History of Newport

Newport © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Church Street, Newport, c.1960
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Newport >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

NEWPORT, a large and pleasant village, near the confluence of three sources of the river Cam, or Granta, and on the London and Newmarket road, has a station on the North-Eastern Railway, 10 miles North by East of Bishop Stortford, and 3 miles S. S. W. of Saffron Walden.

It was anciently a market town, and has still two annual fairs, on Easter-Tuesday and November 17th. The latter was granted by King John, and is celebrated for colts.

The parish contains 813 inhabitants, and 1664 acres of land, exclusive of roads and waste. In the village are several good inns and shops, a Free Grammar School, and the Police Station of Saffron Walden Division. The latter was formerly a House of Correction, or Bridewell; but during the last 40 years, it has only been used for the temporary confinement of prisoners, till their conviction or acquittal at the petty sessions, held at Saffron Walden.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor, Newport belonged to Earl Harold, afterwards King, on whose death it became the property of the Conqueror. It remained with the Crown till the reign of Edward Vl., and under the early monarchs, it enjoyed ample privileges, with a market and freedom from toll.

The Empress Maud granted lands here to Geoffrey de Mandeville, with license to remove the market to his borough of Saffron Walden; and soon afterwards, King John granted it a fair on St. Leonard's day. Gerard de Furnival, in 1207, surrendered the town and castle of Newport to King John, who granted the manor to Baldwin de Haverkert, to be held of the Crown. Since this period there is no recorded notice of the castle.

The manor was afterwards possessed by various families, but not finally granted from the Crown till Edward Vl. bestowed it on Richard Fermor, Esq., as parcel of the Duchy of Cornwall. About the time of Charles l., it became the property of the Earls of Suffolk, and on the partition of the estates of that family, in the last century, it was allotted to the Earl of Bristol, who sold it to the Earl of Thomond, who died in 1808.

William Charles Pitt Smith, Esq., is now lord of the manor, and has an handsome seat on the north side of the village, called Shortgrove hall standing in a large and beautiful park, on a commanding eminence, at the foot of which flows the river Granta, or Cam, through well wooded lawn.

Newport © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.francisfrith.com
Shortgrove Hall, Newport, c.1960
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

Behind the Hall is a second lawn, with pleasure grounds and canals, supplied with water from the river by an engine invented by Dr. Desaguliers.

The father of the present owner was secretary to the Right Hon. William Pitt, and purchased the estate of the Hon. Percy Wyndham, a descendant of the Earl of Thomond. Mrs Cranmer, Henry Webb, Esq., and several smaller owners have estates in the parish, mostly free and partly copyhold; the latter subject to arbitrary fines.

St. Leonard's Hospital, which stood on Birchangre side, near the river, was founded by Richard de Newport, in the reign of King John, for a master and two chaplains. Its revenues were valued at £23.10s. per annum, at the time of their suppression, since which, its site has been held by the succeeding lords of the manor.

The Church (St. Mary) is a spacious building, consisting of a nave, side and cross aisles, and a chancel, with a lofty tower, surmounted by embattled turrets, and containing five bells. A handsome wooden screen separates the chancel from the crossed aisles, and behind it, under what was formerly the rood loft, are six stalls, ornamented with curious carved work. In the wall, near the altar, are three stone seats and a piscina. Over the altar are two fine old paintings of Moses and Aaron.

Before 1353, the church of Newport belonged to the Collage of St. Martin-le-Grand, London, with which it was given by Henry Vlll. to Westminster Abbey. The appropriate rectory was afterwards settled on the See of London, and it is now held on lease by Mrs Cranmer.

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

The discharged vicarage, valued in K.B. at £9.10s., and in 1831 at £144, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. E. G. Monk, M.A., who has a good residence and about 40a of glebe, partly purchased with augmentations from Queen Anne's Bounty, and private benefactions, among which were land in Waddington, and £100 given by Giles Dent, Esq., and £200 given by Mrs Dent. The tithes were commuted in 1839, the vicarial for £114.10s. per annum.

Here is an Independent Chapel, built in 1778. The parish has a National School, built in 1839, at the cost of £118; a Free Grammar School; and several Charities.

The Free Grammar School was founded in 1586, by Joyce Frankland, who endowed it with all her great tithes in Banstead parish, Surrey, (now yielding £203.1s.11d. per annum) and with her two houses, in Little Distaff Lane, London, let for £60, and a tenement at Hoddesdon, let for £7 a year.

At the time of the bequest, this property only yielded an annual income of £23.10s., which the foundress directed should be applied as follows;- £20 to the master; £2 to the master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, for his trouble as visitor: and £1.10s. for repairing the school-house.

For many years the average annual income, clear of all deductions, has been about £200; affording, according to the above proportions, £170 to the master, £17 to the visitor, and £12.15s.4d. to the repairing fund, which latter had accumulated in 1837 to £673.5s.5d. three per cent Consols, most of which has recently been laid out in the erection of a new school-house, on the site of the old Town-House, or Guild Hall, which was granted to the pariah by Robert Driver, in the 1st of Philip and Mary, for the public good and use of the inhabitants.

The school was held in the upper room of this building, and the lower room was a granary, charged with £2 a year for the sexton, which is now paid for by the trustees. The master has now about £180 a year, for which he is required to teach 60 free scholars reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and all other branches of English literature; and also Latin and Greek if required, but seldom more than 6 or 8 of the free boys learn the dead languages.

The foundress bequeathed to the master, fellows, and scholars of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, three houses in Aldermanbury, and £1540, to be laid out in the purchase of an estate; and directed the whole yearly proceeds to be appropriated for the foundation of six fellowships and 12 scholarships, in the said College, and for the augmentation of four scholarships founded by her mother, Mrs Trappes.

The Church Mead, 1A.,was purchased by the churchwardens in 1637, for £20. It is let for £3, which is applied to the repairs of the church.

In 1529, John and Agnes Coville, gave for the poor of Newport, reduced by misfortune, a farm of 50A.,called the Gaces, now let for £50 a year, which is distributed on Hock Monday. It was conveyed to 13 new trustees in 1827.

The poor widows and widowers of the parish have £2.12s. a year from Martin's Charity, as noticed from Chrishall. A house, left to the poor by John Lythall, in the 29th of Elizabeth, was burnt down about 1650. The 'Parish Cage' occupies the site.

In 1799, the Hon. P.C. Wyndham, then lord of the manor of Newport Pond, granted a freehold close and the buildings thereon, upon trust, that they should be used as the Parish Workhouse and Garden; but part of the land to be planted with elm and forest trees for firing.

The ancient name of Newport Pond was derived from a large pond, which formerly existed near the south end of the village; where there was an ancient Cross, and a seat, called Pond Cross, long occupied by the Nightingale family.

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

Newport - 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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