Writtle
Overview
 
The village of Writtle lies a mile west of Chelmsford
Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

, Essex, England, it has a traditional village green, complete with duck pond and a Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 church; and was once described as: 'one of the loveliest villages in England, with a ravishing variety of ancient cottages'. The village is now home to Writtle College
Writtle College
Writtle College is one of the largest land-based university colleges in the UK; it is also one of the oldest. Writtle, previously known as Writtle Agricultural College, is a Partner Institution of the University of Essex and teaches FE and HE programmes.- Writtle :The college has diversified over...

, one of the UK's oldest and largest land-based colleges and a partner institution of the University of Essex
University of Essex
The University of Essex is a British campus university whose original and largest campus is near the town of Colchester, England. Established in 1963 and receiving its Royal Charter in 1965...

, the grounds of which once housed a Royal hunting lodge, later the possession of the De Brus and De Bohun families.
Encyclopedia
The village of Writtle lies a mile west of Chelmsford
Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

, Essex, England, it has a traditional village green, complete with duck pond and a Norman
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 church; and was once described as: 'one of the loveliest villages in England, with a ravishing variety of ancient cottages'. The village is now home to Writtle College
Writtle College
Writtle College is one of the largest land-based university colleges in the UK; it is also one of the oldest. Writtle, previously known as Writtle Agricultural College, is a Partner Institution of the University of Essex and teaches FE and HE programmes.- Writtle :The college has diversified over...

, one of the UK's oldest and largest land-based colleges and a partner institution of the University of Essex
University of Essex
The University of Essex is a British campus university whose original and largest campus is near the town of Colchester, England. Established in 1963 and receiving its Royal Charter in 1965...

, the grounds of which once housed a Royal hunting lodge, later the possession of the De Brus and De Bohun families. The suggestion that Writtle is the birth place of Robert the Bruce
Robert I of Scotland
Robert I , popularly known as Robert the Bruce , was King of Scots from March 25, 1306, until his death in 1329.His paternal ancestors were of Scoto-Norman heritage , and...

, as well as his father Robert de Brus, 6th Lord of Annandale, are hotly contested; though its possession and use by both is incontrovertible. Today Writtle hosts the annual southern V Festival
V Festival
The V Festival is an annual music festival held in England during the penultimate weekend in August. The event is held at two parks simultaneously which share the same bill; artists perform at one location on Saturday and then swap on Sunday. The sites are located at Hylands Park in Chelmsford and...

, within the grounds of Comyn's Hylands Park
Hylands Park
Hylands House is a Grade II* neo-classical villa situated within Hylands Park a 232-hectare park south-west of Chelmsford in Essex in South East England. It is owned and operated by Chelmsford Borough Council.-History:...

. The village is also home to Nick Hewer
Nick Hewer
Nicholas Radbourn "Nick" Hewer is a British former public relations consultant turned television personality, who lives in Northamptonshire, England. He is probably best known for his role as Alan Sugar's advisor on the UK version of the popular BBC television show The Apprentice...

, of Apprentice fame.

Early history

The Romans were present in Writtle shortly after the Roman conquest
Roman conquest of Britain
The Roman conquest of Britain was a gradual process, beginning effectively in AD 43 under Emperor Claudius, whose general Aulus Plautius served as first governor of Britannia. Great Britain had already frequently been the target of invasions, planned and actual, by forces of the Roman Republic and...

 by Claudius, but the presence of a metalled road, numerous archaeological finds and the ease with which the river can be forded in Writtle are still not significant enough evidence to suggest that Writtle, rather than Chelmsford
Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

, was the site of the Roman town of Caesaromagus, as suggested by the Essex historian Morant (et al.).

Named in the Little Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

, as a Royal demesne
Demesne
In the feudal system the demesne was all the land, not necessarily all contiguous to the manor house, which was retained by a lord of the manor for his own use and support, under his own management, as distinguished from land sub-enfeoffed by him to others as sub-tenants...

 (manor) of 194 households, the village boasts the site of one of King John's
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

 hunting lodges, sited within the grounds of the present HE
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

 institution Writtle College
Writtle College
Writtle College is one of the largest land-based university colleges in the UK; it is also one of the oldest. Writtle, previously known as Writtle Agricultural College, is a Partner Institution of the University of Essex and teaches FE and HE programmes.- Writtle :The college has diversified over...

 (circa 1210).

The estate and village were later a possession of Isabel de Brus
Isobel of Huntingdon
Isobel of Huntingdon was the daughter of David of Scotland, 8th Earl of Huntingdon and Matilda of Chester. She married Robert Bruce, 4th Lord of Annandale and through her came the claims firstly of her son in 1290 and later in the beginning of 14th century of her great-grandson Robert Bruce, 7th...

 (Bruce), via a grant of Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 and a known residence of her grandson Robert, father to the future king. For a time thereafter it was leased to a Francis and Joan Bache, but the estate was taken by Isabel's great-grandson, Robert The Bruce
Robert I of Scotland
Robert I , popularly known as Robert the Bruce , was King of Scots from March 25, 1306, until his death in 1329.His paternal ancestors were of Scoto-Norman heritage , and...

