Felsted

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Felsted's History in Brief

The two most celebrated families connected with FELSTED are the Rich and the Cromwell families.

~ Rich Family in Brief ~
Lord Richard Rich I (Riche) of Leez (Leighs) Priory, FELSTED’S greatest benefactor was born in 1490 and died at Rochford, Essex, on 12th June 1567 and buried at the Holy Cross Church, FELSTED. He founded the Lord Rich Chantry in 1555, FELSTED School in 1564 and FELSTED Almshouses in 1565.
He married Elizabeth Jenks and they together had 16 children: 4 four sons, 3 of whom died young, and 9ine daughters. His son, born Robert Rich in 1537, at the age of 30 took the title Lord Robert Rich II and died in 1581. The Lord Robert Rich III, born 1560 and died in 1619, was instructed in his father’s will to build the Rich Chapel. The will was proved on 7 June 1581 and said that he was to make a tomb for his father and grandfather to be set up in the chancel of the parish of FELSTED or in some convenient chapel adjoining the church. Between 1581 and his own death in 1618, the third Lord Rich, who became the Earl of Warwick in the year of his death, only built the Chapel in 1607 and not the tomb. In his own will he instructed the executors to erect within 18 months of his death, tombs for his father, grandfather, great grandfather and his uncle Richard. The tomb was built in 1619. The Monument and Tomb can be seen today at FELSTED’S Holy Cross Church with its magnificent craftsmanship and overwhelming height rightly standing in all its glory.

~ Cromwell Family in Brief ~

Oliver Cromwell was born in 1599 and died in 1658. He was leader of the army that defeated King Charles I in the Civil War of the 1640s and, after Charles’ execution in 1649, he became Lord Protector in 1653. The Commonwealth lasted from 1649 to 1660 when the old order was restored by Parliament with Charles II coming to the throne.

Whilst Oliver Cromwell was being educated at Cambridge, he met Martin Holbeach who became Headmaster of FELSTED School. On 22 August 1929 at the age of 20, he married Elizabeth Bourchoir a FELSTEDIAN and they lived in Huntingdon, St Ives and then Ely. They had in all 9 children: 4 sons were all educated at Felsted School who all died young; their fifth son died the day after being baptised in 1632 and 4 daughters who all survived and married well, although 3 marriages were arranged. The youngest, Francis Cromwell, married Robert Rich (Earl of Warwick with the family seat being Leighs Priory) for love in1657 despite her father’s disapproval. Their marriage was brief ending in Robert’s death at an early age.

 

 

  1. FELSTED remains mainly as a residential village which recently lost Ridleys Brewery at Hartford End which was once its main employer. 1
 
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2. FELSTED can boast about two fine old water mills:

(a) ‘Mill Pond’ in Mill Road, Hartford End. Apparently there havebeen tales of ghosts at Mill Pond.

(b) Cock Green Mill, Cock Green.A FELSTEDIAN, Claude Laudrum, as a boy held onto Cockgreen Mill sails as they went round before jumping off.

 
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Mill Pond, Mill Road, 1900-1905

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Cock Green Mill before demolition in 1916

 
3. Beyond Priory Bridge, in the parish of Little Dunmow, lay the old Sugar Beet Factory built in 1926. On 28 February 1999 the sugar beet factory was demolished for a housing development scheme known today as ‘Oakwood Park’.
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Sugar Beet Factory 1926
 
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Sugar Beet Factory 1926
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Oakwood Park Residential Site 28 February 2008
 

 

4. FELSTED also has a famous school, founded by Lord Richard Rich in 1564 in the reign of Elizabeth I.

 
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FELSTED Old School, 1567
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Old Interior of Old School, 1567

The first school was formed for 80 male children. The school survived in its original premises from 1564 until 1802 when the site of the Tudor built ‘Ingrams’, a second school building in new red brick, was built in 1802, which still stands today as the school’s administration building.

 
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The Old School 2007
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The Old School Plaque 2007

The present school buildings are on the east, which are largely 19th century with many new buildings as the school increased in size.

 
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FELSTED School 2004
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FELSTED School built 1860s

For many years FELSTED School has had a tradition of producing fine cricketers. Before the Great War J.W.H.T. Douglas captained England and in the 1950s Trevor Bailey was a permanent fixture in the in side. Over recent years Derek Pringle, John Stephenson and Nick Night, all three FELSTEDIANS, have been capped for England.