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surname of William Gernon, to whose father the lordship was granted by
William the Conqueror, and who built a castle here. The artificial mound
on which the keep stood yet remains, and is called Castle Hill. We must
slightly notice this and adjoining parishes, as we do not feel justified in
pausing to describe little villages where we find nothing beyond the
ordinary run of parish history.

ELSENHAM

Is a pleasant village in the Hundred of Uttlesford, distant thirty-seven
miles from London, close to a railway- station. The Hall is an embattled
mansion built of brick, with delightful grounds and gardens, adorned by
a fine sheet of water, the residence of the widow of the late George
Ruch, Esq., who was the lord. About five miles south-east of this is
Eaton Lodge, the seat of Viscount Maynard, a noble mansion and
beautiful park. During the summer season many persons visit the park
for the purpose of holding pic-nic parties, whom the honoured peer is
happy to see.

The adjoining parish is named Ugley, where may be seen, according to
an old couplet : —

An ugly church and an ugly steeple,

An ugly place and an ugly people.

This is a gross libel on the pretty women and fair maids for which the
place is remarkable, as we can testify. Further on is Henham, in a high
and healthy situation, near the chief source of the river Cam. Henham
Hall was the residence of the noble family of the FitzWalters for
centuries. It is now a farm-house.

QUENDEN

Is a village where the river Cam rises, and that classic stream flows by the
large village of Newport, then at the foot of the commanding eminence
occupied by Shortgrove Hall, and lower down through the highly-orna-
mented grounds of Audley End, where the clear waters form a wide
stream in front of the house. The river leaves the county of Essex in the
neighbourhood of Chesterton, and gives the name to the adjoining county.
Quenden Hall is a handsome mansion in the Elizabethan style, standing
in a finely-wooded park, and is occupied by Captain Byng, whose first
wife was niece to the late Mrs. Cranmer. The house was built by Thomas
Newman, Esq., who obtained the estate in 1533, but it was re-built in the



A DESCRIPTION OF ESSEX. 95

seventeenth century by Thomas Turner, Esq.;, who formed the park
around it, and in 1741 it was sold to Joseph Cranmer, Esq., of the Six
Clerks Office.



Is in the hundred of Uttlesford, county of Essex, near a railway station,
forty-two miles from London. The village is at least as old as the time of
the conquest. There is a fine old house presenting some quaint gable
ends and windows, and in this house one of the " Merry Monarch's ''
many mistresses resided for some time, to wit, Nell Gwynn, ancestress of
the hereditary Grand Falconer of England, the Duke of St. Alban's, who
enjoyed £1200 a-year from Government on account of Nelly's easy virtue.
Some good traits in her character may serve to reconcile us to the absurd
pension received by her descendants. The house where she was visited
by her royal lover is an antique building, with a carved wood front, and a
shell canopy over the door, surmounted by a crown. When we inspected
it some years since the hall and the different apartments were lined with
wainscotting, but the interior presented a more modem appearance than
the exterior.

SAFFRON WALDON (ST. MARy),

An incorporated market town and parish, possessing separate jurisdiction,
and the head of a Union, locally in the Hundred of Uttlesford, northern
division of the county of Essex, twenty-seven miles (north-north-west)
from Chelmsford, and forty (north north-east) from London.

The name of Waldon is said to be derived from the Saxon words Weald
and Den, signifying a woody valley. At a later period the place was
called Waldenburghj and in the reign of Stephen, when GeofFery de
Mandeville, Earl of Essex, procured from the Empress Maud the grant
of a market, previously held at Newport, the town took the appellation of
Cheping Walden. The present designation owes its origin to the culture
of safiron in the neighbourhood, which is supposed to have been introduced
into England in the time of Edward III., but has long since been discon-
tinued : the device of the seal of the Corporation is a rebus on the name,
being three safiron flowers walled in. The Earl of Essex, above men-
tioned, who was grandson of Geofiery de Mandeville, a Norman chief, and
one of the most distinguished followers of William I., founded a Bene-
dictine priory near the south-western extremity of the parish, which was
richly endowed, and, in 1190, converted into an Abbey; its revenue at the
time of its suppression, amounted, according to speed, to £406 5s. lid.
In 1537 the Abbey was surrendered with all its possessions, to the King,
who granted them to Sir Thomas Audley, K.G., afterwards Lord Chan-
cellor, and created Baron Audley, of Waldon. Upon the site of the



