November meeting details

The next meeting of the Stebbing Local History Society is on Monday the 12th November, starting at 8 p.m. As per usual it will be held at the Stebbing Village Hall in Mill Lane, Stebbing.

The speaker is Peter Layzell (right) and the talk is titled “Essex Regiment During Word War One”. The Essex Regiment was the local regiment for Stebbing men during the war and as such is of special significance to us in Stebbing. The talk, which is drawn from testimonies and newspaper accounts follows the Essex Regiment from 1914 to 1920 including its organisation, characters, daily routine, trench life and significant events.

This is a very significant meeting for the Society coming as it does 100 years and 1 day after the end of the First World War. As well as the talk, there will be a display of First World War material especially loaned to us by the Essex Record Office for the occasion. We are also putting on a special display of material from our own archives.

Please do try and attend this meeting. Entry is free to members as per usual and guests are always very welcome for the small fee of £2.

The image below shows the War Memorial at Stebbing, originally erected to honour Stebbing men that died in the First World War.



Spring 2018 Journal Published

The Spring 2018 edition (number 42) of the Journal of the Stebbing Local History Society has just been published. If you are a paid-up member of the society and we have your email address it will have been emailed to you.

The new edition comes in at a bumper sixteen pages, and is packed with photos and goodies.

The contents this time around are as follows:

  1. Society News
    1. Review of 2017
    2. Programme for 2018
    3. GDPR and membership
    4. Summer Outing 2018
    5. Request for Information on Farming in Stebbing ahead of specific research in this area
  2. Reg Frost Obituary – Reg lived all of his life in Stebbing.
  3. The Stebbing Parish Quarterly Paper – extracts taken from 1901 to 1906 – the paper was founded in 1901 by the vicar the Rev. Ernest Clapton.
  4. Brookfields – a 1970’s Estate with classic 1970’s features
  5. Adolf Heimann – a member of the German Luftwaffe whose plane crashed in Stebbing – he was the only survivor.
  6. Then and Now: at Brook House looking towards The Downs

Below is a farming photograph to go with our request for any farming memories, photographs, documents, history etc. We know exactly when this particular photograph was taken – 1948. Despite it being post-war working horses were still in existence in Stebbing at this date. This image was taken on Burnt House Farm on Stebbing Green.



New Occasional paper: Stebbing Hearth Tax 1670

First of all the committee of the Stebbing Local History Society would like to wish all of our members a Happy & Healthy New Year for 2018. The programme of 2018 meetings has been updated in the “meetings” tab so that you can see what we have lined up.

The Society has published another in the series of Occasional Research Papers entitled “The Stebbing Hearth Tax 1670.”   Researched by the Secretary Derek Towler, it is based on the ‘Essex Hearth Tax 1670,’  published by the British Record Society (BRS).

In the late 17th century the British Government was short of money (sound familiar?) and looking for a new and profitable tax that could not be easily escaped it hit upon the idea of taxing the number of hearths in the home. It was a progressive tax i.e. it assumed the rich would have many hearths and therefore pay more than the poor.  Unfortunately it proved to be very unpopular not least because the tax collectors had to enter homes to verify the number of hearths.  But because it recorded all the names of those who paid and many of those exempted (but not all) for the historian it is a very informative source.  It provides clues to the population, wealth or poverty of the parish and in some cases indicates where certain people may have lived and their occupation.

The picture below, probably taken in the first quarter of the 20th century, shows Priors Hall revealed in the Hearth Tax documents to be the home in 1670 of a John Sorrell, Gentleman.


Christmas wishes from the SLHS

The committee of the Stebbing Local History Society would like to wish all of our members and friends a very happy festive season. It has been a very good year for the society and we hope that it has been for you too.

For your enjoyment we have included two Stebbing related images appropriate for this time of year. The first is a Christmas card which although old is quite hard to date. It is not a Christmas card in the modern sense but a postcard. It is of course a generic card but was worth the publishers effort to produce one for a relatively small place like Stebbing.

The second image is of Mill Lane in the snow which is quite apt as today we have a lot of snow on the ground. The property visible in the background is Tan Farm (or Tan Office as it was sometimes known). The same photograph could not be taken today as houses line the right hand side of the road. It was taken in the 1960’s and the lady is Daphne Paul who lived in Mill Lane.


Autumn 2017 Journal Published

The Autumn 2017 edition (number 41) of the Journal of the Stebbing Local History Society has just been published. If you are a member of the society and we have your email address it will have been emailed to you.

The Editor for over 21 years, Derek Towler, has handed over the reins to myself, Graham Jolliffe from this number onwards. Over the 21 years in Derek’s capable hands we are sure that you will agree with me that the Journal has gone from strength to strength and has produced a body of work that the Society, all contributors and Derek himself can be rightly proud of. Derek will still remain as the SLHS Secretary and expects to be able to perform more original research as a result of vacating this position.

