04 April 2012

A visit to The City of Chelmsford on Monday....

Well done Chelmsford for being granted city status. It has Roman origins and in 1199 King John granted the town a royal charter so that a market could be held on a weekly basis (get your bananas here!) and it became Essex's county town in 1218 - a position it still holds. For a week in July 1381 the city temporarily became the government's main base after King Richard II, who was in the area (as one is), ordered several decrees in order to quell the Peasants' Revolt. Poor peasants.

The Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, St Peter and St Cedd is Grade I Listed and there was a church on this site about 800 years ago, which was rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Notable people associated with Chelmsford include the founder of radio ... Guglielmo Marconi who opened the first wireless factory in the town, which is sadly no longer around.

A gentleman told us that the carving seen here is facing towards Bradwell-on-Sea, where, he said, Christianity first came to England. I thought ooooh, look at the old carving of the man holding a key .... hang on, did they have Yale locks in them days??

The building in the centre of this photo, with the rounded appearance, was where Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) lived. He was a lecturer at the cathedral, having gained his Master's Degree at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. His puritanical beliefs didn't sit too well with the Archbish who gave him the sack. One thing led to another and he got into a bit of trouble with the church and then he left for Massachusetts and Boston. The blue plaque on his house says he was 'The Father of American Democracy'.

This part of Chelmsford, Moulsham Street, is where my Riley's came from and my ancestor William Riley was baptised in Chelmsford in 1583, at the Cathedral. In the 1500's this area would have been called the village of Moulsham. There would have been a bridge, probably at this point when the Romans were here, according to the information board, but it would have collapsed so one was rebuilt in the 1100's. The Westminster Treasury Rolls for 1372 state that £73, 6 shillings and 8d was spent on a new bridge for Moulsham. The bridge survived for 400 years. This one was built in 1787, and what a lovely bridge it is too.

Moulsham Street

The white building on the left, just in view, is the ERO

Me at the Essex Records Office


Blogger Sage said...

Fantastic history and makes me wonder how they were able to build such beautiful buildings back then. And I always like bridges regardless of age. But how did Spiderman get there?

4 April 2012 at 16:06:00 BST

Blogger The Quacks of Life said...

well you've made Chelmsford look good!! i just can't take Chelmsford Cathedral seriously. as a church? very nice but a cathedral!!

Bradwell chapel is worth visiting.

4 April 2012 at 19:44:00 BST


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