History of Stapleford Abbotts
St Mary the Virgin's Church, Stapleford Abbotts.
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History of Stapleford Abbotts >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
STAPLEFORD ABBOTS, a pleasant and fertile parish, has many scattered farm houses and neat cottages on the southern acclivity of the vale of the Roding, near Passingford Bridge, How Green, Knowle's Hill, Newport Hatch, etc., from 5 to 6 miles South East by South of Epping, and 6 to 7 South West of Chipping Ongar. It contains 498 souls and 2300 acres of land, rising boldly from the vale.
Before the Conquest, it belonged to the Abbey of St. Edmond's Bury, and in 1010 it was one of the places where the monks rested with the body of that saint, when being carried back from London to Bury St. Edmund's.
The parish is now in three manors. Albyns, the seat and property of T.N. Abdy, Esq., M.P., gives name to a manor and estate, which extends into Navestock parish, and anciently belonged to a chantry at Wivenhoe, and afterwards to the Luter, Cely, Ffitch, and other families.
The mansion is a fine old building, supposed to have been erected from a design of Inigo Jones. It was completely repaired in the last century by Sir John Abdy, Bart., and stands in a large park, overlooking the river Roding. The present owner is M.P. for Lynn Regis, and a member of the Abdy family, formerly seated at Felix Hall.
John Barnes, Esq., is now lord of the manor of Stapleford Abbots Hall, which belonged to the Abbey of Bury St. Edmund's, and afterwards to the Maynard, Granville and Ffitch families.
The manor of Batayles, or Batail's Hall, belongs to Lady Mildmay, and was held in the 11th and 12th centuries by the Balaile family, under the Montfichets.
The Crown, the Rev. J.B. Stane, Robert Tull, Esq., and William Joseph Lockwood, Esq., have estates in the parish. The latter owns Knowle's, or Knoll's Hill estate, which adjoins his seat of Bishop's Hall, in Lambourne parish, and had formerly a stately mansion occupied by the Fortesques, but now reduced to a farm house, which commands charming prospects.
In a wood are the remains of Bishop's Moat, which tradition says was paved with marble, and was one of the defences of the fortified mansion which was occupied by the warlike Bishop Spencer.
The Church (St. Mary,) is an ancient structure, consisting of a nave, chancel, south porch, and tower. A chapel on the north side of the chancel, is the burial place of the Abdy family.
The rectory, valued in K.B. at £16.15s., and in 1831 at £513, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. C.W. Pitt, M.A., who has about 30A. of glebe, and an old residence, partly brick and partly lath and plaster.
Knoll's Hill Free School was erected in 1734, by Sir John Fortescue Kt., who endowed it with £25 a year out of Knoll's hill estate, for a schoolmaster to teach reading and writing to 20 poor boys of this parish, and 20 of Lambourne parish. The master has also the free use of a house and about an acre of land, and is allowed to take other scholars.
The poor parishioners have a yearly rent charge of £3., left by Elizabeth Watson. in 1782, out of Mitchell's estate, at How green, in this parish, now belonging to Emanuel College, Cambridge; and also the dividends of £166.13s.4d. three per cent. Consols, purchased with £105, left by the Rev. Dr. Gould, in 1799.
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