West Bergholt

West Bergholt

infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= West Bergholt
latitude= 51.91
longitude= 0.85
population =
shire_district= Colchester
shire_county = Essex
region= East of England
constituency_westminster= North Essex
post_town= Colchester
postcode_district= CO6
dial_code= 01206
os_grid_reference= TL965270


West Bergholt, formerly known as Bergholt Sackville, is a large rural village lying on the border of the English counties of Essex and Suffolk, near to the ancient town of Colchester. With a history going back to medieval times the village is now part of the Colchester Borough Council seat of West Bergholt and Eight Ash Green, and has its own Parish Council [ [http://www.colchester.gov.uk/parish_councils_det.asp?art_id=821&sec_id=146 Colchester Borough Council] ] and concert band. In 2008 the village was winner of the Class 2 category, and 3rd placed overall, in the RCCE Best Kept Village in Essex competition [ [http://westbergholt.blogspot.com/2008/07/rcce-best-kept-village-competition.html RCCE Blog] ] .

The Village And Its Surroundings

The village is centred at the intersection of two roads: Colchester Road and Lexden Road, but in fact extends out a great distance in all directions. It is served by a local shop which has changed ownership a number of times in recent years, beginning as a locally run enterprise, called Elmer's, and now run by the Co-operative society. It was recently enlarged now having three times the old floor space.

Around the village lie numerous farms and large areas of woodland, including Hilhouse Wood, always known locally as Bluebell Wood, which was purchased by [http://www.woodland-trust.org.uk The Woodland Trust] , with the help of the local people. Many walks exist through the wood, and a migrant population of various breeds of deer can sometimes be seen.


The Normans

, which was a wooden single celled building on the site of the current 'Old Church' [ [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/st_mary's.htm St. Mary's] ] .

Prior to the Normans the village was split between two landowners. Leofwin Croz, Lord of the Manor, and Alfays Goding. They were replaced by Roger de Poitou and Richard Fitzgilbert [Domesday Book] , both of whom had helped William I at the Battle of Hastings. The new landlords robbed the lands and then imposed harsh laws upon the village people. However, Roger de Poitou rebelled against the King Henry in 1102 and was banished to Normandy and his lands removed [I.McMaster & K.Evans: "Mount Bures: It's Lands and It's People" (1996)] . Fitzgilbert was allowed to maintain his land as he was part of the House of Clare, who were aligned with King Henry.

Bergholt Sackville

The village changed it's name to "Bergholt Sackville" in 1119 after Robert Sackville [V.Brown, "Eye Priory Cartulary and Charters: Part 2", Boydell & Brewer (1994), pg.31] , son of Herband de Sackville, became Lord of the Manor. Robert was a member of the Royal Court and close friend of the King [ [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/bergholt_sackville.htm Bergholt Sackville] ] , fighting for him at the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106. He was a religious man who became the first official rector of St. Mary's Church and donated a 240 acre estate in the village to St John's Abbey of Colchester. This estate was run by the Almery Priest, who gave the profits from the running of the Almery Farm to the poor of the village. However, over the years there has been a confusion in the name of this farm and it has now become commonly known as "Armoury Farm". After the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII the estate was sold to Richard Duke [ [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/armoury_road.htm Almoury Road] ] in 1544, who was one of the civil servants responsible for administrating land seized by the King. However, the estate was finally brought back into the Sackville family by John Sackville in 1544 [ [http://www.tudorplace.com.ar/SACKVILLE.htm#John%20SACKVILLE1 John Sackville 1523-1547/52] ] .

Bergholt has not always managed to maintain good relations with the Crown. During the Reign of King John, Jordon Sackville got on the wrong side of the King and had all of his land removed, including the Bergholt Manor, even through his farther and previous Lord of the Manor, Geoffrey Sackville, was knighted by John. However, fortune landed on Jordon's side, as when King Henry III can to the thrown in 1216 Jordon was granted all of his land back. Although then his grandson, also called Jordon, assisted in the Barons Revolt against King Henry III, claiming that he was not fit to rule the country in his 60s and was taken prisoner. However, as the King was a friend of his grandfather was pardoned after a year [ [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=15138 West Bergholt - Manors and Other Estates] ] .

