St Nicholas's Church, Tolleshunt Major© Copyright Peter Stack contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
History of Tolleshunt Major >> White's Directory 1848
TOLLESHUNT MAJOR, or BECKINGHAM parish, has a village of the latter name, on a gentle eminence nearly half a mile North West of the Church, and 5 miles North East by East of Maldon. It contains 447 souls, and 2156 acres of land, watered by a rivulet, flowing southward to the Blackwater. The soil is various, but mostly a sandy or graveley loam.
The manor was given by Godfrey de Tregoz or D'Arcy, in the reign of Stephen, to Coggeshall Abbey; and was granted in 1543, to Stephen Bekingham, Whose family held it till 1636, when it was sold to Sir T. Adams. In 1710, it was purchased by Dr. Daniel Williams. who settled it in trust with the New England Society, £60 of the rental to be paid to two itinerant preachers, for preaching to the negroes in the West Indies; and the remainder of the yearly income to be paid toward the support of the College of Cambridge, in New England.
Part of the parish belongs to J.A. Hardcastle, Esq., M.P., and the Carter, Francis, Cousin, and other families. It includes estates called Highams, Joyces, Wykes, etc. Of Beckingham Hall, which was long the seat of the Beckingham family, the ancient brick gateway tower, in the Tudor style, flanked at the corners with embattled turrets, still remains. Near this gateway are two lofty turrets, which formerly flanked the gate leading to the servants' part of the mansion. The farm house, which now occupies part of the site of the hall, is modern, except the kitchen, in which is some fine oak carving, especially the arms of Henry VIII.
The Church (St. Nicholas,) is a plain ancient building, with a nave and chancel of one pace, a porch, and a brick tower, containing three bells. The nave is Norman, with perpendicular windows, but the tower is of the Tudor period.
The vicarage, valued in K.B. at £8, and in 183l at £150, is in the patronage of the Rev. C.W. Carwardine. M.A., and incumbancy of the Rev. R.P. Crane, M.A., who resides at Heybridge, the glebe being only 2A., and the small Parsonage house, occupied by a farmer. The New England Society are impropriators of the rectory, but two-thirds of the parish are tithe free. The vicarial tithes were commuted in 1847, for £187 per annum.
On the condition of preaching a sermon on Christmas Day, the vicar has a yearly rent~charge of £5 out of Renter's Farm, pursuant to the bequest of John Sims in 1674.
For distribution among twelve poor parishioners, Sir. Cphr. Clitherow left two yearly rent-charges, viz., £2 out of Joyces Farm, and £1 out of Highams Farm. A yearly rent of £2 left to the poor by Sir Stephen Beckingham, out of of a messuage called Freme, at Tolleshunt Darcy, has not been paid during the last 35 years.
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Tollshunt Major - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
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