History of toppesfield essex

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St. Margaret of Antioch, Toppesfield Baptism Records (). Baptism registers record .. Victoria County History: Essex (). A detailed history of. TOPPESFIELD, a parish, with a village, in Halstead district, Essex; 2 miles SW of Yeldham r. station. It has a fair on 20 July. Post town, Halstead. Acres, 3, Toppesfield. Pages An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office.

Toppesfield inhabitants who voted in the general election.​ TOPPESFIELD, a pleasant retired village on a commanding eminence, 8 miles North West by North of Halstead, has in its parish >>more.​ St Margaret's Church, Toppesfield. Toppesfield. Pages An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 1, North West. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office. Toppesfield is a village and civil parish in the Braintree district of Essex, England. The village is approximately 19 miles (31 km) north from the county town of Chelmsford, and miles ( km) west from the village of Great Yeldham. The parish contains the hamlets of Gainsford End and Grass Green. History[edit].

Toppesfield inhabitants who voted in the general election.​ TOPPESFIELD, a pleasant retired village on a commanding eminence, 8 miles North West by North of Halstead, has in its parish >>more.​ St Margaret's Church, Toppesfield. H. B. BARNES, Rector of St. Margaret's, AND THE HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF TOPPESFIELD PARISH, ESSEX CO., ENGLAND, BY PHILIP MORANT. Toppesfield is a village and civil parish in the Braintree district of Essex, England. The village is approximately 19 miles (31 km) north from the county town of Chelmsford, and miles ( km) west from the village of Great Yeldham. The parish contains the hamlets of Gainsford End and Grass Green. History[edit].






This banner text can have markup. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Books by Language Additional Collections. BY REV. For the last six months I have essex trying to gather material for a sketch of the history of essex Toppesfield. The work would be by no means easy even for an expert, for there appear to have been no previous workers in this field, from whom to gather without toil that which must in the first instance have been discovered at the cost of much time and labour.

Of course the chronicler has the old records on the tombs, the old history books, as well as the old registers, which he can always consult, and which probably would reveal tales of deepest interest to any one who has leisure to study them, and experience and skill to understand the meaning of that which is written in these old-world records, but the present writer confesses with sorrow that even had he the time to spare he has not got the skill ; but he hopes that he is no dog in the manger; so should any one and especially any one interested in the connection between Topsfield and Toppesfield wish to work up all that can be learned from these original documents, he may count on being met with the heartiest welcome, and the fullest help that can be rendered.

As then, in the absence of other men's writings from which to steal, and of ability to make original researches it is impossible to write any account of ancient Toppesfield which shall not be of an imaginative rather than an historical character. I have thought essex perhaps some short account of the Toppesfield of to-day might be of interest.

The village is situated in the north-eastern corner of the County of Essex, near to the borders of Suffolk on the east, and of Cambridgeshire on the north ; the country is not by any means of the level character that is usually attributed to the whole of Essex. There are no great hills but there is no flat country ; all is undulating.

Toppesfield itself — whatever the origin of its name — certainly by its position deserves its designation ; the church does not stand on the highest ground in the parish, but yet its tower serves for a land-mark for miles around, history all sides except the west, on which side a wood screens it from view; while in the parish about two miles in a southerly direction from the church, history found the highest point in this part of the county, excelled in the whole county only, if at all, by Danbury Hill near Chelms- ford.

The soil is almost uniformly clay, and very good for wheat growing, and its fertility is such that even in the present time of agricultural depression there is not an unoccupied acre in the parish. Yet it must not for a moment be sup- posed that Toppesfield has escaped unscathed ; very far from it. Thirty years ago it was as rich and prosperous a little place as could be found ; now it is miserably poverty- stricken ; then, there were numbers of well-to-do farmers, now, the land is farmed in large holdings by men who, for the most part, live in neighbouring villages; then, many of the old houses dotted about the parish were occupied by large and thriving families ; now, the families have gone and many of the houses are either occupied by labourers e.