In 1347 King Edward III gave Andrew Sackville free warden in Bergholt, allowing him to kill game in his manor.

At the end of the 15th the price of ale had become too high in the village and the Bergholt Sackville Manorial Court charged four brewers for charging too much for their beer, as it was an offence to overcharge above the fixed rate. The village ale tasters were also fined, as it as their just to keep an eye on such matters.

By the 16th century the village was involved in the booming cloth trade and many of the village were employed in removing the natural oils from the cloth and the women would be engaged in spinning wool. However, this prosperity was almost removed from the village by the 1557 Act of Parliament, which made it forbidden for the making or selling of any woollen cloth expect in a market town. Thus, the local town of Colchester was unaffected, but Bergholt was not included as part of the town. Consequently Bergholt allied with Bocking and Dedham and petitioned Parliament for a change in the law. They were successful in passing the "Act for the Continuance of the Making of Woollen Clothe in Dyvers Townes in the Countie of Essex". This allowed the three village, called towns in the act, to carry on their businesses providing they had been trading for seven or more years [J.Lander: "A Thousand Years of Village News: How West Bergholt's history made headlines", Jon Lander (1999), pg.9] .

In 1565, Thomas Love, founded of Love's Charity, passed away and left a sum of money to acquire land and rent it to the poor of the village [ [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=15144 West Bergholt = Charities for the Poor] ] , as he had received such a warm welcome when visiting the village during his lifetime.

Trouble at the Church

Queen Elizabeth I had to step in twice two sort out problems with the village's reverends. The first troublesome vicar was Reverend Edmund Tarrell, who was noted for spending too much time the public houses and not enough time in the Church. The Queen has to intervene after it was reported that the vicar had failed to turn up to evensong ["West Bergholt in History: Extracts from the Domesday Exhibition, 1986", West Bergholt Local History Group, pg.10] and failing to give a woman her last rites as he was in a Colchester pub and could not be found [ [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/stubborn_rector.htm Stubborn Rector] ] . He most serious offence, which he managed to escape, was not reading out King Henry VIII's latest religious doctrine, which carried the penalty of death. Later in 1581 the it was reported to the Queen that the village's vicar, Reverend Richard Kyrby, refused to conduct the service in English after the introduction of her new Prayer Book, which he claimed should remain in Latin. Sixteen years later the Queen stepped in and had him removed.

In 1650 Reverend Gregory Holland was called before the "Committe for Scandalous Ministers" for preaching Royalist sermons during the Civil War, along with drunkenness and swearing in Church. The result of this hearing was that he was allowed to continue in his post as vicar at Bergholt, but that the parishioners elect him a curate, who would pay him the majority of his stipend.

It was not only the vicars that were in trouble with the crowd, but in 1556 a member of the parish, Agres George, was out of favour with Queen Mary, for refusing to attend church until the service was no longer conducted in the Roman Catholic tradition [J.E.Oxley, "The Reformation in Essex: to the Death of Mary", New York: Barnes and Noble (1965)] . She the then tried before the Bishop of London, Reverend Edmund Bonner, along with 12 others. During her time at Newgate Prison she wrote a letter attacking the Pope of being anti-Christ and that she was baptised in Christ's Church not Rome. She was burned at Stratford ["West Bergholt in History: Extracts from the Domesday Exhibition, 1986", West Bergholt Local History Group, pg.11] before 20,000 people.

Later on, in order to remind all the villagers who was king, King James I had his royal coat of arms painted in the Church. This coat of arms can still be seen to this day if one stands in the gallery and looks towards the alter. The motto on the arms reads "Exurgat Deus Dissipenter Ininice", this is the opening line of Psalm 68 [ [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalms%2068&version=9; Psalm 68] ] (Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered). Opposite James' arms is a set of Hanoverian arms aquired in 1816 [R.Tricker: "St Mary's Old Church", The Churches Conservation Trust (1998), pg.9] .

