GESTINGTHORPE 'THEN & NOW' PHOTOGRAPHIC BOOK - COMING IN 2022
The farm, under the name of Rammages, is mentioned at the Court of Lady Bridget Marny, held at Overhall, Gestingthorpe in 1522. It is stated that William Coppyne, son and heir of Thomas Coppyne, deceased, came and did homage for the tenement of 6 acres called Rammages held of the lady by charter.
At the later Court of Sir John Wentwood (son of Lady Anne Wentwood) at Overhall in 1538 William Coppyn sold to John Carter a tenement called Rammages.
In 1580 the property is again mentioned at Court of William Deane Esq. and Lady Anne Maltravers, his wife, as in her right, being daughter and sole heiress of the later Sir John Wentworth. On 26th September in that year John Carter his Grandfather, did homage for a tenement called Rammages, formerley of Peter Barnerde and lately of William Coppyn, held by charter at a rent of 5/-. He paid 5/- to the lord for a releif.
Following are subsequent owners up to the present day:
1626 - Galfridis Carter (son of John 1558)
1653 - William Carter, son
1654 - Cecily Carter, wife of William
1680 - Geoffrey Carter, son
1739 - William Carter, son
At this time the land was rented for 4/- per year from the lord of the Manor of Overhall, Gestingthorpe. It then changed to the name of 'Old House'. William Carter had three children, the eldest was Jeffrey. William made his will on 13 May 1776 that when he dies his estate should be left to the younger children. If anything happened to them up to the age of 21, the eldest son should take over. William died in November 1777 and Jeffrey was the occupier until he died in 1813. His son John Carter took over in 1817.
The 1804 Survey shows that the farm then consisted of a field called Rammages, Home Field, Further Field, Further Meadow, The Meadow and Farm Yards which amounted to about 18 acres. By the 1838 Tythe the amount of land held had increased to just over 20 acres with the addition of Dodds Filed. The owner/occupier was Jeffrey Carter.
According to an old 1877 map record, Robert Hearn was then the owner. He lived there until 1925. The house, known as Rammages or Old House Farm together with the barns, stables and out buildings, were sold in 1926 to Edward Ransom for £350.
Mr H. Rippingale bought the farm some years later and from 1939 kept the work going with the help of Mr Warren who lived in the farm house.
Mr Baxter and Mr Brooks were two other tenants of the farm house at different times.
Mr and Mrs D. Powell had the property in 1966 until 1975 when it was bought by Mr J. Hamilton.
Over the last 20 years the settlement has not been classed as a farm but as a private house and gardens with out buildings included.
NOTE - The present owner says the Old House dated back to 1498 with some of the original still standing. The house is strongly made with plaster and many oak beams, inside and out.
The house, situated to the North East of the church, has a frontage which was rebuilt about 1835, the front part of the roof being covered with Welsh tiles.
The back part of the house was of a much earlier date, probably earlier than the 17th century. It was timber framed and roofed with red tiles, very likely from the local brickyard.
In 1966 the house was re-roofed and the North wall, of which the timbers were found to be in a bad condition, was demolished after a new wall of breeze blocks had been built up on the outside, giving the rooms inside a little more space.
According to the 1804 survey, the Rector at that time was the Reverand C. Hughes A.M. but the occupier of Vicarage land was John Firmin. His propery included the Vicarage Farm Yards, (the Clicket Farm), Further Long Field, Further Field, Part of Church Upper Common, Part of Low Common, Upper Field, Wood Field, Low Meadow, The Church Yard, (1 ac. 0 rd. 4 pls), Part of Church Field Common, Lower Field (allotments), Vicarage House and Garden, Barn Field, Kiln Yard Piece and Hither Wood Field.
The Rectorial Glebe Land included Merchants Bitt, Common Meadow Piece, Dovehouse Piece, Clamp Piece, Scarling, Brook Field Piece, Chalkpitt Piece and Church Field Common Piece.
The 1838 Tythe record shows the Vicarial Glebe as follows, the Vicar being the Reverend Barrington Syer, - Bottom Chalk Pit Piece, Oakley Wood Field, Part Lower Common, Upper Field, Clicket Field, Part Upper Common, Three Acre Field, Further Field, The Church Yard, (1.0.4.) Potters Croft, Part Lower Common, Lower Field, Vicarage Gardens, Church Field Common, Wood Field, Acre and a Half Field and the Clicket Farm Yards.
