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The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales...., by John Marius Wilson. circa 1866
CASTLE-HEDINGHAM, a village and a parish in Halstead district, Essex. The village stands on the river Colne, and on the Colne Valley railway, 4 and ½ miles NW of Halstead; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and has a post-office under Halstead, a railway station, and an inn. Fairs are held on 14 May and 25 July. A grand castle was built on an adjacent eminence, in the early part of the 12th century, by Aubrey de Vere; Earl of Oxford; was the death-place of Queen Maud; made a great figure in the wars in the time of King John; was the scene of a sumptuous entertainment to Henry VII; suffered much demolition, in 1592, by Edward de Vere; and was reduced to ruin, in 1666, in the first Dutch war. Only the keep of it now stands; and this is pure Anglo-Norman, 62 feet wide, 55 feet broad, and about 100 feet high, -the walls, from 10 to 13 feet thick,- the height disposed in five storeys, pierced with loop-holes and narrow windows. A Benedictine nunnery and an hospital also were founded here by the De Veres,- the former in 1198, the latter in 1250;- part of the nunnery is now a farm-house. The parish comprises 2,429 acres. Real property, £6,027. Pop., 1,203. Houses, 300. The property is divided among a few. The manor passed from the De Veres to the Ashursts and the Houghtons; and belongs now to A. Majendie, Esq. The parish is notable for its produce of Essex hops. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £100. Patron, A. Majendie, Esq. The church dates from the time of King John; shows Norman traces; has a tower of 1616; and contains monuments of the De Veres and the Ashursts. There are a large Independent chapel, and several alms-houses.
Transcribed by Noel Clark
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