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.
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).
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?
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.
During the summer of 2021, Gorgon Stone Conservation was employed to perform what they thought to be a simple paint stripping job on a Georgian building in the centre of the town, only to discover three different layers of old signage underneath. The company carefully removed the paint to reveal a wonderful glimpse at some of the former lives of this unusual curved property, situated at 1 Market Place (formally 25 Bath Street) in Frome, Somerset. I was intrigued to know what I could find out about the businesses on the old signage, uncovering over 200 years of history, stretching all the way along from 24 Bath Street to 1-3 Market Place.
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.
After a conversation with a friend about his parents new house situated on the Rayleigh Road in Eastwood, Essex I decided to look into its history. It is oddly positioned next to a pair of semi-detached houses, an old well was found in the garden and there are hints of it being part of a bigger piece of land at one time. What could I find out?