History of Gosfield

georgian house - exterior
Gosfield Hall, Gosfield.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

History of Gosfield >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

GOSFIELD, a pleasant village, on the high road, 2½ miles South West of Halstead, and 4½ miles North East by North of Braintree, has in its parish 653 souls, and 2966 acres of land, including several scattered farm-houses, and the large and beautiful park of GOSFIELD HALL, the elegant seat of Edward George Barnard, Esq., M.P. for Greenwich, who owns most of the parish, and is lord of the manor.

The mansion of Gosfield Hall, though greatly altered, presents an interesting specimen of the domestic architecture which prevailed in the construction of the residences of the nobility during the reign of Henry VII., when houses were built with all the strength, but without the external appearance of baronial castles.

It is an extensive brick building, surrounding a quadrangular court. Originally, there were not any windows on the ground floor, except those looking into the court and those of the upper story were strongly barricaded. The west side of the quadrangle remains nearly in its original state, but the north, east, and south fronts were rebuilt by John Knight, Esq., who owned the estate at the beginning of last century.

Various alterations were afterwards made by Earl Nugent, and also by the Marquis of Buckingham, who died in 1813. The latter entertained here, on several occasions, the exiled royal family of France. Many of the apartments are large and elegantly furnished. The park is very extensive, contains a profusion of fine old trees, and a beautiful lake, which was enlarged to the extent of 102 acres by Earl Nugent.

This estate was anciently held by the Clare, Vere, Rolfe, and Wentworth families. The heiress of the latter married Richard, the second son of Lord Rich, from whom it passed to Lord Grey. At the beginning of the 18th century, it was sold to the Millingtons, of whom it was purchased by John Knight, Esq., who left it to his widow, who married Robert Nugent, Esq., afterwards Earl Nugent.

In the hall is a gallery 106 feet long, called Queen Elizabeth's Gallery, in commemoration of that sovereign having twice visited Lady Rich at Gosfield.

About half a mile east of the church is GOSFIELD PLACE, a handsome modern mansion in a large park, the seat of Basil Sparrow, Esq. It is in the manor of Biggs, which belongs to the trustees of the late James Goodeve Sparrow, Esq.

Mr. T.B. Jeggo and several smaller owners have estates in the parish, partly copyhold, subject to arbitrary fines.

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

The Church (St. Catherine,) is a small neat building, in the park, and has a tower, and three bells. On the north side of it is a small chapel, originally built for a chantry priest, by Thomas Rolfe, who was buried here in 1440.

In the chancel are several old tombs, which were robbed of their brass tablets during the civil wars. In the chapel is an elegant monument, with full-length figures of several members of the Knight family, admirably executed by Scheemaker. On the white marble tablet is a poetical inscription, written by Alexander Pope.

The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £8, and in 1831 at £268, was augmented, in 1720, by John Knight, Esq., and Mrs. Anne and Mary Millington, in conjunction with an allotment of Queen Anne's Bounty. The land purchased for this augmentation is at Sible Hedingham. E.G. Barnard, Esq., is impropriator of the great tithes,and patron or the vicarage, now in the incumbency of the Rev. W.J. Dowell, who has a good residence, which was much improved in 1848. The tithes were commuted in 1842.

Here is a farmer's club, called the Gosfield Society.

A yearly rent-charge of 10s., left to the poor of this parish by Edward Hunt, in 1605, out of a tenement called "Hoblyns-with-Cocks," has not been paid during the last 30 years.

Gosfield Hall
Gosfield Hall
print published 1834

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

Gosfield - 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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