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Ongar Millennium History Society

Ongar Millennium History Society


May 2013

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Can you help?

The St. Martin’s Hatchment

Four visits and a bus

Local Listing Status for Mayflower Way Telephone Kiosk

Dr. Clara Stewart

Sermon in Ongar’s dissenting chapel

Dates for your diary

Well a busy few months for your editor with a trip to the Palace and a family wedding in Australia, has meant that this newsletter has crept up on me, but luckily for you all, the jet lag seems to have worked its way out of my system so the newsletter can hopefully be completed without too many faux pas!

I was sorry to miss the Marion Slade lecture this year as it sounded so interesting, and it was the first one I have missed! However reports have reached me about a fascinating evening and a very good speaker.

Now we are hopefully nearing summer weather, so we can look forward to John’s London walk.

Jenny Main, Editor

Committee Members 2012-2013

Chairman:  Felicitie Barnes   bwthynbach.flis@btinternet.com  

Vice Chair/Newsletter: Jenny Main jenny.main@ntlworld.com

Treasurer:  John Winslow           johnwinslow@live.co.uk

Speaker Sec.: Lorna Vaux                     lornavaux5@gmail.com

Bookings Sec Wendy Thomas                wthomas545@aol.com

Minute Sec:   Gemma O’Donnell  gemma_odonnell1@hotmail.com

Website+:     Annice Hamilton  annicehamilton110@btinternet.com

Archive:        Olive Glassington              oliveglass@tiscali.co.uk

     NB Committee phone numbers can be found on the membership cards

Can you help? back to top

I have a postcard by Mott of Ongar of Waterman Farm, probably taken Edwardian period by the dress. I have shown it to several older residents of Ongar and no one can identify it. The nearest name is Waterend Farm on the Epping Road but it is not it. It may be a cottage on a farm not the main farm house?

Secondly, crested ware was collectable in the early 20th century as a keepsake of places visited. The largest manufacturer was Goss and the normal crest for Ongar was the Essex coat of arms with Ongar below, as per the style on the attached photo.

There were other manufacturers who used the Essex coat of arms and a picture of Ongar High Street or Greensted Church. The attached is by Goss and the crest is the normal layout except it is not the Essex coat of arms and I have been unable to identify it. I thought at first the wrong coat of arms had been affixed, until I purchased a second Goss crested ware with the same arms? Do any members have any ideas? Was it was it the arms of the local lord of the manor at sometime? Goss also produced crested ware that had a fox with a pheasant in its mouth and is called the "Ongar Fox". I contacted the Goss collectors club to no avail to identify the arms and the origins of the Ongar fox.

Derek Birch

The St. Martin’s Hatchment back to top

In St. Martin’s Church, hanging on the south wall above the door, is a rather splendid hatchment. Hatchments were prepared by the families of important and successful people at the time of their death, and displayed outside their homes for the period of bereavement. They were taken down and carried at the head of a memorial procession to the local church or chapel where they were displayed for posterity. The practice developed in the early 17th century from the custom of carrying an heraldic shield before the coffin of the deceased, then leaving it on display in the church. Hatchments have now largely fallen into disuse, but many from former times remain in parish churches throughout England.

Hatchment is derived from the early French word achevement (achievement) and its earliest recorded use dates from 1548. They were constructed from either solid wood or canvas on a wooden frame, and took the form of a square tablet, set diagonally, often described as lozenge shape (see illustration above), and bore the coat of arms, family motto and other pictorial representations of lifetime interests and achievements of the deceased.

If a knight’s helmet is part of the coat of arms, the accepted rule is that it must be shown side on. Only royal hatchments show a helmet face on. This is where the St. Martin’s ‘hatchment’ caught our interest. As can be seen from the illustration, the knight’s helmet is face-on and there is the regal lion and unicorn with three mottos: Honi soit qui mal y pense (Evil to him who evil thinks), Dieu et mon droit (God and my right) and Fear God and honour the King. If we look carefully at the bottom right quarter of the central oval (see illustration below) it clearly shows the coat of arms of the Hanoverians. As it displays a royal coat of arms, it poses the question: is it a hatchment or a royal panel, a tablet showing the allegiance of St. Martin’s church to the crown?

We have to go back to Henry VIII and the reformation to explain a royal panel. When the king broke from Rome he was determined to repudiate the Pope’s authority and impose his own control over the church. Consequently he passed a law that commanded every church to show its allegiance to the crown by displaying the royal coat of arms. These panels were generally painted on rectangular wooden boards or occasionally carved in stone or moulded in plaster and often made integral to the fabric of the church building (see illustrations below).

