History of Birch

St Peter's Church - exterior behind metal barracading.
St Peter's Church, Birch. Closed 1990. Public Enquiry due in 2017 to decide: development or demolition?
© Copyright Robin Webster contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

History of Birch >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

BIRCH (GREAT and LITTLE) now form one parish, with a straggling village, on a pleasant acclivity, 5½ miles South West of Colchester. They contain 794 souls and 3009 acres or dry loamy land, extending northwards to Heckford Bridge on the river Roman, where there is a small assemblage of houses in Little Birch, 4 miles South West of Colchester.

An artificial mound, near the church, is said to be the site of Birch Castle; but it was more probably an outpost of the stupendous Roman entrenchments, which extended round Colchester.

P. Wright and F. Harrison, have estates here; but the greater part of the soil, with the manor, belongs to Charles Gray Round, Esq., of Birch Hall, which was an ancient mansion, built chiefly by the Tendring and Golding families, but was much rebuilt by John Round, Esq., in 1727-'8, and has since been much improved by his successors. It is a large and handsome mansion, with beautiful pleasure grounds crossed by a small rivulet. It stands in Little Birch, which has still considerable ruins of a church, and was anciently a separate parish.

The Church (St. Peter) in Great Birch, is a small antique fabric, which has undergone many repairs and has a shingled spire. Three obits were founded in it, and for some time it was in the appropriation of Lees Priory.

The united rectories, valued in K.B. at £11, and in 1831 at £484. are in the alternate patronage of the Bishop of London and C.G. Round, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Richard Waller, M.A.. who has 58A. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1842.

ruined church - exterior
St Mary's Church, Little Birch. Reported to be in good repair in 1684, by 1736 it was in a 'demolished state'. No longer required as Great and Little Birch had amalgamated.
© Copyright Andy Barham contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A handsome school of white brick, with a dwelling for the master and mistress, was built here in 1847, by Mrs. Round, and is supported by her, with the aid of the children's pence. It is conducted on the Pestalozzian system.

The poor parishoners have an annuity of 10s., left by Roger March out of Churchfield and Castle Hill, in 1614, and another of 20s., left by Robert Carr, out of a field of 20A. belonging to Mrs Brett.

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Birch (Great and Little) - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

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Birch (Great and Little) - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805

This work is based on data provided through www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth. Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-4.0

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