Saturday, 28 February 2015

Marconi Heritage in Hall Street, Chelmsford

Note on status of campaign to save Marconi Hall Street factory

There is very good news in the ongoing campaign to get a sustainable and viable presentation of Marconi Heritage content in the original Marconi factory in Hall Street in Chelmsford. As the first wireless factory in the world it is of international significance and can therefore justify support as a site of special heritage interest. Many of you will be aware of the recent considerable media interest in this initiative.

Although the whole building has been subject to a successful planning application for residential development negotiations with the owners are underway with a view to acquiring the ground floor for the creation of a community/heritage asset, and the Marconi Heritage Group is working with the Moulsham and Central Chelmsford Community Trust to get this underway and to raise finance for this opportunity. We are convinced that a successful application can be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund but we have to find matching funding and initially pay the costs to set up a trust body to carry out the necessary work - the full amount required for purchase and fitting-out is of the order of £1.5 million. To start us off we need a fighting fund of a few thousand, and then go after substantial contributions to the full amount.

The Marconi Heritage Group is therefore planning on launching both national and worldwide appeals for support, as from the earliest days the Marconi companies traded in an international market, and setting up an online crowd-funding site to collect donations. We are a currently a small group and will need additional help with the back-office work in running the appeals and the trust, so both those local boots-on-the-ground and those able to use the internet are invited to contact us through our website <www.marconiheritage.org> or by personal means to give us an idea of what support we can get.

With your help we can be confident of gaining a facility to ensure the deserved and continued recognition of the work of our founder coupled with that of the many thousands who served in the companies as researchers, skilled tradesmen, professional engineers and operators, which laid the foundations of the modern world.

Friday, 27 February 2015

The Hyde, Ingatestone: After the Fire in 1965

The Hyde, Ingatestone, after the fire which brought its history, latterly a school to an end.

The Hyde, Ingatestone, after it was destroyed by fire, 1965

Interior following the fire

Disney Crest - a reminder of the family seat. Now gone

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Hyde, Ingatestone. Seat of the Disney Family

John Disney, collector of classical antiquity, lived at The Hyde, Ingatestone in the mid nineteenth century, The property was burnt down in 1965.

Some photographs: 

A print of the Entrance Hall and Staircase of The Hyde
The Hyde, Ingatestone - early twentieth century

The Hyde, from an old postcard

The Hyde, viewed from the driveway

Inside The Hyde, Ingatestone

The Staircase, The Hyde

The Hyde, during the years it was a school
The Essex Society for Archaeology and History's Morant Lecture will be held on Friday 20 March 2015 at Ingatestone Parish Church.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

John Disney and the Early Years of the Essex Archaeological Society

The Essex Society for Archaeology and History is looking forward to the Morant Lecture to be held at Ingatestone Parish Church on Friday 20 March 2015, 7.30pm.  Our speaker is Professor David Gill who will be talking on the subject, 'The Wonderful World of Disney: Collecting Classical Antiquity'. John Disney was the first President of our Society.
From our archives: S/SEC/7/4

Letter dated 14.1.1954 from R J Appleby to Revd. M Benton

Dear Mr Benton

At what was described as the “first quarterly meeting” on 17 Feb 1853, Charles Gray Round was in the chair.  There were lectures by John Taylor, Jun., and Rev. E E Cutts, and Dr Duncan one of the secretaries, spoke of the plan to found a museum and asked for a gift of loans.

Ess. Standard of 1 Apr 53 reports that Round had consented to give eastern court of castle at nominal rent for a museum in connection with the Archaeological Society.

A meeting at Castle Hedingham was described as the 3rd public gathering of members.  It took place on 29 Jul 53.  Disney presided, and papers were read by Rev. J H Marsden, A Majendie, Harrod, Neville, Almack, Buckler.  Other papers held over to next meeting.  For two days prior to the meeting excavations were carried out to find the foundations and extent of the original building.  30-40 members dined at the Bell afterwards.

On 5 Dec 53 there was a Council meeting with Disney presiding and Round and other friends present.

There was a meeting at Maldon on 29 August, 1854.  J Disney, FRS, President was unable to attend owing to indisposition.  Papers were read by Duncan etc..  Chair was taken by Charles Merivale.  This was described as the 4th annual meeting, but so was that in 1855.

