“Everything offensive”. Witham in 1850, according to the health expert Edward Cresy

Under the Public Health Act of 1848, English towns could apply to set up Local Boards of Health. Some Witham residents applied to do so in October 1848. They sent a lengthy petition and stressed the complete absence of public drainage in the town.

As a result, Edward Cresy, a “Superintending Inspector”, was sent from  Whitehall to investigate. It is his report which is reproduced here. It startled the better-off residents of Witham with its gruesome descriptions of the town’s living conditions.

So by 1852 Witham’s own Local  Board of Health had been elected and had met. And in 1869 it completed the construction of the town drainage and water supply, supported by the rates. This was all a considerable achievement, especially in the light of the usual opposition from some of the ratepayers. Some of them always objected to anything which meant an increase in the rates, however worthy the cause.

 

Three walks around Witham

Each of these three files contains the details of a single walk around part  of Witham, including photographs and descriptions.

Walk 1: Round the ancient earthworks
Walk 2: The village of Chipping Hill
Walk 3: The Town Centre
Click on a walk, print it out, and take it with you for a guided tour !

Although the walks were written in 2005, I think that they will mostly still be familiar today, especially to people with long memories.

They first appeared in my book  “A History of Witham”. If you click this title you will see how to download the whole book onto your computer.

The walks were written in an abbreviated style. Recently I did start rewriting them in a more readable manner,  but found the re-arrangement too complicated for the time available – sorry.

Neither the book nor the walks can be amended on the readers’ computers (they are PDF files).

Janet Gyford

The IRON AGE and ANGLO-SAXON EARTHWORKS at CHIPPING HILL, WITHAM (also the Grange, 4 Chipping Hill)

by Janet Gyford. Updated May 2021 (3rd version)

I’ll start with an explanation about  why this post is a bit of a mixture. On the one hand it is a general  history of the earthworks, going back to prehistoric times, and on the other it is about just one  house called the Grange, describing features like the number of bedrooms.

It began with my receiving a request for Witham information, of which I receive many (done free of charge). This one came in January 2021, and asked about the Grange.  

It was from someone who was “due to move into” it, and would like to know something about it.

I said yes, I’d do it, though as usual I had more than enough to do already. This topic turned out to be both interesting and difficult, and I found that information about the earthworks made a natural background.

The project began to dominate my time, and in due course I decided to present it in the form of a post on my webpage. Trying to use WordPress has been very aggravating as usual – especially when those carefully composed phrases just disappear..  But I hoped that it would be easier to share my work if it was on a my website.

In April I apologised to the said future owner of the Grange, for the fact that it was all taking me so long (no reply).

In early May, I discovered, by accident, that the person was no longer planning to move into the Grange after all. In fact they had already moved into quite a different house, some distance away.

I didn’t  know what to do. Without the enquirer’s original interest in the Grange, what I’d written no longer seemed to have any sense to it. Should I try and leave out the Grange altogether ?

But that would have meant rewriting those months of work, to separate the different parts that I had merged together. And I just don’t have enough time. So I’ll have to post this rather illogical composition as it is, in the hope that some of it might be helpful to somebody.


The Grange in 1985, with the Albert on the right

List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historic Interest,  1970 “No. 4 Chipping Hill The Grange. Grade IIA c.18 timber-framed and plastered house with a wing extending to the south west at the southern end, 2 storeys. 4:1 window range, double-hung sashes with vertical margin[al] glazing bars. Roof tiled. The building was restored in 1971″[sic, though the list was made in 1970].”

The description above gives us the basic information about the Grange, showing that it  is thought to have been built during the 18th century (the 1700s). But for many centuries before that, its site was located in one of the most interesting parts of Witham. Together with the site of the Albert PH adjoining it, it was at the centre of what became known by many archaeologists as the Chipping Hill Camp. I usually call it the earthworks.

THE EARTHWORKS

On this map, the grey buildings etc. are from the O.S. 1:2500 map dated 1922.

I drew these two maps some time ago, to illustrate a walk. They show both historic and modern features. The most prominent are the two concentric rings of earthworks (double dotted lines on the first map and red lines on the second).

To find the site of the Grange on the maps, go to the blue star at the start of the walk. Just next to it is the Albert (named, now the Railway) and just next to that is the Grange (not named). Their sites are centrally placed within both rings of earthworks. And their sites are often thought to have been the focus of both fortifications, and of the people who lived in them.

THE IRON AGE HILL FORT

The Iron Age was the last of the three prehistoric ages (Stone, Bronze and Iron) whose distinguishing feature was that their peoples had no writing. The Iron Age is said to date from 800 BC, whilst the Witham fort probably dated from about 500 B.C.

At Witham the first and inner ring of the earthworks was constructed to defend the Iron Age ‘hill fort’ within it (one of the largest in Essex). This first and inner earthwork was a tall one, making a ‘dome’ effect.

The three Iron Age objects illustrated below were found in the earthworks in about 1842. They are about three feet long. This was when excavations were being carried out to make the main line railway track (by navvies,  by spade). The three objects have traditionally been given the nickname “pokers”, but I’m told that no-one is quite sure what they are.

Three Iron age “pokers”, found in about 1842 during the excavations for the main railway line at Witham. Copyright of Chelmsford Museum.

The term ‘hill fort’ is used by historians to describe a variety of types of places, and their purpose varied too. They would often have been intended for defence by the King or by local lords, against other tribes, and they might also have been ceremonial centres. There would usually have been people living there, especially men. They would have lived in roundhouses with wooden supports, daub, and thatched roofs, perishable materials which have often left rather little evidence for the archaeologist. There are many sources of information about Iron Age life (for instance, look online for BBC and Iron Age).

The roundhouses were distributed around the site, so the site where the Grange and the Albert now stand, would doubtless have been near one of these houses. Its occupants would be constantly coming and going, especially the ones who were armed and on duty. With living so near the centre of the earthworks, its occupants may have held important positions in local society.

As far as we know, the Iron Age way of life continued for centuries until the arrival of the Romans (410 BC to 43 BC). In Witham, the Romans’ life seems to have been concentrated at the south end, a mile or more from Chipping Hill. So for instance when we see long bricks at Chipping Hill in the parish church, they are usually medieval, not Roman.

THE ANGLO-SAXON BURH

The crown still had rights over the earthworks. And in 913 AD, during the time of the Anglo-Saxons, King Edward the Elder was under attack by Danish invaders. He was the son of King Alfred the Great. He camped in Maldon while his men built and ‘stockaded’ the defences at Witham. This produced the second, larger ring of earthworks, shown on the maps above. It was all recorded by the writers of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, an invaluable work which has been much used by historians. The text and the interpretation is shown below.

Witham in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The original is at the top, and the full English version is at the bottom.

A construction like the Anglo Saxon one  is usually called a burh. I think that those Kings must have written the Wikipedia article “Burh” themselves. It is very interesting, for instance about often building a burh on existing  fortifications, and the great varieties of activity that they were used for, as well as defence.

The two illustrations above were made by Joseph Strutt in 1774. In the first drawing, the Iron Age fort is the taller, with the later Anglo-Saxon structure outside it, and including a low circular mound at ground level round  part of the outside. The second drawing is a plan, showing the same features, and also showing  tracks which led on and off the earthworks in the south, where the Grange/Albert site was .

In the following centuries, Anglo-Saxon Chipping Hill acquired other features of a significant settlement, for instance a Church and a market. It’s thought that there may have been a minster church, supervising a wide area, in about 600 A.D. The parish church remains at Chipping Hill today, with traces of a building dating from the 1300s. The market was first held in about 1100 at the market place on the hill next to the Church. But by 1290 it was known as the “old market” when the market at Newland had grown. And by 1379 it was acknowledged to have transferred to Newland. Many residents left  Chipping Hill too, and to those who stayed behind, it was a quieter and less busy place.

THE MANORIAL SYSTEM

A further big change was to come in about the 10th century, before the Norman Conquest (1066). What happened was that most land became organised by the manorial system, and divided into manors. The Lord or Lady of a manor often lived in what was known as a ‘manor house’. They controlled the transfer of their tenants’ properties within the manor, and also dealt with local law enforcement. The area of the earthworks in Witham became the centre of the manor of Witham, also called Chipping. But it did not have a “manor house” as such. The manor was given to the Knights Templar in 1147. So  the manor house for both Cressing and Witham was at the Templars’ magnificent local headquarters  at Cressing Temple, much of it unchanged today, as can be seen below.

The Wheat Barn, part of the Cressing Temple estate as it survives today. This barn was built in about 1280.

This meant that the Templars were the Lords of the Manor of Witham, and supervised the land and the justice here. They also distributed the name ‘Temple’ widely; these names have  outlasted the Templars themselves. In 1312 the Templars were disbanded, and their property given to the Knights Hospitaller, who also took over the other Templar properties. By then, the town of Newland was being developed, a mile south of the Chipping Hill earthworks. That became a separate manor called Newland.

Although the Templars and the Hospitallers had Cressing Temple as their manor house, it seemed they needed a place in Witham as well. This was not a manor house as such, but its site was known as “the manor of Witham”. For instance, there were several disputes about the Temple Garden, in the south-west of the earthworks. It faced “Templegate” which in 1433 was said to “ lead into the manor of Witham Temple”

It is not very difficult to work out that this “manor of Witham” was situated at the Albert/Grange site. We can just look at the Tithe Map of 1839. Even as late as that, virtually all of the area within the earthworks site was still occupied by fields, e.g. Temples, Little Temples, Barnfield. Apart from the National School (built 1813), the only buildings were our Albert/ Grange sites, then called Temples Farm. The rest of the earthworks were still covered in fields. So the site of Temples Farm must  have been the site of any earlier buildings there.

At different times we read of the following items being situated at the Witham manor, and so almost certainly at the Albert/Grange/Temples Farm site; a chapel, a granary or barn, and a messuage, ( i.e. a house with land), with a garden and a dovecote. The house was small, consisting of a single hall only. It was perhaps mostly used for sessions of the manor court. One time, the court met in the house of the offender instead: he had his own inn and so more space.

THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERIES

The next big change was the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII between 1536 and 1541. This included the Knights Hospitallers, and after that the Witham and Newland manors belonged to a series of wealthy individuals, some of whom lived at Cressing Temple. There seem to be fewer relevant records available after that. Then in perhaps the 17th century, the manorial system itself fell away, and farms became more like our farms. As we’ve already seen, the area of the earthworks became the Temple Farm, whose farmhouse and buildings were on the Albert/Grange site. The banks and ditches of the past remained; for instance in 1680 a field called Temple Croft was described as having a ruined barn and a “magna fossata” (a great ditch).

In Witham and Newland manors, tenants did go on making payments to the Lord of the manor for a new tenancy until the 1930s. This was probably unusual and is a great boon to the local historian. But it doesn’t usually help with places like the earthworks which belonged to the Lord of the Manor, because he did not pay rent to himself.

I’ve not found the actual name of  the Grange till 1901, but it could well have been used earlier and just not mentioned in the records. One interesting thing, is that the word ‘grange’ can mean an outlying farm belonging to a religious house or other institution. Witham’s Grange could be seen as “outlying” by the Templars and other residents of Cressing, and the name “grange” used since then just as a descriptive word, that wouldn’t show up in documents, like shed, or barn.

THE 19th CENTURY ONWARDS

I’ll now move on to what I think of as the modern period of this account. The study of the actual building structure of the Grange, mentioned above, put it in the 18th century. But the earliest written records that I’ve found  about it so far, date from 1839. So here goes with these modern times. This section mostly consists of quotations from various lists. But first, a very pleasant view.

 

An engraving published in 1832 by George Virtue. The parish church and the houses of Chipping Hill are in the centre, and part of the earthworks are on the right, probably with the Grange behind. This view was hidden a few years later by the new railway line.


