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WHITE'S DIRECTORY OF ESSEX 1848
SOUTHMINSTER, a large and respectable village, with many good houses, inns, and well-stocked shops, is pleasantly situated about 3 miles north of Burnham and the river Crouch, and 9½ miles E.S.E. of Maldon. A small brook flows from it eastward to the ocean, and near its mouth is a signal station, 4 miles E. of the village. The parish of Southminster contains many scattered farm-houses, &c.; 1444 inhabitants, and 6197 acres of land, mostly in flat but fertile marshes, extending eastward to the sea coast, and penetrated by several short creeks. It has a pleasure fair on Sept. 29th, with horse races, which were established in 1842, and are usually well attended, and afford good sport for the amateurs of the turf. Two other fairs formerly held here three days before Easter and nine days before Whitsuntide, are obsolete. In the Saxon era, the manor of Southminster Hall belonged to the Bishop of London, till Canute took possession of it. William the Conqueror restored it to the See of London, with which it remained till 1550, when Bishop Ridley conveyed it to Edward VI., who granted it to Thomas, Lord Darcy, whose grandson sold it to Thomas Sutton, Esq., who settled it upon his rich and useful foundation of the Charter House, London, to which it still belongs. The Hall is a large farm-house near the church, and its barn was formerly a chapel, built in 1573, as stated by an inscription at the east end. Here is another manor called Caidge, which comprises what was held of the Bishop, in the Saxon era, by 15 freemen, and afterwards passed to the Fitzwalter, Darcy, Harrys, and other families. The Governors of the Charter-House own a great part of the soil in this large parish; and the rest belongs to J. F. Fortescue, W. Shuttleworth, W. Wright, and W. Page, Esqrs., and many smaller owners, mostly copyholders. Of the titheable land, 2928 acres are arable, 2932 acres pasturage, and 30 acres wood. The roads, wastes, and waters occupy 176A. Ray, a farm-house and marsh, belonged to some religious house, and was granted by Henry VIII. to his forsaken Queen, Anne of Cleves. The Church (St. Leonard,) is a large and handsome cruciform structure, which probably gave name to the parish, from its being in early times the handsomest church or minster south of Colchester, in the county. The nave is very ancient, but the chancel was rebuilt of brick, about a century ago. The tower is lofty and well proportioned, and contains six bells and a clock. The interior is neatly fitted up, and has an antique stone font. Richard Blemeis, Bishop of London, appropriated the church to St. Osyth Priory; and after the dissolution it was granted to Sir Richard Rich, from whom the rectory and advowson passed to the Heron, Albany, and Sutton families. Thomas Sutton, Esq., gave them, with the manor, to the Governors of the Charter House, who are still impropriators of the rectory, and patrons of the vicarage, valued in K. B. at £21, and in 1831 at £292, and now enjoyed by the Rev. G. C. Berkeley, M.A., who has a small neat residence, and 10A. of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1842, the vicarial for £422, and the rectorial for £1414. Here is an Independent Chapel, built in 1845, at the cost of £800, in lieu of a smaller chapel erected in 1830, and now converted into a British School. Here is also a National School, established in 1814, and now attended by about 60 boys and 50 girls. There is a Bowling Green at the White Hart Inn.
In 1593, WM. AYLETT bequeathed 14A. 1R. 37P. of land at Bartell's Moor, in this parish, for the relief of the poor of the eleven parishes of Southminster, Althorne, Bradwell, Burnham, Crixsea, Dengie, Mayland, St. Lawrence, Steeple, Tillingham, and Asheldham, in such portions as the greatness or smallness of the several parishes should require. The land is now let for £20 per annum, which is divided among the parishes by the High Constable of Dengie Hundred. The share paid to Southminster is £5. 6s. 11d., which is distributed in coals. The poor parishioners of Southminster have a yearly rent-charge of £4, granted in 1628, by the Governors of the Charter House, out of certain lands here called the Longlands and Hall Fields, which had anciently been applied to the use of the poor. A yearly rent-charge of £8, left by an unknown donor out of the manor called Caidge, is applied towards the support of the National School. The Late PETER HACKBLOCK, surgeon, in 1835, bequeathed his real and personal estates to his brother, subject to certain yearly payments for charitable uses, and the establishment of a Sunday evening lecture at the parish church. His charitable intentions had not been carried into effect, and were the subject of a suit in Chancery, in 1837, when the Parliamentary Commissioners were here.
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