History of Earls Colne
The Priory, Earls Colne, 1961
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Earls Colne >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
COLNE (EARL'S) or Great Colne, is a large and well built village, pleasantly situated on the south side of the river Colne, and on the Colchester and Halstead road, 9 miles West North West of the former, and 3 miles East South East of the latter town.
It is close to the Halstead Branch of the Colchester and Stour Valley Railway, now constructing; and on the opposite side of the river are the three parishes of Colne Engaine, Wakes Colne, and White Colne.
The four Colnes, have their common name from the river Colne, and present considerable variety of soils, some of which is heavy, but a mixture of sand prevails, both in the lower and higher grounds.
Wakes Colne is in Lexden and Winstree Union, and the other three parishes are in Halstead Union.
The parish of Earls Colne contains 1385 inhabitants, and 2,959A.2R.1P. of land, extending southward to Markshall, and having many good houses. It has a fair on March 25th, and derived the distinctive part of its name from its ancient proprietors, the De Veres, Earls of Oxford.
In Edward the Confessor's time, it was held by Ulwin, a noble Saxon, but William the Conqueror gave it to Alberic or Aubrey de Vere, who married Beatrix,is half sister.
The manor continued with the Earls of Oxford, from 1137, till 1583, and they anciently had a mansion here, called Hall Place, near the church and the road leading to Colne Park; but they afterwards built a house in the Priory Close, where they resided occasionally, till the dissolution of the monasteries.
John, the 12th earl, was attained and beheaded in 1461; but John, the 13th earl, was restored to this and his other possessions, in 1485. Edward, the 17th earl, having wasted his patrimony, sold this manor, in 1583, to his steward, Roger Harlackenden. The heiress of of the latter married the Rev. C. Carwardine.
Henry Holgate Carwardine, Esq., tbe present lord of the manor, has a handsome seat here, called the PRIORY, which stands near the river, on the site of the ancient priory, founded by Aubrey de Vere, about 1100, for Benedictine monks. Having richly endowed it, and made it subordinate to the famous Abbey at Abingdon in Berkshire, the founder afterwards became a monk on his own foundation, and was buried in the priory church, which was a stately edifice dedicated to St. Mary and St. John the Evangelist, and had two chapels dedicated to Our Lady and St. Peter.
When this conventual church was destroyed, some of its monuments belonging to the Earl of Oxford, were removed to the parish church. When suppressed, the Priory was given to the descendent of the founder.
The original building was chiefly of timber, but was pulled down and rebuilt many years ago, and was cased with brick by John Wale, Esq., about 1650.
COLNE PLACE, another neat mansion, is the seat of Mrs. Gee; and a a great part of the parish belongs to W.P. Honeywood, Esq., Richard H. Solly, Esq., and several smaller owners.
St Andrew's Church, Earls Colne.
© Copyright Peter Stack contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Church (St. Andrew,) is an ancient structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, south aisle, and a large square tower, containing six bells. The top of the tower is of flint, and has ornamental carvings of stone at each corner, representing mullets.
The interior of the church is neatly fitted up, and has a fine altar piece, given by Mrs. Wale, and a gallery given by Mrs. Ann Cresener, in 1725. Here are three table monuments, brought from the priory church, with effigies, in memory of Earls of Oxford, of whom there were several other marble monuments, said to have been converted into chimney pieces, etc., after the dissolution of the monastery, for the decoration of the modern mansion, called the Priory.
The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £8.10s.10d., and in 1831 at £495, was augmented with part of the great tithes, in 1673, by Richard Harlackenden, a former patron and impropriator. It is now in the incumbency of the Rev. Robert Watkinson, B.D., and in the patronage of H.H. Carwardine, Esq. The vicar's tithes have been commuted for £616 per annum, and the other tithes belong to the patron and other landowners.
Here is a Baptist Chapel, belonging to a congregation formed in 1786. Mrs. Gee and Mrs. Watkinson, support National and Infant Schools. The latter was founded in 1838, by Mrs. Gee, who clothes many of the children, and provides them with dinners in the winter months.
The parish has also an endowed Free School, and two charities for the poor.
Colnes United Book Society for the four adjacent parishes, was formed in 1846, and has now about 100 members, and 400 volumes. Mr. R.B. Pudney is its honorary secretary.
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