1839 tithe map and award (ERO D/CT 405 A & B) [Probably a school – William Mann was a schoolmaster – see the 1841 census)
My notes on this are very old, and it might be worth taking another look at the map. But it seems to be like this:
Plot 43. ” House and premises.” Owner James Beadel; occupant William Mann; house and premises; 22 perches. This contains the Grange building, about parallel to the road, possibly shorter than it is now. The plot does not go very far back, not much more than is necessary to contain the house. The area of 22 perches is the same as it is in the 1841 rate assessment.
Part of plot 44. “House, yard, garden and buildings (Temple Farm).” Owned and occupied by James Beadel; 1 rood and 15 perches. This is an L-shaped site. Its main part has a large building in the position where the Albert (Railway) is now. But the smaller part of the L reaches back to the left and takes in a plot behind the Grange, about the same size as the plot in front which contains the Grange itself.

A  drawing by Mrs Clarissa Bramston,  c.1840 (above)
She was the wife of the vicar of Witham, Revd John Bramston. On the right is the house now known as the Grange (4 Chipping Hill), built in the 18th century, with a bridge below it. Further left, also standing on its own, is the house now called Recess (14 Chipping Hill), but then called Beatenberg, built in the early 19th century. It was re-named “Recess” during the First World War. The town of Beatenberg is actually in Switzerland, but must have sounded German enough to be worrying. Further left is the parish church and the houses in the “village” of Chipping Hill. (ERO D/DLu 17/4)

1841 ratebook, the first on a new assessment (ERO D/P 30/11/17) [Probably a school]
Property 425
; occupier William Mann; owner James Beadel senior; house and premises; 22 perches; GER £22; RV £16.10s.

William Mann30Schoolmasterborn in Essex
Martha Mann25born in Essex
Jane Mann10 monthsborn in Essex
William Wakeling7Pupilborn in Essex
Edward Swain10Pupilnot born in Essex
William Porter10Pupilborn in Essex
Robert Brand11Pupilnot born in Essex
William Brand10Pupilborn in Essex
William Smoothy11Pupilborn in Essex
James Francis11Pupilborn in Essex
William Pavitt13Pupilborn in Essex
Samuel Brown10Pupilborn in Essex
Charles Lennard13Pupilnot born in Essex
Charles Wilson13Pupilborn in Essex
Richard Andrews13Pupilborn in Essex
Robert Glasscock13Pupilborn in Essex
John Byatt13Pupilborn in Essex
Edwin Oldfield15Assistantnot born in Essex
Sarah Westgate20Female Servantborn in Essex
Emma Westgate12Female Servantborn in Essex

1841 census
(HO 107/343/16, folio 53, page 9)
[School]
[probably the Grange because it has the same occupant as on the 1839 tithe map which shows the location]
William Mann      30      Schoolmaster       born in Essex
Martha Mann       25                                          born in Essex
Jane Mann              10 months                         born in Essex
William Wakeling   7    Pupil         born in Essex
Edward Swain           10  Pupil        born in Essex
William Porter          10  Pupil        born in Essex
Robert Brand             11  Pupil         not born in Essex
William Brand          10  Pupil         born in Essex
William Smoothy    11   Pupil         born in Essex
James Francis           11   Pupil         born in Essex
William Pavitt          13   Pupil         born in Essex
Samuel Brown         10   Pupil         born in Essex
Charles Lennard     13   Pupil         not born in Essex
Charles Wilson        13   Pupil         born in Essex
Richard Andrews    13   Pupil         born in Essex
Robert Glasscock    13   Pupil         born in Essex
John Byatt                  11    Pupil        born in Essex
Edwin Oldfield         15    Assistant       not born in Essex
Sarah Westgate       20    Female servant   born in Essex
Emma Westgate      12    Female servant   born in Essex


Between 1841 and 1851
William Mann and family, and the school, moved away, and eventually continued the school in Newland Street (no.124)


1840-1843. The railway

The main railway from London to Colchester was opened in 1843. In places it cut deeply through the earthworks as can be seen above. There it looks as if the train is driving straight into the mound. Trains from Chelmsford today cross the low lands of Moat Farm as they approach the station, but then the ground rises steeply and there is a long flight of steps up to the higher level .

As shown and illustrated earlier, the men digging out the track discovered three very rare Iron Age pokers, three feet long, and a number of burials. I understand that the actual purpose of the objects is uncertain. “Pokers” has become their nickname.


Census returns 1851-1901
From here onwards, when I quote census returns, I’ll just give the information about the heads of the households in the census returns.
 From
those names and the reference numbers, it will be possible to find the rest of the household, either from  the returns themselves in a library, or from one of the genealogy sources. I do have the information here but it would take time to make it presentable. And because of my original brief, it’s only about the Grange.

1851 census
(HO 107/1783, folio 220, page 3, schedule 7)
[Almost certainly the Grange; it is next to the Albert Public Hotel in the list]
Ellen Newman.  Head.  Wid. 73.  Independent Lady.    born Essex, Henham.
Note by JG.  Ellen Newman was the widow of the Reverend John Newman who had been the Vicar of Witham from 1822 till his death in 1840. A memorial in the parish church was revealed by the removal of the old organ in 2002. It said that he was “greatly respected by his congregation and parishioners for his Christian character and many virtues”
Ellen was born Ellen Sterry, and married John in Holborn in 1796.  Of course in 1840 when he died, she had to leave the Vicarage [now the Old Vicarage.]  At first she moved, with some of her family, just round the corner into Totscott, a sizeable house in Church Street (now number 11) (shown in the 1841 census). It was after that that she moved  to the Grange, another sizeable house. She died in 1857. At probate her goods were shown to be valued at less than £100. Her will is at ERO D/A CR 22/680 but I haven’t read it yet. A number of her children had already died by 1851, e.g. John and Helen (Cook). Wasey James had died  by 1854.

After this, there were different  families in the Grange for forty years. Perhaps the Newmans let it out for that time, because in 1891 and 1901 some of their grown-up  children had moved back there, and also, of course, their servants.

1861 census
(RG 9/1108, folio 100, page 24, schedule 129)
[Almost certainly the Grange; it is next to the Albert Public Hotel in the list]
Albert J. Chappell.  Head.   Marr.  26. Stock & share broker.  born Surrey, Camberwell.

1871 census
(RG 10/1695, folio 65, page 18, schedule 111)
[Almost certainly the Grange; it is next to Albert Public Hotel in the list]

William Jameson Butler.  Head.  Marr. 36. Mercer and grocer. born Essex, Witham
[The Butlers were prominent shopkeepers in Witham from the 1820s onwards. They were grocer/mercers and drapers, a fairly common combination. William Jameson was an Ensign of the Essex Rifle Volunteers.

1881 census
(RG 11/1809, folio 64, page 20, schedule 122)

[Almost certainly the Grange; it is next to Albert Public Hotel in the list)
Samuel George Savill. Head.  Marr.  49.  Lieut. Col., J.P., Income from land & funds. born Essex, Bocking


1882.
Temples Estate. Sale Catalogue
(ERO Sale Catalogues B5160 and B355)
This estate consisted of the area of the earthworks, then called Temples Farm.
Following is a transcript of the description of the estate in the catalogue.

“VALUABLE FREEHOLD PROPERTY known as THE TEMPLES ESTATE. Comprising:
THE “ALBERT” HOTEL AND STABLING,
TWO DETACHED FAMILY RESIDENCES,
With GARDENS, STABLING, and OUTBUILDINGS.
TWO PAIRS OF SEMI-DETACHED HOUSES.
AN EXTENSIVE COAL WHARF WITH A CAPITAL DWELLING HOUSE.
STABLING AND BUSINESS PREMISES.

The Temples Estate is Freehold, and very pleasantly situate, adjoining the Witham Junction Station on the Main Line of the Great Eastern Railway. The journey to London by Express and Fast Trains occupying about 70 minutes. Witham is the junction for the Maldon and Braintree branch railways.

The Estate is within a few minutes’ walk from the town, which has a supply of Good Water.

The Subsoil is Gravel, and the district a very healthy one, with an Undulating Surface, presenting many pleasing and picturesque features, the Land offering Capital Sites for the erection of Villa and Other Residences, for which it is believed a demand exists ….

Portions of the Building Land occupy the site of AN ANCIENT ROMAN CAMP “           [note by JG: now thought not to be Roman]

One of the “detached family residences” was The Grange (Lot 4). It was not named but was identifiable from the plan.
This is how it was described:

“The Detached Freehold Residence,
FRONTING THE CHIPPING HILL ROAD,
WITH GARDEN AND CARRIAGE DRIVE TO THE FRONT ENTRANCE,

AND CONTAINING ON THE GROUND FLOOR –
Entrance Hall and Staircase, Dining Room x Store Closet, and W.C., and Cellar in Basement.

ON THE CHAMBER FLOOR-
Six Bedrooms and a Dressing-room, two Linen Closets, and an Attic Bedroom.

In the Yard is a Coach-house and Stable, and in rear a Garden, with small Buildings, used as Hen and Tool-houses

This property, with the Kitchen Garden, forming part of Lot 19, is let to Lieut-Colonel Savill, J.P., [details of lease]

The greater part of the Coach-house and Stable, and the Hen and Tool-houses, are not included in this Lot, but in order to straighten the boundary, will form part of Lot 6 [details of lease]

INCLUDED IN THIS LOT [6?] IS THE DETACHED COTTAGE On the North of Colonel SAVILL’S House, Containing Kitchen, Parlour, Pantry, Coal Cellar, and three Bedrooms, with Garden, Yard and W.C. This, with the block of old: FARM PREMISES Now used as Carpenters’ Shops, Stores, Poultry House, etc., with the Yards adjoining, and the Garden in front and rear of the Cottage, are let to Mr JOSEPH SMITH, Builder “ [details of lease]”

[note by JG – this last would be the yard now occupied by Ramsden Mills. Joseph Smith the builder, occupied it for many years as the biggest and busiest builders’ yard in Witham.

1891 census
(RG 12/1425, folio 52, page 14, schedule 75)
[no name, assumed to be the Grange because it matches the 1901 census where it is named]

Caroline M. Newman.   Head.  Single. 69.  Living on own means. born Suffolk, Kersey.
[Note by JG. Caroline was daughter of the Ellen Newman in 1851 census and of the Revd John Newman]

1901 census
(RG 13/1725, folio 55, page 2, schedule 2)]
[named The Grange]
Caroline H Newman.  Head.  Single. 79.   Living on own means. born Suffolk, Kersey.
[Note by JG: Caroline was daughter of the Ellen Newman in the 1851 census and of the Revd John Newman]


I usually use the published information which was issued for Essex for various years between 1794 and 1937. The only ones of those which mentioned the Grange by name were the ones with dates between 1912 and 1937. And in all of those, the occupant was Hugh Page, ” auctioneer, estate agent & valuer”. In 1922 his premises  were given as “High st. & Cattle market. T N 36 [advert on page 691],” The cattle market  was where the Labour Hall is now, not far from the Grange. In 1922, 1926 and 1929 “Tiptree (fridays, 1.30 to 4 p.m.)” was also given.

[Note by JG].  Polly Wheaton spoke about Hugh Page during a talk– “Hugh Page, he used to, I can visualise him wearing leather buskins, and his office originally was between the [cattle] market and the [Collingwood Road railway] bridge, which later became ‘The Cabin’, which probably many of you remember. And then I think Hugh Page moved down into the town. ”

1969 Electoral Roll
The occupants of the Grange were M/S M Lynch and M/S R M Luard. The Luards, particularly the Admiral, were important and well-loved residents of Witham in the late 19th century, but I don’t know how they were linked to the ones that were here in the 1960s. There was another related Luard family in Birch.

This shows an archaeological excavation in the 1930s, probably the one under the supervision of the well-known archaeSir Mortimer Wheeler and Frank Cottrill. The photo was kindly lent to me by the late  Wesley Turnage (Jumbo). I think that one of the Turnage family had helped with the dig in some capacity.

With our curiosity and advancing technology, let us hope that in the future we shall discover more about this fascinating place.

