News: Now available. Proceedings of the Chelmsford Conference £15. A review of recent archaeology in Essex. Our Annual Report 2014 may be viewed online. Members of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History may subscribe to digital downloads of our back catalogue of publications. Use Contact Form for more information.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Friends of Essex Churches. Spring Study Day. Wednesday 3 May 2017


Everyone is invited to join Essex historian
Dr Christopher Starr
for talks in 4 interesting medieval churches in NW Essex


10.30         St Mary the Virgin, Stebbing
                   (Watch House Road, CM6 3SW)
11.00               Tea and coffee will be available.
11.30         St Peter & St Paul, Bardfield Saling
(Church Road, CM7 5ED)    
12.30           Lunch, own arrangements, there are pubs and places for picnics in the vicinity.
14.00         St Mary the Virgin, Little Sampford
(CB10 2QL)
15.00         St Michael, Great Sampford
(CB10 2RS) 
16.00               Light refreshments will be available.

There are lavatories in the vicinity of each church except Bardfield Saling.

The order in which we visit the churches is determined by the availability of refreshments, and as these are kindly provided by the churches suitable donations would be appreciated please.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------To:   Mrs S. Clark-Starr, 10 Kings Meadow, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 0HP

I/We wish to attend the FOECT Spring Study Day on Wednesday 3 May 2017
and enclose a cheque made payable to FRIENDS OF ESSEX CHURCHES TRUST

No. members @ £7 each (      )    No. guests @ £10.00 ea. (      )    Donation £………  Total £……..……………



Tel. Nos:.. 


Charity No. 236033

We are trying to raise £1000 for FOECT to support some of our wonderful churches and welcome any donations.

The next Autumn Study Day will be held on Saturday 7 October 2017 in south-east Essex

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Fully Booked 'Lost Landscapes: Reconstructing Medieval Conference' at Essex Record Office

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History, with the Essex Places Names Project, was pleased to sponsor a conference, 'Lost Landscapes: Reconstructing medieval Essex' held at the Essex Record Office today, Saturday 18 March 2017.

Medieval Essex was a land of rich variety, including estuaries and marshland, coastline and rivers, royal forests and ancient countryside. The landscape around us can seem like a fixed and permanent thing but it is, in fact, ever-changing, shaped by both natural and human forces. Today, expert speakers will explore how the landscape of medieval Essex shaped the lives of the people who lived there, and how they in turn shaped the environment around them.

Registration and refreshments
Dr Jim Galloway – Storms, floods and fisheries: the Thames marshes in the later middle ages
Tea and coffee
Dr James Kemble – How the Essex Placenames database can help your research
Paul Mardon – What’s in a name? What names tell us about places
Graham Jolliffe – Reconstructing an Essex medieval deer park
Dr Christopher Thornton – The ‘Wick’ farms of St Osyth
Prof. Stephen Rippon – Early medieval estates in Essex

A little about our speakers…

Dr Jim Galloway is an independent researcher specialising in medieval economic and environmental history. Formerly of the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, he now lives in Ireland and is a Visiting Lecturer at Carlow College.

Paul Mardon has been a volunteer with the Essex Place Names Project since 2009 and has worked on a number of parishes across the county. He also gives talks to local groups and provides advice and guidance to volunteer recorders.

Dr James Kemble studied Landscape and Archaeology at Cambridge and London and has a degree in Archaeological Sciences. He is Coordinator of the Essex Place-Names Project.

Graham Jolliffe is a Research Data Manager at the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex. He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Stebbing Local History Society which was established in 1995. He has done a considerable amount of original research on Stebbing which has been distributed through the society’s own publications. Since 2013 he has been working with Professor L. R. Poos of the Catholic University of America to transcribe, interpret and map the medieval and Tudor manorial documentary evidence for Stebbing – today's talk was a product of that research.

Dr Christopher Thornton is County Editor of the Victoria County History of Essex, Chairman of the Friends of Historic Essex and has been involved with the Essex Place Names Project since its launch. His research on Essex has ranged from medieval buildings, settlement and field systems to the history of modern seaside resorts. Most recently he has been investigating the history of the parish, market town and abbey of St Osyth for next volume of the VCH.

