June 2013

Thank you for your reply to my enquiry and the link you sent. I was > able to find Munt mentioned on there as a parish.  Munt appears to have been the original parish with these place names Munt (parish); Theyden Lessington; Theidon Parva. This obviously later became Theydon Mount. Thanks again for your help Deanna

Replied: 11 June 2013


Many thanks for this.  I am a member of a History Group covering this village so this will be of interest to members.


Friday, 6 September 2013

Ingatestone and The Great Essex Road (1): Contents and Illustrations listing

‘Ingatestone and The Great Essex Road’ by E E Wilde (with four chapters on the early history by Mrs Archibald Christy) was published in 1913.  Even though it is now a hundred years old, the book contains a wide range of items of historical interest, as a copy of the Contents and Illustrations pages show.




 IV. THE FONTS . . • 84
 VII. FRYERNING RECTORS, 1195-1687 110
 IX. FRYERNING RECTORS, 1733-1913 . • 146
 X. INGATESTONE RECTORS, 1370-1913 . • 164
 XI. THE REGISTERS . . . • 193
 XX. HOUSES . . . 278


 III.  As OTHERS SEE US .  368
 V. PASSERS BY . 389


K. A. E. I. O. U. . 475


* We only had access to these after the book was in the hands of the Printer. See Preface.


I am indebted to several friends for many of the pictures, and to them I tender my sincere thanks.
1. Sir William Petre, from Holbein's painting at Thorndon Hall. Donald Macbeth. Frontistiece
2. Seal of Barking Abbey   11
3. Ingatestone Church, showing entrance to Rood-loft E. E. W.   53
4. Fryerning Church . , Mr. E. H. N. Wilde. 61
5. Fryerning Church. Interior “ 65
6. Fryerning Church Plate" 70
7. Ingatestone Church . . E. E.W. 71
8. Ingatestone Church. Nave with hour-glass 74
9. Fryerning Font. Sun, Moon, and Stars . 84
10. “ Tree of Jesse .. 84
11. “ Vine . . 91
12. “ Cross and Crown . 91
13. Abbess Roding Font. The Eight Stars . 93
14. “ The Four Planets in Earth's shadow 93
15. “ Vine 93
16. Little Laver Font. The Seven Planets and Lilies 94
17. “ Vine and Rose and Hortus Inclusus 94
18.. Blackmore Church . . . . . . 103
19. Blackmore. Tomb of Thomas and Margaret Smyth (d. 1594) Miss G. A.Jones 103
20. Fryerning Church. Berners Brass . . Mr. Miller Christy 107
21. “,(Fragments)  107
22. Fryerning Register. Rector's and Churchwardens' signatures Mr. E.H.N. Wilde 193
23. lngatestone Register . . . . E. E. W. 203
24. Fryerning Churchyard, with Disney Tomb 205
25. lngatestone Church. Petre Monument . 205
26. Ginge Petre Hospital . . Mr. E. H. N. Wilde 225
27. Sir William Petre's Tomb in Ingatestone Church 229
28. lngatestone Hall . E. E. W. 236
29. Sir William Petre 251
30. Dame Anne Petre Mr. E. H. N. Wilde 252