 

See also

Maria Medlycott, The Origins of Witham,  Essex County Council, 2001. An excellent and clear account.

Warwick Rodwell,
The Origins and Early Development of Witham Essex, Oxbow, 1993. This book includes really fascinating detail about past excavations and debates. However, it is all guided by his firm belief that Edward the Elder’s Witham burh was not at Witham. As far as I know, this is not a very widely held belief. He is also very unpleasant about 20th century houses !

Janet Gyford, A History of Witham, 2005
Ditto. Medieval Witham, pending, hopefully to appear on this website

Avenue House, 4 Newland Street, 1757. Dated building 4

Dated buildings are the ones which have a date written on them, usually the date when they were built.  The dates usually seem to be accurate, except for the Spread Eagle (number 1).

This is part of a survey of Witham which was carried out by Janet Gyford in 1990-1992. There are more explanations at the end of this post.


4.
1757 – ‘Avenue House’,  4 Newland Street (re-building the front wall of the house)

Inscription:
1757
   W
W  M

Photos:
P54/4, P54/5, P88/6.

Xeroxes included:
– Title page of James Taverner, An Essay upon the Witham Spa, 1737.
– Poem on the death of William Wright Esq. (Chelmsford Chronicle, 9 June 1769)
– Part of engraving dated 1832 by George Virtue.
– Part of sale particulars dated 1874 (E.R.O. D/DBs T111).
– Part of sale particulars dated 1929 (E.R.O. Sale Catalogue B419).

Building Plans: none

General
To start with, I’ll talk about what happened before the new frontage was built in 1757. The house was originally a ‘medieval timber-framed building, possibly C.16, which was largely rebuilt in the late C.16 – early C.17’. The 16th century part of the building includes two windows at the back. The door case and its shell hood are early 18th century. The hood was extensively restored in the 1930s by local carpenters. There are 18th century details inside including a staircase.

The house was bought by the clothier Robert Barwell the elder of the Grove in about 1684, as part of the takeover by him and his family of the whole of this northern end of Newland Street (see the entry for Grove House, 1 Newland Street, in 1973). He rented it out to Samuel Williams, a maltster.

By 1705 Robert Barwell had sold the house to his grandson, Thomas Waterhouse, who had ‘pulled it down and new built it’ and lived in it himself. He had formerly been a clothier also, but by this time was a gentleman, and one of the ‘principal inhabitants’ of Witham; he was churchwarden in 1703 and on other later occasions.

This corresponds with the time when the house was ‘largely rebuilt’, according to the building structure mentioned above. The style of brickwork with black ‘headers’, was very popular in Witham in the early 18th century. It is still remains on the end of the house and was probably used for the front also at that time (see photo P55/2).

Thomas Waterhouse sold his properties and moved away in about 1730.The house changed hands twice quickly, and was then occupied until about 1748 by Martin Carter, a prominent local lawyer who had a hand in the establishment of the spa in Witham (see below). When the 1742 Window Tax was assessed, this house was shown to have 30 windows. He then moved to what is now the Witham library building nearby.

So Avenue House was advertised to be let or sold, described as ‘a very good house, with a Brick Front … containing five rooms on a Floor, with very good Garretts, Lawndry, Brewhouse, Wash house, Stable, Granary and other convenient Outhouses, and a garden partly wall’d and well planned with Fruit Trees of the best kind’.

By 1753, Avenue House was reported to have been divided into two tenements, though it is possible that one was the adjoining house, which is said to be 18th century (now Newbury House, no. 2). The two occupants rented the accommodation. One of them was Timothy Skynner, a mapmaker; there were probably a father and son of the same name working in Essex between 1713 and 1767. In 1752 one of them drew a map of Blunts Hall farm in Witham. The other occupant was Widow Wright, whose husband had probably been John Wright, a wealthy Witham cooper who had died in 1749.

Their son, William Wright Esquire, had bought the property by 1753. He was previously a farmer at Benton Hall farm in Witham; was a churchwarden several times, and was a magistrate in the 1760s. His brother was John Wright, who left Witham to make his name in London as a coachmaker, and then returned to Essex to rebuild and live in Hatfield Priory in the adjoining parish of Hatfield Peverel.

By this time Witham Spa had been flourishing for nearly twenty years. It elevated the fashionable sensibilities of Witham, which had an effect on buildings like Avenue House in the centre of the town. The spa was established by Dr James Taverner in 1735 (see xerox). The spring itself was in Powershall End, and many of the associated assemblies, balls and concerts took place in that area, in addition of course to the taking of the waters.

The Advertisements said that ‘the virtues of this excellent Spa … have been already experienced by many Patients, who have received the greatest Benefits from their Use in some very deplorable Cases, and upon the Recommendations of some of the most eminent Physicians in London, as well as others’.

The visitors were able to lodge in the more commodious Newland Street, because if they did not have ‘the convenience of an Equipage’, they were provided with ‘a Hackney Chaise or Coach … to convey them to and from the Spa at an easy expense’. So the whole town was affected by the pressures to impress the fashionable visitors, or what Dr Taverner called ‘any person of a genteel Appearance and Behaviour’.

Even in the adjoining parish of Terling, property was advertised as being ‘about two miles from Witham Spa’. After the advertisements for the Spa ended in 1754, elegant activities continued in the town, in particular a series of ‘Concerts of Musick’ and Balls, some of which were accompanied by ‘an elegant and genteel supper’.

In these circumstances, William Wright and his wife Mary must have found Thomas Waterhouse’s fifty-year old red and black building to be rather unfashionable. So, soon after their purchase they copied the practice of many of the other house owners of Newland Street, and had a grand new front added to the building, of more refined all-red brick, with an imposing parapet at the top.

It is their initials, W and M.W., that are shown on the rain-water head, with the date 1757. The new pipe-work would have been necessary to take away the water collecting behind the parapet. The arrangement, with the husband and wife’s initials together and the initial of the surname above, is the usual one for such inscriptions (see also the entry for 134 Newland Street in 1779).

William Wright died in 1769, and a eulogistic poem appeared in the local newspaper, concluding that ‘posterity his merits shall proclaim, and tho’ he’s dead for e’er shall live his name’. His will shows what extensive properties he had acquired, with land in Witham, Great Totham, Little Totham, Wickham Bishops, Mundon, Latchingdon and Althorne, and the advowsons of Asheldham and Althorne churches; these were bequeathed to his sons William and Thomas. He left £1000 each to his nieces Ann Luard and Elizabeth Firmin. His widow Mary stayed in the house for thirty more years until her own death in 1801.

In 1806 the house was bought by Henry Du Cane, a retired clergyman who lived opposite at the Grove, and was a relative of Peter Du Cane of Braxted Park. For some time thereafter, both no. 2 and no. 4 were lived in by single or widowed women members of the Du Cane families. For instance, in 1851, Eliza Du Cane, widow, lived at no.2, whilst no. 4 housed Louisa and Anna Maria Du Cane, unmarried sisters aged 68 and 67, with a footman, cook, housemaid, under-housemaid and groom.

This northern end of the street, away from the river and its smells, was one of the most genteel parts of the town, and Avenue House has a prominent position in an early 19th-century engraving of the area (see xerox; Avenue House is the large building behind the group of people; no. 2 which adjoins it is hidden in the trees to the right). The 1874 Sale Catalogue described its ‘commodious’ accommodation. There was an entrance hall, dining room, drawing rooms, seven bedrooms, dressing room, W.C., four attics, kitchen, larder, scullery and cellars.

Gas and water were laid on, and there was also a three-stall stable, coach-house and brew-house, a productive walled garden, and a right to a pew in the parish church of St. Nicholas (see xerox). The 1929 catalogue gave more details and referred to the ‘wide period staircase’ (see xerox).


References
(Department of the Environment – Historic Buildings: Survey Report, Witham Urban District, c.1970; information from Mr F Gaymer; E.R.O. (Essex Record Office) D/DBw M various (manor no. 89); E.R.O. D/NC 3/30; E.R.O. D/P 30/25/22; 30/25/45; E.R.O. Q/SR 544/40; E.R.O. D/P 30/25/87; E.R.O. D/DP E136; E.R.O. D/Z 3; A.S. Mason, Essex on the Map: the 18th Century Land Surveyors of Essex, 1990; E.R.O. T/M 35; E.R.O. D/P 30/14/1; E.R.O. Q/SBb 233/4; E.R.O. D/P 30/25/71 & 72; conversation with Mrs F Cowell in 1989; Ipswich Journal, 29 May 1742, 2 May, 11 June, 30 June, 1743, 31 May 1746, 28 May 1748, 12 June 1756, 10 March 1759, 19 January 1760, et al; Chelmsford Chronicle, 9 June 1769; E.R.O. D/ABR 26/143; P.R.O. (Public Record Office) HO 107/1783, f.196 (1851 census returns); E.R.O. D/DBs T111; E.R.O. Sale catalogue B419).
_______________________________________


Notes about the survey.

Dated buildings are the ones which have a date written on them, usually the date when they were built.  The dates usually seem to be accurate, except for the Spread Eagle (number 1).

This survey of Witham was carried out by Janet Gyford in 1990-1992. Ray Powell of the Victoria County History had suggested such surveys as a project for Essex.

The numbering is in date order.

The original version of the survey is in the Essex Record Office as D/DU 1394 addl. Accession A8888. That and my own (Janet Gyford’s) own copy contain numerous illustrations. Not knowing whether I will ever manage to include the illustrations in this web version, I am putting just the words here in case they might be of interest. I find that they were quite detailed.

Beware that some of the written information will be out of date, for instance about who occupied certain buildings.

If you would like to find some relevant photos, you could try putting the name of the place you want and/or the street, into the Search or Menu box at the top of this page.

This work would not have been possible without the kind and very generous help of my friend Carol Asrari, who took my grey typing of 1992, and retyped  this very smart web version from it- how different were those days.

JG 2020

 

46-48 Bridge Street. Inscribed in 1703. Dated building no.2. :

Dated buildings are the ones which have a date written on them, usually the date when they were built.  The dates usually seem to be accurate, except for the Spread Eagle (number 1).

This is part of a survey of Witham which was carried out by Janet Gyford in 1990-1992. There are more explanations at the end of this post.

ref

Photos:
– None

Xerox included:
– Postcard including the building, immediately to the right of the almshouses (M238).

General
This building has been demolished, probably in the 1950s, and no close-up pictures were found. The 1947 list of buildings of historic interest described it as follows: – ‘built 1703 timber-framed and plastered, roofs tiled, 2 storeys. and attics. In bad state – derelict and ruinous internally, plaster largely off front and only small part of oval date panel – 1703 – remains’.

Bridge Street was probably built up piecemeal originally; its north side, where this property lies, was in Blunts Hall manor, and the south side in Howbridge manor. It is narrow, like the lower end of Newland Street, of which it is a continuation, and during the 18th and 19th centuries, both were predominantly, though not exclusively, occupied by poor people, with many crowded cottages in small ‘yards’. Some occupants are detailed below. Many were farmworkers, who were the lowest paid men everywhere. Thus, there was often a contrast to the wider and more prosperous upper end of the ‘planned’ Newland Street.

Furthermore, by the 19th century, these particular houses, being ‘old’, were cheaper than newly built houses. In 1841 their rental value was £3 6s. per year each, and the owner was James Thomasin, the owner of the brushmakers’ yard. In contrast, his Faragon Terrace, across the street, had a rental value of £8 when new-built in 1869 (see the entry for 59-67 Bridge Street, in 1869, which also gives more information about the Thomasin family).

Occupants

At no. 46 they were:

1841              Sarah Branwhite, aged 64, with an agricultural labourer as her lodger

1851              Thomas Edwards, aged 30, a coach painter, with his wife, Ann, and three young children

1861              Thomas Trew, a tanner, with his wife, Mary, and six children aged from 10 months to 13 years  the son aged 13 years was working with his father

1871              Alfred Bickmore, aged 56 and blind, formerly a carter, with his wife, Hannah, their daughter Mary Ann, a dressmaker, and their son and grandson

1881                still Alfred Bickmore, now described as a jobbing gardener, with his wife and daughter, and now two young grandsons, one described as an ‘imbecile’

1891                Hubert Norman, aged 28, carman to a miller, with his wife, Maria, and six children, of whom the eldest was aged seven.