Prof. Stephen Rippon is Professor of Landscape Archaeology at the University of Exeter, although he was born and brought up in Essex. His most recent book – The Fields of Britannia – explored the extent of continuity in land-use from the Roman through to the early medieval periods. He is currently researching the development of territorial structures (kingdoms, civitates, counties, and estates) across eastern England.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Newsletter (Spring 2017)

Newsletter #181 has been issued to members of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History. In this edition:
- From the President
- Essex Record Office
- Growing Heritage
- Stondon Massey Rectory
- Visit to Colchester Castle Gaol in 1801
- Prison Regime at Chelmsford in the 1830s
- A Grammar School in Essex: Brentwood
- Essex Links to Schism in North American Quakerism
- Gustav Holst, Conrad Noel and the Whitsun Festivals at Thaxted
- Richard Warner and Pehr Kalm
- Pehr Kalm and the Essex Countryside in 1748
- Birch Church: an update
- Ash Dieback and the Emerald Ash Borer
- An Apposite Sermon
- An Essex Good Pub Guide of 1636?
- Essex Seen From Elsewhere
- Readers Letters
- Book Reviews
- Events in Essex

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Essex Society for Archaeology and History Morant Lecture, at Newport: Saturday 11 March 2017

Saturday 11 March 2.00pm
Morant Lecture: Illustrated Talk by Ben Cowell on Some Essex Country Houses and their Owners, Venue: Church House Newport Including refreshments. Cost £5.00 members of Essex Society for Archaeology and History, £6.00 non-members

Southend Historic Environment Record and the Preservation of Southend's Heritage: The President writes to its Borough Council

The Essex Society for Archaeology & History 

Mr. Peter Geraghty, 
Director of Planning and Transport, 
Southend on Sea Borough Council, 
Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, 
SS2 6ER 

1st March 2017 

Dear Mr. Geraghty, 

Southend Historic Environment Record and Protection of Southend's Heritage 

Thank you for your letter of 11th January, setting out Southend Borough Council's arrangements for its Historic Environment Record (HER). We note that the HER is currently held at Southend Museum. The Southend Museums service is a great asset to the Borough; the town's museums are amongst the best in Essex and stand comparison with any Local Authority run museums in England. Southend has particularly fine and extensive archaeological collections; the work of a museum archaeologist is, of course, very different from that of a planning archaeologist, who must maintain and enhance the HER, identify necessary archaeological work arising from the planning process, prepare a brief to govern such work, approve written schemes, monitor fieldwork, and subsequent post-excavation work through to publication. How many archaeological staff does the Museum's service employ? and is it correct to assume that there are staff whose duties are dedicated to the maintenance of the HER and management of the archaeological resource through the planning process? 

Yours sincerely, 
Adrian Corder-Birch 
President, Essex Society for Archaeology and History 

Historical Association Lecture: Saturday 11 March 2017

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History has received this notice which it is pleased to publish.  The Morant Lecture is on the same day.

Dear John

Please find details of the next talk of Essex Branch of the Historical Association which may be of interest to your members.

The March talk of the Essex Branch of the Historical Association will be held on 11 March 2017, 2.30pm at the Trinity Methodist Church, Rainsford Road, and is entitled The Protestation of 1642 in Essex by Prof. John Walter, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Essex and the author of Covenanting Citizens: The Protestation Oath and Popular Political Culture in the English Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2017)

In 1641 Parliament, fearing that the king was plotting against them, introduced and took an oath called the Protestation. This was an oath with radical intentions and revolutionary consequences primarily intending to get the nation to swear parish by parish in defence of Parliament. The Protestation returns provide a census of mid-seventeenth-century England still too little known or used. They challenge our conventional picture of the Civil War as a reluctant conflict among the political elite, telling a tale of how ‘ordinary’ men and women in responding to the political and religious messages of the oath claimed for themselves a political voice.   

Visitors warmly welcomed - £3.

Thank You 
Debbie Cresswell (publicity officer)

Friday, 24 February 2017

Essex Record Office. Freedom of Information Request Acknowledged by Essex County Council

FOI Acknowledgement ECC2010920 02 17

20 February 2017

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your recent request for information which has been received by Essex County Council.

Your request is covered by the Freedom of Information Act, under which we must respond within 20 working days.

We will determine and let you know whether we hold the information you have requested and consider whether we are able to release the information or if it is exempt from disclosure.

ECC does not usually charge for providing information to its requestors as the provision of electronic copies is negligible, however under certain circumstances we may have to do so if providing the information costs more than £25. We will let you know before we do any work that would incur a charge.

Please note that the response and data released to you as part of this request will be published on the Essex County Council website. The website address is All requests will be anonymised and no personal information including contact details will be disclosed as part of this process.

Please contact me if you would like further advice or assistance about your request, or your right to access information held by Essex County Council.

Yours sincerely,

Paula Girling
Your Right to Know
Information Services

Essex County Council

Essex Record Office: Possible Self-Financing of Service. Letter #3 from Our President

The Essex Society for Archaeology & History 

Cllr. John Spence, C.B.E., D.L., Essex County Council, PO Box 11 County Hall, CHELMSFORD, Essex.