31. Lord Petre's Monument in Ingatestone Church Vestry E. E. W .  253
32. Daniel Sutton (from a Pastel Drawing)  Arthur V Elsden  271
33. Fryerning Hall. Oak Room .  E.E.W.  279
34. “ Oak Bedroom . . “  280
35.  “ Linen-fold Panelling  Miss N M Wood  281
36.  “ Oak Moulding and Panelling  “ 281
37. Fryerning-Hall. From garden . Mrs Rankin   282
38. Burrins Pond, Furze Hall . .E.E.W.  282
39. Furze Halll . . . Mr E. H. N. Wilde   287
40. Dutch Fire-back. Ingatestone Grange    Mr J P T Foster  289
41. Huskards . . Mrs Rankin  290
42. Fryerning Parish Room . . “ 290
43. Thomas Hollis (from a painting made in by Rome by R. Wilson) .  .E.E.W.  293
 44. Thomas Brand Hollis (from a drawing by Pozzi)   Donald Macbeth  294
45. Ingatestone Hall   E.E.W.  299
46. “ Facing the Lime-Walk  “ 303
47. “ Entrance Gate . “  304
48. “ Old Barn “ 305
49. Old Mill Green House (from an old sand picture in the possession of Mr. Clift)  E.E.W.  308
50. St. Leonards .  Mr R Miller  313
51. Potter's Row Farm, Mill Green .   E.E.W.  317
52. Seventeenth-century Mantelpiece, with Eighteenth-century Hot-Air Stove, Eagle Inn .  “ 327
53. Eighteenth-century Stove, “  327
54. “  327
55. Ingatestone High Street (from an old print) Mr. E. H. N. Wilde 329
56. Ingatestone Tradesmen's Tokens (seventeenth century) Donald Macbeth  333
57. Hall Mark on Fryerning Paten Mr. E. H. N. Wilde   333
58. Great Oak and Fryeming Hall E. E. W.  336
59. Old Cottages, Beggar Hill  “  349
60. Fryerning Fair . . . Mrs. Rankin  362
61. Will Kempec and Tom Slye . Miss N. M. Wood   362
62. Ingatestone, from Churchyard E. E. W.  370
63. Ingatestone Street, with Bell Inn . . “ 370
64. Old Cottages in Ingatestone Street, formerly Poor House Miss D. Rock   399
65. Joseph Poole, clerk, and William Asher, sexton, Ingatestone (from old photograph) Fred Spalding & Sons, Chelmsford  400


I. Map of Ingatestone and Fryerning 
2. Plan of Hide Hall in 1731 (from an old plan in the possession of Mr Norton Disney)  Mr. Donald Salter 299
3. Map of Eastern Counties River Basins (by kind permission of Dr. H R Mill and the British Rainfall Organization) . 339
4. Map of Afternoon Storms of June 24, 1897 Mr. Donald Salter  344
5. Ogilvy’s Road Map, c. 1722 . . . . E. E. W. 368

6. Map of Essex, by Thomas Kitchen (from England illustrated, 1764)    at end.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

ESAH160: Some Interesting Essex Brasses (2): Transactions n...

ESAH160: Some Interesting Essex Brasses (2): Transactions n...: The second part of publication of this article from 1907.  Brasses covered in this part include East Horndon, Fryerning, Grays Thurrock, G...

Saturday, 24 August 2013

ESAH160: Old Chigwell Wills: Transactions n.s. Volume 10 Pa...

ESAH160: Old Chigwell Wills: Transactions n.s. Volume 10 Pa...: In 1907 William Chapman Waller began a series of articles for the Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society entitled Old Chigwell W...

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Essex Churches: Writtle

Essex Churches: Writtle: So having got excited by the news that Great Waltham was now regularly kept open I set off last Friday only to find it locked - grrr, more l...

Essex Churches: Willingale

Essex Churches: Willingale: Willingale is another of those extraordinary villages that has two churches just yards from each other, one St Andrew and All Saints, under...

Essex Churches: Widford

Essex Churches: Widford: St Mary is locked but with a keyholder listed but as it is a Victorian barn of a church situated by a busy roundabout I decided against seek...

Essex Churches: Theydon Mount

Essex Churches: Theydon Mount: St Michael is locked with no keyholder listed. The church really does sit on a mount above the Roding valley and has commanding views. It is...

Essex Churches: Stapleford Tawney

Essex Churches: Stapleford Tawney: In all honesty I can bring myself to say anything complimentary about St Mary and when I look at the nave picture I actually think oh no, so...

ESAH160: Smallpox: Daniel Sutton and Ingatestone

ESAH160: Smallpox: Daniel Sutton and Ingatestone: Smallpox inoculation is one of the topics covered in 'The Local Historian' (May 2013, Volume 43 No. 2).  The author, Mary South, m...

Friday, 28 June 2013

Blackmore: Cresset Stone

Cresset Stone in Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore

Essex Review
Extract from No. 185 Volume XLVII (January 1938)

A Cresset Stone at Blackmore
By John Salmon, B.A.

Some years ago I noticed a cresset stone among several fragments (including parts of the monument to Thomas Smyth, 1594) lying loose in the tower of Blackmore Church.  More recently I took the opportunity of revisiting the church while staying with friends near by, on which occasion I photographed and took some detailed notes of this particular stone.  That it is a cresset stone no one who is familiar with these objects will, I think, deny, more especially since Blackmore was a monastic church.  A cresset stone has several cup-shaped hollows or recesses varying in number from 5 to 12.  These recesses were filled with oil in which was placed a floating wick.  Cresset stones were generally used in monastic houses.  Blackmore was a house of Austin Canons founded in the middle of the 12th century.  The present church was always parochial and so was preserved at its Dissolution.  Of the eastern, monastic half of the church, nothing remains, the gardens of Jericho covering the site.  One of the commonest uses of cresset stones was to light the night stairs down which the monks came from the dormitory to the church for the night offices.  The ‘Rites of Durham’ mention three cresset stones, one in the church, two in the dormitory.

