Ongar Millennium History Society
Ongar Millennium History Society
Welcome to the latest edition of the OMHS Newsletter. We are now distributing the newsletter by email where we have email addresses for members. We have made this change to help with production and distribution of the newsletter. Where members do not have access to email we will continue to distribute hard copies of the newsletter.
We are holding our AGM on the 19th September and hope for a good turnout for the AGM and the talk by Anne Padfield on the pubs of Ongar. We hope to see you there.
Ongar Millennium History Society AGM
19th September 2018
7.30 for 8.00 pm
Chipping Ongar Library
The AGM will be followed by refreshments and a talk by Mrs Anne Padfield on the “Inns of Ongar” with a particular focus on the Kings Head.
Parking is free and we would love to see you on the evening so please come along.
The sale of the manor of Chipping Ongar Back to top
Recently an indenture dated January 1717 (1718 modern style) for the sale of the manor of Chipping Ongar was donated to the Ongar Millennium History Society, on the understanding that it would be deposited in the Essex Record Office.
The manorial descent has never been entirely clear, though it was in the hands of the Gouldesburgh family for three generations after its acquisition by Thomas in about 1663. By the early eighteenth century, his grandson (also Thomas) was said to be in financial difficulty and, by 1716, had already sold Ongar castle and various parcels of land in the parish for £1000. He then proceeded with the sale of the manorial rights in January 1718 for the sum of £1200. The vendors named in this indenture are Thomas Gouldesburgh, John Havers and his wife Mary. Havers himself received the purchase money and signed the receipt. Was Havers acting as Gouldesburgh’s agent, or was he foreclosing on Gouldesburgh to redeem a debt owed to him? We know very little about Havers. Though described as a yeoman, he was able to sign his name, and to bequeath property as well as cash to his four surviving children at his death in 1726. The 1718 indenture also shows that he was tenant of the manor house which, in 1670, had been the largest in the parish with ten hearths, and was then called the Brick House but now known as Castle House. It is probably reasonable to assume that, by 1718, Havers enjoyed a comfortable level of affluence and that Gouldesburgh was no longer resident in the town – and probably in debt to him.
The 1718 indenture sets out the assets of the manor in laborious detail, but it is likely that this is merely a formulaic legal description which was used by attorneys in all such documents, rather than an actual description of the Ongar manor. For example, it lists a mill (of which I have never found any evidence) as well as ancient manorial rights such as turbary, escheats, amercements, heriots and view of frankpledge which may have already lapsed by that date, and certainly did so soon afterwards. It is curious that it does not mention the market tolls or the lease of the annual fair which may have been the main sources of manorial income at that time. It does, however, list the Brick House (tenanted by John Havers), a cottage (tenanted by Henry Colling), a farm with its associated buildings (tenanted by George Allum) and another cottage (tenanted by the widow Elizabeth Hance).
The identity and intentions of the 1718 purchasers, Joseph Goodale and Edward Harnage, both gentlemen of London, are uncertain. Of the former, two possible individuals in London have been identified. One, described in his 1724 will as a painter stainer, seems unlikely, as he would have lacked gentleman status. A more likely candidate is the Joseph Goodale, a proctor in Doctors’ Commons, who advertised in 1705 for information about a pamphlet in which he had been libelled. He certainly could have described himself as a gentleman, and would also have had some useful knowledge of property law.
Edward Harnage, the other joint purchaser, was almost certainly the Shropshire landowner who was noted in the Shropshire electoral roll of 1713 to be resident in London. Later, in 1739, as a member of the landed gentry, he was selected as a candidate in the election for sheriff in his home county. Neither of these gentlemen appear to have had any connections with Ongar or Essex. Were Goodale and Harnage acting as agents for Edward Alexander, the next known owner of the Chipping Ongar manor, or were they working together in a speculative venture to purchase manors and sell them on at a profit? Though there was a market for manors at this date, it was usually for the interest in mineral rights, rather than for the customary manorial dues.
Two months after the sale to Goodale and Harnage, another indenture (now in the Essex Record Office) was drawn up to acknowledge that the £1200 purchase price had actually been paid by Edward Alexander, and that they, as purchasers, would surrender the ownership of the manor to him on request, and on payment of the appropriate legal fees. It is significant that a similar arrangement was made with the sale of the castle in 1716, through the intermediary was a different individual (Joseph Studley of London, gentleman) and Edward Alexander did not reclaim this property until 1735.