19th February 2017 
Dear Cllr. Spence, 

Thank you for your letter of 13th February and for your kind invitation to meet you at County Hall. 

My colleagues and I will be pleased to meet you in due course, but before doing so would appreciate answers to the questions raised in my letters of 16th November 2016 and 23rd January 2017 to Cllr. Finch. It is important to have the information requested prior to our meeting so that we can fully prepare and can discuss details, figures and statistics with you. 

On behalf of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History; information has been requested in writing on two occasions, which has not been forthcoming. This is very disappointing and therefore at our last Council meeting on 21st January 2017, authority was given to pursue this under the Freedom of Information Act. Will you therefore kindly accept this letter as our formal FOI request for the information and documentation requested in our letters of 16th November 2016 and 23rd January 2017 to be fully supplied, within the requisite time limits please. 

Following this we shall happily meet you, but would ask for minutes of our meeting to be taken please. I look forward to hearing from you please. Thank you 

Yours sincerely

Adrian Corder-Birch, D.L., President, Essex Society for Archaeology and History 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Essex Record Office: Possible Self-Financing of Service. A Response from Essex County Council Portfolio Holder

Essex County Council 
Cabinet Office PO Box 11 County Hall Chelmsford Essex CM1 1LX 

Mr A Corder-Birch DI 
President, Essex Society for Archaeology & History 

Dear Mr Corder-Birch 

Date: 13 February 2017 

Thanks for your further letter of 23rd January addressed to Cllr David Finch. As I am the Portfolio Holder for Heritage Culture and Arts I felt it would be best if I replied direct. 

Essex County Council is well aware of the high regard in which ERO services are held. We are keen to generate more revenue — it always seems to me that the best policy is for residents to pay for the services they consume when they can afford to do so. But that does not mean that there is any question of closure or cessation. 

You have asked again for the release of numbers which we feel would be inappropriate — statistics themselves can be misleading if unaccompanied by an explanation. I am therefore writing to invite you, and 1 or 2 colleagues, to come and have a conversation with me at County Hall. 

As we do not have a phone number for you, could you please contact my PA Sally Hills ... regarding a suitable date to meet. 

Incidentally, it was good to attend the Colchester Roman Circus presentation last Thursday where I met one of your fellow officers — all very interesting. 

Yours sincerely, 
Cllr John Spence CBE DL Cabinet Member for Finance, Housing and Planning. 
Cc Cllr D Finch 

Essex Record Office: Possible Self-Financing of Service. The President writes to Essex County Council

The Essex Society for Archaeology & History 

Cllr. David Finch,
Essex County Council,
PO Box 11,
County Hall,

Your ref: DF/ac
                                                                                                                                                                23rd January 2017

Dear David,


Thank you for your letter of 1st December 2016, which was carefully considered at the ESAH Council meeting on 21st January.  Incidentally, this meeting was held at the ERO, which is one of a number of ways in which ESAH supports the ERO.

ESAH and its members support and are anxious to continue to support the ERO and its work, not least through the use of the ERO as a venue for meetings, but also, at an individual membership level, through the use of the ERO’s non-digital resources, through the blog, twitter account and newsletter.  ESAH recently arranged and paid for on behalf of the ERO, the printing of a flyer for the forthcoming Lost Landscapes Conference to be held at the ERO. Collectively and individually we value the excellent services provided by the ERO extremely highly and are anxious about the future.  Our principal concerns relate to the implications for the services offered to the public, including our members, in light of Stephen Dixon’s report for which clarification is requested please. 

Council was concerned about the disappointing lack of any detail and the failure to answer directly the questions contained in my letter of 16th November 2016.  Council also considered that for a public service your phrase of “trading deficit” was rather curious.  What are the implications of this please?

We fully appreciate that your staff are busy but can you please answer the following questions to give ESAH an idea of the current running costs and staffing levels of the ERO in advance of proposed changes:

1.       Current income to date?
2.       2016-17 income target?
3.       Projected 2020 running costs?
4.       Current staffing levels?
5.       Will there be an opportunity for public consultation on any plans that affect the ERO?  We feel that it is important that we, as major ‘stakeholders’ are given the opportunity to comment on ECC proposals in detail, at an early stage. 