As far as I am aware the Blackmore specimen is the only cresset stone in Essex, though other examples are to be found elsewhere.  I recently noticed several in the museum adjoining the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey at York.  At Westow in the East Riding of Yorkshire is perhaps the most interesting cresset stone in England.  On its face are 12 of the usual cup-shaped hollows, but on the back is carved a well preserved and most interesting Crucifixion (of early, possible Saxon, date) with the attendant figures of the Virgin and St. John, also (at the top) the hand of God the Father and the Dove, presumably to complete the three persons of the Trinity.  This stone may have come from Kirkham Priory, only two miles distant.

To return to the Blackmore example.  As will be seen from the illustration the stone is square in shape with five recesses, one at each corner and a fifth in the centre.  The stone has been broken at two corners thus mutilating two of the recesses.  These recesses are just over three inches in diameter, the stone itself being some 13 inches in width.  The Blackmore cresset stone is more carefully worked than other examples.  Between each of the corner recesses is a slight carving in relief and the underside of each recess is capital shaped, all, however, uniting in one circular shaped base.

The term cresset was originally used to describe a metal cup filled with charcoal or other material for burning.  The was either attached to a pole and so used as a kind of portable lantern or it was placed in a fixed iron frame.  A cresset of the latter type was often placed in a framework on top of a church tower so as to guide travellers after nightfall.  A modern reproduction of such a beacon may be seen on the tower of Monken Hadley church in Middlesex.  A similar beacon with cresset cup is carved on the south porch of Sutton Courtney church in Berkshire, and four are also engraved on an early 16th century brass formerly in Netley Abbey Church, Hampshire, but now in private possession.  A fire beacon was a badge of the Compton family, two members of which this brass commemorates. 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Essex Churches: Stanford Rivers

Essex Churches: Stanford Rivers: The rather unprepossessing rendered exterior of St Margaret conceals what is an interesting and lovely interior. Chief points of interest ar...

Essex Churches: South Weald

Essex Churches: South Weald: St Peter is a surprisingly large church which has been Victorianised to within an inch of its life but despite this I rather liked it. Curio...

Essex Churches: Shenfield

Essex Churches: Shenfield: A rather uninteresting exterior contains a fascinating interior not least of which is the wooden north arcade. At the back of the church is ...

Essex Churches: Shellow Bowells

Essex Churches: Shellow Bowells: SS Peter & Paul is a redundant church converted to a private residence. ST PETER AND ST PAUL. The whole church is of 1754, and C18 chu...

Essex Churches: Shelley

Essex Churches: Shelley: St Peter is another new build church apparently designed by an architect who combined Gothic with Handsel and Gretel - I rather like it but ...

Essex Churches: Roxwell

Essex Churches: Roxwell: St Michael and All Angels was an accidental visit in that I only came across it because I got lost (my sat nav went down) looking for Berne...

Essex Churches: Norton Mandeville

Essex Churches: Norton Mandeville: Other than its setting there is little or nothing of interest at All Saints; the exterior is pleasant enough, but nothing to write home abou...

Essex Churches: North Weald Bassett

Essex Churches: North Weald Bassett: Because of the nearby airfield St Andrew's churchyard is packed with CWC headstones commemorating, mostly, members of the RAF who fell i...

Essex Churches: Navestock

Essex Churches: Navestock: At first I thought St Thomas the Apostle was locked but applying more force to the latch I found it was open and was informed by the two flo...

Friday, 21 June 2013

Essex Plan in the 1950s

Essex Review
Extract from No 245 Volume LXII (January 1953)

The Plan for Essex
By Hervey Benham

“After three years’ work by the County Planning Advisor, Mr F Longstreth Thompson, and his staff … the County Plan has in the past three months been exhibited at Walthamstow, Ilford, Romford, Rayleigh, and, Colchester.  During the coming year a public inquiry will be held on it, and thereafter its provisions will control the next twenty years’ development within the county.

