High Street, Great Bardfield, c.1903Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Great Bardfield >> White's Directory 1848
GREAT BARDFIELD a small ancient town, which had formerly a market on Tuesdays, and has still a fair for cattle, etc., on the 22nd of June, is pleasantly situated on the south side of the river Pant, or Blackwater, 8 miles North West by North of Braintree, and 7 miles North North East of Dunmow.
Its parish contains 1120 inhabitants, and 3658 acres of land, bounded on the north by Little Bardfield, and on the south by Bardfield Saling. The soil is mostly a fruitful heavy loam, on clay, and partly a sandy loam.
Here is a police station for Freshwell Hundred; and petty sessions are held at the White Hart Inn, every third week, before the magistrates of the neighbourhood, to whom A.C. Veley, Esq., of Braintree, is clerk.
The parish rises picturesquely from the vale of the Pant, and has several scattered farm-houses and neat mansions. An eminence, between Park Gate and the Church, presents a pleasing view of the surrounding country, in which are seen Thaxted Church, the two Sampfords; Hempstead, Finchingfield; etc; and from the town in various directions, there are many agreeable walks and fine prospects.
Two rooms, in an old house, called the Place, are memorable as having been the secret retreat of the Princess Elizabeth, when she was attempting to escape from the unnatural persecution of her bigoted sister, Queen Mary.
The Rev. B.E. Lampet, M.A., is lord of the manor; but Park Hall, or Park Gate estate, belongs to William Sandle, Esq., and the large farms of Great Bardfield Hall, Claypit Hall, Little Lodge, and Bushell, were purchased for the use of Guy's Hospital, about 1725, when the estates belonging to Sir James Lumley were sold for the paymen of his own and his father's debts.
At Domesday Survey the parish was held by Richard Fitzgislebert, or Gilbert. In 1539, Henry VIII. granted the "burgh of Bardfield" to his Queen, Anne of Cleves, for her life.
In 1550, Edward VI. granted it to Sir Thomas Wrothe, one of whose descendants sold the estate, including the Great and Little Parks, in 1621, to Sir Martin Lumley, Kt., who built an elegant mansion, called tbe Great Lodge, on the site of the old park keeper's lodge; where his family were seated till the sale of their estates, in 1725, when the mansion and several of their manors were purchased by Edward Stephenson, Esq. The Great Lodge was soon afterwards pulled down, and the stables were converted into a farm-house, and the park into a farm.
An estate, called Pitley, in this and Little Bardfield parish, was given by one of Fitz.Gisleberts, Earls of Clare, to the Abbey of Bec, in Normandy. It afterwards belonged to the Cheeke, French, and other families, and was given by Charles I. and one of the Haslefoots, to the Haberdasher's Company, London, chargeable with certain annual payments for charitable uses.
St Mary the Virgin's Church, Great Bardfield.© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Church (Virgin Mary,) in stone fabric, with a nave and aisles, leaded; a tiled chancel, and a tower, containing four bells, and sourmounted by a tall spire of wood, leaded.
It was appropriated to the Priory and College of Stoke by Clare, which was a cell to Bec Abbey. Edward VI. granted the rectory to Anthony Bourchier and John Wiseman, who conveyed it to William Bendlowe, serjeant-at-law, who, in 1556, obtained a licence to convert the vicarage into a rectory; and having leased out the great tithes for 500 years, at 20 marks yearly rent; he settled on the succeeding incumbents £6.13s.4d. per annum, out of the said rent-charge, and gave the other moiety or it for the endowment of a chantry here, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. There were also three obits in this church.
The great tithes are now held by Guy's Hospital, subject to the terms of the above-mentioned lease. The Rev. B.E. Lampet, M.A., the lord of the manor, is patron and incumbent of tbe vicarage, valued in K.B. at £11, and in 1831 at £180. He has a very handsome parsonage house. The tithes were commuted in 1845, the vicarial for £262.11s.6d., and the rectorial for £445.
Here is an Independent Chapel, and also a Friends' Meeting House, the latter built in 1804; and the parish has a large British School.
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Great Bardfield - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
Great Bardfield - First Series Ordnance Survey Map 1805
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