The 1838 Rectorial Glebe for the Reverend C. H. Hallett were Petty Croft, Maggs Yard, Six Acres, Sand Pit Field, Sluice, pond and meadow, Farm Yards etc (Rectory Farm), Barn Field, Home Field, Middle Croftons, Further Croftons, Rye Croft, Sluice Pond Field, Wickham Field, Long Meadow and Parsonage Chase Waste.
A few Glebe Lands came under the Reverand C. Hughes, namely Piece in Common Mead, Chalk Pit Piece and the Clamp Earth Pits.
The Reverand Elwes was resident at the Vicarage in 1877 and the Reverand C. T. Bromwich was Rector in 1894. He died in 1917 and in the next year a collection was made in the village for donations to a window in the Church as a memorial to him. Several collectors were sent around the village and the total suscriptions amounted to £238.11.0. It was agreed to erect a stained glass window in the South side of the Chancel. Further monies were added to the amount collected to meet the final cost of the operation which was £263.17.8.
Following Reverand Bromwich was the Reverand H. M. Greening and after him came several others until the retirement of Reverand Matthias in March 1975 and the adding of the living to that of the Rector of Great and Little Mapleasead. In 1976 the Rectory and Garden were sold and since then they have been occupied as a private property.
Many of the Glebe Lands have now come under private ownership. The Parsonage, or Rectory Farm, at Audley End belongs to Mr Nott and the Clicket Farm is owned by Mr Prior. It is believed that most of the Common Ground to the South of the Church now belongs to the Gardiners of Delvyns Farm.
The Rectory as viewed from the South.
Yards and cottages are shown here on the 1804 Survey Map covering an area of 1 rood 10 poles.
The Tythe Survey shows the same acreage and also gives the name of the owner which was then John Orbell (1838). There were 5 cottages as well as the old Greyhound Inn, and the occupiers for this group were: Henry Golding, Thomas Orbell, Joseph Orbell, John Turner, William Surridge and Richard Butcher.
All these properties were sold to Henry Corder in 1855. He willed them to his wife and after his death is 1885, she was admitted tenant in 1892 at Court of the Manor of Netherhall, Gestingthorpe. At this time the occupiers were John Corder, Mary Downs, Susan Ridgewell, Lydia Simmons, Robert Wright and Charles Corder.
Mark Corder, the son of Henry and Charlotte, was admitted tenant to the properties in 1900 after the death of his mother in 1899. He then sold the properties to Florence Alice Mauldon in April of the same year at the cost of £300.
The occupiers in 1910 were James George Cady, John Martin, William Martin (senior), Susan Ridgewell and Charles Edward Teverson.
The 1920's saw the cottages occupied by Arthur G. Smith and family in the ones to the South of the old Inn facing West; John and William Martin keeping an off-licence in the old Inn and Robert S. Gooch in the cottage behind the Inn.
The two cottages facing West were demolished in 1959. The old thatched cottage, also facing West behing the Inn, or Beer House, has also gone and only the wash-house remains. It is said that this cottage accidentaly caught alight from sparks from a fire in the neighbours garden. The two cottages nearby have been renovated and made into one and have changed hands several times over the last 50 years.
In years gone by the cottagers used the water from the spring across the road for their household needs.
The farm was situated on the west side of Audley End and according to the 1804 survey it consisted of the home field and house and yards covering 8 acres 2 roods 38 poles. It was being farmed then by John Rayner who was also a brick and tile maker. He was the occupier for a time, probably until after the death of his wife Ann in 1829. Their three children, John, William and Edith all died in the 1830's, each having been married and had children of their own.
At the time of the 1838 Tythe record the farm was still owned by John Rayner but was occupied by his son-in-law, John Downs.
Sometime later the farm was given up and the house made into cottages. The present house standing on the site probably contains some of the old building but there appear to be no deeds to substantiate this. The date and initials, J. D. 1864, on the south gable end of the house may be significant as the date could be that of the renovation and the initials those of John Downs who was quite a landowner in his day.
