History of Steeple Bumpstead

The Guildhall - exterior
The Guildhall, Steeple Bumpstead.
© Copyright Robert Edwards contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

History of Steeple Bumpstead >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

BUMPSTEAD, (STEEPLE) is a large and pleasant village, with several good houses on the banks of a tributary stream of the Stour, 3 miles South of Haverhill, and 8 miles North West by West of Castle Hedingham, and West South West of Clare.

Its parish contains 1212 inhabitants, and 3296A, 1R, 25P. of land, generally having a heavy fertile soil, well cultivated and highly productive both in grain and grass. The fine old pastures and dairy farms in this neighbourhood were formerly in high estimation for a large supply of excellent cheese, but most of them are now in tillage.

Mrs. Ann Walton, of Haverhill, owns a great part of the parish, and is lady of the principal manors, formerly belonging to the Bendish family, who were seated at BOWER HALL, a large and handsome mansion, with a well-wooded park, but now unoccupied.

Sir Thomas Bendish was created a baronet in 1611; but on the death of Sir Henry, the last male of this ancient family, in 1717, the title became extinct, and this estate passed to Sir Stephen Anderson, Bart., and afterwards to E. A. Stevens, Esq.

MOYNES PARK, nearly a mile east of the church, is the beautiful seat of George William Gent, Esq., and was anciently the residence of the Moyne family, whose heiress married William Gent, Esq., in the reign of Henry VII.

The principal front of the mansion is a noble specimen of the ornamented style of domestic architecture of the time of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth. The large projecting windows rise as high as the body of the building, assuming the form of turrets; and the numerous ornamental gables, with the antique clustered form of the chimneys, give the whole of this grand front a varied and pleasing appearance. This elegant part of the building was erected in 1580, by Baron Thomas Gent, one of the barons of the exchequer, who died in 1593.

A considerable part of the more ancient building has been preserved, and some of the offices behind the house are of great antiquity. Internally, the apartments are spacious and lofty, and richly embellished with valuable paintings, among which are some fine family portraits. The park contains an abundance of fine forest trees, and commands extensive prospects.

Mr. Thomas Jarvis, Mr. John Willett, and several smaller owners have estates in the parish, partly copyhold, subject to certain fines. The Wanton, Robtoft, Blois, Gernon, and Latchley families, formerly held the estates in this parish, still bearing their names; and some of them having fine old houses, one of which (Latchleys,) is still encompassed by a moat.

church - exterior
St Mary's Church, Steeple Bumpstead.
© Copyright Keith Evans contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Church (St. Mary,) is an ancient stone fabric, in good repair, and has a handsome tower and five bells. In the interior are several handsome monuments belonging to the Bendish family. One is very elegant, and has a fine recumbent effigy of Sir Henry, the last male heir of the family.

The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £15.2s.1d., and in 1831 at £247, is in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor, and incumbency of the Rev. J. Townley, who has a good old residence, and about 50A. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1839, the vicarial for £400, and the rectorial for £652.2s.5d. per annum. The latter are held by Mrs. Walton, on lease from the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's.

In the village is a neat Independent Chapel, erected in 1800, and enlarged in 1839. It has 700 sittings, and is now under the ministry of the Rev. J. Chapman, who has a house near the chapel, built at the cost of £300.

The school belonging to the chapel, was erected in 1847, by subscription, on land given by Mr. John Willett. A neat National School was built here in 1848, at the cost of £500. The old parish school was built in the reign of Elizabeth, and conveyed to trustees in 1592. It is endowed with £100 three per cent. reduced Annuities, purchased in 1797 with money given by several benefactors.

The Town Land comprises 2A. 1R. 6P., and is mentioned in the awards of the enclosure commissioners, in 1702. It is let for £5.5s., which is distributed in calico to poor families.

The Poor Houses are three cottages, which have been long held by the parish, and are occupied by paupers. There are also three tenements, called the Old Workhouse, which are let by the churchwardens, at 10½d. each per week. There are now no traces of the Church Lands (5A.) said to have been given by William Hilbovan in 1498.

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Steeple Bumpstead - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

Steeple Bumpstead - 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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