Blackmore Area Local History

Shenfield (Essex)
"Shen and feld - a pleasant field"

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Shenfield in 1861
Shenfield in 1887
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Shenfield in 1887

The following is taken from ‘Durrant’s Handbook For Essex’ written by Miller Christy (Durrant & Co., Chelmsford, 1887).    

Shen’field. A. 2397; P. 1481; Rectory, value £600; Station, 20¼m. from
London, 1m. N.E. from Brentwood.    

A village forming a suburb of
Brentwood.  It has an extensive Common, covered by furze.  Beside it is the Brentwood Cottage Hospital, containing 7 beds.  The Church (Virgin Mary) consists of a nave with N. aisle, chancel with new chapel, and W. tower of massive timber, supporting a slender spire and containing 4 bells.  The W. window has 3 lights.  The nave has S. door, and three 2-light windows.  The aisle, which is of 15th cent. date, and has 6 bays, is remarkable as having its piers and arches of oak, instead of stone.  The former, of slender and elegant workmanship, are clustered, the latter 4-centred.  There are in the aisle four 2-light cusped windows on the N., a handsome embattled, brick doorway of Tudor age, a 2-light, 14th cent. (Decor.) E. window, and a brick W. end with rose window.  The S. porch is of timber, restored.  There is a carved roof-beam between nave and chancel.  The E. window is a 3-light (Perp.) one.  There is a fine, carved oak reredos, and elegant new font of Carrara marble.  Beneath the tower is a marble altar-tomb with a recumbent effigy of Eliz. Robinson, of Gwersilt, Denbigh (1652).  The Register begins in 1539.  Fitzwalters, once a fine mansion, was destroyed by fire early in this [19th] century, but the small park in which it once stood, and the lake it contained, still remain.  The Hall, near the church, is a fine old mansion.  Middleton Hall (Countess Tasker) is also a good residence.  There are several other gentlemen’s houses in this parish.

Shenfield in 1861

The following is taken from ‘The People’s History of Essex’ written by D. W. Coller (Meggy & Chalk, Chelmsford, 1861)      

Further on is SHENFIELD, upon the great high road, its village being virtually a suburb of
Brentwood.  Records show that there was a village here in the time of Edward the Confessor, and Roman remains which have been turned up carry back its history as a habitable spot to the early dawn of the Christian era.  Its church, too, bears the marks of great antiquity.  Earl De Grey is the lord, and there are several good seats in the parish; but Fitzwalters, its finest mansion, anciently held by the tenure of presenting a pair of gilt spurs to the king at the coronation, was destroyed by fire upwards of twenty years ago [c1841].  The poor have the dividends of £100. stock, purchased with £50. left by Eliza Holmes, in 1764, and £30. by Joseph Babb, in 1789.

Photographs. (Top) Shenfield Common, taken from an old postcard. (Middle) St Mary's Church, Shenfield.   (Bottom).  Timber nave arcade, St Mary The Virgin, Shenfield.

Then and Now
View of Green Dragon and Tabors Corner (junction of A1023 - old A12 - with A129)
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Last updated: 24 March 2009