Development of Modern Bergholt

1725 is the first year that records of the village's largest pub came about - "The White Hart", which is still in use today. This was a popular meeting place for farmers taking sheep and cattle to market, which caused the creation of the cluster of building known as "The Crescent" next to the pub. The Crescent contained four buildings; Anerly, Bascete, The Wheelwright's and Blacksmith's shop, which original parts of can still be seen, although are all residential houses now. The Anerley was formerly known as "The Crown and Sceptre Brewery" and the Bascete used to contain a chapel at the rear of the building [B.Skudder & D.Fulford: "A Walk Around West Bergholt 2", West Bergholt Local History Group (1987), pg.2] . This year was also very important for a second reason, the Daniell family moved into Armoury Farm, who one hundred years later built the brewery in the village.

The Brewery

The Daniell's had lived in Colchester since 1509 and were freemen of the town. the first member of the family to start brewing was Thomas Daniel during the 18th century, who produced beer for the works on his farm. The beer was such a favourite with the men that he started selling it around the village and local area and in 1859 expanded the operation to two new breweries run by his two sons. The firm went from strength to strength and became a public company in 1886, with a value of £30,000. The biggest event for the firm was to have Osmond Orpen marry into the family, who was known as the greatest brewer in England and became the Daniell's head brewer before moving on to be assigned as managing director [ [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/orpen_close.htm Orpen Close] ] .

This had a great impact on the village. Not only did it create more jobs and help expand the village but Osmond also ran the parish council and was overseer of the poor [ [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/rose_growing.htm Rose Growing] ] . After his death he, along with Lorkin Daniell, gave the land and money for the building of the village hall (Orpen Memorial Hall) and surrounding land (Lorkin Daniell Playing Field).

However, the Brewery suffered losses in 1958 and was forced to sell to Trumans Brewery. Trumans used the Brewery as a bottling plant and later as transport depot until it was converted into flats.

Enclosure & Fire Raising

Moving back to the 1840s and the village was being dramatically changed by the agricultural revolution. The two largest impacts on the village were enclosure and the introduction of machines into the farming process

Enclosure happened in Bergholt in 1865, during which The Heath was divided into new areas. The old track ways and footpaths were closed and several new roads were laid out. Four acres of land was given to the poor for allotments and a further four acres for recreation (commonly known in the village as the "Poor's Field"). This land was held in trust by the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor. The maximum amount of land a single man was allowed to cultivate, without disturbance to his daily work, was ten rod measurements, which is still in use today [B.Skudder & D.Fulford: "A Walk Around West Bergholt 2", West Bergholt Local History Group (1987), pg.2] .

A third area was set aside for a new Church and graveyard, as the Church of the time was new situated too far away from the center of the modern village, was the claimed to be the cause of the low attendance. The remaining area of the land was left as The Heathlands, where villagers were able to graze their goats.

The land hand-out was carried out under the provisions of the "Acts of Enclosure, Exchange and Improvement of Land". There were intended to produce the most economical use of the Heath. The plan was produced by Charles Horror and approved by the Enclosure Commissioners. The plan also contained land set aside for three village ponds ("public wells"); one for Lexden Road, Chapel Road and outside the White Hart ["Enclosure Award & Map 1865", West Bergholt Local History Group] , although the latter has been filled in since the 1950's.

However, the agricultural revolution was not all good news for Bergholt. Many farm labourers had been left unemployed after the dip in the agricultural trade following the war with France in 1815. Thus, the introduction of machines only made matter worse. The result was groups of vagabonds emerging in the counrtyside threatening social order [E.M.Wood:"The Origin of Capatalism", Monthly Review Press (1999), pg.83] , who were decribed at the time as "masterless men" [N.Wood:"The Fountations of Political Economy:Some early Tudor Views on State and Society", Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press (1994)] . In 1842 the village witnessed the earliest signs of violence from the protesters, which led the village to become the epicentre of protest in North Essex. Their main form of protest was fire raising.