Royal panel. George III coat of arms St. Wistan Church, Wistow, Leicestershire painted on a rectangular wooden panel.

Royal panel. Charles II coat of arms St. Swithin’s Church Launcells, Cornwall.

The Acts of Supremacy (1534 and 1559) granted King Henry VIII Royal Supremacy, meaning that he was declared the head of the Church of England. It is still the legal authority of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Both Acts were revoked by his catholic daughter Mary when she came to the throne, only to be reinstated by Elizabeth I. The royal panels were banned yet again when Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector as there was no allegiance to either Crown or Rome. As a result of these repeated changes there are relatively few royal panels remaining.

So, is the panel in St. Martin’s a hatchment or a royal panel? The shape certainly indicates that it is a hatchment but the inclusion of the Hanoverian coat of arms (used for royal panels up to about 1800 and the form seen most commonly in churches) suggests that it may be a royal panel. There is one other nagging question. In heraldry most items have a precise meaning including the shape of the crown. At the top of the coat of arms is a lion and small crown with gently curved as opposed to straight sides (see illustration below) indicating the coat of arms of a minor royal. A larger, more angular crown denotes the coat of arms of a monarch as shown in the George III tablet above, in which case it could be a hatchment. But which minor royal was the hatchment for?

These are questions to which we have no answers as yet but are still investigating.

If any reader can help or has any suggestions please let us know via the editor.

David Thompson and Keith Snow

Four visits and a bus back to top

Many of our intrepid members recently set out on a day's exploration of the wilds of Epping Forest and surrounding area. The first port of call was the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge where we had a guide to lead us through this rather unique building with its hugely interesting stories of royal connections covering several centuries. Our visit happened to coincide with a day of filming arranged by the QEHL for publicity purposes of which your fellow members were the "extras". 

Alongside is the newly opened Epping Forest View, an exhibition describing the working and history  of the oldest recorded forest in the world and showing types of trees and wildlife to be seen.  All with quite stunning views over the treetops.

Anyone who is familiar with the area will also be familiar with the famous Butler's Retreat that has been on this site for a century or two selling refreshments, but which has been modernised and is now very 21st century.  We were able to enjoy a cuppa and a delicious cake or two.

Onwards and upwards, we returned to our mini-bus and went to Waltham Abbey.  There was time for lunch before we met our guide at 2.15pm at the Abbey who gave us a most detailed talk on this famous place of worship, also with its royal connections, and walked us around explaining the various numerous points of interest.

It was a most interesting day, all on our doorstep. Many grateful thanks must go to our member, Alec Hague, who drove the mini-bus and brought us back home safely and soundly.

John Winslow

Local Listing Status for Mayflower Way Telephone Kiosk back to top

Ongar now has a second listed telephone kiosk, following the restoration of the Mayflower Way kiosk by local residents. The K6 kiosk outside Senners Newsagent in Ongar High Street was grade 2 listed in March 1989, it merits listing due to its proximity to other listed buildings in the High Street; it also falls within the Conservation Area and so has ample preservation protection. The K6 telephone box in Mayflower Way has now gained local listing status meaning it is included on the local Council list whereas Grade 2 listing is a national listing undertaken by the government.

How it became Locally Listed

In May 2012 Epping Forest District Council employed a company of consultants to review the buildings in Ongar looking for buildings or structures to add to the local list as part of the Heritage Asset Review, but the Mayflower Way telephone kiosk was not considered as part of the review; this was probably due to its poor condition at the time of the survey. In July 2012 the kiosk underwent a complete restoration including repainting and new parts which was funded and carried out by local residents. Following the restoration a new application was made to the Council’s Conservation Officer for the kiosk to be added to the local list; this has now been accepted. The Mayflower Way kiosk was probably installed circa 1957 when the surrounding estate was built. A previous application for Statutory listing around ten years ago by a local resident was unsuccessful.

Local residents adding the finishing touches to the K6 kiosk (photograph © Brian Longman)

What does this Local Listing mean?

Special consideration will now be given to the kiosk by the Council should any planning application be made which affects it, any unsympathetic alteration or other changes will be discouraged and total demolition will normally be resisted. The kiosk is deemed to be of local architectural or historical interest.

More about the K6 Telephone Kiosk

The iconic K6 telephone kiosk was designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of King George V; it is also known as ‘The Jubilee Kiosk’. Originally some 60,000 K6 kiosks were installed in Britain before it was replaced in 1968, but they are disappearing fast, only around 10,000 remain (many of which are in poor condition), with over 2,000 being listed. Of the eight kiosk types introduced by the General Post Office the K6 was the most populous type introduced and is the most populous remaining in terms of surviving kiosks.