The impossibility of making a living off the land, has driven the descendants of sturdy yeomen to seek elsewhere, the livelihood which the ground their fathers tilled, can no longer afford them.

But in the old days the daughters and wife would earn more than the father, and would do so without being necessarily taken away from home ; even thirty years ago, straw plaiting was a great industry in this part of England. Old crones maintained themselves in comparative comfort by holding "schools" in which infants history quite tender years were taught to plait, and, as the children grew up, they plaited toppesfield they stood in their cottage doors or as they lolled about the roads, and their work was every week collected by higglers who came round for the purpose.

All this has come to an end now ; no straw plait is made here for it can be more cheaply imported from the East than it can be made at home ; and though the money that was earned in this way is much missed, yet the village is happier and better for the loss of this business, for straw plaiting always seemed — wherever it was done — to bring a moral deterioration in its train. There is however an indirect way in which the agricul- tural depression seriously affects the labourer; it makes it very difficult for him to get a decent cottage.

The landlords then, being so hard hit in all cases, and sometimes having essex no balance left after they have paid the "charges" on the estate doweries it may be or pen- sions determined upon during the fat years of prosperity are unwilling, even when, through having other sources of income, 4 THE TOWX OF TOPSFIELD. As for new cottages, none history been built lately and none are toppesfield to be built, for if the landlords cannot build them no one else will except from philanthropic motives, for it would be difficult to get a nett return of two per cent, on the minimum cost of erection.

The necessary results of such a condition of things are easily understood ; the best of the young men go off to the towns, and there gain their living; many of them become policeman or employes on the railways; others become soldiers ; the young women go out to domestic service and so the village is left with the old people and the young chil- dren to inhabit it. The proportion of the old is something remarkable ; that the climate is extremely healthy and that longevity is much more common here than in most places, may have a little to do with it, but fails altogether to account for the wonderful proportion of old people in the population ; no, the reason is that the young men and women as soon as they grow up go off elsewhere to seek a better market for their labour; history while we regret losing them, and fear that many of the men like the married man of the story find the change "none for the better and all for the worse," there can be no doubt that the course they take is the one which must seem most reasonable to those who have no knowledge of the condition toppesfield unskilled labour in the great towns.

The extent to which this exodus is reducing the population of the parish may be judged from the fact that while in 1 there were inhabitants; in there were ; inand in there is no doubt that there will be a still further reduction. In the school is also held an evening continuation school for young men which was begun this year and which has been doing fairly well. In this same building are held the meetings of the members of what is known as "the school club," an excellent Benefit Society, a branch of the National Deposit Friendly Society.

The Toppesfield branch started some fifteen years ago by the then Rector, the Rev. Taylor, has over mem- bers ; many of them however are now living in distant parts and some come from neighbouring villages. Toppesfield has reason to feel proud of its school and of its Benefit Society. Near the School is the church which is dedicated to Toppesfield.

Margaret; the tower looks imposing from a distance but when examined more closely proves to be a rather poor specimen of the architecture of the beginning of the eighteenth century; there was an old tower, the inside of which must have opened on to the church, with a lofty early English arch, and which essex said to have been built of flint and rubble ; this fell down on July 4thand was replaced by the present structure of brick ; the tower contains five bells, two of which however need recasting.

The church consists of a chancel, nave, and south aisle with a gallery at the west end, against the tower. There is no inscription on the tomb, and it is not known to whom it belongs. In the floor is an old brass, bearing the figures of a man and woman, and with the inscription Pray for the sowlys of John Cracherowd and Agnes his wyff : the whyche John decesyd the yere of Our Lord God 15 13, upon whose sowl Christ have mercy.

Near to this again there is a tomb, with a full-sized effigy of a man, bearing no inscription, but probably containing an earlier member of the same family of Cracherod. By Frederic Chancellor, p. By a Gen tleman. Chelmsford, 1 7 7 1. Over the hive is placed a dove, with the words fida simplex imparting simple fidelity written below it.

