History of Felsted

church - exterior
Holy Cross Church, Felsted.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

History of Felsted >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

FELSTED, or Felstead, is a large village, with many good houses, on the north-eastern acclivity of tbe vale of the Chelmer, and near a tributary stream of that river, 4½ miles East by South of Dunmow, 6½ miles West South West of Braintreee, and 10 miles North by West of Chelmsford.

Its parish contains 1798 inhabitants and 6246A.2R.17P. of land, inc1uding roads:, etc., and the GREENS called Bannister's, Bartholomew's, Cobler's, Cock, Grimsall, Molehill, Pye's, Thistley, and Willow Greens, where there are many scattered farm-houses and cottages.

The soil is generally a strong fertile loam, on a whitish clay marl; and on the south side of the parish are the remains of Leigh Priory; and Hartford Bridge, on the Chelmer. Several houses in Rayne village are in this parish.

In the Confessor's reign, Algar, Earl at Mercia, held the lordship of Felsted, but at the Conquest, it was given to Caen Abbey, in Normandy. The Earl or Mornington is now lord of the manor, but a great part of the soil belongs to Guy's Hospital and many other proprietors, of whom about 20 are residents and have good houses, as distinguished in the following list of farmers.

Most of the parish is freehold, and the rest copyhold, subject to certain fines. The ancient Families of Glanvil, Graunt Court, Camsey, Mandeville, Helpston, and Rich were formerly owners here, and some of their names are still attached to old manor houses in the parish.

Felsted Church © Copyright Footstepsphotos 2006. http://www.footstepsphotos.co.uk/index.html
Felsted Church
Low resolution copy courtesy of Footsteps' Shop on Ebay. Quality postcards of Essex.

The Church (Holy Cross,) stands on an elevated site, and is seen at a great distance. It is a fine antique fabric, consisting of a nave and aisle, a chancel, and a massive square tower, containing five bells, and having a lantern rising above the battlements.

The gallery in the south aisle was erected in 1828, when 70 additional free sittings were provided. A small chapel on the south side of the chancel is the burial-place of the Rich family, and contains a superb monument to the memory of Richard Lord Rich, who died in 1567, and founded the school and almshouses.

The effigy of his lordship, in his chancellor's robes, reclines under a grand cornice, decorated and supported by Corinthian pillars. The church was repaired about three years ago.

On the south side of the parish there was anciently a free chapel, called Camseys or Hartford Chapel, and appropriated to Leigh Priory, but no traces of it are now extant. The lands belonging to it were granted, in 1591, to Edward Wymark.

The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £18.6s.8d., and in 1831 at £402, is in the patronage of the Earl of Mornington, and incumbency of the Rev. Jeremiah Awdry, M.A., who has 27A.3R.11P. of glebe, and a parsonage house, but does not reside here. The tithes were commuted in 1843.

Here is an Independent Chapel, built in 1833, and also National and British Schools.

FELSTED FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL and HOSPITAL, the former for 80 free boys, and the latter for six poor people, have an endowment worth about £2000 per annum, but not half of that amount is at present appropriated to the uses of the charity, which has for a long period been the subject of a suit in chancery instituted by the Attorney-General against George Finch, Esq., the patron, and others.

Application is now (1848) making to Parliament for an act to alter, vary, and extend the trusts and administration, and to enlarge the charitable uses, extend the objects, and regulate the application of this much abused charity, according to the provisions of a new scheme, sanctioned by the Court of Chancery.

The School and Hospital were founded by Lord Rich, in 1554 and 1565, together with a provision for the yearly distribution of red and white herrings, during Lent, among the poor of Felsted, Little Leigh, and Much Waltham. For the foundation, he obtained the letters patent of Philip and Mary, which vested the patronage of the charity in him and his heirs.

His son Robert was treated Earl of Warwick in 1618, and left three co-heiresses, one of whom married Daniel Finch, afterwards Earl of Nottingham, in whom the patronage of the hospital and school became vested. George Finch, Esq., of Burley, in Rutlandshire, is the present patron.

Back to History of Felsted

Leigh Priory
Leigh Priory
print published 1834

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

Felstead - 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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