Brian Longman

Dr. Clara Stewart back to top

Dr Clara Stewart was an aunt of Dr Mary Milnthorpe, a well-known GP in Ongar, and of my mother, Mrs Ruth Whitaker, who was a physiotherapist at Ongar War Memorial Hospital. Clara was a remarkable woman and a pioneer in medicine and social concern. She spent her last years in Ongar and, despite her age, continued her life of service to the local community, setting up the Clara Stewart Club for the elderly.  

She was born in 1883 in Walsall, educated at the Girls’ High School in Lichfield and studied medicine at Birmingham University, qualifying in 1908. She was among the first women to graduate in medicine from that University at a time when there was still considerable opposition to the idea of women doctors. After a year at Birmingham Maternity Hospital, she moved to Leeds where in 1911 she became assistant clinical pathologist at the Leeds General Infirmary under Professor Matthew Stewart, whom she subsequently married in 1913.

During the First World War, while her husband was serving in the Forces, she took over his work, single-handedly doing all the pathology at the Infirmary for three years.

At this time more women were becoming doctors despite the prejudice against them and many felt the need to meet together to discuss their difficulties and to provide support for one another. To meet this need, Clara, along with six other founding members, set up the “Medical Women’s Federation” in 1917. She was elected National President in 1938. One of her first tasks was to negotiate with the War Office over the role of women doctors in the Armed Forces.

When Matt returned from the war, he took up his old job and Clara became part-time pathologist to the Women’s and Maternity Hospitals in Leeds, a position she held till 1948. She now turned to the social aspects of medicine, pioneering maternity and child welfare services in Leeds, years before they were made a national responsibility. She became the Honorary Secretary of the “Babies Welcome Association” in Leeds, a fore-runner of today’s Baby Clinics, and she helped to found a convalescent home for mothers and babies. During the Second World War, she organised the Civil Nursing Reserve and undertook long sessions of diphtheria immunisations. This work earned her the OBE. The disruption of many marriages, both during and after the war, combined with her strong Christian belief in the sanctity of marriage, led to her and others establishing a branch of the Marriage Guidance Council in Leeds.

Amidst all these activities, Clara managed to be a wonderful hostess to numerous visitors and overseas medical students from Leeds University where Matt was Professor of Pathology. His superb gift as a raconteur was complimented by Clara’s warm welcome and delicious cooking. She kept up a correspondence with many of the students, long after they had left the university. She and Matt always took an active part in university affairs.

Matt retired in 1950 and this gave them the opportunity to undertake a world tour, receiving a welcome wherever they went. On their return they went to live in Stoke Poges. Matt died here in 1956 and two years later Clara moved to Stanford Rivers and then later into Ongar, where she endeared herself to many with her delightful personality and loving and caring nature. She always sought to help others, especially those less fortunate than herself. She died in 1973 after a short illness at the age of 90, having lived a long and fulfilling life.

Elizabeth Whitaker

Sermon in Ongar’s dissenting chapel back to top

It is a little unusual to find the text used in a sermon which was delivered in Ongar nearly 300 years ago. The ‘almanack’ of the Rev. Lachlan Ross, a Scottish Presbyterian minister from the Abbess Roding meeting, shows that he preached here twice on 28 June 1724 and that his text was from the book of Amos, chapter 8, verse 11:

Behold the days come, saith the Lord God,

That I will send a famine in the land,

Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for

Water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

A few sheets of his ‘almanack’, written in a minute hand, is bound up inside a brief history of the Abbess Roding non-conformist meeting (ERO D/NC 5/1/1) and lists the date and place of his sermons, and the texts he used, from August 1723 to August 1725. Most were preached at Abbess Roding, but a scattering took place over a wide area extending as far as Bishop’s Stortford to the west, Hartford End (Great Leighs) to the north and Hyde Hall (Rettenden) to the east, all significant journeys for a man on horseback. He does not seem to have gone further south than Ongar where he also baptised a baby in September 1714.  

Perhaps there could be a commemorative sermon in Ongar’s URC church on the same text in 2024!

Michael Leach

Dates for your diary back to top

1st/2nd June  EOR: Step back in time.

1944 themed weekend

OMHS will have a display in the library and at the station

NB Please contact Lorna on 366807 if you are able to help

at the station even for a short time. Thank you.

9th June   London Walk along the banks of the Thames

led by John Winslow

Meet at Debden Station ticket office at 10am

Lifts can be arranged

15th/16th June  URC Open weekend

which will include a small OMHS display

Contributions for next newsletter please!

The next newsletter will be produced in August 2013, so any articles to Jenny please by 22nd July. Thank you!