 

At no. 48 they were:

1841                Stephen Nunn, aged 30, a male servant, with his wife, Susannah, and four young children

1851                Charles Cole, aged 61, an agricultural labourer, with his wife, Hannah, a washerwoman, and their son, Abraham, a brushmaker

1861 to 1891 Henry Hubbard, aged 44 in 1861, a bricklayer’s or general labourer, with his wife, Emma, though she was not in the house in 1881. In 1861 the Hubbards had seven children at home, aged from 2 months to 16 years; the eldest was a daughter ‘at home’, next were two boys, aged 14 and 12, who were a cowboy and a labourer at a fellmonger’s yard.
In 1871 there were nine children there, aged from 2 months up to 24 years; the eldest four were boys, all described as agricultural labourers. Only three sons remained at home by 1881, and only one in 1891, when Henry and Emma, the parents, as noted in 1861, then aged 74 and 64, were ‘kept by children’.

 

 


 

Notes about the survey.

Dated buildings are the ones which have a date written on them, usually the date when they were built.  The dates usually seem to be accurate, except for the Spread Eagle (number 1).

This survey of Witham was carried out by Janet Gyford in 1990-1992. Ray Powell of the Victoria County History had suggested such surveys as a project for Essex.

The numbering is in date order.

The original version of the survey is in the Essex Record Office as D/DU 1394 addl. Accession A8888. That and my own (Janet Gyford’s) own copy contain numerous illustrations. Not knowing whether I will ever manage to include the illustrations in this web version, I am putting just the words here in case they might be of interest. I find that they were quite detailed.

Beware that some of the written information will be out of date, for instance about who occupied certain buildings.

If you would like to find some relevant photos, you could try putting the name of the place you want and/or the street, into the Search or Menu box at the top of this page.

This work would not have been possible without the kind and very generous help of my friend Carol Asrari, who took my grey typing of 1992, and retyped  this very smart web version from it- how different were those days.

JG 2020

The Cage

The Cage at Witham

The cage was a small lockup on the corner of Newland Street and Mill Lane, where wayward residents could be restrained for short periods. I’m not aware of any surviving photos. This one shows where it used to be.

It would have been in the centre of this photo, to the left of the yellow brick building, which is now 132 Newland Street, and which in many old photos was the Globe Inn. It was Frank’s Café most of the 1970s, A J M Glass’s in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and is now Past Times. The photo was taken in 1975 when, as you see, it was Mill Lane Tropicals.

The cage was demolished in the 1920s, being old and unused, and in a space needed for the widening of the Mill Lane corner.

The rest of this account will consist of quotations  from old documents. Any comments that I’ve added myself, are in square brackets . Coloured text shows different parts of the document.


​Information, 1641
The Information of Jane Earle widdowe, taken upon Oath before Sir Beniamin Ayloffe, Barronet, Sir Thomas Wiseman, knight, and Henry Nevill, Esq. This 27th day of November. Anno Domini 1641.
“Shee saith that on Sunday was sennight shee was laid on her Bed, shee being then weary of a Jorney haveing come on Foot Fifteen miles the day before, and about three of the Clocke in the afternoon Robert Garrard, Philomen Pledger, John Freborne and Nathaniell Garrard, came to her house, and knocked at her doore, wheareupon shee arose from her Bed, and let them in, and they requiring a reason why shee was absent from Church, shee tould them that shee came Fifteen Miles the day before, and was very weary and Sicke, yet they not being satisfied, but by force carried her to the Cage, wheare they imprisoned her about a quarter, or halfe an hower.”
Signed:                         Signed:
Benj.Ayloffe                Tho.Wyseman

(Essex Record Office. Epiphany 1641/2. Q/SBa 2/45)


Recognisance, 1641/2
27 Nov. Jane Earle widow; to indict Rob.Garrard, Philomen Pledger, John Freeborne, and Nath’l Garrard for assaulting her in her own house and violently carrying her into the cage [all of Witham].
(
Essex Record Office. Epiphany 1641/2  Calendar of Quarter Sessions. Q/SR 315/76.)


[Note
: Jane Earle also made several appearances in the Church courts – one of them was because she was “commonly reputed and taken to be a woman of very rude behaviour”.
The four Witham men were probably parish officers.
The three distinguished men at the beginning, Ayloffe, Wiseman and Nevill, were local magistrates.]


Presentation against the inhabitants of Witham, 1669. [translated from Latin]
“Catasta (in English the Cage) in Witham, within the precincts of this lete, is exceedingly ruined so that it is a sin against the law, so that it is not possible to make it secure. Therefore it is ordered that the inhabitants of Witham shall mend and repair those same Catastam before the next first of May, under pain of forfeiting to the Lord five pounds.”
(Essex Record Office, 1669 Manor Court Roll for manor of Newland , ERO D/DBw M28)


Tithe map and award, 1839
The site which is now 132 Newland Street comprised four  plots on the Tithe Map, as shown in the table: they are also shown on my (very) rough map. The cage was plot 137A. This confirms its location as suggested by other documents, on the corner of Newland Street and Mill Lane.

No. Owner Occupier Description Size
137 Rolfe, Edward Self The Globe PH 4 roods
137a Witham Parish Officers Unoccupied The cage and yard 2 roods
138 Pattisson, Jacob Howell William Goldsmith Garden 28 roods
138a Rolfe, Edward John Brown and 2 others Tenements 6 roods

(Essex Record Office D/CT 405 and 405A)


Witham rate and vestry meetings book, 1851
21 April 1851.
‘The subject of the Old Cage and the ground whereon it stands was brought before the meeting and it was resolved that the Churchwardens be requested to sell the Cage and the ground whereon it stands and to hand over the purchase money to the Engine House Committee”
22 September 1851
Extracts from accounts ‘for the repair of engines, buckets, etc’
Dr: Mr Cook’s Sale Bill £2 11s 0d
Cr: ‘By sale of cage by auction by Jno Cook to C Douglas esq, £30.’
(part of Essex Record Office Acc A5605)


An Essay about Witham, by someone who first came in 1883
“Sometimes you might find one in the Village Cage . The people in Witham are aware of the fact that such a one still stands in Witham. It is a building about 10 ft square, timber built and brick nogged, with slated roof, it consisted of two compartments, with a ring bolt let in the floor, where the prisoner was chained to. It fell into disuse at the passing of Sir Robert Peel Police Act nearly a century ago [1829?], and was rented by Mr Thomas Bailey at 2£ per annum, he used it as a general store, and although patched up is still to be seen opposite the Gas Works” (Essex Record Office T/P 116/83)
[the Gas Works was on the other [south] corner of Mill Lane and Newland Street; the site is now the Mill Lane car park].


Witham Urban District Council, minutes, 1921
31 October 1921, page 163
Mr H Lawrence offered to the Council for purchase, ‘the Historic Drunkard’s Cage now standing on his premises’. Clerk to ask price etc.
2 November 1921, page 168
Mr H Lawrence said he required £30 for the Cage. Clerk to thank him and say could not at present purchase it. “Mr E Smith proposed and Mr E Pelly seconded that the Clerk inform the Antiquarian Society of the offer now made to the Council, and should the Society be desirous of the Cage remaining in the Town the Council were willing that same should be placed in the Recreation Ground”.
[The proposers were Councillors Ebenezer Smith, newly elected the previous year, and Edmund Pelly of Witham Lodge]
19 December 1921
The Surveyor had had a letter from Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings re the Cage [no details]


From an account of Witham for  the Women’s Institute  Essay Competition, 1935
“Other Ancient Landmarks which have disappeared are the Tithe Barn, the pound, and the ‘lock-up’. …. Just at the bottom of Newland Street stood the lock-up for the temporary accommodation of local drunkards. It had a high gate and wooden fence. When the corner of Mill Lane was widened it was removed”. (Essex Record Office T/P 133/1)


 Witham Urban District Council in Essex Weekly News, 1937
29 October 1937  “WORTHY OF PRESERVATION. – The Town and Country Planning Committee of the County Council are to be informed that the following buildings are worthy of preservation. The Old Pound, Newland Street: properties at Chipping Hill and facing the Parish Church: timbered properties in Bridge Street, owned by Mr W J Marshall; and Blue Posts House, Newland Street.” (Essex Weekly News, 29 October, 1937)
[The Pound was a place for keeping stray animals, and Witham’s Pound was near the top of Collingwood Road, not in Newland Street (see below). So we don’t know whether the writer meant the Pound or whether they really meant the Cage]


Old Days in Witham, no date, probably written about 1930
The old lock-up was at the corner of Mill Lane, part of the property known  as the Globe Inn, now, I believe, a paper shop. The Globe Inn had as landlord for many years a Mr Bailey, and I believe his son is still living in Braintree. I have been in this lock-up many times as a boy (not as a prisoner). It was then known as the Cage, and I have heard my grandfather state that he had seen people in the stocks which were at the  corner of Mill Lane opposite the Gas House, and quite close to the Cage.
(Essex Record Office, Acc 10510, page 2. No date but perhaps about 1930, because said to be written about 50 years after the workhouse closed, which was in about 1880. This the only reference that I [JG] found to the Stocks being near the Cage -see below for Stocks)


I’ll finish by briefly noting some of the other punitive structures in Witham.

The Pounds in general

The Pound of the Manor of Blunts Hall, 1570
(for keeping stray animals)
The jury present that the servants of James Stamford have broken the Lord’s pound and taken their cattle away.
(ERO T/B 71/1, p.60)

The Pound of the Manor of Newland
(for keeping stray animals)
1663 the Pound is out of repair. (ERO D/DBw M28)
1785  to be sold with the Manor of Newland, to which it belonged. (ERO SC B462)
c.1930s. Was at the corner opposite the Market Place (the Market Place is now the site of Labour Hall). Taken away at the end of the 19th century (ERO T/P 133/1,19,21).
It was an enclosure where J B Slythe’s was (now a site for selling white vans, near the station) (ERO Acc 10510, p.39).
See also the end paper and page 70 of “Making a Living”.
[There are also a number of references to the Pound Cottage, maybe next to the Pound, which I have not noted.]


Stocks in general
I [JG] have seen a postcard of Stocks claiming to be at Witham, and I believe there is another picture in the George P.H. But there is no information about where exactly they were, or if indeed they really were in Witham. If anyone comes up with more detail, that would be interesting. 

Stocks in the manor of Chipping, 1588
It is presented that all the inhabitants of Chipping Witham shall repair the stocks before the feast of Pentecost, on pain of 40 shillings.
(ERO D/DBw M26)

Stocks in the manors of Chipping and Newland, 1596
It was ordered “that any person who henceforth breaks any person’s hedge within this Leet against the will of the owner shall forfeit to the Lord 12d. for each offence or else to be placed in the stocks for the space of one hour”.
(ERO T/B 1/1, page 105)

Stocks in the manors of Chipping and Newland, 
From “Old Days in Witham”, also quoted above.
No date for
stocks, but written c.1930
I have heard my grandfather state that he had seen people in the stocks which were at the  corner of Mill Lane opposite the Gas House, and quite close to the Cage.
(Essex Record Office, Acc 10510, page 2. No date but perhaps about 1930, because said to be written about 50 years after the workhouse closed, which was in about 1880. This the only reference I [JG] found to the Stocks being near the Cage.)

 

The Whipping Post

The Whipping Post in Newland Street, 1629
A young boy tied red Irish crosses to it during a dispute with Irish soldiers on St Patrick’s Day.
(G E Aylmer, St Patrick’s Day 1629, in Witham Essex, Past and Present, 1973, p.92)

Two eighteenth-century Bath Houses

 

“The activity of bathing in Britain for reasons of health and well-being, goes back earlier than the 18th century ….. and indeed to Roman times.”