In his will dated 1745, Edward Alexander described himself as resident at Doctors’ Commons where, as mentioned above, Goodale had been a proctor. It is clear that by this date Alexander had recovered the ownership of both the manor and the manor house at Chipping Ongar. At his death in 1751 he had risen to the position of some eminence in the legal profession as procurator general of the Court of Arches, but left instructions in his will that he was to be returned to Ongar and buried in the chancel of the church where a vault ‘large enough for 8 or 10 corpses’ was to be built. His intention was to provide for his descendants as well as for himself. In spite of his professional success in London, it would seem that being lord of a small country manor still conferred valued status.
The manor was probably not a good investment. Its last court was said to have been held in 1732, and by 1805 the court rolls had been destroyed though one membrane dated October 1706 has survived and is now in the Essex Record Office. By 1835 the only remaining manorial rights were the lease of the annual fair, and the tolls from the weekly market, and both of these were sold off in 1841, though technically the manor remained in the possession of Edward Alexander’s descendants until finally sold by the trustees of the last survivor in 1918.
Michael Leach and Kathy Wenborne
Notices in Daily Courant 1/2/1705 and General Evening Post 3/11/1739
Essex will of John Havers (1726) ERO D/AEW 34/2/47
Ferguson, F, Thornton, T & Wareham, A, 2012 Essex Hearth Tax, British Record Society
Indenture dated 13/1/1717 (to be deposited at ERO)
Indentures & correspondence relating to manor of Chipping Ongar, ERO D/DQ 55/72
PCC wills for Joseph Goodale (1724), Edward Harnage (1740) & Edward Alexander; PROB 11/597/404, 11/706/391 & 11/798/326
Powell W R, 1956 Essex VCH, iv, 161-
Three Hundred Years Later Back to top
Recently, a gentleman named Bob phoned Felicitie Barnes and left a message regarding an old document that he had in his possession.
Having contacted Bob, a very pleasant gentleman of 95, I was able to glean that he had a document which he thought appertained to a property in Chipping Ongar.
Anyway, I was intrigued as to how the document had come into his possession and he told me the full story.
Thirty to forty years ago a scrap dealer in Peckham was asked to clear out a defunct solicitor’s office, presumably in London. He duly did so and then sold some of the old documents, as it was in vogue at that time to have them made into lampshades. Then Bob visited the scrap dealer with a friend and showed an interest in the documents and was told that he could take some. So Bob, who lives in Beckenham, has had this document in his possession for some years.
I said that I was not able to tell which property it belonged to without seeing it; so Bob’s son in law kindly emailed a photograph of it to me.
To my surprise it did not relate to a property but was a transfer of ownership of ‘The Manor of Chipping Ongar’ dated 22 January 1717/8 for the princely sum of £1200 which is approximately £139000 at today’s value. This wouldn’t go far in Ongar today!
Bob has decided that the document rightfully belongs in Essex and has donated it to the OMHS to be given to the ERO for safe keeping.
Ongar’s market crosses Back to top
As mentioned in another article, the owner of the manor of Chipping Ongar was said to be in financial difficulty by the early eighteenth century, and in March 1715/6 he sold the physical part of the manor (i.e. not the manorial rights) for £1000. This sale comprised the freehold of Castle House ‘being below the hill called Castle Hill on which a castle lately stood’, the hill itself, a field called Stoney Field, another called Langfield and certain other meadows – totalling 60 acres in all.
The indenture provided a little more detail. The mansion house and Castle Hill was for some time in the occupation of Thomas Velley gent, then passed to Thomas Williamson, John Goodwin and finally Robert Savall. The ownership also included a shop, a corn chamber, a shambles and a stable in the market place of Chipping Ongar, as well as the market house, two market crosses and the market tolls.
Various threads can be pulled out of this. Thomas Velley must have been the father of the similarly named Thomas, rector of Chipping Ongar who died in 1750 aged 47. John Goodwin may have been the yeoman of that name who died in 1710. Thomas Williamson and Robert Savall cannot be identified, but we know from other sources that by 1718 Castle House was in the occupation of John Havers, another yeoman.
Presumably the Castle House property butted on to the High Street, possibly on the
site of the medieval access to the castle, now an insignificant alleyway filled with
dustbins! Ongar’s shambles – the notoriously offensive part of the market used by
the butchers – have been noted before, and presumably were not replaced after their
collapse, without loss of life, in 1745 (see OHMS Newsletter of February 2017). The
market house, now in a shocking state of disrepair, would have been open at ground
floor level, with the upper rooms used for collecting the market tolls, and for other
What is surprising is the entirely unexpected reference to two market crosses. Some of these structures were erected in the Middle Ages to mark the granting of a market charter, others were wayside crucifixes which either did not survive the Reformation, or were severely mutilated by later puritan iconoclasts. Similarly named structures may have been waymarkers or boundary posts. The age, purpose and site of Ongar’s ‘market crosses’ remains a mystery. By the eighteenth century they may have been reduced to eroded, mutilated stumps, or possibly replaced with elegant classical obelisks. The earliest image of the town centre is dated 1818, and does not show anything suggestive of a market cross.