“The main feature of general county interest is, of course, the creation of the two new towns in Harlow and Basildon, each of which will have a population of 80,000.

“The Plan also shows these expansions of existing towns for purposes of accommodating what is picturesquely termed the ‘London overspill’:  Aveley, Grays, Tilbury, from 63,300 to 82,000; Benfleet from 19,570 to 25,000; Billericay from 7,100 to 15,000; Braintree from 15,200 to 21,000; Brentwood from 26,200 to 38,000; Chelmsford from 47,000 to 68,000; Colchester from 53,000 to 70,000; Epping from 5,900 to 8,900; Rayleigh from 9,300 to 14,000; Rochford from 9,300 to 15,000; Stanford-le-Hope from 8,600 to 20,000; Wickford from 6,100 to 14,000, and Witham from 6,200 to 21,000.

“It is certain that the National Farmers’ Union will be a principal objector … .

“Road improvements naturally bulk large in the Plan. The most important project is for a new ring road (the North Orbital) running from Hoddesdon north of Theydon Bois, and south of Brentwood to link up with the proposed Dartford Tunnel, and connecting with a new road into London at Noaks Hill, west of Brentwood.  Two existing main roads are drastically replanned, the London-Norwich-Newmarket (A11) over most of its length along the Essex-Hertfordshire boundary, and the London-Norwich (A12) by the provision of by-passes at Brentwood, Ingatestone, Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Kelvedon, Copford, Stanway, and Stratford St Mary.  Long-term rail electrification is shown to Colchester and Bishop’s Stortford.  The latter is likely to be first served, thanks to Harlow.

“Civil aerodromes are conspicuous by their absence … .”

Friday, 14 June 2013

Navestock: James Ford

Essex Review
Extract from No. 198 Volume L (April 1941)

James Ford, A Forgotten Essex Antiquity (1779-1850)
By the Rev G Montagu Benton, F.S.A.

The Rev John Ford, B.D., a fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, and for the last twenty years of his life vicar of Navestock, where he was succeeded by the Rev William Stubbs, B.A., afterwards Bishop of Oxford and the famous historian, appears to have received scant recognition in Essex.  the long inscription on his monument in Navestock church, which has been printed in the Essex Review (iv. 229), records that he founded and endowed the Professorship of English History in the University of Oxford, and in Trinity College, four studentships, one student thereof to be elected from Brentwood Grammar School.  But his researches into local history, of which he was a life-long student, seem to have been overlooked by Essex antiquaries, this, no doubt, being due to the fact that his work relates to Suffolk, where, in consequence, he is better known.  An excellent account of him appeared under the heading ‘Worthies of Ipswich – No 33’ in the East Anglian Daily Times of 22 June, 1935, and it is from this source that the following information has for the most part been derived.

Before coming to Essex, Ford was for 22 years perpetual curate of St Lawrence’s Church, Ipswich.  During this period he compiled The Suffolk Garland (1818); he was also the author of The Devout Communicant (1815), A Century of Christian Prayers of Faith, Hope and Charity, with Morning and Evening Devotion (1817, second edition 1824), and the privately printed Memoir of Thomas Green, Esq., of Ipswich, with a Critique on his Writings and an Account of his Family and Connections (Ipswich, 1825).  He was at the same time investigating, with tireless energy, the history of the district.  Two MS. volumes, in his handwriting, dealing with Ipswich, and another, with Woodbridge, are now in the Reference Department of the Ipswich Public Library.  They were acquired, we are told, with others, by W S Fitch, after Ford’s death.  Fitch declared: ‘I am bewildered and amazed at it and his work – all in Ford’s writing.  Plenty of work for the binder, the whole will make 20 volumes … Ford must have worked hard at the British Museum and Bodleian Libraries.’  Various contributions under his initials are to be found in The Gentleman’s Magazine, of which his friend, John Mitford, was editor from 1834 to 1850.

