History of Mistley

Mistley © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
The Quay, Mistley, c.1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Mistley >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

MISTLEY parish contains 2053, and had 976 inhabitants in 1841, but since then its population has increased, many houses, wharfs, warehouses, and a large steam-mill, having been built in it since the sale of Mistley Hall estate, in 1844. It forms an eastern suburb of the town and port of Manningtree, and has a large and commodious quay, and many neat houses.

The manor of Mistley, or Scidddinchoe, was held by the wife of Henry de Ramis, at the Domesday Survey, and its capital mansion was called the Old Hall, and is supposed to have stood on the site of that which was called New Hall in 1387, when it was the seat of Thomas Hardyng.

In 1552, Edward VI. granted this manor to Sir John Rainsforth, to hold in socage, together with the manor of Abbots, which belonged to the monks of St. Osyth.

Another manor in this parish, called Sheddon, or Sharing Hall, belonged to Aluric, in the Confessor's reign, and to the Countess of Albemarle, at the Conquest. It afterwards became the property of Maud de Clare, Countess of Hereford and Gloucestershire, who gave it to the nunnery at Leigh, in Devonshire.

At the dissolution, it was granted to the above-named Sir John Rainsforth, to be held of the Queen, in capite. His estates here, afterwards passed to the Starkey and Baker families. They were sold by the latter to Viscount Bayning, and passed to his grand-daughter, who married the last Earl of Oxford of the Vere family.

In 1703, Edward Rigby Esq., William Peck, Esq., and others, who had purchased the reversion of the estates of the said Earl, obtained an act of parliament for their division, and those in this parish were allotted to Edward Rigby, Esq., and consisted of New Hall, White Hall, Abotts Farm, Fords, and Dickeley Hall.

Mistley Quay
Mistley Quay
print published 1834

The village of Mistley, delightfully situated on the south bank of the estuary of the Stour, owes it beauty and importance to the late Rt. Hon. Richard Rigby, who, in the latter part of the last century, built fifty of the best and handsomest of the original houses, with several granaries, warehouses, a large malting-house, and the spacious quay, which forms an extension of the port of Manningtree.

Mistley Hall, which was long the seat of the Rigby family, had a beautiful and well-wooded park of 700 acres, and was a handsome mansion, on an elevated site, commanding charming prospects of the vale and the estuary of the Stour, but it was taken down about four years ago.

On the death of the late Lieut.-Col. Rigby, his estates descended to Lord Rivers, in the right of his lady. Mistley Hall was sold in lots, in 1844, and since then the extensive park has been divided into meadows etc., which may be irrigated from the conduits of pure water which the Right Hon. R. Rigby brought from the neighbouring hills, not only for supplying the hall and park, but the inhabitants of his new village.

Some neat houses and other buildings have already been built within the bounds of the park, and the new Hall is now the residence of Robert Page, Esq.

Mistley Place, another mansion, is the seat of Edward Norman, Esq. T.G. Kinsit, Esq,. is now lord of the manor.

Mistley Hall
Mistley Hall
print published 1834

The old parish church (St. Mary,) stood nearly a mile south-east of the village, and its porch is still preserved and fitted up for the performance of the burial service.

Richard Rigby, Esq., who died at Mistley Hall, in 1732, directed his executors to rebuild the parish church, and to erect, near the Thorn Inn, six almshouses, for the residence of six aged parishioners, to be appointed by the lord of the manor for the time being, and to have yearly, for ever, six chaldrons of coals, 24 bushels of wheat, and 24 bushels of barley or malt, out of the profits of the wharfs at Mistley.

Though twelve tenements were built by the Rt. Hon. Richard Rigby, about 1778, on the spot pointed out by the testator for the site of the almshouses, the charity had not been established in 1837, when the Parliamentary Commissioners certified the the case to the Attorney-General. It has since been decreed by the Court of Chancery, that an annual sum, equal to the value of the quantities of coal, wheat, and barley, stated above, shall be distributed among six poor parishioners, out of the profits of the wharfage, which yielded in 1837 about £500 per annum.

On the sale of the Hall estate, lot 13, comprising part of the quay, was purchased by Mr. Allen, of Sudbury, subject to this rent charge. Instead of rebuilding the old one, the Right Hon. Richard Rigby erected an elegant NEW CHURCH at Mistley Thorn, which was finished in 1777, and is an unique building, of the Doric order, from which rise two lofty circular domes. The interior is handsomely fitted up, and has some neat mural tablets belonging to the Rigby family, whose burial-place is under the portico in the old churchyard.

Mistley Church
Mistley Church
print published 1834

The benefice is a discharged rectory with the vicarage of Bradfield annexed to it, valued in K.B. at £16.13s.4d., and in 1831, at £705. The perpetual curacy of Manningtree was also consolidated with it till 1840. The joint benefices are now in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. John Edw. Carter, B.A., who resides at Bradfield Vicarage. The tithes of Mistley have been commuted for about £668 per annum. The Rev. B.H. Puckle, B.A., is the curate, and resides at Mistley Thorn, but there is no rectory-house.

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

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Mistley - 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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