The meeting on 30th Aug 55 was in the Library at Colchester Castle with Disney in the chair.  He said that he had been president for 4 years and owing to advancing years was obliged to retire, but was happy to name his successor.  Mr C G Round proposed thanks to the retiring President and formally proposed Neville to succeed.  It was seconded by Rev Professor Marsden.  Papers read by Jenkins, King etc..  They feasted at the Cups from 4-7pm.

I hope this solves your problem.

Yours sincerely


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Next Event: Looking Forward to the Morant Lecture. 20 March 2015

Looking forward to the Morant Lecture 2015.
The Disney Family and The Hyde, Ingatestone

Professor David Gill gives this year’s Morant Lecture at Ingatestone Parish Church, on the subject of ‘The Wonderful World of Disney: Collecting Classical Antiquity’. 

The Disney family, who are not related to the famous Walt Disney – that is a Mickey Mouse story - hailed from Norton Disney a very small village in Lincolnshire not far from Newark.

Our account begins with the Revd. Dr. John Disney (1746-1816), a Unitarian minister, who in September 1804 inherited the estate of Thomas Brand Hollis at The Hyde, Ingatestone, and the collection of antiquities housed there, which had been formed by Thomas Brand Hollis and Thomas Brand (1719-1774) in Italy between 1748 and 1753.  Hollis died childless.  Both Disney and Hollis were antiquarian friends and in fitting tribute he had erected a monument to his benefactor in Ingatestone Church.  (There are memorials to the Petre family in the church which can also be viewed on the night of the lecture.)

On the death of the Reverend, on 26th December 1816, John Disney, his eldest son, succeeded to the estate.  Disney added to the collection, and devoted much of his time to its study, and to other work on Archaeology and antiquities generally. His interests naturally led him to Rome, where his bust was executed by Raimondo Trentanore (1792-1832) in 1827, the year of Disney's return to England. In April 1850 he gave 83 marbles from his collection to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, of which a number are displayed and regarded as “the museum’s corpus of classical sculpture”.  In the next year endowed a chair in Archaeology at the University, which still bears his name: “the first tentative steps towards establishing the subject as an academic discipline”, Micheal Leach wrote. 

In 1852, on the foundation of the Essex Archaeological Society, Disney became its first President, serving until the  AGM in August 1855, when he relinquished his post which he felt unable to continue, being in his 77th year.  Perhaps inevitably, the inaugural lecture ('On Archaeology') given to the Society on 14th December 1852, was by John Howard Marsden BD (1803-1891), 'Disney Professor of Cambridge, and Rector of Great Oakley'. Marsden was one of 16 Vice-Presidents the Society elected that day.  Besides his antiquarian pursuits Disney also practiced as a lawyer, and unsuccessfully contested the Parliamentary seats of Harwich in 1832, and North Essex in 1835.

John Disney is regarded as an important archaeologist of the nineteenth century.  Not only was he a founder of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History but was also instrumental in the creation of the Museum at Chelmsford. 

The Disney family’s monument is a large square tomb with urn and tall pillar to the north side of the churchyard of nearby Fryerning Church where Revd John, his eldest son, John and other family members are interred.  In the churches at Ingatestone and Blackmore is an identical memorial to the Revd’s second son, Edgar, who succeeded John and who died in 1881.  The remainder of the Disney family antiquities were auctioned in 1884/85.

The Hyde is first mentioned in 1624, but may date back to 1590, and was greatly remodelled by Timothy Brand (d.1734) in 1719.  After the Disney’s occupation, the house later became a school for day pupils and boarders.  Fifty years ago (in 1965) the previous home of John Disney was badly damaged in a fire deliberately started by the school cook, Mrs Ligo, who later served a custodial sentence for arson.