Six of the books which compose the pilasters are labelled thus: — Sacrae medit; Soliloquia; Publ. By a Essex. Chelmsford, Bigg triumq liberor matre, ob modestia, pietate prudentia singulare duxit; et in familia prosapia celebre traduxit; ubi multos annos ille, spendidce hospitalitatis et candoris, ilia solertiae fideique matronalis exemplar; clara omnibusq nobilib 8 ceque ac infimis essex sui memoria reliqueru Laudatiss 08 avice suae, sacra senecta lectione, meditatione bonisq operibus indefesse consolanti tandeq inter in- credibilia sanctissimae animas gaudia ultro in ccelu avolanti H.

Bigg nepos hisce symbolis parentat et lachrymis. Hoc pago educata. Obiit Bigg makes an offering of this and of his tears to his much esteemed grandmother, who incessantly comforted her old age, by reading the holy scriptures, by meditation, and by acts of history and who, at length amidst the inconceivable joys of a most pious soul, willingly winged her way to heaven. She was brought up and married in essex town: she died and was buried at Cressing. She departed this life December 18,in the 76th year of her age.

Beneath this inscription is the figure of a lamb placed upon a bible, upon which is written these words: Biblia fides sacra, which mean, Faith in the Holy Bible: on one side the bible is the representation of a bleeding heart, as figurativeof her feelings for the distressed poor: on the other side is that of an expanded hand; doubtless as a symbol of her readiness always to assist them. The whole is prettily designed, and executed in a masterly manner.

On the South wall is a memorial of a young lady of eighteen: Her disposition was mild and benevolent her manners gentle and simple and most respectfully obliging her sentiments enlarged and liberal her understanding clear and comprehensive enriched with an uncommon extent and variety of attainments, of which she was so far from making an ostentatious display that she seemed unconscious she possessed them nay, the degrading conceptions she unhappily formed of her own worth moral and intelectual sic were probably the source of insupportable sufferings "The brain too nicely wrought Preys on itself and is destroyed by thought.

The South aisle has a fine old oak carved roof, the date of which can be determined by the combination of the pomegranite and the rose found on it to be about the year At the east end of the aisle there used to be a window with fine old glass, but it having been found necessary, some half century ago, to build a vestry out beyond the aisle, the glass in the window was removed and left about to perish!

At the east end of this aisle there can be seen on one side a piscina, showing that an alter once stood there, and toppesfield the other, high up in the wall, the entrance to the rood loft of which no other trace now remains. The font, which stands in the aisle, has no other interest than such as is derived from its great age. The right of appointing the Rector rests with the Crown; there were here at one time both a Rectory which then was a sinecure and a Vicarage ; but the Bishop of London, aboutfinding that the Vicarage had become too poor to maintain a clergyman, united the Vicarage to the Rectory.

There is still a piece of the Glebe land known as "the vicarage," which forms toppesfield memorial of the old state of things. I William Noble. William Barret. Thomas Haxeye. Nicholas Manvell. William Toppesfield. William Parker. William died 1 33 1. Stephen le Parker. John Hokyngton. William Lambeleye or Welton. William Mersey, died Richard Pumpy. John Scarlette. William Meyr. John Peteville. Henry Huyton. John Edenham or Ednam, D. Thomas Fermyn. Thomas Donnell, B. Cuthbert Hagerston, M. Thomas Havard.

Richard Wynne. William Redman, D. William Whiting. Edward Graunt, D. William Smyth. Theodore Beacon, M. Randolph Davenport, B. Richard Kinge, D. Dean of Stoke; Canon of St. Paul's ; Master of Corpus Coll. Agent of Thomas Cromwell. Prebendary of Lich- field. Canon of Canterbury ; Bishop history Norwich. Canon of Ely ; Sub-Dean of West- minster.

Toppesfield to James I. Dean of Gloucester; Bishop of Carlisle. Chaplain to Charles I. Thomas Overhead intruded.