96 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

monastic buildings^ and partly out of the ruins, Thomas, first Earl of
Suffolk, in 1603, erected the first stately fabric, which he called Audley
Eud, in honour of his maternal grandfather, the Chancellor ; but of this
magnificent house, which occupied thirteen years in completing, and was
considered the largest mansion within the realm, one court only remains,
and even this comparatively small portion of the original building forms a
splendid residence. Upon the death of Henry, tenth Earl of Suffolk, in
1745, without issue, the Audley End estate was divided between George
"William, Earl of Bristol (who had a half -share), and Elizabeth, Countess
of Portsmouth, and Ann Griffin, wife of William Whitwell, Esq. (who had
a quarter share each) as representatives of the daughters and co-heirs of
James, third Earl of Suffolk. Lady Portsmouth gave her share of the
property, together with the house, in 1762, to her nephew. Sir John
Griffin Griffin, K.B., who, in 1784, established his claim, in the female
line, to the ancient barony of Howard de Walden; and, dying in 1797,
bequeathed his estates to Eichard Aldworth Griffin, Lord Braybrooke,
father of the late possessor of Audley End, who has greatly improved the
estate. The town is beautifully situated in a district abounding with
interesting scenery, contains several good streets, and a spacious Market
Place, in which is a neat Town Hall. The old houses are principally built
of lath and plaster, and some of them are very ancient ; but the more
modern ones are of brick, and the recent improvements have materially
altered the general appearance of the place. A bridge has been built
over the Slade, and the railway has generally benefited the town. A
Scientific and Literary Institution has been established, and there are
Horticultural and other societies. The situation of the town is thus
emphatically described by Dr. Stukely : — " A narrow tongue of land
shoots itself out like a promontory, encompassed with a valley in the
form of a horse-shoe, enclosed by distant and delightful hills. On the
bottom of the tongue, towards the east, stands the ruins of the castle, and
on the top or extremity, the Church, the greater part of which is seen
above the surrounding houses.''^ The trade in malt and barley is very
considerable. The Market is on Saturday ; Fairs are held on Mid-Lent-
Saturday and November 1st., and a Fair for sheep and lambs takes place
on the 3rd and 4th of August, which is much frequented. By a charter
granted in 1549, the control of the town was vested in twenty persons;
but the government was remodeled by William and Mary, and under the
Act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the Corporation at present
consists of a Mayor, four Aldermen, and twelve Councillors ; the number
of Magistrates is two, besides the Mayor, late Mayor, and Eecorder. The
Sessions are held quarterly, and a Court of Eecord occurs every three
weeks, for the recovery of debts and the determination of pleas to any



A DESCRIPTION OP ESSEX. 97

amouiit, at which the Recorder presides. The Courts leet and baron for
the manors of Brooke and Chipping-Walden^ belonging to the owner of
Audley End^ take place at stated times, and the Magistrates for the
Division have their Sessions in the town once a fortnight.

The Hving is a vicarage, valued in the King^s books at £33 6s. 8d. ; net
income, £237; patron and impropriator. Lord Braybrooke. The Church,
which was erected in the reigns of Henry VI. and VII., is a spacious and
elegant structure, in the later English style, with a lofty square
embattled tower, strengthened by double buttresses of five stages, ter-
minating in minarets rising above the battlements, and surmounted by a
lofty, crocketed spire. The western front is of imposing grandeur, having
over the central doorway a handsome window of three, and at the
extremities of the side aisles windows of five lights of rich and elegant
design, and at the angles of the building enriched buttresses terminating
in crocketed pinnacles. The interior of the Church is beautifully
arranged; the nave is lighted by a range of clerestory windows, and
separated from the aisles by clustered columns supporting the roof, which,
like that of the chancel and aisles, is richly grained ; and the altar is
embellished with a fine painting of the Holy Family, after Correggio ;
the middle and south chancels were erected by Chancellor Audley, and
the north by the inhabitants, aided by John Leche, who was vicar from
1489 to 1521, and whose tomb may be seen near the north chancel door.
There are places of worship for General Baptists, the Society of Friends,
Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The School, in which the
classics were formerly taught, owed its foundation to John Leche, and his
sister, Johane Bradbury. The learned Sir Thomas Smith, Secretary to
Edward VI., a native of Walden, is said to have received his early
education here, and through his interest the school was advanced to a
royal foundation. A Charity School, now on the national plan, was estab-
lished by subscription, and subsequently endowed with benefactions
producing £1 00 per annum ; there is a school for girls, similarly con-
ducted, near the eastern end of the Church, adjoining the Bury or Castle
Hill ; and a school for boys, upon the plan of the British and Foreign
School Society, has been erected in East Street. A range of Almshouses
was built in 1829 at the south-west end of the town, to re-place some
founded by Edward VL, for the reception of sixteen decayed housekeepers
of each sex. The elevation of the buildings, which cost nearly £5000, is
handsome and appropriate, and adds much to the general appearance of
the town, as well as to the comforts of the inmates. The income of this
charity exceeds £900 per annum, and the number of inmates is about
thirty. This was the first town in which the system of allotments for the
poor and working-classes was introduced, and about 40 acres are thus

