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Ongar Millennium History Society

Ongar Millennium History Society


February 2014

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Chair’s Annual Report 2012-2013

St. Martin’s “hatchment” revisited

What were your family doing 100 years ago?

An appeal for information

Members’ Christmas get-together

London part 2 – coming soon!!!

The History of Poultons

Dates for your diary

Well, the weather has given us plenty of opportunities to sit down and work on our own interests and projects. Now we have our all-singing, all dancing website, we need to find out how to keep it up to date! Luckily Ben and Nigel have worked very hard over Christmas to get our new website up and looking its best. I hope you like it!

Jenny Main, Editor

Committee Members 2013-2014

Chairman:  Felicitie Barnes                 bwthynbach.flis@btinternet.com  

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

Treasurer:  John Winslow                   johnwinslow@live.co.uk

Membership/Speaker Sec: Lorna Vaux    lornavaux5@gmail.com

Bookings Sec Wendy Thomas                wthomas545@aol.com

Minute Sec:   David Green  

Website+:     Jenny Main                     jenny.main@ntlworld.com

Archive:        Olive Glassington              oliveglass@tiscali.co.uk

Ron Huish

     NB Committee phone numbers can be found on the membership cards

Chair’s Annual Report 2012-2013 back to top

I would like to welcome you all here, to listen to this annual report of the Ongar Millennium History Society for the year 2012 to 2013.  As usual we have had a variety of activities, covering aspects of the history of Ongar and its environs for the interest of our members.

We started the year with a joint meeting with the Friends of St Martin’s and St Peter’s, with James Bettley, an expert on Victorian buildings, who told us about the saga of the enlargement of St Martin’s Church in 1883. The Marion Slade Annual lecture given this year by Dr Martin Bridge was on dendrochronology and the dating of timbers in old buildings. Other well received talks during the year were from two of our members; Martyn Lockwood on Essex murders and Ann Brooks on the Essex earthquake.

We had a number of visits including a walk around the grounds of Great Stony Park and heard about the history of this former Children’s Home. In April we we went to Waltham Abbey for the day, to the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge, The View, and for a tour of the Abbey Church. In April Michael Leach has led an historical walk around the back streets of Ongar and John Winslow has led a stroll along the South Bank in London. John has also organised two other meetings for less active members – namely ‘Songs that won the war’ and  ‘Nostalgia and a cuppa’ celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. And of course our Christmas party went with a swing with delicious food and Jenny’s quiz.

We do have other activities throughout the year, in which individuals or groups of members get involved. The High Street House History Group has been flourishing with visits to the Old House, the Broadway, and Wren House, leading into research at the Essex Record Office. The Ongar Parish Records 1750-1840 have been transcribed.

A group has been formed to pursue and support a museum/archive in Ongar. And we have, as you will see here today, an OMHS 2014 –Then and Now calendar for sale. It’s good to see our members involved and among others, thanks must go to John Root for help with the photos for the calendar, David Thompson and Keith Snow with the 40 facts, David Welford for always being available with the technology and Alec Hague for driving the Community Bus. During this year we have put on an exhibition at the United Reformed Church on the topic of World War 2.  We have attended the Annual Meeting of the Ongar Town Council, and Frank Knights did us proud by attending the Rotary Fair with his collection of coins.

The BOO (Brains of Ongar) Quiz has been an annual event for the last 17 years.  It was the brainchild off OMHS, and Jenny Main and John Winslow have helped organise it every year. Jenny has now handed this task over to Sandra Dear. So I would now like to thank Jenny, on our behalf, for all her hard work and input over the years.

One of our perennial problems is the venue for our meetings. Tonight we are very lucky to be here in this well appointed library.  Wendy, who is our meetings organiser, tries to strike a bargain with the venues. We do not have a regular meeting once a month like some organisations so we have to book, meeting by meeting. This year we have been to Zinc classrooms, which have limited capacity, and the Zinc Studio which we found to our dismay to be totally unsuitable for our members. We have tried High Ongar Village Hall, the Church Rooms and the URC but they all have certain limitations, such as parking  or distance. Next year, we have booked the Budworth Hall for our biggest meeting of the year, the Marion Slade lecture. We would like to know what your preferences are. So we now look forward to comments from you.

