The Green, Chapel and Schools, Great Bentley, 1895Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Great Bentley >> White's Directory 1848
BENTLEY (GREAT) is a large and pleasant village, scattered round an extensive level or common, of 42 acres, on the eastern side of the vale of a rivulet, 8 miles East South East of Colchester.
It has a fair for toys, pedlery, etc., on the Monday after the 15th of July. Races were formerly held on the green, which is often the resort of cricket players.
The parish contains 1005 inhabitants, and 3188 acres of fertile land, pleasingly diversified with hill and dale, and extending southward to the creek, which communicates with the Colne, near Brightlingsea.
The lordship was held at the Domesday Survey, by Alberic de Vere, ancestor of the noble family of the first Earls of Oxford, who held it till about 1550, when it was sold to a Mr. Glascock, of whom it was purchased by Sir Roger Townshend.
It afterwards passed to the Papillon, Clay, and other families, and is now held by W. W. Francis, Esq., solicitor, of Colchester, but a great part of the soil belongs to Lord Ashburton, Wm. Auston, Esq., of Bentley Hall, Wm. Carrington, Esq., the Smythies family, and other proprietors, mostly copyholders, subject to arbitrary fines and the custom of Borough English.
The ancient Hall, which stood in Hall-field, near the church, was long a seat of the de Vere family, and was a stately mansion, with an extensive park, but there are now no remains, except some traces of its moat and fish ponds.
The Lodge estate belongs to Lord Ashburton; and another estate, with the woods of Great and Little Catlins, belongs to Cains and Gonville College, Cambridge.
St Mary the Virgin Church, Great Bentley.© Copyright Roger Haworth contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Church (Virgin Mary,) is a plain building, with a tower and five bells. The arches of the doors are semicircular, and the walls are of rag stone, but the tower has a mixture of flint.
The rectory was appropriated to Colne Priory, in 1321, by the Bishop of London, who reserved the advowson of the vicarage to himself and his successors. The benefice is a discharged vicarage, valued in K.B. at £7, and in 1831 at £236, in the patronage of the Bishop of London, and incumbency of the Rev. Thos. Jones, B.D., who has a good residence, and about 13A. of glebe. The present value of the living is £306 per annum, and on the death of the present Bishop of London, the patronage will pass to the Bishop of Rochester. The great tithes belong to the land owners.
A neat National School, with a dwelling for the master and mistress, was built by subscription, in 1848; and here is a Wesleyan Chapel, registered for marriages.
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Great Bentley - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
Great Bentley - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805
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