G



98 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

appropriated, much to the benefit of nearly 800 of the population. It is
the head of a Union, comprising twenty-four parishes.

A commodious Workhouse has been erected. Between the town and
Audley End Park are the remains of an old embankment called " The
Battle Ditches/' respecting which there is no clear or satisfactory tradi-
tion. Dr. Stukely found the south bank to be 730 feet long, 20 high,
50 broad at the base, and 8 at the top ; the length of the western bank is
588 feet ; both banks and ditches are well preserved and extremely bold.
The ruins of the Castle, erected soon after the Conquest by Geoffrey de
Mandeville, are only remarkable for the thickness of the walls and the
rude character of the building. The remains, and the hill on which they
stand, are held by trustees, under lease from Lord Braybrooke, for the
benefit of the town. A Museum was erected in 1835 within the grounds,
which contain many rare specimens of zoology and other departments of
natural history ; and a spacious hall has been added to the building by
Lord Braybrooke for the agricultural society of the town and vicinity..
Lord Howard de Walden takes the title of Baron from the town.

ATJDLEY END, THE SEAT OP LORD BRAYBROOKE.

Scarcely a mile to the west of the town stands the princely mansion of
Audley End, in the midst of tastefully laid-out grounds, lawns, and gardens.
The fine wood and spacious park are diversified by hill and dale, and from
some of the higher points, views are presented in many counties. On one
side is the town of Saffron Walden, partly hid in the intervening valley ;
below is the silvery Cam, winding its way through the grounds and grassy
vale ; while further away are the dark woodlands and game preserves.

Lord Howard (Baron Howard of Walden), who took part in the
destruction of the Spanish Armada, built Audley House on the site of
an ancient monastery, which had been granted to Mr. Thomas Audley at
the time of the dissolution of religious houses. Lord Howard being
Lord Treasurer, determined to erect a mansion that should surpass any
other in the country in size and magnificence. He procured a model in
wood from Italy at a cost of £500, and having chosen an architect, he
began the building in 1603, and finished it in 1611, at a cost of £200,000 !
Lord Braybrooke, in his " History of Audley End," says : — '' When the
house was completed, it consisted, besides the offices, of various ranges of
buildings, surrounding two spacious quadrangular courts ; that to the
westward was the largest, and was approached over a bridge across the
Cam, through a double avenue of limes, terminating with a grand entrance
gateway, flanked by four circular towers. The apartments in the north
and south sides of the principal courts were erected over an open cloister
and supported by pillars of alabaster, and on the eastern side a flight of



A DESCRIPTION OF ESSEX. 99

steps led to the entrance porches placed on a terrace running parallel to
the great Hall, which formed the centre of the building ; beyond the Hall
was the inner court, three sides of which only remain, and constitute the
present house/^ An estimate of the magnitude of the building may be
formed from the dimensions of the principal gallery, which measured 226
feet in length, 32 feet in width, and 24 feet in height. The present
building contains three sides of the smaller of the two original quadrangles.
The grand entrance is from the west, where two corresponding porches
project from each side, and are ornamented with handsome pillars. The
family chapel stands at the north end corner of the house ; it is fitted up
in the most elegant style of English architecture. The gallery appro-
priated to the family is at one end, and its roof is decorated with the
family arms. The house is elegantly furnished ; the saloon and gallery
contain a large collection of valuable paintings, and in the library there
is a judicious selection of books.

