History of Harlow
Churchgate Street, Harlow, 1903
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Harlow >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
HARLOW, a small ancient market. town, is pleasantly situated near the North-Eastern Railway, on the high road from London to Bishop Stortford, 23 miles North by East of the former, 6 miles South of the latter, and 7 miles N. W. of Ongar.
It is on the eastern side of the picturesque and fertile vale of the navigable river Stort, and its parish contains 4000 acres of land, and in 1841 had 2315 inhabitants, but 125 were labourers then employed in constructing the railway, and 12 others were temporary residents, in barns, when the census was taken.
The town consists chiefly of one long street, and was formerly a seat of the woolen manufacture, which declined with its market many years ago. The latter, held on Wednesday, has been revived, but is of small importance. It has a wool fair on Old May day, and cattle fairs on Sept. 9th and 10th, and Novr. 28th and 29th. That held in September is a large and highly celebrated mart for horses and cattle, called Harlow Bush Fair, and held on the Common at the top of Potter Street, a hamlet, 2 miles south of the town.
In the centre of the Common is Bush Fair House, where the Essex Archery Society hold their annual meetings, and to which are attached extensive Assembly Rooms. The parish includes the elegant seat of Moor Hall, Huberts Hall, Mulberry Green, and many scattered houses, and is in several manors.
The parish church, (St. Hugh,) stands east of the town, and was rebuilt in 1709, after the old one had been destroyed by fire, and some of its windows are enriched with the arms of the principal contributors to the building. It has a small brick tower with an open cupola, containing one bell.
The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £15.7s.lld., and in 1831 at £393, is enjoyed by the Rev. Charles Miller, M.A., and is in the, patronage of the Marquis of Bute.
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St. John's Church, in the centre of the town, was built by subscription in 1839, in memory of the late Rev. Charles Sanderson Miller, M.A., who was for many years the highly respected curate and afterwards vicar of this parish. It is a neat structure, and the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar, and incumbency of the Rev. C.M. McLeod.
St. Mary Magdalen Church, on Harlow Common, nearly 3 miles south of the town, is a chapel of ease for the southern parts of the parish.
In the town is a Baptist Chapel, belonging to a congregation formed in 1668, and the parish has National and British Schools, and various Almshouses and Charities for the poor.
In Edward the Confesssor's time, Harlow belonged to the Abbey of Bury St. Edmumd's, and to six freemen. At the Domesday Survey the Abbey still held its portion, but the rest or the parish was then held by Ranulph, brother to the Earl of Boulogne.
The manor of Harlowbury, about half a mile North North East of the church, was held by the abbey, and was one of the abbot's resting places, on his way to Parliament. At the dissolution this manor was given by Henry VIII. to Katherine Addington. It was sold in 1617 to Francis Lord Guilford, and it is now held by William Barnard, Esq.
Near the manor house is a large ancient chapel, converted into a barn, and having a fine circular head door, the shafts of which have capitals, like those of the Gallilee, or Chapel of St. Mary, at Durham. This building is in a good state of preservation, and some of its small windows have round and others pointed heads.
Moor Hall, the elegant modem seat of J.W. Perry, Esq., is pleasantly situated nearly a mile North East of the church, in well-wooded park, with shady walks, a fine sheet of water, and beautiful gardens. The south-eastern front handsomely ornamented in the Doric style, and at some distance from the house is a retired walk, presenting extensive and highly interesting views of the surrounding country.
In 1324 Matthew de Wodeham and John Snow held the manor of Moor Hall, and it was purchased in the latter part of last century, of the Henshaw family, by the late John Perry, Esq., of Blackwall. Roffey Hall and several other farms have been added to the estate.
Hubert's Hall, three quarters of a mile south of the church, was anciently held by the Hubert family, and afterwards passed to the Shaw, Reeve, and other families, and is now the seat of the Misses Sims.
The Baroness North, is now lady of the principal manors, and also patroness of the vicarage, and impropriator of the great tithes, and not the Marquis of Bute. She also owns a great part of the soil, and the other principal land owners are - J.W. Perry, Esq., C. Selwin, Esq., H. White, Esq., and the Rev. J. Arkwright. The tithes have been commuted.
The Vicarge House was formerly the Rectory and is an old wood and plaster building. Petty Sessions are held here four times ayear, on the first Wednesdays in March, April, May and September.
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