Source: Chipping Ongar manor, indentures and correspondence, ERO D/DQ 55/72
A Treasure Trove in Colchester Back to top
Few families can be better documented in contemporary records than the Taylors of
Ongar, as they came to be known -
So it is something of a surprise (though a pleasantly exciting one!) that a further
major source of information about the family that eluded even the exhaustive researches
of Christina Duff Stewart should have come to light only relatively recently. This
has been thanks to the efforts and perseverance of Georgina Bailey, who embarked
about seven years ago, as a part-
The published works in the collection are not without interest, in that they include
four titles no other copy of which is known to have survived, but, for family historians,
it is those “other items” that are of crucial importance. First, there is a family
Bible with notes on the fly-
The memoir, which is vividly and (the idiosyncratic punctuation apart!) elegantly
written, was begun in Ongar on 1 January 1825 at the request of her children. It
records Ann’s difficult childhood and the earlier years of her married life in London
and Lavenham in intimate detail, in the process illuminating aspects of day-
Long after Ann Taylor’s death and shortly before he himself died, her son Isaac Taylor
of Stanford Rivers (1787-
Robin Taylor Gilbert
1 The main focus of the thesis, which is approaching submission, is a re-
2 A Book of Martyrs and Picturesque Piety by the Revd Isaac Taylor and Tales & Dialogues
and The Family Bible by his son Jefferys Taylor (1792-
3 Surprisingly, Isaac Taylor seems not to have known the names of his paternal grandparents: he recorded his grandfather as Isaac rather than William and did not name his grandmother at all. The later annotator corrected Isaac to William and wrote “Ann Cook” in the space left for the grandmother; although it is known from the record of his baptism that the first Isaac Taylor’s parents were called William and Ann(e) and although there is a record of the marriage in Worcester in 1715 of a William Taylor to an Anne Cook, there are in fact reasons to doubt that these were the first Isaac Taylor’s parents.
4 I spent two days in the Colchester Public Library in June 2018. In the short time
available, it was not feasible to do more than speed-
5 Her mother’s maiden name was Mary Plaxton. It is stated in Ann Gilbert’s autobiography
that Mary was born in York, that her father was ruined in a building speculation
in that city, after which she moved to London as a very young woman, and that her
grandfather was a “clergyman of Beverley”. The memoir tells us further that her
father’s Christian name was Thomas, that her mother’s maiden name was Rachel Hurst
and that her grandfather ran an academy in Beverley. Although this additional information
has pinpointed with certainty the records of her baptism on 29 November 1730 -
6 Thomas Martin (1735-
7 Her paternal grandparents were William Martin (c.1705-
8 Ann was born in a house in Liquorpond Street opposite Richard Meux’s Griffin Brewery, which makes it possible to pinpoint its position with reasonable accuracy. In March 1769, her stepfather Thomas Hewitt rented a house not far away in Leather Lane “next to Cold Bath fields”, the fields then being “decidedly rural”.
9 Probably a daughter of John Conder (1714-
10 John Conder’s grandson, Josiah Conder (1789-
11 “...a more important incident was the exercise of his skill in engraving her initials
upon the silver shield in front of the beautiful little teapot, still in our possession,
and in which he deposited a copy of verses upon returning it to her. These led to
a smart rejoinder, and that to a paper war which, for a time, made the gossip of
the little circle, till it was terminated by a treaty of peace, never afterwards
infringed” (Autobiography & Other Memorials of Mrs Gilbert (Formerly Ann Taylor)
Vol. 1, p.16). These verses were given by Ann to her friend Ann Withey, later Mrs
Christopher Moon, and much later, in 1867, offered for sale to her grandson, (later
Canon) Isaac Taylor (1829-
12 The marriages of her daughter Ann and her son Isaac and the engagement of her
daughter Jane are all mentioned in the memoir. The fact that that of Martin (1788-
13 This is recorded in a memorandum dated 17 March 1865 accompanying the memoir and signed by Isaac and by his daughters Jane, Phoebe and Jessie.
14 I am indebted not only to Georgina Bailey, but also to my fourth cousin Fiona
Martin, a great-
World War 1 Post cards from our archive Back to top
Future Events Back to top
Further events will be announced in future newsletters and on the website as they arise. Have you looked at our website? The site is regularly updated with future events so this is where you will hear the news first. The address is http://www.omhs.org.uk/ or just search OMHS.
We need your help with articles for the newsletter. If you have anything that you would like to contribute no matter how small or large, please submit to the editor or through the website before the end of October 2018 to be in time for included in the next edition of the newsletter
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