On 28 October, 1830, Ford was presented by the college to the living at Navestock.  He was a bachelor, aged 51, but on leaving Ipswich in the following month, he married, at St George’s Church, Bloomsbury, Letitia Jermyn, a spinster some ten years his junior.  From this time onwards it was natural that his interests should be mainly centred in the county of Essex.  According to the writer of the article previously referred to, he projected the Morant Society, the aim of which was to continue to the work of the historian of Essex, while he himself toiled assiduously at the history of the hundred (Ongar) in which he lived.  It is further stated that his Essex collections are preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Oxford.  This led me to communicate a few years ago with the Librarian, who, in reply to my enquiry, informed me that Ford’s Collectanea relate almost entirely to persons and matters connected with the history of Trinity College; but that there is also in the Library some material collected by him for the history of the parish of Ongar.  From the evidence adduced it seems likely that these papers deal with several parishes in the hundred of Ongar; for it is certain that his own parish of Navestock would have engaged Ford’s attention.  But it is, of course, possible that some of his Essex manuscripts are to be found elsewhere.  The matter requires further investigation.

Mrs Ford, who died in 1848, was also a woman of some note.  Her monumental inscription records that she was ‘the youngest daughter of George Jermyn, Gent., of the Town of Ipswich.’  Jermyn, who was a well-known local bookseller, having died, she was at the time of her marriage stepdaughter of John Raw – Ford’s publisher.  Thus Mrs Ford had certain literary associations; she was, moreover, the author of at least one small book, namely, The Butterfly Collector’s Vade-Mecum.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

High Country History Group Launches New Blog

The High Country History Group, covering the small Essex parishes of Greensted, Stanford Rivers, Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Mount, has its own dedicated blog. 

Blackmore Area Local History will be handing over coverage to this dedicated website.  Andrew Smith is the new Secretary and author of the site.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

ESAH160: High Country History Group

ESAH160: High Country History Group: The High Country History Group, covering the small parishes of Greensted, Stanford Rivers, Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Mount has a new...

Friday, 7 June 2013

High Country History Group: Coming soon ...

High Country History Group: Coming soon ...: The blog of the High Country History Group: covering Greensted, Stanford Rivers, Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Mount in Essex, England. W...

Essex Place Names

Essex Review
Extract from No. 226  Volume LVII (April 1948)

Essex Place Names
By Margaret Seals

Written in reply to Theodora Roscoe’s Buckinghamshire Place Names.

Come, travel through our Essex land
In mighty Caesar’s train,
And read in history’s living page
Of Saxon, Norman, Dane.

For Romans lived at Fingringhoe,
Near Colchester’s great camp,
And many a little village church
Still bears the Norman stamp.

There’s Margaret Roding, Stow Maries,
Mountnessing and Marks Tey,
Great Baddow, Foxearth, Colne Engaine,
And Layer-de-la-Haye.

See Shelley, Norton Mandeville,
The Lavers, Netteswell –
The ancient Cluniac Priory
That stands at Prittlewell.

There’s Tollesbury with its oysters
And Tolleshunt with its Knight;
Matching’s Marriage Feast Room,
The Notleys – Black and White.

Recall that Saxon children played
In Saffron Walden’s lanes,
And Maldon’s hero Brihtnoth, fell
In victory o’er the Danes.

Pass through our fields aglow with grain –
Or seek the North Sea’s tide,
Our place names, with our ancient bells
Sweet music will provide.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Willingale Community Archive Project

Willingale Community Archive Project celebrates three years' work with an open afternoon at the Village Hall.  Sunday 9 June, 2.00 to 5.00pm

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Essex Churches: Mountnessing

Essex Churches: Mountnessing: With St Giles I was back on the downward spiral of locked churches which was a shame as architecturally this is a most peculiar building and...

Essex Churches: Margaretting

Essex Churches: Margaretting: Having driven round in circles I finally stumbled across St Margaret down a tiny lane and stranded across the other side of a mainline rail ...

Essex Churches: Magdalen Laver

Essex Churches: Magdalen Laver: St Mary Magdalen is not, to my mind, an interesting church either architecturally or internally but it was nice to find this somewhat isolat...

Essex Churches: Kelvedon Hatch

Essex Churches: Kelvedon Hatch: There are two St Nicholas', a ruin in the grounds of Kelvedon Hall and the Victorian new build in the village. The new professes to be o...

Essex Churches: Ingrave

Essex Churches: Ingrave: I know on an intellectual level that I should dislike St Nicholas but I don't - it's splendid but sadly locked. ST NICHOLAS. The m...

Essex Churches: Ingatestone

Essex Churches: Ingatestone: SS Edmund & Mary was the big disappointment of the day. Situated in the middle of Ingatestone, which was extraordinarily busy, the churc...

Essex Churches: Hutton

Essex Churches: Hutton: All Saints was locked with a keyholder listed but as it looked to me a Victorian church I moved on and apart from the brass and the screen I...