In the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century the house and adjoining buildings consisted of six brick built and tiled and slated cottages.
In 1937 two of the three cottages on this site, facing south, were demolished except for the north walls and the remaining one, which adjoins the old house, was reconditioned, including these extra walls in the porch and wash house.
The other three cottages and the previous old house were sold again in 1947 to the present owner. During the reconditioning to make them into one house it was found that old plough shafts, with the paint still on them, had been used for beams in the upstairs floors.
Five brick, tiles and thatched cottages belonging to the same owner in 1919 stoof on an adjoining site - also a detached bungalow cottage and an old communal wash house which was later called the Red Barn and at one time housed a family. During the year 1936 the five cottages were modernised and made into four.
Following is a list of some of the people who were living in this group of twelve cottages in 1894.
Alfred B. Finch
Fredd Surridge (senior)
George H. Finch
Edward Surridge (junior)
Edward Surridge (senior)
The 1937 reconditioning of the cottages attached to Upper Farm.
the present house was built on the site of an older dwelling about 1700. During renovations in later years a much better floor was found underneath the other one. At one time the house was made into two cottages.
The 1804 Survey shows the farm as cottage, orchard and pightle covering 1 acre, 2 roods, 38 poles and Mrs Pearson as the owner/occupier. According to the 1838 Tythe Record the acreage was the same but the owner was Mrs Crane and the farmer John Carter (senior).
Mr Aubrey Chinery was farming the land in 1887 while still living in a cottage nearby. A few years later he took over the farm and lived there with his wife and family. Little Church Field was cultivated by him although it may have belonged to the Overhall. Aubrey Chinery and his second wife both died in 1936 when the property was sold as a dwelling house and paddock, the 10 acre field was not included in the sale.
Since then there have been several owners one of which was the film star Basil Rathbone.
Recently planning consent was given for the erection of two dwelling houses on the paddock and the rest of the property has changed hands again.
Mr & Mrs Crane outside Church Farm.
A property called Chelmyshows is mentioned at a Court of John Wentworth senior esq. held at Overhall, Gestingthorpe in 1540. It states that Margery Paternoster lately held by charter 30 acres called Chelmyshows, late of John Ketyll, deceased, with reversion to Robert Ketyll, son and heir of the said John. Margery has now died and Robert Ketyll comes and seeks to be admitted to the premises.
In the 1804 Survey of the parish the occupier of Little Chelmshoe House Farm was Mr John Freeborn, the ground covering 46 acres, 2 roods, 29 poles.
About 30 years later, part of the farm was owned by the Reverend James Sperling and in 1877 by Mr A. B. Collis.
According to a Tythe Commutation of 1877 the owner then was Mrs S. P. Viall, owner also of Odewell Farm and Byham Hall.
The farm house of Little Chelmshoe, situated in the South West side of the parish, had the distinction of being half in Gestingthorpe and half in Great Maplestead, the boundary going straight through the house. An interesting excerpt from a description by Mr John Rayner of the beating of the bounds in 1823 says - 'under the hedge, up to a garden belonging to Chancy (Chelmshoe) House, across the middle of the garden, then through the house, marking the mantlepiece, then across the orchard between two ponds where formerly stood a tree...'
The house is no longer being occupied with the farm lands, these having been sold to a neighbouring landowner.
The 1804 Survey of Gestingthorpe shows a farm of this name situated to the West of the Leys Wood, well away from the Gestingthorpe road. It was reached by the Green Chace from the Hedingham Road. The farm lands extended to over 171 acres and the owner was Thomas Mihill.
According to the 1838 Tythe record the amount of land held was just over 111 acres. The owners were the Trustees of Hedingham Castle and the occupier was Anthony Bentall.
In 1894-5 Walter Turner and Robert Finch were living in part of the farm house and in 1918 Albert George Hearn was the occupier.
Some time ago, possibly during the last 25 years, the house and farm buildings were demolished and the land is now under the ownership of a neighbouring farm at Park Gate.
These two cottages of lathe a plaster are shown on the 1804 Survey map of Gestingthorpe, the occupier being Mr James Wash. He was farming a lot of the adjacent land amounting to nearly 117 acres.