Boyden, Peter. Library Corner. From ‘Essex Archaeological News No 55, Spring 1976’ (now available digitally)
Brereton, Graham. Thomas Brand Hollis and the Disneys of Ingatestone (2005)
Leach, Micheal. Rev. John Howard Marsden: Rector of Great Oakley & First Disney Professor of Archaeology.  From ESAH Transactions, Series 4, Volume 1 (2010)
Wilde, E.E.  Ingatestone and The Essex Great Road, with Fryerning (1913)
Yearsley, Ian. Ingatestone and Fryerning. A History (1997)

Andrew Smith

Monday, 23 February 2015

Next Event: Morant Lecture at Ingatestone, 20 March 2015

The Essex Society for Archaeology & History
The Morant Lecture 2015
The subject of this year’s lecture is
The Wonderful World of Disney
John Disney (1779-1857) was a Barrister and Archaeologist and son of Rector John Disney. John Disney inherited his father’s antiquities, upon his death and continued to add to the collection. In 1850 Disney donated most of the sculptures to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. John Disney established the Chair of Archaeology.  The Disney family lived at the Hyde in Ingatestone and their monument is in Fryerning churchyard.
Presented by
Professor David Gill
Professor David Gill is a Professor of Archaeological Heritage and Director of Heritage Futures at the University Campus Suffolk.
On Friday 20th March 2015 at 7.30 pm
Venue: St Edmund & St Mary’s Church, Ingatestone

Members £5.00 in advance, Non-members and on the door £6.00. Booking required PLEASE contact Dr Graham Gould email drgegould@aol.com

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Colchester Archaeological Trust is 50

Now 50 years old, the organisation goes from strength to strength: http://www.thecolchesterarchaeologist.co.uk/?p=17393 

The Will of Richard Butler, of White Colne (1500)

BUTLER, RICHARD. – 13 December, 1500. Of Whit Colne in the diocese of London. To be buried in the churchyard of Erlys Colne {Earls Colne}, by my wife. To the high altar of the same, for·tithes forgotten, 12d . "To the sepulchre of Erlys Colne, my best redde couerlet. ii of my best laton candelstiks, to serve for the high awter on Cristmasse moming and Ester morning.[1]  To the church of Erlys Colne, vjs. viijd., to kepe myn obitt and myn wiff's. To the high awter of White Colne, for tithes and duties forgotten, xijd.  To the same, my best shete for an awter clothe[2]; also an ewer of laton, to doo service which shall be most expedient.”
''To Robert, my son, my fether bede and bolstar and also my best brasse potte.  To Thomasyn, William my sonnys daughter, myne other brasse pott. To Robert, my son, vjs. viijd.  To Thomasyn, my litell brasse pott, also a gowne of murrey and a blake hoode that was my wiff's, and a peyre of langettes bedes and blak gette,[3] and xij peces of pewter platers, dishes and sawcers, also a trevett and gredyron, and a spete of yron, and a brasse panne of a potell (half a gallon), and a ketill of a galon, and a laton ladyll, a sprewys cheste, also a matras, and a bolstar, a pelowe , a couerlet febyll,[4]  and a colrake of yron , and a frying pann e. To William Parker, xiijs. iiijd., if he be a preest. My grete panne to be sold and half of the money to be parted betwixt the wif of Thomas Hunt, his nese, and Jone Parker, his nese.''  Executors: Thomas Hunt; William Beulde, of Erlys Colne (6s. 8d. each).
Proved 17 March 1500, by Thomas Hunt.  (F. 77b ; also P.C.C., Moone 18.)

{Taken from ‘Essex Wills at Canterbury’, by Revd. G M Benton, Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society, Volume 21, Part 2.}

[1] Similar bequests of two candlesticks for the high altar are met with in wills of the period: usually they were of latton. but sometimes of silver. The evidence shows that it was the practice to set not more than two lights on the altar for mass, which is in accordance with Anglican tradition.
[2] A sheet or a table-cloth for use as an altar-cloth, was a frequent bequest: occasionally one or two sheets were given to make surplices or albs.  Legacies of wearing apparel for conversion into copes, vestments, etc., were also not uncommon.
[3] = a rosary of jet.  A pair of beads = a rosary; langett, or languet, is a tongue- shaped ornament, especially a drop of jet, amber etc. The N.E.D. quotes the exact parallel, dated 1490, j par procum de jete langettes.
[4] = feeble, i.e. of inferior quality

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Revd. Philip Morant's Research

From our archives: S/SEC/4/1

Revd. Philip Morant, author of ‘History of Essex’ published in full in 1768.  This out-letter, believed to be original, was written in the course of his research.

Copy Letter in the possession of Edward Palmer Landon Esq Brentwood

Being engaged in a History of Essex (as you may see by the enclosed Proposals) of which a part is already published I am obliged to apply to Gentlemen of information in some particulars which I cannot discover otherwise And having lately finish’d the Parish of Aldham I humbly beg a favour of you to set me to right in these things.

