History of Brentwood

Queens Road, Brentwood, 1896 (Neg. 38653)  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Queens Road, Brentwood, 1896
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Brentwood >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

BRENTWOOD, a small but improving market town and chapelry, in South Weald parish, has a station on the Eastern Counties Railway, and is seated on a commanding eminence, in a picturesque and woody district, on the high road from London to Colchester, 11 miles South West by South of Chelmsford, 6 miles West of Billericay, and 18 miles East North East of London.

Its chapelry is a separate township, which contains only 460A.3R.25O, of land, and had only 1007 inhabitants in 1801, but in 1831 they had increased to 1642, and in 1841 to 2364.

It has one of the handsomest of the smaller railway stations, and has been much improved and enlarged since the opening of the line, in 1846, by the erection of about 100 houses, and a large steam corn-mill; and the formation of Victoria road.

Its small market, which had been long disused, has recently been revived, and is held on Thursday; and it has two annual fairs, for cattle, pleasure, etc., held on the 18th and 19th of July, and 15th and 16th of October.

It has a richly endowed Grammar School, and gives name to a large Police Division, for which Petty Sessions are held here on the second and last Thursday of every month, at the White Hart Inn. Mr. C.L. Lewis, the coroner, is clerk to the magistrates; and Mr F.N. Landon is clerk to the County Court, for Brentwood district. The Police Station is a large square building, with accommodation for the inspector (Mr. T. Coulson,) and four police constables.

The inhabitants are supplied with excellent water from wells and pumps, and the town has small Gas Works, erected in 1834, by a company of proprietors, holding 150 shares, some £10 and others £20 each.

C.T. Tower, Esq., is lord of the manor of Brentwood and Costed Hall; but the Brentwood Hall estate belongs to William Henry Kavanagh, Esq., and here are several smaller proprietors.

The town was anciently called Burntwood. and, being a great thoroughfare, it has several good inns and public houses. An old house, formerly the Crown Inn, is supposed to have had that sign 400 years ago. The assizes were once held here; and in High street are the remains of the Town Hall and Prison, converted into a dwelling.

On tbe south-western side of Weald Hall Park are traces of a circular camp, single ditched, including about seven acres, and supposed to have been a castra exploratorum.

The manor of Brentwood was given to the abbey of St. Oysth, by William de Wochendon Camerariuls, and confirmed to that house by Henry II. At the dissolution, it was granted to Lord Cromwell, and in 1553 to the Browne family, of whose successors it was purchased, in 1759, by T. Tower, Esq., together with South Weald.

ruins - exterior
Ruins of St Thomas a Becket's Chapel
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The old chapel (St. Thomas-a-Becket,) was founded in 1221, by the abbot of St. Osyth, but being too small for the increased population of the chapelry, it was converted into a National School, in 1835, when the new Chapel was finished at the cost of £3500, raised by subscription, and a grant of £300 from the Church Building Society.

The latter is a neat white-brick structure, of early English architecture, consisting of a nave and aisles, with a square tower, containing two bells and a clock. The living is a perpetual curacy, valued at £124, in the patronage of C.T. Tower, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Frederick Boyd, B.A.

A new Roman Catholic Chapel was built here in 1837, under the patronage of Lord Petre. It is a handsome structure of white-brick, with two turrets crowned by spiral domes, flanking its entrance gable. The interior is elegantly fitted up, and the Rev. E. Reardon is the priest.

The new Independent Chapel, a neat structure, in the Italian and Grecian styles, was built in 1846'-7, at the cost of £1300, in lieu of the old one, which was taken down in 1847, and was built by a congregation formed in 1707. A school is attached to it, and the Rev. John Hall is its minister.

Here are also two small chapels, belonging to the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, the former built in 1845, and the latter in 1847.

The National School is endowed with the interest of £500, left by John Offin, butcher, in 1840.

The Brentwood Labourers' Friend Society was established about three years ago, for the encouragement of industry and good husbandry among the poor, many of whom in this neighbourhood derive much benefit from field and garden allotments. C.C. Lewis, Esq., is secretary of this useful society; and at Mrs.Jenkin's is a depository of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

The FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL, at Brentwood, and the ALMSHOUSES at South Weald, were founded by Sir Anthony Browne, sergeant at law, and afterwards a Judge of the Common Pleas. In the 5th of Philip and Mary, he obtained a license under letters patent to found a Grammar School in Brentwood, for the better instruction and education of the youth of the neighbouring country, to be governed by a master and two guardians, who should be a body corporate. with a common seal, etc., and be appointed by the founder's heirs, as patrons of the school.

By his will, dated Dec. 28th, 1565, he also bequeathed to the master and guardians, five tenements in the village of South Weald, as an almshouse for five poor folks of South Weald parish; and a messuage, close, etc., to such uses, and according to such ordinances as by him, his heirs, and executors, should be declared.

He died without issue, and no ordinances for the regulation of the school and almshouses were made til 1622, when a body of statutes was ordained under the authority of a decree of the Court of Chancery.

The property of the charity, exclusive of the school and almshouses, consists of the school, masters house, garden, and fields, worth £65 a year; an estate of 182A.3R.7P., at Chigwell, let for about £330 per annum; and the great tithes of Dagenham, which yield about £1000 per annum. The whole income is received by the master, who pays the assistant masters, repairs the premises. and pays yearly stipends of £10 each to the five almspeople, who are three poor men and two poor women, chosen by the owner of Weald Hall, from the poor of South Weald, Brentwood, and Brook Street.

When the Parliamentary Commissioners enquired into this charity, about 20 years ago, they found that the duties of the school were performed by a Classical and an English Usher, and two assistants, who had under tuition about 1OO boys, of whom 20 were in the grammar classes.

For the improvement and future regulation of the charity, the Commissioners deemed it proper to submit it to the consideration and judgment of court of equity, but though a decree was made in 1831, it was appealed against, and never prosecuted. The case was again brought into Rolls Court, in 1846; and application is now making to Parliament.

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Brentwood - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

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Brentwood - 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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