, King of Scots, in the 1320s. It was in Writtle in 1302 that Robert had married his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh
Elizabeth de Burgh
Elizabeth de Burgh was the second wife and the only queen consort of King Robert I of Scotland.-Life:She was born in Dunfermline, Fife in Scotland, the daughter of the powerful Richard Óg de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster and his wife Margarite de Burgh...

; there is some evidence to suggest he was also born in the village rather than in Turnberry Castle
Turnberry Castle
Turnberry Castle is a fragmentary ruin on the coast of Kirkoswald parish, north of Girvan in Ayrshire, Scotland. It is situated on a rock at the extremity of the lower peninsula within the parish.-History:...

, but the story is possibly conflated with that of his father of the same name.

Another well known historic figure who lived in Writtle was Sir John Petre
John Petre, 1st Baron Petre
John Petre, 1st Baron Petre was an English peer.-Biography:John was the only surviving son of the statesman Sir William Petre by his second wife Anne, daughter of William Browne...

 (1549–1613). He sat as a Member of Parliament for Essex from 1584 to 1587 and also served as Lord Lieutenant of Essex. In 1603 he was raised to the peerage as Baron John Petre, the first baron of Writtle. Baron Petre publicly acknowledged that he was a Roman Catholic and refused to follow
Recusancy
In the history of England and Wales, the recusancy was the state of those who refused to attend Anglican services. The individuals were known as "recusants"...

 the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 during the time of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

. He died in October 1613, aged 63, and was succeeded in the barony by his son William, who later married Katherine Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

. One person from Writtle who did help to bring about the English Reformation was Dr. John Bastwick (1593–1654), a religious zealot who opposed Roman Catholic ceremonial in the years before the outbreak of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

.

Two Emma Toc, Writtle

Writtle holds a distinguished place in the history of radio broadcasting
Broadcasting
Broadcasting is the distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio visual medium. Receiving parties may include the general public or a relatively large subset of thereof...

. In the early 1920s it was the site of the experimental Marconi
Marconi Company
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company...

 station 2MT
2MT
2MT was the first British radio station to make regular entertainment broadcasts.Transmissions began on 14 February 1922 from an ex-Army hut next to the Marconi laboratories at Writtle, near Chelmsford in Essex...

 ("Two Emma Toc"), from where Captain Peter Eckersley made the name of the village famous with his station announcement "this is Two Emma Toc, Writtle testing, Writtle testing". The pre-fabricated hut from which the broadcast was made (constructed for use during the first world war, but never shipped to the war zone) was later relocated to King's Road primary school in Chelmsford
Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

, and has now been re-erected with replica equipment at the Sandford Mill museum, near Sandon
Sandon
Sandon may refer to:* Sandon, Essex* Sandon, Hertfordshire* Sandon, Staffordshire* Sandon, British Columbia* Sandon, Victoria* Sandon County, New South Wales* Sandon, ancient Hittite deity* Gotska Sandön, a Swedish islandPeople with the name Sandon:...

. The Writtle transmission station was also the last independent outside the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, suspending transmission in January 1923. Independent radio did not re-emerge in the UK till the 1960s.

Writtle Church

The Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 mentioning a church and priest in Writtle suggests that Christian worship in the village pre-dated the Norman Conquest
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

; the early 13th century nave and chancel seem to be extensions of an 11th century construction which itself replaced a Saxon church. During the mediaeval period, the church "changed hands" several times, revenues being received by the Prior of Bermondsey
Bermondsey Abbey
Bermondsey Abbey was an English Benedictine monastery. Most widely known as an 11th-century foundation, it had a precursor mentioned in the early 8th century, and was centred on what is now Bermondsey Square, the site of Bermondsey Market, Bermondsey in the London Borough of Southwark, southeast...

 in the 12th century, and then by the Hospital of the Holy Ghost in Rome from the early 13th; the turbulent reign of Richard II
Richard II of England
Richard II was King of England, a member of the House of Plantagenet and the last of its main-line kings. He ruled from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard was a son of Edward, the Black Prince, and was born during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III...

 saw the church being seized by the king, eventually coming under the control of William of Wykeham's
William of Wykeham
William of Wykeham was Bishop of Winchester, Chancellor of England, founder of Winchester College, New College, Oxford, New College School, Oxford, and builder of a large part of Windsor Castle.-Life:...

 New College, Oxford
New College, Oxford
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.- Overview :The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary", and is now almost always...

in 1399.

The church has twice suffered arson attacks in recent history - the first in 1974, the second in 1991.

Longmeads House

Longmeads House is a large Victorian building with grounds, and an important feature of the village. It was built by Robert Woodhouse in the 1880s and remained in the family until it was acquired by the Seabrooke family in 1930. The estate was acquired by Essex County Council in 1950 and is now the village's community centre.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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