History of West Horndon

thorndon hall - exterior
Thorndon Hall.
©Glyn Baker contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

History of West Horndon >> White's Directory 1848

White's Directory of Essex 1848

HORNDON (WEST) is a church less parish, from 2 to 3 miles South East of Brentwood, containing only 60 inhabitants and 1034 acres of land, mostly in the extensive and beautiful park of THORNDON HALL, the princely seat of Lord Petre, who owns all the parish, and lord of the manor.

The three Horndon parishes are variously called, in old records, Horninduna, Torninduna, and Horndon, and the latter is now their common appellation, though the Hall retains the name of Thorndon. West Horndon adjoins East Horndon, Herongate, and Ingrave, which are on the east side of the park.

It was held by two freemen in the Confessor's reign, and by Edmund, son of Algot, at the Norman Survey. It afterwards passed succeessively to the Thany, Brianzon, Drokensford, Neville, Fitz-Lewis, and Mordaunt families. In the reign of Henry VII., Sir John Fitz-Lewis, who married a daughter of Sir Robert Lovel, had the melancholy fate of being consumed, with his bride, on the wedding night in a fire which destroyed the manor house. Ela, his sister being heiress of extensive possessions, was married to Sir John Mordaunt, who had given the King 1300 marks for her wardship.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth this manor became the property of Sir William Petre, father of John Petre, who in 1603 was created Baron Petre of Writtle, a title which has descended to the present lord, who is the 11th in succession. Thorndon Hall, the seat of Lord Petre, is situated in an extensive park, on a fine eminence, about two miles from Brentwood, at the south-eastern extremity of an avenue leading from that town. This extensive and elegant mansion was executed from designs by Paine, and under his inspection.

It is built with white brick, and consists of a centre, and two wings, connected by circular corridors. On the north front is a small portico supported by six Corinthian pillars, fluted. The Hall is a noble room, forty feet square; the roof is supported by eighteen columns, covered with a composition resembling marble, by Wyatt. In the Dining-Room are various portraits of the Petre family; Henry the Eighth, and Edward the Sixth, apparently by Holstein; James the Second; the Earl of Darnley, whole length; Joan of Arc; the Duke of Buckingham; and some others. The State Bed-Room contains a fine painting of St. Catherine, reading, and leaning on the wheel of martyrdom.

In the Drawing-Room, thirty-eight feet by wenty-six, are portraits of the Dowager Lady Petre, and Mrs. Onslow, by Cosway. The Library, a particularly handsome apartment, is formed over the East Corridor, and resembles a semi-circular gallery. It contains several models of cattle, executed by Garrard, for Lord Petre, and elegant busts of the Hon. Charles James Fox, R.J. Petre, and R.E. Petre. The Saloon, sixty feet by thirty, is furnished, but contains a great number of portraits. The Chapel(Roman Catholic,) which occupied the right wing, is elegantly fitted up, and decorated with a fine painting of the Nativity, brought from Rome.

The park and grounds extend more than two miles in length, and about one in breadth, and command extensive and beautiful prospects. They are well stocked with wood, and the oaks are remarkably massive, and many of the other trees are of great rarity and value.

The noble family of Petre were formerly seated at Writtle and Ingatestone. Sir William Petre, the founder of the family was born at Tor-Brian, in Devonshire, and in 1535 was one of the visitors of the monasteries. He was knighted in 1535, and became one of the chief secretaries of state in 1543, and so continued till the commencement of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He died in 1571, and was buried in Ingatestone church, leaving only one son, John, who was created Lord Petre in 1603

West Horndon Church (St. Nicholas,) which stood in the park, below the hall, was pulled down in 1734, when this parish was united ecclesiastically with Ingrave, by act of parliament, and a new church was erected for them in the latter parish. There are still some traces of West Horndon church.

The consolidated rectories of the two united parishes, valued in K.B. at £21.16s.8d., and in 1831 at £347, are in the patronage of Lord Petre, and incumbency of the Rev. Robert Abercrombie Johnstone, who has in Ingrave 82A. of glebe, and a neat residence. The tithes of Ingrave were commuted in 1839 for a yearly rent of £308, and those of West Horndon were given up in 1776 for a yearly modus of £80, pursuant to an act of parliament.

The Rev. John Sidden, of Ingrave, is chaplain to Lord Petre, and superintends the Roman Catholics who attend the chapel at the Hall. The Right Hon. William Francis Henry Petre, the present LORD PETRE, was born in 1793, and succeeded to the title and estates of family in 1809. He married in 1815, Frances, daughter of the late Sir Richard Bedingfeld, Bart. She died in 1822, and in the following year his lordship married Emma, daughter of the late Henry Howard, Esq. His town residence is at 3, Mansfield street. His eldest son, the Hon. William B. Petre, resides here and at 53, Upper Harley street, London. His younger son, the Hon. Frederick Petre occupies his lordship's ancient seat of Writtle Park. Thorndon Park extends into Ingrave parish, and the following are in his lordships employ:- Charles Squier, farmer, and John Weylie, gardener.

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West Horndon - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798

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West Horndon - 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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