History of Writtle
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Writtle >> Kelly's Directory 1895
Description of Writtle in 1895.
WRITTLE, formerly a market town, is a village and parish near the river Can, a feeder of the Chelmer, on the road from Chelmsford to Ongar, 23 miles west from Chelmsford station and the Chelmer navigation, in the Mid division of the county, Chelmsford hundred, petty sessional division, county court district and union, rural deanery of Chelmsford, archdeaconry of Essex and diocese of St. Albans. A part of this parish was taken in March 1888 to form the new parish of Chignall. The village is lighted with gas from works belonging to the Writtle Brewery Co.
The church of All Saints is a spacious building of rubble, with stone dressings, in the Early English and Perpendicular styles and consists of chancel, restored in 1885, clerestoried nave, entirely rebuilt in 1879, at a cost of about £1,000, aisles, north and south porches and a lofty embattled western tower of stone, with pinnacles, rebuilt in 1802 and containing a clock and 8 bells: the lower story of the tower was restored, and an arch opened into the nave in 1893: the font is Norman.
On the north side of the chancel is a marble monument with two various allegorical figures and subjects, and an inscription to Edward and Dorothea Pinchon, and near it another monument, also of marble, representing a father and mother with four sons and six daughters, and above these, on a brass plate, an anonymous inscription: here is also an inscribed plate to Edward Elliott, of Newland, Essex, ob. Dec. 22, 1595, and on the south side a large and lofty monument with bust, to Sir John Comyns kt. Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer (1738-40), who died Nov. 13, 1740, erected by his nephew and heir, John Comyns, of Hylands esq. in 1759: on the chancel floor are inscribed ledgers of stone and marble to John Pinchon, of Writtle, son of Sir Edw. Pinchon, ob. July 3o, 1654; John, his son, 1672, and Anne, wife of the latter, 1675; and to the Rev. John Birch LL.B. rector of Corringham and vicar of Margaretting, Essex, besides several memorials to the Comyns family and the Petres, of Fithlers, including one to Elizabeth, wife of John Petre esq. ob. Aug. 1658: on the east wall of the north aisle is a brass to Edward Hunt, of Writtle, gent. and his wife, ob. 1605-6; a small brass to Constans, "meyden doughter" of John Berners esq. ob. 1524, and a third, now imperfect, to Wm. Pinchon esq. ob. 1592, Rose (Reddin) his wife, 6 sons and 3 daughters.
In the nave is a figure of a man in armour, of the Hyde family, with his wife, c. 1500, 6 sons and 2 daughters: in the chancel are the figures of two men in armour and two ladies with groups of children; the inscription, now lost, was to Thomasina, daughter of Thomas Heveningham, jun. and wife successively of Thomas Berdefield, John Bedall and Walter Thomas, gent. 1513: of another fine brass, all that now remains is a scroll with the word "Mercy;" and there linger also two shields, c. 1580.
A new organ was erected in 1887, at a cost of £325, raised by subscription. The register dates from the year 1634. The living is a chaplancy or vicarage, average tithe rent-charge £456; net yearly value £448, with 2½ acres of glebe and residence, in the gift of New College, Oxford, and held since 1884 by the Rev. Thomas Leslie Papillon M.A. formerly fellow and tutor of that college. A list of 30 vicars, from the year 1405 to 1884, is preserved in the college archives. The vicar of Writtle, as a chaplain appointed by New College, requires no institution by the bishop of the diocese.
On Writtle Green there is a Congregational chapel, rebuilt in 1885 at a cost of £500, and now seating 200 persons. There are almshouses near the churchyard (Hawkin's charity) for six widows.
Here is an extensive brewery with maltings carried on by the Writtle Brewery Co. Limited, who are also owners of the gas works.
Within this manor a curious custom prevailed in early times, called "Leppe and Lasse," under which every cart coming to a part called "Greenbury," except the carts of peers, paid 4d. to the lord of the manor: Greenbury is supposed to have been a market place and had therefore this privilege granted to it.
John Bastwick M.D. of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, born at Writtle in 1593, and afterwards a physician at Colchester, was a person of considerable notoriety in the 17th century: being a good Latin scholar and possessed of no mean ability, he embarked in a literary career and unfortunately for himself attacked the flagrant existing abuses of the Church; persisting in this course, he was first heavily fined and thrown into prison and afterwards, together with Prynne and Burton, condemned to the pillory and deprived of his ears: in 1640 Parliament reversed these sentences and ordered him a reparation of £5000 out of the estates of the Archbishop of Canterbury, of which, in 1644, sufficient was received for the maintenance of himself and wife: he died October 6th, 1654.
Lord Petre, who is lord of the manor, and Arthur Pryor esq. of Hylands, Chelmsford, are chief landowners. The soil is various, clay and loam; subsoil, chiefly clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley, clover, beans and roots. The area is 8,325 acres of land and 27 water; rateable value, £13,086; the population, including Highwood, in 1891 was 2,462. The population of Writtle in 1891 was 1,794; of Highwood 668; total of the parish 2,462. The area of Writtle is 4,925 acres.
Police Station, W. Parrott, acting sergeant in charge
School Board of 5 members was formed 27 Oct. 1888; A.P. Lindsell, clerk to the board; E.A. Hunt, attendaance officer. The Board have taken over the schools, formerly National, & improved the buildings.
Board Schools, Writtle, for 300 children; boys, on the Green, average attendance, 100; Thomas Williams, master; girls & infants near the churchyard, with residence for mistresses; average attendance, 100 girls; B) infants; Miss Annie Gristwood, mistress; Miss Harriet Jane Spink, infants mistress.
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