I look forward to hearing from you please.  Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Adrian Corder-Birch,
Essex Society for Archaeology and History

'Lost Landscapes: Reconstructing Medieval Essex': Day Conference at Essex Record Office, Saturday18 March 2017

Lost Landscapes: Reconstructing medieval Essex
Saturday 18 March 2017, 10.30am-3.30pm
Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford, CM2 6YT
Organised by the Essex Record Office in partnership with the Essex Place Names Project and the Essex Society for Archaeology and History

Medieval Essex was a land of rich variety, including estuaries and marshland, coastline and rivers, royal forests and ancient countryside. The landscape around us can seem like a fixed and permanent thing but it is, in fact, ever-changing, shaped by both natural and human forces. Today, expert speakers will explore how the landscape of medieval Essex shaped the lives of the people who lived there, and how they in turn shaped the environment around them.

Registration and refreshments


Dr Jim Galloway – Fisheries, marshlands and environmental change in estuary Essex

Tea and coffee

Dr James Kemble – How the Essex Placenames database can help your research

Paul Mardon – What’s in a name? What names tell us about places


Graham Joliffe – Reconstructing an Essex medieval deer park

Prof. Steve Rippon – Early medieval estates in Essex


Keep in touch with the Essex Record Office
The ERO is the storehouse of Essex history. It cares for documents, maps, images, and sound and video recordings that together tell the story of nearly 1,000 years of our county’s past.
033301 32500

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History

The Essex Place Names Project

Saturday, 18 February 2017

High Country History Group: 'Men of Valour: Victoria Cross winners in Essex': ...

High Country History Group: 'Men of Valour: Victoria Cross winners in Essex': ...: Our next meeting will be on Thursday 23 February, 8pm, when our Chairman, Martyn Lockwood, will speak on the subject 'Men of Valour - VC winners in Essex'.  All welcome. Members £1, Visitors £3. Including refreshments

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Walthamstow Archaeological Site on View: 13 February 2017, 11am-1pm

A public event at the Holy Family College Wiseman Site (entry via Vinegar Alley), Walthamstow will be held to display the exposed archaeological excavation project and a number of the finds including a roman coin.

If anyone is interested in viewing the excavation and the finds we will be opening the site from 11-1 on Monday 13 February 2017. The site entrance is located in Vinegar Alley and anyone visiting the site should report to that entrance and not the schools entrances please as they will be shut for Half Term.

The viewing area will be on grass and contain light mud so appropriate footwear should be worn.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Searchroom Hours Cut at Essex Record Office

Announced this week by Essex County Council: a reduction in searchroom opening hours is announced from April 2017.  The reason: reduced footfall and the need to make budget cuts. Those visiting the searchroom are asked to complete a questionnaire to assess the impact of the changes.

Essex Record Office Searchroom opening hours survey
We are planning to change the opening hours of the Essex Record Office (ERO) Searchroom from Tuesday 4 April 2017. We are running this short survey to check that this change will not have too great an impact on our users.
The ERO Searchroom is currently open for an average of 34.5 hours per week. Under new arrangements, detailed below, the Searchroom will be open for an average of 25.25 hours per week. The new pattern of opening will still include some evening and weekend opening hours, and a week when we are open for five consecutive days. We hope in this way to still provide for researchers who travel significant distances to visit, or who cannot visit during regular office hours.

The reasons for making this change are:

·         Like all public services, the ERO is facing tough financial challenges. With reductions in public sector budgets, we are not able to sustain our current opening hours. We are working to reduce costs where we can, and to generate income to secure the future of the archive service.
·         With advances in digitisation there is less demand today for our traditional Searchroom service. More users access our records online from home, or make their visits to archives shorter by photographing records to work on at home. Searchroom visits peaked in 2002 with an average of 58 users per day, while in 2016 we had an average of 27 Searchroom users per day.
·         Budget constraints mean that we are operating with a smaller team. By being open less, we will be able to staff the Searchroom sufficiently to maintain service levels on days when we are open.
The new opening hours will be on a four week system, made up of one long week followed by three shorter weeks. The days we will be open will be clearly advertised on our website and around the building, and printed copies of a calendar will be available.
Week 1
Weeks 2-4
Total hours:

Total hours:
Average no. of hours per week: 25.25

All of our other services will remain unchanged.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Essex Archaeology & History News: Contents #161-180 (3) O-Z