This was written by Susan Kellerman in her fascinating article on “Bath Houses – an Introduction” (in number 1 of the “Follies Journal”, 2004). She found that the majority were built for the gentry, but that there were others for the servants, or for the general public.

There is another excellent article now, published in 2010 by Clare Hickman, entitled “Taking the Plunge: 18th-century bath houses and plunge pools”. https://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/bath-houses/bath-houses.htm

In spite of this research, it seems that hardly any bath houses survive today, and those that do, are not surprisingly the elaborate buildings of the wealthy. But it does seem that they would generally consist of a ‘house’, either large or small, for changing in, and a plunge pool of cold water adjoining.

The sites of two Bath Houses are known in Witham, firstly the Vicar’s Bath House, not far from the Vicarage, and secondly the Bath House of the Lord of the Manors of Witham and Newland, who lived at the Grove. They both received their cold water from the river Brain.


The Vicar’s Bath House near Church Street (1762).
This was on the Vicarage fields, and is shown on a map of 1762 drawn by Timothy Skinner (E.R.O. D/P/30/3/5). The Vicar, George Sayer, held his office in Witham for nearly forty years (1722 -1761). His wife, Martha, was a daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was very prosperous, and was said to have “greatly (or rather extravagantly) beautified the Vicarage at Witham”.

In 1749, the writer Horace Walpole thought it was ‘one of the most charming villas in England.’ And in a well-known phrase, he observed the ‘sweet meadows falling down a hill, and rising again on t’other side of the prettiest little winding stream you ever saw’.

At about that time, the Revd Sayer was occupied in laying out  a new  garden and grounds, with the help of  local landscape architect Philip Southcott. A map was drawn of the grounds by Timothy Skinner in 1762. And it is on this map that we see the Bath House, the first known in Witham. (the original map is reproduced by courtesy of the Essex Record Office (i.e. D/P 30/3/5).

I have compiled  four small square maps, in date order, shown below.
The first square, at top left, shows part of the original 1762 map of the Vicarage land.  It includes Bath Field and the Bath, the latter being in a semi-circular enclosure. I have drawn them all in red. The other three maps show the same area in 1839, 1875 and the 1980s, i.e. from the Tithe Map and from the Ordnance Survey.  On these, the former sites of the Bath field, and of the bath itself and its enclosure, are also marked in red.

To find the location of the Bath now, you can start by coming out of the opening at the west corner of Chipping Dell, onto the River Walk. Turn right and walk uphill along the River Walk  for about 70 yards, to near the quince trees. The bath is probably down the near-vertical slope on your left. This is suggested by the map, and also because that is where this little brick was found.

A brick six inches long, found in 2005, in or near the site of the Vicar’s bath house.

And this is the actual bath house, enlarged from the 1762 map.

To digress for a moment, further up the path is the ‘spring’, as we know it, nearly at the end of the Vicar’s land (nowadays near Ebenezer Close). In 1762 it was called a ‘cascade’ on the map. This was usually a fan-shaped arrangement, whereby water flowed slowly down to a central point, probably where the spring is now. If you stand on the path behind the spring, you can sense the shape of the fan sloping down.



2. The Lord of the Manor’s Bath House (near what is now Guithavon Valley) (1795)

This second Bath House was the property of the Lord of the Manors of Chipping and Witham. He was Thomas Kynaston, who had moved to Witham  from Grosvenor Square in London in about 1786. He came to the Grove, a large mansion on the main road through Witham (it wasn’t the manor house, there wasn’t one).

So he was quite some distance from the river, and this document concerns the purchase of a strip of land, and the setting out of a path along it, to make the Bath easier for him to get to.

Below is a transcript of the document that introduces us to the Bath in 1791 (Reproduced by courtesy of the Essex Record Office, i.e. D/DDc T83).

“This Indenture
made the eleventh of July …[1791] Between Thomas Isaac of Witham … Gentleman of the one part, and Thomas Kynaston of Witham aforesaid esquire. of the other part,

Witnesseth that the said Thomas Isaac for and in consideration of the sum of one pound and one shilling … to him … paid by the said Thomas Kynaston … whereof the said Thomas Isaac hath granted bargained and sold … unto the said Thomas Kynaston …

All that piece or parcel of freehold land or ground containing in length from the Gate at the Letter H in the plan hereunder drawn to the Letter A one hundred and sixty five feet, and in width for the space of one hundred and fifty seven feet thereof from the intended fence at the letter G to the letter F, including the Ditch next the Garden in the occupation of William Wade eight feet, and for the remaining part thereof fifteen feet in width near the river

Which said piece of land intended to be hereby granted, is part or parcel of a field or close of land of the said Thomas Isaac, called or known by the name of Temples, and is situate lying and being in Witham aforesaid, abutting upon the said garden now in the occupation of the said William Wade, marked with the letter C upon the river, marked with the letter A upon the Mill field, the property of William Dodd esquire, marked with the letter D and upon the said field called Temples marked BB, and which said piece of land hereby granted now is or intended soon to be, severed and divided from the said field called Temples by a pale fence, to be made done and kept up at the expense of the said Thomas Kynaston.”

Above is a copy of the accompanying map, which includes the letters quoted in the document to describe where everything was. The new path and the Bath House are at the top right.

Below is a set of four maps at different dates, like the ones given earlier for the other site, with the previous location of the Bath House shown as a blue oval on each.  The course of the river has been altered over the years which is confusing. But followed through to the present day, the sequence suggests that this Bath House was located somewhere near the top of Armond Road.

The course of the river has been altered over the years, and the ground next to the road has probably been built up, making it hard to be exact. So more research would be welcome.

And finally, a close-up of the Lord of the Manor’s Bath House taken from the first map, and rotated so that it is seen roughly north-south. The bath building stands next to the rather fierce-looking River Brain, and the new path arriving beside it from the north.


 

 

 

The By-Pass

The By-pass

This was opened in 1964 to take the A12 past Witham. The A12 leads from London, to Lowestoft in Suffolk.
These extracts relate to the discussions up to 1937

UDC Public Health Committee, 11 December 1934
page 430. Representation from the County Council re Ribbon Development. Proposes sterilising the ground between Hatfield Peverel and Witham, having a proposed by pass of Witham 1.67 miles long, and another 0.4 miles to the west of the Fox. Also a Rivenhall by-pass continuing it at 0.9 miles, as far as Durwards Hall. 

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 12 February 1935
page 497. Surveyor has met Mr Giles of Essex County Council about the proposed Witham by pass. Ask that ‘point of contact with main road on Colchester side should be at Little Braxted Lane’.

UDC Public Health Committee, 5 March 1935
page 510. The County Council now propose to by-pass Rivenhall End.

 UDC, April 1935, Braintree and Witham Times, review of 1935, 2 Jan 1936, page 2
‘Decision confirmed to by-pass Witham and part of Rivenhall in scheme for facilitating road travel between London and East Anglia. Witham tradesmen strenuously protest’.

UDC Water, Highways and Works Committee, 16 December 1936 page 629. Notice from Essex County Council under Restriction of Ribbon Development Act 1935. Restriction of development on the line of the proposed Witham to Rivenhall End by pass. Details listed.

UDC Joint Public Health and Water, Highways and Works Committee, 20 March 1937
Corner of Bridge Street and Howbridge Road. The County Surveyor wants it widened. The Committee thinks Bridge Street should be widened itself, instead of having a by-pass. Meet the County Surveyor. 

UDC Public Health Committee and Water, Highways and Works Committee, 4 May 1937, page 26a
Proposed to say to the Ministry of Transport that ‘one motor way should be put down parallel with the London-Yarmouth Road to take motor traffic’, instead of loops round each place. This proposal was deleted by the  full Council.

UDC Water, Highways and Works Committee, 5 May 1937
[page 60] Recommend not approving the bypass and suggest a through-road from Gallows Corner to Colchester. Endorsed, see Council minutes 283 and 286.

Trafalgar Square



Trafalgar Square, 43-73 Maldon Road.

Probably built in the 1820s, and demolished late 1930s or 1950s

Not comprehensive, just bits


 1 October 1825 (manor records, ERO D/DBw M40)
Benjamin Elmy had bought properties manor nos. 39 and 40 in Maldon Lane (Respectively one cottage and half an acre (rent 8d.) and one cottage part of three (rent 2d.) )

1829 (ERO T/Z 152/4)
Plan of boundaries for free delivery of letters, 10 December 1829. In Maldon Road is a square marked ‘new square’ which might well be Trafalgar Square.

29 January 1833 (ERO Sale catalogue B703)
For sale by order of trustees under the will of Benjamin Elmy, deceased.
Lot 1.  8 cottages in Maldon Lane. Fronted in white brick. Quit rent 4d. Occupiers John Boltwood, Samuel Everett, William Hart, John Savill, Thomas Chalk, William Bock, John Wilson, John Payne.
Lot 2. 8 cottages similar to Lot 1 on eastern side of ground. Quit rent 4d. Occupiers John Pitcher, Jos Somers, Samuel White, Thomas Farrow, William Blake, James Cowland, Abraham Leigh, William Walford.

28 February 1833 (manor records, ERO D/DBw M40)
Benjamin Elmy had died, had built 16 brick cottages. To sons William and John Elmy (see E.R.O. Sale Cat B703). Occupied by John Boltwood, Samuel Everitt, William Hart, John Savill, Thomas Chalk, William Bock, John Willson, and John Payne, and by John Pitcher, Joseph Sommers, Samuel White, Thomas Farrow, William Blake, James Cowland, Abraham Leigh, and William Walford.

21 November and 19 December 1833 (manor records, ERO D/DBw M40)
Wm and John Elmy sold to Edward Smith of Witham, linen draper. Occupied by John Boltwood Samuel Everitt William Hart John Savill Thomas Chalk William Bock John Wilson and John Payne, and byohn Pilcher Joseph Somers Samuel White Thomas Farrow William Lake James Cowland Abraham Mee and William Walford. 

1839, tithe map and award
Plot no. 289. Owned by Edward Smith. Occupied by James Boultwood and 15 others. Tenements and gardens. 1r 19p. 