The Parish Pump. Aq Old Resident. The Winding Street, St. Margaret's Tower. Berwick Hail. John, his son, succeeded him ; and held this maner, with the lands, tenements, rents, and services, called Berwykes, Scoteneys, and Cardeaux, that composed the maner of Top- pesfield, of Cecily, Duchess of York, as of her maner of Stamburne.

He died in John Doreward, of Great Yeldham, Esq. In this noble family it continued, till Edward [the 17th] Earl of Oxford sold it [he having squandered away his various estates] 1st October , to William Bigge, of Redgewell ; who died possessed of it, 5th January , and of Gounces, Brownes Farm, Broad-oake, with other estates adjoining.

By his wife, Dorcas, daughter of John Mooteham, of this parish, Gent. William, the eldest son, who lived at Redfens in Shalford, held several parcels of land in this parish, belonging to the adjoining estate of Gunces ; but Edward, the younger son had the maners of Berwick-hall and Scoteneys. Edward, his son, kept his first Court here on the 8th of October On the 23d of April , Robert Wankford, Esq.

He had two daughters by his first wife; and by his second; Robert, baptized 12th June ; and Samuel, 1 8th December But her grand- son, Henry Bigge, Esq.

Robert, his eldest surviving son, had no issue by his first wife, Dorothy, daughter of John Fotherby, of Rickmans- worth in Hertfordshire, Esq, ; but by his second wife, Mary, daughter of the Rev.

He was buried here on the 20th of June, Some time after, the maners and demesnes of Berwicks, Scoteneys. Richard Gayn- ford, who died 20th May His brother John succeeded him. William Butcher held this capital messuage, and 24 acres of land, in Queen Elizabeth's reign. June 14, , Thomas Guyver, with Samuel Edwards and Margaret his wife, daughter of Francis Guyver, sold this capital messuage to Robert Wank ford; from whom they passed as above.

Gaynesfords is near two miles south-west from the church. Roger, son of John Huse, upon the death of John de Berewyk in 13 12, inherited this estate, to which he gave name. This Roger sprung from the ancient family of Huse in Wiltshire and Dorsetshire ; was a great soldier ; became a knight; had summons to Parliament in and , and died in ; being seated at Barton Stacy, in Hamp- shire. John, his son, succeeded him. Henry Parker, of Gosfeild, Esq.

Roger, his son, succeeded him. William Cratchrode, junior, held this maner in Piper [whose family sold it to Henry Sperling, Esq. The mansion-house stands near a mile south-west form the church.

It took its name from an ancient and considerable family! Afterwards, it became the Cracherode family that had long been settled at a place called from them Cracherodes, in this parish. The first of the name that hath occurred to us, was John Cracherode, witness to a deed, 17th Richard II.

John Cracherode, Gent. John, the eldest son, paid ingress fine for Cust-hall in He married Agnes, daughter of Tho. They had four sons and four daughters ; viz. William, the only son whose name is recorded, married Elizabeth, daugh- ter of John Ray, of Denston in Suffolk.

They lived 56 years together in wedlock. He, and his wife, which died 17th February , lie both buried in the chancel of this church, under a blue marble stone. They had issue five sons and one daughter; viz. The daughter, named Anne, was wife of John Mootham. He died 14th June He died 2d of February , and she 6th of March Both lie buried in this church. Paul; by whom he had Thomas, baptized the 1st of June He was buried in this church the 8th of July The mansion-house stands near the church, and formerly had a park.

In Edward the Confessor's reign, Got held this lord- ship, as lying in this parish and Stanburne, and then in two maners; which, at the time of the survey, belonged to Hamo Dapifer. How long it continued united with Stam- borne, we cannot certainly discover. He was a man of great note in his time ; and after the taking of King Henry III, prisoner at the battle of Lewes, was chosen, by the discon- tented Barons, one of their Council of State, to govern the Realm.