I have already mentioned the subcommittee we have set up to try and progress a local museum/archive. The idea of having a museum was first mooted by a local councillor, when we held our inaugural meeting of the Ongar Millennium History Project in 1996.   It has been our dream ever since. We have consulted with several local organisations such as Ongar Town Council, and have received sympathy and advice, but never any real help to get the idea off the ground.  However, we still have resources in cupboards, not available or accessible to the general public.  What are we going to do? We need money and premises and the goodwill of all Ongarians. Several of us have been to see the facilities in neighbouring villages and towns. Please let us make an effort to work towards our aim to: “To collect and preserve all historical materials relevant to Ongar for the benefit of future generations.”

Just before I finish I would like to record our deep sorrow about the unexpected death of Rob Brooks.  He was a good friend to the Ongar Millennium History Society. Also I would like to offer our congratulations to our Patron The Hon Mrs Margaret Buxton on the award of a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours. Finally my thanks go to the Members of the committee, who all work so hard for the benefit of  OMHS. Thank you for your attention.

Felicitie Barnes, Chair, OMHS

Ed’s note – Sorry this missed the deadline for the November newsletter, but then we are all about history!

St. Martin’s “hatchment” revisited back to top

The article published in the May 2013 issue of the newsletter regarding the St. Martin’s hatchment left a number of questions unanswered as to its authenticity and purpose. We decided to investigate the subject further and we were indeed fortunate to receive detailed advice from Paul Courtenay, a tutor at Marlborough College and acclaimed expert in heraldry. He has added a new dimension to our original article.

While St. Martin’s Church was being decorated we had the opportunity to view the back of the panel in the hope that it may reveal additional information. We confirmed that the canvas panel was mounted on a wooden frame but it was unmarked. We were able to see the coat of arms more clearly and, in particular, examine the lower right (4th) quarter depicting the House of Hanover.

It is now believed that the panel is an “unofficial hatchment”, prepared as a statement of loyalty on the death of one of the Hanoverian kings and not one for a minor royal as was speculated at first.  It is Paul Courtney’s opinion that the representation of the crown, although painted a little carelessly, was meant to be that of a king. But to which of the five Hanoverian kings did the parishioners of St. Martin’s declare their loyalty?

The answer may be found in the detail of the Hanoverian coat of arms which evolved over the 120 years of the dynasty. By examining the various stages of development we may be able to focus on which king’s arms the hatchment depicts. The Electorate of Hanover was a monarchy in Northern Germany, governed by the House of Hanover. With the ascension of the Prince-Elector of Hanover (George Louis) as King George I in 1714, Britain and Hanover were ruled together.

Over the Hanoverian period the coat of arms of Britain changed several times as described in the following sections.

The period from 1714-1801

This period includes the reign of George I (1714-1727), George II (1727-1760) and George III from his accession in 1760. The coat of arms for this period consisted of four quarters:

1st Quarter  Split down the middle:  left side England, right side Scotland (i.e. Great Britain, following the union of 1707).

2nd Quarter Fleurs-de-lis representing France (dating from Edward III’s claim in 1340).

3rd Quarter Harp representing Ireland. Henry VIII styled himself King of Ireland in 1542, but James I was the first to display the Irish harp in 1603.

4th Quarter The Electorate of Hanover showing its constituent parts: top left, the lions depicting Brunswick; top right, the single lion of Lueneburg; bottom, the white horse representing Hanover.   The small inescutcheon (shield within a shield) shows the crown of the Holy Roman Empire (the Elector of Hanover was arch-treasurer of the Holy Roman Empire).


The period between 1801 and 1816 

The Hanovarian arms have moved from the fourth quarter and became an inescutcheon surmounted by an Electoral bonnet to denote the Electorate of Hanover. King George III now abandoned his ancestors’ ancient claim to the French throne (France had become a republic in 1792) and the fleurs-de-lis were removed. England now occupied the first and fourth quarters, Scotland the second and Ireland the third.

The period from 1816 until the death of George III in 1820, George IV (1820-1830) and William IV (1830-1837)

The coat of arms remained the same except that, when Hanover became a kingdom in 1816, the Electoral bonnet was replaced by a crown.


When Victoria acceded in 1837, she could not assume the crown of Hanover, because Hanover operated the Salic law, whereby women could not inherit so William IV’s brother, Prince Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, became King of Hanover. The Hanoverian inescutcheon was therefore removed. The Royal Coat of Arms adopted by Victoria remains unchanged to the present day.

So what does all this mean?

The arms in St Martin’s do not exactly match any of those described. It is improbable that the painter would have made such a fundamental error on the deaths of George I in 1727 or George II in 1760, because the difference between the St. Martin’s version and the monarch’s shield would have been too great.   However, it would appear that when the artist placed the Holy Roman Emperor’s crown in the centre as an inescutcheon, they did not realise that they should have put the entire Hanoverian arms there and left the 4th quarter to show a repeat of the English arms. So if, as proposed, it is an unofficial hatchment, it refers to either George III (died 1820); George IV (died 1830) or William IV (died 1837). However, George IV was very unpopular and it is unlikely that he would have been commemorated, so either George III or William IV would seem more probable.