1841 census (HO 107/343/17, f.29 onwards) (Square not named but probably these)
69 people in 15 houses, average 4.6 (1 unoccupied)
Boltwood 4, Lindsell 5, Hart 6, Sanders 3, Cousins 3, Farrow 6, Bock 7, Farrow 2, Fitch 3, Fabian 8, White 3, Farrow 9, Roberts 3, Sayers 2, Walford 5

In size order:
Farrow 9, Fabian 8, Bock 7, Farrow 6, Hart 6, Lindsell 5, Walford 5, Boltwood 4 (median), Cousins 3, Fitch 3, Roberts 3, Sanders 3, White 3, Farrow 2, Sayers 2

1841 census continued

Ann Boltwood 50 Dress maker born in Essex
Matilda Boltwood 20 Dress maker born in Essex
Elizabeth Boltwood 20 Dress maker born in Essex
/
Henry Wright 5 born in Essex

 

Jane Lindsell 70 Bonnet maker born in Essex
James Lindsell 30 Silk weaver born in Essex
/
Stephen Lindsell 40 Yeast dealer born in Essex
Joseph Lindsell 11 born in Essex
George Lindsell 6 born in Essex

 

William Hart 45 Bricklayer journeyman born in Essex
Elizabeth Hart 45 born in Essex
William Hart 15 Bricklayer journeyman born in Essex
Ann Hart 12 born in Essex
Alfred Hart 6 born in Essex
Harriet Hart 2 born in Essex

 

Daniel Sanders 30 Brushmaker journeyman not born in Essex
Sarah Sanders 20 born in Essex
Daniel Sanders 7 mo born in Essex

 

Andrew Cousins 30 Horse dresser not born in Essex
Amelia Cousins 25 born in Essex
Caroline Cousins 9 born in Essex

 

George Farrow 30 Shoe maker not born in Essex
Eliza Farrow 25 not born in Essex
Ellenor Farrow 7 born in Essex
Eliza Farrow 5 born in Essex
Frances Farrow 3 born in Essex
Sophia Farrow 3 mo born in Essex

 

William Bock 40 Carpenter journeyman born in Essex
Ann Bock 40 born in Essex
William Bock 15 Carpenter journeyman not born in Essex
Mary Bock 15 not born in Essex
George Bock 10 born in Essex
Walter Bock 5 born in Essex
Jane Bock 3 born in Essex

 

Elizabeth Farrow 65 born in Essex
Henry Farrow 35 Shoe maker journeyman born in Essex

 

Jane Fitch 25 Dress maker born in Essex
Jonathan Fitch 4 born in Essex
Emma White 17 born in Essex

 

Thomas Fabian 35 Brushmaker journeyman not born in Essex
Eliza Fabian 40 not born in Essex
George Fabian 15 Brushmaker apprentice not born in Essex
Thomas Fabian 15 Shoe makers apprentice not born in Essex
Eliza Fabian 15 not born in Essex
Jane Fabian 10 not born in Essex
William Fabian 7 born in Essex
Sarah Fabian 5 born in Essex

 

Samuel White 55 Gardner born in Essex
Elizabeth White 53 born in Essex
George White 9 born in Essex

 

Thomas Farrow 40 Brushmaker journeyman not born in Essex
Kitty Farrow 40 born in Essex
Mary Farrow 14 born in Essex
Thomas Farrow 12 born in Essex
Joseph Farrow 10 born in Essex
Alfred Farrow 8 born in Essex
Eliza Farrow 6 born in Essex
Sophia Farrow 6 born in Essex
Jane Farrow 3 born in Essex

 

1 unoccupied

 

John Roberts 20 Patten maker journeyman not born in Essex
Elizabeth Roberts 20 born in Essex
John Roberts 2 mo born in Essex

 

Sarah Sayer 60 Char woman born in Essex
Eliza Sayer 30 born in Essex

 

Lucy Walford 50 Washerwoman born in Essex
James Walford 15 Tailor journeyman born in Essex
Charlotte Walford 15 born in Essex
Edward Walford 10 born in Essex
Eliza Walford 7 born in Essex
Elizabeth Roberts 1 born in Essex

Edward Cresy’s report public health in Witham, 1850, pages 11-12
‘In Smith’s Square [Trafalgar Square] there are 16 or more cottages with their windows immediately over a very offensive watercourse, laid at the footing of the back wall, receiving the drainage of several premises, and no flushing or scouring is ever performed; the air around is most unpleasantly affected from all that finds its way into this quarter, namely, the overflowings from the several houses, courts, yards and stables; the ditches are full, without current, or the means of being cleansed’

1897, Building plan (ERO D/UWi Pb 1/1 no 94)Wash houses, Maldon Road. Mr Hicks (owner). James Gamble (builder). Perhaps Trafalgar Square.

1901 census (RG 13/1725, f.28 onwards)
15 houses (average 6.3 per house). One house unoccupied.
Pease 7, Haygreen 6, Wager 9, Algar 11, King 7, Clark 4, Smith 4, Hawkes 9, Bickmore 10, Webb 3, Prior 1, Baxter 3, Norman 10, Everett 6, Baxter 5
In size order, Algar 11, Bickmore 10, Norman 10, Hawkes 9, Wager 9, King 7, Pease 7, Everett 6 (median), Haygreen 6, Baxter 5, Clark 4, Smith 4, Baxter 3, Webb 3, Prior 1

1901 census continued

Robert Pease Head M 31 Railway labourer born Essex, Witham
Alice M Pease Wife M 31 born Essex, Dunmow
Annie Pease Daur 11 born Essex, Witham
Sarah A Pease Daur 8 born Essex, Witham
Alice M Pease Daur 6 born Essex, Witham
Gertrude Pease Daur 3 born Essex, Witham
Robert G Pease Son 1 born Essex, Witham

 

Herbert Haygreen Head M 36 Bricklayers labourer born Essex, Witham
Emma Haygreen Wife M 34 born Essex, Wickham
Percy Haygreen Son 11 born Essex, Witham
Frank Haygreen Son 8 born Essex, Witham
Edith Haygreen Daur 6 born Essex, Witham
William Haygreen Son 3 born Essex, Witham

 

William Wager Head M 27 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Coggeshall
Agnes Wager Wife M 35 born Essex, Witham
Annie Wager Daur 11 born Essex, Witham
Ernest Wager Son 9 born Essex, Witham
Edith Wager Daur 8 born Essex, Witham
Thomas Wager Son 5 born Essex, Witham
William Wager Son 4 born Essex, Witham
Edward Wager Son 3 born Essex, Witham
Nellie Wager Daur 1 born Essex, Witham

 

Henry W Algar Head M 43 Corn dealer’s carter born Essex, Hatfield Peverel
Emily Algar Wife M 44 born Essex, Rivenhall
Charles H Algar Son S 20 Carter to Urban D Council born Essex, Hatfield Peverel
Edward L Algar Son S 18 Bricklayer’s labourer born Essex, Hatfield Peverel
Sarah A Algar Daur S 16 Pea sorter born Essex, Hatfield Peverel
Robert S Algar Son S 13 born Essex, Witham
Alice M Algar Dau S 12 born Essex, Witham
Edith E Algar Dau 10 born Essex, Witham
Beatrice Lily Algar Dau 9 born Essex, Witham
Margaret E Algar Daur 6 born Essex, Witham
Florence E Algar Daur 2 born Essex, Witham

 

David King Head M 62 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Totham
Emma King Wife M 44 born Essex, Wimbish
David P King Son S 19 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
William J S King Son S 17 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Olive E King Daur 8 born Essex, Witham
Alfred King Son 6 born Essex, Witham
Ellen L King Daur 1 born Essex, Witham

 

Henry Clark Head M 23 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, White Notley
Eliza Clark Wife M 23 born Gloucester, Stroud
John Clark Son 1 born Essex, Witham
Lily Holmes Sister in law S 19 born Gloucester, Stroud

 

Ernest Smith Head M 25 Bricklayer’s labourer born Essex, Witham
Margaret Smith Wife M 23 born Essex, Braintree
Nellie Smith Daur 2 born Essex, Witham
Emily Smith Daur 2 mo born Essex, Witham

 

George Hawkes Head M 40 Carpenter born Essex, Witham
Jane Hawkes Wife M 39 born Essex, Rivenhall
George Hawkes Son S 13 Blacksmith born Essex, Witham
William Hawkes Son S 13 Agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Frederick Hawkes Son 12 born Essex, Witham
Edith Hawkes Daur 9 born Essex, Witham
John Hawkes Son 4 born Essex, Witham
Alice Hawkes Daur 2 born Essex, Witham
Lily Hawkes Daur 8 mo born Essex, Witham

 

William Bickmore Head M 30 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Brentwood
Annie Bickmore Wife M 26 born Durham
Alice Bickmore Daur 8 born Essex, Witham
William Bickmore Son 6 born Essex, Witham
Edward Bickmore Son 4 born Essex, Witham
Agnes Bickmore Daur 3 born Essex, Witham
Alfred Bickmore Son 1 born Essex, Witham
Edward Bickmore Father Widr 56 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Cluster[?] Bickmore Sister S 18 Pea sorter born Essex, Witham
Archie Bickmore Brother 13 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham

 

1 unoccupied

 

Henry Webb Head M 61 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Rivenhall
Eliza S Webb Wife M 54 Charwoman born Essex, Witham
Edward Webb Son S 15 Ordinary agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham

 

Florence Prior Wife M 21 born Essex, Witham

 

Robert Baxter Head M 68 Bricklayer’s labourer born Essex, Witham
Hannah Baxter Wife M 58 born Essex, Witham
James Baxter Son S 23 Bricklayer’s labourer born Essex, Witham

 

Samuel Everett Head M 43 Agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Annie E Everett Wife M 40 Pea sorter born Somerset, Ilminster
Daisy Everett Daur S 17 Pea sorter born Essex, Witham
Francis M Everett Son S 15 Agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Samuel Everett Son S 8 born Essex, Witham
Maurice W Everett Son 5 born Essex, Witham

 

Walter Baxter Head M 29 Coal and furniture carman born Essex, Heybridge
Hannah J Baxter Wife M 29 born Essex, Kelvedon
Alfred C H W Baxter Son 1 born Essex, Heybridge
Infant Daur 2 mo born Essex, Witham
Hannah Allen Serv M 60 Nurse (monthly) born Essex, Great Tey

 

Hubert H Norman Head M 38 Corn carman born Essex, Witham
Maria Norman Wife M 38 born Essex, Rivenhall
Edward W Norman Son S 16 Milkman’s assistant born Essex, Witham
Hubert A Norman Son S 15 Agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Frederick C Norman Son S 13 Agricultural labourer born Essex, Witham
Arthur E Norman Son 11 born Essex, Witham
Elizabeth Norman Daur 10 born Essex, Witham
Alice L Norman Daur 8 born Essex, Witham
George J Norman Son 7 born Essex, Witham
Nellie M Norman Daur 1 born Essex, Witham

 

1903- 1914, residence of Mrs Clara Jane Hammond, later Hubbard (PRO [TNA] BT 31/34043/1954, Witham Gas Co files. Two volumes).

Just checked shareholders lists in March each year, for Mrs Hubbard, who had two £5 shares and attended some shareholders’ meetings according to minutes in ERO. No Hammond or Hubbard 1902

1903 Clara Jane Hammond Sewage Farm
1904 Clara Jane Hammond, widow Witham
1905 Clara Jane Hammond, widow 8 Trafalgar Square, Witham
1906-1909 Clara Jane Hammond, widow Witham
1909 Clara Jane Hubbard Trafalgar Square Witham
1910-1913 Clara Jane Hubbard Mill Lane
1914 Clara Jane Hubbard, two £5 shares, transferred 29 Sept 1914, to Mary Ellen King Garrett.

 

 1923 electoral register, given at Trafalgar Square (in alphabetical order of names, no numbers given, might have missed some)

Algar, Henry William 

Barber, Charles Norris

Barber, Maud Sarah

Barber, Norris

Barber, Ellen May

Bickmore, Edward Bertie

Bickmore, Sarah

 

Chaplin, Harold John

 

Everitt, Samuel

Everitt, Edith Louisa

Fisher, Albert

 

Haygreen, William Charles

Haygreen, Percy Henry

Haygreen, Frederick George (a: 7 Trafalgar Square)

 

Hoy, Victor

 

King, William James Thomas

King, Alice

 

Ladkin, Charles

 

Mott, Walter Gabriel

 

Stock, Fred

Stock, Emma Jane

 

Watkinson, Frederick James

Watkinson, Kate

 

Wells, George

 

Wood, Henry James (a)


Witham UDC Public Health Committee, 14 March 1928
(page 113 of minute book 1927-1930) (part of ERO Accession A7059. Storage 5E32D. Ref D/UWi)

Medical Officer’s Report

‘Property Inspection.

He also reported on his recent inspection of house property in the District as follows:- …

[page 115]

Trafalgar Square. This property is greatly improved and the small faults found are having attention.

[no recommendation]

1930 electoral register (numbers are numbers in Maldon Road

  1. Taylor
  2. Chipperfield
  3. Fisher
  4. Symes
  5. Dickerson
  6. Wood & Kettley
  7. Mott & Coles
  8. Stock & Haygreen
  9. Barber
  10. King
  11. Dunbar
  12. Wells
  13. Wager & Clark
  14. Ladkin
  15. Wells
  16. Wager, Kemp & Smith

 

31 Dec 1931

Manor of Newland. Compensation agreement with ‘John Douglas Dean of White Lodge Colchester, gentleman’.