According to the 1838 Tythe record, most of the land was then part of Byham Hall Farm and was owned by Mrs M. Gee.
Tenants of the cottages in the later years were:
Thomas Wiseman and John Pawsey - 1891
Frederick Wiseman and Thomas Wiseman - 1915
John Neave and Frederick Wiseman - 1920
Mrs E. Wiseman and Mr M. King - 1957
During the last 15 years the cottages have been extensively altered and enlarged into a good sized white house with garages nearby and it is privately owned - apart from the farm lands which still belong to the Byham Hall Farm.
A small house on wheels stood at the South end of the village on the Halstead road for many years. It is said that this little house, which was built of Essex weather boarding and plaster, was dragged by 15 horses from North End, Gestingthorpe early in the 1900's.
The house was 12 foot square and consisted of two rooms up and two rooms down. During the 1960/70's the front of the house was replaced by a new owner and the house enlarged with timber.
At some time, two of the wheels which were used to pull it along, were built into the walls of the house and the other two were latterly inserted into the wall of the garden.
The cottage now stands firmly on the ground. There are deeds which date from 1935 but not much information can be found as to where the house stood before coming to Gestingthorpe.
Miss Violet Oates of the Overhall had the Institute built on her land about 1909 and she allowed it to be used for village functions. It was a brick and tile building about 20 feet by 40 feet and built on an elevated site on the West side of Church Street next to the village shop.
The Institute consisted of one long room with a portable wooden partition across the centre. There were two doors, each with a porch, one facing North and the other East. Also six or seven long windows. Two fireplaces, one at the South wall and the other at the West, these were made use of when the weather was cold.
Many enjoyable times were had in this building - a Social Club formed in 1910, dances with a band from Wickham St Paul providing the music in the 1920's. Cookery classes were held there in 1933. First Aid classes and Women's Institute meetings also made use of the hall and the County Library Books were exchanged weekly there on Wednesday afternoons during the 1930's - fresh books brought periodically by van from the town and chosen by the local librarians.
During the years from 1964 to 1970 the building was sold to another owner and turned into a bungalow. The social events were then being held in the old school which eventually became known as the village hall.
Mr Percy Downs, the son of Mr King Downs, the ironfounder, has this shop built about 1928 and sold hardware of all kinds until his death in 1951.
The shop was built of timber with a corrugated roof and it stood on the West side of Nether Hall Hill, just inside Mr Downs' garden, near the road. All his sale he meticulously recorded in a ledger, even to just a few nails.
Before the shop was built, Mr Downs lived in an old cottage on Nether Hall Hill and had part of that as a hardware store. Later he had a bungalow built nearby and lived there, still keeping stock in part of the old cottage, until the erection of his new shop.
The bungalow still stands, but it has fresh owners since 1951. The old cottage and Mr Downs' shop have long since been demolished.
Percy Downs' bungalow shortly before demolition.
A piece of land on the east side of Moat Street, in the ownership of Mr Walter Surridge, was sold to certain Chapel Authorities from Halstead and a Providence Baptist Gospel Hall was built there in about 1932.
The building was of timber and was about 25 feet wide and about 40 feet long. Services were held there every Sunday evening and they were quite well attended.
In the year 1952 the premises were sold back to the Coe/Surridge families. Mrs L. Coe (nee Surridge), was living in a bungalow previously built on the plot of land adjoining.
The Gospel Hall was eventually pulled down and another bungalow built on the site in 1954
The old survey map of Gestingthorpe dated 1804 shows the piece of land called the Clamp as Glebe Land of the Rector and it comprised an area of 1 acre 2 roods 10 poles.
A Survey in 1838 referred to this land as Clamp Pits in the occupation of John Downs, senior, the ironfounder whose daughter Elizabeth married John Rayner of the brick and tile manufacturers.
In 1821 two brothers, John and William Rayner, took up brickmaking. William worked the Upper Yard (the Clamp) and made the red bricks. John worked the Lower Yard, near the old Brickyard House and made the lumps and clinkers.
In order to develop the Clamp Brickyard, a road was made between the Clamp and the village street and this became known as the New Road. It was constructed principally of broken brick and tiles and became a public footpath between the upper part of the village and the Pot Kiln Chase area.