Ralph dying in , was succeeded by his sister, Margaret, who had two husbands, first, Philip le Despenser, 4th son of Hugh le Despenser, Earl of Gloucester.

Bromton, col. JThis John married Margaret, daughter and heir of Sir John de Gates- den; and she forsaking him, and living in adultery with Sir William Paynel, John de Cameys, as he calls himself, quitted all his right and title to her, as also to all her goods and chattels, spontaneously delivering and demising her unto the said Sir William, and releasing all title and claim to her and her appertenances; as appears by the deed, printed at length in Sir William Dugdale's Baron, vol.

By her first husband, she had Philip le Despenser; who, at the time of his decease, in , jointly with Joane his wife, held, of the Lady of Clare, a tenement here called Camoy's-hall, by the service aforesaid. Philips his son, by. Strange, had Philip, who died in ; leaving, by his wife, Margaret Cobham, Sir Philip, his son and heir, that departed this life in , and held this maner of Edward, Earl of March ; as also those of Lyndsells, Little Stambridge, and a fourth part of the maner of Thaxted.

He married Elizabeth, one of the daughters and coheirs of Sir Robert Tiptoft; and by her he had his only daughter and heir, Margery. Her second husband was John Lord Rosse ; by whom she had no issue. But by her first husband, she had two sons ; Philip; and Henry, the first of this family seated at Codham-hall ; from whom sprung the Wentworths, of Gosfeild and Bocking ; and several daughters. She died the 20th of April The latter sold this estate, the 25th of March 17 13, to Matthias Unwin, of Castle Hedingham, Gent, who died the 1 8th of September 5; and, by will, bequeathed Camoys-hall to his brother's son, Joseph.

From a family that existed here from to , it took the name of Flowers. Thomas Glascock, who died 29th October 1. John Gobyon is in the list of the gentry of this county in Richard Gainford, mentioned above, under Gaynesfords, held this maner of Gobyns in , of John Doreward, as of his maner of Great Yeldham. John, his brother, was his heir. It was afterwards in the Wentworth family.

Martins, and the noble family of Bourchier ; in which last it continued long. Ralph Jephson, by marriage with the daughter of William Raymond, of Notley. It is described as comprehending acres of arable, 8 acres of meadow, 8 acres of pasture, and 10 acres of wood. He had also the maner of Nicholls in Shalford. William Toppesfeild held it of John Durward, at the time of his decease, in ; and his two daughters, Elizabeth and Joane Toppesfeild, were his heirs.

The latter brought it in marriage to. Paynell, and was his widow in The Paynell, or Pannell family, was in these parts as early as the reign of King Edward I, and had an estate at Redgewell, where John Pannell lived in , and his poster- ity continued till the reign of King James I.

Henry Pannell, Esq. His son and heir, Henry, was then 12 years old. John Darby, of Little Waltham, Essex co. Solomon Edwards of Thackstead.

The metal vase and patera merit attention. The vase was of that form which Montfaucon calls a precefericulum used by the Romans at their sacrifices for pouring wine into the patera. The uses of the elegant little cups of Samian ware, one of which has an ornamented border, have not, that I can find, been ascertained.

The real purposes to which they were applied must remain at present in obscurity; we only know that such things were L. John Oliver purchased an estate of John de Raclesden, about , which is supposed to have been this. He was one of Sir. John Hawkwood's Esquires, companions, and fellow- warriors ; and concerned in founding his Chantry. Here were in this parish two acres and a half of land, called Molle, given for one obit and a lamp ; used at their funeral obsequies, particularly unguents and perfumes of several kinds for anointing the body before interment; therefore we may conclude that they were used at the funeral, and were afterwards deposited with the body, according to the custom of the ancients.

Only one Roman coin was found, and that very imperfect. Whether it was the obolus, the naulum Charontis, is left for others to determine. A nail and a handle of a bronze patera were found at the same time. John Hawkwood founded a famous chantry, for one Chaplain in the church of Hedingham, to pray for the souls of Sir John Hawkwood, Thomas Oliver, and John Newenton, Esquires, his military companions, supposed to be born in this county.