Essex Churches: Highwood

Essex Churches: Highwood: St Paul was missed by both Mee & Pevsner which in many ways is fair enough - it's a template Victorian build (for example Cornish Ha...

Essex Churches: High Ongar

Essex Churches: High Ongar: I don't want to be rude but St Mary the Virgin is a monstrosity; an 1858 overhaul saw the addition of a truly ugly south tower and it w...

Essex Churches: Greensted

Essex Churches: Greensted: St Andrew lays claim to be the oldest extant wooden church in the world and possibly the oldest wooden building in Europe. It has recently b...

Essex Churches: Great Leighs

Essex Churches: Great Leighs: In and of itself St Mary is pretty run of the mill albeit the chancel is considerably larger than the nave and both are rather beautiful...

Friday, 31 May 2013

Blackmore: Smyth Family Connections

Memorial to Thomas Smyth before repair
Received: 22 May 2013


Thomas Smith is my 10th great grandfather. Are there any photographs of the tomb and history in the Church records that you could share?

Were any of the Smiths actual blacksmiths?

"The monument of Thomas Smith (1594) and his wife Margaret is in the south aisle of the east end of the Parish Church of St. Laurence at Blackmore. It is an altar tomb of modern brick and cement with two enriched alabaster pilasters, and upon it repose recumbent effigies of a man in amour and a woman in ruff and close dress, all of the alabaster repaired with plaster. In the bell chamber are numerous fragments of the tomb including parts of the kneeling figures of four sons and two daughters."


Replied: 25 May 2013

Dear Will

The Smyth family were very important in Blackmore during the 15th, 16th and early-17th century, and have been the subject of much correspondence over the years, all of which can be found on
The website has much more information. Go to
You will be pleased to know that the memorial to Thomas Smyth in the Priory Church of St Laurence was restored in the 1960s and the fragments of kneeling figures etc put back in their rightful place.

These Smyths weren’t blacksmiths when they were in Blackmore.

I’ll post your note onto the blog to add to the storyline.



Saturday, 25 May 2013

Fyfield: Water Mill

St Nicholas Church,
Received: 15 May 2013

I am researching my family history, and have found that one of my ancestors was recorded as being a miller and living in Fyfield on the 1841 census.

I am hoping that you may have records of the residents/millers at the Fyfield water and wind mills, covering the first half of the 1800s.

My ancestors name was William Emson and his wife was Louisa.

Any help you could offer would be much appreciated.


Julian Lloyd.

Replied: 25 May 2013

Hello Julian

I don’t have any information, but will publish this on



Friday, 24 May 2013

Doddinghurst: A New War Memorial Planned

Doddinghurst War Memorial Tablet
inside All Saints Church
Villagers in Doddinghurst are raising money to erect a nine feet high War Memorial at All Saints Church next to the Priest’s House.  The cost will be £12,000.  For more on the story go to  .  it will act to supplement the Tablet inside All Saint’s Church commemorating those who died during the First World War.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

ESAH160: Book Sale in Blackmore

ESAH160: Book Sale in Blackmore: If the weather is fine, there will be a book sale in Blackmore, as it is Village Fayre Weekend, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday (25 to 27 M...

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Essex Churches: Fryerning, Essex

Essex Churches: Fryerning, Essex: St Mary the Virgin purports to be open but was locked when I visited. I met another visitor who'd been before and found it locked; also ...

Essex Churches: Doddinghurst, Essex

Essex Churches: Doddinghurst, Essex: All Saints contains little of interest but I liked the rood figures (German or Italian and C16 or C17 respectively according to Pevsner and ...

Essex Churches: Chipping Ongar, Essex

Essex Churches: Chipping Ongar, Essex: St Martin was a chance visit - I passed it on my way to Greensted. I found it open  which was nice but I didn't warm to it - it felt ove...

Essex Churches: Chignall Smealey, Essex

Essex Churches: Chignall Smealey, Essex: To my utter amazement I found St Nicholas open, given its size and location I assumed it would be locked, so you can imagine my delight to ...

Essex Churches: Chelmsford, Essex p2

Essex Churches: Chelmsford, Essex p2: Chelmsford Cathedral, or more properly St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd, was closed for business when I arrived due to the 60th anni...

Essex Churches: Chelmsford, Essex p1

Essex Churches: Chelmsford, Essex p1: Venturing into Chelmsford I was astonished to find St John the Baptist, in what used to be the village of Moulsham which has long since been...