We visited the Essex Record Office to examine the Church Records to see whether there was an entry regarding the hatchment for the five year periods following the deaths of all three kings. No record was found so the mystery remains.

As a reminder to readers, the “hatchment” at St. Martin’s is shown below:

What were your family doing 100 years ago? back to top

The Essex Society for Family History wants to help you travel back in time and find out. They will be at Ongar Library on Saturday 26th April between 10.00am - 4.00pm  and will have access to countless family events both national and international covering hundreds of years and will gladly help you with any enquiries and research. Just drop in.  

OMHS will be on site all day to assist and if any member can spend an hour or so to help out please contact John on 362461.

John Winslow

An appeal for information back to top

I have had an enquiry from Yorkshire from Barry Wood, the owner and restorer of an Aveling & Porter traction engine. This engine was bought new in 1872 by Mr R B Mugleston who was living at Copthall Green, near Waltham Abbey. Soon after, he took the tenancy of Littlebury farm at Stanford Rivers, as well as Stondon Hall farm. His tenancies expired in 1883 and all the stock, including the machinery, was sold by auction on 27 September. By 1905 the engine had been modified and was working in a gold mine in Rutherglen, Victoria, Australia.

Barry would welcome any information on Mr Mugleston or the purchaser of the engine. His five sons followed their father’s occupation in the area, working (amongst others) Grays Farm, Marden Ash, and Waters Farm, Stapleford Abbots. I will pass on any information which you can send to leach1939@yahoo.co.uk

Michael Leach

Members’ Christmas get-together back to top

We were very fortunate to be able to return to our favourite venue at the Ongar Town Council Chamber for our annual party. Many members enjoyed a most convivial evening with lots of seasonal treats with a noggin or two, but not to  relax too much as Jenny had concocted one her (in)famous games that  kept  everyone's brains ticking over.  We were also able to see for the first time the "rushes" of our new website which was still under construction.

Special thanks to Frank and Carol Knights and all the ladies of the committee for their shopping and preparing and even supplying a couple of barmaids.  It's quite surprising to discover the talents of some of our members!! The time flew by.  It was cold outside and warm inside and everyone left with a cheery smile.

John Winslow

London part 2 – coming soon!!! back to top

Once the weather settles down and hopefully warms up, John will continue our London walk around the South Bank. Keep your eyes on our newsletter, noticeboard and website for further details.

The History of Poultons back to top

On a wet and windy really horrendous evening, a handsome number of our members went along to Zinc to hear Martin Shaw talk about the history of Poultons, the local funeral directors.  From their early beginnings in the 1880's in Epping it seems that the undertaking started as a sort of sideline by Poultons, the builder, as they already had the tools for the job. Shovels, spades and the labour.  Quite a natural progression when you  think about it.  In his light and easy manner Martin talked us through the various local cemeteries and the types of funeral currently available, including the ever increasing costs and ways to avoid them.  (It's all those disbursements).  There is the type of service, choice of music, unforeseen delays  and the preferences of the families and departed  all to be considered.

After a large number of questions, our President Michael Leach gave a vote of thanks to Martin.

John Winslow

Dates for your diary back to top

Wednesday 19th March   History of High Street Houses

Drop-in between 2-4pm Call in and see what some OMHS members

Ongar Town Council offices have been finding out about Ongar’s houses

in the High Street

Friday 28th March The Annual Marion Slade Lecture

7.45 for 8pm New Research on Ongar High Street

Budworth Hall, Ongar   by Anne Padfield

Tickets £8      Followed by wine and cheese buffet

Ample free parking

Saturday 26th April   Family history drop-in

10am-4pm     Come and find out about your

at Ongar Library    family history with help from experts

from the Essex Society for Family History

and Ongar Millennium History Society

Contributions for next newsletter please!

The next newsletter will be produced in May 2014, so any articles to Jenny please by 22nd April. Thank you!

First quarter

Third quarter

The fourth quarter (Hanovarian) enlarged

Enlarged view of

inescutcheon showing

Hanoverians coat

of arms surmounted

by an Electoral Bonnet

Enlarged view of

inescutcheon showing

Hanoverian coat

of arms surmounted

by a Crown.

By Keith Snow and David Thompson - In Memoriam