Audley End is the name of one of the finest estates in Essex, an estate
covering a vast extent of highly-cultivated land. The Park is five miles in
extent, and presents that magnificence of English park scenery so well de-
scribed by Washington Irving : — " Vast lawns, that extend like sheets of
vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees heaping up rich
piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of groves and woodland glades, with the
deer trooping in silent herds across them ; the hare bounding away to the
covert, or the pheasant suddenly bursting on the wing. The brook taught
to wend in natural meanderings, or expand into a glassy lake, the seques-
tered pool reflecting the quivering trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on
its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters, while
some rustic temple or sylvan statue grown grey and dark with age, give
an air of classic sanctity to the seclusion." — ''''The Sketch Book.-"^

Lord Braybrooke permits any picnic parties to ramble in the Park.
Some years since we spent a pleasant summer day there, and the keeper
very kindly accompanied us over the grounds to hear

The gladsome voices of uraiurabered birds,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

There is a mound over the railway tunnel, and on the summit there is a
circular fence enclosing an extensive aviary. A temple and Gothic cottage
stand on the top of the mound, and a lawn in front, on which are placed
large cages containing eagles, hawks of various kinds, kites, parrots and
parroquets, Cornish crows, canaries, goldfinches, bullfinches, linnets, red
poles, with many other kinds of birds, of which the most remarkable are
some hundreds of gold and silver pheasants quite tame — so tame that they
come at the call of their keeper for food scattered about,



100 HISTORY OF EASTERN ENGLAND.

The temple before -mentioned stands on the highest part of the mound.
It is a stone building in the classic or Grecian style of architecture, sur-
mounted with a dome, and was built to commemorate the peace of 1763.
The following inscription is placed over the entrance : " Sacred to Yictory,
eminently triumphant in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, by the
glorious and unparalleled success of the British Armies in the war com-
menced 1755, and concluded 1763; when France and Spain making
overtures to the Crown of Great Britain, and yielding to the superiority
of her arms, peace was restored."

chesteefoed,

Which is situated on the eastern bank of the River Granta, though now a
small village, was anciently a town of considerable importance. It is by
most antiquaries identified with the Camborecum of Antoninus, and the
foundation of walls inclosing a quadrangular area of fifty acres was till
lately traceable. That it was a Roman station is certain, not only from
its name and the numerous coins and other Roman antiquities discovered
at various times, but also from its contiguity to several Roman roads, of
which the Icknield and Ermyn Streets intersect each other in the imme-
diate vicinity. Roman bricks and coins of the earlier and later emperors
have been found in great quantities, of which, in 1 769, a large number in
good preservation were found in an earthen pot, by some workmen who
were digging up the foundation of the walls for materials to mend the
road. In 1730 many coins and entire skeletons were discovered, besides
a small urn of red clay containing wa'itten scrolls of parchment, which
were destroyed before they were deciphered.

Besides the larger camp or station, there are several smaller camps ; one
near the Church, in the grounds between which and the rains are traces
of an amphitheatre. At the distance of half-a-mile from the larger camp
is another, called Hingiston Burrows, and a third on the opposite side of
the river. On an eminence near the Roman road from Inckleton towards
Newmarket is Fleamsdyke, where is a small fort, probably the castra
exploratorum, in the centre of which are traces of a building. The Roman
road to Grandchester may be plainly traced, forming a ridge of 200 yards
in a direction towards the river above Cambridge. In 1786 a bronze bust,
fiibula, gold and brass instruments and utensils of various kinds, were found,
of which one of gold, in the form of a staple, and weighing eight pounds, lay
buried under a rude mass of bronze. A stone trough in the form of half an
octagon, of which the four compartments were ornamented with human
figures in relievo, was for a considerable time used as a reservoir in a smithes
shop. It was subsequently in the possession of Dr. Girver, of Chelmsford,
who referred it to that class of receptacles of ashes called Quietiria.



A DESCEIPTION OP ESSEX. lOl

Soon after tlie Norman survey in 1086^ the manor belonged to the
Mareschalsj Earls of Pembroke. At the commencement of the 16th
century it was given by its proprietors, the Berkeleys, to the abbey of
St. Peter at Westminster, and on the dissolution of Monasteries was
granted by Henry VIII. to Audley, Lord Chancellor, from whom it
descended to the Marquess of Bristol, and subsequently to others. The
parish comprises 2811 acres, of which 200 are woodland; the soil in the
more elevated is a thin dry loam, resting on a substratum of chalk, and in
the valleys is a rich loam on a dry bottom. The village is pleasantly
situated, and commands an uninterrupted prospect extending to the
County of Cambridge. The Market has been discontinued, but a Fair is
held for horses.

ESSEX CASTLES AND POETS.