Essex Churches: Chelmsford, Essex

Essex Churches: Chelmsford, Essex: No. On all levels and in all regards. HOLY TRINITY, Trinity Road, Springfield. Neo-Norman by J. Adie Repton, 1843. The date corresponds to ...

Essex Churches: Buttsbury, Essex

Essex Churches: Buttsbury, Essex: Heading off from Ingatestone to Stock I ran out of road, literally - the road to Stock was shut while the Man dug it up and installed someth...

Essex Churches: Bobbingworth, Essex

Essex Churches: Bobbingworth, Essex: St Germain was locked with a sign stating that "Sadly due to recent thefts from this church and other local churches, this church will...

Essex Churches: Billericay, Essex

Essex Churches: Billericay, Essex: I openly admit that I arrived in Billericay with certain preconceptions - mostly negative - and was pleasantly surprised to find a certain a...

Essex Churches: Berners Roding, Essex

Essex Churches: Berners Roding, Essex: It took me ages to find All Saints and when I did it was to find it in a sadly dilapidated state and appears to slowly falling down. Not su...

Essex Churches: Aythorpe Roding, Essex

Essex Churches: Aythorpe Roding, Essex: St Mary the Virgin is locked with no hint of a keyholder so I can't comment on the interior but the exterior is in the style of a lot o...

Essex Churches: Stondon Massey, Essex

Essex Churches: Stondon Massey, Essex: SS Peter & Paul professes to be normally open but if it is closed provides a number you can call to arrange an appointment to view - not...

Essex Churches: Blackmore, Essex

Essex Churches: Blackmore, Essex: The Priory Church of St Lawrence is locked with no keyholders listed - I actually think this a criminal act and utterly outrageous. I'l...

ESAH160: Pleshey Castle

ESAH160: Pleshey Castle: Pleshey Castle: the topic of today's excursion by the Essex Society for Archaeology and History.  Photographs taken in September 2008 o...

Friday, 10 May 2013

Mountnessing: Windmill

Essex Review
Extract from No. 185 Volume XLVII (January 1938)

Mountnessing Mill
By Edward S Knights

On the bluff of a hill next to the great high road,
Stands the ancient mill with sails now still,
Lonely and quiet since the last heavy load
Went lumbering down the hill.
Song of the reaper and Harvest Home,
Mill and Harvest Lord,
Working together on Essex loam,
But time has reaped and stored.

Weather worn timbers of grey lichened base.
Post and Roundhouse, Windshaft and Sails,
Time in passing has marked the place,
And the wind drives past and wails.
Song of the reaper and Harvest Home,
Mill and Harvest Lord,
Working together on Essex loam,
But time has reaped and stored.

Old creaking timbers and a gaping side,
Where doorless hinges catch the nettle tops,
And loosened boards the winds deride,
Which still know golden crops.
Song of the reaper and Harvest Home,
Mill and Harvest Lord,
Working together on Essex loam,
But time has reaped and stored.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

High Ongar: Demolition of Farm Buildings at Nine Ashes Farm

Demolition of these farm buildings finished this week:
former dairy farm acquired for development
(Photographed 29 September 2011)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (5): Gallery

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (5): Gallery: Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore St Germains, Bobbingworth Chelmsford Church and Writtle Steeple Fell down one day but ...

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (4): Contents List

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (4): Contents List: Greensted - sketch A further discovery was made in February 2013 in the office filing cabinet.  A complete list of the contents of the...

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (3): Wall Paintings

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (3): Wall Paintings: Great Chishall: copy of wall painting in 1860 One ‘discovery’ of the Probert scrapbook (now deposited in the Essex Record Office: ERO...

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (2): Churches

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (2): Churches: High Ongar, before Victorian rebuilding. If the sketch is accurate then it once had a lofty spire, higher than Doddinghurst or Shenfiel...

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (1): Its Rediscovery

ESAH160: The Probert Scrapbook (1): Its Rediscovery: Bobbingworth Church - before the Victorian rebuild The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has recently deposited in the Essex Re...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Blackmore: Bull Planning Applications. May Day!

Then and Now.  Is this a serious quest ...

.... to keep The Bull, Blackmore, open as a viable pub?

Pub currently closed with planning applications now
to remove cellar etc and build large semi-detached house
in pub garden.