History of Widford
St Mary's Church, Widford. Built 1862 replacing an earlier church.
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History of Widford >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
WIDFORD, a small parish on the London road, and the banks of the small river Wid, 1½ mile South South West of Chelmsford, is crossed by the Eastern Counties Railway, and contains 692 acres of land, and about 190 inhabitants. When the census was taken on July 1841, its population was swelled by railway labourers to 362. The village has about 300 souls, but half of it is in Moulsham hamlet, and Chelmsford parish.
John Atwood, Esq., M.P., owner of most of the soil and lord of the manor, has a handsome seat here, called Hylands on the western acclivity of the valley, commanding extensive views. Though the house was large and handsome, he is now (1848) erecting more elegant and spacious mansion. The park and pleasure grounds are extensive and beautiful. The old house was erected by Chief Justice Comyns, Kt, about 1730, and much improved by the late P.C. Labouchere, Esq. Mr. Attwood is one of the parmentary, representatives of Harwich.
In 1329, the manor of Widford was held by Edward of Woodstock, Earl of Kent; and it afterwards passed to the Mortimer, Bacon, Altham, and other families.
The Church (St. Mary,) is a small neat structure of mixed architecture, but evidently of Saxon origin. The wooden turret, at the west end, has two bells, and is crowned by a small spire. There is a chapel belonging to the lord of the manor, and near it is a monument in memory of Viscountess Falkland. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £8, and in 1831, at £225, is in the patronage of J. Attwood, Esq., and incumbency of the Rev. William Buswell, B.A., who has a good residence, which he has lately much improved. The tithes were commuted in 1838, for £257 per annum.
Mr. Attwood built a Schoolhouse in the church yard, in 1843. In 1776, Lady Falkland left £200 to this parish, to provide for a weekly contribution of bread among the pool attending the church. To increase this charity, the Rev. John Saunders left £100, in 1814. These bequests now form a fund of £379.4s.9d. three per cent Consols, and the dividends are applied in a weekly distribution of 17 threepenny loaves. In 1738, Benjamin Sarjant left £100 three per cent. Reduced Annuities, in trust, to apply the dividends yearly in clothing, for two poor widows, and two poor widowers.
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