These are twenty in number, and some of them of great antiquity.
They are situated as follows : — Bemfleet Castle (Barstable), Blunts Walls
Fortress (Barstable), Bures Mount (Lexden), Canfield Castle (Dunmow),
Canute's Camp (Canewdon), Clavering Castle (Clavering), Colchester
Castle (Colchester), Great Horkesley Earthworks, Hadleigh Castle (Roch-
ford), Harwich Castle (Harwich), Hedingham Castle (Hinckford), Land-
guard Fort (near Harwich), Newport Castle (Newport), Shoebury
Fortress (Rochford), Stansted Castle (Stansted), Tilbury Fort, Uphall
Earthworks, Walden Castle (Saffron Walden).

ABBEYS AND OTHER MONASTIC INSTITUTIONS IN ESSEX.

Barking Abbey, Bicknacre Priory, Beeleigh Abbey, Berden Priory,
Blackmore Priory, Carmelite Friary (Maldon), Coggeshall Abbey, Colne
Priory, Crossing Temple, Crouched Friars (Colchester), Dunmow Priory,
Friary (Chelmsford), Grey Friars (Colchester), Halsted College, Harlow
Bury, Hatfield Priory (Peverel), Hatfield Priory (Broad Oak), Hedingham
Hospital (New Abbey), Hedingham Nunnery, Horkesley Priory, Latton
Priory, Le Hospital (Maplestead), Leighs Hermitage, Leighs Priory,
Newport Hospital, Parndon Monastery, Panfield Priory, Pleshey College,
Prittlewell Priory, St. Giles' Hospital (Maldon), St. Osyth Priory, St.
John's Abbey (Colchester), St. Botolph's Priory, St. James Hermitage,
Stansgate Priory, Stratford Abbey, Takeley Priory, Thoby Priory,
Thremhall Priory, Tilty Abbey, Tiptree Priory, Walden Abbey, Waltham
Abbey, Wix Nunnery. All these buildings are now in ruins.

Mute is the matin bell whose early call,

Warned the grey fathers from their humble beds ;

N"o midnight taper gleams along the wall,

Or round the sciilptured saint a radiance sheds.



CHAPTEE II



A DESCEIPTIOISI OF CAMBEIDGESHIEE.

(TO

(j0 AMBRIDGE SHIRE is an inland county, bounded on the south by
t\>^' the counties of Essex and Hertford, on the north by Lincolnshire,
on the east by Suffolk, on the north-east by Norfolk, and on the west
by the counties of Bedford, Huntingdon, and Northampton. It extends
from 52 deg. 2 min. to 52 deg. 45 min., north latitude, and from 28 min.
east longitude to 18 min. west longitude, and contains 858 square miles,
or 549,120 statute acres. The whole county is in the fen district, and
presents a very flat aspect, but the eastern parts are varied by gently
rising hills.

Geologists have explored the whole of the fen district with especial
interest, in consequence of the evidence it affords of changes of level and
the action of water. Land and water appear to have been in conflict for
ages. Now the sea has triumphed, rolling its waves over the northern
region; now a marine current, flowing steadily in one direction, has
prevailed, bringing white silty clay, gravel, flints, boulders, bones, and
shells. Next in order appear signs of the sluggish action of fi-esh water ;
of forests growing during long periods, until overwhelmed by the sea.
Then another forest grew above the former, and produced oaks with stems
ten feet in diameter. These in turn perished, and the whole region
became a vast expanse of marsh and fen.

The substrata of the county are chalk, which extends through the hilly-
part, from Royston to Newmarket ; clunch, a calcareous substance found
in large masses, but neither so white nor so soft as chalk, chiefly abound-
ing in the parishes of Burmell and Isleham, and much used for lime and
fire stones ; gault, a stiff blue clay, prevailing in the eastern and western
parts of the county ; sand, which crossing Bedfordshire, begins in this
county in the parish of Gamlingay ; silt, a sea sand, finely pulverised by
the agitation of the waters, and found in the marsh lands ; peat earth,
extending through the whole of the fen district ; and gravel.



A DESCRIPTION OF CAMBRIDGESHIRE. 103'

Cambridgeshire^ including the Isle of 'Ely, forms part of the great level
of the fens, which is based upon a bed of clay of great thickness, consist-
ing of the gault, the Oxford clay, and the Kimmeridge clay. These, by
the almost total absence of the strata of stone that usually separate them,
have become only distinguishable by their imbedded fossils. Above the
clay there is a deposit of peat of variable thickness, but usually of many



Online LibraryA. D BayneRoyal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 12 of 70)