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?
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.
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.
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.
Charles William John LINCE was born 1887 in Ramsden Bellhouse, Essex. He enlisted c.1916 in the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own), and became missing in action and presumed dead on 22 Sep 1917 age 30.
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.
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.
Alfred GILBERT was born 9th Apr 1879 in Barningham, Suffolk. He enlisted 2nd Dec 1914 as a Private in the Essex Regiment (1st Battalion), and became MIA then confirmed killed on 6th Aug 1915 aged 36. He left behind a wife and four children.
Robert James FEAKINS was born 1897 in Hadleigh, Essex. He enlisted underage into the 2/6th Essex Regiment in Nov 1914, later transferred to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (7th Battalion). He was killed in action on 7th Oct 1916 age 19.
Thomas Henry FARLEY was born 1897 in Southend-On-Sea, Essex. He was fostered into the BARNES family in 1902, and lived in Hadleigh, Essex until 1914 when he was send to Canada. He enlisted in the 1st Canadian Labour Corps on 20th Apr 1916 and died from wounds on 19th Aug 1917 age 19.
Charles EADE was born 5th May 1895 at Weeley Heath, Essex. He enlisted into the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment on 24th Aug 1914 and died of wounds on 16th Jun 1915 (only eight days after arriving in France). He was 20 years old.
Richard COWELL was born in 1893 at Little Barford, Essex and died from Pneumonia whilst serving in the Labour Corps on 9th Nov 1918 age 25. His younger brother William was born in 1897 at Hadleigh, Essex and died 17th Dec 1915 whilst serving in the 9th Essex Regiment aged 18.
John Henry COOLLEDGE was born on 25th Jul 1884 at Purleigh, Essex. He enlisted into the Royal Navy as a Stoker in 1902 and was serving aboard HMS Cressy when war broke out. On 22nd Sep 1914 John’s ship was was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-9 whilst in the North Sea near Holland with the loss of 560 of her crew, including John. He was aged 30.
John Hugh COMPTON (aka Jack) was born 1st Aug 1897 at Walthamstow, Essex. He enlisted into the East Surrey Regiment during Sep 1914 aged 17 and was sent to France on 24th Mar 1915. Jack was killed in action just one month later on 25th April.
Reginald COLLINS was born 12th Sep 1897 in St George Hanover Square Pimlico, London. He enlisted on 26th Jun 1916 into the 24th London Regiment, Queen’s Battalion and died in action in Greece on 7th May 1917 aged 19 with the rank of sergeant.
Charles Claude COLLINS was born on 10th June 1880 at Ipswich, Suffolk. He enlisted into the 3rd (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) volunteer unit on 2nd Jun 1915 but was swiftly discharged as unfit. He died 5th Dec 1916 of Tuberculosis age 36.
Harold CLIFFORD was born in 1883 at Battersea, Surrey. He enlisted into the 11th Royal Sussex Regiment in Jun 1916 and was killed in action on 18th Sep 1917 age 34/35.
Stephen CHOPPEN was born in 1895 at Hadleigh, Essex. He enlisted into the 9th Essex Regiment in 1915 and was killed accidentally on 25th May 1916 age 21.
Fred CHOPPEN was born in 1889 in Thundersley, Essex. He enlisted into the 7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps on 22nd Feb 1915 and was killed in action 15th Sep 1916 age 27.