Free rent of 8d re 43-73 Maldon Road ‘now occupied by Watkinson, Fisher, Ager, Symes, Bickmore, Dickerson, Mott, Haygreen, Stock, Wood, King, Dimbar[sic], Barber, Ladkin, Wells, and Wager, all known as Trafalgar Square’ (manor records, ERO D/DBw M142, page 50)

30 September 1932 from UDC to Ministry of Health (PRO HLG 49/1157, Ministry of Health file on Cocks Farm estate) (i.e Cressing Road etc)
Ref to yours of 9th ult (?no copy)
Further spelling out needed. Long list. Urgent need. Working class families. Might reduce to 8 shillings rent in certain cases …

Attached
Typed list from Housing Committee 14 September 1932. Listing houses visited.

53 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr H Wood. ‘Four room houses (living room, scullery and two bedrooms but only one bedroom fit to sleep in’. Sizes of rooms.
Husband and wife. Three girls aged 18, 9 and 8. Two boys aged 13 and 6. One man lodger. Occupies two houses.

51 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr F Dickerson. House as above.
Husband and wife. Two girls aged 19 and 12. 2 boys aged 17 and 6.

47 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr S Humphries.
Husband and wife. Two girls aged 13 and 9. 3 boys aged 20, 14 and 11.

45 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr O Chipperfield.
Husband and wife. Two children aged 3 and 2.

61 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr W King.
Father. Daughter aged 16. Son aged 12.

65 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square), Mr F J Wells.
Husband and wife. 4 small children.

69 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr C Ladkin.
Husband and wife. 6 children, eldest 10.

71 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr E G Cunningham.
Husband and wife. 3 boys aged 12, 8 and 6

73 Maldon Road (Trafalgar Square). Mr W J Wager. Two houses.
4 adult men.

Signed J S Bradshaw Medical Officer of Health. G Ogden Sanitary Inspector.

UDC Public Health Committee, 18 November 1933
page 188. Slum Clearance properties visited. Clerk instructed to formulate scheme. Concerning Trafalgar Square, ask owner to meet Committee [MOH suggestions were to demolish nos. 43-57 backing onto School yard and recondition 59-73]

UDC Housing Committee, 18 December 1933
page 206. Trafalgar Square. Discussion some length about whether could be reconditioned for accommodating aged couples. Defer.

UDC Joint Public Health and Housing Committee, 16 February 1934
Slum Clearance. Ministry of Health acknowledges receipt of partial programme and want the rest.

Trafalgar Square. Letter from Bawtree solicitors on behalf of Mr Baker the owner to sell to Council for £1,250 and costs. Surveyor’s report. Recommends:
43-55 demolished
57-59 remain. 57 is better than the others. 59 is four bedroomed.
61, 63, 65, 67, 67a, 69, 71, all have bedroom over scullery ‘unfit to sleep in owing to the lean-to roof’. No proper food store, only one entrance door. Rec only let to aged persons.
73 has two bedrooms under lean to roofs and therefore not suitable to sleep and limit to small family.

Recommend including whole in programme as Improvement area so Mr Baker given usual opportunity to put his proposals to the Council. Also scheme to be prepared about what could be done if they were acquired. Also possibly acquire frontage to property occupied by Mr Dazeley not at present part of square. [I think this was Nelson House] 

UDC Joint Public Health and Housing Committee, 27 April 1934
page 285. Sub Committee appointed re Trafalgar Square.

UDC Joint Public Health and Housing Committee (Slum Clearance), 21 October 1935
page 169. Trafalgar Square. Undertaking received from owners’ solicitors to do agreed work. They haven’t done anything yet. Write.

UDC Joint Public Health and Housing Committee (Slum Clearance), 19 November 1935
page 203. Trafalgar Square. The four owners agreed to make habitable. Only one returned agreement. Tell them that need by Saturday or will take action.

UDC Joint Public Health and Housing Committee, 20 January 1936
page 251. Trafalgar Square. Details. Not settled yet.

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 March 1936
page 314. Trafalgar Square. Owners have undertaken to carry out alterations.

UDC Public Health Committee, 12 May 1936
page 357. Trafalgar Square. Undertaking to repair has expired and work not done. Recommend serving demolition orders.

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 17 July 1936
page 478. Legal proceedings re slum clearance at Trafalgar Square and appeals against parking places; appoint a solicitor to appear. Mr Bright is already representing the Court for the parking places appeal so can’t do it.

UDC Public Health Committee, 15 September 1936
page 500. Trafalgar Square. ‘Letter from Messrs Trotter, Sons and Chapman, solicitors for the owners … in consequence of proceedings taken by them, several of these properties are now vacant and their clients are prepared to commence the necessary work of renovation in accordance with the undertaking previously given to the Council’. Will the Council adjourn the hearing at the Braintree County Court. Recommend don’t agree.

UDC Public Health Committee, 15 September 1936
page 407. Nuisances include 34-73 Trafalgar Square, Maldon Road, drains obstructed, person in default is H Keeble Esq, 15 Mill Lane.

UDC Finance and General Purposes Committee, 20 November 1936
page 592. Owners would sell Trafalgar Square to Council for £600 if Council bear own costs of present proceedings at County Court. No.

UDC Public Health Committee, 9 February 1937
page 682. Trafalgar Square. Appeal re-entered for hearing on 12 March next’.


1930s, JG’s slides, X series
X 68 and X639, show Trafalgar Square, Maldon Road, in 1930s, probably when empty. From Mike Wadhams Vol I set 27 (ERO T/P 339).

Other photos – see
m3011  Fisher family and view of their house
m1495 Maldon Road, Trafalgar Square in distance
m1872 School Group with a house in Trafalgar Square behind.

Oral history

Tape 1, Mrs Ireland

Q:        I suppose not really, no. Was the Council school going then as well?
Mrs I:  Oh we didn’t go, yes that was Maldon Road. [hushed] Terrible place. Down Maldon Road. Trafalgar Square, oh.
20 Q:        What sort of people were there there, then?
Mrs I:  Oh, horrible.
Q:        Did you, so you didn’t have much to ….?
Mrs I:  Well with fighting and bad language. Oh you mustn’t go there.
Q:        Really, you weren’t allowed to go down there, you mean?

Q:        So if they didn’t want, so if the chapel people didn’t want to go to the ….?
Mrs I:  Catholic, that didn’t go to the Board School, they went to these little schools.
Q:        So those were the people that didn’t want to mix with the others?
Mrs I:  Yes, that’s right, yes. Because it was, it was terrible.
22 Q:        So what sort of jobs did the people down Trafalgar Square do, do you remember? Did you know any of them at all? [Mrs I shaking head]. Or would you have to go there? [Mrs I shaking head] You didn’t even have to go there with your grandma or anything? [Mrs I shaking head]
Mrs I:  Well I’m afraid that was why I was very against the Witham Council.
Q:        Why was that?
 

 

 

 

 

23

Mrs I:  Well, because that’s where those people came from. But of course you don’t like to be snobbish. Course, that is the trouble, but of course, the husbands can’t help it can they? They marry these girls, don’t they? They leave Trafalgar Square and go away, you see, that come back, these fellows, where they meet them, I don’t know, I suppose they meet them in the War time like I met my husband. Oh yes, you know the …. Oh I suppose it was all right, it was just that we, just said these things [probably referring to girls from Trafalgar Square, such as the Woods, marrying men from elsewhere who came back and got on the Council].
Q:        You didn’t have anything to do with them, anyway?.
Mrs I:  No, no. You just kept by yourself.

Tape 5. Mrs Edith Brown, nee Hawkes, brought up in Trafalgar Square
Typescript not checked. There is more stuff about the family on the tape.

Mrs B:  Well, they used to take old places didn’t they so, that was very old, you know?

Q:          Was it?

Mrs B:  We lived there all my childhood days was spent there, we was born there, you know, and me brothers and that grew up, they all grew up ….

Q:          How many brothers and sisters did you have?

Mrs B:  I had, there was em, nine or ten of us (Q: Was there really?) There was George, Ted, John, (Mrs S: Alice.), Alice, Emily, Esmund, Lill, (Mrs S: Fred.), Yea, Fred and Ernie, oh, there was Vic, I think mum had about thirteen, I think she lost two, I think they’re all dead there’s only me and my sister at Ilford alive now. (Mrs S: No, it isn’t, Edmund’s still alive.) Edmund, yes, oh, I always forget me youngest brother, he’s 72. (Q: Laugh, Oh, yes, the youngest one!) Em, he lives at Brightlingsea. He was on the railway from when he left school, he went into signal box.

Q:          So what was your name before you married?

Mrs B: Hawkes.

Mrs B:  I was born down Trafalgar Square.

Q:          What year?

Mrs B: Oh, I’m 81 (Q: How old are you? 81) [Laugh] I was 81 Christmas, December (Q: Yes.) and my sister at Ilford is em just two years older and a month and hers is the 8th January, (Q: Oh, really?) She was, she’d be 79 January, then I had a younger sister I lost, she was about 3½ years younger than me, like me mother must have one in the January and the year, about a year and five months after she had another one, (Q: Yea.) and I remember her saying she lost one with convulsions, teething, you know, one daughter, Alice her name was and I’ve got a sister Alice live at Ilford, she was named after her,

Mrs B: Well, you didn’t get no money did you, ‘cause I remember when my brothers all went to work, ‘cause my mother like, had two families, she had em, there was George, Ted, Fred, Bill, and my sister Emily and me older sister, they were all working and married and there was John, me, Alice and Lill and Esmund, all like at school age, you know, all g’n to school, so there was like a family grown up and another lot going to school, me dad was a carpenter, we always had plenty, you know, was fairly comfortable, you know, good meals and me brothers used to go out with the doctors a lot, one brother nearly lived with Dr Ted Gimson, Bill, what died, he em, he used to go out with him everywhere on the boats fishing when it wa’nt shooting season, when it was shooting season he used to go out with them then, you know, (Q: Oh.) yea, he used to live there, up there a lot, his house, well Dr Denholm’s[?] got it now hasn’t he? (Q: Gimson’s, they call it Gimson’s don’t they?) Yes, Dr Ted had that built, (Q: I see.) yes.

Mrs B:  Yes, I can’t tell these views, I know ‘em we lived in the row across that way. (Q: Yea.) We had two houses right in the centre, but this generally shows all the old sheds and gardens (Q: That’s right, yes.) what we [???] (Q: That’s a bit mean, isn’t it?) [Laughter] (Q: Because they looked quite nice, they looked as if they were quite solid houses?) Oh, they were good old houses, well, years ago they did, they built them better didn’t they?

Q:          You said you had two didn’t you?

Mrs B:  We had a double house, yes, we had two front doors, but they were knocked into one (Q: Yea.) and erm we had like, two front rooms, two kitchens, ‘cause they knocked, and the same upstairs, they knocked so you could go right through.

Q:          Was that especially for you? (Mrs B: Hm?) Especially for your family?

Mrs B:  Me mother, yes, she moved out of a four, two bedroomed ones, each had a big family, so she had to go into a, she went into a double one, they did that then. (Mrs S: Do you want another look? [Laugh]) I can’t really tell what it is because it don’t show the entrance or …. (Q: Not all that good are they?)

Q:          So, what, you had two, so you had four bedrooms in the end?)

Mrs B:  We did, four bedrooms and four downstairs, yes.

Q:          So, still a, [???] still be quite a lot wasn’t it? That must be somebody’s back gardens mustn’t it, did you have much garden there?

Mrs B: Nice garden in the front, we had, me dad had a beautiful garden, beautiful flower garden.


Walk 1. Round the ancient earthworks

Walk 1. Round the Ancient Earthworks

NB the illustrations have not yet been included

The route of walk 1. The circular earthworks enclose about 25 acres (10 hectares). There were two rings, the inner one higher, so today there is a ‘dome’ effect. This originated as an Iron Age ‘hill fort’ probably strengthened by the Saxons in 913 AD. For centuries afterwards the main Witham manor had its headquarters here. The walk starts in the centre, goes down to the edge, and then round about two thirds of the outside anticlockwise (looking out for the old embankment), and back to the centre again. Other interesting features include the late Victorian and Edwardian buildings of the ‘Temples Estate’ of over 100 houses, started 1882.