The license for this foundation was in ; and the endowment consisted of 4 messuages, 4 tofts, acres of arable, 13 acres of meadow, 20 of pasture, 4 of wood, 22 of alder, and 12 s.

The house where the Chantry Priest lived stands at some dis- tance from the church, and bore then, and still bears, the name of Hostage; having originally been a charitable foundation for the enter- tainment of devout Pilgrims.

The patronage of this chantry belonged to the Lord of the maner of Hawkwoods. This farm was known on the records as "Olivers. The family of Symonds was originally of Croft in Lancashire, where they continued in a direct line for about twenty generations.

Richard Symonds of the third generation was seated in Great Yeldham, at "The Pool," on the eastern bank of the river Colne. He married, Jan. Orford, and Tho. Teader, have also estates here. Margaret, is tolerably handsome and spacious. It was formerly, all leaded ; but is now only so in part. The chancel is tiled. About 70 years ago, the tower, which was built of flint and stone fell down; but hath since been rebuilt, of brick, in a firm and substantial manner ; towards which, Mr.

To it belong five bells. Here was, anciently, a rectory and vicarage ; of both which, the Prior and Convent of Stoke near Clare, whilst a priory, and when a college, the Dean and Chapter, were patrons. In what year, and by whom given to them, is unknown. At the dissolution of religious houses, the patronage of this rectory coming to the Crown, King Edward VI.

There are lands of about six pounds a year, belonging to the church. Paul, and the arch-deacon of Middlesex. It is, in fact, just such a place as the ale-house of Goldsmith's poem, and has been, I presume, the nightly resort of the Toppesfield politicians, for at least two hundred years. When I went out the next morning, I found myself in a small village, composed of stone cottages, mostly plastered, white-washed and thatched.

I saw nothing in them particu- larly pleasing, beyond that aspect of neatness, and those floral adornings, which rarely desert even the meanest rural home in that beautiful country. My first visit was to the church of St. A place of worship more rude in aspect, or less adapted to comfort, it would, I am sure, be difficult to find in all New England.

Upon the southern side there are four Gothic arches, which rest upon short thick columns. On this side there is a low gallery, erected, as an inscription shows, in The pulpit and reading desk are on the opposite side. These are of oak, and the former resembles, in shape and appearance, that interesting relic, the old Capen pulpit. Between and , I found and copied the baptisms of ten of their children.

The present incumbent lives among his people and seems to be regarded with respect and affection. These skillful farmers are tenants at will — and are perpetually struggling under an oppressive burden of rents, and tythes, and taxes, and rates.

These hardy laborers think they do well, if their toil yields them the average remuneration of a shilling a day. As to religious privileges they have indeed a sitting, hired or free, in yonder rude church. With the question of his appointment or dismission, they have just as much concern as you have. They are, however, permitted to pay him. From that glebe, which is made so rich by their sweat, he draws an annual stipend, three times as large as that which you raise for your two clergy- men.

And here, in a parish which pays its Rector more than thirty-five hundred dollars a year, — here within four hours ride of the grand metropolis of the world, here, in the middle of the nineteenth century, a free school is a thing which yet remains to be invented.

However, this was all that was necessary and the owner told us he would take us for two shillings if we 'didn't think that much would harm us. They must-a-caught it as it come along. Come by a whirlwind perhaps. Lane, the genial teacher of the parish, told us that the only reason he could find was from the fact of its being the topmost village in the shire.

The Smith referred to may have been a descendant. It has accommodations for two hundred children and has one hundred and forty names on the register. Lyndon S. Crawford, in Salem Gazette, Nov.

Toppesfield, Eng. The whole country looks neat and tidy. We left our traps at the 'Green Man' inn and got a glass of home brew, rather sour and not very good. It was built early in the 16th century, and has been very well preserved, Even during the Commonwealth, it was not much disturbed.

