St Michael's Church, Woodham Walter.© Copyright Peter Stack contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
History of Woodham Walter >> White's Directory 1848
WOODHAM-WALTER, a pleasant village from 2 to 3 miles West of Maldon, has in its parish 573 inhabitants and 2454A.1R.27P. of land, rising in bold undulations, westward to the hills of Danbury and Little Baddow, and having many neat and finely situated farm houses. It is watered by a rivulet, and bounded on the north by the river Chelmer, and has two water~mills and numerous springs, one of which, near the parsonage, is called Jacob's Well.
About half a mile from the church are some remains of the foundations of an ancient Castle, or Manor House, which was long a seat of the noble family of Fitzwalter, from whom the parish had the latter part of its name. One part of the foundations is called Queen Anne's Cellar, probably from Anne Boleyne, who is said to have occasionally visited the Fitzwalters; and a part called the fort is said to have been occupied by Queen Elizabeth, when threatened and persecuted by her enemies.
In the British Museum is a coloured drawing of this seat, whioh had a park of 9OO acres.
The Duke of St. Albans is now lord of the manor, but part of the parish belongs to J. Round. Esq., Mr.J. Pledger, and several small owners.
On the forfeiture of William Baynard, Henry I. gave this lordship to Robert Fitzilbert, who was created Lord Fitzwalter, and whose descendants held it till 1432. when their property and title passed to John Radcliff, who married the heiress of the 11th lord. In 1525, Robert Ratcliffe was created Viscount Fitzwalter, and in 1529 Earl of Sussex, but both titles became extinct in 1641. This estate afterwards passed to William Fytch, Esq., who removed to Danbury Place, and took down the once splendid mansion of Woodham Wa1ter Hall, and divided the park into farms.
The ancient Church (St. Michael,) standing at a great distance from the village and being in a ruinous condition, the Earl of Sussex in 1562, obtained a license from Queen Elizabeth to take it down, and to erect the present Church, which was consecrated April 30th, 1564.
It is a neat building of brick, with stone dressings, except the wooden belfry, which has three bells, and is crowned with a small spire. It has a nave, north aisle and chancel, in good repair, and in the windows are some fragments of the stained glass which decorated the east window of the original church. The handsome pulpit was the gift Thomas Fytch, Esq., and the chancel was repaired by the late Rev. Dr. S. Horsmanden. The advowson was gifted in the reign of Richard I. to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who presented till 1517.
The rectory, valued in K.B. at £l2.13s.l½d., and in 1831 at £451 is now in the patronage of the Rev. L. Way. and incumbency of the Rev. Guy Bryan, M.A., who has a large and handsome residence, and 45A.2R.3P. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1844 for £606 per annum.
The School was built in 1829, and is attended by about 60 children, who pay 1d. each per week, or 2d. when only one is sent by a family.
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Woodham Walter - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
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