History of Ongar (Chipping Ongar)

High Street Ongar, 1955, Essex. © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
High Street, Ongar, 1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Ongar (Chipping Ongar) >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

ONGAR (CHIPPING) is a small and remarkably clean and neat market town, pleasantly situated betwixt and near the confluence of the river Roding and the Cripsey brook, on the London and Dunmow road, 20 miles North East of the former, 14 miles South by West of the latter, 7 miles North North West of Brentwood, 7 miles East by North of Epping, and 11 miles West by South of Chelmsford.

It gives the name to Ongar Union and Hundred. Its parish has only 870 inhabitants, and 452 acres of land, but the town popularly called ONGAR, has a large suburb, in the parish of High Ongar, on the opposite side of the Roding, and a smaller one in Greensted parish, on the opposite side of the Cripsey brook, so that the total population of the town and suburbs is about 1800.

The Market, formerly held on Tuesday, is now held on Saturday, and has much improved of late years. Petty Sessions are held on the same day, in the Town Hall, over the Market House, which was repaired some years ago. A statute fair, for hiring servants, etc., is held on Oct. 12th.

The appellation chipping is a corruption of cheap-ing, and was derived from the field where the market and fairs were held in ancient times.

The town is lit with gas, and consists chiefly of one long and wide street, in which are many good houses, most of which are cemented, whitewashed, or constructed of white brick. It is approached on one side by a bridge or three arches, over the Roding; and on the other, by a bridge of one arch, over the Cripsey brook. I

n some records, it is called Angre, Angria, and Aungre; and, from its castle, it was sometimes called Ongar de Castrum. At the Domesday survey, the manor was held by Eustace, Earl of Boulogne, whose grand-daughter, Maud, conveyed it in marriage to King Stephen, whose son, William, gave it to Lord Richard de Lucy, of Diss, Norfolk, together with Greensted and several other manors.

This nobleman was Lord Chief Justice of England, and his manors in this neigbbourhood were created into an Honor. He built a Castle here, on the summit of a high artificial hill, surrounded by a deep and broad moat; but Mr Gough supposes this fortress to have been formed out of a more ancient and extensive work, either Roman or Saxon origin, the entrenchments of which are supposed to have encompassed the site of the town.

The moat which surrounded the keep is generally filled with water, and the sides of the mount are planted with trees and shrubs, through which a steep winding path leads to the summit, where the chief part of the building stood, but being ruinous, it was pulled down in the reign of Elizabeth, by William Morice, who erected on the site a brick building.

The latter was taken down in 1744, by the then owner, Edward Alexander, Esq., who built on the site a handsome summer house, but it is now in ruins. The summit of the hill commands extensive prospects over the surrounding country, and at the foot of it, on the opposite side of the moat, is the Castle House, and farm yard, now occupied by Mr. William Coe.

From the Alexander family the manor and the site of the castle have descended to their present owner, E. Alexander Bennett, Esq., but part of the parish belongs to Capel Cure, Esq., John Barnes, Esq., and several smaller proprietors.

church - exterior
St Martin's Church, Chipping Ongar.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

john salmon

The Church (St. Martin,) is a small neat structure and has many Roman bricks worked up in its walls. It has a belfrey, crowned by a wooden spire; and at the west end, a new porch has recently been erected.

Among the monumental inscriptions in the interior are several belonging to the Alexander and other families, and one in memory of Jane, daughter of Oliver Cromwell, who died in 1637.

Foundations of Roman buildings are said to have been dug up in the churchyard, and, as a collateral proof of the antiquity of the town, the principal road from London to Colchester is recorded to have passed through it.

The living is a discharged rectory, valued in K.B. at £6, and in 1831, at £159. It was augmented in 1721 with £598.10s., obtained from Queen Anne's Bounty, and the gifts of Edward Colston and the Rev. Houblon. It is in the patronage of E.A. Bennett, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. Edmund Fisher, M.A., who has a small ancient residence, and 5A. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1842, for £144 per annum.

Here is an Independent Chapel, and a new parochial school room has recently been erected.

A Mechanics' Institution was established in the town in March, 1848, and it already comprises about 90 members, including those who had been some time associated under the name of the Ongar Mutual Improvement Society. C.Cure, Esq., is president; Sir J.E. Swinborne and Henry Bullock, Esq., are vice-presidents; and Mr. J. Wright is secretary of this useful institution.

Ongar Labourers Friend Society was established about five years ago and hold an annual ploughing match in September. Sir E.B. Smijth, Bart., is the patron, and H. Bullock. Esq., the president.

Ongar General Friendly Society instituted in 1828, has 58 honorary and 661 subscribing members, and a capital of about £2600. Mr. Charles Mott is the clerk. Ongar and Epping Building Society meets on the first Saturday of every month, at the Crown, and Mr. J. Wright is its secretary.

The Savings' Bank, for Ongar and the neighbourhood, is open every Saturday, from 1 till 2, and Mr. T.S. Richardson is the actuary.

The Board of Guardians meet every Tuesday, at the Town Hall, but the Union Workhouse is at Stanford Rivers.

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Chipping Ongar
Chipping Ongar
print published 1834

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Chipping Ongar - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Chipping Ongar - 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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