Armstrong Garfield Robinson (1883-1954) ~ Trains, Brains and False Claims

From time to time I scan the newspaper archives for mention of interesting historical stories from my hometown of Hadleigh, Essex from the same month. February’s search threw up what at first appeared to be an amusing story of a Hadleigh bridegroom’s over-exuberance in London on the eve of his wedding causing him the need to beg for money to get back home. What I went on to uncover were three generations of well-respected railway engineers, and a clever man’s life blighted by alcohol and the after-effects of a head injury sustained during WWI.

Research Booklet ~ The History of Belfairs Farm & Golf Course, Leigh-On-Sea, Essex

The fields at Belfairs Farm in Leigh, Essex were created by clearing woodland owned by Lady Olivia Bernard SPARROW between 1804-1842 and there is evidence to suggest there had been a farm there to manage the woods since the 13th century. The land was originally part of the holdings of Leigh Manor, not changing until the death of Lady Sparrow in 1863 when her estates were sold and can be traced back through the family to Richard RICH, 1st Earl of Warwick, who acquired it from Henry CAREY, 1st Baron Hudson in the mid-16th century. 

Research Booklet ~ The History of The Hoy and Helmet, South Benfleet, Essex

The Hoy & Helmet, formally Hoy Inn, is a Grade II listed building on the High Street as it curves down towards South Benfleet train station. It comprises of several buildings; the middle section is thought to date back to the 15th century (once a house), and the right section nearer the church was added in the 18th century. The Hoy & Helmet retains much of its old-world charm to this day, with its higgledy-piggledy layout of rooms the setting of many a tale over the last five hundred years, two hundred of which are detailed within these pages (including smuggling, assault, death by gin and suicide).

Research Booklet ~ The History of Bramble Hall, Daws Heath, Essex

Bramble Hall once stood in the uppermost northeast of the parish of Hadleigh, with its farmland extending just over the border to the west into Thundersely, next to Daws Heath village. Its land was surrounded to the east and south by Hadleigh Great Wood, just north stood Garrolds Farm at the very top of the parish, and the farmland to the west abutted Haresland Farm. Rumours have abounded for many years as to the age, origin and status of Bramble Hall, with many believing it to date back to the early 15th century and part of the ancient Manor of Hadleigh with its many royal connections. Rumours have abounded for many years as to the age, origin and status of Bramble Hall, with many believing it to date back to the early 15th century and part of the ancient Manor of Hadleigh with its many royal connections. How do these stories hold up under further scrutiny and who were its owners and occupants?

Margaret BLAKE & Briarholm Nursery, London Road, Hadleigh, Essex

In July 2022 I helped the owner of a newly acquired black and white photograph to pinpoint exactly where it was taken on London Road, Hadleigh, Essex. The photo captured Miss Margaret Blake standing outside her gardening business “Briarholm Nursery” in the late 1920s or 1930s. Always eager to learn more, I went on to research Margaret’s family tree and discovered her mother’s side had a fascinating history including quack doctors, printers, artists and house builders.

Compulsory Purchase Order 1931, London Road, Hadleigh, Essex

On the 6th Jan 1931 Essex County Council made a Compulsory Purchase Order for the strips of land on either side of London Road, Hadleigh, Essex in order to widen and improve the old road heading into Leigh-On-Sea. A full list of all affected properties was published in the Chelmsford Chronicle on 6th Feb, complete with the names of the owners and occupiers, how much land was to be purchased and its current use.

The History of 1 Cockle Shed & The Harvey Family, Old Town, Leigh-On-Sea, Essex

The origins of the row of cockle sheds situated along the creek in the old town of Leigh-On-Sea, Essex can be traced back to a time when they were little more than wooden shacks sitting in front of an ever-growing mountain of discarded shells. No. 1 Cockle Shed Row was run by Richard HARVEY from c.1892, who was from a local Leigh fishing family and was amongst the first to start selling directly from the sheds. 

The History of Feeches Farm, Eastwood, Essex

Feeches Farm was situated on Rochford Road, Eastwood, Essex up until the early 1920s, and encompassed 35 acres of arable and pasture land (and originally two fields names named Great Feeches and Little Feeches). The rough oval-shaped plot was historically situated on the very southeast corner of Eastwood borough but now falls into the Prittlewell district of Southend-On-Sea, with Southend Airport just to the north.

Castle Hadleigh & The Wrong Post | Hadleigh, Essex

In Jan 1913, outspoken local Councillor Edgar Arthur Mundy and current Chairman of the Hadleigh Ratepayers’ Association, began a debate regarding the post being wrongly delivered to Hadleigh, Suffolk rather than Hadleigh, Essex. Mundy’s solution was to change the name of the village to “Castle Hadleigh”, to reflect both its castle ruins and historical past and to clearly define it from Hadleigh in Suffolk. The debate lasted for nearly nine months (ending in rejection), but was never completely dropped by Mundy until WWI began.

GINN – Alfred Ginn (1872-1915)

Alfred GINN was born Jan 1872 in St. Neots, Huntingdonshire. He enlisted on 5th Sep 1889 into the 3rd Hussars and fought in the Boer War with the 6th and 2nd Dragoons. He was discharged after 21 years service in 1910 and re-enlisted 25th May 1915 as a 2nd Warrant Officer for the Military Mounted Police Corps. Alfred was killed in action just under 4 months later on 1st Oct 1915 age 43, leaving a wife and three young children.

The Medal In The Garden | George William BRERETON (1874-1940)

An interesting bit of detective work presented itself to me at the end of August on a local Facebook page for Hadleigh, Essex. A local chap named Ron had been digging a large hole in his garden in order to insert a sunken trampoline for his grandchildren, when two feet down he unearthed a silver medal. Closer inspection revealed it to be a King George V naval Long Service and Good Conduct medal for a G W BRERETON. Ron wondered if any members of the Brererton family were still living in the area in the hopes of being able to pass it on back to them, and I decided to help.