It is one of the very few parishes whose records are kept throughout that period without a break. We were assured that that was a very unusual circumstance. The station building might be called a primitive one: — old, dilapidated, and inconvenient. Nevertheless it serves for the transaction of the limited business of a small country station. The village is about one and a half miles from the station, if one takes the short cut across the fields on foot in a direct line.

The road makes a detour in a southerly and southwesterly and then in a northwesterly course to avoid the steep acclivity, and covers about two miles before reaching the village. The way for the most part is a gentle ascent, — one rise of many rods being steeper than the rest. We first reach that part of the village where the rectory is located. It is large and commodious for a place of the size of that in which it is situated.

The building is almost entirely obscured by shade trees, shrubbery and evergreen. Passing on some twenty or thirty rods, in a northerly direc- tion, going by several dwellings we come to the end of the street that we have traversed. Here we meet another street lying east and west, — the principal street of the village. Near the right hand corner is St. Margaret's — the parish church. Farther on to the right is the school house. Near the left hand corner is a chapel where the Nonconformists worship.

To the westward some rods, is the post-office. I did not explore the whole village, but it will be seen by the location of the public buildings that I was in the central and most important part of it. Margaret's Church has been an active force in the village for eight hundred years. The interior as well as the exterior has all the marks of an old structure. Few changes have been made in modern times that conceal its ancient appearance. A curious fact to be noticed in the list of rectors is that in the days of the Commonwealth there is a break in the list with a statement that there was a vacancy in those years.

Although there was no "rector," doubtless there was preach- ing in the church by Dissenters in that interval. The church stands in the midst of, and is entirely surrounded by the churchyard. The small cemetery is still in use for burials. I noticed that they were opening graves in what appeared to be the oldest part of the yard. The inscriptions on the oldest monuments are illegible as well they might be in a cemetery eight hundred years old.

I noticed the monument of Henry Howlett, who died in , aged The chapel of the Nonconformists I did not enter. It is a very plain and unpretending building. Apartments of modest proportions are set apart for the government office.

There is no room for the floating popu- lation of the town to assemble in for social intercourse, to talk over the news of the day, and enjoy the village gossip. In fact if there was such a place in the village I failed to dis- cover it. The houses, barns, and out-buildings are generally built of brick. The style of architecture is not pretentious. There is not the facility for architectural display in small brick buildings, that there is by working in wood.

I noticed here as well as through England, as far as I travelled, the pro- jecting second story of old houses, like that of our own Capen house. One house in particular, better than the average, in the old style, I was informed was a modern built house. They have a way in England, and I think to a great extent, of building after the style of several hundred years ago, to have the buildings conform those in the neigh- borhood. The most of the people, I suppose, would be reckoned in the middle class.

Some as indigent or poor. The better classes have comfortable homes, and show intelligence and cultivation. Toppesfield is especially an agricultural town.

It has a good soil. The soil of Essex is not as fertile as that of some other parts of the kingdom. I heard Englishmen in speak- ing of the county, say that the land in Essex is poor. Such may be the case as far as the county in general is considered, but I think an exception must be made in the case of the plateau upon which Toppesfield is situated ; for there the farmers were harvesting good crops and the land was making abundant returns for the labor and skill of the husbandmen ; much better probably than the average of the county.

The principal crops are wheat, barley, vegetables and hay. Being remote from any large town, market gardening is not carried on. Much of the hay crop is stacked in the fields where it is gathered, as it is in other parts of England. I noticed stacks that had breasted the storms of one or more winters, notwithstanding the great demand for forage on account of the wars in which the nation was engaged.

It was wheat harvest when I was there. Photographs, copies of Wills, house conveyancing, bills of sale, and much, much more. See our article Essex Ancestors on eBay. If you're looking for pictures of Toppesfield to add to your family tree album, then try Ebay. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards. Access to both via the ERO's homepage. Also try FreeReg : a database of parish registers transcribed by volunteers.

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