History of Wethersfield

Wethersfield © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005. http://www.frithphotos.com
The Green, Wethersfield, 1960
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

History of Wethersfield >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

WETHERSFIELD is a large and well-built village, pleasantly situated on the northern acclivity of the vale of the river Pant or Blackwater, 7 miles North North West of Braintree.

It has several neat houses and well-stocked shops, and its parish contains 1685 inhabitants and 4101 acres of land, and many scattered houses at and near Rotten End, Blackmore End, Four Ashes, and Beazely End, extending about two miles West and South West of the church.

A pleasure fair is held in the village on July 22nd. The parish, rises boldly from the river, and is noted for the growth of garden seeds, especially carrot seed. Many of the poor women and children are employed in making straw plat.

On the road to Bocking is a strong chalybeate spring, formerly of considerable celebrity, but now neglected. Before the Conquest, this lordship was held by Algar, Earl of Mercia; but at Domesday survey it was held of the King by Picot, and several other tenants.

In old records it is variously spelt Whelperfield, Weddarsfield, Wetherfend, Wydersfield, etc.

Thomas White, Esq., resides at the Manor House, formerly called Dobbins, and is lord of the manor and owner of a great part of the parish and the rest belongs to Jasper Pyne, Esq., Basil Sparrow, Esq., Mr. Joseph Cornell, Mr. J. Mott, and a few smaller owners, partly copyholders, subject to certain fines.

Henry de Cornhill held the manor of Wethersfield in the twelfth century, and his heiress carried it in marriage to Hugh de Neville, father of the author of that ancient record near "Testa de Neville." In 1463, the manor reverted to the Crown, and was annexed to the Duchy of Lancaster, and afterwards held by various families, of the Honor of Clare. Henry VIII. gave it, in exchange, to Sir John Wentworth, of Codham Hall, a fine old mansion near the Blackwater, about 2 miles South East of the village, where the De Codham family were seated many generations after the Conquest, and where they had an extensive park, now converted into fields.

The Clerks, Coggeshall, Cornwillis, Livermore and other ancient families were formerly landowners here. Summmer's Hall, the handsome residence of Mr. Joseph Cornell, is near Beazeley End, and was formerly the seat of the Semenour family. At Blackmore End are visible remains of a large moat, supposed to have encompassed the ancient seat of the Nevilles, near which was a chapel, in a field where foundations have often been ploughed up.

church - exterior
St Mary Magdalene and St Mary the Virgin's Church, Wethersfield.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Wethersfield Church (St. Mary Magdalen,) is a large ancient structure, on an eminence, and has a nave, north and south aisles, a chancel, and a square tower, containing five bells, and crowned by a small spire. It was repaired and repewed in 1820. The chancel is separated from the nave by an oak screen, and contains a piscina and sedilia, and an ancient tomb, on which are recumbent marble effigies of a man and woman, supposed to represent some of the Wentworth family, but the inscription is totally obliterated.

Among the modern monuments on the walls, is one in memory of Joseph Clerke, Esq.. whose son Charles sailed with Captain Cooke in three of his voyages, and died at Kamtschatka. The church as appropriated to Stoke College, and had a chantry, endowed with various lands and tenements.

The rectory has belonged to the Bishop of London since 1591; but the Master and Fellows of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, are patrons of the vicarage, valued in.K.B. at £12, and in 1831 at £239, and now in the incumbency of the Rev. John Walker, M.A., of Cottered, Hertfordshire. The rectorial glebe is 53A., and the vicarial 3A. The rectorial tithes are held on lease, by Thomas White, Esq., and the vicarial tithes were commuted in 1842; for £278 per annum. Here is an endowed lectureship.

In the village is n neat Independent Chapel, built in 1822, on the site of the old one, erected in 1707, when the congregation, in the trust deed, agreed to give the minister a yearly stipend of £20. A neat school was erected by the congregation in 1848.

The NATIONAL SCHOOLS have recently been erected, and are attended by about 200 children. These Schools are supported partly from the proceeds of charities; and in the centre of the building is a commodious house for the master and mistress.

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

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Wethersfield - 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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