One of the first fires occurred in 1843 at Hightrees Farm, which killed a horse, a calf and several poultry as well as burning away 11 acres worth of hay and damaging the farmhouse. It is claimed that the firm could be seen from Colchester, were a large crowd gathered on North Hill. This was the first of many fires. The Police had trouble tracking down the perpetrators as many in the village were sympathetic towards them. However, in 1843 Robert Woodward was found guilty of fire raising after an under-cover policeman in the White Hart and his lover came forward with evidence. He was sentenced to transportation for life to Australia.

The School

The village by the 19th century already had a fee-paying school, but nothing for the poor. The vicar at the time, Reverend William Sims had already applied to the Church of England for funding for the building of a school for the poor but by 1833 had only raised £55 of the £300 needed and appealed again. However, but now the village had grown in numbers and more money was needed to be raised for a larger school. However, William Sims died before he could see the fruits of his labour. Although the next vicar, Frederick Sims, was able to raise £400 by public subscription. The school was built on the Heath and two cottages were made alongside it. One for the schoolmaster and his wife and the other to be let out with the profits going towards the upkeep of the school. The school was initially built to accommodate 200 pupils and the opening ceremony was held at the parish church during the Sunday Eucharist.

The Buildings

are common, although usually only seen at dusk or early morning.

On the outskirts of the village is the [http://www.westbergholtcc.co.uk/ cricket club] named The Manor Road Ground which is home to a 1sts, 2nds, an evening league and colts teams

Village Life

Food & Drink

The village is home to three pubs, all of which serve good food and local ale, Adnams:
* [http://www.whitehart-westbergholt.co.uk/ The White Hart]
* The Trebble Tile
* [http://www.pub-explorer.com/olpg/the-queenshead/westbergholt/index.htm The Queens Head]

Village Clubs and Societies

* [http://www.westbergholtcc.co.uk/ cricket club West Bergholt Cricket Club] , who play their home fixture at 'Manor Road Cricket Ground'
* [http://www.westbergholtfc.co.uk/ West Bergholt Football Club]
* [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/history_club.htm Local History Society]
* [http://www.1stwestbergholtscouts.org.uk/ Scout] and [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/guides.htm Guide] Groups
* [http://www.wbcb.org.uk/ West Bergholt Concert Band]
* [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/wi.htm West Bergholt Woman's Institute]
* [http://www.colchestermrc.org/ Colchester & District Model Railway Club ]


The Village has three active churches. Two have their own buildings whilist the third meets at the Orpen Hall [http://www.westbergholt.net/Local/churches.htm]
* [http://uk.geocities.com/stmarywb/index.htm St. Mary's (Church of England)]
* Methodist Church
* The Fellowship Pentecostal Church


West Bergholt is served by six bus services, these are:
*17 West Bergholt - The Stanway School (Schooldays), operated by Hedingham Omnibuses, one bus each way
*66 West Bergholt - Colchester - Old Heath (Mondays - Saturdays), operated by First Essex, every thirty minutes throughout the day, hourly in the evenings
*66A West Bergholt - Colchester - Rowhedge (Mondays - Saturdays), operated by First Essex, one journey, this direction only
*67B West Bergholt - Colchester - West Mersea (Mondays - Sundays), operated by First Essex, one journey, this direction only (Monday - Saturday); every 120 minutes (Sunday)
*69 West Bergholt - Gilberd School (Schooldays), operated by First Essex, one bus each way
*753 Sudbury - Great Cornard - Bures - West Bergholt - Colchester, (Monday - Saturday) operated by H C Chambers & Son, hourly

ee also

* Colchester, Essex

External links

* [http://www.westbergholt.net The village's own website maintained by the parish council]
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=15137 History Report on the village]
* [http://www.firstgroup.com/ukbus/southeast/essex/home/index.php First Essex -local bus operator]
* [http://www.chamberscoaches.co.uk/ Chambers of Bures - local bus operator]
* [http://www.hedingham.co.uk Hedingham Omnibuses - local bus operator]


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