The distance is rather less than a mile (1 km). Street numbers  are given in brackets in the text (but not marked on the map). Landmarks may of course change or even disappear as time goes by. Pages 16 to 20 of the colour section show examples of bricks, railings, street furniture etc.

Start on the pavement at the edge of the Albert car park, opposite the railway.

The Albert and the Grange (hidden behind) – on site where Knights Templars and Hospitallers had chapel and farm buildings till 1500s. Albert a pub since 1842 – once had ship’s figurehead of African chief outside (18801990s), brought from London by innkeeper George Best (some thought it insulted Prince Albert).

Right of Albert car park, unexplained rise up to adjoining taxi parking place. Long yard visible – workshops and warehouses. Belonged to Joseph Smith and Son, prolific builders 1882-1914 (see pages 86-88). They were ‘builders, contractors, and brick manufacturers’ with a ‘steam joinery works & sawing & planing mills’. Had 40-foot brick chimney (12 metres) Old sawing shed now the carpet warehouse on far left (optional trip there and back). Tiny building on road side (1A) – taxis – built 1911 as haulage office. Then Employment Exchange in 1920s (manager Frank Cundy also taught typing). Then George Thompson, ‘coal and coke merchant, cartage contractor, firewood, logs, buyer and seller of old Tudor tiles and bricks’.

Cross both Braintree Road and Albert Road to reach railings by railway, i.e. passing snack bar, formerly a bus shelter, on your left.

Deep cutting dug by hand through earthworks for railway in 1843 (see pages 62-65). Station built 1906 after old one crushed by fatal crash of Cromer express (1905). Before, main entrance was on far side, and smaller one here. New 1906 station well built – lengthy specifications, e.g. ‘bull nosed’ bricks, brass fittings etc. Ironwork made by Crittall’s at Braintree (they had to build a new plant specially) – firm’s name visible under middle of three windows (and elsewhere in station) See colour pages 16 and 17.

Car park across rails was coal yard. Various industries came to that area 1880s onwards, including Cooper Taber (seeds) – from 1956 to about 1990 they had a prize-winning glass building by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, later the architects of the Barbican in London. Only industry remaining now is the maltings – taken over by Scottish company Hugh Baird, 1920s, much rebuilt since 1961.

Continue on down the hill, crossing to the left hand side sometime before the pavement runs out.

The Temperance Hotel (9 Albert Road) in the 1890s. Its builder and first owner was Robert Moore (from the same family that founded a well-known local carriers’ business in 1815 – it continued as a 20th century bus company). He was a member of Witham’s ‘Temperance Ark’, founded in 1875 to campaign for total abstinence from alcohol. To start with, he also had an undertakers’ business here. The boy on the horse is his son Robert Gladstone Moore. Note the decorated wooden gable end, and the moulded bricks between the upper and lower windows.

Opposite the station – in 1848 were stables, forges, workshops etc for building Maldon and Braintree railways. House (4) where William and Rebecca Pinkham first made gloves c 1904-05 (see colour page 12). Fern Cottages (5-8), built 1887 as part of new ‘Temples estate’, in which displays of dates, names and moulded bricks and chimneys were popular. Former Temperance Hotel

(9) with large balcony, built 1883.

Pair of tall semi-detached houses (13-14), the Pinkhams’ second glovemaking place (1905-12) – family lived in far one, about ten girls worked in other – connected by internal door.

Keep left at bottom – edge of earthworks is on your left – shown by raised houses – note level of front doors above road. Look at (but don’t follow) Cut Throat Lane on right – once a main road to Rivenhall. Disappointingly for some, it’s a corruption of ‘Cut Athwart Lane’ – lane cut across a field – there are others elsewhere in Essex. Has yellow brick wall – only surviving relic of vast Crittall’s metal window factory – transformed Witham 1920 – war work in Second World War – several bombings (see pages 110-112, 136, and colour page 13). Demolished 1992, now site of supermarket (designed to look rather like Crittall’s – long horizontal windows). In Albert Road, houses high up on old earthworks – bank dug into for car parking.

Staggered cross-roads. Narrow Braintree Road to your left – interesting 1880s houses – incredibly this road carried all traffic to and from Braintree until 1970. Going across into White Horse Lane (formerly called Hill Lane because of earthwork), you go to the right of an attractive tall weatherboarded building – former seed warehouse. Built 1890s for Thomas Cullen – brick extension added 1908. Now home of popular Witham Technology Centre. The drive-in at far end of it is up steep slope because of old earthworks. Archaeological excavation here in 1970 (when ‘new’ Braintree Road was built) rather inconclusive.

At the dead end, take path sloping up to right and cross the busy road carefully.

From the road, see the pleasantly ‘wild’ area. This and car park on land formerly bought by parish officers in 1600s, with money left by Dame Katherine Barnardiston. Rent paid for bread for the poor every Sunday till early 1900s. Once a gravel pit for road mending. Had playground with swings in 1900. Now known as Bell field (though name originally further east). Probably not for making bells – Witham’s church bells all made in other towns. Considered for Council houses in 1919 – Government commissioner said ‘too far beyond the town and shopping centres’.

To left of the field, take path between metal railings, leading down into the rest of White Horse Lane.

Immediately on right, concrete base in corner was site of Hurrell and Beardwell’s motor engineering and omnibus business’s first site (1920). New houses (2004) on right – replaced offices, earlier busy builders’ yard (1914-74), first John Dean’s, then Adams and Mortimer’s, whose stock, auctioned in 1974 (391 lots), included ‘100 squints and splays’, ‘complete contents of paint shop’, ‘2 planks of African pear’, and sacks and sacks of nails. On left side of road, earthworks again, this time in back gardens of bungalows. All formerly the Cullens’ garden, between their seed warehouse and their house.

Just past new cul-de-sac called ‘Bellfield Close’, a red brick house, 1928, inscribed ‘Stefre’ between the top windows. Previously site of butcher’s slaughterhouses, with pig styes, ‘sticking pound’, bullock pound, stables, hay loft, bone shed and chicken house. Built by Frederick Fuller (named after Stella and Fred) with Council subsidy. Electricity just arriving then – specifications asked for either nine gas points or sixteen electric points. It is said that wooden panelling inside the house was damaged by machine-gun fire from plane during Second World War.

Black weatherboarded office building – optional trip round it anticlockwise, past its door into long car park – has stone on its left wall with the initials of John Coote, 19th century resident of 4 Church Street whose back door you can see.

Back in White Horse Lane, continue to the White Horse, then cross over the main Chipping Hill road and down Moat Farm Chase, nearly opposite you (walk 2 crosses here).

House at bottom on left uses name Moat farm – in fact was outbuildings – farmhouse was on right (built 1500s, demolished 1950s). Medieval house here sometimes called ‘the Moot’ – perhaps place for Saxon ‘moot’ or meeting – these held in a banked square – perhaps where there was a square pond near the river in the 1800s ?

Brick bridge (built 1700s) once had a ford alongside on left – both used for carts and animals crossing to meadows – brick barrier narrowing the bridge is quite new.

At the other side of the bridge, turn left along the path or by the river towards the viaduct (after which you’ll turn left up the road).

The River Walk follows the river Brain nearly two miles through the town – established by Witham Urban District Council early 1970s. Meadow between path and river – previously, since Domesday (1086) and before, belonged to Powershall, over a mile away – people came from there to grow hay and graze animals. Given to Council 1937 as memorial to Philip Hutley, farmer at Powershall – known at first as ‘Hutley Memorial Recreation Ground’. The earthworks on left now on other side of river in gardens, partly natural. Through railway viaduct 30 or 40 feet (10 metres) high – built 1843, blocking view between Chipping Hill and rest of the town.

Going over river and up Armond Road, looking to right, area of grass and bushes about 30 yards away was place used for working and washing skins and cloth in medieval times, with house called ‘the Watering’ in early 1500s. Then at end of 1700s was a small bath house and cold water pool – special path from the mansion at the Grove. More recently, several cottages by river, picturesque but damp and crowded, demolished 1930s in Council slum clearance programme (see page 124-25).

At T-junction turn left up the hill; you are now in Guithavon Valley.

Now climbing outer earthworks. Jubilee Oak – on traffic island on right – ‘moss cupped oak’ planted 1887 – Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Suffered unauthorised ‘mutilation’ by electricity workers in 1935 – looked like lamp post for a time. Small plaque on ground by it for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, 2002. Continue uphill into main Collingwood Road, built 1869, was fields till early 1900s, then large houses came. ‘The most fashionable road in the place’ in 1919 according to postcard sent by a soldier to his mother.

On left, up the hill, Millfield Terrace (2-8, 57-67) – white brick – some dated, e.g. 57-59, the earliest two, with ogee arches (S shaped) over the windows, have ‘I C 1827’ for Iohannes (John) Crump. At 59 from 1880s to 1930s was dressmaker Elizabeth Smith with ‘Miss Smith, Robes’ on brass plate. Two newer houses inserted 1990s.

As you go on, look at buildings across Collingwood road, right to left. Red brick bungalow (46) with wooden fence – built 1920 as ‘Nurse’s bungalow’ (see page 126) – innumerable Witham babies born here – intended as War memorial, but sadly plaque by door recording this now hidden by bushes. To its left, Warwick House (48), tall, original cast iron railings (see colour page 19). Built 1910 for William Heddle, bishop of the Peculiar People. His son had shop here for credit drapery business till 1970s – men known as ‘johnny fortnights’ collected payments at your door. Two newer houses (48A-50) on site of former YMCA hut, built 1915 as social centre for soldiers billeted in Witham for training. Church House, built 1909 as a meeting hall – funded by anonymous donation (now known to be from Hester Holt) – designed by well-known Chelmsford architects Chancellor and Son. All these buildings have steep banks behind them from the earthworks.

Still looking to the other side of the road, junction with long straight Avenue marks edge of inner earthwork – gradient at this end formerly one in two – reduced in 1960 to one in twenty – old slope survives in pavements. Lodge, one gatepost, and small piece of railing between them, survive from when Avenue was in grounds of mansion at the Grove – people could walk here if they behaved. Burton family lived in lodge early 1900s – six redheaded children – bedrooms in attic reached by fold-down ladder in living room. House-building started 1920s and magnificent lime trees cut down. One of earliest houses was ‘North Corner’ (45) – white – down between the two roads – said to be first Witham house with Crittall’s metal windows.

Still looking over to the other side, Avenue Road – branching off to left of the Avenue – for centuries the only road between Newland Street and Chipping Hill. Edwardian wall letter-box. Pair of houses (62-64) at top on left dating from 1884 (then part of new ‘Temples estate’ like others in Avenue Road, some very imposing). Earlier the site of first (tiny) Church School, built 1813. Black brick wall further left – former site of parish pound for stray animals (till 1880s). Left again, past Easton Road, Slythe’s monumental masons – one of oldest Witham businesses still working. James Slythe came to town about 1840 – his son moved to this site early 1860, had the two white houses built 1862. Last of the family died in c 2000. Railway station entrance originally on this side. After it moved to the other side in 1906, the third James Slythe was too impatient to go across by road – used to scramble down the bank and across the rails – also complained about the soot from the steam trains.

Back on your own side of the road, Labour Hall, opened 1962, seriously damaged by fire June 2005. The site was formerly the cattle market. Just past it was the market office, of which part became a shop (‘The Cabin’) in 1930s, replaced 1990 by red brick office building. Graffiti on fence beyond (illustrated). Continuing across railway bridge (widened 1960), on left, Templemead flats (1990s) – on the site of old glove factory which was built for William Pinkham in 1912 (replacing the Albert Road house seen earlier), extended 1948, closed 1961 (see page 98). Then, for a time, Guys Mechanical Engineers – one of first companies to move from London in 1960s. The walk ends here, back at the Albert.