The new edition comes in at a bumper fifteen pages long with contributions from five different people, seven if you included the feedback received, and is packed with photos and goodies. The contents this time around are as follows:

  1. Society news
  2. A Stebbing Worthy (about William Linsell’s memories originally published in 1931)
  3. The Stebbing Dorcas Society
  4. World War II Graves in St.Mary’s Churchyard
  5. The Chapman Family of Stebbing (part 2)
  6. Then and Now: Technology and Change (about the changes over the last 100 years at Stebbing Ford).


The Society News section includes an appeal for more “modern history”. This request was sparked by coming across some classic 1970’s features on an estate of that period in the village, something that we expect to publish in the next edition of the Journal. It is too easy to think of history as something that happened a long time ago, however, we would love to add to our knowledge of life in Stebbing in the last 60 years. If you have any recollections or photographs of anything relating to Stebbing on any subject over any period  up to the present day then please do get in touch. To get those thoughts going the image below is of the inside of the current village shop in 1965. Many of the brands are still in existence today even if the packaging has become more plasticy! There are one or two names that have disappeared though or been re-branded. I still call Snickers Marathon’s – I must be showing my age.


Spring 2017 Journal Published

The Spring 2017 edition (number 40) of the Journal of the Stebbing Local History Society has just been published. If you are a member of the society and we have your email address it will have been emailed to you.

This edition comes in at twelve pages long, is packed with photos and goodies and the contents this time around are as follows:

  1. Society news
  2. New Images for the Archive
  3. The Surname Stebbing
  4. The Chapman Family
  5. More on Frederick Harvey
  6. Discovery of a Jetton at Stebbing

It was particularly pleasing that following the publication of the bitter-sweet story of the life of the important Stebbing gardener Frederick Harvey both in summary on this blog and in full in the last Journal that Frederick’s grand-daughter got in touch and supplied us with additional information.

The story of Stebbing as a surname is told and since the publication we have been told of a 14th century priest in Essex with that name so there will no doubt be a follow-up piece in the next Journal.

Ther is also the first part of a piece on the history of the Chapman family in Stebbing which is particularly interesting due to their early connection with the Quakers and the troubles they had as a result.

The article on the jetton is an interesting piece of social history as it concerns the finding of a late 15th / early 16th century counting piece that at first inspection looks like a coin. Surprisingly it was recently picked up by an eagle-eyed lad in a field near the centre of Stebbing.

Finally, the item on new images for the archive reflects the finding of a significant batch of very interesting photographs and watercolour paintings of Stebbing at the Essex Record Office. The watercolours (17 of them) were painted between 1945 and 1947 by J.W. Little. Unfortunately, we know very little about him other than he lived at Appledore in Bran End. If you know anything about him we would love to hear from you. Below is an image of the rear of the White Hart as painted by J.W. Little (by courtesy of the Essex Record Office).


2017 Programme Announced

The Stebbing Local History Society is delighted to announce that its 2017 programme of speakers is now complete. Many thanks go to Wendy Chalklen for sorting it all out in her usual efficient and cheery way!

As is traditional now the February meeting will be wholly focused on Stebbing. At the time of writing it is likely to consist of a talk focused on the Stebbing Elizabethan Fayre, especially its early years. As well as photographs and other memorabilia there will be a showing of a cinefilm to bring it all to life. There will also be a second talk, either Stebbing photo related or possibly a talk related to old Stebbing farming (we will let you know nearer the time). It will also be the A.G.M. although nowadays this doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to get through. If you have anything pertinant to the society that you would like to bring to our attention do get in touch or bring it up on the night.

In April Tony Morton will be talking about ancient woodlands, especially those in Uttlesford. Stebbing has some ancient woodland in the parish which is currently under threat of being surrounded by new development. Woodland has always been an important resource in the rural economy.

By June we expect that summer will be here and so we have a talk on the seaside heritage of Essex. Nearly everyone has fond memories of trips to the seaside and Essex has a particularly strong seaside heritage. Below is an image dating to the 1920’s of an arranged outing from Stebbing, probably organised by the Congregational Church in Mill Lane. We don’t know where they were going but it could quite easily be a trip to the coast. The charabanc is parked at the top of Mill Lane. Wherever they were going it must have been quite an adventure compared to travel nowadays and the weight of the vehicle and those solid tyres must have given the roads (and the occupants) quite a pounding.


The destination for the summer outing is yet to be finalised but as per usual it will be somewhere that you can’t arrange as an individual.

In September we are delighted to be welcoming back Tim Turner from Sworders auctioneers. Last time Tim gave us a wonderful talk on the history of tea – this time it will be about country houses in the 20th century.

Just two days after Rememberance Day we have an appropriate talk from Tim Luard about an Essex nurse on the front line in the first world war. The nurse in question was Tim’s Great Aunt, Kate Luard.

The committee hopes that you will find the programme varied and interesting. In the meantime have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.