History of Kelvedon

Kelvedon © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
High Street, Kelvedon, 1925
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Kelvedon >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

KELVEDON, a large and respectable village, with several good inns, well-stocked shops, neat houses, and two large boarding schools, is pleasantly situated on the high road from London to Ipswich and Norwich, and on the north-western side of the river Blackwater; 12 miles North East of Chelmsford; 4 miles North East of Witham, and 10 miles West South West of Colchester.

It has a station on the Eastern Counties Railway, which passes on the West, and has drawn off nearly all tbe great daily traffic, which formerly passed through the village, and was the chief support of the the inns and shops. It consists chiefly of one long street, descending to the bridge, on the opposite side of which are suburbs in Feering and Inworth parishes.

It has a pleasure fair on Easter Monday, and its parish contains 3167A.2R.5P. of land, and had 994 inhabitants in 1801, and 1483 in 1841.

The bridge, built in 1788, has several arches through which the water flows only in wet seasons, when the river often inundates its banks. In the higher parts of the parish, the soil is a good sandy loam, but in the flatter parts a strong loam, or clay, prevails.

The manor of Easterford, or Kelvedon Hall, is mostly in Great Braxted parish. The manor of Church Hall was given by Angelric, the Saxon, in Edward the Confessor's time, to Westminster Abbey, but Edward VI. gave it to the Bishop of London and his successors, together with the rectory and advowson.

T.B. Western, Esq., now owns most of the parish, and resides at and is lord of the manor of FELIX HALL, a large and elegant modern mansion, delightfully seated on a commanding eminence, in a beautiful park, about a mile North West of the village. This estate was anciently called the manor of Filiol's Hall, and belonged successively to the Filiol, Bohun, Southwell, Russell, Cecil, Abdy, and other families.

Sir Thomas Abdy, of Felix Hall, was created a baronot in 1641, but the present baronet resides at Cobham Place, Surry. This estate went with his daughter, in marriage, to John Williams, Esq., who rebuilt part of the hall. Daniel Matthews. Esg., purchased the estate in 1761, and built a considerable part of the present mansion, in which he resided many years.

It afterwards became the seat and property of the late Charles Callis Western, Esq., M.P., who was born in 1767, and was created Lord Western, in 1833, but died without issue about three years ago, when the title became extinct. When Felix Hall came into the possession of the late Lord Western, the front was of red brick, but it is now of stone and composition, consisting of an elegant centre and two wings, 160 feet in length.

From the centre projects a large portico, modelled from Desgodetz's drawings of the Temple of Fortuna Virilis, at Rome. His Lordship, being an ardent admirer of works of art, enriched the interior with a large and highly interesting collection of valuable paintings, antique busts, vases, urns, etc.; some of them matchless in beauty and rarity.

Here are also several fine plaster casts and beautiful pieces of modern sculpture, some of them copies of antiques. One of the hosts is a good likeness of Lord John Russell, the political friend of the late Lord Western, who for a long period represented the borough of Maldon in Parliament.

EWELL HALL, now a farm-house, was held by a family of its own name, and passed some years ago to the Coopers. The manor of DOREWARD'S HALL is partly in Rivenhall parish, and is now the seat of Henry Dixon, Esq.

church - exterior
St Mary the Virgin's Church, Kelvedon.
© Copyright Robin Webster contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Kelvedon CHURCH (Virgin Mary,) is a spacious and interesting fabric, consisting of a nave with side aisles, a chancel, and a porch; with a square brick tower at the west end, containing five bells, and crowned by a small leaded spire. The pillars and arches of the nave are in the early English style; but the roof is finely carved and ornamented in the Tudor style, and was hid by a plaster ceiling, which was removed in 1844, after other improvements had been made, and additional seat room provided.

There were formerly two chapels in the aisles, and in the pillars of the chancel arch are two perforations, so constructed that, in catholic times, persons behind them could see the elevation of the host without being observed by the congregation. The stair case, which led to the rood loft, remains, and in the chancel is a beautiful piscina.

The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £9.4s.3d., and in 1831 at £410, is in the patronage of the Bishop of London, and incumbency of the Rev. Charles Dalton, M.A., who has a good residence and 54A.3R.3lP. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1837, the vicarial for £381, and the rectorial for £615. T.B. Western, Esq., is lessee of the latter.

Here is a National School, established in 1838; and a Mutual Instruction Society, commenced in 1847.

The Independent Chapel was built in 1810, at the cost of £600; and here is a Friends' Meeting House, erected in 1805, for a numerous and respectable congregation.

The Almshouses, divided into nine tenements, occupied rent-free by poor parishioners, were given in 1419, by John Marler, who also left an acre of land, now let for £2, which is carried to the poor rates.

For distribution in bread at the church, Robert Smith, in 1637, left 8A. of land at Easthorpe, now let for £12 a year.

In 1635, Thomas Aylett, left in trust with the owners of Doreward's Hall, a house and school for the use of a schoolmaster, to be a appointed by them, and to have a yearly rent of £10 out of his rectory of Great Tatham. The latter has not been paid for many years; but a schoolmaster has the free use of the school premises, and charges small weekly payments, for instructing poor children, except five boys, who are taught freely in consideration of an annuity of £5, from Joscelyn and Strutt's Charity.

This school is now attended by more then 100 children, and is conducted as a British School.

In 1837, Joseph Docwra, left £100, in trust, to distribute the interest yearly in coals among the poor parishioners, whose condition is much improved by 26A. of land, let to them on the Allotment System, at the annual rents of from 7s.6d. to 10s. per 20 rods.

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

Kelvedon - 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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