The brick and tile making trade was carried on at the Clamp as well as at the larger brickyard three fields away by succeeding members of the Rayner family for many years. William Rayner, born in 1733, was called a brickmaker and under his will his son John was to carry on his father's business. And so it followed, right down to the last John Rayner who was born in 1893. He closed down the brickyards in the 1930's owing to ill health and moved away from the village.
In 1912, at the closing down of the Pot Works near the lower brickworks, George Finch, the proprietor, being aged and the pottery being in competition from Staffordshire and Lambeth, George's son Arthur set up a pot kiln in the Clamp to supply the local folk.
All signs of the once thriving industry at the Clamp have now almost disappeared. The long sheds where the bricks were laid in rows to dry ready for baking have been taken away and the kilns have also gone. The continual digging of earth in the Clamp for making bricks has left a pit so deep that in later years, when it was partly overgrown with small trees and bushes, it was locally known as the 'pond without a bottom'. An awesome thought to a person on the footpath along the top edge of it.
Part of the old brickyard ground has grown into an attractive woodland, the rest has been cleared and taken into the field of a neighbouring farmer. Except for the pits which are gradually being filled in, no evidence remains of this once busy brickyard of Gestingthorpe.
The white fence along the West side of the churchyard was taken down in December 1978 and the bank left to green over. The churchyard was tidied and levelled by Mr K.R.Nott's men in January/February 1979. An old tree was cut down and old grave stones were cleared of creeper.
These cottages were originally army barracks in Colchester. Dismantled at the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), they were brought to Gestingthorpe and erected on Church Green as parish workhouses. Following the New Poor Law of 1834, they were sold and again moved, this time to the bottom of Sudbury Road, Gestingthorpe.
September 20th 1928 - A retaining wall to support the road opposite Waits Farm at Belchamp Walter to be built at the cost of £4 10s also it was stated that the footbridge near the Barracks at Gestingthorpe had been repaired at a cost of £1 5s.
April 7th 1932 - At a meeting of Belchamp Council Mr Alpress the sanitary inspector said that owing to complaints about housing conditions in Gestingthorpe he made an inspection of the village, in the 1921 census there were 435 people in the village, 22 private houses, 17 farmhouses and a 100 cottages, most of the cottages were not of modern construction there being no damp courses etc, a group of cottages near the Barracks and four at near Maplestead Cock should be dealt with as not fit for human habitation.
September 22nd 1932 - At Hedingham Magistrates Court James Wilson of Hill farm, Gestingthorpe applied for an ejection order against Horace Dyer living at the Barracks. Possession in 28 days.
February 8th 1934 - At a meeting of Belchamp District Council a sub committee which was appointed to select a suitable site for new council houses at Gestingthorpe reported that they had inspected four pieces of land, the only site they could recommend was at the Rectory farm, it was reported that work on the reconstruction of six old cottages known as the Barracks had commenced.
There is a document in The Hospitaller Cartulary dated between 1225 and 1230 that mentions Phillipus de Cruce, son of Reginaldi de Cruce, who grants Geoffrey Sturmin:
...the croft in Gestingthorpe which William Sturmin his brother held with the messuage thereon called Sturmin's Hamstall and the pasture of the road...
(A messuage is a dwelling house usually including outbuildings; a better type of house as distinct from a cottage.)
Whilst the present house is circa 17th century or older at its core, the documents show that there has been a property here since the 1200's.
Crouch House could simply have been named after the ad Crucem, de Cruce and atte Crouche family who probably lived there. This is the most obvious explanation but it is not the only one.
At this date it was common for people and places to be identified by a landmark of some sort and a possible explanation for the name Crouch House, 'Cross House', might be 'the house that stands by the cross'. There is some evidence that there was 'a shingled cross' (schynglede crouch') standing near Crouch House. We know this from a grant dated 18th March 1341 by John Stace of Gestingthorpe and Agatha his wife, to his brother Thomas Stace and Thomas' wife Denise, where we have mention of:
...a piece of curtlage measuring 4 3/4p long, by 2 1/2p wide with a house built thereon, lying next to the shingled cross in Gestingthorpe which he had of Richard of Othulvesho's gift...