Ongar Conventicle in the 1590s … 172.27
Ongar, Schoolmasters and Teaching in Seventeenth Century … 179.11
Online Presence, Our … 169.3, 170.8
Oyster Under Serious Threat, Native Essex … 170.8
Parthenon Marble Found in Essex … 172.26
Phillips BEM, Andrew, Congratuations … 170.1
Planning System … 180.5
Planning System Making A Case for the Historic Environment … 179.4
Pleshey Castle Report possible funding from the Castle Studies Trust … 170.9
Pleshey Castle, Excavations at, 1972-1981 … 177.9
Pleshey Castle, Visit to … 170.7
Pliny Rediscovered … 172.13
Plume Lecture 2012 … 167.16, 169.5
Pottery Fragments, ESAH Finds New Home for … 177.18
Probert C K, A Victorian Scrapbook Author Identified as … 164.7
Programme and Excursions Secretaries … 163.15
Publisher Offers … 180.24
Rackham, Oliver. Obituary … 176.22
Rainham Church and Hall, Visit to … 164.8
Rainham Hall … 176.18
Rare Pamphlet … 173.12
Readers Letters … 177.22, 179.23, 180.23
Rettendon, Bishop's Palace at? … 162.2
Rich, Diaries of Mary, Countess of Warwick (1624-1678) … 171.13
Roxwell, Rebuilding at Skreens, in 1699 … 167.11
Sadd, John, & Sons Ltd Builders and Timber Merchants of Maldon … 176.6
Saffron Walden Museum Society … 163.7
Saint, The Vengeful … 177.4
Salmon, Nathaniel (1675-1742) … 180.10
Scottish Migrants 1603-1762 … 169.4
Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 … 172.29
Sea Coal … 174.9
Secretary, An Appeal from the … 168.4
Shrews, Parboiled … 172.30
South Weald, The Medicinal Spring at … 172.19
Southend and the Royal Hotel Came to Build an Essex Icon, How … 176.7
Spurrell, Frederick, An Essex Antiquarian … 175.14
St Osyth Planning Application Objection … 179.5
St Osyth Planning Application Update … 180.20
Stondon Massey Byrd Festival Gains International Reputation … 164.6
Stondon Massey Rectory … 179.9
Stondon Massey, William Byrd and the Authorised Version of the Bible … 168.5
Stondon Massey, William Byrd Festival 2011 at .. 162.15
Stondon Massey, William Byrd's Library at … 161.9
Stour Valley A Prehistoric Landscape … 176.12
Stow Maries Aerodrome … 167.10
Strange Wonders, Three … 179.14
Stray, An Essex … 165.10
Stuchfield, Martin, Appointed Deputy Lieutenant … 175.22
Taper Burns on Structural Timbers … 173.8
Thames Saling Barge, The Galant Glenway … 180.14
Thameside Explosives Industry, Hulks at Holehaven Creek and the … 175.5
Thatching Straw, Threshing for … 168.8
Tindal, Judge Sir Nicolas Conyngham, and the Wager of Battle … 179.13
Training Excavations … 163.13
Transactions, A Quest for Early Volumes of the Society's … 167.9
Transactions, ESAH, Third Series Vols 1-30 Index … 164.8
Transactions, Essex Archaeological Society, Volume 1 (1858) Digitised … 164.11
Tree Ring Dating, New Insights into … 163.7
Ulting Wick and Ulting Church … 178.22
Upminster Windmill, Secured Thanks to £1.4m Grant … 172.7
Vernacular Architecture Volume 45, 2014 … 177.20
Victoria County History Essex Diamond Jubilee … 165.3
Victoria County History of Essex the current position … 163.3
Victoria County History Southend Project … 178.3
Victorian Society Exhibition Saving The Century … 178.6
Wall Paintings in Churches … 163.9
Waller's Poor Opinion of Essex … 162.9
Walls, Crinkle Crankle … 168.11
Waltham Abbey, Leverton Charities … 178.16
Warrener's Lodges … 168.13
Weathersfield, Boydells Farmhouse … 176.21
Website News … 179.11
West Essex Archaeological Group … 172.7
West Hanningfield Church Bell Tower … 177.19
Wilkinson, Tony, archaeologist. Obituary … 174.21
Willingale Bells … 165.5
Wilson, Arthur (1595-1652) … 162.5
Winchester, Anglo Saxon Hospital at? … 164.16
Windmills, Volunteers Needed to Help with a Survey of Essex … 162.16
Window Glass … 164.14
Window Glass, An Addendum … 165.9
Witham, Restoration of Church Monument to John Hervey … 179.20
Wolfstones, Dogstones and Quernstones … 178.19
Woodland, Restoration of Ancient … 162.9
Woodland, The Oxlip and Ancient … 165.4
Woods, New Killer Ash Dieback Stalks Essex … 169.12
Woolhouse, Rev John, Vicar of West Mersea 1630-1642, A Common Ale-house Haunter and Drunkard … 179.15
World War II Heritage Project … 171.10, 172.5, 174.14
Wrecks, Rescues and Telegraphy … 170.5
Zeppelins Centenary Commemoration 2016 … 180.19