Blackmore Area Local History

Around Blackmore

A sequence of items about Blackmore, Hook End and Wyatts Green
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Jericho Priory
Aerial photo 1958 Blackmore
Blackmore Road
Copyhold Farm  
Hook End
Jericho Priory
Old School House
Second World War

Blackmore Road  

I am interested in the history of Blackmore as my mother was born there and my parents married there, although most of my ancestors were from Stondon Massey. My mother attended the village school, the one that became a library, but was born a couple of hundred yards down the road at a house called “The Old School House.” It had a large downstairs room which may well have been used for teaching, but I can’t find any evidence of it having been a school.  We wonder if it really was a school, who were the teachers and whether they lived in the house. I believe it was owned later on by the owner of Copyhold Farm, maybe Mr Hodge? I guess it may have been demolished around the 1950s.  It was a white boarded house.  During World War 2 the house was also home to a couple of evacuees and several soldiers were also billeted there.” Ruth

“Mary Conn later Coller did mention my family in her book, and actually lived in one of the cottages where Pendennis was built, before the family moved to the Nine Ashes Road.” Ruth

“There was a shop which stood more or less opposite Pendennis, the house next to The Old School House. It was run by Eli and Mrs West, and may well have been the Wayside Stores. They sold homemade ice cream on Sundays. Mum’s friend remembers passing cyclists stopping off there for a cup of tea, so there must have been some kind of tea rooms there as well.”

The Old School House

“The Old School House was on the
Brentwood Road [now Blackmore Road], approximately where Meadow Rise starts today.   My grandfather, William Larke (1901 – 1965), worked for Mr Hodge at Copyhold Farm as a cowman so it was handy for work.  The house was supplied with the job. The house next door to The Old School House was called Pendennis, and Mr and Mrs West lived there. This house was built around 1937 and prior to that there was a row of three or four cottages on the site. My family left the village in 1951 when my grandfather left his job and they moved in with my grandmother’s sister in Kelvedon Hatch for a while. By this time Copyhold was owned by Mr Marriage. However my parents were married in Blackmore church in March 1952 - on Easter Saturday in a blizzard - and still visit occasionally.” Ruth  

The Old School House was later given a house number and was
10 Brentwood Road.  

I cannot find any evidence (as yet) that the place in
Brentwood Road (now Blackmore Road) was a school.  My index of Blackmore Names has a Mrs Elizabeth Alexander in 1846 as the mistress of an Infants School. Its location, from the ‘Tithe Place-Names of Essex’ (dated 1846) suggests that she ran the school at the Baptist Chapel (now the room known as ‘Pennies’). Miss Elizabeth Gray (1846) ran a ‘Ladies School’, but we have her in the 1841 census as living in Church Street, Blackmore. Then there is an Ellen Manser (1863), but I do not know where she lived.  Thomas Hood was the first schoolmaster of the Board School which opened in 1877, the one you refer to.  Returning to the 1841 census we have a John Brady, schoolmaster, living “in the village” and at a separate address, Henry Mullucks, also a schoolmaster, living “in the village”. There is a chance that these gentlemen had a school at their home but from my records I cannot locate where their homes were.  The extract from the Ordnance survey 6 inches to a mile map of 1897 shows a property on Brentwood Road opposite the end of the footpath running westwards from the church. Today the footpath comes out opposite the end of Meadow Rise, where the Old School House once was.  A visit to the Essex Record Office may be helpful.  One lead is to look at the Vestry Minute book (of St Laurence, Blackmore) commencing 1837 which contains on its opening pages a complete list of those who were charged the tithe.  As such this is the earliest, if limited, census we have of Blackmore.  I believe the list is alphabetical but, from memory, includes addresses.  For example I noted that James Burrell occupied the Bull Public House, and William Abel, the Leather Bottle. You might find either Messrs Brady or Mullucks on the list.  The reference at the Essex Record Office is D/P 266/11. 

Ruth added:  

“My mother was always led to believe that their large front room had been a teaching room, and that the garden at one side had been the children’s playground. Although I appreciate that stories passed down through families can be inaccurate, in this case I believe it. My grandmother’s parents had lived in Stondon Massey all their lives, and if the house had been something different, a pub or a hospital for example, surely they would have been aware of it and told her that it had never been a school. If it was a school right up to when the board school opened, they would have actually known it in operation.”

Jericho Priory  - Church Street.  Follow link

Copyhold Farm  

The Hodge family had Copyhold Farm between about 1919 and 1945.  

I have the original signed transcript of an oral history interview given by Colin Hodge in 1987.  I also have a copy of the original tape recording.  It was published in ‘Parish of Blackmore. Centenary 1894 – 1994’. George Hodge, his father, came to Copyhold Farm in 1918 and stayed until 1945. 

Colin Hodge said: “Our workers lived in farm cottages in the village. They were Jack Wheal (head horseman), Albert Oval (shepherd), Billy Lark (cowman), George Anderson (cowman), Tom West, and also four lovely ladies, Mrs Harvey and daughter Maisie and the Ray sisters who all worked part-time”.

Second World War

Ruth writes:   

“When WW2 broke out in September 1939, my mother had been sent away to
Hemel Hempstead to say with her father’s sister for a short holiday. Her mother was supposed to be travelling by bus to collect Mum on the Saturday, but all the buses had been commandeered to transport evacuees. Another member of the family drove her, and when they got home there were two evacuees sitting on the doorstep waiting for them. They were Wanda and Eileen, not related to each other, from Leytonstone. Wanda kept in touch with my grandmother until she died in 1972, but we have no idea what happened to her after that. My mother is still in contact with Eileen. Later in the war soldiers were billeted with the family.”   

“The attached photo is of Mr Pannant. He was one of the soldiers billeted in the house during WW2. He was one of the older ones. Mum also remembers Reg Brown. He was much younger, probably early twenties and came from the North, possibly
Yorkshire. He went home on leave to get married while he was with the family.”

Hook End

Dines Stores, and was run by Mrs Dines.

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Last updated: 24 March 2009