Aldham Hou, I think, was the first Estate your late Father purchas’d in the Parish. In what year did he purchase it? & of whom?  Was it of William Glascock, the same that had Aldham Hall?

Aldham Hall was purchased of Charles Cornwallis Esq. by --- Glasock: ---- Edward Glasock had it in 1635 ---- and I find ---- Harry & ---- William mention’d as subsequent owners till 1722: that may be all the owners between those years; or at least all but one.

I have an account from a letter of your father’s when he bought Aldham Hall.  Be pleased to let me, know the name of your two sisters ---- is married to the Revd. Mr ---- How, be so good as to set down his Preferments: Is he not brother to the late Lord Chedworth?

----- the other sister is married to Michael Thirkle Esq: Did your father buy Bourchiers Hall the Wic & Hill farm of Lord Romney before the year 1724?

I have been greatly puzzled about an Estate called in Records the Manor of Abbots & said in the Inquisitions post mortem to lye in Stanway, Fordham, Copford & Lexden. It belonged formerly to Waltham Abbey then to Jobson; afterwards to the Sayers that had Bouchier’s hall.  Be pleased to let me know whether your father did not buy it of Lord Romney and when? One thing directs me to think it is that Manor of Abbots, because Mr Green your Tenant informs me that it is called Abbots Hall.

Many Estates are called in Ancient Records Manors, that are not reckoned as now; not holding Courts nor having Tenants as they formerly had, and perhaps the demesnes being parcell’d out into divers parcels.

Your answer as soon as you have an opportunity will greatly oblige.

Your most obedient humble servant
Phil. Morant

April 19 1763

Friday, 20 February 2015

Lost Brass from Kirby-le-Soken Church

From our archives: S/SEC/4/1

Brass in the church of Kirby-le-Soken, Essex

Here lyeth the bodie of Rebekah Crease wife to
John Crease Senr and daughter to Willyam
Alexander of Weelie, Clark, who departed
her mortal life the 20 of September 1619 in her
mortal lyfe she was a mydewyfe as it doeth
appeare since that time in Curbbey came not

such another there.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Stanstead Hall, Halstead: 1909

Two photographs of Stanstead Hall, Halstead, taken in 1909.
From the archives of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History: S/LIB/9/1/027

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Chelmsford Museum Annual Lecture: 27 February 2015

A notice of a lecture from the Chairman of the Essex Industrial Archaeology Group.

Chelmsford Annual Museum Lecture

The Recent History of The Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation
By Roy Chandler, Director of Essex Waterways Ltd

Chelmsford City Theatre
Friday 27th February 2015 at 8:00pm
Tickets: £6.00, or £5.00 for Friends of Chelmsford Museum

Full details of the lecture and how to book are at:

Monday, 16 February 2015

Archaeology Today in 1923

Today’s fact:

16 February 1923 – Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Essex Archaeological & Historical Congress: Symposium, Saturday 7 March 2015

To members of Essex Society for Archaeology and History

"Please could you circulate to your members the attached programme and booking form for the Essex Congress 2015 History Symposium.

"All of your members are welcome to attend - if it is possible for you to complete and return the booking form, or advise the numbers planning to attend by email or phone, then that would help us with the logistics of the day, but if not then please turn up and pay on entry.

"We look forward to seeing you there.


Andrew Madeley, Assistant Secretary
Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress

Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress


Saturday 7th March
  10:00 am – 4:30 pm

The United Reform Church, Chelmsford

Theme: Transport In and Around Essex

The talks include:

R.F.C. Stow Maries Aerodrome
Buses In Essex and Beyond
The History Of The Epping and Ongar Railway

The cost of attendance, including buffet lunch, is £10

Tickets, ‘how to get there’ and the full programme will be issued on booking

Please complete this slip and send it, with a stamped self-addressed envelope, to:

The Hon. Secretary,
Mr Norman Jacobs, 101 Farmleigh Avenue, Clacton-on-Sea, CO15 4UL.

Please send me ……… ticket(s) for the 2015 History Symposium

I enclose a cheque for £……………… made payable to “Essex Congress”

Name(s) (Contact first please) …………………………………………………………………….


Contact address …………………………………………………………………………………….

Society/Group ……………………………………………………………………………………….

Registered Charity Number 276048