Post Office, Hatfield Peverel, c.1965Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Hatfield Peverel >> White's Directory 1848
HATFIELD PEVEREL is a large and well-built village, pleasantly situated on and near the London road, 2 miles South West of Witham, and 6 miles North East of Chelmsford. It has a station on the Eastern Counties Railway, and its parish lies on both sides of the small river Ter, and extends southward to the Chelmer, and eastward to the Blackwater; forming a fertile and well-wooded district, with several handsome residences and scattered farm-houses.
A pleasure fair is held in the village on Whit~Tuesday, and the parish increased its population from 1008 in 1801, to 1383 souls in 1841. It contains 4929A.2R.28P., of which 3550A. are arable, 6664A. pasturage, 57A. waste, and 508A. wood. The soil is generally light and gravelly, and the woodlands of the parish were formerly much more extensive than at present, many of them being grubbed up and cultivated to great advantage, in the latter part of last, and the early part of the part of the present century.
At the Domesday survey, the parish belonged to Ralph Peverel, but it is now in five manors, of which the following are the names and their present lords Hatfield Peverel, or Priory, and Earnestfee, or Bovingtons, Peter Wright, Esq.; Hatfieldbury. G.B.M. Lovibond, Esq.; Topingo Hall, Lord Rayleigh; and Smallands, belonging to Abraham Johnson, Esq., who has a handsome modern seat, called Berwicks, on an eminence, near Topingo Hall. The latter has its name from the Topingo family, and what remains of it is now a farm-house, in the Elizbethan style, with some fine cedars in the adjacent grounds.
Samuel Shaen, Esq., has an elegant mansion, called Crix, about a mile South West of the church, overlooking the vale of the Chelmer, and having beautiful pleasure grounds.
W.M. Tufnell, Esq., resides at Hatfield Place; and P. Wright, Esq., owns the Priory, a large and elegant mansion, in a beautiful park, built about 1776, by J. Wright, Esq., who pulled down the old mansion, which stood at a short distance; near the church, and was the remains of a Benedictine Priory founded by William Peverel, about A.D. 1100, on the site of a College of secular canons, founded by his mother, who was the daughter of a noble Saxon, and had been concubine to William the Conqueror, before she married Ralph Peveral.
The Priory was subordinate to St. Alban's abbey and was endowed with lands and tithes in this and other parishes. In 1231, it was nearly destroyed by fire, but was afterwards re-edified. At the dissolution, its annual revenues were valued at £83.19s.7d.; and it was granted to Giles Leigh, Esq., whose daughter earned it in marriage to the Alleynes, one or whom was created a baronet in 1629. His descendants sold the manor and rectory to J. Wright, Esq., in 1768.
St Andrew's Church, Hatfield Peverel.© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The Church (St. Andrew,) is an interesting Norman structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, and a spacious north aisle, with two turrets at the west end, surmounted by small spires; a small chapel on the south side; and a modern north porch. It has undergone many repairs, and was the Priory church.
When the old Priory House was pulled down, the church was thoroughly repaired, and a beautiful window of old painted glass inserted. An old stone effigy is said to represent Lady Peverel, the foundress.
The original parish church stood on an eminence, near the river, still called Church field, though all traces of the building are gone.
The benefice is a discharged vicarage, valued in K.B. at £8, and in 1831 at £88. The Rev. Sir C. Payne, Bart., B.C.L., is the incumbent, and has a good residence, and 8A.2R.22P. of glebe. P. Wright, Esq., is patron of the vicarage, and also impropriator of the rectory, which has now, in lieu of tithes, yearly rent~charges.
Here is a Parochial School, supported by subscription, and a small Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1826.
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