St Maragret's Church, Downham.© Copyright Glyn Baker contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
History of Downham >> White's Directory 1848
DOWNHAM, a parish of scattered houses on the north side of this hundred, 4½ miles East by West of Billericay, has 254 souls, and 2152 acres of land, rising in bold undulations, and mostly belonging to R.B. Berens and E.R. Benyon, Esqrs.
It is not named in Domesday Book, and is now in three manors, viz., Downham Hall, which was long held by the Ramsden, Vere, Andrew, and de Beauvoir families; Berne Hall, formerly held by the Baynings; and Tremnales, now belonging to W. Manbey, Esq.
Major-General John Disbrow was seated at Tremnales, but having married one of the four sisters of Oliver Cromwell, he exchanged the spade for the sword, and rose to eminence in the parliamentary army. He became one of Cromwell's council, and during the commonwealth, he received in salaries for his various civil and military offices £3236.3s.4d. per annum. He earnestly opposed Cromwell's taking the title of King, and persuaded his son, Richard, to dissolve the parliament.
The Church (St. Margaret,) is a small ancient building, with a handsome square tower, and contains many memorials of the Tyrell, Alslow, Disbrow, and other families, who formerly flourished here.
The rectory, valued in K.B. at £12.2s.8d., and in 1831 at £409, is in the patronage of R.B. Berens, M.A., and incumbency of the Rev. E.R. Berens, M.A., who has a good residence.
In 1635, Lady Caeser left a yearly rent charge of £9, out of land at Crow's Heath, for the poor of the four parishes of Downham, Ramsden-Bellhouse, and East and West Hannigfield. A house, built upon this land, is called Disbrow's, Folly.
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