Thursday, 30 October 2014

Essex Record Office announces digitisation of Wills pre-1720

Wills to 1720 Online at Essex Ancestors

The Essex Record Office has announced a major update of Wills digitised and available online through Essex Ancestors, its subscription site.  A further 22,500 wills have just been added to the 20,000 previously available to create a complete collection of those archived up to 1720.  Work is in progress to complete the run of Wills up to 1858, thus creating a database of 70,000 records.  For more information follow this link and to subscribe go to Essex Ancestors .

Earlier this year I worked on transcriptions of Wills for Theydon Mount during the reign of King James I (1603-25).  Seeing the original documents at the ERO brings a sense of excitement in a way that sitting in the comfort of your home logged onto your laptop does not.  Digitisation widens accessibility to these archives which undeniably will be of enormous benefit to local, social and family historians alike.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Blackmore: Baptisms at St Laurence Church

Revd Montagu Knott was Vicar of Blackmore from 1957 to 1985. These are two photographs, dating from the 1960s, of two baptisms. The people in the pictures are not recorded.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Blackmore: Harvest Barn Dance - 1981

A photograph taken with Vicar, The Revd Montagu Knott, enjoying a church Barn Dance in 1981.
Harvest Supper & Barn Dance, 10 October 1981

Monday, 6 October 2014

Blackmore: Thomas Smyth born c.1605 Braintree

Received 1 October 2014

Hello Andrew-

I hope all is well there.  A quick question:  The Thomas Smyth who was born 1605 is listed as baptized in Braintree.  His brother Arthur was baptized later at Blackmore.  The way I understand the lineage is that the family was from Cressing Temple (Rivenhall area), with John having received that land in 1540 at the same time he received Blackmore Priory. We know that he and later his son Thomas lived at Smyth Hall.  I am trying to figure out in which church in Braintree Thomas (1605) was baptized.  I searched the available parishes listed under Braintree with no listings before 1700s.  Also I wonder who built Smyth Hall?  Maybe John? I assume Smyth Hall is in the area still considered Blackmore.

Of course any help or direction is appreciated.

Kind regards-
Scott Smith

Replied 6 October 2014

Dear Scott

Thank you for your e mail.

King Henry VIII decreed the keeping of registers of baptisms, marriages and burials in 1538.  Unfortunately not all parishes have records dating back that far.  St Michaels, Braintree begins in 1660, which suggests that the first volume has been lost.  Cressing survives from 1733.

Smyth Hall  was said to be built by John Smyth using material from the demolished Priory. Smyth Hall was in Blackmore about ½ mile south of the village.



Saturday, 4 October 2014

Blackmore: Church Decorated for Harvest Festival in the 1960s

Here are some photographs taken in the 1960s at the Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore showing it decorated for the Harvest Festival.