St. John the Baptist Church, Layer de la Haye.© Copyright Robert Edwards contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
History of Layer de la Haye >> White's Directory 1848
LAYER-DE-LA-HAY is a pleasant village, on a commanding eminence, overlooking the small river Roman and one of its tributary streams, 4½ miles South East of Colchester, and 7 miles East of Kelvedon.
It has a fair for toys and pedlery, on the 15th of May; and its parish contains 731 inhabitants, and 2577 acres of land, including the heath and roads. Two-thirds of the soil is a strong wet loam, and the rest is light turnip land.
It is in three manors, viz., Blind-Knights and Rye, of which Sir G.H. Smyth, Bart., is lord; and Layer-de-la-Hay, which belongs to C.G. Round, Esq.; but John Pearson, Esq., and several smaller owners, have estates here, both free and copyhold.
The de la Haye family held the latter manor in the 12th and 13th centuries, and it afterwards passed to the Montchensy, Tey, Bettenson, and Burgoine families.
The manor of Rye was given by John de Rye to St. John's Abbey, Colchester; and Blind-Knights was given, with the rectory, to St. Botolph's Priory, Colchester, by one of the Montforts. Tradition says it was originally given for the support of a fraternity of knights, who had lost their eyes in the crusades.
The Church is a plain building, with a stone tower containing five bells. In the chancel is a tomb, with effigies of Thomas Tey and his wife, who died in 1500. The arms of Tey are in the east window.
Some houses on the road, where there used to be an ancient cross, still retain the name of Layer Cross.
The benefice is a perpetual curacy, valued in K.B. at £12, and in 1831 at £82. It is in the incumbency of the Rev. John H. Dewhurst, M.A., and patronage of Sir G.H. Smyth, Bart. John Pearson, Esq., holds the great tithes, which have been commuted for £536 per annum.
A handsome new parsonage house has lately been erected, on land enclosed from the heath, and tastefully planted with shrubs, etc.
Here is a National School, supported by subscription, and also a small Independent Chapel.
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Layer de la Haye - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
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